Geraldton church hosts ‘Real Lives’ discussion from ‘ex-gay’ organisation

Geraldton’s Anglican Cathedral is the latest Western Australian church to host the ‘Real Lives‘ presentation delivered by the Australian Christian Lobby and ‘ex-gay’ organisation True Identity.

The presentation, which as been accused of promoting conversion practices, has been delivered in many churches across Western Australia in recent months. The presentation argues that religious based counselling services are needed by people who have a desire to resist being homosexual, bisexual or being transgender.

Sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts have been outlawed in many jurisdictions around the world, including Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria.

The organisers of the talk argue that similar laws should not be introduced in Western Australia and suggest that some people’s sexual identity has been shaped by traumatic experiences such as sexual assault or parental absence.

Speaking to WA Today earlier this week Peter Abetz from the Australian Christian Lobby and Geraldton Anglican Cathedral acting dean Reverend David Seccombe confirmed the presentations would include a talk from James Parker the leader of True Identity and other speaker who say they have learned to embrace heterosexuality or abstinence.

Local LGBTIQ+ organisation OUT Midwest raised concern over the event. In a post to their Facebook page the group acknowledged that while many people of faith struggled with accepting their sexuality, there were church groups that embraced gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

“While we understand that everyone has a different path and faith and gender and sexuality is a contentious topic, we wish to emphasise that conversion practices can be extremely damaging to LGBTQIA+ individuals, and are not the only way to reconcile your faith with who you are.”

OUT Midwest highlighted the work of Equal Voices, a Western Australian based group that advocates for the acceptance of the LGBTIQ+ communities within religious bodies.

Also speaking out against the presentation this week is Geraldton based author Holden Sheppard. He shared how growing up as a gay teen in the town he tried to “convert” himself for three years. Sheppard’s message for gay youth was a simple one, ‘Don’t be ashamed. It’s nice to be homosexual.”

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