Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 19:25
Some 35 people this evening took part in a protest against the 'conversion' of gay people which an Evangelical Church claimed to have taken place.
The protest was held as a meeting of the River of Love Fellowship was being held in a hall in Zebbug.
The church held a celebration of the 'conversion' last week, causing an outcry in the gay community. However no police permit was held for the protest to be held last week.
During the protest today, some of those taking part staged mock conversions from straight to gay.
Gabby Calleja, president of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, acknowledged an apology by the Evangelical Alliance made in the past few day,s but said that what had happened was very harmful to the gay community.
"We are not something which needs to be changed," she stressed.
Addressing herself particularly to parents, MsCalleja said parents should not seek to refer their children to psychologists in order to be cured, because they were not sick . Should they need help, such parents should seek out professional therapists for appropriate help, rather than so called cures.
She said that claims were being made about a psychologist who was offering alleged reparative therapy. Should such claims be founded, a report would be made to the Psychology Board, she said.
During the protest, some of those who took part sang 'Being Gay is Okay' and held banners such as 'Can your god cure my left handedness too?' and 'I used to have red hair'.
Gordon John Manche' the pastor at the centre of the controversy, said his community had nothing against gays and they loved everyone. He denied claiming that his wife offered reparative treatment and said the three men who had 'converted' and 'encountered Jesus' had, out of their free will, celebrated the event. He said he also had similar testimonials of people who were no longer taking drugs or were no longer in an adulterous relationship.
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