Religious leaders across various faiths and nationalities have united to call for an end to so-called “conversion therapies” that purport to be able to change an individual’s sexual orientation.
More than 370 prominent figures from around the world have signed the declaration calling for a global ban on conversion treatments, as well as an end to violence against and criminalization of the LGBTQ community, CNN reported.
The move, announced in a press release Wednesday, marks the launch of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives. The commission has also received support from 35 prominent leaders across the globe who have backed the organization, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen and former Irish President Mary McAleese.
“We’ve never had such a powerful, clear and supportive statement from so many leaders,” Jayne Ozanne, director of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, told CNN.
While conversion therapy has long been discredited as a harmful practice that hinges on a number of false assumptions and beliefs, the practice remains legal in many parts of the world.
“I do not think that any government can be deaf to the cries of survivors,” said Ozanne, calling on politicians to enact legislation banning conversion therapy. “We need to act with some urgency.”
The commission also aims to acknowledge and correct the ways many religious teachings have been used to harm LGBTQ individuals.
“For too long, religious teachings have been misused — and are still being misused — to cause deep pain and offence to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex,” Reverend Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool, said in the press release, adding that the commission seeks to “provide a strong and authoritative voice amongst those who wish to affirm the sanctity of life and the dignity of all.”
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