Facebook and Instagram told CNN on Friday that the two platforms are banning content promoting conversion therapy. The discredited practice right-wing religious proxies use to force homonormativity and rigid binary gender constructs on LGBT people has long been condemned as harmful by major medical associations.
The decisions follow appeals from users to remove an Instagram account used by Core Issues Trust, a UK-based promoter of ‘Christian’ conversion therapy.
Core Issues Trust came to the spotlight in 2003 when it sponsored anti-LGBT bus banners ‘challenging gender confusion’ and “X Gay” adverts mocking Stonewall’s previous inclusivity banner campaign. Then London Mayor Borris Johnson banned Core Issues Trust bus banners in response to public outrage.
The Charity Commission of Northern Ireland lists a number of ‘benefits’ to society Core Issue Trust purportedly provides including absurdly enough, the promotion of human rights/equality. However, when visiting the Core Issues Trust Website it becomes abundantly clear that the ‘charity’s’ focus is the conversion of LGBT people.
Despite complaints over charity status of ‘gay conversion’ group Core Issues Trust in Northern Ireland Core Issues Trust remains a registered UK Charity. This means that UK taxpayers fork out 25p for every £1 that is donated. To date, the hate group masquerading as Christians has absconded with £120.3K or $151,788 in US dollars.
“We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services,” Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said in a statement.
The platform will also stop recommending content related to conversion therapy, such as testimonials to its efficacy or posts in praise of or in support of the practice, except those in a legislative context. Earlier this year, Instagram banned advertisements for the process.
A Twitter spokesperson said their platform already enforces against content that promotes conversion therapy under their wishes of harm rule, and is “working to make the training decks more clear so that team members have a wide variety of examples to refer to and our enforcement of this is consistent and scaleable globally.”
Core Issues Trustissued a statement in response to the National Secular Society campaign to remove it as a public charity. “We will no longer tolerate unsubstantiated accusations of harm against Core Issues Trust and call on the NSS to now provide the evidence upon which it claims we have harmed individuals or society.”
You want proof? Here it is.
According to The American Medical Association issue brief So-called “conversion therapy” refers to any form of intervention, such as individual or group, behavioral, cognitive or milieu/environmental operations, that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or sexual behaviors (sexual orientation change efforts [SOCE]) or an individual’s gender identity (gender identify change efforts [GICE]).
Practitioners of change efforts may employ techniques, including:
- Aversive conditioning (e.g., electric shock, deprivation of food and liquids, smelling salts and chemically
- Masturbation reconditioning
Underlying these techniques is the assumption that homosexuality and gender identity are mental disorders and that sexual orientation and gender identity can and should be changed. This assumption is not based on medical and scientific evidence. Professional consensus rejects pathologizing homosexuality and differences in gender identity. In addition, empirical evidence has demonstrated that homosexuality and trans and non-binary gender identities are normal variations of human identity and expression, not inherently linked to mental illness. However, the unfounded misconception of sexual orientation and gender identity “conversion” persists today
in some health, spiritual and religious practitioners.
Evidence does not support the purported “efficacy” of SOCE in changing sexual orientation. To the contrary, these practices may cause significant psychological distress. One study showed that 77 percent of ex-SOCE participants reported significant long-term harm, including the following symptoms:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Internalized homophobia
- Internalized transphobia
- Intrusive imagery
- Sexual dysfunction
Participants also reported significant social and interpersonal harm, such as alienation, loneliness, social isolation, interference with intimate relationships, loss of social support, and suicidal ideations.
One study found nearly 30 percent of individuals who underwent SOCE reported suicidal attempts.
In addition, exposure to GICE prior to age 10 was significantly associated with an increased risk of lifetime suicide attempts. Another study found that 23 percent of LGBTQ youth who reported that someone had attempted to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity had attempted suicide, compared to 8 percent of those who did not report that others tried to convince them
The ban by Facebook and Instagram was emplaced in accordance with the platform’s stated efforts during the coronavirus pandemic to promote social well being. The next step is to educate the public on the harm that Core Issue Trust is inflicting and to have it removed as a Charity.