Former LGBTs 'repent on behalf of nation for sin of homosexuality'
The "formers" are lobbying against two House bills: H.R. 5, the Equality Act - and H.R. 3570, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act.
By SYDNEY DENNEN
A group of men and women who formally identified as gay, lesbian and transgender descended upon the US capital to lobby against LGBTQ rights and share their stories according to NBC News.The group is made up of 15 members, who are part of Church United, and Changed - two California-based organizations that provide a community for "formers" or people who formerly identified as part of the LGBT community.The "formers" are lobbying against two House bills: H.R. 5, the Equality Act - and H.R. 3570, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act. Both of the bills have been supported by all major LGBTQ advocacy organizations throughout the US, but it is unlikely either will become law.The Equality Act would update federal civil rights laws, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, public accommodations, jury service, federal programs, education and housing.The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, if passed, would make conversion therapy - the practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity - a fraudulent practice if exchanged with monetary compensation.The group said in an interview with LifeSite that they only came to the capital "to tell their stories of finding healing and fulfillment by rejecting the lies of LGBT ideology and turning to Christ."One group member said: "We repent on behalf of our country for the sins of arrogance, for the sins of sexual deviancy, for the sins that have led us to the place where we are today,” while praying beneath the Capitol dome.Elizabeth Woning, co-founder of Changed, said the group wants to "share our experiences and bring awareness to the fact that we exist."EQUAL RIGHTS"Sexual behavior should not be a protected right," said Jim Domen the founder of Church United. “The Equality Act treats sexual preference as an elevated class and would strip people of religious freedom.”The group said they do not believe that LGBTQ people have been subjected to the same discrimination and abuse as other minority groups, because gays have "achieved clout and success as scientists, authors and politicians," according to NBC News.However, according to human rights researchers, just because one person or group doesn't feel the discrimination does not mean it doesn't exist.CONVERSION THERAPYDomen also claimed that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices, and that if someone wants to change they can "overcome" their orientation through therapy and religious support. However, according to the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, this is not possible.The Church United founder and other members explained they oppose H.R. 3750 because they believe the bill insinuates that it is harmful for someone to seek therapy to "overcome" their LGBTQ-ness and undermines the existence of "formers."The group said that they do not support "conversion therapy," but do support ones personal attempt to "overcome their sexual orientation or gender identity through therapy or religious guidance" – without explaining the difference between the two.Conversion therapy is still a widely used practice, "at the expense of the mental and emotional health of LGBTQ people," according to Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and public affairs at The Trevor Project - a suicide prevention nonprofit for LGBTQ youth.Brinton also said that according to UCLA's Williams Institute, more than "700,000 LGBTQ adults have been subjected to some form of conversion therapy at some point in their life, and an estimated 80,000 LGBTQ youth will be subjected to the practice in the coming years."So far, 18 states and Washington, DC, ban the practice of conversion therapy to minors.