There has been quite a lot in the news today about an advertisement which Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust proposed to run on London buses:
these plucky Christians are merely doing what the Prime Minister exhorted them to do: ‘ fight back’.
But Cranmer has not as yet reported the latest development, for news of which I thank Stuart James. He writes that
Transport of London have just Tweeted:
Anglican Mainstream ad just brought to our attention and will not run on London’s bus or transport networks
We don’t believe these ads reflect TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London
It seems that Boris Johnson, who is campaigning for re-election as Mayor of London, spoke out against the ad – as did his two main opponents in the election, according to the gay news service Pink News. It is not clear whether it was this intervention that led Transport for London to drop the ad. Johnson is reported as saying:
London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.
Well, Mr Johnson, your language points out the problem: London is tolerant of anything except what it labels as “intolerance”. The proposed ad says nothing intolerant of gays. It certainly does not “suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from”. But the gay lobby sees its very existence threatened by the suggestion that people might be able to change their sexual orientation. So it tries to silence the voices making this suggestion by making entirely spurious accusations that they are anti-gay and so intolerant, which means that London has to be intolerant of them.
Yes, Mr Johnson, this is an issue of tolerance. It is one of refusing to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. You are slandering and discriminating against people who identify themselves as previously gay and now straight. You are breaking the rules in your own authority’s Code of Conduct, which explicitly apply to you as Mayor:
Respect for Others
You should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their … sexual orientation …
Now I don’t want to be seen as promoting the post-gay cause. I don’t know if the controversial treatment to turn gay people straight actually works. I’m not sure that the strategy of Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust is a good one. But I want to defend the right of people to identify themselves as post-gay and publicise their existence, just as I defend the right of people to identify themselves as gay and publicise their existence.
It seems to be politically correct to attempt to change one’s gender by hormone therapy and “gender reassignment surgery”, and ethical for doctors to offer these treatments for people who want them. Why is it considered so politically incorrect to attempt to change one’s sexual orientation, and unethical for doctors to offer therapy which might cause such a change?