The Mayor of London has blocked ads promoting gay conversion therapy from appearing on London buses. The ads, which read “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get Over It!” were booked by two Christian groups and due to appear on buses next week.
Mayor Boris Johnson said the ads, which suggest that gay people can be turned straight, were inappropriate. “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.”
One of the groups behind the ads, Anglican Mainstream, believes that homosexuals are “not being fully the people God intended us to be,” a spokesperson told the Guardian. The other group, the Core Issues Trust, funds “reparative therapy” for gay Christians to help them “develop their heterosexual potential.” The British Medical Association has condemned such an approach as “discredited and harmful to those ‘treated’.”
The ads had been purchased in response to a campaign by gay rights group Stonewall, which ran bus ads that read: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
The Christian groups claim the move to block the ads violates their rights. “I didn’t realize censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled.”
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall agreed, saying that while ads were “clearly homophobic,” they should be allowed to run in the name of freedom of speech.