Uninvite Harmful Ex-Gay "Coming Out Ministries" from Nova Scotia.

The Maritime Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has invited "ex-gay" speakers for their upcoming Campmeeting conference, taking place at Camp Pugwash in July 2018. The speakers, Mike Carducci and Danielle Harrison from "Coming Out Ministries", share personal stories involving and encouraging a process of ridding oneself of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender through prayer and religious devotion. They describe themselves as "redeemed" and able to change through faith. Their approach is based in shame, stigma, and treating sexual orientation and gender identity as a sin, and "unhealthy." In the past, Carducci has even described non-heterosexual people as "demon possessed".

These are strategies and approaches found within the harmful practice of conversion therapy. With these therapies being widely discredited and recognized as harmful, Coming Out Ministries carefully avoids this language, but clearly the intent of these speakers remains the same.

Both The Youth Project and Halifax Pride have reached out to the organizers to express their concern about the harm caused to youth and adults by this process. We have called upon the Seventh Day Adventist Church to cancel the speaking engagement from Coming Out Ministries, and they have refused. We now must reach out to our community for their support in reinforcing the reality that "praying away the gay" will create inaccurate beliefs among youth, their parents and friends about the ability to change sexual orientation or gender identity through dedication to faith, creating a sense of failure when this doesn't occur, and increasing the stigma and shame felt by LGBTQ2+ youth. There is significant risk to causing anxiety, distress and mental health challenges - including the possibility of suicidal thoughts or actions.

Please sign this petition if you do not want Coming Out Ministries to speak at this upcoming event, and if you call upon the Maritime Seventh Day Adventist Church to uninvite them.

You cannot change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, and you do not need to. You do not need to be heterosexual to have a relationship with your faith or spiritual community. You should be welcome as your whole self, and LGBTQ2+ people do not need to be shamed into changing something wonderful about ourselves.
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For further information, please read the following:

1) Nova Scotia LGBTQ groups condemn conference they say promotes the ideals of conversion therapy - without calling it that: 
https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2018/06/12/nova-scotia-lgbtq-groups-condemn-conference-they-say-promotes-the-ideals-of-conversion-therapy-without-calling-it-that.html 

2) Seventh Day Adventist Kinship:"Coming Out Ministries" and the Promotion of Ex-Gay Therapy in the SDA Church: http://sdakinship.org/blog/entry/238-%E2%80%9Ccoming-out-ministries%E2%80%9D-and-the-promotion-of-ex-gay-therapy-in-the-sda-church

3)Canadian Psychological Association position statement on conversion therapy: https://www.cpa.ca/docs/File/Position/SOGII%20Policy%20Statement%20-%20LGB%20Conversion%20Therapy%20FINALAPPROVED2015.pdf

4) Policy and Position Statements on Conversion Therapy, Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/resources/policy-and-position-statements-on-conversion-therapy

5) Canadian Association of Social Workers Joint Statement on the Affirmation of Gender Diverse Children and Youth: https://www.casw-acts.ca/en/joint-statement-affirmation-gender-diverse-children-and-youth

Update #225 days ago
WE DID IT!!! Thank you everyone for your support, I am happy to update you with good news. Coming Out Ministries is NOT coming to Nova Scotia! They have been uninvited. They will not be sharing their pray-the-gay-away message. Thank you so much for your signature, support and shares. For more reading check out http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1586507-lgbtq-community-relieved-pro-conversion-speakers-uninvited .

Sincerely,
Sheena
Update #12 months ago
This petition & message have been reaching a wide audience! I am surprised and very grateful at the rapidly growing response. I want to thank you for your support, including people from religious communities (and even the SDA community!) who have signed, and want to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ2+ people. Keep sharing! We will update with a closing date and plans for petition delivery soon.
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