Australian Conversion “Therapy” Organisation Closes
A just released paper “‘Beyond Egypt’ Closes – lessons from the rise and demise of an LGBTQ conversion organisation” reveals the duplicity of conversion “therapy” leaders, some of their bizarre beliefs and messages, and lifts the veil on what has been the most secretive organisation in Australia.
Anthony Venn-Brown, founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, said he’s been working on the piece on and off for a nearly a year. “Having monitored these organisations and worked to see them close down for the last 20 years, I’ve known of Beyond Egypt’s existence and when they entered the landscape in 2006,” Venn-Brown said. “The challenge has always been to get through their intentional wall of secrecy and find out what’s really going on,” he added.
When Beyond Egypt announced earlier this year it was closing down Venn-Brown began digging. Previously, when journalists attempted to interview the leaders, they were mostly ignored. When an Australian leading medical publication tried to engage with Beyond Egypt, they received a reply which said, “We don’t wish to be interviewed, as the entire premise that we are involved in some kind of ‘conversion therapy’ is false. We do not and have never in any way supported such therapies.”
That denial has been what motivated Venn-Brown into research mode. Trawling internet archives, listening to hours of audiotapes, going over past newsletters, interviews with people involved, 12,000 words and over 70 references later, the work is finished.
“Considering the recent legislation banning conversion “therapy” passed in Queensland and the ACT and the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill, currently being debated in Victoria, this work is extremely timely” Venn-Brown commented.
Venn-Brown said that he wanted to produce more than an historical document, but to draw lessons for today from the 15-year history of Beyond Egypt, relevant lessons to what is happening now and for LGBTQ youth of faith into the future.
“The paper explores the true meaning of the term ‘conversion therapy’, Sydney Anglican anti-gay history, the celibacy message, support groups, Beyond Egypt’s affiliations and more. I think it touches many emotions for the reader–not only shock, horror, outrage and indignation, but possibly compassion and humour as well. I mean, who knew that thinking of a washing machine can stop you from masturbating, envying another guy’s body can make you gay, that lesbians don’t have partners, only prisoners and some gay guys like “rough and tumble”. These were just some of the “discoveries” my research revealed”, Venn-Brown concluded.
Read or download “‘Beyond Egypt’ Closes- lessons from the rise and demise of an LGBTQ conversion organisation” HERE https://wp.me/p7nC3p-1TJ .
Anthony Venn-Brown (OAM)
Founder and CEO Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International www.abbi.org.au
Author of the bestseller “A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith” www.ALifeOfUnlearning.com
Mobile: 0416 015 231
Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International’s mission is to create understanding and acceptance for LGBTI people, empower community members and build bridges with religious organisations and leaders.