Christian therapist may be struck off for trying to turn gay man straight

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Christian ‘conversion therapist’ may be struck off this week after telling a gay undercover reporter that she could turn him straight.

Lesley Pilkington, 60, told gay journalist Patrick Strudwick that his homosexuality was a “mental illness” and she could help him overcome it.

Mr Strudwick, who won several awards for his expose, was also told by Ms Pilkington that he must have been sexually abused as a child by a member of his family.

After visiting her for counselling in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, he reported her to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

The therapist is to appear before a a professional conduct panel this week and and may lose her accreditation with the BACP.

She is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre and accuses Mr Strudwick, who secretly recorded her, of entrapment.

Ms Pilkington, who says she is helping her gay son turn straight, told The Sunday Telegraph: “He told me he was looking for a treatment for being gay. He said he was depressed and unhappy and would I give him some therapy.

“I told him I only work using a Christian biblical framework and he said that was exactly what he wanted.”

She added: “We don’t use the word ‘cure’ because it makes it [homosexuality] sound like a disease. We are helping people move out of that lifestyle because they are depressed and unhappy.

“We say everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is environmental; it is in the upbringing.”

Mr Strudwick, who set up a campaign group to protest ‘ex-gay’ therapy, told The Sunday Telegraph: “Entering into therapy with somebody who thinks I am sick … is the singularly most chilling experience of my life
Andrea Minichiello Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “When a young man asked for help to change his behaviour, [Ms Pilkington] was happy to give it. Rather than breaching his autonomy, Lesley provided exactly what was asked of her.

“It is shocking that she was targeted, lied to and misrepresented by this homosexual activist and even worse that her professional body consider her actions worthy of investigation.

Mainstream health experts say such therapy is useless at best and at worst can seriously damage mental health.

In July, the annual meeting of the British Medical Association declared that therapies to ‘cure’ gay people of homosexuality are harmful.