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London mayor bans anti-gay ads from city buses

Boris Johnson intervenes to stop the ‘Core Values Trust’ from taking out ads advocating therapy for homosexuals.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire

THE OUTGOING MAYOR of London, Boris Johnson, has intervened to stop a conservative values group from taking out advertising on the city’s buses which advocates therapy to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

The Core Issues Trust – a group which runs ‘reorientation’ courses which they claim can convert gay people to heterosexuality – had announced yesterday that they had taken out advertising to run on buses next month.

The ads, which aped the design of other ads previously run by LGBT rights group Stonewall, read: “Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!”

The Stonewall ads on which they were originally modelled – designed with a similar white-text-on-red motif – had read, “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

The Guardian said the Core Issues Trust claimed its programmes could help gay people to “develop their heterosexual potential”. The campaign had also been backed by a worldwide orthodox Anglican group which the Guardian reported as having equated homosexuality to alcoholism.

Last night it emerged that Johnson – who is running for re-election as the city’s mayor in elections in three weeks – had personally intervened to stop the ads from appearing, despite the ads having already been cleared by the Transport for London authority of which he is chairman.

“London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance,” Johnson said.

“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.”

Transport for London itself said the ads had been approved by a subcontractor but that the ads, as had been intended for appearance, were at odds with the “inclusive” policies it set for itself.

The Daily Telegraph adds that the founder of the Core Issues Trust, Dr Mike Davidson, is a trainee psychotherapist who was recently expelled by the British Psychodrama Association for his support of therapeutic measures to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

“It would be very wrong to shut down critical debate in that way by pulling an advertisement that simply expresses a different point of view, that should be of concern not only to religious people but to thinking peple generally,” Davidson said.

Labour’s Ken Livingstone, a former mayor who is seeking to evict Johnson from City Hall in the forthcoming election, said the fact the ads were cleared for display in the first place was a sign that the city was “going backwards under a Tory leadership”.

Read: Quinn will back move to stop discrimination against gay teachers

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Gavan Reilly

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