The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality – has called on the World Bank to remove Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) from its Community Connections Campaign, a workplace charitable giving program. The World Bank had initially said it would not make matching donations PFOX in the holiday giving campaign, but a closer review of the World Bank’s position found that the World Bank Group remains open to funding this group and, in fact, says it will revisit its decision not to provide matching grants based on “staff and community support.”
“It’s the holiday season and the time of year many people give to charities, but PFOX is not a charity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “PFOX is an anti-LGBT organization that causes harm to thousands of people and poses a danger to children and adults struggling with their identity and self-worth.”
The inclusion of PFOX in the World Bank’s Community Connections Campaign violates the Campaign’s own policies to deny funds to religious and political groups and to organizations that do not “have a reputation for integrity in program implementation.” The organization supports the work of religious-political extremists in opposing marriage equality for same-sex couples. PFOX advocates for “reparative” therapy, claiming people can change their sexual orientation.
The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy is unhealthy and harmful. In a 2009 report, the American Psychological Association noted that many who seek psychological interventions do so because of distress over the perceived irreconcilability of their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The authors of the report encourage mental health professionals to be respectful of those religious beliefs and work to help patients “address the reality of their sexual orientation while considering the possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life.”
“It is time for The World Bank to live up to its obligation not to support the purveyors of junk science that is so often used to justify discrimination,” added Solmonese. “PFOX has no place in a holiday giving campaign.”
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