Evangelical campaign group Christian Concern has hit out at the cancellation of a screening of what critics have called a 'gay cure' documentary. The group are planning to peacefully protest the cancellation tonight.
The film Voices of the Silenced: Experts, Evidences and Ideologies, has been accused of promoting a form of gay conversion therapy through speaking to those who have 'come out of homosexual practices', and challenging the 'myth...that people are born gay'.
The documentary, produced by Christian ministry Core Issues Trust and partner group Christian Concern, was scheduled to be screened privately at Vue cinema in London's Piccadilly Circus tonight. However, Vue Cinemas cancelled the event following an investigation and petition by PinkNews. Christian Concern announced this afternoon that they would 'peacefully meet at 6.30pm tonight [at the Piccadilly cinema] to protest the Vue Cinema decision to cancel the private premiere'.
In a statement released yesterday, Vue International said: 'While it is not our intention to censor content, in some instances where we feel an activity is in direct contradiction to Vue's values a decision will be made to refrain from allowing a private event to go ahead. Vue has therefore cancelled the private event request by Core Issues Trust and Christian Concern due to the event endorsing and promoting a "cure" to being gay.'
Christian Concern said it was seeking legal advice on how to respond, but still plans on attending tonight's now-scrapped screening.
'You've started a campaign of intimidation and intolerance,' Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern told PinkNews. 'You are seeking to make people fearful, and we won't be intimidated.
'We intend to come as is our right and watch the film. there's still 24 hours to go, and we're looking at our legal recourse. We haven't given up yet and were certainly not advising Mike Davidson [CEO of Core Issues Trust, responsible for the screening] to stand down. Yes, we do expect the film to be shown.'
In a separate statement Williams added: 'This is fundamentally a free speech issue. As usual, a minority of gay activists use threats and intimidation to shut down any opposing views. Tragically, they can't tolerate the truth that there are significant numbers of men and women who have no wish to remain in a gay lifestyle and seek help to leave it.'
Davidson, who describes himself as 'ex-gay', told BBC News that the film was not about a 'gay cure' but rather 'the rights of individuals to access help and support for unwanted homosexual feelings'.
The Christian Legal Centre, which is partnered with Christian Concern, is considering filing for an injunction at the High Court, as well as taking action against Vue under the Equality Act 2010.
A spokesperson for LGBT+ campaign group Stonewall said: 'It's disappointing that Vue Piccadilly would consider screening a documentary about so-called 'conversion therapy'.
'LGBT people aren't ill. Being gay, lesbian, bi or trans is not something that should be "cured" or changed.
'This unethical and degrading practice has been condemned by all major UK health organisations. It's shocking that Vue Piccadilly initially viewed this as a suitable film to screen.'