Sidney Sussex hosts ‘gay conversion’ lobby group

Sophie Dickinson 12 September 2017
Image credit: Noah Froud

cn: conversion therapy, transphobia, anti-abortionism, islamophobia

Sidney Sussex has this week hosted a conference by Christian Concern, a homophobic and transphobic lobby group which is actively pro-‘conversion therapy’. It is the second time Sidney have hosted the group.

The events run by the group are operating under the name of the Wilberforce Academy. However The Cambridge Student has learnt that senior members of Christian Concern are to dine in college tonight, including Andrea Minichiello Williams, who was recently under fire for commenting that ‘Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’, and Tom Dieppe, the group’s Director of Islamic Affairs. Dieppe wrote an article on the Christian Concern linking Sadiq Khan to Islamic extermism, entitled ‘Londistan with Khan?’

The LGBT+ community within the College has been informed and a petition has been set up by Sidney’s LGBTQ+, Women, Welfare, and BME Officers. A representative of the College’s LGBT+ community told TCS that they were ‘saddened and concerned that college is inviting such groups out of a need for revenue’. The Sidney Sussex website states that the cost of hiring Mong Hall, the room referenced in the photo above, is £350 for the day.

CUSU has released a statement via its Facebook page in which it condemns the accommodation of the Wilberforce Academy by the College and the group’s beliefs. It states that “groups like this threaten the safety of Cambridge’s LGBT+ community, promoting homophobia and the idea that homosexuality is a ‘disease’ that can be ‘cured’. We believe that allowing this group at the University of Cambridge sends a harmful message to current and future staff and students. […]

“If any student is impacted by this news, please feel free to email or message the CUSU LGBT+ FB page.”

The Senior Tutor of the college, Max Beber, has been approached for comment.

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