Polish university backs out of hosting homosexual reparative therapy conference
POZNAN, POLAND, September 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A conference on the treatment of homosexuality has been denied use of facilities at a medical school in Poland, after the school had initially given approval for the event. The decision by the Medical School (UM) Foundation not to host the September 16 Reparative Therapy Conference, featuring psychologist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), followed front-page criticism of the conference by leading Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
“We received a reservation request for the organization of this conference and we granted it,” said UM Foundation President Roman Dworzynski at the time. “I see no (problem). (Reparative therapy) is a scientific theory like any other … When Louis Pasteur spoke about the existence of bacteria, no one believed him.”
The medical school spokesman, Professor Marek Ruchala, also said that the Foundation is a separate entity that earns money for the medical school, and had signed a contract that it should honor. “But,” he said, “with the contract (the Foundation) does not interfere in the substantive content.”
Two days later, however, the school’s spokesman issued a statement, saying that the governing body of the Medical University in Poznan had decided to cancel the as-yet-unsigned agreement to rent the lecture hall in its Center for Congresses and Teaching made between the Conference Organizing Office and Conference Center of the Medical University Poznan Foundation. The School said that it did so “because holding the conference under the title ‘Practical Application of Reparative Therapy’ in the buildings of the University identifies it with its organization.”
In its statement, the school emphasized that it was not the organizer of this conference, and therefore was not be responsible for its merits and program.
Gazeta Wyborcza’s (GW) coverage of the conference has stressed that the American Psychological Association (APA) expresses concern about the effects of treatment for same-sex attraction. The APA also states, however, that there is “insufficient evidence” to either approve or discredit such therapy.
The Foundation for Health and Psychotherapeutic Education head, psychologist Bogna Bialecka, said that her Poznan-based organization has been planning the conference for several months so that Nicolosi could share his professional experience helping men deal with their unwanted same-sex attraction.
“The decision of the Medical University’s governing body is a sad example of censoring the freedom of speech,” she said.
According to Bialecka, homosexual activists sent hundreds of e-mail to the medical school demanding the conference be banned from its facilities.
“The conference will take place nearby, but out of concern for the lecturer and the participants, we do not plan to publish the location of the new site,” she said.
Neither Dworzynski nor Ruchala responded to a LifeSiteNews request for comment Monday.
Roman Dworzynski, UM Foundation President