danchoi3Campaign led by Dan Choi and Truth Wins Out to end Hong Kong’s sponsorship of “ex-gay therapy” gathers thousands of supporters over 48 hours; Organization behind “gay cure” iPhone app continues to spread anti-gay doctrine overseas

WASHINGTON, DC – A petition calling on the Hong Kong government to drop “gay cure” therapist Hong Kwai-wah — who claims he can “cure” LGBT people through cold showers, prayer, and abstinence — has reached more than 17,500 signatures in the last 48 hours, signaling momentum for the campaign started on Change.org by gay rights advocates Dan Choi and Truth Wins Out.

The petition has taken off on Change.org following news that Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department recently held a workshop for its staff led by Hong Kwai-wah. Hong Kong’s endorsement of discredited “ex-gay therapy” and psychologist Hong Kwai-wah prompted Choi — a West Point graduate, combat veteran, and a leading voice in the campaign to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — to work with Truth Wins Out to ask Hong Kong to end its sponsorship of “ex-gay therapy” and its promoters.

“It is shocking that Hong Kong would risk its reputation as an international business and cultural center by hiring a therapist with such disturbing views,” said Choi. “Hong Kong should move decisively to restore its honor and dignity by removing Hong Kwai-wah. The world is watching and taking note of this embarrassing travesty.”

The effort to infiltrate Hong Kong’s government and promote anti-gay ideology has been spearheaded by Canada-based Exodus Global Alliance and United States-based Exodus International. Exodus International is the same organization behind the “ex-gay” iPhone app recently removed from Apple’s iTunes store after more than 150,000 Truth Wins Out and Change.org members petitioned the technology company. Exodus has been spreading its fundamentalist anti-gay doctrine overseas for some time — as it did in Uganda, encouraging advocates of the notorious “Kill the Gays” bill to criminalize homosexuality.

“Ex-gay therapy is rejected by all respected medical and mental health organizations across the world,” said Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen. “It is appalling that Hong Kong would allow American fundamentalist Christians to infiltrate and bring great shame and dishonor. It is time for the good people of Hong Kong to stand up and not allow themselves to be exploited by America’s most notorious religious zealots.”

Truth Wins Out released a comprehensive report this week — How Radical American Christian Sects Are Invading Hong Kong and Beyond — produced by researcher Bruce Wilson, detailing extensive efforts by American extremists to evangelize Hong Kong.

“The hiring of Hong Kwai-wah is the tip of the iceberg,” said Besen. “If we don’t take a stand now and stop the Social Welfare Department, the efforts to infiltrate Hong Kong and spread a radical, hate-filled ideology will only intensify.”

Rainbow Action, a Hong Kong-based organization, protested the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department last week to draw international attention to the issue. After a concerned citizen wrote the Social Welfare Department, he received a bizarre reply that wrongly equated “ex-gay” conversion therapy with more reputable therapy.

“We consider that knowledge from multiple perspectives is essential for social workers to make professional, comprehensive and independent assessment on their cases and to address the specific needs of individual clients,” responded Gloria Lee of the Social Welfare Department. “In this connection, the Department has adopted an open and impartial attitude in organising training activities for the professional development of our social workers.”

“The Social Welfare Department’s reaction to the controversy is entirely inadequate and unacceptable. This is the equivalent of the tobacco industry infiltrating the health system and portraying the ‘health benefits’ of smoking as just another perspective,” said TWO’s Besen. “It is grossly irresponsible for the Social Welfare Department to embrace a form of dangerous, religious therapy that harms clients and ruins lives.”

The American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American Psychological Association are all on record in stating that there is no evidence to support the efficacy of so-called “ex-gay” therapy and attempts to change sexual orientation can be psychologically harmful.

View Dan Choi’s petition to the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department (including current signature total): https://www.change.org/petitions/tell-hong-kongs-social-welfare-department-end-sponsorship-of-ex-gay-therapy

Dan Choi is a West Point graduate, combat veteran, and proud son of immigrants. He was a leading voice in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. http://www.ltdanchoi.com

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism and the “ex-gay” myth. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality. http://www.truthwinsout.org

Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 300,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country. http://www.change.org