A Catholic institution hopes to convert gay men to heterosexuality through contact sports.
Organized by Father Paul Check, the 4-day sports camp aims to show gay men the straight and narrow path, and will take place in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania from May 23 till May 26.
“Usually held in the Spring, Sports Camp is an exhilarating, experiential weekend for men desiring to learn how to play team sports with encouragement, coaching, and an abundance of Christian fellowship,” reads the site.
Through contact sports, men will enrich their souls “through a daily regimen of prayer, confessions, mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours.”
Some LGBT organizations do not approve of the event.
“It’s very clear what this organization does is focus on turning people who are homosexual–basically trying to change them into heterosexuals or at least get them to live a completely chaste lifestyle–which requires them to not act on any of their homosexual inclinations,” said Peace Advocacy Network spokesperson Ed Coffin, in an interview with Newswork.org reporter Elizabeth Fiedler. “It falls under the broader realm of conversion therapy. We do feel that this is very detrimental, that’s it’s psychologically damaging.”
Conversion has proven ineffective. According to the American Psychiatric Association, studies have demonstrated that a “great risk of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior result from anti-gay conversion therapy.”
According to the Center for Work-Life Policy, their research has shown that LGBT employees who are out at work flourish, while those who are in the closet suffer.
A past member of the sports seminar submitted his testimony arguing that the event worked for him.
“One time a teammate gave me a sweaty celebratory hug. He was humbly secure in himself, just as he was, selflessly and joyfully showing affection to others,” it read. “I also liked when one man, whom I’d felt intimidated by, gave me a pat on my belly, meaning ‘way to go!’ His touch made me feel accepted as one of the guys.”