The conference, which is on homosexual tendencies and entitled ‘Practical Implementation of Reparative Treatment’, is billed for mid-September, and is officially being organised by the Foundation for Health Education and Psychotherapy, an organisation led by Bogna Bialecka, a psychologist and catholic publicist.
Conservative and catholic organisations are promoting the conference, placing emphasis on Nicolosi’s guest appearance. The American psychologist, who was a former president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, opens his webpage with the line: “You don’t have to be gay.”
However, according to the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza daily, the conference in reality is being organised by the Foundation of the University of Medical Sciences in Poznan.
Entry to the conference is expected to cost between 100-250 zloty (25-65 euro), with discounts being made available for students as well as members of the Polish Association of Christian Psychologists.
The University’s Foundation has taken the ‘reparative’ conference in its stride.
“We received a commission to organise the conference and we are going ahead with it,” deputy head of the Foundation, Roman Dworzynski told Gazeta Wyborcza.
“It is a scientific theory like any other,” he maintains, going on to say that “when Pasteur spoke about the existence of bacteria, no-one believed him either.”
“It’s just business, the Foundation has to make money,” Prof. Andrzej Obrebowski, head of the Foundation’s council adds, saying that he is not going to “censor” the conference.
Even though the University’s rector will probably not be present at the conference, “every academic institution is autonomous,” Prof. Jan Hartman from Krakow’s Jagiellonian University says, although he does ask whether such autonomy should be used to propagate such views.
“Defining homosexuality as an illness which can be cured may be considered tantamount to a homophobic act of hostility,” Hartman maintains, concluding that “the public should decide.”
The World Health Organisation does not deem homosexuality as an illness, and the American Psychological Association has warned that methods used in “curing” gays and lesbians can lead to depression and even suicide. (jb)