True Freedom Trust
True Freedom Trust (TFT) is a religious organization encouraging celibacy among gay and lesbian people and discouraging transgender people from undergoing sex reassignment surgery, based in Wirral, UK. It promotes the view that homosexual activity is sinful, but being homosexual is not sinful in and of itself. This view is generally and usually strongly rejected by LGBT organizations and individuals as being inherently homophobic and incompatible with the personal and spiritual wellbeing of LGBT people. However, there are some LGBT-identified people who emphatically support and practice it.
History & positions
True freedom Trust was founded in 1977 by Anglican clergyman Canon L. Roy Barker and Martin Hallett, a man who had been "involved in a homosexual lifestyle" for nine years. Canon Barker died in 2004, and the organisation was led by Martin Hallett until his retirement in 2009. In October 2009, Jonathan Berry, was appointed as the new Director. Berry says that he was converted out of homosexuality at the age of 24.
TFT was a founding member of Exodus International, the international arm of the world's largest ex-gay organization, but resigned its membership in 2000 because of Exodus's rhetoric, which they believed tended to "set people up for disillusionment" by promising change of orientation.[need quotation to verify] TFT does not generally encourage gay Christians to expect to be healed of their orientation, although it says that change is possible. Therefore, although because of its historical affiliations and its stance against homosexual behavior, it is often considered to be a part of the ex-gay movement, this is actually no longer the case.
In 2001, when UK ex-gay ministry Courage UK announced it was now gay-affirming, TFT Director Martin Hallett told supporters that TFT would not be following suit, and that it retained the belief that homosexual "genital activity" was always wrong.
In 2004, True Freedom Trust had 1600 members and 21 support groups for men and women and their families in Britain and Ireland.
TFT generally works on a referral basis, where Christians who are "struggling" with their sexuality are put in touch with the main office, assessed, and advised what to do next. Their "struggle" is deemed to be a result of their homosexuality, rather than a result of their interpretation of Christianity. Often this involves one-to-one support, referral to a Christian counsellor, and usually referral to a "Barnabas" group. The Barnabas groups are informal meetings designed for Christians (in theory, both gay and straight) to offer one another support and encouragement. There are several nationwide.
- "Why TfT exists". True Freedom Trust. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- Director Martin Hallett, quoted in David L Rattigan, "Out and Cowed?" in Third Way (UK), May 2006
- Statement by Martin Hallett, July 2001
- Day, Elizabeth (2004-05-15). "Rebel parish to fund 'cure' for homosexuals". The Daily Telegraph.
- "What TFT offers", TFT Website
- True Freedom Trust, official website