NARTH Advisory Committee Member Advocates “Ridicule”

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2006

From Ex-Gay Watch and Pink News comes this startling report:

A coalition of organisations monitoring groups claiming to convert gay people back to heterosexuality, have criticised the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) after a member advocated teasing transgender children to “re-establish that necessary boundary.”

NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member Joseph Berger said on a blog in reaction to a San Francisco Chronicle article on gender identity issues, “I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counselling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

“On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.

You can find Dr. Berger’s original blog comment here. (Update: The blog post has been removed. You can read about it here.)

As one who has experienced this sort of peer “therapy” myself while growing up (and I can’t think of any gay or lesbian friends who haven’t), I find it utterly outrageous that this advice should come from someone who purports to be a mental health professional. I can say from personal experience that the efficacy of this “therapy” was poor, but the harm great. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Independent research backs that up:

  • “Being bullied at school and childhood family discord predicted a variety of adulthood disorders in both sexes.” (Pirkola, S, et al., “Childhood adversities as risk factors for adult mental disorders” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2005) Abstract)
  • Based on a National Probability sampled survey, youths reporting same-sex or both-sex attraction are more likely to experience extreme forms of violence.(Russel, S.T., et al., “Same-sex romantic attraction and experiences of violence in adolescence” American Journal of Public Health (2001) Abstract)
  • Youths who had experienced more victimization and who had lost friends due to their sexual orientation reported more mental health symptoms. (D’Augelli, A.R., “Mental Health Problems among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths Ages 14 to 21” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2002) Abstract. Full Text (PDF: 24 pages/107 KB))
  • Gay and bisexual male teens reported strong negative attitudes from parents and friends toward their sexualities. Discrimination, verbal abuse from peers, and physical assaults were frequently cited problems. (Remafedi, G., “Male homosexuality: The adolescent’s perspective” (1987) Abstract, Full Text (PDF: 7 pages/590 KB))
  • Socially isolated children are at significant risk of poor adult health compared with nonisolated children. (Caspi, A., et al., “Socially Isolated Children 20 Years Later: Risk of Cardiovascular Disease” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2006) Abstract)

Given what we know about the effects of the sort of peer-pressure that Dr. Berger advocates against LGBT children, it is important to hold him and NARTH accountable for this dangerously irresponsible advice.

Update: Wayne Besen, at Truth Wins Out has issued a press release about Dr. Berger’s comments. Wayne contacted the Ontario APA and the Canadian Human Rights Commission to inquire about filing a complaint.

There are no comments for this post.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

How the Media Misses The Big Story

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

This Month In History, 1940: Homosexuality and Lesbianism Treated With Metrazol

Born On This Day, 1940: Mel White

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1808: Australian Court Convicts Two Of "Most Disgusting and Abominable" Crime

Today In History, 1865: Dr. Barry's Death Reveals a Lifelong Secret

Today In History, 1985: Rock Hudson's AIDS Diagnosis Confirmed

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.