March 25th, 2007
Anti-gay activists aren’t the only ones doing this. Warren Throckmorton was disturbed by a “scientific” statistic presented by Dr. Alicia Salzar on the March 15th episode of the Montel Williams Show:
During the Montel Williams Show that aired called Homosexuality…Can it be cured?, Dr. Alicia Salzer said in response to Alan Chambers: “…science has shown us that 96% of people cannot change and along the way, absorb an enormous amount of self-loathing, a lot of confusion, a lot of family conflict, so I know the harm.”
I encourage you to read the rest of Dr. Throckmorton’s analysis.
The only point I would disagree on is his half-hearted defense of the 30% success rate that is often touted by ex-gay ministries. As he points out, that figure is nothing more than a guess (okay, estimate, if you want to use what we call a “five-dollar word” back where I come from) that includes therapeutic techniques that we consider unethical these days — aversion therapy to be precise. He says, “However, lack of knowledge does not mean that number is incorrect, it means we don’t know.” True, but that is also true for any number between 0 and 100%. In my opinion, the “30%” figure is hardly more defensible than Dr. Salzer’s “96%” figure.
But I’ve read the Shidlo and Schroeder report myself (Shidlo, Ariel; Schroeder, Michael. “Changing Sexual Orientation: A Consumer’s Report.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 33, no. 3 (June 2002): 249-259; abstract available online here.) I can vouch for Dr. Throckmorton’s assessment: this study only describes some of the benefits and harms of sexual reorientation therapies, not success or failure rates. While the authors reported that a majority of their sample reported failure in changing their sexual orientation, the authors specifically cautioned that the study should not be used to base any estimates on. It wasn’t designed to make such a measurement.
Dr. Salzer was right to describe the harms that Shidlo and Schroeder reported. She was wrong however to use their report as a basis for an estimated failure rate.
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in exposing how legitimate scientific research has been distorted by anti-gay lobbyists. It sometimes takes hours of research to put together a single post. I’ll probably spend another three hours at the university library this morning preparing for future posts. And while I tend focus my efforts on anti-gay lobbyists who distort research, pro-gay advocates aren’t immune to that temptation either. That’s unfortunate. Maybe I need to shift my focus a little from time to time.
Because the fact is, the unvarnished scientific evidence is plenty strong enough to support our positions. We don’t need to “do unto them” what they “do unto us.” It only weakens our credibility when we do so.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.