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NARTH Responds To APA Resolution On Change Therapy

Jim Burroway

August 7th, 2009

The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has issued a press release in response to the American Psychological Association’s Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses To Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts. That APA resolution concludes that there is “no evidence” that therapy to change sexual orientation actually works, and calls on therapists to refrain from promising otherwise. NARTH didn’t like that one bit:

NARTH appreciates that the APA stressed the importance of faith and religious diversity. Unfortunately, however, the report reflects a very strong confirmation bias; that is, the task force reflected virtually no ideological diversity. No APA member who offers reorientation therapy was allowed to join the task force. In fact, one can make the case that every member of the task force can be classified as an activist. They selected and interpreted studies that fit within their innate and immutable view. For example, they omitted the Jones and Yarhouse study, the Karten study, and only gave cursory attention to the Spitzer study. Had the task force been more neutral in their approach, they could have arrived at only one conclusion: homosexuality is not invariable fixed in all people, and some people can and do change, not just in terms of behavior and identity but in core features of sexual orientation such as fantasy and attractions.

This is pretty rich. First, NARTH complains that the APA Task Force engaged in “a very strong confirmation bias” and gives a definition for conformation bias that is completely wrong. This is what confirmation bias really is:

In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.

Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study.

Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.

NARTH instead offered a definition for confirmation bias that has nothing to do with confirmation bias, and everything to do with launching an ad hominem attack against the APA’s Task Force members.

But the charge that the APA Task Force engaged in confirmation bias is even more laughable considering the wholesale confirmation biases evident in NARTH’s own pre-emptive report on conversion therapy. We have already provided evidence that NARTH carefully selected studies for  their report based on purported successful outcomes, while omitting studies which ran counter to their pre-determined hypothesis. That, of course, is the very definition of confirmation bias. And in trying to find as much evidence to support their position as possible, they hoovered virtually every confirming “study” they could find regardless of scientific merit, including unpublished dissertations, non-peer reviewed books, (specifically, the Jones and Yarhouse book and the Karten dissertation they pointed to in their press release), pop-psychology paperbacks — you name it.

They even referenced the 1979 Masters and Johnson book Homosexuality in Perspective.  This is how NARTH’s report described that book:

In Masters and Johnson’s (1979) treatment of 90 homosexuals, a 28.4 percent failure rate was reported six years after treatment. Masters and Johnson chose to report failure rather than success rates to avoid vague, inaccurate concepts of success; however, by implication, more than 70 percent of their patients achieved some degree of success toward their self-identified goal of diminishing unwanted homosexuality and developing their heterosexual potential.

Of course, the most important thing that we now know about the Masters and Johnson book is that it was faked. There were no records for any of those reported patients and their supposed success stories. Co-author Virginia Johnson was later so embarrassed by it, she referred to it as a “bad book.”

The APA Task Force, in sharp contrast to the NARTH report authors, established a very rigorous criteria to determine what studies they would review before reviewing them. That criteria was this (PDF: 1,092KB/136 pages, see page 9):

Initially, we reviewed our charge and defined necessary bodies of scientific and professional literature to review to meet that charge. In light of our charge to review the 1997 resolution, we concluded that the most important task was to review the existing scientific literature on treatment outcomes of sexual orientation change efforts.

We also concluded that a review of research before 1997 as well as since 1997 was necessary to provide a complete and thorough evaluation of the scientific literature. Thus, we conducted a review of the available empirical research on treatment efficacy and results published in English from 1960 on and also used common databases such as PsycINFO and Medline, as well as other databases such as ATLA Religion Database, LexisNexis, Social Work Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts, to review evidence regarding harm and benefit from sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). The literature review for other areas of the report was also drawn from these databases and included lay sources such as GoogleScholar and material found through Internet searches.

…The task force received comments from the public, professionals, and other organizations and read all comments received. We also welcomed submission of material from the interested public, mental health professionals, organizations, and scholarly communities. All nominated individuals who were not selected for the task force were invited to submit suggestions for articles and other material for the task force to review. We reviewed all material received. Finally, APA staff met with interested parties to understand their concerns.

In other words, the APA Task Force defined the criteria before hand and reviewed every study that met that criteria, studies that purported to show change in sexual orientation, and studies which showed failures to change — including many studies that NARTH pretended never existed.

Conversely, there’s no evidence that NARTH’s review was in any way systematic. Given the studies that we know NARTH omitted, we know there was nothing systematic about their approach other than to confirm their predetermined outcome. And given the fraudulent material they did include — as well as the abundance of material that never met the scientific gold standard of having been peer-reviewed — it is clear that NARTH’s report is the very definition of confirmation bias. And their press release is the very definition of irony.

Comments

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Swampfox
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Standard procedure from NARTH that clearly make them clearly not credible

Gabriel Arana
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

One thing that’s very off about the NARTH statement is the call for “ideological diversity.” Scientific organizations shouldn’t be in the business of making room for ideology. The fact that NARTH thinks so shows how unscientific its psychologists really are.

Also, when conservatives talk about “ideological diversity,” they never really care about diversity — what they want is more people just like them. I’ve written about this before: http://cornellsun.com/node/23953

Alex
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

NARTH’s press release is ironic, and pretty childish as well. I guess someone forgot to tell them that only real scientists were allowed on the APA task force.

Priya Lynn
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Narth said “the report reflects a very strong confirmation bias…For example, they omitted the Jones and Yarhouse study, the Karten study, and only gave cursory attention to the Spitzer study.”.

I’m not familiar with the Karten study, but neither the Spitzer study nor the Jones and Yarhouse study lend any support to the idea that efforts to change orientation have anything but extremely low rates of success. Jones and Yarhouse were biased from the start, coming from a position of believing no one should be gay and sought to confirm that pre-chosen viewpoint which is apparent from their bizarre definition of “success”. The Spitzer study intentionally excluded all people who said they had failed to change so it in no way can be considered an indication of overall success rate.

Penguinsaur
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Not suprised, the bigots dont care about facts, evidence or the truth. They just want something science-sounding to back up their prejudices.

William
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, Priya Lynn, you’re so right about the Spitzer study. Spitzer himself has repeatedly stressed that the object of his study was to see if he could find ANY people whose sexual orientation had changed, and NOT to find out “how often” people who tried to change succeeded.

However, even if you take the Spitzer study at face value, the tiny number of ostensible cases of change that he managed to find in a country the size of America – and I think that I’m right in saying that he had the co-operation of both NARTH and Exodus in his search – shows a pretty pathetic change rate. In fact, although homosexuality is not a disease, Dr Lawrence Hartmann (a past president of the American Psychiatric Association) commented that if any form of cancer had a similar cure rate “it would not be called evidence that that cancer is curable; to call it curable on that basis would be considered a cruel delusion and a false promise.” (DRESCHER & ZUCKER, eds, Ex-gay Research, 2006)

Priya Lynn
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

William, a conservative estimate of the number of clients from which Narth attempted to chose 200 “successes” for the Spitzer study is 100,000. This translates to a “success” rate of .04%:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_exod1.htm

Timothy Kincaid
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Re Jones and Yarhouse:

Their study revealed 11 people of 98 who were adequately living heterosexually. However, one of these denounced his claims as being just a desire to please rather than fact, and the others reported such non-heterosexaul traits as wandering eyes and erotic dreams.

I think that if the APA considered such input, they would be correct in determining that these persons were not an evidence of conversion from homosexual to heterosexual orientation.

Incidentally, it now appears as though the J&Y study population has continued to diminish since their book came out.

Regan DuCasse
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Hi Tim, Priya and William,
Would any of these numbers even confirm people who weren’t totally homosexual?
What about the number of people who were bi-sexual in their test group?
I’d also like to know what kind of religious or perhaps other kinds of coercion were employed for them to even try to implement such an arduous program.

If none of that was present, which I doubt, I wonder if these folks were’nt strictly gay, but NARTH or Y&J couldn’t be bothered to figure that in because it wouldn’t track with their preconceived ideas about what changing orientation is.

Right?

Priya Lynn
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Hi Regan,

I’m quite confident in saying that there was no effort in any of these studies to confirm that the participants were 100% gay. Its frequently speculated that most, if not all the “success” stories were bisexual to begin with and I strongly suspect this is the truth.

Timothy Kincaid
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Regan,

The Jones and Yarhouse study discusses much of this. They do measurements of scales of attraction and compare over time. They look to shifts, be they even minor, and compare changes in identity, attraction, behavior, and report them separately in many instances.

Interestingly, true right-down-the-middle bisexuals seem to be less likely to participate in Exodus type programs – or at least not in this study. They have the option of marrying the opposite sex and being able to function therein so, viola, “success”, they don’t have to struggle for decades in the hope of eventually being able to see some sexual attraction to the opposite sex.

J&Y is FAR from perfect. But it is rather interesting and illuminating and worth the read.

The most fascinating thing about it is that conservatives actually think it supports their claims. But my reading found that there are few – if any – exgays that succeed in reoreintation efforts and that those who claim to do so are conflicted, striving, and not at all like any heterosexuals I’ve ever met.

I find it interesting that shortly after J&Y came out, the ex-gay movement started talking less about reorientation and more about values. I suspect that some of the leaders came to the same conclusions I did.

Priya Lynn
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, in the Jones and Yarhouse “study”, what percentage of the “successes” were initially deemed to have zero attraction to females?

Timothy Kincaid
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

The book is at home and I can’t provide an exact answer off the top of my head.

There were very few successes, but if I recall correctly they made a point of noting that the more “successful” strivers had moved more on average than other participants.

Anonymous
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

From the NARTH press release: “They selected and interpreted studies that fit within their innate and immutable view.”

I find it so amusing that NARTH says sexual orientation is changeable but someone’s opinion of it is ‘innate and immutable’.

Jason D
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

One thing that gets lost in the debate — so what if sexuality is changeable? So is religion, political party, weight, hair/eye color, and other physical features?

Is it therefore okay to discriminate against a small-breasted woman? After all, she doesn’t have to be small-breasted, change is possible! (I’m aware this already happens, but I think very few would argue that it’s fair.)

If science does produce a way to physically — even genetically alter someone’s race, would it then become okay to discriminate against someone for their race — after all, change would be possible!?

There wouldn’t be missionaries if religion weren’t changeable — shouldn’t we stop legitimizing the heathen lifestyle by respecting their religious beliefs?

Richard W. Fitch
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Jason – My knee-jerk reaction is: So what if these other things are changeable, when we are talking about homosexuality we are talking about SEX. And that is an act that is only valid between one man and one woman within the sanctity of matrimony for the purpose of procreation and the survival of the human race. Homosexuality is a deviant, perverted defiance of everything that civilization is built on. ….or at least so the hate-mongers want the rest of the world to believe.

Jake
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

“They selected and interpreted studies that fit within their … view”

Very interesting, NARTH.

Jake
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

“The task force reflected virtually no ideological diversity.”

What does ideology have to do with science? Oh wait…

Jake
August 7th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry, I keep thinking of things after I submit. Wish I could delete my comments and combine them.

With regard to my comment above, isn’t this is am accidentally blatant admission by NARTH that their ideology is the basis of their science?

William
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

“Isn’t this is an accidentally blatant admission by NARTH that their ideology is the basis of their science?”

Yes, I think that it is. It also seems clearly implied by the name of Nicolosi’s clinic: the Thomas Aquinas Clinic.

Jason D
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

Richard, that’s only if they’re being honest. The “change is possible” is an attempt to continue to paint us as “ill” and or to make the comparison that society shouldn’t change, we should — which is in and of itself a flawed reasoning. It’s the same reasoning that presents “go back to Africa” as a “legit” argument.

Richard Rush
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D, it has always annoyed me that our opponents insist we should change if change is possible. What gives them the right, beyond their majority status and the perceived endorsement by a deity, to decide how others must live?

However, I recognize that in the real world it makes our quest much easier if change is impossible, or nearly so. If change is possible, it would seem to bolster the belief that we can convert their children into homos. Logically, if change is possible in one direction, it should be possible in the other.

But it is amusing how, when one of our opponents is asked if they could change from hetero to homo, they seem adamant that they could not.

Burr
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

Change therapy is akin to destroying your body with chemo in order to get rid of an inoperable, but ultimately benign tumor.

Michelle
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

I thought the great irony in NARTH’s news release was the whining about how the APA panel was “ideologically biased”.

It shows how little NARTH understands about research.

Also, their complaints about “key studies” that were overlooked are provably false – every one they claim was “omitted” is cited several times through the course of the paper – although usually as examples of badly flawed research!

Jason D
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

Well they did have a bias.

A bias for truth and solid reasoning.

Rob
August 8th, 2009 | LINK

Michelle:
“It shows how little NARTH understands about research.”

Obviously not, since for a ‘scientific’ association, NARTH doesn’t produce nor does it publish any research. It is infact, an organization based on pure cargo cult science. It tells how bad they really are when the fields of parapsychology and cold fusion have more valid research than they do.

There should be mandatory grade and high school lessons in logic and general philosophy, as well as seminars during science classes combatting pseudoscience and explaining how real science works at a proessional level.

Michelle
August 9th, 2009 | LINK

Rob,

I think it’s even simpler than that – I suspect NARTH is in fact little more than an attempt by the religious right to put a veneer of legitimacy around their anti-gay bigotry.

I’d put better than even odds that a ‘follow the dollars’ audit of their books would show a lot of money coming in from various evangelical ‘ministries’.

BeckySue in Poway
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

August 6th, 2009 | LINK
Such condemnatory angry talk. So many of you must have been hurt by this somehow! It must be difficult.

Below bears repeating.

It would be sad to see NARTH discontinue such valuable research. So many here seem to have the consensus that NARTH is about “hate.” Yet, NARTH provides a needed rationale for some religions to reach out to their gay children with unconditional love rather than constant lectures or ultimatums or even worse, shunning.

I can present NARTH material to parents in my religion and some will listen. They are suspicious, but our religion quoted Nicolosi in the mid-90’s and the idea of “change” fits in with their world view in light of one particular scripture. However, the APA’s newest recommendations, especially the idea of finding a new more gay affirming religion will completely shut them down. They will remain in a mode that is unhelpful for the children that will inevitably be struggling with this. These are the people I am most worried about.

I am sure you care about this community also having yourselves possibly been children in such a community.

NARTH can sensitize parents and leaders to the emotional turmoil a child might be enduring. NARTH has promoted research and studies that highlight the importance of non-judgmental mentorship for congregants who are gay.

NARTH provides guidance to all those ministries who ARE going to pursue change counseling regardless of the APA. NARTH’s research makes those ministries more compassionate and less harmful by emphasizing client self determination AND by disclosing current research on therapy outcomes.

Elan Karten found heterosexual mentoring to be more helpful than therapy for those who professed change in his study. NARTH can provide a basis for training these mentors to volunteer and be non-judgmental and compassionate.

Michelle, Jason, Rob, I would like to hear your thoughts on how best to reach such religious families so their kids can get needed support recognizing that nobody does therapy, affirmative or reparative for free. I think such a discussion is constructive and worthy of our time.

William
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue, it’s really quite simple. Homosexuality is not an illness, disease or disorder and therefore does not need correcting.

Even so, some people will be discontented with their homosexual orientation and may wish to change it. They have every right to try to do so. They also have every right to know that their chances of success are somewhere in the range between minuscule and zero, and that they would do better to accept what God has given them and get on with their lives accordingly.

Complete change of sexual orientation is not totally unknown, but such cases are very rare, especially in males, and the APA has concluded that there is no credible evidence that a change can be deliberately engineered, whether by ex-gay counselling or by “reparative therapy”. Either it will happen or it won’t. Almost invariably it won’t. Doesn’t fit in with someone’s “world view in light of one particular scripture”? Hard cheddar, love.

“Whenever I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my revolver.”

The above saying has been attributed – wrongly, I believe – to the leading Nazi Hermann Göring, and I certainly have no sympathy for the Nazis. But it describes how I feel nowadays whenever I hear the word “compassionate” used in this context by proponents or defenders of ex-gay ministries or reparative therapy programmes.

BeckySue in Poway
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

William, what has been your personal experience with ministries or reparative therapy, may I ask?

Actually, my post was addressing young people getting help. There are no studies about change in young people whose brains aren’t completely wired. Having raised three daughters, I am now very sensitive to the developmental stages of girls. I have watched my daughters’ straight friends and lesbian friends and I have found the works of Janelle Hallman and Anne Paulk to be right on target. (I am not real Jesus-y though).

I believe in the plasticity of the brain, but I also know that change of orientation is extremely difficult and therapy is almost unaffordable. I believe there is a certain population of gays whose SSA is due to attachment disturbance because of people I have met, but I recognize that this may not be the case for all gays because I do not know all gays.

I think that no one ever should be forced or expected to change, but I believe it is irresponsible to tell people they cannot change because I have met people who have changed.

We have discovered that brains are plastic and that we have mirror neurons in them that facilitate attunement and we barely know anything about how they might make us who we are. We don’t even know if regular psychotherapy really works that well. And neuroscientists and psychotherapists really do not collaborate with nor even inform each other. With serious health risks associated with gay lifestyles, it is important to continue research on how to improve outcomes for those who do want to change

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue,

Rather than exploring ways to improve the outcomes for those who want to change, I think the more important questions are why do they want to change in the first place, and for whom are they really changing?

BeckySue in Poway
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, From what I understand, many want to change because of the health risks, or because they want to be in a particular religion.

I have a friend who was just tired of the pointless merry go round of sex. He also has a wife to whom he exlained that he loved her, but he had to be held by a man and he hoped to find that ideal lover and bring him home to live in an upstairs apartment. After 7 years of painful dramatic searching, he decided to get religious again. It caused him great anxiety and depression to try to go straight. Then he found he had never dealt with extreme abuse from childhood. Once he started going through his first cycle of grief, he found relief from his sexual compulsion.

It is a long hard road though with no guarantees and no one should ever, ever feel guilty about not choosing therapy.

But let me ask you. If a friend were to become ex-gay, how would you treat him? I would imagine it would be hard not to feel betrayed, but could you put that aside?

William
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue, my own personal first-hand experience with ex-gay ministries or reparative therapy is zero. When I first had to face the issue of homosexuality for myself, the appalling “aversion therapy” that had been used in the UK in the 1960’s was no longer generally approved (although it may, for all I know, have been going on underground) and I hope that I would never have agreed to submit to it in any case. If “ex-gay ministries” had by that time arrived in the UK I was unaware of it, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

There are four people that I know fairly well in the UK who have gone through “ex-gay ministry” programmes. All have remained homosexual. One of them went public in the media about being ex-gay, showing us his wife and child and telling us how happy he was, but I later discovered that he was continuing to have gay sex on the quiet.

So yes, my own experience is limited. However, I have followed the history of the “ex-gay” movement, and the following facts, I think, speak for themselves:

(1) Liberation in Jesus Christ (Virginia), one of the first ex-gay ministries, was founded by Guy Charles. Liberation in Jesus Christ folded after it transpired that Charles was having sex with clients of the ministry. He founded a new ex-gay ministry which folded in 1986 for the same reason. He started yet another ex-gay ministry in 1993. The same thing happened again.

(2) Colin Cook founded Quest Learning Center (Reading, Penn.) of which Homosexuals Anonymous was an outgrowth (not to be confused with QUEST in Britain, which is a gay-affirmative group for gay and lesbian Catholics). Quest folded when it was discovered that Cook had been having sex with clients of the ministry. Cook set up a new ministry in Colorado (Faith Quest), which ran into the same problems again.

(3) John Evans co-founded Love in Action with (heterosexual) Revd Kent Philpott. At Philpott’s bidding Evans broke off his relationship with his boyfriend (who later tragically died of cancer), but his sexual orientation didn’t change. He has long since abandoned LIA.

(4) Michael Bussee, Gary Cooper and Jim Kaspar of Exodus International and EXIT (Melodyland) all denounced “ex-gay” therapy as ineffective. Bussee, who was one of the founder members of Exodus, said that, although he counselled hundreds of people who sought a change in their sexual orientation, he never saw any of them change. Bussee has made a public apology for his part in the ex-gay movement.

(5) Greg Reid founded and later abandoned EAGLE (Ex-Active Gay Liberated Eternally) Ministry. Ex-gay ministers have denied allegations that Reid returned to a “homosexual lifestyle”, but have provided no details. I’ve tried to find out where Reid is and what he’s doing now; some people, at least, must know, but no-one will say.

(6) John Paulk, who wrote Not Afraid to Change: The Remarkable Story of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality, and who became executive director of Exodus International, was disgraced a few years ago after being discovered drinking and socializing (under a false name) in a sleazy gay bar in Washington.

(7) Chris Medcalf, who founded the U.K. Turnabout (London) and then ran the London office of True Freedom Trust (Liverpool) after Turnabout merged with it, had to resign when his improper conduct with male clients was made public in 1995.

(8) Jeremy Marks founded the evangelical Courage Trust based in Watford, England (not to be confused with the Roman Catholic Courage in the U.S.). His second-in-command dropped out after a few years to live as an openly gay man. Marks himself has admitted that, after fourteen years of striving, he has failed to change his own sexual orientation; that “none of the people we’ve counselled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer they’ve put into it”; and that he has ceased to be a believer in the “ex-gay” process. Courage UK still exists, but now as a pro-gay Christian organization. Marks, like Bussee, has publicly apologized for his part in ex-gay ministry.

(9) In 2003 yet another “ex-gay” ministry in America, Kerusso Ministries, bit the dust. Its “ex-gay” founder and president Michael Johnston, who was also chairman of “National Coming Out of Homosexuality” day, played a highly visible part in media adverts claiming that homosexuals can change their orientation, holding himself up as a shining example. It transpired that Johnston, while claiming that he went from gay to straight through the power of Jesus Christ, had been leading a double life, engaging in on-going homosexual activity that included unsafe sex, the use of drugs and multiple sex partners (to whom he did not disclose his HIV-positive status).

(10) Alan Chambers remains at the head of Exodus International. During the week before the Love Won Out conference in February 2007, Chambers told the Los Angeles Times that he wasn’t sure he’d ever met an ex-gay who ceased to “struggle” with same-sex attractions – and he made it clear at the conference that that included himself.

A pretty dismal picture for those who want to believe that homosexuality can be “cured”? I think so.

Emily K
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

I have a friend who was just tired of the pointless merry go round of sex.

This has nothing to do with being gay or straight. People who feel like being gay has to come with a pointless and never-ending string of empty sexual encounters have problems that have nothing to do with the condition of being attracted to the same sex. As if heterosexuals are completely guaranteed a life free of meaningless encounters.

If someone is gay and has meaningless never-ending encounters, how about this: Stop having meaningless encounters! If you want to meet gay people whose lives aren’t governed by sex or by shame, it’s not hard to do.

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue,

Emily beat me to it. Contrary to the stereotype perpetuated by ex-gay ministries and the religious right, there is no such thing as “the gay lifestyle.” In reality, there are as many different gay lifestyles as there are gay people. Being gay does not mean you are destined for a life of drugs, sex, parties, AIDS, and heartache. Being gay is whatever you want it to be. If someone like your friend is tired of a pointless merry-go-round of sex, he has no one to blame but himself and his own stupid, irresponsible choices. I don’t get why that’s so hard to understand.

To answer your question, if a gay friend of mine told me he wants to become ex-gay, I would feel sad because in my opinion becoming “ex-gay” is just another form of self-loathing and dishonesty.

Emily K
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

With serious health risks associated with gay lifestyles, it is important to continue research on how to improve outcomes for those who do want to change

What “serious health risks?” I believe you will find all such claims made by ex-gay “ministries” and far-right thinktanks are bogus.

This is especially true for lesbians — women who only have sex with women. In fact, this is the “safest” of all sexual pairings, according to statistics given by the CDC.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue, if I were you and I told that lie about the APA defending pedophilia I’d have slunk off in humiliation, but you have no shame I see, any thing you can say to attack gays is fair game for you.

BeckySue said “With serious health risks associated with gay lifestyles, it is important to continue research on how to improve outcomes for those who do want to change.”

The mere fact of being same sex attracted doesn’t lead one to any particular lifestyle. There are no health risks associated with being in a monogamous gay relationship. It is a tragedy that some people feel coerced into attempting to change their orientation, society should put its resources into ridding itself of the oppression and bigotry that leads people to desire to change rather than furthering this oppression by conspiring to encourage people to give in to bigotry.

BeckySue said “Alex, From what I understand, many want to change because of the health risks, or because they want to be in a particular religion.”.

As there are no health risks associate with being in a monogamous gay relationship no one desires to change for such a reason. It is solely to to the oppression of a bigoted society.

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I agree with you for the most part, but it’s simply incorrect to say that there are no health risks associated with monogamous gay relationships. Any form of sexual behavior carries a risk of infection and/or injury, even between partners who are completely monogamous.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, I’m finding it hard to believe that two monogamous partners have a risk of infection – do you have any documentation on that? Perhaps injury, yes, so let me rephrase that then for your benefit.

A monogamous gay couple has no more health risks than a monogamous straight couple.

Happy?

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

And by partners I was referring to heterosexual OR gay partners.

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

When you share bodily fluids with someone during sex, you also share germs and bacteria. I know you’re a stickler for documentation, but I hope common sense will suffice here.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, if you’re suggesting that something like the common cold can be transmitted during sex I’d agree, but it can also be transmitted during casual contact. As to a disease only transmitted during sexual contact I’m highly skeptical that a monogamous couple, gay or straight, is at any risk whatsoever.

Jason D
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, you’re splitting hairs. Yes, we’re aware that if one partner gets a cold, they may transmit it to the other partner. However, when people say things like:

““Alex, From what I understand, many want to change because of the health risks,”

they’re not talking about the common cold. Otherwise NO relationship is a safe one. The implication here is STDs, and it’s true that if both partners are disease free and monogamous, they will not infect each other. STDs are not fire, gay men are not twigs, you can’t just rub them together and have the friction magically generate an STD.

Jason D
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

“But let me ask you. If a friend were to become ex-gay, how would you treat him? I would imagine it would be hard not to feel betrayed, but could you put that aside?”

I wouldn’t be friends with them. Point blank. I would try to convince them that they don’t need to do that, and if it could not be done, I would have to let them go. It’s the same as if they had decided to cut off a perfectly healthy arm, or if they had insisted that I treat them as if they are a banana.

Besides, ex-gay therapy tends to demand you drop your gay friends first and foremost so you don’t “backslide”.

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D,

Of course STDs do not spontaneously appear between two clean sexual partners. I am not suggesting that they do. But the occasional non-STD-related infection does happen, such as urinary tract infections resulting from unclean anal sex (among homosexuals as well as heterosexuals) and toxic shock syndrome caused by broken condoms. And as Priya Lynn pointed out, sex-related injuries also occur.

Priya Lynn,

When you said “there are no health risks associated with being in a monogamous gay relationship,” I didn’t know you were referring only to STDs. I interpret “no health risks” to mean “no health risks” and merely thought you were making an incorrect generalization.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Becky Sue,

It would be sad to see NARTH discontinue such valuable research.

I was not under the impression that NARTH conducts research. Can you perhaps provide a link to the latest reseach which NARTH has funded?

With serious health risks associated with gay lifestyles, it is important to continue research on how to improve outcomes for those who do want to change

I am familiar with the “serious health risks” that NARTH claims are
“associated with gay lifestyles”. I am aware that NARTH champions John Diggs’ list of nonsense and bigotry and repeats every smidgeon of rumor, myth, or misconception that can be twisted so as to claim that homosexuality is, in and of itself, unhealthy.

Alex
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

At least BeckySue pluralized “gay lifestyles,” admitting that there is more than one kind.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Alex, I’d suggest that in a monogamous relationship, gay or straight, the health risks are so minute as to be virtually non-existant (Personally I’ve never heard of toxic shock syndrome from a broken condom).

I’ll agree with you that technically speaking its possible there could be health risks associated with monogamous sex, but as a matter of typical occurrance its reasonbable to say health risks are non-existant. Or as Jason D pointed out, you’re splitting hairs.

Jason D
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

“I think that no one ever should be forced or expected to change, but I believe it is irresponsible to tell people they cannot change because I have met people who have changed.”

No BeckySue, you have met people who have “CLAIMED” to have changed.

Someone who appears to be interested in truth shouldn’t make that kind of obvious mistake.

A wise friend once told me that “we are the product of the stories we tell about ourselves…sometimes they are lies.”

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

Jason, in an effort to discredit the APA and its stand on “reparitive” therapy BeckySue falsely claimed they defended a paper that said there was no harm from pedophilia if it was consentual. BeckySue is not interested in the truth, she’s here to promote anti-gay propaganda

Burr
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

“But let me ask you. If a friend were to become ex-gay, how would you treat him? I would imagine it would be hard not to feel betrayed, but could you put that aside?”

Just speaking for myself, I wouldn’t feel betrayed, as long as they were truly straight and happy (perhaps I’d chalk it up to another bi “convert” who just found the other side of his orientation). Now if they were just struggling with it and only hurting themselves, I would be a bit dismayed for them. And if they started to try to convert or lecture me, then I’d ditch them. Honestly I don’t have much of an investment in my friends’ sex lives (because *gasp* I’m in a monogamous relationship), so if they choose another path, no biggie. Just don’t start proselytizing to me and spouting half-truths that simply do not apply to my experience.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

But let me ask you. If a friend were to become ex-gay, how would you treat him? I would imagine it would be hard not to feel betrayed, but could you put that aside?

Betrayed? Why on earth would I feel “betrayed”?

There is no issue of loyalty or commitment that is broken.

I think that what you are suggesting, Becky Sue, is that there is some agenda, some cultish association that insists on conformity to a predetermined mindset, belief, or way of conducting oneself. That if a gay person decides to become ex-gay that they are betraying “the cause”.

Nope. No cause here.

If someone wants to live a celibate life, I’m all for being supportive.

William
August 11th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue, you asked me what my own experience with ex-gay ministries or reparative therapy was. My first-hand experience is zero. When I first had to face the issue of homosexuality for myself, the appalling “aversion therapy” that had been used in the UK in the 1960’s was no longer generally approved (although it may, for all I know, have still been going on underground) and I hope that I would never have agreed to submit to it in any case. If “ex-gay ministries” had by that time arrived in the UK, I was unaware of it, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

There are four people that I know fairly well in the UK who have gone through “ex-gay ministry” programmes. All have remained homosexual. One of them went public in the media about being ex-gay, but I later discovered that he was continuing to have gay sex on the quiet.

So yes, my own experience is limited. However, I have followed the history of the “ex-gay” movement, and the facts, I think, speak for themselves. “Ex-gay” ministries tend to come and go. Many of the American ones that started up in the seventies and eighties are now defunct. Of those still operative, very few are still run by the “ex-gays” who originally founded and ran them. Why is this? In some cases the original founders/directors have admitted that the “ex-gay” quest is futile; in others they have been exposed as living double lives, claiming to be “healed” of their homosexuality while still secretly engaging in homosexual acts – sometimes with the clients of their ministries.

The picture here in the UK is similar. The director of True Freedom Trust has admitted that an actual change in sexual orientation is unlikely. The Courage Trust changed direction and became a pro-gay Christian organization after its director, Jeremy Marks admitted that after fourteen years of striving, he had failed to change his own sexual orientation; that “none of the people we’ve counselled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer they’ve put into it”; and that he had ceased to be a believer in the “ex-gay” process.

During the week before the Love Won Out conference in February 2007, Alan Chambers told the Los Angeles Times that he wasn’t sure he’d ever met an ex-gay who ceased to “struggle” with same-sex attractions – and he made it clear at the conference that that included himself.

A pretty dismal picture for those who want to believe that homosexuality can be “cured”? I think so.

William
August 11th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, and by the way, BeckySue, there’s another thing while I think about it. You said:

“Actually, my post was addressing young people getting help.”

If by that you mean help to mould their putatively plastic brains into a supposedly heterosexual shape, who exactly is to decide that they need such help? Do they, or does someone else? And if it is they who do, is it a decision for them to make entirely of their own free will, without anyone else influencing them, or is it acceptable for them to make that “decision” as a result of peer pressure to conform to the heterosexual norm (à la Day of “Truth”), or as a result of what some might call moral pressure (but what I would call immoral bullying)? I’m interested to know.

Rob
August 12th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue in Poway:
It would be sad to see NARTH discontinue such valuable research.

Research? What research? All that NARTH has been doing since its conception is being a secular mouth piece for religious conservatives. They’re not in the business to do research. For them, the research must fit their conclusion, instead of the conclusion fitting the research (i.e scientific method), and so they select research that supports their view that ‘reperative therapy’ is a viable treatment and turn a blind eye on research stating otherwise. Now only is this not science, it is also fraud.

BeckySue, I suggest you learn about the scientific method, before writing out of your league.

Truth Wins Out - Top 10 Ex-Gay-Related Events of 2009
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

[…] put out an embarrassingly shoddy “study” to preempt and American Psychological Association report that was so pathetic it was virtually […]

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