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Undercover At Ex-Gay Camp

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2009

Last summer, we mentioned Ted Cox, a straight man who decided to go undercover into the ex-gay world posing as a gay man conflicted over his sexuality. One of the programs he attended was called Journey Into Manhood. Ted tried to write about it last August for the (Salt Lake) City Weekly, but the paper backed down when Journey Into Manhood threatened to sue over a non-disclosure agreement that Ted had signed.

Today, AlterNet published an interview with Ted, in which he describes his experiences in the ex-gay movement. In particular, he describes his time with Journey Into Manhood:

At first, I was very confused and then I became amused. But as the weekend wore on, I became really angry and sad. I was angry because I feel these men are being lied to; they’re being charged $650 for a system that, I think, does not work. I feel [these men] are victims of religious abuse and being told that there is something wrong about their fundamental identity, that they are committing a grievous sin if a man acts on what comes naturally to him. That made me angry.

I saw one man distraught that he was damaging his own sons, that they would end up gay because he was not enough of a man. And I wanted to just hug him, and tell him, “It’s OK, it’s alright. So what if your kids turn out gay? And you can’t turn them gay.” I became sad because I saw men reenact traumatic events from their childhood. The paperwork tells you [camp staff members] are not acting as professionals so you have no idea how ethical this is, how safe — psychologically — any of these programs are. I felt sad that their pain was being used to exploit them to make them feel like that was the reason they were gay.

As we’ve reported before, much of the ex-gay theories center around blaming fathers for their sons’ homosexuality. I have also experienced heart-wrenching personal conversations with fathers at ex-gay conferences beating themselves up over their supposed failures as fathers. While I attended the Exodus “Freedom Conference” in Irvine, California, I talked with one father who came to tears over his teenage son’s revelation that he was gay. Unfortunately, as a condition of attending the conference, I was unable to say to that father what Ted Cox wanted to say. All I could do was remind him of what a great relationship he must have with his son that his son would trust him enough to reveal himself that way rather than continuing to hide it. Obviously, I was imensely dissatisfied with that, and have thought about that father many times since then. It wasn’t what the father really needed to hear, but he did take my words to heart and took some comfort in them. It was a very sad and poignant moment. I really felt the pain that father felt, and was angry with the entire ex-gay message because I saw the pain it brought to a lot of good families. Ted’s characterizing it as exploitation is right on the mark.

So, why did Ted break his confidentiality agreement?

I had to. If I don’t talk about this, this is going to keep happening. I met one man who is married and has children and he would go online to hook up with other men and he was having anonymous sex with strangers and then going home to his wife. Another man was married and making phone calls to gay-sex chat lines and his daughter discovered the bill. A lot of these men are living lies and it affects themselves, their wives, their children. I can’t stay silent about this. I feel like there’s a greater good in talking about this and exposing what’s going on. [Hyperlinks in the original]

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Quo
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Jim,

Complaints about how ex-gay theories blame fathers for their sons’ homosexuality are, at best, misguided.

How fathers behave obviously can affect the sexual identity that their sons will develop when they become adults, and despite claims to the contrary, having a bad relationship with one’s father is one of the things that makes the development of male homosexuality more likely.

What the ex-gay movement has to say about fathers and homosexuality is much closer to the truth than anything that you or the other writers for this site have ever said. Rather than complain about them saying it, it would make better sense to thank them.

Past experience, of course, has shown me that the overwhelming majority of gay people are absolutely incapable of thinking about this issue in a rational or objective way. Typically, they know nothing about the relevant research, are not intelligent enough to understand the complexity of the issue, and most tellingly of all, do not possess the emotional ability to consider theories they appear to find upsetting fairly.

Eric in Oakland
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

I find it very interesting how emotionally attached you are to this many times disproven (and very harmful)theory. If you reviewed the scientific evidence in a truly rational and objective manner, you would be forced to agree with the conclusion of the REPUTABLE psychologists and medical professionals. Instead you are blindly and irresponsibly defending the pseudoscience and blatant fabrications of crackpots like Nicolosi. Could it be that you ENJOY the prospect of psychological harm to gay persons and their families?

Chad
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Honestly I’m amused that Quo managed to simultaneously complain about the writers of this site not being open-minded about his POV while at the same time flat-out stating that any gay person who disagrees with him must be stupid or childish. I can’t help but be reminded of Voltaire’s prayer.

And, as far as bigoted pseudo-scientific theories, I’d take “Your father was negligent and/or your mother was domineering” over “You must have been molested as a child” preferred by loonies like Orson Scott Card.

Lynn David
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

I posted this last night on Dr Warren Throckmortons “Speak out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009,” and he commented:

I appreciate the freedom to live according to conscience but using these wrong headed ideas is like trying to change a light bulb with a hammer.

So if the lightbulb is your everyday gay man….

Rick Brentlinger
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Hey Quo-

What’s your position on Uganda’s “Kill or Imprison Gays” bill?

Are you for it or against it?

Do you think its fair to treat gays that way?

Emily K
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Past experience, of course, has shown me that the overwhelming majority of gay people are absolutely incapable of thinking about this issue in a rational or objective way. Typically, they know nothing about the relevant research, are not intelligent enough to understand the complexity of the issue, and most tellingly of all, do not possess the emotional ability to consider theories they appear to find upsetting fairly.

That’s cuz all the gay people he comes into contact with (multiple times) are in the bathhouses he trolls when he gets sexually compulsive. What a lonely life.

Quo
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Eric,

The “theory” has never been disproven, at least not in a carefully qualified version. The crude idea that having a bad relationship with his father automatically causes a boy to become gay is clearly wrong, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t play some more limited and indirect role in the development of homosexuality.

Nicolosi is careful to say that his theory doesn’t necessarily explain all cases of homosexuality; I find him to be not a crackpopt, but a serious and credible writer, even though I wouldn’t necessarily agree with every detail of what he has said.

Rick and Emily,

I’m not going to respond to off-topic questions, or to irrelevant (and inaccurate) personal abuse.

William
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

No, Quo, you’re right. The “theory” has never been disproven. The theory that homosexuality is caused by having been a member of the other sex in a previous incarnation has never been disproven either. Nor has the “theory” that the conjunction of the stars and planets at the time of one’s birth can cause homosexuality been disproven.

The crude idea that these things automatically cause a boy to become gay is probably wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t play some more limited and indirect role in the development of homosexuality.

secularist10
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

William said:
“No, Quo, you’re right. The ‘theory’ has never been disproven. The theory that homosexuality is caused by having been a member of the other sex in a previous incarnation has never been disproven either. Nor has the ‘theory’ that the conjunction of the stars and planets at the time of one’s birth can cause homosexuality been disproven.”

Excellent point, that one. In any case, I find it extraordinarily pathetic and intellectually chilling that Quo thinks homosexuality can be learned or unlearned. He/she ignores abundant anecdotal, theoretical and scientific evidence, and proclaims himself the truly “objective” one, and those who follow reason, logic, evidence and common sense the irrational ones.

If he undertook an earnest critique of his narrow-minded assumptions and presumptions, he might have a chance of seeing the light of truth.

Aaron
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

As Quo has pointed out, the different possible factors that are believed to be influential in causing homosexuality have expanded greatly with continuing research. At this point, Nicolosi has succeeded in creating a theory which is so vague that it applies to nearly all father/son relationships. If heterosexuals were analyzed in the same way I am convinced that the same percentage of their father/son relationships would be deemed dysfunctional and likely to cause homosexuality. It would make a fascinating study, to be sure.

One of the difficulties for Quo is how many of us ex-ex-gays went though the programs and had fantastic childhoods with strong male role-models and submissive mothers. Quo, of course, will probably never seriously consider these cases as he will not attempt to contact any of these people.

Will you prove me wrong, Quo? I know some if you want to talk.

Ben
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I’m failing to see what’s newsworthy about this post. Some homosexual cheerleader went to a conference and “exposed”…what exactly? That he “felt” these people were being lied to?

Do you know who’s really being lied to? The general public; every single time some psuedo-scientist wannabe claims that “science” has proven that homosexuals are “just born that way”. It’s time to take a look at psychological factors, upbringing, etc.

I know that ex-gays scare you because they prove that people can control their bodies and that people’s sexual escapades are a behavior, not an identity. Behaviors can be changed. It’s kind of hard to make the comparison between homosexuals and blacks (as homosexuals INCESSENTALLY do) when there are in fact no conferences for ex-blacks. There are no conferences because there is no such thing! Okay, there’s Michael Jackson, but he was the exception that proved the rule.

But please don’t allow your fear and bigotry of ex-gays to cloud your judgement. Just because you can’t (or won’t) understand it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. People can change, thank goodness.

Burr
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah people can become celibate, woohoo. That’s the only success they can claim, and therefore they should be called what they really are, guilt into celibacy groups, not ex-gay groups.

So yes I agree, people can change behavior, but there’s been ZERO proof that they’ve completely changed their inner desires.

Chatline
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Let the gay be gay.

Alex
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“I know that ex-gays scare you because they prove that people can control their bodies and that people’s sexual escapades are a behavior, not an identity. Behaviors can be changed.”

Ben,

Please name and cite one gay person who has ever said that homosexual behavior cannot be changed and that gay people cannot control their bodies. Thanks.

“I’m failing to see what’s newsworthy about this post.”

Given that you have frequently expressed your dislike for this blog and the “crap” that it publishes, I’m failing to see why you bother commenting here at all.

Burr
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

What’s said is our fly in the ointment here can’t even manage to change his behavior, yet continues to extoll theories that haven’t even remotely worked for him.

Ben
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I bother to comment here because I’m not afraid of a debate. I could just go over to a sane website, but then I’d just be joining the chorus of sane people who don’t buy your propoganda.

As far as one “gay person” (I think you mean homosexual) who says that homosexual behavior cannot be changed…

How about nearly ever person who writes for this blog? Isn’t that canard to centerpiece of the homosexual argument?

For example, this blog would have you believe that “gays” “can’t serve in the military”, and that it’s somehow comparable to saying that blacks can’t serve in the military. Nonsense. The military has lots of rules about sex, many of which are routinely broken, but are nonetheless the rule. Adultery and oral sex, for axample, are prohibited. No one ever says “Adulterers are barred from military service!” No one ever says that barring adulterers from military service is like barring blacks from military service.

The underlying assumption is that homosexuality is WHO you are, not WHAT you do.

Alex
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Ben,

If homosexuality is merely what someone does and not who they are, then would you say the same thing about heterosexuality? Do you identify as heterosexual only when you’re having sex with a woman? (I think someone asked you a form of this question a few weeks ago on a different post, but you ignored it… a strange move for someone who isn’t afraid of a debate.)

“As far as one ‘gay person’ (I think you mean homosexual) who says that homosexual behavior cannot be changed…How about nearly ever person who writes for this blog?”

Would you mind giving us a direct quote of a BTB writer saying that homosexual behavior cannot be changed? Sorry to be so demanding, but part of having a debate is being able to provide specific evidence for your claims, as opposed to the vague answer you just gave.

ddir
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

So Lesbians have bad relationships with their fathers? I have a straight brother, we were raised by the same two heterosexual parents. I’m male and gay, he isn’t gay. He has the same relationship with my father as I do. Give me a break with these pop-psycho-babble theories. Start loving each other and accepting who we are. $650 to “change’? Charlatans out to make a buck.

Emily K
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

What is sad is that Quo has failed to change both his orientation and his behavior. Usually the “successful ‘ex-gays’” can at least go celibate. He still trolls unseemly places for sex with men. He still has attractions to men and not women. Even he, with all his “enlightened knowledge” that “no gay person has the ability to comprehend” has been unable to change a thing – not even his behavior.

It’s true, it’s about attraction and not behavior. If it were only about behavior, straights could only call themselves straight if they were engaging in a sexual act.

As for the military, gays aren’t kicked out for sexual acts they commit; they are kicked out for having a partner that they write emails or letters to from home. For having a picture of themselves and their partner in their possession. And sometimes, by being bullied into admitting they’re gay.

Lymis
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Seems to me that this is like so much of what passes for logic in the ex-gay dogma.

Of course the relationship a child has with his or her parents affects the way that their sexual behaviors develop. Parents who model bad or damaging relationships don’t give their kids the example of healthy relationships to follow – though, of course, they can learn to have them from other sources.

But it does not follow that primary sexual orientation is affected in any meaningful way by parental example. A gay kid with a great relationship with his dad will grow up to be a gay adult who had a great relationship with his dad.

Gay kids with distant or abusive relationships with their parents will grow up with the same sort of identity and self-esteem issues that any other kid who gets abused does.

As for changing homosexual behavior, another giant DUH that the ex-gay movement uses as a half truth. Of course you can change homosexual behavior – you can change unhealthy homosexual behavior into healthy homosexual behavior.

The most common testimony one hears from ex-gay men is how they were trapped in habits of shame, promiscuity, deceit, and inability to form healthy loving relationships. The answer isn’t to drop those behaviors in favor of sexual relationships with women, it is to learn to develop healthy homosexual relationships that DON’T center around promiscuity and deceit.

Duh.

William
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“As far as one “gay person” (I think you mean homosexual) who says that homosexual behavior cannot be changed…

“How about nearly ever [sic] person who writes for this blog? Isn’t that canard to centerpiece [yer wha’?] of the homosexual argument?” – Ben

Stuff and nonsense. I can’t recall a single person writing on here who has even remotely suggested that homosexual behaviour can’t be changed. We all know perfectly well that it can, just as heterosexual behaviour can be. Someone who is homosexual can stop having homosexual sex, just as someone who is heterosexual can stop having heterosexual sex. Someone who is having wild, promiscuous sex (homosexual or heterosexual) can stop doing that and settle down in a relationship. Those are examples of change in behaviour, the possibility of which no-one has denied, but which is NOT the same as change in orientation.

I could decide that from this day forward I will never have gay sex again. Even if I succeeded in keeping that resolution, that wouldn’t mean that my orientation had changed; I’d still be gay.

Does people’s sexual orientation ever change? There are some cases of this happening, but they are few and far between, especially in males. There is no convincing evidence that anyone can MAKE it happen. Alan Chambers’s declaration that “The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality; it’s holiness”, meaningless as it appears to me to be, nonetheless amounts to an implicit acknowledgement that there is no means of engineering such a change.

Ben in Oakland
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo: for a man who claims he is super-scientific and super-rational (except when it comes to your favorite subject), you certainly are neither. Cause and effect, and correlation, are not always what they appear. you’ve talked about how your father didn’t like you because you were not the masculine ideal, or some such nonsense, and that this damaged your relationship with him and turned you queer.

you are so blinded by your self hatred that you can’t even see the truth when YOU say it. Here are some parallels from my own life.

I came out at 21, but my parents were never able to deal with it. I tried very hard for years to educate them and to talk to them, but they literally refused to listen or think or experience. I sent them some books, and they wouldn’t even tell me that they had received them! My father basically said that I would always be their son, but they were not really interested in my life. Well, what can you say to that?

Eventually, on reflection and therapy, I began to realize that this was not really something new for them. The issue wasn’t actually my being gay, the issue was our whole relationship. They gay thing was just a very convenient hook they could hang the relationship hat on so they wouldn’t have to take any responsibility for their behavior.

“Everything would be fine if you just weren’t queer.” Well, not really.

I also told them this. I am quoting from memory a letter I wrote 25 or 30 years ago.

“It is clear to me that your beliefs about homosexuality and what it means to be gay are far more important to you than your relationship with your son, and certainly more important than such things as compassion, fairness, and truth. You might think a little about that. Your attitude is never going to make me sorry that I am gay. It just makes me sorry that you are my parents.”

Harsh words, yes. but they really needed a slap upside the head. Unfortunately (or not), I didn’t have much connection with them after that. Not because I cut them off, but because I realized that all of the impetus for our relationship was coming from me, as it always had, not them. I merely stopped calling them when I was about 33.

I always knew I was gay from at least the age of 6, but I didn’t know what to call it. My Dad was OK– a good man with strong values and a good mind. He raised me properly, and I think I turned out well. But something was missing with him– I suspect it was what I call the gay Oedipus thing. My Dad recognized that I was very different from him (or entirely too similar to–take your pick), and so we were perhaps not as close as we could have been, though we certainly had a decent relationship.

When I was 13, I met the boy who became my best friend, and his family became my family. I would escape there every weekend that I could. What a world of difference in how I was perceived and treated! John’s father, Dick, became a second father to me, in many ways, the father I always wanted. His wife, Virginia, similarly became the mother I always wanted– loving and kind and supportive. They were the ones who showed up for my senior year choral concert– my own parents didn’t like classical music, and couldn’t be bothered. In all ways, Dick and Virginia were great parents to me, as they were with their own children.

And big surprise! dick told me many years later that he had always considered himself to be bisexual.

In other words, quo, I suspect that you don’t know your ass (cause) from your elbow (effect). It is more than likely that your poor relationship with your father is because you are gay, not the other way around.

Jason D
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“How about nearly ever person who writes for this blog? Isn’t that canard to centerpiece of the homosexual argument?”

The only people who define us by our behavior (as if we all behaved the same) are those who don’t know the first thing about homosexuality.

So yes, big surprise, I could end my 3 year relationship with my partner and run off to never have sex with another man again.

But I’d still be gay.

Because gay isn’t a behavior. Homosexuality isn’t a behavior or a lifestyle. If you documented my life and the lives of Jim, Timothy, Daniel, and Gabriel, and compared them — you would find we live quite differently. Heck if you compared a few gay friends of mine, you’d find we have very little in common outside our sexual orientation.

Gay is about attraction. Just like straight is. No matter how much a straight man tries (and very few even want to try) they’re not going to suddenly find men attractive. They’re not going to read a book, or sit too close to Elton John, or listen to Lady Gaga long enough to suddenly become attracted to men.

Ben, what you don’t get is that race and sexuality are comparable. Michael Jackson isn’t the only person who’s skin doesn’t match his race. Sammy Sosa has whitened his skin as well. Here’s a before and after picture.

http://www.hilaryshepherd.com/rantsnraves/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/sammy_sosa-skin.jpg

You’ll notice he’s wearing green contact lenses, covering up his normally brown eyes.

A little plastic surgery and a name change and you’d have no idea dear Sammy used to be Dominican. Here we see that “change” is possible.

Asians can even have their eyelids “westernized” http://www.nfb.ca/film/western-eyes/

So can we start the ex-minority movement? It appears everyone can be white now! Sure the genetics may not have changed, but so what? It’s only a matter of time before we have the gene therapy option of transforming the race of our children, too.

DevlinBach
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I have come to the conclusion that there is a large part of society that “struggles” and suffers from what I call Sexual Dissociative Disorder (SDD). SDD is comprised of a conflict about ones sexuality in which one tries to dissociate from the realities of sex and sexuality in an attempt to resolve inner conflict. SDD is apparent in those that flog and/or disown their children and/or friends for being gay, those that relegate homosexuality to the “behavior” only category, those that call being gay and/or gay- sexual a “sin”, women who never have orgasms, to those gay and straight that go celibate due to ensuing sexual angst. SDD comes about from erroneous sexual information appearing true when technically, it is not. In other words, a poor mans education.

The Bible has three main players that lends strong framework to this disorder; Mary’s virgin birth, Jesus being celibate, and Leviticus calling gays an abomination deserving of death. All three sexual aspects of these “role models” lend credence to “righteous” sexual dysfunction complete with struggle and suffering. Women portraying Mary as sexually “perfect”, humans portraying a celibate Jesus until marriage, and gays being demoralized and killed by their counterparts portraying Leviticus. All contain unproven negative sexual fantasy being erroneous axioms falsely acting out in the physical realm, having strong affect on a heavy percentage of the human population. Those that “believe” run into mild to immense sexual conflict. Hence we have a world rife with sexual dysfunction akin to “Biblical proportions.” In the secular sense, a lack of education in schools including all three natural aspects of human sexuality, bi straight and gay, is their downfall.

The true healing of a Sexual Dissociative Disorder does not to do with following a sexually negative fantasy role model as a conflict escape method, but rather confronting head on, the role models and beliefs that bring the negative fantasy and suffering into being, and re-deciding if it is rational to retain. This is the only way one can truly be an affirming fully functional sexual human being. Dropping erroneous data does not mean that one may or may not have sex, one may even choose to be celibate. Full resolution does mean however, that there is a complete lack of conflict around ones sexuality and choices due to negative erroneous data having been dispelled, giving a clear artist’s canvas on which to draw.

Eventually this will be the conversation that all who suffer from SDD will need to address if true resolution is ever to come about individually and world wide. Until this happens, we will stay stuck in the drama of “acting out” the cherished painful wound of sexual misinformation.

Ben
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Alex–

Jason D. just said:

“Because gay isn’t a behavior. Homosexuality isn’t a behavior or a lifestyle.”

Right. Born “gay”, always “gay”. The science isn’t there yet, but we’re trying In the meantime, just assume that homosexuality is roughly equivalent to the slant of your eye (very insulting to Asians, by the way).

So while you’re insisting that “no one” is saying the behavior can’t be changed, someone said about as much in the comments section. How do I know this? Because the person is saying that it isn’t a behavior at all! It’s just who you are.

I shall consider myself vindicated.

Quo
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Comments like the ones above help prove my point that gay people, as a group, are incapable of thinking objectively about the development of homosexuality.

How many people following this thread have read any of Nicolosi’s books, or examined the books he has used as sources? I’m not seeing any evidence here that anyone, aside from me, has gone to the trouble of doing this.

Jason D
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“So while you’re insisting that “no one” is saying the behavior can’t be changed, someone said about as much in the comments section.”

In about as much as I said my name was Adam Ant.

“How do I know this? Because the person is saying that it isn’t a behavior at all! It’s just who you are.”

Exactly. Now you get it. Gay is not a behavior. Oh, wait, sarcasm. Hmm, you can use it, but can’t see it in my post?

Hmmm. Okay, moving on….

Okay, Ben, let’s dance. Let’s say you’re right, gay is a behavior. It’s just behavior.

So tell me, what is it? This gay behavior. Go on, Ben, tell me what the gay behavior is. Please, enlighten me, a gay man you’ve never met and no zero about. Please, tell me what my gay behavior is. Hell, since there are a lot of gay people who read this blog, tell us all what this gay behavior is that we all have and can’t seem to stop!

Go on, tell us.

Alex
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“I shall consider myself vindicated.”

And I shall consider you evasive, Ben, because you ignored my other question: if homosexuality is merely what someone does and not who they are, then would you say the same thing about heterosexuality? Do you identify as heterosexual only when you’re having sex with a woman?

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, Nicolosi is a quack and he based all his ideas on books by other quacks. There’s a reason why every major mental health organization utterly rejects what they say – they’re quacks.

Given your utter failure to control your behavior, let alone your orientation you know this to be true. Your continuous denial of reality isn’t going to fool anyone here, it just makes you look foolish at best and psychotic at worst.

Ben gay is a state of being same sex attracted. Gays remain gay whether they have gay sex, don’t have gay sex, or are a virgin. Refraining from gay sex doesn’t make a person “not gay” any more than a heterosexual’s refraining from sex makes them “not straight”. But of course you know this, its obvious – you’re just being a troll.

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Reading Nicolosi to find out about the development of gayness is the equivalent of reading Harry Potter to find out about science.

Alan
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Does anyone else wonder why someone like Quo would post here? I mean, what’s the point? No one’s going to agree with him, they’ve already rejected the arguments he presents. It’d be like a liberal Democrat showing up at a Tea Party.

Unless he’s a troll who wants to stir up trouble for entertainment…which by the length fo the comments thread seems to have been a success.

I’d suggest not arguing with him. You’re only giving him what he wants (attention) and (like most debates on the Internet) you’re not really covering any new ground.

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Alan, I think you answered your own question – he’s a troll who wants to stir up trouble for entertainment. He’s miserable and his self esteem is battered from his total failure to change his orientation. He feels bad and envious of well-adjusted gay people and it makes him feel a little better to fantasize that he’s upsetting gay people and making them feel some small degree of the misery that predominates his life.

William
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, if you’re so enamoured of the theories of people like Nicolosi, then, instead of coming on here and pointlessly belly-aching to the rest of us who don’t believe in them and who aren’t interested in having our natural sexuality tampered with anyway, why the hell don’t you go to a “reparative therapist” and get your unwanted same-sex attraction “fixed”? Then you can come back on here and tell us how you got on.

----
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

The reason people like Ben (not in Oakland) refuse to consider homosexuality as something innate or immutable is because if so, then the Bible would be wrong.(how could God condemn something he’s responsible for?) And if the smallest thing in the Bible is wrong, then Christianity collapses, Jesus’ message becomes null, western civilization turns upside-down and we return to eating babies and sacrificing virgins. Same goes for creationists, young-earthers, and people who believe those “apparitions” of Jesus or the Virgin Mary are real.

Quo
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Alan,

Why do I comment here? I’m interested in seeing whether honest or informed discussion about questions such as what causes homosexuality is possible.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of evidence that it isn’t possible, at least around here, but I haven’t given up quite yet. If there is even a small chance that criticising the uninformed, ritual denunciation of Nicolosi and others like him will lead to a more careful examination of their theories, then I’ll continue doing so.

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

LOL, nice try Quo, its obvious the last thing you’re interested in is honesty and informed discussion. That facade isn’t going to cover the obviousness of your trollish intent.

RomeoandJoe
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I suppose that heteros can be cured also…Give me $600 and I’ll do the curing.

Ray
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, how much do you get paid by these professional ex-gay outfits. I mean, you do work, right? I recall Dr. Dobson stating his “objective” view that homosexuality was caused by the lack of kick fights between father and son. Woe until the child whose father has no legs.

And your rendering of what is “objective” is the most subjective rendering I’ve ever witnessed. You need kick fight therapy Immediately!

Timothy Kincaid
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I would remind our regular readers that it is best not to let individuals turn the threads into discussions about themselves.

They enjoy the attention. They like the feeling of being a martyr.

And you aren’t going to win an argument because they are baiting, not debating. The only opinion that matters is their own so no amount of logic or intellect or principled statements are going to make the slightest bit of difference.

Ultimately they’ll just declare that they consider themselves vindicated, and there’s nothing you can say to that.

Ben in Oakland
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

“Right. Born “gay”, always “gay”. The science isn’t there yet, but we’re trying In the meantime, just assume that homosexuality is roughly equivalent to the slant of your eye (very insulting to Asians, by the way). So while you’re insisting that “no one” is saying the behavior can’t be changed, someone said about as much in the comments section. How do I know this? Because the person is saying that it isn’t a behavior at all! It’s just who you are. I shall consider myself vindicated.”

Oh, what fun! We get to have a debate with another homophobe who seems to know a great deal about homosexuality and, I assume, God’s opinion of same. My only regret about this is that he shares my name. Well, I should be vacuuming, according to my husband. But it’s a cold day and I’m not in the mood.

se here goes.

You may be considering yourself vindicated, but I don’t think you even begin to understand the real questions, though you have certainly, although implicitly, asked them several times in your posts here. The problem is, though you have some scientific knowledge and understanding, you know nothing about sociology and social psychology. (As an aside, I have to admit that, as a sociologist, I agree with Saul Alinksky. “A sociologist is a person you pay $30,00 to find the only whorehouse in town.” But it has its uses.)

Some years ago, a pattern of lights appeared on the wall of a church in the sierras. People came from miles around to see the Virgin Mary. (I quote: “It IS the virgin marry, and her message is world peace!!!” Unless it was St.. Mary of Camblesoup, whose message was whirled peas!) Anyway, the catholic bishop explained this vision of the Virgin Mary: “To those who believe, no explanation is necessary. to those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.” It certainly covered all of HIS bases. It disappeared on a cloudy day, all predicted and proved quite easily by a mere scientist. A scientist who did not have an agenda. The bishop did, and his statement could have been turned back on him. I’m certain a number of people went right on believing that the scientist was wrong, and it WAS Miss VM.

In other words, you have an agenda, as do we. There is an implicit assumption in all of your statements and challenges- that gay is bad. (We have the complimentary, and far more complimentary, opposite assumption. But let’s talk about you.) There is a difference. Our agenda is reality based. Your reality is agenda based. Very much like that prominent faux-mo, Quo. That’s why he can suck d*ck on Tuesday and insist on Wednesday that he can change any time he wants to, if he wanted to.

Like Quo, and with maybe the same motivation, you want to pretend that science says that orientation does not exist, because then behavior is the only issue, and behavior can be changed. and you vehemently believe that it SHOULD be changed. And you don’t question it, whether because it is something that is none of your business that nonetheless offends you, or you have convinced yourself despite mountains of evidence that is is deleterious, or because you believe that your particular version of God is offended, or convinced, or otherwise agrees with you. Personal offense, fear, or your particular religious vision, pretty much sums it up.

The issues of orientation and behavior are indeed quite separate and quite real, as every Bible-quoting, heterosexual father of five, his pants around his ankles and his face buried in the crotch of Truckstop Daddy, will attest. Even such a luminary as Alan Chambers has more or less admitted that even with Jesus Christ playing quarterback to AC’s center, he is still as gay as the proverbially goosed. The opposite of homosexuality is holiness, indeed! Though even he can only lie to himself so much, apparently, he can lie to himself THAT much.

He’s not holy, he’s just another homo-hating-homo.

You’re a believer who is rational enough to try to use science to explain and justify your belief, but dishonest enough to pretend that you’re not doing precisely that. And of course, you are happy to accuse others of the same sin. As I’m fond of quoting Rochefoucauld, “Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue” It is not really the game we should be playing.

Again, Our agenda is reality based. Your reality is agenda based. So let’s start there.

To pretend that this what “science” says about homosexuality, choice, and change, is to make the same pretense that it is what the bible may or may not have had to say about what might, in a vague general sort of a way, be about homosexuality, at least as it was understood by illiterate desert tribes of 2000-3000 years ago. It is to pretend that don’tAskDon’tTell is about fitness to serve, military preparedness, unit cohesion. It is to pretend that gay men are a threat to children when the opposite is true, in order to defend the myth of heterosexuality superiority and the reality of heterosexual privilege.

It is to make the ridiculous sublime, like the idea that making gay people criminals or calling them threats to society somehow enhances and protects the hetero family, like our cock-sucking daddy above.

In other words, it is about what it is always about: how much the very existence of gay people bothers, offends, attracts, entices, frightens, and annoys some homophobic heterosexuals, homo-hating homos, wanna-be-straight-but-ain’t’s, conservatives, right-wing Christians, and village idiots .

Let’s look at what “science”, particularly psychiatric “science” had to say about homosexuality. There is a great book on the whole fiasco called “Homosexuality and American Psychiatry” by Ronald Bayer. It’s a great read. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Society removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. According to the right wing, this was under pressure from the all powerful HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA. According to reality– I was there– it was a different story.

The reason the APA dropped homosexuality from its list of mental disorders was that there was absolutely no evidence that being gay is a mental disorder. They had a definition of mental disorder, but to make it stick for gay people they had to ignore their own definition, and say that “Of course. Gay people are mentally disordered BY definition. Just not THIS definition.” It could not hold up to any kind of scientific scrutiny. The really homophobic psychiatrists, like Bieber and Soccarides (father of a gay son!!!), the ones who earned their living “curing” gay people, tried to force a referendum on the APA, but it also failed.

The whole procedure underlined that prejudice was really the defining issue, not science, not fact, not reason, and certainly not compassion, as is often the case on this particular issue. (Not surprisingly, religious reactions to gay people are very similar). First, a whole category of people is defined as mentally ill (or particularly sinful) with no scientific or experiential (or biblical) reason to do so, only a cultural and religious prejudice that requires some extra-ordinary justification so that it doesn’t look like hate-of-the-different. Then they have a vote, and presto-change-o, a whole category of people are “cured” overnight. (Or, as our Episcopalian, Lutheran, Old catholic, MSS, DOC, and UAHC, UCC, and a host of others have concluded, they have lost that je-ne-sais-quoi tastette of sin.) Then, the people who whose livelihoods depend on the the “mental illness” issue try to make another vote to make all of those people “sick” again. Clearly, not a matter of good science or good medicine– or good religion– just prejudice, and gay people for 100 years were its victims. You might call it the politics of diagnosis.

It has mostly happened in the legal area as well, except in those- back-water hell-holes that need a scapegoat for their failures as leaders and human beings. Even our country got rid of its last sodomy laws, because as even Clarence Thomas admitted, the laws were silly.

And its not surprising that the same thing is happening in the religion business as well. It’s the politics of Christian authenticity, but again, gay people are the victims. That’s why we keep having these votes on same-sex marriage.

Here’s the reality based agenda. Gay, like straight, is neither good nor bad, it just is. you can say that it is not an orientation, but reality– the reality of any self-respecting, self-loving gay person
– says something quite different. I don’t need a scientist to tell me that, just like I don’t need some boy-loving priest to tell me I’m not right with god. I have my whole life to tell me that I am a perfectly fine example of a human being, much better than, say, a Canadian archbishop with sanctimony on his lips and child porn on his laptop.

But here’s the difference between you and me. If I had the slightest information that there was actually anything wrong with being gay, that it was harmful or dangerous, that it was spiritually or intellectual unsatisfying, I would at least look at that information.

And I have. And I have yet to say that it ever boils down to anything more than homo-hatred, no matter what kind of religious or psuedo-scientific drag it might be in. Quo will always be my exemplar in this: his self hatred informs all of his beliefs and all of his facts. Remove his self hatred, and there is only air under all of his knowledge.

Richard Rush
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

Why do you want to change your sexual orientation? Who are you trying to please, and why do you want to please them?

I’m now in my sixties, and have been with my wonderful partner for 28 years. Suppose I had wasted my life trying to change my orientation: I would still be gay, and I would be alone, or possibly in a loveless faux hetero marriage living a life of concealed desperation. Many of the people that I might have been trying to please are long gone from my life due to various circumstances.

Unless you feel compelled to hook up with women with some of the intensity that you feel luring you to gay bathhouses, then you are a homosexual. You need to accept that and stop trying to please a bunch of people who ultimately don’t matter.

You will never find a satisfying outcome by living your life to please bigots.

And you really need to stop viewing Nicolosi as a credible source of information. He is a charlatan whose livelihood depends on selling snake oil. He is so highly “invested” that he couldn’t give up his shtick, even if he wanted to, without losing his entire source of income. And then, who would ever hire him for anything.

Emily K
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I agree with Timothy. Do not feed the trolls, pl0x. Let them have their fantasies of martyrdom and vindication. They don’t mean anything to us, so let’s just treat them like they are invisible.

Eddie89
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Kudos to Ted Cox for having the guts to go public with his information!

Hopefully his act of courage will save many, many lives!

Bravo, Mr. Cox!!! Bravo!

Eric in Oakland
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

@ Tim K and Emily K,

I commend you on trying to prevent the trolls from derailing this thread, but I am not sure the comments addressed to the trolls are really examples of this.

The article that started this was about exposing the Ex-gay ministries and the harmful lies that they are telling to vulnerable people. While I am sure the trolls did not intend to contribute meaningfully, the responses are genuine expressions of what many of us would like to say to the likes of Nicolosi and Chambers.

Eric in Oakland
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

@Quo,

“Why do I comment here? I’m interested in seeing whether honest or informed discussion about questions such as what causes homosexuality is possible.”

It is not “honest or informed” to cherry pick data for anything that supports your prejudice while ignoring the mountains of evidence that contradict it. The claims of the anti-gay pseudoscientists, such as Nicolosi, have never been proven. All the truly objective research of the last 30 years has clearly contradicted his assertions. The APA and AMA unequivocally condemn his quackery. It is irresponsible (and frankly, evil) to nevertheless endorse his psychologically harmful programs.

@ Ben,

“Right. Born ‘gay’, always ‘gay’. The science isn’t there yet, but we’re trying In the meantime, just assume that homosexuality is roughly equivalent to the slant of your eye (very insulting to Asians, by the way).

The only people who would find the comparison insulting are bigots, Ben. Certainly the bigotry against gay people is at least as bad as against any other minority. The statistics on hate crimes proves this.

Quo
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Eric in Oakland,

You are mistaken in claiming that “all the truly objective research of the last 30 years has clearly contradicted his [Nicolosi's] assertions.”

Researchers Seymour Fisher and Roger Greenberg, for example, found in their review of studies on the family background of homosexuals that theories about distant fathers helping to cause homosexuality had at least some support.

I pointed that out months ago; the infantile responses I received from several of the people who regularly comment here helped reinforce my impression that too many gay people are emotionally immature in a way that perfectly fits the theory that homosexuality is a form of arrested development.

Timothy Kincaid commented,

“And you aren’t going to win an argument because they are baiting, not debating. The only opinion that matters is their own so no amount of logic or intellect or principled statements are going to make the slightest bit of difference.”

I don’t think anyone who honestly reviewed the debates that happened here a few months ago would conclude that it was me who was guilty of “baiting.” The responses I received when I defended Nicolosi were both desperate and vicious, the kind of thing one expects to receive from religious fundamentalists if one is bold or foolish enough to criticise their religion.

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Quo said “Researchers Seymour Fisher and Roger Greenberg, for example, found in their review of studies on the family background of homosexuals that theories about distant fathers helping to cause homosexuality had at least some support.”.

By some support, you mean none of any consequence. Distant fathers are commonplace and the fact that some gays had distant fathers doesn’t mean it caused them to be gay anymore than the fact that many gays grew up wearing shorts means that shorts makes people gay. The reason many gay sons have distant fathers is that their fathers sensed their efemininity and became distant – gay sons cause distant fathers and not vice versa.

If there was any solid proof that distant fathers caused gayness the anti-gays would never let us here the end of it, it’d be all over the news and at the heart of all their ant-gay crusades. The total absense of any such “proof” is a solid indication that it does not exist. Eric in Oakland is correct, all the truly objective research has contradicted Nicolosi. His “If you don’t hug your son another man will” kind of silliness is an icon of the vacuousness of his anti-gay ideas. If there was any truth to that idea Richard Cohen’s “holding therapy” where he hugs male clients would have been a resounding success and emulated around the world by all manner of anti-gay religionists.

The utter paucity of mainstream mental heal professionals agreeing with Nicolosi exists for a reason – he’s a quack.

Now spare us any of your claims that your own life demonstrates that distant fathers cause gay sons. You completely rejected the idea that your utter inability to choose your orientation means orientation is unchosen so it would be incredibly hypocritical of you to suggest your relationship with your father has anything to say about the causes of gayness.

Quo
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Priya’s arguments are the same she made the last time I raised this issue; they were wrong then and they are wrong now.

Note the total lack of any reference to any study or scientific evidence in her post. Apparently she expects people to believe all that because she says it – see how similar it is to religious fundamentalism? There’s the same dogmatism, the same underlying need for emotional certainity, and the same indifference to evidence.

The only thing that she could produce in support of her you-can-always-tell-a-gay nonsense last time was a single pathetic study by Michael Bailey, which was worthless because of its tiny and non-representative sample (it was either seven or eight people; I forget which).

Lynn David
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

There have been a number of long-term, longitudinal studies of people come out in the last year and a half that have indeed shown that Nicolosi’s ideas are wrong. All you have to do is go over to Dr Throckmorton’s pages to find out for yourself.

Sol Invictus
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Ignoring evidence is not productive. Former homosexuals have written books about changing sexual orientation who have nothing to do with any ex-gay organization. Here is an example of just one reference:

Coming Out Straight : Understanding and Healing Homosexuality (Hardcover)

Just one, one of many former homosexuals who wrote about their experiences and help from this doctor. If you wish to see more, Amazon.com has many you can read.

“Coming Out Straight is an insightful and inspired roadmap to recovery. How I wished for such a book in my many years of struggle with my own homosexual feelings. As my homosexual tendencies decended into pathologic addiction, depression and self-loathing, I was alone in a world were no one talked about this subject except to say, “acccept yourself, you can NEVER change.” (What a hopeless thing to tell someone.) Yet somehow through persistance, inner work and luck, I DID change. It was not easy nor quick. My voyage was almost parallel to Richard’s as described in his courageous and groundbreaking book. He dares to talk about Change in a loving way that defies demonization as homophobia”

Dr. Cohen himsef a former homosexual has evidently helped many who wish to change their orientation.

With dozens of testimonials, it seems this doctor certainly has evidence to back up his work and therapy.

Sol Invictus
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

This book is from one of the most respected sexual orientaton researchers in the country. It is evidence that can not be ignored, included is one review of the book:

Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth
http://www.amazon.com/Homosexuality-Politics-Truth-Jef...

“Dr. Satinover is highly qualified to deal with this topic. He is a graduate of Harvard, MIT, University of Texas, and a former lecturer at Yale. He is a board certified MD in the private practice of psychiatry for over twenty years with extensive work with homosexuals. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Yale Symour L. Lustman Research award,and past William James lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard, among other qualifications. Gay activists, since the 60′s, have waged a relentless public relations campaign to convince Americans that they should overturn 4,000 years of Judeo-Christian moral standards that condemn homosexuality as unhealthy, a sin, and perversion of God’s design. The activist’s goals (and they are spelled out in such handbooks as “After the Ball, by Kirk and Madsen, 1989),are to convince the public that homosexuality is normal, innate or inherited, and irreversible; therefore gays are not subject to moral choice. Dr. Satinover analyses the extensive evidence to address these claims. Is homosexuality “normal?” Read the facts and decide for yourself. When you compare homosexual patterns with heterosexual patterns, it becomes clear that homosexuality is an addiction, as lethal or more so than alcoholism or drug addiction.”

Very powerful, compelling, scientific evidence.

There is no use trying to demonize the messenger, Santinover is highly qualified and experienced.

Rebut his facts with scientific support, not personal opinions.

Désirée
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

which scientific, peer-reviewed facts are those that you wish us to rebuff? all i see are personal anicdotes and still no actual *evidence* that orientation (as opposed to sexual behavior) can be or has been changed.

Désirée
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

BTW, the amazon link doesn’t lead anywhere

William
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, you’ve obviously decided that Nicolosi’s theories are correct, or probably so, and that your homosexuality needs “correcting”. O.K. Fine. So why bother to challenge us to disprove Nicolosi’s theories? Like all unscientific theories they can’t be either proved or disproved. What need is there for a debate with those who don’t believe those theories, or who couldn’t care less about them anyway, and who are perfectly satisfied with their sexuality? It’s surely no skin off your nose. Why don’t you just go ahead and act on your beliefs?

R Holmes
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

I see Ben still refuses to tell us whether or not his heterosexuality is just a behaviour. Come on Ben – it’s not a difficult question. Stop being evasive.

grantdale
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Sol,

You may, instead, want to think of some authors that don’t pop out of a cuckoo clock on the hour.

Satinover — here’s another of his books, written with the same fierce desire to avoid any facts to the contrary. It’s as equally mad as ‘Politics’. Is that what you mean by “highly qualified and experienced”?

Cohen — sorry, I cannot recommend any other book of his. Read one, you’ve read them all. They all appear to be the same. I hear he gives a fine tennis lesson though, so maybe give that a whirl if you’re bored. You can sit on the couch and hug and cry afterwards. BYO baby bottle.

—————–

ps everyone… leave Quo alone. He’s obviously had a difficult life, and needs to worship at the altar of San Nicolosi (of the Bleeding Heart for the Broken Family). It’s rude not to at least show some respect for his religious faith.

Sorry, did I say respect? I meant tolerance.

Alex
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

“Dr. Cohen himsef a former homosexual has evidently helped many who wish to change their orientation.”

Sol Invictus,

Richard Cohen is in no way, shape, or form a doctor. He has a master’s degree in counseling and was expelled from the ACA for multiple ethics violations. I believe the technical term for him is “quack.”

Alex
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

“I see Ben still refuses to tell us whether or not his heterosexuality is just a behaviour. Come on Ben – it’s not a difficult question. Stop being evasive.”

@ R Holmes,

Ben always seems to magically disappear as soon as the tough questions start coming.

R Holmes
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Alex,

So you’re saying that I wrote magic words which made the anti-gay man disappear?

Now that trick could come in handy…

Jim Burroway
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus,

There is nothing “Scientific” about Satinover’s work. The particular book you recommend is, as its title suggests, a political work, not a scientific one, brought to you by the “scientific” man who thinks the Bible Code is real.

As an example of what you consider Satinover’s “very powerful, compelling, scientific evidence,” he cites in his book the discredited “science” of Paul Cameron. That’s the guy who has been kicked out or condemned by the APA, the Nebraska APA, the American Sociological Association (twice), the Canadian PA, and most recently, the Eastern Psychological Association. He is an open admirer of how the Nazi’s “dealt with” the supposed problem of homosexuality, and has advocated similar “solutions” for this country. His work has been widely discredited, both on the facts and on his motivation.

This is what Satinover considers “powerful, compelling, scientific evidence.” Satinover’s work is as “scientific” as our satirical work, “The Heterosexual Agenda.” I should know. I’ve read Satinover’s book, and more importantly, I’ve looked at his footnotes. He uses exactly the same tactics I used to write my satire. But he doesn’t label his book as “satire,” does he? Like everything else he writes, this isn’t science. It’s politics, pure and simple. Ugly politics at that.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, virtually every person has had the experience of seeing a given male and thinking “that person’s gay” and then later finding out they were correct. Its common sense that gayness is readily apparent in many males. Its simply dishonest of you to continue to deny the obvious, but that’s nothing new for you either. It may be religious faith for you that gayness in males can’t be detected, but you’re not going to fool the vast majority of people into agreeing with you. Your constant denial of the experiences of most people on the planet reveals your willful blindness to reality.

Eric in Oakland said “all the truly objective research of the last 30 years has clearly contradicted his [Nicolosi's] assertions.”

Quo replied “You are mistaken, researchers Seymour Fisher and Roger Greenberg, for example, found in their review of studies on the family background of homosexuals that theories about distant fathers helping to cause homosexuality had at least some support.”

Talk about dogmatic and absense of any evidence…When the best characterization a chronic embellisher like you will give to Fisher and Greenburg is the faint praise “some support” its pretty obvious even you think what they’ve provided is of no consequence. If they had anything substantial to support your laughable claim that Eric was mistaken they’d have published a peer reviewed paper in a reputable publication on distant fathers causing gayness. That neither they nor any other of your anti-gay heros have done so further demonstrates your total committment to dishonesty on this topic. Clearly there is no evidence whatsoever to support Nicolsi’s outdated idea that distant fathers cause gay sons.

William
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

I take it all back. Quo has convinced me. The scales have fallen from my eyes. I’ve finally identified the reason why I’m gay. I’m amazed, in fact, that it has taken so long for the truth to penetrate my thick skull, and I’m at a loss to understand why I’ve been resisting it so stubbornly, but one thing I know: that whereas I was blind, now I see. It was my parents who were responsible, and my father in particular. No question about it.

This is scarcely credible, but my dad actually used to go off to work every morning after breakfast and wouldn’t come home until about six o’clock in the evening. Away all day! Well, I mean to say, I ask you.

No wonder that I’m gay. It was the same for all my brothers, so God only knows why they aren’t gay too.

My sister’s husband could be my dad, mark II. Same bloody old story all over again. Out every day from after breakfast till supper time, earning a living. Only in the house evenings and weekends. Parents just don’t reflect on how this sort of thing may impact on their children’s sexual orientation, do they? So it’s hardly surprising that one of their sons has turned out to be gay, is it? What else could you expect? (Why the other one is straight just beats me.) That proves the whole theory up to the hilt. Need I say more?

Timothy Kincaid
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus,

I have a recommendation on how to comment without looking like a raging loon: do a search.

For example, had you done a search on this site for Richard Cohen, you’d already know that Cohen is, well, a bit peculiar.

You’d know that he has methods, including cuddling and beating a pillow with a tennis racquet, which have been subjected to a great deal of mockery. And you would know that his own marriage was an arranged “Mooney mass wedding”. You would have flinched at his wildly inappropriate children’s book. You would be familiar with his rather strange religious quest for meaning. You would have laughed about Cohen’s “spontaneous” testimonials. And you’d know that he has been banished by all ex-gay groups other than his own.

In short, you would not have produced Cohen as a “doctor [who] certainly has evidence to back up his work and therapy”. And we would not have laughed at you.

Similarly, had you searched “Jeffrey Satinover”, you’d have known all that Jim lists above. And again, we wouldn’t have pitied you for thinking you were playing a trump card only to find out that you had the weakest hand.

In short, Sol, we are not fools. And we are not ignorant.

Unlike anti-gay sites, we are well informed here at BTB. There is very little in the way of “facts” or “information” that we have not already seen, inspected, and analyzed.

So before you confidently “inform” us of information that you are sure will prove us wrong once and for all, you may want to spend a few moments making sure that you aren’t just going to, once again, seem like an ignorant, foolish, uninformed anti-gay activist. It doesn’t advance your cause at all.

Quo
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

You wrote,

“When the best characterization a chronic embellisher like you will give to Fisher and Greenburg is the faint praise ‘some support’ its pretty obvious even you think what they’ve provided is of no consequence.”

Obvious to whom? To people like you, who feel the need to make sweeping claims on the basis of minimal or non-existent evidence and react with shrill displeasure when anyone dares to disagree with them? Unlike you, I don’t feel any need to present my claims in an absolute or unqualified way. That doesn’t mean that I think they’re of no consequence; it means I have a sufficently good emotional balance that I don’t need to pretend that everything is completely certain.

“If they had anything substantial to support your laughable claim that Eric was mistaken they’d have published a peer reviewed paper in a reputable publication on distant fathers causing gayness.”

That comment is interesting, in that it shows that you have no idea what the point of Fisher and Greenberg’s work was. It was ro review published literature and studies conducted by other people.

Quo
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Lynn David,

Where, exactly, on Throckmorton’s site is this evidence that Nicolosi is wrong? Could you provide a link?

Timothy,

If, as you assert, you and the other writers for Box Turtle Bulletin are not fools and are not ignorant, then could you perhaps see your way to reviewing Fisher and Greenberg’s work? It is one of the main sources used by Nicolosi to show that his work has scientific support, so it is of some importance whether it is credible or not. You’ve never attempted to discuss it seriously, as far as I can see.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, once again the fact is that they never published a peer reviewed paper in a respectable journal providing evidence that distant fathers cause gayness. They didn’t because they didn’t have any evidence to support this and neither do any of your anti-gay heroes. Once again you have absolutely no evidence to support your claims.

Many, many studies have been done all of which point to biological factors in the development of gayness. Any one by themselves may be debatable, but taken as a whole they demonstrate a trend that is extremely substantial and that is why none of the major mental health organziations takes the position that parental relationships cause gayness. Once again you glom onto fringe thinkers and ignore what the mainstream says.

Regarding the common sense knowledge that gay sons cause distant fathers:

Someone like you who makes the idiotic statment that there is no evidence people can’t use willpower to change genetic features is obligated by his own “logic” to provide evidence that people can’t tell who’s gay by their mannerisms and so forth. You have no evidence that people can’t do this, therefore by the “logic” you’ve previously used on this forum you’re in no position to be saying its “nonsense” that people can tell who’s gay by observing them.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Once again, Quo expects people to think its nonsense that gays can be distinguished by observation just because he says so. He has no evidence whatsoever to back up his assertion and he is guilty of the very dogmatism he accuses me of.

Quo
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

The point of Fisher and Greenberg’s research was to review studies of various psychoanalytic theories conducted by other people over the years, to see how credible or well supported they were (they were concerned with a wide of range of different theories, by the way, not only theories about homosexuality).

I’m sorry that Priya can’t understand that this makes her complaints about Fisher and Greenberg not publishing evidence for parenting being relevant to the development of homosexuality in respectable journals irrelevant, but I suppose it does at least make clear her total ignorance of what she is dismissing (which is not only Fisher and Greenberg in particular, but empirical studies of Freudian theories more generally).

Whether Timothy Kincaid or Jim Burroway or one of the other Box Turtle writers is going to try to evaluate such studies on a more adult level remains to be seen. I’m not too hopeful. After all, Fisher and Greenberg are probably too respectable and convincing, and it’s much safer and more convenient for Kincaid and Burroway to restrict their efforts to debunking obvious nuts like Cameron or joke therapists like Cohen.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, you can spin all you like, but the fact remains that Fisher and Greenburg weren’t remotely respectable enough to publish a peer reviewed paper in a respectable journal documenting any evidence that distant fathers cause gay sons and neither were any of your anti-gay heroes because there is no such evidence. You’re constantly confusing correlation with causation and rationally we all know that gay sons cause distant fathers and not vice versa.

Timothy Kincaid
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

Which specific claims of Fisher and Greenberg do you wish analyzed? Please provide the claim, the date, and the source.

Richard Rush
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps I’m going way out on a loony limb here, but is it possible that Quo is nowhere near who he seems to be? While he seems to be just a pathetically twisted self-loathing homosexual, I’m beginning to wonder if he could actually be Joseph Nicolosi. He certainly seems eager to cite and defend Nicolosi.

And, are Quo, quo, quo III, and quo mark II the same commenter? They seem to be, based on some cursory reading.

Quo
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

I’ll post some more about Fisher and Greenberg’s work tomorrow or the day after. Whether anyone can offer relevant, adult criticisms of it rather than the juvenile, irrelevant drivel that has been offered so far we will see.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Richard Quo, quo, quo III, quo mark II and, as he appeared on Wayne Besen’s blog, Kwo, are all the same person. This is made apparent by the same absurd arguments and obsession over the non-existent Fisher and Greenburg “evidence” that distant fathers cause gay sons.

Studies show that males are more likely to be gay the more older brothers they have, women with same chromosone deactivation are more likely to have gay sons, gayness is correlated with hair whorls, finger length, finger print patterns, gay men respond to pheremones like straight women, gay men and straight women have similar mental abilities while lesbians and straight men have similar mental abilities, brain structures related to sexuality are similar in size in gay men and straight women and similar in lesbians and straight men.

Taken apart none of these may provide conclusive proof that gayness is biologically determined, but taken together they paint a picture of the biology of gayness that is extremely hard to refute. Combine this with the fact that the tired old theory of distant fathers causing gay sons has no evidence to support it whatsoever, it is no surprise that every major mental health association and all reputable social scientists reject that idea as a substantial contributor to gays’ sexual orientation.

Timothy Kincaid
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

I didn’t invite you to post content. I asked what it was that you want vetted. As I said, please provide the claim, the date, and the source for specific claims of Fisher and Greenberg.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Oh, yes, and gayness is also correlated with handedness, and probably several other things I’ve forgotten about.

Richard Rush
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn wrote:

Oh, yes, and gayness is also correlated with handedness, and probably several other things I’ve forgotten about.

Don’t forget that gayness is also correlated with higher rates of counterclockwise hair whorl.

I’m over 60 and just recently discovered that my hair whorl is counterclockwise (I just never thought about it before). I had been indoctrinated as a child to part my hair on the left side, which works well with clockwise whorl. Now I part it on the right side, and it just falls into place naturally. Its actually quite amazing. I realize now that I’ve been fighting against my true orientation all these years.

Priya Lynn
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

And eyeblink rates and the startle response.

Eric
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

@Quo

Regarding the “research” of Fisher and Greenberg, I have little to say. I am not sure what studies you are talking about. I was not able to locate any study of theirs dealing with corelation of homosexuality and paternal relationships. I do know that they have written quite a bit about Freud and his theories, but I don’t see how that is relavent.

Priya Lynn has already mentioned most of the examples of biological evidence I was going to bring up. Virtual MOUNTAINS of evidence have been uncovered in the last decade especially that there are biological physical traits associated with sexual orientation. With all that we now know, it amazes me that ANYONE could still think orientation might be caused by the behavior of a parent. Can such behavior alter a person’s finger length, brain anatomy, or pheremone receptiveness? It seems unlikely.

And what about all the examples of gay animals found in nature? Do you propose that gay penquins or gay dogs had a bad relationship with their fathers? How absurd!

Tommy
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry Quo, I’m about to ruin your life here. But I’ve read Fisher and Greenberg, and if you think that is anything to brag about you are sorely mistaken.

First off, the most recent study in the book was published over a decade before the book was published.

All of the studies were retrospective interviews asking how gay people felt about their families. And in most of them the sample pool came from people in already in psychoanalytic therapy. As such several of the studies actively seemed to be searching for distant fathers. In fact, one of the studies wasn’t even of gay people, but of therapists treating gay people.

Oh, and there was never any attempt to control for the fact that a gay child might create a distant father, rather than the other way around.

So, in other words, your entire theory is just one of Freud’s bad ideas. Nicolosi is still a quack. And this book is more funny than informative.

Jason D
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

One of my main issues with the “distant father” theory is that it doesn’t quite make sense.

When you look at Mothers and Fathers throughout history you see a rather obvious flaw in this “distant dads make you gay” theory.

If it were true, virtually every male child on the planet would be gay. Why?

When you think about a child losing a parent, which parent are they most likely to lose? Fathers! War! Industrial Accidents! Fire! Divorce! Incarceration! Assassination!

Heck, sometimes women don’t even know the father, or don’t bother to tell him!

When you think of a child with both parents, which parent is he likely to spend less time with? His father! Dad’s working late, out of town on business, doesn’t have custody, is busy with his other family/life, is out with the boys playing golf.

Women are both historically and traditionally the primary care givers for children. History is chock full of distant fathers working long hours, taking little vacation time, falling asleep on the couch right after dinner, off to war, busy governing an entire country, empire, etc.

We even actively discourage men from being involved in the lives of children, even their own. We either ignore or tacitly support a man being distant from his children. In fact the only person who wishes Dad would be more involved is Mom. When Men are deeply involved with children, even their own, they become suspect either as weak (doing women’s work) or perverted.

It’s as though human nature is designed to create an extreme likelyhood of homosexuality. The status quo for millenia has been distant, absent fathers.

So to me, distant/absent fatherhood is fish in a barrel. An easy target as it’s likely, given human history and tradition, that you can say in some way that he has a “distant” father. At this point it’s like saying divorce, fights over money, or sunlight causes homosexuality.

Ben in Oakland
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Amnd our boy Ben has disappeared entirely, though i susect he was quo in another incarnation.

I still wanted a response from him to my little missive above.

Quo will do.

cowboy
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Reading the comments has been entertaining…or what do you call it when you slow down to see a wreck on the freeway? Morbid curiosity reading? But I have learned a bit I didn’t know before.

I’m surprised (and I know I should not be) at how much involvement or close connections Mormons have to all this gay-reparative therapy stuff. Am I thinking Evergreen, NARTH, and Journey into Manhood all have ties to Mormons and the Mormons have been far more egregious in gay therapies than even Evangelical Christians.

Jesus
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Richard; I too had wondered a couple of times whether Quo was in fact Old Nick.

Wouldn’t that be just incredibly rich?

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

The first time I saw Nicolosi I immediately thought – Gay! Self-loathing gays are often the worst homophobes. It’d explain a lot if Nicolosi was gay, and I think he is.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Readers,

Please don’t make wild and baseless speculation about the orientation of others.

First, it only discredits other more valuable things you have have to contribute.

And second, such accusations are based on the idea that being gay is a Shameful! Secret! and that exposure that someone is gay will reflect negatively on them. I don’t buy into that mindset and I hope our readers don’t either.

Besides, our community really doesn’t need any more folks who are self-loathing or homophobic, so please don’t associate our community with these folk.

Thanks.

Ben in Oakland
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry, that wasn’t supposed to post under the name of Jesus. but i did have that thought once. Quo said something aobut how surprised we would be if we found out who he really is.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, my speculation wasn’t baseless, it was based on the effemininity of Nicolosi. That you would interpret this as being based on the idea that being gay is shameful and reflects negatively on anyone is solely your own interpretation, I most certainly don’t share it.

I know you’ve expressed in the past that you don’t want the likes of Ted Haggard and Larry Craig to be a part of your community but your desire to deny reality won’t change it. There are closeted self-loathing reprehensible gays and its irresponsible to want to claim they aren’t part of the group of people we define as LGBT.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

OK, I guess a polite general request to all readers was not enough. So let me be more direct.

Priya Lynn, unless you have hard evidence to support your speculation (and observations about effeminacy are not hard evidence), DO NOT speculate about anyone’s sexual orientation at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Richard Rush
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Jesus (aka Ben in Oakland) wrote:

Richard;I too had wondered a couple of times whether Quo was in fact Old Nick.

There would certainly be financial incentive for promoting NARTH on blogs frequented by some potential customers. Obviously, Narth’s business depends, in part, on a steady stream of self-loathing homos. I would imagine that donations and sales of NARTH’s products have been declining as gays have become increasingly accepted in society. Then there is the current economy where people may just not have the money to spend or donate.

We already know that Nicolosi is sleazy, so would it really be all that surprising if Joe Quo were found to be spamming BTB?

Alex
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

“I know you’ve expressed in the past that you don’t want the likes of Ted Haggard and Larry Craig to be a part of your community but your desire to deny reality won’t change it. There are closeted self-loathing reprehensible gays and its irresponsible to want to claim they aren’t part of the group of people we define as LGBT.”

I agree. It’s not like we get to pick and choose.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

I would find it astonishing if Quo were revealed to be Nicolosi. Quo joins us from an entirely different continent in another hemisphere.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

Sorry, but I fail to understand the difference between “content” and what describing what I “want vetted.” Please don’t assume that what you mean by these expressions is clear to others. I’m sensing a certain amount of hostility in your comments, and may not proceed if you keep it up.

Eric,

Fisher and Greenberg have tried to test Freud’s theories about homosexuality and paternal relationships, which is how their work is relevant. See, eg, Freud Scientifically Reappraised. The existence of biological influences on sexual orientation doesn’t mean that non-biological factors are not relevant as well; this is well known and acknowledged not only by Nicolosi but also by most of the researchers who prefer to emphasise biological factors.

Tommy,

Which book or books by Fisher and Greenberg are you talking about? Would that be their earlier work from the 1970s, or the 1990s book that Nicolosi uses? You don’t provide appropriate page references or quotations, which makes your assertions difficult to check, but to reply briefy to some of your points:

1. When a study was performed has no relevance to whether its conclusions are valid or not.

2. Obviously the studies would have to be retrospective; how could it be otherwise? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are useless, especially not if one is looking at a large number of studies to see what overall patterns emerge, which was certainly what Fisher and Greenberg attempted.

3. It doesn’t bother me that they don’t consider that “a gay child might create a distant father, rather than the other way around” because that explanation only makes sense if you assume that sexual orientation is 100% biologically determined and there is no environmental influence of any kind, which is unlikely and widely acknowledged by researchers to be wrong.

Your comment about the distant father theory being one of Freud’s “bad ideas” is ignorant. The details of Nicolosi’s views differ considerably from Freud, and Fisher and Greenberg likewise are careful to emphasize that their work supports some parts of Freud’s theories but not others.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

Would you please be kind enough not to reveal my geographic location, or any other information you may happen to have collected about me? I think that’s mean.

Jason D
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

1. Yes, Quo, it does matter how long ago a study was taken. For no other reason than the fact that the universe is in constant flux, so research that is 20-30 years old is suspect, as the same results may not be repeatable today. This is a basic element of Elementary School education, the fact that it is lost on you is rather surprising.

2. Retrospective studies are themselves suspect. The most reliable data is taken directly from the event(s) or experience, rather than someone’s recollection later. Memories are colored by new experiences, thus what we felt and thought when something happened as opposed to how we’ve come to feel about it now are very likely to be different. It is impossible to measure how much bias comes with age, so there’s no way of accounting for it. You cannot pass off “I feel safe in 1960″ and “I believe I felt safe in 1960″ as one and the same.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

You have complained that the authors at BTB have not “seen our way” to reviewing Fisher and Greenberg’s work. You imply that because they are “too respectable and convincing” that perhaps we fear what we may find.

Yet you seem unwilling to clarify exactly which of Fisher and Greenberg’s work you want reviewed. After repeated requests, you refuse to tell us what you think it is that we should inspect.

Which makes me think that it is you that is afraid of our review.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

There is a mundane explanation for this. I don’t own copies of Fisher and Greenberg’s books, and I need to review them at a library, which may take a day or two, depending on their availability. Now, would you please,

1. Explain exactly what you do or don’t want me to post, as already requested.

and

2. Assure me that you won’t reveal my geographic location. I will assure you that doing this, even in a very general way, comes across as a deeply hostile act.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Quo said “Obviously the studies would have to be retrospective; how could it be otherwise?”.

No, that’s not obvious at all, there is nothing preventing a researcher from studying children as they are growing up, identifying their current relationship with their parents and later documenting their sexual orientation. Obviously you’re entirely out to lunch about this. You’re willfully blind to reality because you desperately want to believe that which comforts you.

Quo said “It doesn’t bother me that they don’t consider that “a gay child might create a distant father, rather than the other way around” because that explanation only makes sense if you assume that sexual orientation is 100% biologically determined and there is no environmental influence of any kind, which is unlikely and widely acknowledged by researchers to be wrong.”.

Such wrong-headed thinking reveals you to have chosen your desired conclusions in advance of having considered the evidence – your statement is preposterous. Regardless of how a child comes to be gay, gayness is apparent to many people and only a dishonest person would suggest gay children creating distant fathers is an unlikelihood. While some researchers might not be willing to state gayness is 100% biological due to the cautionary nature of scientists there are virtually no mainstream researchers who think distant fathers play a substantial role in determining a child’s sexual orientation.

Once again, the correlations of gayness with several biological features and in particular with mothers with same chromosone de-activation, more older brothers (regardless of whether or not they lived with the gay son), and the higher likilihood of identical twins being gay all combine to make a powerful case that gayness is primarily determined by biological factors. The total absense of any evidence that distant fathers cause gay sons means that this outdated theory is properly discarded as indeed all the major mental health organizations and the vast majority of psychology professors have done.

Alex
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

For God’s sake, Quo, nobody cares where you live.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

I don’t respond to blather.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

The link Richard Rush poste referred to a study that demonstrated 75% of obervers could tell whether or not a man was gay from the sound of his voice. A study by Kerri Johson showed 60& of obersvers could tell a person’s sexual orientation by watching them walk for a few seconds. Quo’s idea that a father can’t tell if his son is gay after living with and observing him, not just for a few seconds on one aspect of his behavior, but for years on end in all manner of situations, is ridiculous.

Quo further claims that the possiblity that gayness isn’t 100% biological means that its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them. Virtually everyone on the planet has experienced a time when they observed another, got the impression that person was gay, and then later found out they were correct. No doubt Quo himself has experienced this as well. The utter absurdity of his position clearly demonstrates that Quo is one emulating religious fundamentalists in blindly rejecting the overwhelming evidence against his dogma.

cowboy
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

” I’m sensing…hostility…and may not proceed if you keep it up.” – Quo

What is THAT all about? And then to characterize someone’s post here as “blather” is crossing the line.

Priya Lynn’s last paragraph above should be the end of discussion on this topic/thread. It’s very succinct and sums up a logical and a substantiated conclusion.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

1. I’ll repeat: “Which specific claims of Fisher and Greenberg do you wish analyzed? Please provide the claim, the date, and the source.”

2. You’ve stated before that you are not a US resident. I confirmed this via your IP address and refuted speculation about you. If you perceive this as too hostile for you continued participation here, that decision is up to you.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, when people can’t defend their position against other people’s responses they try to claim the response is blather and hope no one will notice they’ve lost the argument.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

And Thanks, Cowboy.

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

It is true that gender atypical behavior in children has been correlated to adult homosexuality. However as is true with most gay-related correlations, this is not exact or always. Many gender atypical children end up heterosexual and many gender typical children end up gay.

Also, I am willing to state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.”

It is true that often gay people – especially those who live primarily among other gay people – have manners or behaviors or other clues that identify or typify their sexuality. However, such stereotypes are not indicative of gay people as a whole.

Studies that measure detectable gays – to the best of my knowledge – have been conducted on school campuses and have involved what might be called “gayer” students, ie those for whom stereotypes were most predominant.

Further, social norms appear to be changing. Straight men no longer feel a necessity to butch it up and camp is no longer in vogue as a social statement. I find myself very frequently incorrect in my assumptions about orientation.

Personally, I know heterosexuals that are quite effeminate in their mannerisms, and I have a gay friend that has been in beer and car oil commercials.

So while it is true that some gay people are detectable – and I would guess that this is especially true of those who had a distant relationship with their father – it is not true in a general sense.

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy said “Also, I am willing to state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.”

Which, beyond being an impossible level of knowledge, contradicts his statement that “So while it is true that some gay people are detectable – and I would guess that this is especially true of those who had a distant relationship with their father – it is not true in a general sense.”

Timothy, you’r not in a position to say that this is not true in a general sense, this is just your opinion, and one I’m confident you are in the minority on.

Timothy said “It is true that gender atypical behavior in children has been correlated to adult homosexuality. However as is true with most gay-related correlations, this is not exact or always. Many gender atypical children end up heterosexual and many gender typical children end up gay.”.

I’m well aware of this, what’s your point?

Priya Lynn
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Also, Timothy, if you’re willing to “state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.”” tell that to the 75% of observers who were able to determine a man’s orientation by the sound of his voice.

Burr
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Sheesh who figured that helping someone out by short-circuiting baseless speculation about who they are by providing a very vague location would be perceived as hostile?

Just another sign that someone is way too wrapped up in themselves.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

The David France article doesn’t identify the study you mention, say where it was published, or provide any information about its sample size. It is a lazy and deplorable piece of journalism, inaccurate in numerous ways. France suggests that there was no research on sexual orientation between the declassification of homosexuality in 1973 and Simon LeVay in 1991, an ignorant claim that ignores Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg’s studies, and the work of Gunter Dorner in Germany, among a range of other things. I wouldn’t accept France’s judgment about anything.

Kerri Johson I’ve never heard of. You provide no evidence her study exists, or that it has any validity if it does exist.

Junk journalism notwithstanding, the idea that people are usually able to tell who is gay through casual observation is blatantly false; Timothy Kincaid’s comments on that issue are pretty much correct.

Timothy,

The main claim by Fisher and Greenberg that needs considering is their assertion in their 1996 book Freud Scientifically Reappraised that empirical research conducted since 1977 generally supports the idea that having a negative, distant or unfriendly father is relevant to the development of male homosexuality. Their source for that is a 1989 article by Fisher, which deals with some 58 studies.

Fisher granted that some of the studies were not representative, dealing as they did with patients in a clinical setting, who might arguably have been indoctrinated into seeing their fathers as distant. In his view, though, there have also been well conducted studies that avoid such problems, and these have produced the the same kind of results. He gives as an example R. H. Pledger’s Early parent-child relationships of male homosexuals and heterosexuals, a 1977 unpublished doctoral dissertation from the University of Texas, Austin.

(And if you’re gonna complain that I didn’t provide the name of the 1989 Fisher article or a direct quotation from him, I’ll go right back the library and get them. Actually, I’ll probably do that anyway).

Timothy Kincaid
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

We will review the source. As we are all busy and as this certainly doesn’t seem to be breaking news, it may take a while. But we will get to it.

Quo
December 8th, 2009 | LINK

Just as a correction: Fisher 1989 isn’t an article, it’s his earlier book Sexual Images of the Self. That reviews the 58 studies in question; they extend from Terman and Miles in 1936 to Milic and Crowne in 1986, and include Bieber et al in the early 1960s and the early 1980s study of Bell and Weinberg.

Thank you for being willing to review the issue. I realize it may not be breaking news, but the question of whether distant fathers help to cause gay sons matters to many people, and it’s not going to go away in a hurry.

Désirée
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

and what has been lost in the whole discussion of the absurdity of the “distant fathers cause gay sons” theory is that is complete ignores lesbians. Not surprising really as most anti-gay therapy is male-centric and religion based, meaning the idea of women who don’t *need* men is seen as absurd and nonsensical. Thus the “problem” of gay women is rarely address because it’s not seen as a “real” phenomena.

Regardless, the “distant fathers” theory falls about completely when one realizes there is a whole other gender out there and some of us are gay too.

Eric in Oakland
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Quo,

I wish that you would stop refering to corelations between distant fathers and gay sons as evidence of cause. Even if the studies you site were legitimate (which they are not – they are flawed in multiple ways. See the recent APA reviews), they would still not show a causal relationship. Both conditions (the distant father and the homosexuality of the son) could be caused by an unidentified third factor instead of one causing the other. And as others have already pointed out, there would also remain the possibility (probability actually, when combined with the other evidence) that the distant behavior of the fathers was the result rather than the cause of the sons’ homosexuality.

Ben in Oakland
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

” that the distant behavior of the fathers was the result rather than the cause of the sons’ homosexuality.”

…as our local quo-mo-sexual’s own life would probably attest, were his dad-induced self hatred not THE major factor in his life.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, David France didn’t suggest that there was no research on gays between 1973 and 1991, he suggested there was little on how sexual orientation is caused. The Bell&Weinberg study didn’t address this and is irrelevant to the issue.

That you’ve never heard of Kerri Johnson is irrelevant and that you should try to pretend she doesn’t exist is oh so typical of your blindered reality. Her study is referrenced here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20762841/

You’ve previously tried to hang your hat on the fact that the study only has 8 people in it, but for the results to merely be a coincidence as you’re sure to suggest is so unlikely as to be readily dismissed. That you wouldn’t accept France’s judgment on anything is no surprise given that you won’t accept any reality that contradicts your pet unsupported theory.

As far as your again unsupported assertion that “the idea that people are usually able to tell who is gay through casual observation is blatantly false” goes, you have no evidence whatsoever to support this conclusion, you’re simply stating it is so won’t make it so.

Your claim that Timothy’s comments on this issue are pretty much correct once again demonstrates your willfully blind approach to this subject. Timothy contradicted himself and also stated “while it is true that some gay people are detectable – and I would guess that this is especially true of those who had a distant relationship with their father”

Timothy further said “It is true that gender atypical behavior in children has been correlated to adult homosexuality.”. Once again that is something that is readily apparent to not just a casual observer, but a father who observes a child year in and out in all manner of situations.

There are a variety of studies demonstrating that gayness is observable to casual observers, let alone deeply involved observers, “gaydar” is well known by the vast majority of people in society, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the “distant fathers causing gay sons” theory and that correlation is readily explained by the virtual certainty that gay sons cause distant fathers.

Your constant denial of the obvious shows you to be every bit the same as religious fundamentalists – no amount of evidence will convince you, you’ve decided in advance what you want the truth to be and nothing will cause you to deviate from your dogma.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Just to further emphasize, Quo keeps trying to hang his hat on the idea that a casual observer can’t identify a gay person (despite all evidence to the contrary), however a father of a gay son is anything but a casual observer.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

From Wikipedia on Gaydar:

A study by Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center, published in the Journal of Psychological Science reported that “gay men were found to be particularly good at detecting the musk of other gay men”.[6][7]

William Lee Adams, an undergraduate at Harvard, replicated earlier work by his advisor, Nalini Ambady (now at Tufts University). Ambady’s original study, published in 1999, showed that homosexuals were better at correctly identifying sexual orientation from silent videos and photographs than heterosexuals were. Adams’ research, started in 2004, focused exclusively on the face; the focal point of most social interaction.[8][9][10] This finding was elaborated by Ron Smyth and colleagues in 2003.[11] A 2007 study under Ambady found that people could identify gay men better than random chance when shown only a photo of only the eye. Accuracy was closer to what participants thought their accuracy would be when hairstyle was included.[12] A 2009 study found that determination of female sexual orientation by similar means was more accurate when a “snap” judgment was made, rather than conscious deliberation.[13] [14]

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

The gay voice
University of Toronto Magazine, June 2002
Researchers examine patterns…
“Why do some gay men “sound” gay? After three years of research, linguistics professors Henry Rogers and Ron Smyth may be on the verge of answering that question. After identifying phonetic characteristics that seem to make a man’s voice sound gay, their best hunch is that some gay men may subconsciously adopt certain female speech patterns. They want to know how men acquire this manner of speaking, and why – especially when society so often stigmatizes those with gay-sounding voices. Rogers and Smyth are also exploring the stereotypes that gay men sound effeminate and are recognized by the way they speak. They asked people to listen to recordings of 25 men, 17 of them gay. In 62 per cent of the cases the listeners identified the sexual orientation of the speakers correctly. Perhaps fewer than half of gay men sound gay, says Rogers. “The straightest-sounding voice in the study was in fact a gay man, and the sixth gayest-sounding voice was a straight man.”

Timothy Kincaid
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

At the risk of being drawn into a heated debate…

I know that you very much want to believe that a parent can always (or usually) detect the eventual orientation of their children and react accordingly. Quo wants very much to believe that a child responds to a distant father and consequently becomes gay.

You both are presenting support for your arguments. But, unfortunately, I believe that you both are also overstating your case.

Quo’s single source for correlation (which we will review) does not prove causation.

And your examples of the ability to detect the orientation of some adults does not prove that ALL (or even most) adults can be detected or that such detection is present in children.

I would caution both of you to avoid claiming more than is supported by your evidence.

As an illustration, let’s look at an example you provided. Recordings of 17 gay men and 8 straight men were provided in a study. Participants were correct in determining orientation 62% of the time.

So it can be said that based on this study, when someone was actively trying to identify orientation, on average about 15 to 16 of the 25 fit their stereotype.

Let’s look at those numbers, starting with the extremes:

Assuming that participants were never able to identify the 8 straight men and got all of them wrong. This would result in correct identification of about 90% of the gay men. This would tell us that virtually EVERYONE (24 of the 25) sounded gay.

Or, the other extreme is that all of the straight men were correctly identified as straight and that about 44% of gay men sound gay. This means that less than half of gay men were vocally detectable.

The real result is in between. Some percentage of gay men in the study “sound gay” – probably more than half. And some percentage of straight men sound gay. But while vocal clues certainly are helpful (62% is more than 50%), they are not an accurate determinant on which we can rely.

The same analysis can be done on any of the other studies to reveal that orientation can be detected on a more-than-guesswork basis. I think that is a consistent finding – especially with studies done in a college setting and with participants that are actively trying to detect orientation.

But those same studies that suggest that social/visual/vocal clues are useful also prove that they are not completely accurate. Were they accurate, results would be 100% rather than 62%.

Additionally, we need to consider whether these cues (walking, talking, etc.) are inherent or acquired social group mannerisms. In other words, are vocal patterns in a gay man who lives in a gay ghetto with all gay friends the same as the vocal patterns of a gay man who lives in a small town and has all or mostly straight friends?

If not, then studies which draw from predominantly urban populations may exaggerate the extent to which detection of orientation is possible.

I think it is fair to say that some, maybe many, gay men portray some characteristics that fit stereotypes.

But we cannot extrapolate that to say that “orientation can be detected”.

Timothy Kincaid
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Also, Timothy, if you’re willing to “state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.”” tell that to the 75% of observers who were able to determine a man’s orientation by the sound of his voice.

Priya Lynn,

You are misunderstanding the results.

It wasn’t that 75% of observers could detect orientation all of the time. Rather, it was that “75 percent of gay men sounded gay to a general audience”. In other words, 25% did not.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Not an important distinction Timothy, it still adds up to the same thing – a casual observer can frequently tell a person’s orientation without knowing it in advance. Given the prevelance of examples of this, its a no-brainer that a non-casual observer, a father who’s observed every aspect of a child for years on end, could tell a child’s sexual orientation. You inadvertantly acknowledged this yourself when you pointed out that gender atypical behavior is correlated with gayness. Gender atypical behavior is something that’s readily apparent to a father.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, sometimes its apparent that its more important to you to find fault with what I say than it is for you to speak truth to the issues at hand – gayness is readily apparent to people much of the time and this makes it much more likely that gay sons cause distant fathers than vice versa.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

I missed Timothy’s previous comment.

He said “And your examples of the ability to detect the orientation of some adults does not prove that ALL (or even most) adults can be detected”

I never said it did. The only point I, and the evidence, is making is that frequently orientation can be detected, frequently enough that it accounts for the correlation of distant fathers with gayness.

Timothy said “or that such detection is present in children.”.

While the studies I presented didn’t deal with children, you yourself pointed out that gender atypical behavior in children is correlated with gayness. You can attempt to make the case that gender atypical behavior isn’t apparent to fathers, but that would be decidedly the less likely case and if, as Quo would like to do, you want to insist in case after case of studies suggest a biological cause to gayness that the unlikely result that biological correlations are due to behavior causing physical changes, at some point you have to say “taking the unlikelier possibility over and over at some point becomes so unlikely as to be utterly implausible”.

Timothy said “I think it is fair to say that some, maybe many, gay men portray some characteristics that fit stereotypes. But we cannot extrapolate that to say that “orientation can be detected”.”

But of course, yes we can, the studies prove that in some cases orientation can be detected, there is no other way to account for the results. You seem to be hung up on the straw man that I’ve claimed orientation can always or almost always be detected. I have not stated any such thing. Even if gayness were detectable only, say 30% or 40% of the time by a casual observer that would be enough to allow fathers to detect gay sons frequently enough to result in a correlation. And once again, given the evidence that gayness can frequently be detected by an observation of a few minutes or even seconds, fathers observing every aspect of a child’s behavior for years on end are certainly going to be able to detect a child’s gayness much of the time.

Timothy Kincaid
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I appreciate that you are now using qualifiers such as “some” or “much of”.

While such words may not seem as definitive, they are more accurate.

Jason D
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, I think you set off the firestorm with this comment (bold is mine for help):

“Also, I am willing to state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.”

One must be careful not to speak in absolutes unless one actually has absolute proof.

I have at least half a dozen examples from my life of myself perceiving someone’s sexual orientation merely by observing them. Later I was able to confirm my perceptions in one way or another (keep your mind out of the gutter, Mr. Kincaid!) :P

I am not specifically talking about effeminate gestures or speech. I’m talking about the little known phenomenon called “gaydar” in which you can detect someone’s homosexuality without any obvious signs. I’m sure I’m not the only gay man who’s experienced this, and I find it hard to believe that you, yourself have not happened upon this experience at least once in your life so far. You mean to say you’ve never seen someone at a party, and thought to yourself “He/she looks straight, sounds straight, but somehow I ‘know’ they’re not.” ?

Perhaps you meant to say that it’s impossible to perceive someone’s gayness with certainty by merely observing them. That would be fair. After all, until the person comes out to you, or comes on to you, or introduces you to their partner, or you happen to see them sneaking out of a bathhouse at 1am repeatedly, you really are just “guessing”.

We give a lot away in casual conversation, in our posture, walk, and other ways that people pick up both consciously and subconsciously. To think sexuality cannot be in there somewhere as well seems rather odd. Priya’s examples don’t point to gaydar being foolproof, or an exact science, but they do indicate that it is possible in some fashion to perceive someone’s sexual orientation. In fact, some of these indicate that there may possibly be a subconscious signal (pheremones?) that gay and straight people give off to help identify each other. Perhaps not, but even though gaydar may not be very reliable, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Here’s the problem I have with the positions Timothy’s taken:

He said “I am willing to state with certainty that “its impossible for anyone to perceive another person’s gayness merely by observing them.””

contrasted with:

“So while it is true that some gay people are detectable – and I would guess that this is especially true of those who had a distant relationship with their father…”

or when Timothy said “I think it is fair to say that some, maybe many, gay men portray some characteristics that fit stereotypes. But we cannot extrapolate that to say that “orientation can be detected”.”

contrasted with:

“And your examples of the ability to detect the orientation of some adults does not prove that ALL (or even most) adults can be detected”

Timothy’s first statement claimed an omniscience about this subject that is god-like given his total lack of evidence to support the idea that orientation cannot be detected. He acknowleded this lack of evidence when he asked “are vocal patterns in a gay man who lives in a gay ghetto with all gay friends the same as the vocal patterns of a gay man who lives in a small town and has all or mostly straight friends?”.

In light of the things he admits he doesn’t know, it is the epitome of unsientific for him to have previously claimed to be “certain” that gayness detection is “impossible”.

Timothy Kincaid
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

This is becoming tiresome.

No one is gifted with the ability to detect sexual orientation in others. We may make educated guesses, we may rely on stereotypes or subconscious clues or glints in the eye, but no one can “perceive gayness” in anyone else.

If anyone has evidence that there is a living soul with this unique capability, present it. Otherwise Let’s get back to the topic on the thread.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

No one said it can be done with certainty all the time, but there is all manner of evidence that it can be done some of the time – you acknowledged as much yourself.

Quo
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Eric,

You suggest that, “Both conditions (the distant father and the homosexuality of the son) could be caused by an unidentified third factor instead of one causing the other.”

A third factor such as what, exactly? No one has ever suggested what that might be, so excuse me if I reject that idea as idle speculation.

That sons who become gay make their fathers distant may of course be true in many cases, but it only counts against Nicolosi if it is combined with the (implausible) assumption that homosexuality is 100% biologically determined. Otherwise, it might be the case that sons who become gay make their fathers distant because of their effeminate behaviour, and that this distant relationship then causes the sons to become homosexual. That the effeminate behaviour might be biologically innate doesn’t mean that this must also be true of the homosexuality.

Priya,

I never said that according to France “there was no research on gays between 1973 and 1991″, I said that according to him there was no important research on sexual orientation in that period. He does say that, and he is completely wrong. You are showing your ignorance with your comments about the Bell and Weinberg study; it was devoted to testing theories about how sexual orientation is caused.

Your comments about sample size don’t deserve a response, and neither do your trivial attempts to pick apart real or perceived contraditions in other people’s comments.

Timothy,

The “single source” was a review of 58 studies performed over some 50 years.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

That sons who become gay make their fathers distant may of course be true in many cases, but it only counts against Nicolosi if it is combined with the (implausible) assumption that homosexuality is 100% biologically determined. Otherwise, it might be the case that sons who become gay make their fathers distant because of their effeminate behaviour, and that this distant relationship then causes the sons to become homosexual. That the effeminate behaviour might be biologically innate doesn’t mean that this must also be true of the homosexuality.

This is utterly muddled and nonsensical. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that gayness has to be 100% biological for gay sons to cause distant fathers and it is not implausible that gayness is primarily biological.

That you’d foolishly attempt to deny the obvious contradictions in other’s comments is no surprise given your willful blindness to reality.

Quo
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

Oh, so you can’t understand what I said, then? I didn’t say that ” gayness has to be 100% biological for gay sons to cause distant fathers “, I said something completely different, the point of which you (unsurprisingly) can’t grasp.

Priya Lynn
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Quo, only you can “understand” what you said.

BeckySue in Poway
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Désirée,
In response to your statement that the distant fathers theory fails because it does not explain lesbianism:

Janelle Hallman writes in her book The Heart of Female Same Sex Attraction about her observations from 20 years of counseling homosexuals with the last 10 years focusing on lesbian clients. She presents “common traits and experiences” of her clientele as a suggestion of “how each factor may have influence within the context of many other factors and processes.” She does this while stressing that every woman with SSA is unique and also by recognizing that her clientele is a self selected population that may not represent the general lesbian community.

She acknowledges “underlying indeterminable genetic or hormonal influences,” while observing “on a fairly consistent basis, the following exceptional, and quite probable, inherited characteristics and personality traits …1) ..above average intelligence. 2) ..are profoundly sensitive and attuned to other people and relational dynamics. 3) ..observant and curious with a propensity to ponder analyze and reflect. 4) ..exhibit gender nonconforming abilities and interests. 5) ..have an innate sense of justice. 6) ..are gifted and talented; their creativity is far reaching. 7) .. have a high level of energy and are adventurous and often athletic.

That being said, Janelle describes developmental categories of attachment, formation of self, gender identity and socialization in which her clients are often extremely conflicted. Under the “attachment” subheading, she writes of maternal patterns for the lesbian daughter as being a “relational dynamic” that is on “the extreme ends of a continuum from connectedness to separateness.”

For the enmeshed dynamic client, mother was experienced as weak or needy. For the relationally distant mother daughter dynamic, mother never seemed “truly present.” Of one such client, Janelle wrote, “For most of her life her heart’s cry has been directed toward other women, asking ‘Do you see me? Do you care?’” Janelle for her part attempts to provide that “home” for her clients, that “safe” place where she can just be.

John
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

Quo posted something a while ago that indicated he lived in South Africa. Don’t know why he would be worried about anyone knowing what country he was posting from, especially a country as large as South Africa.

I find it odd that so much time and effort is being expended on this “distant father” arguement.

It really distracts from the more relevant issue that Nicolosi and all the other therapists out there who claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation have utterly failed. Not one of them can produce convincing evidence of sexual orientation change. Nicolosi doesn’t even try.

So, I guess regardless of whether it is purely biological or has some enviornmental influence, it would appear that sexual orientation is unchangeable and spending time on these sexual re-orientation ventures seems a tragic waste of time, money and emotional energy. These men would be better off trying to find peace with who they are and living a life that they can be proud of.

BeckySue in Poway
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

John,
What in your mind constitutes evidence?

Timothy Kincaid
December 9th, 2009 | LINK

BeckySue,

Mark Yarhouse and Stanton Jones conducted a seven year study of Exodus participants. The results are in:

Conclusions
Based on the Jones and Yarhouse book, Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, and on their follow up report, Ex-Gays? An Extended Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, we can observe the following:

  • The prospective sample reported, on average, virtually no change in attractions and a small increase in homosexual behavior.
  • A retrospective look at ones perceptions of prior orientation from the perspective of one to three years yields a sharply different result from that seen by a prospective sample. This change in perspective may account for all reported change in Exodus ministries.
  • Most change reported away from homosexuality and towards heterosexuality was in the interval between the starting point (T1) and the second measurement point (T2). This change occurred most strongly in the retrospective sample and may be due to variances in recollection.
  • A combined prospective and retrospective sample experienced, on average, no significant increase in opposite sex attraction.
  • A small percentage (perhaps 9%) of those who start Exodus programs may eventually self-categorize themselves as “experiencing substantial reductions in homosexual attraction and substantial conversion to heterosexual attraction and functioning. These persons will be unlike other heterosexuals in that they will continue to experience homosexual arousal and not experience much attraction to the opposite sex.
  • Another small percentage (perhaps 11%) of those who start Exodus programs may eventually achieve a life of manageable homosexual attraction and chastity.
  • Others may continue perpetually in Exodus programs without ever achieving any significantly reduced homosexual attractions.
  • Eventually, most of those who start Exodus programs will drop out.
  • On average, for each person who enters and Exodus program and finds any movement away from homosexual attraction, another will find movement towards homosexual attraction.
Eric in Oakland
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

@ John,

I think the claim of homosexuality being caused by bad parenting is almost as significant to the Ex-gay agenda as the claim that sexual orientation can be changed. It encourages people to mistakenly believe that they can prevent children from growing up to be gay. It also produces misguided guilt on the part of parents of gay children and resentment of homophobic gays toward their parents.

@ Quo,

“You suggest that, ‘Both conditions (the distant father and the homosexuality of the son) could be caused by an unidentified third factor instead of one causing the other.’ A third factor such as what, exactly? No one has ever suggested what that might be, so excuse me if I reject that idea as idle speculation.”

What does whether someone has suggested it previously have to do with whether it is possible? I was simply explaining why correlation is not necessarily evidence of causation. For instance, I once lived in a town where the alchohol consumption dramatically increased at the same time there were many more dogs in public. Does this mean that the presence of dogs causes people to consume alchohol? No. Both occurances were the result of an annual dog show.

“That sons who become gay make their fathers distant may of course be true in many cases, but it only counts against Nicolosi if it is combined with the (implausible) assumption that homosexuality is 100% biologically determined.”

That is what logicians call a False Dichotomy. Even if homosexuality did not have ANY biological factors, it would not add an ounce of support to Nicolosi’s “theory”.

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