A Fishing Expedition to “Cure” the Gay: Bad Parents? Difficult Birth? Freemasonry?

Jim Burroway

January 31st, 2010

Patrick Strudwick, a British reporter for the Independent, went under cover posing as a gay man wanting to be cured. His journey began at at a conference in London last spring put on by Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. From there, Patrick underwent “therapy” with one of Nicolosi’s acolytes:

She begins her wound hunt by asking about my family. I tell her that I have a close relationship with my parents and that they always gave me huge amounts of love, so I didn’t understand why Nicolosi says that homosexuality is caused by inadequate parenting. “Well, there was something happening within your family dynamics that led to your depression,” she says.

Lynne explains that people only identify as gay when they are already depressed. “There’s a confusion, there’s an anxiety, there’s a lot of pain,” she says. “Often the thought can be, ‘Oh I’m confused about my sexuality so I must be gay’.” She says that at the heart of homosexuality is a “deep isolation”, which is, she says, “where God needs to be”.

“Did you have a difficult birth?” she asks. No, I say. Why?

“It’s just something I have noticed. Often [with homosexuality] it is quite traumatic, the baby was put into intensive care and because of the separation from the mother there can be that lack of attachment.”

She moves on. “Any Freemasonry in the family?” No, I say, again asking her to elaborate. “Because that often encourages it as well. It has a spiritual effect on males and it often comes out as SSA.”

When you catch a cold, you generally know you caught it from a virus. Bipolar bipolar, Schizeophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome can be caused by a number of things — typically biological in the first two, specific stressors in the third. But rarely when dealing with a real pathology is one forced to undergo a wide-ranging fishing expedition where any insignificant detail can then become the thing that causes everything to go wrong. And if they can’t find what they’re looking for — Freemasonry? Really? — they’ll just keep digging, even if nothing is there:

I began to constantly analyse why I found particular men attractive. Does that man represent something that’s lacking in me? Do I want him because he looks strong which must mean I feel weak? Did something happen in my childhood? The therapists planted doubt and worry where there was none.

My experiences, I learn, are typical. I speak to Daniel Gonzalez, one of Nicolosi’s former clients. “Conversion therapy is a very complicated form of repression,” he says. “It’s a way of convincing yourself that your same sex attractions have some alternate meaning. It continued to haunt me for years.”

I also speak to Peterson Toscano, who spent 17 years in Britain and the US trying every different reorientation treatment available. He says simply: “It’s psychological torture.”


January 31st, 2010

This is why you don’t go to a therapist who does not have an evidence-based practice.


February 1st, 2010

Since Patrick Strudwick is heterosexual, what is the fact that he didn’t have stereotypical bad relationships with his parents supposed to prove about Nicolosi’s theories about homosexuality? If he was trying to inform the ex-gay movement that not all gay men necessarily fit Nicolosi’s theories, then he was wasting his time since they have, I’m sure, heard it all before. Nicolosi has said that there are numerous ways that people can become gay, so the fact that some gay people did not have stereotypical bad relationships with mom and dad doesn’t disprove his ideas.

By the way, has no one noticed that Strudwick’s behavior in pretending to gay and trying to get cured was unethical and stupid?

Lynn David

February 1st, 2010

About par for the course….

Lynn David

February 1st, 2010

Strudwick is gay if you believe the article; he says so in the first paragraph.

In Britain today therapists are trying to convert gay men and women to heterosexuality. I know this, because for several months I infiltrated this network of therapists and put myself – a happy, “out” gay man – through treatment.


February 1st, 2010

I stand corrected then – I’m getting him confused with someone else. His behaviour was definitely dishonest, however.


February 1st, 2010

He is, as he describes himself, a happy, “out” gay journalist, posing as a gay man who is unhappy with his sexuality and wants to change it, in order to investigate what the “conversion” therapists are up to.

He is therefore, as you say, Quo, being dishonest – as dishonest as if he were posing as a terrorist in order to investigate Al-Qaeda, or posing as a paedophile in order to investigate NAMBLA.


February 1st, 2010

It’s called investigative journalism.


February 1st, 2010

I should also add that Patrick Strudwick has protected the personal privacy of the soi-disant therapists in his article by changing their names, and that, if they are honest and sincere in their endeavours, they should have no objection to their methods being exposed to public scrutiny.

Regan DuCasse

February 1st, 2010


…Nicolosi says “there are numerous ways a person can become gay.”

First of all, I’ve had more than a few rounds with Nicolosi when he was being interviewed on Sean Hannity’s show.

My questions were simple and tested his THEORIES, not FACTS, and lo, he decided to not answer them.

The point here is Quo, that NONE of what Nicolosi passes as medical or psychiatric fact or peer accepted is any of those things.

The FACTS are, that heterosexuality and homosexuality are caused by the SAME biological factors involving sexual orientation.
End of issue.

There isn’t a credible doctor in this world or credible psychiatric or medical peer body that should or would allow a doctor to tell you something is wrong with an individual when there isn’t, or a group of people are rendered inferior and worthy of socio/political discrimination and bigotry because of their orientation.

Nicolosi engages in some very unethical standards and practices and when he’s broached by interested persons, he balks or gets angry.

Mostly, he avoids those sorts of situations.

To tell you the truth QUO, the ONLY way you can investigate ex gay therapists and groups IS to go undercover.
They don’t allow investigation, they don’t have reporters or anything like that to observe or interview anyone involved with their work.

They require paid entrance to their seminars, or lecture tours, that are usually attended by the family and clergy of gay people as much as gay individuals. You have to buy their books, DVD’s and CD’s. These materials are not given away, even to peers for observation or investigation OR to journalists interested in covering their public forums.

Ex gay programs are tightly closed, specifically to avoid scrutiny.

So this reporter had no other choice but to use what tactics he could.

Considering how many of these programs are run by unlicensed, or unethical people, how many of them engage very young teens who are vulnerable to abuse, they deserve intense scrutiny.
Indeed, to be shut down altogether.

It’s not Strudwick who is dishonest, but people like Nicolosi.
After all, there is no widespread danger and risk in what Strudwick did, but the same cannot be said for ex gay programs, who they target and the not insignificant profit they make from exploiting insecurity, pain and mental anguish THEY help to foment.

Ben in Oakland

February 1st, 2010

Quo– really. Dishonesty is one of your concerns?

Nicolosi: I made all this stuff up, I have no basis for it, it contradicts everything that is known, yaddayaddayadda freemasons are evil yaddayaddayadda, even my star pupil aka quo is still as gay as a goose, i have no cures to present, yaddayaddayadda…

and oyu accuse the reporter of dishonestY?


February 1st, 2010

Anybody else bothered by the fact that “reparative” therapy and anti-gay beliefs are the only US exports that aren’t taxed?


February 1st, 2010

Nicolosi says “there are numerous ways a person can become gay.”

Yes. He FISHES for them, exactly like that guy on television to talks to the dead relatives of people in his studio audience.

Nicolosi: “I picking up something about Jack And The Bean Stalk from someone here.

Audience: (silent)

Nicolosi: …something about tall plants..

Audience: (silence)

Nicolosi: …someone is communicating plant – or maybe green-something…

Girl: (raising hand) My grandpa whom I grew close to was nicknamed “Greenie”

Nicolosi: Ah!!! And you miss him. Yes, I’m picking that up and something about “outdoors”. What is the “outdoors”.

Girl: (In tears) Oh my God! Oh my God! Yes. That’s it! Oh I can’t believe this!

Nicolosi: He’s abandoned you and I’m getting that he wants to comfort your and say he’s so sorry.

Girl: Oh yes. Thank you Grandpa. I love you!

Nicolosi: He’s gone. He’s at peace now. What was that all about, young lady?

Girl: My grandpa went fishing last Friday and didn’t take me with him and this girlfriend… Well she’s not really a girlfriend, just someone I know that I had blew off and unfriended on Facebook. She told me he had died and my family just couldn’t bring themselves to tell me so the said he went fishing.

Nicolosi: Is he dead?

Girl: No. He’s sitting in the car right now waiting for me to finish this session. He didn’t apologize for not taking me fishing with him but now he has! Oh my God!!!! Thank you Grandpa. I’ll leave at the commercial break. I love you! Apology accepted!


February 1st, 2010

I find it odd that Quo, who in the past has strongly argued that parents have the right to have their kids sexually abused, would be at all concerned about a little dishonesty employed in the interest of exposing a thoroughly dishonest and disreputable industry like the ex-gay industry.

Nicolosi is about the most dishonest person around. He pretends to be an expert on helping gay men to change their sexual orientation, but has never produced any evidence to back up his claims. He even makes a living off these lies, just like snake oil salesmen of yore.

The entire ex-gay industry is based on the lie that people can and should change their sexual orientation. It further demands that people like Randy Thomas, Alan Chambers and all the professional ex-gays lie to the public about their supposed sexual orientation. Yet in less guarded moments, Alan Chambers will admit to his daily struggle to keep from straying, and Randy Thomas reports on the pluses and minuses of various computer NetNannies that he uses to keep himself “accountable.”

Straight guys don’t need to put that sort of effort into avoiding gay temptation. Their complete lack of interest is sufficient.

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2010

His prognosis is optimistic. “One third of people change completely,” he says, “one third of people experience significant change, and one third don’t experience change.

This is becoming the standard claim. And yet there is nothing at all whatsoever to support it.

I’ve never ever heard of anyone with a credible “change completely” story. No one.

If you have to have locks on your computers, parts of town you can’t visit, “accountability partners”, a strict dress code, and a constant struggle with sex dreams, wandering eyes, and endless temptation, you haven’t “experienced complete change”.


February 1st, 2010

Something I found particularly bothersome was Lynn’s refusal to accept Patrick’s answers. When he tells her that his family was loving, she still insists that the family dynamic must have been off, and even cites his teenage depression as “proof.” The problem is, there are multiple reasons why someone might be depressed, and an unhealthy family dynamic is only one of them. But she insists that a poor family dynamic must be cause the cause because it fits her model.

This gets even worse when she starts asking him about sexual abuse:

“Yes that’s different though from ‘do you like yourself?’ Deep underneath this there’s other stuff we need to get to. I think you must have had quite a lot of bullying.” No, I say. “There was no sexual abuse?” she asks, leaning in and squinting again. No, I repeat. “I think it will be there,” she replies, dropping her voice to a concerned tone. “It does need to come to the surface.”

And so, she prays for me again. “Father, we give you permission to bring to the surface some of the things that have happened over the years. Father, enable your love to pour into that place of isolation in that little boy, whatever age, we give you permission to go there, with your healing power and your light, go into those parts, open all the doors, and access each one with your light.”

Apparently, Lynn needs a refresher course on the problems with “Recovered Memory Syndrome.” What she’s doing here is quite dangerous. I also am under the impression that it borders on the unethical. And again, this is all about her insisting that her patient’s past must meet the predefined pattern Nicolosi gave her to work with.

And the whole “take up a sport” tactic always makes me roll my eyes. Quite frankly, my lack of interest in sports has far more to do with the fact that my lazy eye makes playing sports difficult at best than my sexual orientation. If “turning straight” relies on me doing something I’m phenomenally bad at and will continue to be phenomenally bad at, then that’s enough reason for me to never want to try.

Then again, I have plenty of other reasons why I don’t want to try. The biggest one being that I find nothing wrong with being gay.


February 1st, 2010

Regan DuCasse:

I’ve had more than a few rounds with Nicolosi when he was being interviewed on Sean Hannity’s show.

How recent was this?

Jason D

February 1st, 2010

“His prognosis is optimistic. “One third of people change completely,” he says, “one third of people experience significant change, and one third don’t experience change.”

This is becoming the standard claim. And yet there is nothing at all whatsoever to support it.

I’ve never ever heard of anyone with a credible “change completely” story. No one.

That’s because you don’t see the invisible asterix that connects to 8 pages of footnotes concerning the redefinition of “change” to mean “denial of reality” and the intricately “complex heterosexuality” of ex-gays.


February 1st, 2010

Jarred, you’ve highlighted an important point when you mention Lynn’s citing of Patrick’s teenage depression as “proof” that the “family dynamic must have been off”. Patrick specifically told her that “I was depressed as a teenager because I feared I would face prejudice for the rest of my life.” That will seem to most reasonable people a perfectly adequate explanation, but Lynn refused to accept it – apparently solely because it didn’t bolster up her dogmatic beliefs on the subject.

This reminds me of another aspect of the matter that I don’t remember seeing treated anywhere, except briefly in Don Clarke’s “Loving Someone Gay”. I no longer possess this book – I got rid of it during one of the periodic “weedings out” that I have when my bookshelves become too full – so I can only quote from memory, not verbatim. Clarke wrote something like this:

“It is during these years that many gay teenagers start to build an invisible wall between themselves and their parents. It is built for protection. They have listened carefully and have found no sign that their parents are likely to be supportive if their sexual orientation is discovered….Parents wonder why their offspring have become so uncommunicative.”

At the time when I was a teenager this was more or less inevitable, and I’m sure that it still is for many today, although I’m delighted that many gay teenagers now feel able to knock the wall down much earlier than I was able to do. However that may be, it seems to me that any theory which links family dynamics to the supposed causation of homosexuality, and which fails to take full account of this “invisible wall” phenomenon, is ipso facto null and void.


February 1st, 2010

This David guy is clearly not cured at all if he’s so blatantly hitting on his own patients!

And freemasonry? LOL.. talk about major reaching..

Complete nutjobs. All of them.

Regan DuCasse

February 1st, 2010

Hi Cowboy,
It was maybe eight years or so ago. Maybe longer. It was about the time Nicolosi’s book “How To Prevent Homosexuality In Your Child” came out.
That was the first time I had a long talk with Wayne Besen and gotten to know him since.

A short time before this, I had been trying to find out exactly WHAT this ex gay therapy and so on was.
I went so far as to contact Living Waters and Desert Stream and it was VERY difficult to get anyone to tell me about it and their methods and so on just as an interested party.

I thought that considering they have billboards, ads and all manner of claims that it works and THOUSANDS of people are living proof, I would have thought they’d be proud and show off exactly what they did and present more than the same people over and over again as examples.

But they don’t operate like that. Especially in forums THEY don’t control or feel are as conservatively anti gay as they are, like Sean Hannity.

One of my questions to Nicolosi was based on his weak father, strong mother meme.
He was really pushing that.
So I asked him, as a black woman, given his assertion, why there wasn’t a disproportionate amount of black men who were gay.
Many black children, especially boys ARE raised by single black mothers, very strong ones the successful black men will attest.
Or why, in definitively patriarchal societies like Orthodox Jews or Chinese families, homosexuality remains a constant without female based influence.

He chose to not answer me, behaved as if I hadn’t asked it.
And even Hannity tried to get him to go back to that, and he didn’t.
So there ya go.
That was just one example.

My biggest point is, what’s the big frigging DEAL about being heterosexual?
You still might have relationship/dating issues. Parenthood and professional problems regardless.

Heterosexuality doesn’t make the kinds of things that make all of the above unsatisfactory suddenly go away.
You can still be a sex fiend, have issues with alcohol or prescription drugs, your kids could still hate you.

And you still can go bald or have saggy body parts.

Heterosexuality is NO magic bullet for what your failures…or triumphs are.
The main difference is less scrutiny and having to answer to something you’re not responsible for at every turn.

It’s not such a big deal being a heterosexual and I REALLY wish the ex gay industry would quit making it out to be something to do with one’s virtue or character when it isn’t.
It simply isn’t blamed for one’s character WEAKNESS.
Homosexuality isn’t THE weakness.
No matter what the Nicolosi’s of the world like to say.

It’s a similar folly like making dark skin or femininity or what it’s defined as, AS a part of one’s character and a flawed one at that.

Sexual orientation is SUCH a superficial thing for the ex gay industry to focus on.

Another sexual orientation worth studying is ASEXUALITY. I’ve read more articles and looked at what asexuals felt about themselves and their place in society.
And there are some who are attracted to their same gender too, interestingly.
They just aren’t attracted to sex at all.
Now would Nicolosi try and call these people immoral or harmful to society?
Would he support programs to force them into programs to make them like sex, or face the consequences of a life in hostile distrust from society?

Why no interest in making people who don’t like sex, fake it or feel utterly horrible otherwise?

I’ve been curious about the question of what it would take to make a heterosexual feel attraction for sex with their same sex?
Has Nicolosi made any COMPARISONS to what it would require and the effect of that?

Besides, all one really has to do is ask a straight person what it would take to make them gay and if they say they’d rather be set on fire, they answer their own question about how NOT a choice it is to be gay, and what it would take to NEVER change at all.


February 1st, 2010

Ray, your “fishing” story was a work of art, hilarious and utterly accurate.


February 1st, 2010

The therapist in question is actually committing insurance fraud. Doubtless, that escaped your notice since faith comes with the license to behave like a sociopath if you’re doing “God’s will.”

Timothy (TRiG)

February 2nd, 2010

I just wanted to join Tara in applauding Ray. Brilliance.


Joseph O'Leary

February 2nd, 2010

Is deception such as the journalist practiced defensible? In the case of an evil cult, a good case can be made for such espionage. The pretended “patient” in any case seems to have offered an honest presentation of his “symptoms”, leaving it up to the “therapist” to reveal her monstrous mode of thinking. A gay friend of mine in Japan was sent to a shrink by his Catholic mother, and was told it was his mother who should see him. In the USA she would no doubt have been guided to quacks like Nicolosi.


February 2nd, 2010

Thanks Ms. DuCasse. I was just asking because Sean Hannity is so revered by so many of my co-workers.

I, too, am getting tired of heterosexuals believing how superior they are. Just last week I went to lunch with a friend and she mentioned that if I were to shack up with another guy and try to adopt or have surrogate kids via some lesbian (as in the news here in Utah lately) we should give up any thought of raising children. The reasoning: Kids in school would be unmerciful with teasing anyone from a non-heterosexual household.

George Bingham

February 2nd, 2010

I think the thing that makes religious people think they are superior (especially to G&Ls) is “sanctification”. Because of their faith and “adherence” to biblical “truths”, they are morally superior to the abominations that they think Gays and Lesbians are. Therefore, whatever they think and do to “help” us unfortunate hellbound perverts is “good”.

IF kids growing up into SSA had not been subjected to society’s prejudice all of their lives already, then I think the normal development of gay & lesbian teens would mirror heteros much more closely than it does now. I.e. in general, gays and lesbians would date normally, drift into longer term relationships as they mature, and generally choose a life partner to marry.

Of course, no one is perfect and there will be breakups and divorces – just as there are in the hetero communities, but in general, I bet there would be little difference between how straights live and how gays live.

I think the above paragraphs are analogous to MLKs “I have a dream” speech, and I do think society is heading that way… just not as quickly as we’d like for it to.

B John

February 2nd, 2010

Ray, you nailed it. I was just remembering Ms. Cleo of TV Ad fame, and thinking maybe this therapist got her start working in the Ms. Cleo phone bank.


February 3rd, 2010

I’d just like to draw attention to the news that, according to the UK’s Pink News website, the psychiatrist whom Patrick Strudwick called “David” in his article in The Independent is the same “very lovely psychiatrist” who Mrs Iris Robinson said works with her and who she said is very good at “curing” gays. See:


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