31 responses

  1. kelly
    July 18, 2011

    So if Blatt read just one of these reports then your whole post is bunk? What a sad mission you guys are on.

  2. dave
    July 18, 2011

    Ex gays are as real as god.

  3. TampaZeke
    July 18, 2011

    AND, curiously (or conveniently), NO ONE bothered to check back in with these “success” stories five or ten years later.

    Yarhouse’s “study” had no other purpose than to attempt to lend desperately needed “objective” “credibility” to a snake oil industry that had been roundly and thoroughly debunked by every profession medical and psychiatric association in the country and was getting a lot of bad press.

    And Kelly, sugar-plum, you just seem pitiful, sad and a bit crazy trolling Box Turtle Bulletin every day. Is it your personal compulsion or are you on the payroll of Exodus or NARTH?

  4. William
    July 18, 2011

    @ kelly:

    “What a sad mission you guys are on.”

    What mission would that be? And what is your own mission, by the way?

  5. jpeckjr
    July 18, 2011

    Mr. Burroway, thank you for this post. I am not going to take the time to read any of these studies, so I appreciate that someone does.

    I have three main impressions.

    First, underlying all of this discussion is the “orientation vs. behavior” debate, the perspective that homosexuality is a behavior one can choose while heterosexuality is an orientation one cannot choose.

    This data, as small as the samples are, actually supports the perspective that both homosexuality and heterosexuality are orientations upon which one can act. Jones and Yarhouse acknowledge this themselves: “they (converts) did not report their heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated.”

    Second, every sample that is mentioned is too small to reach a conclusion that is applicable to the general populations of homosexual persons.

    Third, if “conversion” is defined as going from “I’m troubled about my homosexuality” to “I’m troubled about my heterosexuality,” the person is still troubled about their life.

    Does that seem like a desired outcome for a therapeutic process? Is “we’ve helped thousands of people move from being messed up gay to being messed up straight” something to boast about?

  6. Timothy Kincaid
    July 18, 2011

    Zeke

    Yarhouse’s “study” had no other purpose than to attempt to lend desperately needed “objective” “credibility” to a snake oil industry that had been roundly and thoroughly debunked by every profession medical and psychiatric association in the country and was getting a lot of bad press.

    Yes, I’m sure that was his intent, but in the process he discovered that orientation doesn’t change much and, to his credit, he did acknowledge as much. Sadly, he still continues to allow himself to be misquoted and his findings distorted. I think he is a man who is torn between the truth and his religious affiliations.

  7. Priya Lynn
    July 18, 2011

    JPeck said “First, underlying all of this discussion is the “orientation vs. behavior” debate, the perspective that homosexuality is a behavior one can choose while heterosexuality is an orientation one cannot choose.”.

    I agree that this is what many anti-gays believe but miss the logical fallacy in the belief – if one can choose gayness then it necessarily follows that one can choose heterosexuality.

  8. Ben In Oakland
    July 18, 2011

    Kelly– you still haven’t answered the sad question.

    Whom do you work for?

  9. Kevin
    July 18, 2011

    I’m sorry I did not read this entire post, as it probably deserved. Looks like a lot of work went into analyzing various “studies.” But I just cannot take them seriously, as studies, because none have been peer-reviewed. No social science hypothesis is worth dissemination without that.

  10. B. Daniel Blatt
    July 18, 2011

    I read two different studies, one in the early 1990s by a friend of mine who wrote a paper exposing the fraud of Paul Cameron. (I will be e-mailing asking him to e-mail me a copy of his research so I can more accurately.)

    The latter study was something I read just after I started blogging (so sometime in late 2004, early 2005).

    When I wrote the post you reference and link, it was late at night and I didn’t feel the need to consult either study for the primary reason that the main point of the post was something you get early on in your commentary that “reported success rates are likely highly self-selecting and consisting of those whose sexuality is more fluid that those who don’t seek to change.”

    As I edited the piece, I kept added caveats, notably the parenthetical about the numbers being inflated. Like you, I wanted to make clear that I do not believe that 33% figure to be accurate.

    The key issue (as I see it) is the self-selection. Those who seek such treatment may simply have a less fixed sexuality (than ours). I had meant to link this post, Alexander’s Erotic Impulses & Human Sexuality at the end of the post in question, but due to the hour (of posting) neglected to do so. (I will correct this oversight forthwith.)

    I should also note that if you want accuracy of information, it may not be a good idea to cite Kinsey whose methodology has been called into question.

  11. TampaZeke
    July 18, 2011

    “Third, if “conversion” is defined as going from “I’m troubled about my homosexuality” to “I’m troubled about my heterosexuality,” the person is still troubled about their life.

    “Does that seem like a desired outcome for a therapeutic process?”

    Bing, Bing, Bing!

    Quote of the day!

    Great point. Just brilliant!

    Kudos jpeckjr.

  12. Kelly
    July 18, 2011

    You’ll have to take my word for it but my participation is wholly individual and I have never had any relationship or communication with any of the groups or individuals mentioned. I am simply fed up with theta agenda’s fabrications and propaganda. Now they are micro managing textbook content through the legislature. They must be exposed and stopped.

  13. Allen
    July 18, 2011

    Kelly, who are “they”? And what is this “agenda” you speak of that is fabricating and spreading propaganda?

    At least here the only person who seems to be spreading what could be called propaganda would be you, and you’ve been doing it under several different names.

  14. Priya Lynn
    July 18, 2011

    Kelly/elsa/evil Becky/omar/tom you claimed on Truth Wins Out you posted under different names to avoid censurship and denied you were doing so to deceive people into thinking several people agreed with you. What’s your reason for posting under different names on this blog?

    Kelly/elsa/evil Becky/omar/tom said ” I am simply fed up with theta agenda’s fabrications and propaganda.”.

    You’ve never mentioned any of these alleged fabrications and propaganda – let’s here them so we can analyze how “truthful” you’ve been.

    Kelly/else/evil Becky/omar/tom said Now they are micro managing textbook content through the legislature. They must be exposed and stopped.”.

    It has nothing to do with micromanaging, it is all about an accurate and balanced teaching of history. Gays have been excluded from that history for no other reason than their gayness, that’s created an inaccurate and unbalanced view of history. Why do you want to stop this? Do you oppose acknowledgement of reality solely because it involves portraying gays in a positive light?

  15. William
    July 18, 2011

    I suspect that the reason why “kelly” is now blogging on here is that it has been barred from Dr Warren Throckmorton’s website, on which it was previously blogging under the names of “Preston” and “Madison”.

  16. Kelly
    July 18, 2011

    Priya, the ONLY reason I have used different names is to get through the censors. As is painfully obvious, I have made no attempt to otherwise disguise my writing.

    • Jim Burroway
      July 18, 2011

      “Kelly”, whoever he or she is, is now on moderation for multiple abuses to our comments policy. Furthermore, “Kelly” provides a fake email address with his/her comments, which indicates that he/she wishes not to be held accountable for his/her actions.

      If “Kelly” wishes to post comments which comply with our comments policy — regardless of whether her comments agree or disagree with the posts or with others — we will release those comments from the moderatio queue. Trolling behavior however is not allowed.

      Furthermore, by his/her own admission, he/she was also been banned from other web sites for engaging in similar actions and has actively tried various tactics to work around those bans. Attempts to do so here will not be tolerated, and will result in reporting his/her i.p. address to his/her internet service provider for harassment.

  17. Priya Lynn
    July 18, 2011

    Kelly/preston,madison/elsa/evil becky/omar/tom/est/dmitri you haven’t been censored here at BTB, what’s your excuse for posting under different names here?

    As far as other web sites go, if you sincerely thought you could be identified solely by your writing then it was pointless for you to attempt to “get by the censors” using different names – clearly you’re lying about that, obviously you were trying to create the false impression many people share your viewpoints. Why should anyone believe anything you say when you’ve repeatedly attempted to deceive them?

  18. Theo
    July 18, 2011

    Excellent post and comments. In my view, the success rate is only important to those who are actually concerned with the well-being of conflicted homosexuals considering the therapy. For the vast anti-gay industry, it matters not one whit whether the success rate is 33% or .000033%. What they are after is support for their argument that homosexuals are not entitled to something they call “minority status” because that status is only accorded to groups that are defined by immutable characteristics.

    Thus, if even one homosexual in all the world has changed to a heterosexual (or even, in theory, bisexual), then homosexuality would not be “immutable” and courts and legislatures would thereafter be bound to treat it like more like adultery or other sexual conduct and not like race. It wouldn’t matter that millions of other homosexuals could not change. It wouldn’t even matter that the one success story achieved his goal through a personal religious experience. The means don’t matter and the frequency of success doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it happened once.

    That is why you will always here Peter LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, Bryan Fischer and the rest of the gang use artful phrases like “change is possible” or “there is hope”. Those statements would be technically accurate even if the possibility of change were 1 in 1,000,000.

    I would hope that Burroway or Kincaid would at some point do a good analytical post on the Christian Right’s fallacious and deceitful arguments about civil rights and immutability. It is infuriating that this argument has been put bandied about for decades with, so far as I know, no one on our side taking it apart in non-legal forums.

    The claim is a profoundly dishonest mess on many levels. I can’t say that dullards like LaBarbera or Fischer don’t know better, but there is no question in my mind that attorneys at ADF, Regent University School of Law, Liberty Counsel, etc. know that they are spreading lies. If either of you should decide to tackle this important topic and you need input on the legal aspects, I’d be happy to help.

  19. Priya Lynn
    July 18, 2011

    Theo said “What they are after is support for their argument that homosexuals are not entitled to something they call “minority status” because that status is only accorded to groups that are defined by immutable characteristics.

    Thus, if even one homosexual in all the world has changed to a heterosexual (or even, in theory, bisexual), then homosexuality would not be “immutable” and courts and legislatures would thereafter be bound to treat it like more like adultery or other sexual conduct and not like race.”.

    That’s not a valid argument Theo. Religious groups have minority status and are singled out for protection from discrimination and religion is most definately mutable, people can and do change religions all the time.

  20. Ben in Atlanta
    July 18, 2011

    Jim, you know it’s 0 (zero). There’s no such thing as ex-gay. Stop it! Not one thuggy killer deserves the benefit of the doubt. I will not be civil to murderers.

  21. Adam
    July 19, 2011

    Theo (this comment is based on the assumption that disability attracts protected class status in the US as it does in the UK; please disregard this if not):

    In addition to Priya Lynn’s comment, how do you reconcile your interpretation of the court’s role with protection of disabled people as a class? Clearly, not all disabilities are immutable (some may be remedied by newly developed treatments; others may be ameliorated by time), so by your logic, no disabled people can be protected as members of a minority.

    (Incidentally, if disabled people are not legally protected from discrimination, the state of human rights in the US is even worse than I feared.)

  22. Daddy Todd
    July 19, 2011

    @Adam and Theo — What does immutability have to do with protected status? Religion is protected, and we all know it’s highly mutable. I spent 2 years in my youth as a Mormon missionary in Panama and Costa Rica, and I managed to convince 69 people over the course of 2 years to change their religion.

    Mutable, but still worth protecting. So, even if sexual orientation is mutable in some tiny subset of cases, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy of protection.

  23. Amicus
    July 19, 2011

    Jim, thanks. excellent write-up. We are lucky to have you on the job.

    14% success rate among a self-selected population, with no statistical confidence.

    Please. That’s appallingly low, for any “treatment” statistic, no?

    So, the question remains: is that sufficient rational basis to support setting up a counselling center of this kind?

    Assuming that success rates are lower, perhaps by even an order of magnitude, for a regular, not-self-selected set, then the answer has to be no. Given the high rates of dis-utility of the treatment, the cost-benefit of treatment *as a group* would probably be rejected.

    Success this low and nontrival hazard rates would probably have the treatment dubbed “experimental” or “radical”, in other circumstances. That is what would be disclosed, to parents and others, along with the potential harms.

  24. jpeckjr
    July 19, 2011

    @TampaZeke: Thank you so very much for the kudos on my comment. I’m just bursting with pride for the recognition. Of course, my therapist is very upset with you. We have been working on my becoming more humble, which is not my natural state. You’ve set back his work by years. Now, he’s going to have to revise his “conversion to humility” data and delay publication yet again!

  25. Timothy Kincaid
    July 19, 2011

    Amicus,

    A gentle revision:

    14% success rate among a self-selected population, with no statistical confidence, and a definition of “success” that does not reflect any rational expectations of outcome.

  26. Timothy Kincaid
    July 19, 2011

    Adam,

    The US has some pretty strong protections. The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits not only overt discrimination, but requires proactive accommodations.

  27. Amicus
    July 19, 2011

    Timothy, I would expect that inflated expectations, to the extent that they were psychologically reinforcing, would spread the distribution of outcomes, biasing it so that there were more successes and worse failures.

    I haven’t read any of these studies. Do any have a proper control group? I ask because the one case I am personally familiar with, there was absolutely no “treatment” involved, per se. The person more or less did it on their own, I think (I really don’t know all of the details, but there was certainly no conversion therapy).

    What that might indicate is that therapy is not quite the predictor or co-factor that even these meager statistics suggest. It’s sort of like the person, who is already buff, decides to go to the gym to get fit, then the gym claims their program gave him six-pack abs…

  28. Theo
    July 20, 2011

    @Daddy Todd:

    “What does immutability have to do with protected status? Religion is protected, and we all know it’s highly mutable.”

    It has little to nothing to do with it. There are 2 bases for the protection of classes of persons. One is the constitutional (federal or state) and the other is statutory (federal or state). The constitutional protection comes out of the Equal Protection Clause. That clause prohibits the government from treating its citizens unequally. The courts set up a way of evaluating government actions to determine if they violate the clause. One factor they look at is whether the group challenging the governmental action is defined by an immutable characteristic. This only comes up in the context of a constitutional claim and immutability is only one of a series of factors that the court considers. This recently came up in the Prop 8 case, b/c Prop 8 was being challenged under the Equal Protection Clause.

    In the statutory arena, the government is free to provide anti-discrimination protection to any group it wants, regardless of whether the group is defined by an immutable or mutable characteristic. Thus various states and cities have at some point extended protection to religion, disability, pregnancy, marital status, family status, military status, participation in recreational activities, and participation in conduct in furtherance of public policy.

    The Christian Right knows that all of this is Greek to most Americans, half of whom couldn’t tell you the name of the Vice President. So they take a little bit of the constitutional discussion, distort it so that immutability becomes a dispositive factor, and then dishonestly apply it to argue against anti-discrimination laws such as ENDA. They also use these arguments when they are trying to enlist African Americans to their cause by suggesting that genuine civil rights can only legitimately apply in matters such as race or sex.

    @ Priya:

    As noted above, the Right’s argument is completely invalid. Religion is totally mutable and yet gets included in anti-discrimination laws. How does the Christian Right explain this?

    Well, for a time, they simply ignored it inasmuch as no one was calling them on the carpet on their arguments. About 10 years ago, they felt the need to say something, and they essentially said that religion is mentioned explicitly in the Constitution (in the First Amendment) so therefore it must get anti-discrimination protection even though it is mutable. This is, of course, more nonsense. There is no anti-discrimination protection for gun owners (2d amendment), for people who refuse to quarter soldiers in their homes (3rd amendment), or for people who demand jury trials in civil actions (7th amendment).

    Religion gets covered in civil rights laws simply because legislatures want it covered as a matter of good public policy, not because it is immutable, mutable, or because it is mentioned in some part of the Constitution. And that is precisely why they should include sexual orientation as well.

    That ends class for today. There will be a quiz on Monday.

  29. Timothy Kincaid
    July 20, 2011

    Theo,

    Excellent explanation.

    I would only add that for the most part protection from discrimination on the basis of religion is for the benefit of members of minority or unpopular religions (Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Wiccans, etc.). The Catholic Church is more than a little disingenuous to complain about religious discrimination when the Governor and a significant number of legislators voting for the bill are Catholic.

  30. Amicus
    July 21, 2011

    Theo wrote: … that is precisely why they should include sexual orientation as well

    Superb write-up, as always, but, while it may be true that legislators may not include it *because* it is immutable, that doesn’t mean that such a characteristic is ruled out of consideration (or even critical).

    For some things, it may be judged dispositive, for others, not.

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