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“Repeat After Me”: The Reparative Therapy Echo Chamber

Jim Burroway

April 30th, 2008

Psychological ReportsA. Dean Byrd, Joseph Nicolosi, Richard W. Potts. “Clients perceptions of how reorientation therapy and self-help can promote changes in sexual orientation.” Psychological Reports 102, No. 1 (April 2008): 3-28.

A new report in the April 2008 edition of the pay-to-publish vanity journal Psychological Reports is intended to show how reparative therapy clients are supposedly helped by sexual reorientation therapy. At least that’s what the authors intended anyway. Instead, it represents a truly remarkable achievement in the ex-gay movement: their ability to instill an almost robot-like parroting of ex-gay rhetoric among their clients.

Does Psychological Reports Sound Familiar?

It should. This is the same low-ranked, pay-to-publish journal that has been Paul Cameron’s favorite outlet since the 1960′s. It is now becoming Nicolosi’s and Byrd’s favorite as well.

A quick search of the PubMed database of professional journals shows that with the exception of one letter to the editor, all of Joseph Nicolosi’s output has appeared in Psychological Reports. And a similar search reveals the same thing for Dean Byrd Besides one letter to the editor to American Psychologist, all of his output has been in Psychological Reports – with Nicolosi as co-author. (The entries before the year 2000 are those of another author.)

Neither of these leading lights in reparative therapy have been published by an impartial refereed journal. Psychological Reports charges a fee to its authors to publish their work, something that reputable journals don’t do. It sets up a conflict of interest in the refereeing process. In 2005, Journal Citation Reports rated Psychological Reports‘ Impact Factor at a very low 0.281, ranking it at number 1466 out of 1747 social science journals.

Most professionals submit their work to a professional refereed journal. But if they can’t get a reputable journal to accept their work, they can always turn to the consistently low-ranked Psychological Reports to publish their paper — as long as they pay the fee.

This paper by National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) president A. Dean Byrd, past president Joseph Nicolosi, and Richard W. Potts is a follow-up to another article they published in Psychological Reports in 2000. Both articles are based on a 1996 survey of 882 ex-gay clients from across the country. The earlier article presented quantitative data on retrospective self-reports of change. This latest one is a more qualitative paper, presenting 142 excerpts from answers to five open-ended questions. And the answers given by these clients of reparative therapy bear an uncanny similarity to the rhetoric of reparative therapy proponents, so much so that it leads one to question whether these clients underwent treatment or indoctrination.

In ordinary surveys in the real world, there are always respondents whose answers don’t fit the authors’ hypothesis. In Stanton and Jones’ recent ex-gay study for example, there were those who claimed to have changed, and there were those who didn’t and their experiences were chalked up as “failures.” That’s just how it is with every study because nothing is ever perfect in the real world. Absolute and total conformity to any hypothesis is virtually impossible. There are always exceptions.

But NARTH apparently doesn’t operate in the real world because not one of the 142 responses in the 26-page article deviated even slightly from the NARTH party line. The only responses appearing in this paper fully supported NARTH’s therapeutic framework.

Perfect outcomes like this may be found in the world of politically repressive regimes where dictators win “elections” by near-unanimous votes. But it is absolutely unheard of in scientific literature. Did the authors discard the responses that didn’t fit their preconceived theories? Or was their echo chamber so fully sealed that no dissent could even enter?

Repeat After Me
BTB contributing author Daniel Gonzales is one of Joseph Nicolosi’s former patients. Daniel described his experience with Nicolosi’s therapy this way:

The idea is that there’s a sense of your own masculinity that’s somehow broken, and so you find yourself being attracted to other guys that supposedly represent your own internal deficiencies. And when you see a guy you’re attracted to, part of the therapy is to look at him and figure out what he represents in what’s wrong with yourself, and what you’re compensating for. And then you analyze it and twist it and turn it around until you’ve basically convinced yourself that the attraction is meaningless, that it just represents an internal character flaw and nothing more.

You force yourself to believe. You’re desperately optimistic. You want this to work because spiritually you feel like you have no other choice.

After reading this latest paper from Byrd, Nicolosi and Potts, Daniel described his first session with Nicolosi:

In my first session of therapy with Dr. Nicolosi he repeatedly pressed myself and my father, who was there with me, asking us if I had been molested as a child — which I hadn’t. In fact, much of that first session was focused on “digging around” for the supposed cause of my homosexuality.

This part of exgay therapy is like throwing spaghetti at a wall, the therapist throws out a bunch of antiquated gender stereotypes and something’s going to stick. Especially when a patient desperately wants not to be gay and is looking for an excuse or cause for their sexuality.

I attended the 2007 Love Won Out conference in Phoenix where Joseph Nicolosi explained the major theories of reparative therapy in the first plenary session of the morning. Reading this paper reminded me of attending his lecture, right down to the specifics of language and nuance. Sometimes I had to remind myself whose words I was reading: Nicolosi’s or the client’s.

It’s impossible to read this paper without thinking about Daniel’s experience. What follows are just a few examples of responses from sexual reorientation therapy clients organized around seven principle themes which are central to reparative therapy’s operating theories.

Joseph NicolosiOn “There is No Such Thing As A Homosexual”: One of the first points that Joseph Nicolosi made at Love Won Out was this:

There is no such thing as a homosexual. … That’s the first thing we teach our clients when they come in. You’re not a homosexual. You’re a heterosexual with a homosexual problem. And your homosexual problem has to do with early things… things that happened to you in your childhood. Emotional traumas, hurts, childhood wounds that have set you up for homosexual activity.

And we find these ideas echoed in the Psychological Reports paper:

  • Homosexuality is something you do, it is not who you are. (female, 44 years old)
  • The main thing I have learned is that my needs are not sexual so they can’t be solved sexually. (male, 26)
  • I wasn’t born this way and I didn’t choose this orientation. (male, 33)
  • For me, understanding of the nature of homosexual attractions (an erotization of homo-emotional, natural, normal needs not met in childhood/adolescence) has given me peace of mind and great hope in recovering. (male; 27)
  • I began to sexualize my problems when they had no sexual basis. I am learning to deal with problems for what they are rather than looking for sexual distraction. (male, 40)
  • …I had made the choice to become gay. … I did see that it wasn’t God creating gay people, but circumstances through people caused homosexual orientation which wasn’t my fault. (male, 46)
  • Understanding and applying the truth that I was not born homosexual. Homosexuality was developed through the consequences of my personality and how my environment labeled me. (male, 41).

Joseph NicolosiOn poor same-sex parental relationships: This is a central operative theory of reparative therapy. Again, here’s Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out:

In the relationship between the mother and the son, over-emotionally involved, strong personality, dominant personality. The father is quiet, withdrawn, non-verbal, non-expressive, and/or hostile. The son is temperamentally sensitive, shy, introverted, artistic, imaginative. … That child with that temperament in a particular family dynamic will set him up gender deficit, and that gender deficit becomes compensated through homosexual activity.

And:

We advise fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.

Similar theories are expounded concerning the relationship between lesbians and their mothers.

In the Psychological Reports article, we read:

  • I believe that my homosexuality resulted from poor bonding with dad, a dominant indulging mother, and perceived and sometimes real rejection by peers. (male, 39 years old)
  • …for me (and many others I know) my homosexual feelings clearly were rooted in my relationship with my mother… (female, 34).
  • Because I lacked a loving, nurturing relationship with my father, I began to look for it in other men in several forms including homosexual activity. (male, 33).
  • … alienation from my father who never role modeled healthy masculine and heterosexual behaviors. I was emotionally and physically detached from my father. (male, 41).
  • Homosexuality is a break in the bonding with the same-sex parent–either real or perceived. (female, 44)
  • I was choosing men in whom I saw a trait which I wanted in me or who were like my idealized father. (male, 39)
  • I have learned all my life I have been looking for a Mother in my relationships and that I didn’t have much use for men. (female, 53)
  • My homosexuality was a misguided response to my search for my father’s love and approval… (male; 47)
  • I realize now that in my acting out I was searching for my father. Also looking in other men for the masculine I desired in myself. My father never hugged me growing up as a child that I can remember. (male, 47)
  • I began to realize that I had a fear of women because of a great deal of control from my mother and a lack of the presence of my father caused me to focus on other males. (male 40)
  • When I was able to understand that my desires were based on my need to be loved by my mother and my frustration that she could not love me, I was able to understand. (female, 25)

Joseph NicolosiOn the “shame posture”: Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out:

If he reaches out to the father who is not interested, he will experience what we call a narcissistic hurt. … And so he surrenders his masculine strivings. He says basically to his father, “If you’re not interested in me, I’m not interested in you.” … And that narcissistic injury produces an adult, a homosexually-oriented adult, who is cautious, fearful, easily hurt, easily slighted, easily offended, self-protective – that is what we call the shame posture. If men get to see me they’re not going to like me. There’s something inferior about me.

The Psychological Reports respondents:

  • I have learned about my patterns of suppressing my feelings, seeking emotional satisfaction in unhelpful and immoral ways, denying my needs, and subjugating my identity to a person geared to satisfy others. (male, 34 years old)
  • …by keeping my self-image high, I have not felt as inferior or envious. This lessens the field or set of men that I find attractive, meaning “better than me.” (male, 39)
  • I had a strong narcissistic mechanism of projecting a powerful false self that was designed to meet others’ approval and protect me. (female, 35)
  • Getting down to some of the root issues of the struggle-approval … being wanted, shame. (male, 44)
  • I no longer felt coerced and helpless — it was a weight off my shoulders. (male, 27)
  • I was able to look at conflicts in the past with parents and others that led to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority about myself as a person and a male. (male, 42)
  • To realize that I’m ok, not broken or defective. That I’m as good as anyone else. (male, 49)
  • Resentment, self-pity, and envy all contributed to my homosexual feelings… (female, 37)
  • I seem to experience homosexual feelings the strongest after having feelings of bitterness or anger or rejection, usually after a situation when someone mistreated me or I did something bad, so I feel. (male, 33 yr)
  • I needed to get to the pain, the hurt, the emotional deficits from my past, my childhood. (male, 27)

Joseph NicolosiOn Homosexuality as a masculine (or feminine) inferiority”: According to reparative therapy theory, the “shame posture” and the rejection of the same-sex parent leads to a “masculine inferiority” for men. Again, here’s Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out:

Homosexuality is not about sex, it’s about your sense of self. If you change your sense of self, your homosexuality will become a non-issue. Homosexuality is a masculine inferiority. It’s a striving to connect.

The Psychological Reports respondents:

  • My own desire to develop my masculinity was never realized. (Male, 30 years old)
  • The longing for homosexual fulfillment has been proven to be the void of affirmation of my masculinity. (male, 28)
  • That my homosexual urges having little to do with sexual needs but rather with achieving an understanding and grasp of my masculinity. (male, 68)
  • By far, she (therapist) has done more for me in affirming my masculinity… (male; 39)
  • Learning how to love and be loved by members of the same-sex. My therapist became a very good role model for me (that is, a masculine role model). (male, 34)
  • Learning how to redefine myself as a man. Accepting that I am a man even if I am artistic or sensitive. (male, 31)
  • The most important thing has been learning what a man “really” is, rather than the physical image, etc. (male, 53)
  • It has helped me to develop a masculine identity — that is to be in touch with areas of insecurity and lack of confidence and helped to change those. (male, 31)
  • Reparenting with a safe father figure had the most dramatic effect in helping me begin to love my own masculinity — to begin to recreate my internal father, to recreate my inner parents in order to truly love myself. (male, 45)
  • At present I am beginning to soften toward being more femine. For years I have acted out through masculinity as a protection (female, 43)

The report also emphasized the importance of “masculine activities”:

  • I have been playing in a rock band which helps me be more outgoing. I’m dating. (male, 20 years old)
  • I also learned to play tennis and racquetball at age 34 when I had never played a sport before. This helped my sense of manhood as well. (male, 38)
  • Group softball. I gained maleness and was able to play with ‘the guys’ on a church team. I finally fit. (male; 36)
  • A local sports program for men in my situation helped redefine my image as a man. (male, 48)

Joseph NicolosiOn child sexual abuse: Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out:

Sexual abuse, man-boy sexual contact in homosexual outcome: homosexual apologists will say there is no such correlation. Don’t believe it. We see plenty of evidence that this is true. The fact is that man-boy sexual contact increases homosexual outcome.

The Psychological Reports respondents:

  • “My gender identity confusion was rooted in childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.” (male, 47 years old)
  • …I had to confront past childhood abuse by father and old wounds and griefs (male, 61)
  • “I’ve learned how these needs from childhood were sexualized through sexual abuse, suppressed through ambivalence, and then unable to be met through homosexuality…” (male, 31)
  • I was molested by my dad (natural) from the ages of 12 to 17. I sought help from a friend who was in doctoral training studying incest survivors. She agreed to help me confront my father and break my silence. (male, 30)
  • I have learned there are root causes for my homosexual behavior-early molest and father neglect. (male, 42 years old)

This deserves special mention. Numerous studies show that victims of child sexual abuse suffer a significant amount of shame and confusion over their sexuality.1 Some studies show that adults who were sexually abused were more likely to exhibit bisexual behavior or fantasies rather than exclusively homosexual ones, which may indicate an undifferentiated sexuality rather than true homosexuality or bisexuality.2 Victims of sexual abuse are also more likely to exhibit sexual dysfunctions as adults, including hypersexuality.3 Adult men who experienced childhood sexual abuse are also much more likely to find their sex lives significantly less satisfying, regardless of their sexuality.4

Coupled with continued stigma surrounding homosexuality, it stands to reason that a gay man or lesbian who has experienced sexual abuse as a child would be much more likely to want to try to change their sexual orientation.

Insofar as therapy can help the client confront the damage associated with his or her experiences, it can bring the client to a more healthy understanding of their sexuality. But to equate one type of sexuality with wholesomeness while labeling another as “shame-based,” reparative therapists can compound the abusive damage from the clients’ earlier experiences.

Joseph NicolosiOn “meeting legitimate needs through illegitimate means”: Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out”:

Same-sex behavior is an attempt to repair childhood emotional hurts. And this is the good news for the client who comes in. We’re saying to them, “Look, the first thing we teach you is you’re not some shameful, degenerate pervert. Your homosexual behavior is your attempt to make that male bonding connection that you needed and that you deserved as a child but for some reason did not fully receive.”

The Psychological Reports respondents:

  • The hunger — legitimate hunger — to bond with same-sex remains a powerful drive-never satiable in same-sex relationships. (female, 44)
  • The most meaningful and effective form of treatment … has worked in fulfilling a legitimate need in my life as well as many others I know, diminishing the need for homosexual encounters. (male, 35)
  • Psychotherapy has allowed me to see the inner workings of the twisted thinking at the core of homosexuality and homo-emotional needs that were unmet in childhood. (male, 31)
  • … my true needs were going unmet… (female, 35)
  • I can receive love more easily and give it more genuinely. This has helped to decrease the lesbian feelings by helping me to have legitimate needs met nonsexually. I am still working through barriers to natural heterosexual feelings; however, my fantasies are no longer primarily homosexual-they are almost exclusively heterosexual though I still find that behavior difficult. (female, 35)
  • The most important lesson I have learned is that the secret of change lies not in our ability to suppress our homosexual drive but rather to investigate the homosexual drive in order to discover the real difference between wrong desires (homoerotic sexual desires) and legitimate, unmet, same sex needs to be loved and love others. (male, 34)
  • The main thing I have learned is that my needs are not sexual so they can’t be solved sexually. (male, 26)
  • It is not unnatural to feel a need, and this need is the same need that heterosexual men have, the need for male bonding. The difference between us is that my body is responding sexually to the same needs that ‘straight’ men feel. (male, 38)
  • I’ve realized that the sexual acting out all these years has been an attempt to fill these emotional voids in my life. The needs are good and real but the sexual means have been destructive to my psyche. (male, 27)

Joseph NicolosiOn the importance of religious faith: Joseph Nicolosi at Love Won Out:

So the faith is a very important dimension to bring in because it gives not only direction, but because it gives the interior resources. It gives that inner power to pursue the direction. So our Christianity isn’t just telling us what to do, but it’s giving us the power to do it. And I have found that whatever the person’s religious convictions are at the beginning of therapy, it usually deepens naturally in the course of therapy.

The Psychological Reports respondents:

  • It is my personal conviction that without the participation of the Holy Spirit in the homosexual’s healing, they will never achieve/maintain a successful ‘reorientation’. (female, 44 years old)
  • I can really only account my change to God and through the prayers and accountability of others plus the unfolding of truth as whom I am that has enabled me to change and see change happen to many others. (male, 37)
  • When I appropriated the Bible truths each day I had power to resist the temptation to think wrong sexual thoughts. (female, 44)
  • I realized that many of the new behaviors and attitudes result from two key changes in my life other than leaving the homosexual lifestyle — becoming a Christian, and becoming married. (male, 38)
  • I could not escape the incompatibility of homosexual lifestyle versus my Christian beliefs. I had to choose one or the other: I chose Christ. (male, 33)
  • As God heals my emotions and brings down my walls, the true self that I have never known is coming forth. I believe eventually I will know what it means to be entirely heterosexual. (female, 43)
  • God nourishes the depth of my soul like no immoral relationship can. Homosexuality has become very dissatisfying and immature. (male, 30)
  • I have been in spiritual direction for 14 years with three different directors. (male, 38)
  • I can really only account my change to God and through the prayers and accountability of others… (male, 37)

This is the most interesting part of the ex-gay movement’s echo chamber. NARTH likes to portray itself as the secular “scientific” arm of the ex-gay movement. But Joseph Nicolosi, who many describe as being the “father of reparative therapy,” considers religious faith to be an essential part of a client’s attempt to change. According to this paper, 96% of participants agreed, saying that that religion was very important to them. Only 4% said it was somewhat important, and only four individuals said it was not important.

Altogether, this survey elicited 882 responses. These are just a smattering of the 142 responses reprinted in Byrd, Nicolosi and Potter’s paper. Each and every response fully supported NARTH’s position. Not one expression of dissent or dissatisfaction made it to print. NARTH’s echo chamber remains perfect hermetically sealed.

That’s not science. That’s dogma.

References:
1. Beitchman, Joseph H.; Zucker, Kenneth J.; Hood, Jane E.; DaCosta, Granville A.; Akman, Donna. “A review of the long-term effects of child sexual abuse.” Child Abuse and Neglect 16, no. 1 (1992): 101-118.

Bramblet, James R., Jr. “Sexual contacts: Experiences, thoughts and fantasies of adult male survivors of child sexual abuse.” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 23, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 305-316

Dimock, Peter T. “Adult males sexually abused as children” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 3 no. 2 (June 1988): 203-211.

Holmes, William C.; Slap, Gail B. “Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae and management.” Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 21 (December 2, 1998): 1855-1862. [BACK]

2. Bramblet, James R., Jr. “Sexual contacts: Experiences, thoughts and fantasies of adult male survivors of child sexual abuse.” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 23, no. 4 (Winter 1997): 305-316

Finkelhor, David. Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research (New York: The Free Press, 1984)

Holmes, William C.; Slap, Gail B. “Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae and management.” Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 21 (December 2, 1998): 1855-1862. [BACK]

3. Holmes, William C.; Slap, Gail B. “Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae and management.” Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 21 (December 2, 1998): 1855-1862. [BACK]

4. Nanjam, Jake M.; Dunne, Michael P.; Purdie, David M.; Boyle, Francis M.; Coxeter, Peter D. “Sexual abuse in childhood and sexual dysfunction in adulthood. An Australian population-based study.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 34, no. 5 (October 2005): 517-526. [BACK]

Comments

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Mona Lott
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

It follows that Christianity and the ex-gay movement go hand in hand. Each is asking you to believe in fairy tales.

Jeff
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

I know this may not go down well for some but having been involved in ex-gay ministry whether it was leadership or a participant for 16 years change does occur for some people. For myself I realized I was gay and had to reconcile my faith with it (and almost exclusively you find people of faith backgrounds in the ex-gay work). But the reality is some really do change. Yes they are tempted with thoughts at times but I know many who are happy and many that are married with kids that no longer consider themselves gay.

But in saying that I know more who have not succeeded with this and it has been a real place of pain for themselves. In reading this I am reminded that many times a lot of gay men honestly do try to meet their needs with sex (been there done that). In saying that it is like having a tough day at work or at life and then going out for the night and hooking up with another man or getting on line and viewing porn or finding someone on one of the many gay hook up sites. Sex is so often used as medication in the gay male community and we have to be honest with ourselves.

One thing that has not really been addressed to much is the history of the ex-gay movement. You had men (mostly) who were at odds with their faith and sexuality. These men were acting out sexually with other men creating conflict within themselves. This is a very typical sexual addiction issue. I wonder what would have happened if the addictions would have first been addressed. Thankfully we in the gay community are starting to admit to and address sexual addiction which is a big problem in our community.

In closing I do have to say one of the major problems I have with the ex-gay theories and they are only theories is that they try to explain something that honestly is a mystery. The whole dominant mother passive father just does not work globally. This is a western belief, a psychological explanation for an issue that honestly no one truly understands. Why are there gay men and lesbians in every country of the world coming from different families and in different cultures. I’d like to see this worked out in Iraq, Pakistan, or Chad.

Ephilei
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

I’m almost always impressed by BTB’s analysis, but this one fails for a simple over-simplification of cause and effect. Jim, you’re positing that X causes Y with Nicolosi being X and the journal results Y. That’s certainly possible and in my opinion absolutely true. However, Nicolosi says that Y causes X which is equally possible. In fact, since Y is from 1996 and X is from 2007, Nicolosi’s claim here is more reasonable.

Nicolosi is a sham and often an idiot. But if this was the only weakness you could find in his paper, then I’m actually (relatively) impressed by it.

The other two points in the post, the lack of dissent and faith as the ex-gay secret sauce, were insightful indeed.

WP
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Jeff,

I am sorry, but you are lying. Change does NOT happen. Emotional needy broken GAY people (who were broken by idiots/”christians”/bigots have been telling them they are broken because they are GAY) are told that they are fixed if they adopt certain behaviors. So no, Jeff change does not happen. Different behaviors are adapted so the people SHITHEADS break can feel fixed.

Jim Burroway
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Ephilei,

Actually, the lack of dissent was the whole point of my analysis. But I do think the cause-and-effect thing is very important.

I’ve talked to I don’t know how many ex-gay survivors who have experienced what Daniel Gonzales, Nicolosi’s former patient described:

In my first session of therapy with Dr. Nicolosi he repeatedly pressed myself and my father, who was there with me, asking us if I had been molested as a child — which I hadn’t. In fact, much of that first session was focused on “digging around” for the supposed cause of my homosexuality.

This part of exgay therapy is like throwing spaghetti at a wall, the therapist throws out a bunch of antiquated gender stereotypes and something’s going to stick. Especially when a patient desperately wants not to be gay and is looking for an excuse or cause for their sexuality.

In other words, if you don’t fit the theory, either your lying or you’re suppressing. I’ve talked to quite a number of ex-gay survivors who actually made up details in order to satisfy their counselors, and some have even managed to convince themselves that they must have been abandoned or abused just because they are gay.

Zeke
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Jeff said:

“…it is like having a tough day at work or at life and then going out for the night and hooking up with another man or getting on line and viewing porn or finding someone on one of the many gay hook up sites. Sex is so often used as medication in the gay male community and we have to be honest with ourselves.”

Why do you make these things sound as if they are exclusive to the gay male community. You do realize that this could be said of straight men too, right? You do realize that 95%+ of ALL porn produced is made for and marketed to STRAIGHT men, right? Have you ever been to a “titty bar” or gone to a straight bar on “ladies night”? In spite of having all the public support and incentives in the world to not resort to all of these things straight men are just as likely to be sexual addicts as gay men are.

What you identify as a “big problem in OUR community”, “the gay male community” would more accurately be identified as a general MALE problem. The differences between the straight male “community” and the gay male “community” and how they are viewed are many: 1) there is cultural and social acceptance when straight men do things that gay men are condemned for; 2) when a straight man has issues with unhappiness, depression, confusion, anger, low self esteem and other life issues that affect ALL people at one time or another or when they make poor life choices or have addiction problems, their heterosexual orientation is NEVER pointed to as the cause of all their problems and 3) straight men are given social, cultural, familial, religious and peer support to encourage them to improve themselves WITHIN their natural sexuality (a sexuality that is universally supported, promoted and encouraged) whereas gay men’s sexuality is demonized, their sexuality is blamed for all their problems while entire political parties, churches and industries are dedicated to denying them any sort of social/legal/religious support or structure that might encourage them to build up themselves, their relationships and/or their community.

I understand what you are trying to say, and I agree with you on many levels, but you have to be careful not to make unfair comparisons of apples and oranges. It’s really unfair to expect gay men to function like straight men in our society when the latter is given all the tools for developing life skills and none of the legal, cultural, social, religious and familial oppression while the former is given none of the tools and universal oppression. It’s especially unfair to point out issues that you perceive to problems in the gay community without pointing out that the same issues exist, most often to the same or greater extent, in the straight male population.

Though I think most men (including most gay men) have a long way to go in developing more healthy happy lives I think it’s amazing that gay men are as sane and well adjusted as they are, considering how much the deck is stacked against them.

Timothy Kincaid
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Re: sexual addiction among gay men and women.

Using the very minimum estimate from the CDC, there are at least 2.25 million exclusively gay adult men and 1.5 million exclusively gay adult women in the United States, not including bisexuals, low-down, or other people who identify as other-than-gay but look for same-sex activity.

So where are those 3.75 million people on a Saturday night? Are they out at a club looking for a new hook-up?

There are probably about a quarter of a million exclusively gay people in the Los Angeles area. The total capacity of all the gay bars the area surely could not possibly exceed 50,000 persons. And as anyone who has been out to West Hollywood can tell you, a growing percentage of gay bar revellers are straight.

So where are all the gay boys and girls? Perhaps online looking to appease their sexual compulsions?

The largest sex hook-up site on the internet is Manhunt, which has about 600,000 members in the US. There are other sites, but many members are cross-members, belonging to multiple sites. And it is well known that sex sites appeal strongly to those who do not identify as gay but seek gay sex so, again, these numbers are inflated compared to the total population.

In fact, there are about twice as many gay persons in committed relationships (from the US Census) as there are members of Manhunt.

I do believe that there are sexually compulsive gay people. And I do agree that there is less of an emphasis on monogamy and coupling than amongst heterosexuals, though that is changing.

But the idea that gay men are sexually compulsive and live for their next hook-up simply doesn’t align with the facts. That stereotype just doesn’t add up.

Jeff
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Interesting for I did not say all gay men are addicted but statistics prove that roughly 30% or more in the gay population have some form of addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex,…) We as a community really need to speak openly and honestly about this and not get defensive. As well I do understand many of the reasons why this occurs.

But getting back to the point what would have happened if the leaders of Exodus back in Anaheim CA would have looked at the issues and addressed their addictive behaviors instead of just labeling all of being gay as bad. And yes WP some people do change. You may disagree but this is a truth a fact for I have been around it much to long to deny it. But most do not and it is just a modification of behavior not orientation.

Jim Burroway
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Jeff,

Our comments policy requires substantiation of statistics. You claim that 30% of all gay people are addicted to something. Please provide substantiation from a reliable source, or we will delete your comment.

Jeff
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

I can not find the statistic on line that I got this from but let’s just say that the gay population and gay men more than lesbians have a much higher rate of addiction from alcohol, sex, drugs particuliraly Tina now these days than the straight or heterosexual population. Yes there are more men that are straight dealing with sex addiction but then that population is so much larger and the gay community is just now starting to own up to this reality because of the fear of what the straight world and even more so the conservative religious side will say and use against us.
http://www.villagevoice.com/people/0525,qmoore,65112,24.html
http://www.nyblade.com/2006/8-21/arts/main/tweaked.cfm
http://ezinearticles.com/?Alcoholism-in-the-Gay-Community&id=365492

Jason D
May 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“I know this may not go down well for some but having been involved in ex-gay ministry whether it was leadership or a participant for 16 years change does occur for some people. For myself I realized I was gay and had to reconcile my faith with it (and almost exclusively you find people of faith backgrounds in the ex-gay work). But the reality is some really do change.”

If by Change you mean going from 100% gay to 100% straight, then NO, Change is NOT possible.
I was 100% a smoker for 8 years. I quit almost 4 years ago and now am 100% not smoking. I do not smoke, and I do not get cravings.
I was 100% lush, too, and here I am almost 4 years later(yes, that was a rough year) and am 100% not drinking.

So, I know a thing or two about change.

Exgay, if we’re honest with ourselves, exists somewhere between honesty homosexuality and the closet. If they had truly changed, they would simply be heterosexual.

“Yes they are tempted with thoughts at times but I know many who are happy and many that are married with kids that no longer consider themselves gay.”

There you go, and no scientific study (flawed as most of them are) has been able to find someone who is not still “tempted”. They have not been able to find someone with “heterosexual functionng” that is not “complicated”. We ALL know very well that being married does not equal being no longer gay. Being able to procreate, especially with the extreme desire to be heterosexual and prove it to yourself and the world, is no earth-shattering feat, or confirmation of anything significant. It’s revealing that you state “no longer consider themselves gay”. When I was a considering myself a vegetarian in college, I still ate chicken occassionally — I wasn’t being honest with myself, and neither are these people.

Timothy Kincaid
May 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Jeff,

I don’t doubt that “some really do change”.

But I think that for the overwhelming majority of ex-gay strugglers, that “change” is something other than from heterosexual to homosexual.

The Jones and Yarhouse study showed that participants did not on average demonstrate any materially significant change in sexual orientation (prospective sample). Further, participants illustrated a tendency to filter their recollections so as to believe that there was change (retrospective sample). There were some individuals in this study that reported that they were now heterosexual, but all of them retained attraction to the same sex (wandering eyes, sex dreams, etc.)

I do believe that some tiny percentage are able to shift their lives in accordance with their religious priorities such that they could structure a heterosexual dynamic that constantly reinforced their fledgling opposite-sex attractions and discouraged their same-sex attractions. And some invest in relationships that provide the incentive of genuine love with some spouse of the opposite sex, a motivation that can be powerful for as long as there is marital bliss (“I may not be attracted to women, but I’m attracted to my wife”).

But I’ve yet to meet or hear of the ex-gay who outside of their support network and if they stopped stuggling would not immediately return to their natural state of homosexuality. This isn’t to say such persons don’t exist, but rather to state that they are so rare as to require skepticism of those who claim to have “changed”.

As a comparison, let me state that I do truly believe that given the right combination or genetics, training, drive, and motivation, some tiny percentage of persons can swim the English Channel. However, for the vast overwhelming majority, if they set out to do so they would drown.

Timothy Kincaid
May 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Jeff,

Thank you for your links. Unfortunately, two consisted of one person’s personal experiences which he supported by unsubstantiated vague statements. The other was stats for the 70′s and 80′s.

Let me be clear that I do think that drugs and alcohol are a problem in our community. This is not even up for debate.

What I am not sure about, however, is whether this problem is greater than, equal to, or lesser than the heterosexual community.

Let me give you an example. I periodically hear of heterosexuals who overdose on heroin. But I seldom hear of any gay persons who have ever experienced that drug. Yet I can’t in my ignorance assume that this is not a problem for gays.

Conversely, I personally know of gay people who have destroyed their life with Meth. And I know that there is a current campaign to address that drug within the community. But I do not know whether it is worse than the meth problem among straights.

I’m not trying to downplay the addiction issue. But I don’t want to assume that gays have more addiction than straights without evidence. And wacko claims from anti-gay activists – which is where I hear this most – do not serve for me as evidence.

Buffy
May 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Jeff,

The anti-gay groups very much like to tout the statistics about drug/alcohol abuse in the LGBT population. What they don’t tell you is why it is so prevalent, because it puts them in a bad light. There is a study that explains it:

“Homophobia, discrimination and victimization are largely what are responsible for these substance use disparities in young gay people,” said Michael P. Marshal, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, who led the study. “History shows that when marginalized groups are oppressed and do not have equal opportunities and equal rights, they suffer. Our results show that gay youth are clearly no exception.”

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/101682.php

Yuki Choe
May 4th, 2008 | LINK

I believe any studies on homosexuality that is founded on treatment of a sexual orientation as PART of a sexual addiction problem for heterosexuals should be taken very lightly, especially when not much “causes” of homosexuality is attempted to be found, in comparison to what “causes” heterosexuals to “become” homosexuals.

It is also ridiculous to almost ignore bisexuality along the equation of change. NARTH’s model especially just do not fit bisexual transsexuals like me. I would like to be loved and pampered (and taken case of) by both men and women. Both would equally make me feel complete. In the end, I am married to a transsexual male. So which of my parents are distant? I was potentially sexually abused by members of both sexes? Self-image wise, I played in soccer games as a goal-keeper and winger in my college days (curiously, a game considered soft for Americans but manly in Europe. In any case, I have stud marks to prove how tough I was), and Transformers and MASK was a part of my childhood days as much as Barbie and My Little Pony.

So, what exactly is broken, who was actually dominant/alienating or how is anything empty/absent in me?! And what shame do I have except for some religious based ministries telling me and everyone I should feel ashamed in denial of who I am and to “change” or else I will be further prejudiced and discriminated?

Joel
May 4th, 2008 | LINK

WHy doesnt anyone ever mention straight ppl going gay?

I mean, if you believe that change is possibe, even though its only for some, and believe it without a shadow of a doubt then… you probably also believe heterosexual ppl go gay, right?

Has there ever been evidence of this occuring? This would be THE finding of the year imo. Imagine when exodus makes their conference of the few that will eventually change… countering them with the ppl that went gay would , at the least, question their use of the word ‘cure’.

Joel
May 4th, 2008 | LINK

Just came across this(again) that would go with my previous comment.

WHen anti-gays want to promote their position of homosexuality being a changeable condition(a condition which is wrong) they do it through testimonies.

For example, a quote from citizenlink, “However, when it comes to the issue of homosexuality and whether or not people can change their sexual identity, the gay activists only want one side of the story to be told in the schools. They don’t want you to know that thousands of people like me exist — people who used to self-identify as gay but now have moved beyond that label and live and love out of a heterosexual identity. ”

This would take a definate blow if heterosexuality was also shown to be a changeable condition. But up to this moment i have yet to hear of such change… thus, even though i cant conclude it, ill hypothesize that homosexuality, is in fact, different from heterosexuality(other than the non-procreation issue). You can go gay to straight but not straight to gay. I wonder what an anti-gay might due with such a notion.

Ephilei
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

I would hope that when an ex-gay posts here about their experience, pro-gay readers would not jump down his throat calling him a liar and whatever else.

Instead, I welcome Jeff’s experience and perspective whether I agree or not. If it were not for the respect of people who think differently than I, I wouldn’t be here.

FreeInSask
October 17th, 2008 | LINK

You really said this:

“Perfect outcomes like this may be found in the world of politically repressive regimes where dictators win “elections” by near-unanimous votes. But it is absolutely unheard of in scientific literature.”

omfg you are either a weak propogandist or a complete fool. Look up GARDASIL research, or any “new drug” regulatory process (change the color dye and re-patent the old drug).

In the age of collapsing fiat-currency and bank-fraud coverup, “science” is for sale, and cheap. The author’s indignation is not warrented.

Jim Burroway
October 17th, 2008 | LINK

FreeInSask,

You apparently confuse advertising with scientific journals. Gardasil research prove 100% results in legitimate scientific peer-reviewed journals. Perhaps you should investigate what scientific journals actually look like before deciding whether the author’s indignation is “warrented” (sic).

Paul Ginandes
January 3rd, 2009 | LINK

It is interesting that nobody is asking what religion these reseachers belong to. The underlying flaw with “conversion therapy” is that Christianity is involved. It says that gay is wrong, and this so-called “science” of “reparative” therapy is just an exercise designed to twist the facts to fit the dogma. Pray enough, and we can stuff you back into the closet. Isn’t that comfy? Aren’t you happier now that jeebus wubs you in your snug wittle cwoset?

Eric Cravey
March 7th, 2009 | LINK

Nicolosi is the poster boy for a father who is carrying a lot of shame. He started this faux ministry of his only after his son came out as a gay man.

It’s no different than the woman who has an abortion and then enters the ministry. It’s rooted in self doubt and shame, which is his own psychological problem.

Reparative therapy is plain and simple quackery and I can say this because I know men who have been involved and they are really mixed up as to what it means or doesn’t mean to simply be a man.

Their iconic image of a man is white, straight and Bible-toting. They do not leave room for any other paradigm of what a man would even look like. Diversity has no room in their so-called theory.

They first assume a man was molested or had a bad father. I was never molested and yes, my Dad was not the greatest, but tell me anyone who believes his father was Ozzie Nelson and I will show you a liar.

This so-called theory tells us that gay men are broken and are addicted. I am not broken. And the 12 Steps are a great premise by which to live, but how about a little tolerance. Live and let live.

I have an acquaintance who flies each month from Florida to California to pay Nicolosi good, hard-earned money so he can continue to believe he is “Healing.” Meanwhile, he tells me that he is making new friends at the gym. He’s been following around a buff cop so he can feel better ….”being around other masculine men makes me feel masculine,” he says. He continues to say that he has his eye on a woman to date; he’s been saying this for two years.

He is divorced and has custody of his son; doesn’t want his wife involved in his son’s life. He has two male roommates. Men need to be in touch with their Anima as well as their fathers.

Bottom line: this is a great way to create a lot of jobs for quacks. Reparative therapy is plain and simple horse shit.

Jim Burroway
March 7th, 2009 | LINK

Eric,

I think you have your facts confused. Nicolosi does not have a gay son.

Charles Socarides, one of the co-founders of NARTH, does have a gay son. But he had been involved with conversion therapy since the 1960′s and was a very prominent opponent to the APA’s 1973 removal of homosexuality from the DSM.

Socarides had been involved with anti-gay therapies from the very beginning of his career in 1954, which is also the year his son, Richard Socarides, was born, obviously long before Richard came out as gay. Richard later served as Bill Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Public Liaison for gay and lesbian issues.

MerlynHerne
August 10th, 2009 | LINK

The whole “ex-gay” fraud is just that–a fraud. What is wrong with letting people, however they were created, live their lives as they see fit? Is anyone attempting to convert heterosexuals to being gay? No. And that is because sexual orientation is NOT changeable and any attempt to change it is harmful.

The raison d’etre of ex-gay therapy is the discomfort of homophobes who cannot or will not accept that not everyone is the same.

pantherq
November 7th, 2009 | LINK

I could only read until the Dad hugging part. That was a short phase when I was 12. The recipe is the same for lesbians/ FTM’s as it is for gay men and MTF’s.

Is there anything that is in the text that promotes advocacy? I can’t read this post completely?

drdanfee
November 12th, 2009 | LINK

I vary between thinking that Nicolosi sincerely believes this antidiluvian reparative therapy theory; and thinking that more cynically, he knows he’d better wave it around vigorously and make hay while the sun shines. Cleverly, Nicolosi and company proclaim heterosexuality as if straight people were never, ever children growing up in a predominantly sex negative USA culture (especially, church cultures?) – and who, therefore, might sustain sex information gaps, shame experiences jelling into stuck shame positions, confusions about their gay family members who are not really supposed to really exist, and a great deal else positive to negative in human sexuality and embodiment. Part of what RepTx never bothers to address is the innumberable straight people who sustain similar positive/negative family or social or religious pressures; yet never experience themselves as anything but straight and messed up. Compared to Nicolosi’s heavy overt personal investment in gays being straights who are REALLY messed up. Nicolosi and friend never ever talk about straight people having similar life problems, yet not having their sexual orientation affected. Being straight is always gender perfect, and idealized to the tens. Makes you wonder if Nicolosi doesn’t have an inner vision of himself, as a sort of straight male ideal (Brad Pitt? Ashton Kutcher? Bodog boxer?)?

Hard not to suppose, then, that RepTx is all skewed presuppositions and hermeneutics, into which data are fitted. RepTx is post hoc pseudo-science at best; lockstep religious indoctrination at worst that masquerades as clinical psychology.

Else, Nicolosi et al. with fairly unique access to active, real samples of magical sexual orientation change patients would be busy publishing quite revolutionary (and quite observationally and statistically solid) hard change data. Now that would really be something; don’t tell me Nicolosi did not have a basic research class during his graduate studies? Such solid data would likely put the Stanton-Jones study in the peer reviewed journal deep shade if it were really true data.

Furthermore, in world human cultures, whose emotional life and needs are not well-connected to one’s sexuality? Whose self-esteem does not impact sexuality?

The real questions revolve around other topics. One might really wish to study Nicolosi et al. as cases wherein unconscious dynamics might theoretically cause allegedly nothing but totally straight men to focus on gay men – especially on gay mens’ feelings, relationships, and sex lives – to an unusual degree not ordinarily typical of USA totally straight men.

One might also wish to know exactly how multiple iterations of RepTx sessions actually go – easily captured these days by modern recording/archiving techniques. Then we could encourage close-deep scrutiny for therapeutic and not so therapeutic moments or interactions?

One might also finally have enough raw interaction data to start clearly sorting out the patently closed-minded religious elements in RepTx from the empirical evidence-based elements which are claimed to be operating?

The real question is: Why hasn’t Nicolosi and company yet been successfully sued for damages by a former ex-gay patient who failed to change, thanks to their quackery? I would guess it is only a matter of time, as the law suit train is out there somewhere, roving around in a slowly closing circle whose center is Nicolosi and RepTx. Hope his malpractice insurance is all paid up.

Jeff S.
November 13th, 2009 | LINK

They’ll spin this, but two of the people influential in starting Exodus Ministries are now a gay couple…

MY problem is that after playing keyboards for an A/G church (the pastor was “called” to the area) AND attending an ex-gay ministry (that no longer exists, I think), traveling 55 minutes, one way, once a week, for about 4 years, AND the pastor (the straw that broke the camel’s back) tried to equate “serial killers” with those in “alternative sexual lifestyle choices,” I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ASK FOR SEX LEGITAMITELY from ANYBODY!!!

(The pastor had asked the congregation of about 100 to “think of those people whom you would never expect to seek after God.”)

Yes, I’m in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I’m so screwed up (“How screwed up are you?”), on THREE different occasions, I had thought a member of Alcoholics Anonymous was gay, and all three (males) were “straight.”

I’m sorry — THAT’S the personification of awkwardness, aloneness, and “terminal uniqueness.”

I met ex-gay poster boy “john paulk” who “asked for directions” at a gay bar, causing Focus on the Family to RELOCATE THEIR ENTIRE MINISTRY FROM COLORADO TO VIRGINIA (!!!) and john
is as effeminate as the rest of them.

He is living secluded somewhere in Colorado.

I’m living secluded in Ohio.

Jeff S.

Timothy Kincaid
November 13th, 2009 | LINK

Jeff,

Please contact Beyond Ex-Gay.

They have a network of people who have the same experiences as you and can both empathize and advise.

Please email them today.

Infovoyeur
January 6th, 2010 | LINK

–The backgrounds of my closest gay male friends (I know oh say six other gay men but superficially).
(1) “Al” father left at age 2, mother perenially nervous, also aunt.
(2) “Bo” father died in alcoholic car crash before his birth, raised with crazy older brother, crazy mother.
(3) “Cy” father left, mother housekeeper for priests, loving but had negative attitude toward men.
(4) “De” oldest of 4 children of alcoholic abusive father, cowed mother, other 3 children heterosexual.
–I don’t know about Sammy, De’s brief lover, nor John at work, nor Ken in Canada, nor either Steve or George partners in Wisconsin.
–All I say is what about this data, it is very difficult to get clarity on politically-sensitive topics (like Islam, etc.)
–B.K.B. in S.E. Wisconsin…..

agnostrum
February 27th, 2010 | LINK

Eric,

My father was, in fact, darn near Ozzie Nelson. No lie. And I am…gay. Oops.

Of course your point is well taken. The vast majority of men I know have/had terrible or nonexistent relationships with their fathers. I can’t speak for the rest of the world but messed up father son relationships seem par for the course in the U.S. If the absent/distant father theory held any real water this country would be over run with homosexual men.

Perry Brass
March 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I read this with a lot of interest because I find the ex-gay movement fascinating. It is like the ex-Jew movement that the Nazis tried to start. Examples were experiments to change the eye color of Jewish children from dark brown to blue, to make them look more Aryan. In truth, few people understand that the term we call “gay” refers to a spectrum of behaviors, feelings, attitudes, and a history. Men who “act out” their homosexual needs by cruising t-rooms, or porn houses or sex lines are one very small part of it. A lot of gay men have extremely satisfying sex; much more so than the by-the-numbers sex that most straight men have. Also, there are areas of cultures where homosexuality and masculinity are not only not in conflict, but homosexuality even represents masculinity. The Christian fundamentalists are playing one note, over and over again, and that is the only tune they can come out with.

BJ Lincoln
January 6th, 2011 | LINK

I think we are not doing enough to shut NOM and other anti-gay hate groups down. While NOM has money, just saw their tax info, we have Orgs. the have money too. We need our orgs. like the HRC to put it to better use. As a blog reader and writer I know we have the power to sign all kinds of petitions and polls. Why cant we band together and flood NOMs web site with facts. NO HATE MAIL, just facts about our community. We have the power to keep their people very busy reading and deleting tons of mail and comments. If every person who reads this would go to NOM and make a comment Every day for say…..a week. They would have to shut down their server. We can NOT think that HRC and other orgs. are going to do the job.

The internet is great for putting the news and info out there but it can also be a tool for forcing sites to overload and shut down. Not all of us are able to go to a protest or march for many reasons so the internet is our only way to express ourselves. For those still in the closet this is a way for them to pitch in and help make a difference. Again, NO HATE, just the FACTS. We do NOT want to give them anything to use against us.

KET
February 26th, 2011 | LINK

I think the only way they prove that sexual repair therapy works is to reverse the process, Reverse from hetero to homo. This would be a true case study to show that people can change their orientation.

They could never look back and would be homosexual.

Just a thought. “ANYONE UP FOR THE STUDY?”

Fred
July 21st, 2011 | LINK

I love KET’s response. The only people crazy enough to do such a study are the ones foisting the opposite on the world. Their delusional belief systems would not allow it.

Harald Finehair
October 22nd, 2011 | LINK

The bias seems to be that a person could be honestly homosexual, whatever that means, and live as a heterosexual (in the closet). But I don’t seem to read any suggestion that people could be honestly heterosexual, and pretend to be homosexual, even going so far as to engage in homosexual relations (in effect, a closeted heterosexual). The two following quotes from posts above illustrate this bias:

“But I’ve yet to meet or hear of the ex-gay who outside of their support network and if they stopped stuggling would not immediately return to their natural state of homosexuality.”

Who’s to say what is natural? I used to work in prison, ’nuff said?

“no scientific study (flawed as most of them are) has been able to find someone who is not still “tempted”. They have not been able to find someone with “heterosexual functionng” that is not “complicated”. We ALL know very well that being married does not equal being no longer gay. Being able to procreate, especially with the extreme desire to be heterosexual and prove it to yourself and the world, is no earth-shattering feat, or confirmation of anything significant. It’s revealing that you state “no longer consider themselves gay”. When I was a considering myself a vegetarian in college, I still ate chicken occasionally — I wasn’t being honest with myself, and neither are these people.”

It’s as if it were impossible to be dishonest about being truly gay, or only possible to deny “gayness” but not “straightness.” That’s pretty hard to swallow. I’m pretty ambivalent about the “proofs” offered up by soft sciences like psychology. They seem to be custom tailored for wide acceptance, promoting cures for homosexuals while they are popular, and promoting gay acceptance as public opinion changes. A consideration of cross cultural studies, anecdotal evidence, and personal experience (which ought to be as good as any pseudo-scientific study) suggests to be that people experience varying amounts of same and cross gender sexual attraction. Some pursue that attraction, and some choose not to. Some people who experience strong homosexual attraction never act on it. Some people who experience strong heterosexual attraction never act on it. I’d be very reluctant to call a person who lived their entire adult life in a faithful heterosexual marriage, gay. I’d be surprised to learn it if most people don’t have a secret kink or fantasy they’ve never acted on. I’ve known a several people over the course of my life who married, then took up the gay lifestyle. There were folks I knew in college who were gay then, now they’re married with kids. Why does dishonesty have to enter in? Who is “in the closet?” I think for many, it has to do with who you happen to meet, and with life experiences. Some portion might be innate, but it’s kind of hard to say. The reparative therapy etiology above seems reasonable, but might not be true for all. If people are uncomfortable for reasons of faith with homosexuality, who can say that reparative therapy might not help them to resist their unwanted desires?

The characterization of gay people as unable to be truly happy unless they fulfill their sexual desires is also a little troublesome. Who gets to fulfill all their desires? No one I know, gay or straight! What kind of world would we live in if we did? We have to make choices in this life, including what kind of sexual behavior we engage in, or whether we’ll engage in any at all. I support people who choose reparative therapy to assist them in curbing urges they’re uncomfortable with. Good for them, our society needs more people who are willing to deny themselves for the sake of principle. It’s called character.

Priya Lynn
October 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Harald, no one gets to fulfill all their desires, but most people get a significant amount of them fullfilled when it comes to a relationship with a love. It is unjust to ask a gay person to sacrifice every sexual/romantic desire when virtually no heterosexual person would do so. Gays only choose to seek “reparative” “therapy” because they want to avoid the discrimination they experience. Denying oneself a relationship to avoid discrimination isn’t called character, its called a tragic injustice.

Timothy Kincaid
October 24th, 2011 | LINK

Harald,

Your musings are, no doubt, interesting to you. However they contribute nothing of more value than Aunt Thelma’s views.

You believe what you believe because you believe it. And no science, research, logic, or study is going to dissuade you.

Well you are entitled to your prejudices, just as Aunt Thelma is to hers. And if they include beliefs about blacks being criminals and Hispanics being lazy and gay’s choosing to be gay, well I’ve learned long ago that prejudices ultimately harm those who bear them the most.

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