Son of NARTH Co-Founder Describes Coming Out To His Father

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2013

Richard Socarides, a former Senior Advisor to President Bill Clinton, has an unusual background. Not only is he gay, but his father, Charles Socarides, was one of the most vocal defenders of attempts to cure gay people.  The homosexual is ill,” he said in a 1963 New York Times article, “and anything that tends to hid that fact reduces his changes of seeking and obtaining treatment. If they were to achieve social acceptance it would increase this difficulty.” In 1967, Charles Socarides appeared on the infamous CBS Reports special “The Homosexuals” where he described the idea of happy gay people as “a mythology.”  The elder Socarides was an outspoken opponent of the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, and he went on to co-found the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in 1992. So imagine what it must have been like to be Charles Socarides’s gay son:

…We lived on the Upper East Side on 78th Street in a Townhouse and his office was downstairs. So there was this, kind of on this one level is this kid coming out, on the top level there was this kid coming out, and on this bottom level there were these people going to be cured of their homosexuality. His idea was they should be treated like any other neurotic. Couple of trips to a therapist and it should be just fine.

Richard Socarides has recorded a video for the web site I’m From Driftwood, describing what it was like to come out to the most famous conversion therapist in the country:

As this video makes the round, much is made of Charles Socarides’ “founding” or “pioneering” converstion therapy for gay people. But as regular readers of The Daily Agenda know, Charles Socarides was far from the first to do so, or to consider homosexuality a mental illness. That idea had been ingrained in psychology for more than a century. But as NARTH’s co-founder, Socarides certainly was a huge part of the movement which shifted those attempts to “cure” gay people from what had been considered a scientific basis towards a much more dogmatic and political foundation. How strange it must have been for a gay son to maintain a relationship with his father while his father became increasingly doctrinaire in his approach to homosexuality.

Regan DuCasse

April 8th, 2013

“The homosexual is ill, and anything that tends to hide this fact, reduces his chances of seeking and obtaining treatment.”
I mean WHOA!!

That’s a very egregious lack of how and in what way, mental illness is diagnosed. Let alone observed.
Serious mental illness, whether clinical or acute, can’t be hidden. That’s one point. And clinical classifications, such as paraphilias, and pathologies, also have very specific profiles.
Typically they are autonomic, compulsive and obsessive.
There eventually come disabling, or socially isolating obstacles to functioning.
In other words, that dysfunction can be detected by just about anyone in the social network of the individual.

However, without including a legacy of systemic civil isolation, discrimination, bigotry and threat for one’s identity and distinction, that’s an omission that doesn’t complete a diagnosis of other clinical issues.
Especially those that aren’t exclusive to anyone, regardless their orientation.

And for Socarides to say that there is no such thing as a well adjusted, happy gay person is the next egregious level of omission, diagnosis and result.
If he never looked for any for comparison, he wouldn’t find any.

I resent the anti gay continually bringing up the issue of the changes in the DSM and homosexuality no longer being classified a dysfunctional illness, as if the psych establishment were blackmailed and terrorized into changing it.
Rather than obligatory research, and updates and also considerable expansion of methodology doing it.
As with just about everything else, the anti gay define much by very narrow, uniform and idealized standards.
Which only leads to more ignorance, not more education.
Evidently, NARTH focusing so much on homosexuality means that public education would put them out of work.
This preoccupation with creating political and civil discrimination against gay people, and not anyone ELSE with a serious and disabling mental problem, is too weird in an of itself.
If I had MY ‘druthers, I wish they’d focus on the kinds of impulsive and casual ways in which people (like the parade of mass shooters) engage in organized violence.
Or the impetus behind policies fomented by bigotry.
Even better, the study of sociopaths. Who number 1 in 25 and literally ARE the most dangerous of people with a mental and emotional disorder.

Regan DuCasse

April 8th, 2013

BTW: The nearly lifelong time spent in study of CRIMINAL science does make me wonder about the acquired pathology about homosexuality to THIS degree.

The course of study requires staying educated in behavioral sciences too. Which is why it’s jaw dropping what the anti gay do with THEIR college degrees, even if they are inexpert on homosexuality as Socarides is. Jen RoMo has her degree in economics. So many people with doctorates in anything BUT expertise in gay people, use their credentials so fraudulently on the subject of gay people.
Socarides is so outmoded, regardless his era. Doctors aren’t allowed to continue to practice anything else, who refuse to update their methodology or change their practice with newer discovery.
Even THAT is so wrong and definitely should be questioned.


April 8th, 2013

“How strange it must have been for a gay son to maintain a relationship with his father while his father became increasingly doctrinaire in his approach to homosexuality.”

Well, families are funny that way. What seems strange to outsiders seems completely unstrange to insiders.

Richard Rush

April 8th, 2013

Richard said that his father never tried to “cure” him. If he (the father) really believed his public statements regarding homosexuality, then the obvious question is, why didn’t he try to “cure” his son? Or was he just perpetrating a lucrative scam to help support his rich Upper East Side lifestyle?

Tim Lusk

April 8th, 2013

As an advisor to President Clinton, the gay son was no friend to our community.
Just sayin

Ben in Oakland

April 8th, 2013

It could easily be both, Richard. The kind of bigotry expressed as a wholly imaginary superioirty. No active hate involved, but one can make money off of people you despise.

I can think of a number of reasonable appearing people, like Brian brown, who might well fit this.

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