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06/13/2007

PFOX: Putting the 'PF' in 'PFLAWED'

by Jeremy Hooper

So on Monday, we showed you how Regina Griggs of the PFOX organization was lashing out against gay groups for criticizing the pro-"ex-gay" stances of surgeon general nominee James Holsinger. Well, in a piece for One News Now, Griggs has added to her initial claims, saying:

"The official position of all medical and mental health organizations and the American Psychiatric Association is that there is no biological or genetic cause or replicated study for homosexuality," ..."So, why as a doctor should he not be allowed to interpret and support the fact that change is possible? That's what medical science says."

Only problem? THIS IS A COMPLETE LIE! None of these organizations claim there is "no biological or genetic cause or replicated study for homosexuality." While there is no concrete evidence to unquestionably state the cause of sexual orientation at this point, NO credible body of science would EVER be so bold or flawed to state that there is "no biological or genetic cause"!

Wanna know what these organizations DO say? Well...

* The American Psychological Association states that scientific evidence shows that reparative therapy does not work and that it can do more harm than good.

* In 1998, the American Psychiatric Association stated it was opposed to reparative therapy, stating "psychiatric literature strongly demonstrates that treatment attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective. However, the potential risks are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive [suicidal] behavior..." APA's Current Position Statement

* The American Counseling Association has adopted a resolution that states that it: opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation.7 Further, at its 1999 World Conference, ACA adopted a position opposing the promotion of "reparative therapy" as a "cure" for individuals who are homosexual.

* The American Medical Association, states in its policy number H-160.991, that it "opposes, the use of 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation."

* The American Academy of Pediatrics in its policy statement on Homosexuality and Adolescence states: Confusion about sexual orientation is not unusual during adolescence. Counseling may be helpful for young people who are uncertain about their sexual orientation or for those who are uncertain about how to express their sexuality and might profit from an attempt at clarification through a counseling or psychotherapeutic initiative. Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.

* In 2001, The U.S. Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior asserted that homosexuality is not "a reversible lifestyle choice."

While we clearly don't agree with Ms. Griggs on much of anything gay or "ex-gay" related, it should be easy for folks of any ideological outlook to see that credible medical and mental health organizations are far from supportive of the idea that "change" is productive or even possible. Most of the time, proponents of the "ex-gay" movement claim it's because these organizations have been hijacked by the "radical homosexual agenda™." That may be flawed thinking on their part, but at least it's a theory to justify the reality of the situation. However, what Ms. Griggs has put forth is an absolute bastardization of the truth!!

Ex-'gay' group: Surgeon General nominee's views backed by medical science [ONN]

**UPDATE: Wayne Besen's on it.

**UPDATE2: In a separate press release, Ms. Griggs presents a more toned down version of her above claims, merely saying:

"According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological cause for homosexuality"

And this part is actually true, as the American Psychiatric Association does say:

No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. Homosexuality was once thought to be the result of troubled family dynamics or faulty psychological development. Those assumptions are now understood to have been based on misinformation and prejudice. Currently there is a renewed interest in searching for biological etiologies for homosexuality. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. Similarly, no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, than in children who identify as heterosexual.

However, this is a vastly different concept than her claim that the "official position of all medical and mental health organizations and the American Psychiatric Association is that there is no biological or genetic cause or replicated study for homosexuality."

If you dig around, you can find others who have tried to twist this same APA statement through the years. It's because it's easy to alter just a few words and totally change the meaning (i.e. "THERE IS DEFINITELY NO GENETIC CAUSE" vs. "WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE CONCRETE, REPLICATED EVIDENCE YET"). However, there is obviously a world of difference between the two concepts!

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Your thoughts

I like this quote from the American Psychiatric Association:

http://www.psych.org/psych_pract/ethics/ethics_opinions53101.cfm

"Section 1-GG

Question: Is it ethical to engage in a therapy (such as reparative or conversion therapy) to change sexual orientation?

Answer: No. Although successful and ethical treatments for legitimate psychiatric diagnoses may sometimes lead to some changes in sexual behavior, any treatment that is based on an assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder, or is based on an assumption that the patient should change his or her sexual orientation, is by its nature unethical, as it violates numerous ethics principles. Such so-called "treatment" ignores established scientific evidence, demeans the dignity of the patient, succumbs to individual and social prejudice and stigma, and has often been significantly harmful to patients, families, others, and their relationships. (September 1999)"

The word "unethical" has a certain zing to it, doen't you think?

(You don't allow html?)

Bill

Posted by: Bill Ware | Jun 13, 2007 7:00:41 PM

Nothing I see in the Griggs statement mentions reparative therapy...only you do. So all your quotes damning RT are irrelvant. It appears the PFOX statement about medical and mental health associations vis-a-vis individuals seeking professional support in self-determination in dealing with their same-sex attraction is 100% correct.

There is also an even bigger world of difference between "WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE CONCRETE, REPLICATED EVIDENCE YET" and constant drum beat that gays are 'born that way." So in the future please be as stringent with your own words and never say more than "homosexuality MIGHT be innate -- we don't have the concrete evidence.

Feel free to add the word "yet" if you feel it sounds more convincing and inevitable...although opinion is still not the same as fact.

Posted by: UnTwistedTruth | Jun 14, 2007 11:12:50 PM

unTwistedTruth: Are you kidding me? PFOX is a, if not THE, leading proponent of "reparative therapy"!! Yes they also support all of the other courses of "change" -- ministry, counseling, etc. -- but "reparative therapy" is a HUGE key to their work. And no matter HOW you look at Ms/ Grigg's quote, it is an INCORRECT statement! She is asserting that the groups say definitively that "there is no biological or genetic cause" -- that is simply untrue.

As for the constant drum beat of gays that we are born that way -- You're right that this is the consensus. However, it is not like it's some sort of political stance we have adopted -- it is truly how most of us feel. It's hard to feel otherwise when you've lived in your one body and one mind for all of your life, and both have given you the same message. But that being said, I suggest you go back and read this entry, as nowhere in it did I assert definitively that gays are born that way. In fact, I fully acknowledge that there is no replicated study yet to full suggest as much. Yes, I did juxtapose "THERE IS DEFINITELY NO GENETIC CAUSE" vs. "WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE CONCRETE, REPLICATED EVIDENCE YET," but that was mainly for effect, to show that while her misquote places absolutes on an unknown, the actual standpoint leaves room for many possibilities, including a someday-to-be found genetic-bio root!

One another note: While I would never claim that you have a connection with Ms. Griggs or PFOX, I do find it interesting to note that your IP places you very closely to PFOX's Virginia home base.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 15, 2007 8:23:24 AM

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