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03/19/2008

Yea, 'ex-gays'? You seriously see this as a win? Odd.

by Jeremy Hooper

There is a journalistic misstep known as "burying the lead," in which the writer of a piece puts secondary, non-essential information ahead of the article's most pertinent points.  And while it is something that most news writers try to avoid, when the burden of your "reporting" is that you work for a biased publication for which facts are simply not easy to come by, the unorthodox writing style can be a handy tool at the scribe's disposal.

For an example of the artform, look at this pro-"ex-gay" spin that's currently running on Focus on the Family's CitizenLink:

American Psychological Association: No Consensus on Cause of Homosexuality
Group gives credence to the view that both nature and nurture are involved.

The American Psychological Association (APA) may be shifting from its view that homosexuality is inborn. The group now says both nature and nurture are involved, and clients have a right to self-determination.

In a new brochure, the APA concedes that there is no scientific consensus on what causes same-sex attraction.

“They are starting to have the integrity of reporting accurately about the condition of homosexuality," said Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International. "We find this to be a very exciting move and hope that it indicates future movement toward recognizing that people can and do overcome homosexuality.”

Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said the brochure has an activist bent, but he sees a ray of hope.

“This doesn’t mean that we’ve completely succeeded in all the things that we’ve wanted to," he said, "but it’s a move in the direction that we’ve wanted them to move in, and I think that’s very positive news.

Okay, so they're asserting that by acknowledging that one specific root cause for homosexuality hasn't been pinpointed, the APA is somehow coming around to their way of thinking.  We've seen this many times with these folks.  To the reasoned statement that "we don't know exactly what causes it" (the common theme of most research) our opposition desperately and disingenuously tries to tack on the line "...BECAUSE IT IS A CHANGEABLE CONDITION THAT IS IN NO WAY IN-BORN."  But as you will see in the aforementioned APA brochure, this is not at all what the organization is saying:

Picture 13-43

The APA, as to be expected, is simply (and rightfully) saying that no conclusive statements can be made at this time.  Because again, they are an organization that works from a place of rational research, not one-sided bias!

But getting back to our whole "bury the lead" setup: Here's the really nutty part in regards to FOF's mentioning of the brochure.  The part that specifically speaks to the issues that should be of most concern to the "gays can change" crowd:

Picture 12-44

HOW CAN THEY JUST OVERLOOK THIS?!?!?!  They are explicitly saying that all major mental health orgs. have "concerns" about the sort of thing that folks like Randy Thomas and Glenn Stanton embrace as a career!  Shouldn't that at least be given lip service?  Wouldn't you think these "ex-gay" proponents would temper their excitement over what, frankly, we see as a non-change, considering that there is still that little matter of a COMPLETE LACK OF CREDIBLE PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT with which they have to contend?!

And it's not really even just the above passage.  The entire APA brochure has a general tone of fighting bias and negative stereotype, the likes of which FOF and the "ex-gay" movement work to embolden on a minute-by-minute basis!  For them to gloat over a "victory" within this document would be sort of like us celebrating over a Westboro Baptist press release wherein they called us "fags" only ten times instead of eleven!!

American Psychological Association: No Consensus on Cause of Homosexuality [CitizenLink]

**SEE ALSO: This is the statement that the APA has been running on its website since at least 2006 (and likely before):

Picture 15-37

So as you can see, the possibility that a more than one factor plays into sexuality (ANY sexuality) has always been present.  And the idea has always been that we still have more research to do!

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Your thoughts

I've seen most of this on the APA's website for a couple of years, I fail to see why they think this is news. I'm guessing that that are zeroing in on the part in brochure that respect for a client's "right of self-determination" and "religion" to the exclusion of everything else. Um...this again is nothing new and ignores what the brochure is saying, especially about "reparative" therapy. Context is everything which these folks seem to be clueless about.

Posted by: John | Mar 19, 2008 7:10:41 PM

There is also the neat little line about "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation." that is completely overlooked in their eagerness to claim that it simply is a choice and changeable.
Truly a case of seeing only what they want to see I guess...

Posted by: Todd | Mar 19, 2008 7:13:59 PM

It's NOT news. They are just taking a statement and trying to spin it as news.

I'm sure that in the future, we will hear lies from their spokespeople about what the APA said.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Mar 19, 2008 7:51:37 PM

The part that specifically speaks to the issues that should be of most concern to the "gays can change crowd:

That would be the "Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said the brochure has an activist bent" don't cha know. LOL

Posted by: | Mar 19, 2008 8:13:14 PM

Is this the much awaited update from the APA that Ex-Gay Watch and Wayne Bessen have been telling us was going to take a stronger and more specific stand against "reparative therapy"?

If so I'm certainly not impressed.

It sounds like the APA just doesn't have the cojones to stand up to the religious right and their anti-gay snake oil salesmen in spite of all of the real damage that they are doing to thousands of GLBT Americans every year.

If they were REALLY serious about this and at all concerned about the harm that is being caused to gay people then they would DO THE RESEARCH under approved standards and methodologies to clinically prove or disprove the effectiveness of "reparative therapy".

They could also do more in depth studies on the origins of homosexuality if they really wanted to.

But who cares. After all, it's not as if anyone's being denied civil rights, equality, the pursuit of happiness or dignity based on misinformation and misunderstanding of homosexuality.

Posted by: Zeke | Mar 20, 2008 3:00:37 AM

These people are priceless. Science is unsure about the cause of many things. No one really knows what causes epilepsy. No one really knows what causes autism. Up until recently the brain was thougt to have no immune system but it was recently discovered. Just because the exact cause of something is not known doesn't mean that you can just will it to change.

I don't know what frightens me more: these people views or the twisted scientific method that they sell to people to justify their position. By teaching faulty logic and scientific method to all of their followers, we are going to suffer serious brain drain in this country.

Posted by: Ed | Mar 20, 2008 11:25:10 AM

It's true, Ed. They act as if the human genome is a very simple matter.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 20, 2008 11:31:43 AM

Exactly has been mentioned, these morons are taking something that's not news and making it into news, so that an unsuspecting and under-informed journalist who's searching the web in trying to put together tomorrow's next story on pedophiles will find the information, think it's legit, and include it in their article or news-cast. This then gives the FoF story credibility as it is recognized by an established news network, which then makes the article more popular and usable. And by the time people demand a correction from the original news provider, a dozen other outlets will have used the story and spread the misinformation, at which point any retraction or correction will have less impact than the original statements that were made. It's just a propaganda tactic.

Posted by: Jordan | Mar 20, 2008 11:17:48 PM

Which is why we call them out on it from the very beginning, Jordan.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 20, 2008 11:29:50 PM

I have used plr articles successfully and it has given a boost on my traffic counts

Posted by: Niche Private Label Articles | Apr 10, 2008 8:38:34 AM

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