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In perfect world, it'd be Pete's work with which we'd associate the word 'shrink'

by Jeremy Hooper

Labarbera-ObamaPeter LaBarbera makes his living by attacking LGBT people. That's his sole job. Day in and day out, he fosters the hurtful, anti-scientific idea that gays are flawed, immoral, and "fixable," helping to foster the climate of fear and hatred that has kept LGBT people down. His career is defined by being anti-queer.

Now, those of us who are LGBT know how and why the sort of hurtful rhetoric that Pete and his pals foster can lead to mental torment. When you are told your whole life that you are sick, perverted, wrong, hellbound, etc., the journey to self-acceptance is less of a benign path and more of a minefield in which the odds of safe travel are stacked against the navigator. And when your every last right is a fight rather than a given bestowed upon you by virtue of your citizenship, this pain can be (and often is) compounded.

So when we recently read a study that suggests sexual minorities are more likely to seek help from mental health professionals, we let out a good ol' fashioned "DUH!" Because to us, it's a no-brainer. We know the pain of growing up LGBT in America, both personally and anecdotally. And we also know that trained health professionals can be a nice outlet for those in need.

But to our pal Peter, we LGBT folk are totally out of line when we look him in the eye and tell him that he is directly to blame for gay pain/shame. To Pete, his hands are clean. To this professional 'mo foe, the LGBT community's heighten therapy bills are all because God detests non-heteros:

"You can't just keep going back to homophobia and societal stigma to account for this huge difference between straights and homosexuals with regard to various pathologies," he contends. "First of all, we're talking about California, where there's a much greater tolerance for homosexuality -- so you can't keep pointing to the stigma."

LaBarbera says homosexuals should accept responsibility for their behavior and not point an accusing finger at others. He believes God has set up behavioral boundaries beyond which are consequences. LaBarbera points to Christ as the answer.

"That's, I think, the message here. There will never be happiness and contentedness...there will never be normality associated with homosexuality. It's an aberrant, sinful lifestyle," he notes. "It's destructive. But the good news is it's changeable and people can leave this lifestyle."

Homosexuals more likely to seek psychological help [ONN]

Keep trying to scrub your palms clean, Pete. The effort is in vain. Because while you may be able to lather up a temporary conscience cleans, humans have yet to invent a soap powerful enough to wash hurtful, inhumane civil rights legacies off of anyone's hands. Only a genuine change of heart and a willingness to put your personal disdain behind literal truth will ever salvage your historical hostility record, P-dog.

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Your thoughts

My comment, that they probably won't post: "If I were to marry someone I love and then be told months later that my marriage might be invalid, I might go to counseling, too. And 'we're talking about California' here, too."

Posted by: Brian | Aug 20, 2009 10:48:13 AM

What is the deal with that sign, anyway? I'm usually pleased with Obama's stance on reproductive rights, but I only WISH he was radically "pro-homosexual."

Posted by: allison | Aug 20, 2009 11:36:54 AM

It insults everyone with mental illnesses to suggest (indirectly) that their conditions arise because they are doing something that displeases God, and that if only they'd stop doing that thing, whatever it is, they would at once get better. There's a lot of nastiness and unpleasant misinformation surrounding the subject of mental illness, and this man's suggesting that it happens to people as a punishment for being bad isn't just offensive to the LGBTQU, but also the S and A.

Posted by: Celia | Aug 20, 2009 11:39:47 AM

It is fascinating (and frustrating) trying to imagine the impulses and motivations that drive someone to devote their professional life exclusively to the persecution of gays. Of all the paths Peter could have followed, why did he choose this one? Has he or a family member been hurt by gays? Doubtful. Was he a failure at other ventures early in life? Has he found it to be particularly rewarding monetarily? Was he bullied as a child for being a sissy and is now trying to compensate? Does he feel threatened by people that are different, but then why just single out gays? And there is always the classic suspicion that he is a deeply closeted homo or bi-sexual who loathes that part of himself, and of course that could very well be true, couldn't it?

Maybe at the root of his nature he is a bully, and he found gays to be an exceptionally convenient target. It was convenient that gays were already reviled by much of society, so in addition to the personal satisfaction from bullying, he found he could receive accolades for his efforts. And it was convenient that his religion promotes the persecution of gays, so he could be completely guilt-free. And beyond the freedom from guilt he could actually believe he was doing his deity's work - to assure his eventual heavenly rewards.

Does Peter notice that the accolades are coming from a continuously shrinking number of people, and that slowly (very slowly) churches are changing their views? Only a few years ago he and others were lamenting that gays could no longer be classed as criminals, and now the issue is marriage Does he notice that he is becoming increasingly isolated and will eventually become irrelevant?

I have a recurring image of a 90 year old Peter abandoned, incontinent, and drooling in a nursing home mumbling about the good old days and wondering what the hell happened. And then, along comes the nurse to clean up the drool, and put on clean diaper. That nurse is gay man.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Aug 20, 2009 11:44:35 AM

And One News Now omitted part of the study and focused on LaBarbera's ramblings. With your permission, Jeremy, this is the post I wrote looking at the press release about the study as compared to how One News Now presented it:


Posted by: a. mcewen | Aug 20, 2009 11:58:29 AM

Agreed, Celia. Pete is definitely stigmatizing the mental health profession, and especially those who utilize the services.

But then again, the credible mental health profession stands almost universally against his agenda. No wonder he doesn't care for it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 20, 2009 12:00:17 PM

It was much more likely that lesbians would seek counseling, and most likely because they don't feel any stigma attached to the therapy - as gay men are also less stigmatized about the idea of therapy.

One thing that I find interesting, though, is that the religious of the world (men and women) go and sit through "feel good", stroke the egos, everyone-who-agrees-with-us-is-superior religious "therapy" (indoctrination/brain-washing) several times a month. Yet they feel no compunction when chiding LGBTs for seeking counseling. We might actually seek help dealing with our stresses. They ignore theirs, opting instead for the sweet, sweet, blissful intoxication of religion.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 20, 2009 12:01:36 PM

The blood of Matthew Shepard is on this man's hands and soul.

Posted by: Michael | Aug 20, 2009 3:44:49 PM

LaBarbera's attitude is disgusting and indicative of a very sick mind. Individuals such as this man are responsible for an immense amount of pain, and he must be regarded as an ignorant, bigoted man without a consciousness of the evil he is doing - or simply a man without a conscience. In either case, he is yet another reminder that a large segment of society still regards gay men and women as second-class citizens - or worse. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others). More information on the book is available at www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

Mark Zamen, author

Posted by: Mark Zamen | Aug 24, 2009 7:46:46 PM

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