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03/21/2011

Oh shoot, the messenger: NARTH wishes XGW wasn't so darn diligent

by Jeremy Hooper

A couple of times over the past few years, we've shown you how National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins has repudiated the way groups like National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and other "ex-gay" advocates like Greg Quinlan have twisted and misused his work in order to support their "ex-gay" advocacy. The reason why we were able to bring you these repudiations is because our dedicated pals at Ex-Gay Watch have taken the time to make Dr. Collins aware of such misreps and to elicit strong comment from him. Because that's what XGW does: Demands accuracy and transparency from a movement whose proponents have proven themselves as adverse to those two concepts as they are the notion of identifying by a currently recognized sexual orientation rather than some flux state that makes more of the supposedly rejected past than it does of the avowed present.

But true to the "ex-gay" movement's reliably responsibility-shirking form, some folks at NARTH are now attacking XGW for doing the legwork and getting the Collins pushback. In a new article, seemingly apropos to no current situation, David C. Pruden, NARTH’s Vice-President of Operations accuses XGW of misleading Collins when they reached out to him nearly four years ago:

Nowhere does the Editor of Ex-Gay Watch represent NARTH as an organization that supports an individual’s freedom to Screen Shot 2011-03-21 At 11.48.32 Amclaim a gay identity. Nowhere does the Editor describe NARTH as a professional organization that advocates respect for gay and ex-gay alike. Nowhere does this editor even come close to a fair and accurate description of NARTH’ s mission and purpose.

In response to the collective monologue from the Ex-Gay Watch Editor, Dr. Collins responds as any reputable scientist would. He states, “It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality.” Then Dr. Collins offers an observation that the words used in the NARTH piece were “juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended.” Dr. Collins provides no further information about how his words were juxtaposed or what the different conclusion was. The NARTH article was examined by external peer reviewers again and no evidence was found to support the afore-mentioned observation. The article was carefully referenced, followed sequentially and a summary statement was taken from Dr. Collins’s own conclusion. No mention was made of alterability of homosexuality in this article.

Ex-Gay Watch Editor Misrepresents NARTH, Misinforms Dr. Francis S. Collins [NARTH]

Okay, so a few things. First and perhaps foremost: Even independent of Ex-Gay Watch's own efforts, Dr. Collins has repudiated "ex-gay" misusage. Just last year, in reaction to the way the so-called American College of Pediatricians was misusing his words (in ways similar to NARTH's own misreps), Dr. Collins took the somewhat extraordinary step of posting a repudiation to the NIH's website. Even if there were any merit, that last one couldn't be pinned on XGW. Clearly by that point, Collins was flat-out pissed at the "ex-gay" community's unending war on credible information. As many of us are.

But regardless of that point, there is simply no merit to Prudence's XGW claims. For the detailed reasons why, go read writer David Roberts' reaction to the anti-intellectual way NARTH is so carelessly dragging his name through the mud rather than take responsibility for their own manipulations:

NARTH’s David Pruden Continues Attack on Noted Geneticist Francis Collins [XGW]

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