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07/14/2011

Audio: Conservatives defend Bachmann by *more fully* pushing 'ex-gay' therapy; That's good for us

by Jeremy Hooper

One thing that's surprised me about the conservative community's response to the Michele/Marcus Bachmann "ex-gay" debacle is how strongly her defenders, even more moderate ones, have jumped in to defend the scientifically-discredited "therapy" that's now under the media microscope. Now here's extreme conservative Bryan Fischer doing just that, alongside a religious-college-trained researcher who is most know for his work opposing modern psychiatry and antidepressant drugs:


*AUDIO SOURCE: Dr. Tim Rampey on success of therapy for homosexuals [AFA Radio]

I, for one, applaud this conservative response. Why? Because I'm pretty confident in the American public's vast majority rejection of this resoundingly discredited "research." For years, this site has been trying to show America how, at the end of most every single anti-equality group's anti-rainbow, is the goal of "changing" gays. And of course I've been trying to show how the only support this sort of "therapy" holds comes from the politically-motivated junk science groups that the anti-LGBT community has strategically created in order to appease their own echo chambers. So now, with all of this getting attached to one of the leading presidential candidates on the GOP side, more people will have more reason to listen to and learn from all that we pro-equality folk have been repeating ad nauseam. And when they do listen to the facts, I see no way that the majority, even within the Republican party, will buy into the lines that the anti-gay community has so obviously and strategically crafted as a way to justify their "love the sinner, hate the sin" stances (a stance that is itself strategic, a way of detaching discrimination from the advocacy).

So yeah: Keep talking, Bryan Fischer. Sure, it might appease the American Family Association's base, which is already firmly within the aforementioned chamber of echos. But there are undoubtedly many pollsters surrounding Camp Bachmann who are more than cringing at the way this story's being spun. And by "spun," I mean by the pro-"ex-gay" crowd, not the pro-science side.

Break

*Reminder of Fischer's "glorious" track record (in part): This is the same Bryan Fischer who's said "Homosexuals in the military gave us...six million dead Jews". The guy who's said "homosexuals should be disqualified from public office," has called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence, has called gay sex a "form of domestic terrorism," who's said only gays were savage enough for Hitler, has compared gays to heroin abusers, has directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers, who once invoked a Biblical story about stabbing "sexually immoral" people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day, who has spoken out against gays serving as public school teachers, has questioned why Medals of Honor are given to people who save lives (rather than take lives), who says that open service will "assign the United States to the scrap heap of history," who recently commiserated with Bradlee 'Executing homosexuals is moral' Dean, and who has blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: "If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students". The guy who said the only acceptable "culture war" truce would have gays giving up their demand for equality. The guy who painted Native Americans as innately cursed because they "cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition". The guy who encourages an "ex-gay" mother to ignore court orders that she finds Biblically unfair (Just like Rosa Parks, dont cha know?). The guy who conservative Christian Warren Throckmorton aptly noted is "to the right of Jerry Falwell" on some LGBT issues. The guy whose words pretty much single-handedly landed the American Family Association on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate groups list.

Break

*REMINDER: Just a smattering of what credible science has to say about "ex-gay" therapy:

American Medical Association: "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"
AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation [AMA]

***

American Counseling Association Ethics Committee: Clients may ask for a specific treatment from a counseling professional because they have heard about it from either their religious community or from popular culture. A counselor, however, only provides treatment that is scientifically indicated to be effective or has a theoretical framework supported by the profession. Otherwise, counselors inform clients that the treatment is "unproven" or "developing" and provide an explanation of the "potential risks and ethical considerations of using such techniques/procedures and take steps to protect clients from possible harm" (Standard C.6.e., "Scientific Bases for Treatment Modalities").

Considering all the above deliberation, the ACA Ethics Committee strongly suggests that ethical professional counselors do not refer clients to someone who engages in conversion therapy or, if they do, to proceed cautiously only when they are certain that the referral counselor fully informs clients of the unproven nature of the treatment and the potential risks and takes steps to minimize harm to clients (also see Standard A.2.b., "Types of Information Needed"). This information also must be included in written informed consent material by those counselors who offer conversion therapy despite ACA's position and the Ethics Committee's statement in opposition to the treatment. To do otherwise violates the spirit and specifics of the ACA Code of Ethics.

Exploring ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy [ACA]

***

American Academy of Pediatrics: The terms reparative therapy and sexual orientation conversion therapy refer to counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality. The most important fact about these “therapies” is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, which defines the standards of the field, does not include homosexuality. All other major health professional organizations have supported the American Psychiatric Association in its declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Thus, the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation
among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

The idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

Despite the general consensus of major medical, health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.

Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises youth that counseling may be helpful for you if you feel confused about your sexual identity. Avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness.
Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth [APP]

***

The American Psychological Association: The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts" also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."
The approval, by APA's governing Council of Representatives, came at APA's annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapy," or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex."

Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others' sexual orientation.
Insufficient Evidence that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says [American Psychological Association]

***

The British Medical Association: Meeting at its annual conference in Brighton, has passed a motion saying that the National Health Service should not fund sexual orientation change therapy and called on the British Department of Health to investigate cases where conversion therapy has been funded with NHS money, and to prevent it happening in future.
British Medical Association: Ex-Gay Therapy Should Not Be Funded By NHS [Box Turtle Bulletin]

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