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On 'ex-gays', the APA, and pressure

by Jeremy Hooper

So once again, Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus is staunchly supporting the "ex-gay" notion and chastising those who oppose the dangerous movement. This time their support for the "gays can change" idea comes in light of the news that the American Psychological Association might reconsider its policy on so-called "reparative therapy," a reexamination that FOF claims is due to political pressure from LGBT groups:

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology and fellow for psychology and public policy at Grove City College, said the APA is responding to pressure, not science.

The reasons they recommended it was for political reasons, not for scientific reasons," he said. "They didn't refer to new research, or new studies -- they referred to new policy statements from other groups."

The APA already stands against therapies that treat homosexuality as a mental illness, Throckmorton said. If the group yields to demands from PFLAG and NGLTF and comes out against reparative therapy, discontented gays will have fewer options.

What we're talking about is the right of clients who are unhappy with their feeling (of same-sex attraction)," he said. "Those people have the right to seek therapy to help them live the way they want to live -- the way they value."

Alan Chambers, a former homosexual and president of Exodus International, an ex-gay organization, said reparative therapy isn’t harmful. In fact, he said he's all the better for having gone though it.

What I found in my life is that I had lasting change, a change in identity and something that I don’t feel tempted to be involved in homosexuality at all,” Chambers told Family News in Focus. “It took probably eight years for me to find freedom from the attractions and the desires that really held me captive for decades. But I believe that I have a heterosexual identity.

But perhaps their movement would seem a tad more credible if stories like this contained quotes from someone outside of the "ex-gays" tiny stable of proponents. If you were to do a story in support of gays and their shared experiences and similarities, not only could you find hundreds of gay activists to speak on the subject, but you could also stand on the street corner of any urban area and obtain many a quote from gay folks and their allies. However, when any of the "pro-family" groups run a story on "ex-gays," you will undoubtedly see the names Throckmorton, Nicolosi, Fryrear, Chambers, Bennett, Cohen, and to a lesser extent, Wilkins or Griggs. Then when they make statements, they tend to be ones like Mr. Throckmorton's studies and research that back their claims, yet they never produce the tangible evidence (or if they do, that "evidence" comes from their own stable of researchers). Or they feature quotes like Mr. Chambers', where their anecdotal proof of "change" is along the lines of "I kind of sort of think maybe after many years of struggle that I can almost think I sort of like the opposite sex."

And we're the ones who are using duplicitous trickery?

The actuality is that gay activists will absolutely challenge any and all attempts to "change" gays, as we understand the true dangers of the movement. We've heard countless stories from those who have been harmed by "ex-gay" programs, and we understand the reasons why our political opposition supports the "ex-gay" idea (to create the illusion that gays are "choosing" their sexual orientation). We understand that even though there are typically loving about it, their whole idea is to present to the world that our lives and loves are flawed and immoral.

So are we pressuring people of science to reject a movement that is virtually unsupported by the body of studied knowledge? Absolutely! However, our reasons are not based in politics, but rather humanity.

Gay Pressure Threatens Counseling [FOF CitizenLink]

*UPDATE, 2/28: Ex-Gay Watch has a great report on why the APA is actually re-evaluting the position.

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Your thoughts

There's an old saying: "Misery loves company". Of *course* those poor individuals who have been pressured into pretending that they have "changed" (and even the few who were legitimately bi, so the pretense is slightly less awful for them) are going to want others to join them in the same boat... Makes you feel less alone to know that others are going through the same kinds of crap that you've had to deal with.

Of course, it's a lot more understandable to feel better about others going through the same crap as you if you're *not* the one trying to pressure them into doing it... For example: I feel better to know I'm not the only one who has to deal with a fundamentalist big brother who wholeheartedly disapproves of me. But I'd never try to convince other people's big brothers to disapprove of them, in order to get the fellow feeling... just wouldn't be right.

Know what I'm saying?

Posted by: | Feb 26, 2007 3:47:48 PM

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