Saturday, August 20, 2005

Something Weird

There was something strange in that Washington Post article the other day about Richard Cohen, the "ex-gay" President of PFOX. Here's what they said:
Touch plays a central role in his therapy, said Cohen, who does not treat women. He recommends that clients develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors who will cuddle them in a parental, nonerotic way, making up for the love they did not get from their fathers.

When I first read this article and blogged about it, I started to say something about that part, but I decided to leave it out, mainly because it just seemed too unkind. This Cohen guy is just another minor league screw-up, and if his ... therapy ... is a little on the touchy-feely side, that's not really my issue with him.

Well, there were quite a few comments on our Yahoo group about this. Seems it just stuck in some people's craws.

Like, somebody said
"Now the question I have does Cohen hug his clients to help them develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors? Does he consider himself a mentor too since he considers himself a heterosexual now?"

Somebody else wrote and said
"OK - now this just may be me but, doesn't it strike you that the premise that "he recommends that clients develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors who will cuddle them in a parental, nonerotic way, making up for the love they did not get from their fathers" is a really convenient way for this so-called heterosexual "therapist" to get close to the men he has otherwise denied himself? Creepy squared."

To which somebody replied
" isn't just you...I think most of us had the same reaction. It's Cohen's way of expressing his homosexuality while cloaking it in therapeutic nurturing. How is this different than male psychiatrists convincing women that having sex with them will help them "liberate" themselves and move on...when I lived in NYC there were several high-profile cases just like that. Those folks went to prison for a long time."

See, we find ourselves basically siding with the gay community on this MCPS sex-ed issue. They want to be treated with respect, and we want to see our kids get a fact-based education, so we're on the same side in this one. And Richard Cohen is, well, I hate to say it, but the guy is gay. It's nice that he's married and everything, but nobody over here is buying the "ex-gay" thing. He used to be gay, now he's ... gay. We spend some effort fighting idiots who spread hateful stereotypes of gay people, and so it makes us a little uncomfortable when we look at a situation like this and think, that guy is cuddling these sexually confused male patients?

You see what I mean? There's a little cognitive dissonance in it for us.

And we're not the only ones thinking this. Republic of T. blog (motto: "Gay. Black. Father, Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.") commented:
If you ask me, there's a bit of "Daddy/Son" roleplay going on here that ought to raise at least a few eyebrows.

So ... is that what's going on? Now that Cohen calls himself "heterosexual," is he playing the part of the "heterosexual mentor" who cuddles these confused gay men in a "parental, nonerotic way?"

It sounds like it, doesn't it?

blogACTIVE (motto: Real Truth, Direct Action Tools) had this to say:
"Cohen is married with kids (not that he'd be the first gay man to do that, Right Mr. Schrock?). What really hit me hard in the article was this interesting paragraph (the next to last one):[quotes same paragraph as above] So Richie thinks the way to straighthood is by being cuddled by "heterosexual mentors"...Isn't that what they used to call being in the closet?"

OK, I don't really know what's going on here, I don't know if that's what he actually does. I only know that this seemed fishy, no ... creepy ... to a lot of people who read this article.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents who for whatever reason cannot accept their teenagers' homosexuality hear about these conversion quacks and believe their kid's sexual orientation must be changed. This is very similar to parents in the not too distant past who believed their children's lefthandedness was the mark of the devil and used various methods to force them to change (see

In the case of homosexuality, most parents don't try to do the conversion themselves but instead shop around for a therapist (who may turn out to be just an unlicensed ex-gay coach) or program (like LIA where Zack was taken in Tennessee) to convert their teens into heterosexuals. These parents are told it's their fault their teenager is gay and they believe it. Then the devasted parents scrape up thousands of dollars to pay for treatment in order to try to alleviate their own guilt. It doesn't get much creepier than that.

I bet there'd be fewer gay teen suicides and broken family ties if the parents simply learned to love and accept their children as they are.


August 21, 2005 5:21 PM  

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