Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ex-Gay Movement Is Toast

I remember, when we first waded into the sex-ed controversy years ago, being warned about the "ex-gays." They were big complainers, well organized, and were fighting against changes to the sex-ed program.

I didn't know what an "ex-gay" was and I had never heard the term. It sounds vaguely plausible on some level, people who used to be gay and changed. And actually, at this point in my understanding of the whole thing, I think that sexual identity volatility is possible, certainly there are studies showing women who go back and forth between being straight and gay, and the news is constantly featuring stories about people -- often ministers and rightwing politicians -- who go from being straight to gay at the click of a shutter. So why not change from gay to straight?

I bet it happens, bisexuals lean one way and then the other. It doesn't bother me if it does, and it doesn't bother me if it never happens. Most of us are inherently one way or the other, but I suppose there are people who are attracted sometimes to each sex, and I know there are people who do not realize how they really feel until they have lived long enough not to worry about what other people think.

So the thing about the "ex-gay" is not that somebody used to like men and now likes women. The thing is that they are jerks about it. They want happy gay people to go get therapy to "fix" themselves. They try to get gay teens to deny their true feelings and try to pretend they are straight, they even send them to special camps and schools to convert them. But listen man, somebody else's love life is none of your business, you need to work on your own stuff and leave other people alone.

When we jumped into the fray ten years ago, the "ex-gay" groups were strong. They came into our county and tried to discourage the school district from fixing the curriculum. They filed lawsuits and held rallies and got in the news a lot.

And then something obvious happened. The ranks of the "ex-ex-gays" began to grow, as gay men gave up trying to white-knuckle the religious dogma, and came back out of the closet again. Over the years the groups grew weaker and their numbers shrank to near nothing, and now there are very few people who call themselves "ex-gays" or try to promote those causes.

This week, nine former leaders of the ex-gay movement wrote a letter recommending the end to therapies that are intended to make gay people straight. The letter -- signed by Brad Allen of Exodus International; Darlene Bogle, Founder, Director, and Counselor at Paraklete Ministries; Michael Bussee, Co-founder of Exodus International; Catherine Chapman, Women’s Ministry Director of Portland Fellowship; Jeremy Marks, Exodus Europe and Founder of Courage UK; Bill Prickett, Founder and Executive Director of Coming Back; Tim Rymel, Outreach Director of Love in Action; Yvette Cantu Schneider, Executive Director of Living in Victory Ministry and Director of Women’s Ministry at Exodus International; and John J Smid, Executive Director of Love in Action and member of Exodus International's Board of Directors -- makes a clear and unwavering case for dissolving "ex-gay" programs and learning to support gay people in their lives, as they really are.

Here is an excerpt -- follow the link to read the whole thing:
At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these “ex-gay” programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters. Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.

We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically “broken” about being LGBT. We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now.

Looking back, we were just believing (and sometimes teaching) what we had been taught— that our identity needed mending. We grew up being told that being LGBT was disordered, sick, mentally ill, sinful, and displeasing to God. We grew up being told that loving, same-sex relationships were shallow, lust-driven, deceived, disordered, and impossible.
We grew up with the repetitive message that LGBT people were not enough — not straight enough, not Christian enough, not manly or womanly enough, not faithful enough, not praying enough. Never, ever enough. “Toxic” probably sums it up best. That message is poison to the soul. Especially a child’s soul.

It can take a lifetime to get rid of that old programming and replace it with healthy, non-toxic views of yourself. Recovery from conversion therapy is difficult at best. Some remain forever scarred, emotionally and spiritually. Conversion therapy reinforces internalized homophobia, anxiety, guilt and depression. It leads to self-loathing and emotional and psychological harm when change doesn’t happen. Regrettably, too many will choose suicide as a result of their sense of failure.

In light of this, we now stand united in our conviction that conversion therapy is not “therapy,” but is instead both ineffective and harmful. We align ourselves with every major mainstream professional medical and mental health organization in denouncing attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity. We admonish parents to love and accept your LGBT children as they are. We beseech the church to accept, embrace, and affirm LGBT persons with full equality and inclusion. Exclusive: 9 Former Ex-Gay Leaders Join Movement To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy
It seems that almost every day another state legalizes same-sex marriages, and though there are notorious holdouts here and there the prejudice against LGBT people is fading fast in our society. It is good to see, and it feels good to have been part of this particular bending of the arc.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Robert said...

"That message is poison to the soul."

It also harms family members and friends who see it as a solution to their loved ones' being lgbt, and communities that persist in what can be called hate.

August 03, 2014 10:34 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Jim, you and all the Teachthefacts.org people have been an important part of the progress that has been made. For those relatively new to this blog, check out this link, in which Jim provided all the material from the forum sponsored by Teachthefacts.org in September 2005: http://www.teachthefacts.org/ForumDocs/ForumHome.html

August 04, 2014 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas GOP Platform:

Reparative Therapy- "We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offersreparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy."

August 05, 2014 4:49 AM  
Anonymous GOP vs. Health and Medical Organizations said...

Health and Medical Organization Statements On Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity/Expression and “Reparative 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.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

Believes “[i]t is important that pediatricians be able to discuss the range of sexual orientation with all adolescents and be competent in dealing with the needs of patients who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered or who may not identify themselves as such but who are experiencing confusion with regard to their sexual orientation…Because self awareness of sexual orientation commonly occurs during adolescence, the pediatrician should be available to youth who are struggling with sexual orientation issues and support a healthy passage through the special challenges of the adolescent years.”

American Counseling Association

In 1999, the Governing Council adopted a statement ‘opposing the promotion of reparative therapy as a cure for individuals who are homosexual.’ In fact, according to the DSM-IV-TR [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association], homosexuality is not a mental disorder in need of being changed.”

American Psychological Association

In the Policy on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, the APA affirms several principles that imply the APA’s opposition to conversion or reparative therapy, before noting that the APA “opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.”

American School Health Association

ASHA “expects that comprehensive sexuality education in schools will be scientifically accurate and based on current medical, psychological, pedagogical, educational and social research” and recommends “that teachers be well-trained [to demonstrate]…insight into and acceptance of their own personal feelings and attitudes concerning sexuality topics so personal life experiences do not intrude inappropriately into the educational experience[.]”

American Psychiatric Association

Augmenting a similar 1998 position statement (below), the Association strongly criticizes proponents of conversion therapies, noting that “[t]o date, there are no scientifically rigorous outcome studies to determine either the actual efficacy or harm of ‘reparative’ treatments.”

August 05, 2014 9:06 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Jim, there are no studies showing women (or men) going back and forth from being straight or gay. There are only bisexuals who go back and forth from a partner of one sex to the other - our attraction to both sexes never changes, only the gender of our partners does.

August 07, 2014 8:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Priya, I was referring to the research of Lisa Diamond.

JimK

August 07, 2014 11:03 PM  
Blogger Patrick Fitzgerald said...

JimK: Priya, I was referring to the research of Lisa Diamond.

Truth Wins Out interviewed her about 5 years ago in regard to “Dr.” Joseph Nicolosi misusing her research.

Full transcript here. (and then some)

August 09, 2014 12:58 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I had a fairly lengthy conversation with Dr. Diamond at an APA convention some years ago, particularly about some things that were being said in our county's sex-ed debate. She kept track of a particular cohort of women over years, recording their sexual identities over time. It is interesting research and does not support the views of any "ex-gay" organization. It seems there are some individuals who are able to love without any special regard for the sex of their partner.

JimK

August 09, 2014 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Keep ‘em coming. said...

#BORNPERFECT: THE CAMPAIGN TO END CONVERSION THERAPY

FORMER EX-GAY LEADERS UNITE IN OPPOSITION TO CONVERSION THERAPY

August 10, 2014 3:15 AM  
Blogger Patrick Fitzgerald said...

"It seems there are some individuals who are able to love without any special regard for the sex of their partner."

That’s a good way of putting it, Jim. I’ve heard many stories over the years that could be described that way.

August 11, 2014 12:20 AM  
Blogger Thomas Braylen said...

You will discover easier motion pictures to review than stage shows affecting choice standards of living, as well as Transamerica is an illustration. My partner and i purposely found this specific motion picture as well as assessed the idea mainly because We are enthusiastic about marriage motion pictures considerably more than We are in action flicks, major drama, devastation motion pictures as well as science fictional works. You can get more information's from our transgender forum.

September 21, 2014 5:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home