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Saturday, October 08, 2005

 

Seventeen magazine backs off major story

Seventeen magazine has a brief story this month with the title, "Can gays go straight?" No one has ever accused Seventeen of containing serious journalism, although I did expect more from Cara Nissman, the author. Saying she was working on a story that would bring in all perspectives, Cara interviewed me by phone while I was at Disney World hiking around the park in 98 degree weather. We talked twice altogether and I spoke with her editor as well. However, the article turned into a page on Wade Richards coming out story with no other perspectives. So add Seventeen to the list of media outlets that tackled the change issue only to lose the wrestling match. When I spoke to the editor, it was clear to me that she was not comfortable with the idea that some people experience change in aspects of sexuality. Perhaps, given the brevity of the article and singular focus on Richards, she didn't think her readers could handle nuance.

Comments:
Hey I was actually interviewed as well. By any chance was XGW mentioned in the story?
 
I skimmed it but I did not see anything but Wade Richard's story. Unless I missed something, I think they backed off a nuanced look at the issue.
 
this is another cliched, classical story of how hazardous being an ex-gay is. I read the article, and it offered nothing new.

Lack of nuance?

Yes to the nth degree
 
"how hazardous being an ex-gay is" - Now there is another cliche.
 
With all the talk about LIA/R, perhaps they just decided to concentrate the story on Smid's youngest graduate.

How odd, just a few years ago you'd have all welcomed an exclusive story about the successful life of Wade -- what happened?

Perhaps a cliche is indeed plain for all to see in the story, should you chose... but I keep forgetting -- ex-gays don't do long-term studies, do they :)

(I assume discussion of ex-ex-gays would be one of the nuances you are talking about?)
 
Ex-gays, ex-ex-gays, non-gay gays, etc. Nuance baby!

I am doing follow interviews at present.
 
I assume that'll include the 28 from 2002 and 2005. These were part of a larger group, and it is that group that will provide your list?

Or are we restarting?

And non-gay gay??? Have you and Nicolosi had a falling out or something.. you know the terminology is non-gay homosexual.

And let's not forget those non-straight heterosexuals and those gay ex-gays.

I'll cellar some vintage(?) non-alcoholic wine today in preparation for publishing day. (also known as grape juice). I have a feeling if we wait long enough it will be real wine by then, but, well, that's just my biased hunch.
 
In my tradition water can become wine.

Yes, gay ex-gays, non-heterosexual straights. What a party.

Are you just now learning that Joe and I disagree on several things?
 
In my tradition water can become wine.

Yes, mine too. Saves on catering costs.

(And I'm always keen on that -- I'm just a bit icky with what young "ladies" of that tradition sometimes do with their fathers after getting him drunk Gen 19:30-38).

And no, I've heard you and Joe don't see eye to eye. I know that claim is usually only a self-report, but I have ways of checking...

OK, I'll tell you. The proof is that Besen has never photographed you and Joe running out of a gay bar on Dupont Circle together...

Perhaps you might like to critique his RT sometime. Just banging on about GLSEN gets, well, a bit boring for the more intellectual of your readers. And us :)
 
Oh but GLSEN gives me so much material.

You all have done such a number on RT that my opinion is unnecessary.
 
I'm sure everyone over at exgaywatch will be gratified to know you're in general agreement with our assessment of RT. Any wonder you don't do RT.

Was there any particular post that you found outstanding, or does this confidence reflect our overall excellence on the subject?

(PS how did you manage to sneak this one past the Focus Editors!!!)
 
Just out of curiosity, is the idea that teaching tolerance causes dain bramage one of the things you and Joe disagree on?

http://www.narth.com/docs/curricula.html

Boo
 
-Sigh-
 
I'll take that as a "yes" sigh.

Boo
 
Slam RT all you want. But if people make the choice to do it, and are hurt by it, i have no sympathy for them. it's not joe's fault, it's the clients fault for being stupid.

end of story
 
I know people who say they were helped a great deal by RT and Joe in particular. Some people have histories that fit the theory and RT helps them make sense of things. My problem with RT is that it comes too close to a onesizefitsall theory for my tastes.
 
I know people who say they were helped a great deal by RT and Joe in particular. Some people have histories that fit the theory and RT helps them make sense of things. My problem with RT is that it comes too close to a onesizefitsall theory for my tastes.

As do I. What's funny is that though homos may rant about how dangerous Joe is, he has never had one single lawsuit filed against him by a patient citing "psychological harm". In fact, if he was even half as dangerous as these homos paint him to be, then I believe he wouldn't be practicing anymore.

However, I believe that I'm in accordance with you, as well as some other reasonable homos, that Joe's theory sometimes attempts to be a unified theory which, unfortunately, does not apply to a lot of people's life histories.

For example, the person who was born gay, and has a great relationship with his father, probably wouldn't benefit from this.

However, the person who was born straight, but due to environmental factors such as poor father-son relationship, developed same sex attraction, may benefit.
 
Other-anonymous: I do not approve of your use of the term "homos." I am leaving the post up because it may be that you are using it as an abbreviation and I think your perspective is reasonable (people with ssa have different developmental histories and/or genetics). However, if other posters feel the use of the term is offensive then I may yet remove the post.
 
he has never had one single lawsuit filed against him by a patient citing "psychological harm". In fact, if he was even half as dangerous as these homos paint him to be, then I believe he wouldn't be practicing anymore.

[Don't worry Warren. I'm aware of how carefully these things need to be said...]

Firstly, none of us can know if a suit has been filed.

Secondly, do you know how difficult it is to sustain a complaint against a psychologist? (particularly if the client was ill at the time, or there is no real data/standards for the therapy).

There are some 15,000 licensed in California. In 2004 there were an entire 22 decisions against by the State Board (and 436 complaints). Off the top of my head I have no idea what % of clients this represents. Warren may have some stats for CA.

You do the math for a client group of 400.

Thirdly, it is not (yet, ha!) considered either unethical or illegal to offer/perform reparative therapy or any other such therapy. Hence, what exactly would the client complain about?

Finally, if you care to... obtain a copy of what you sign before any RT is provided by Thomas Aquinas Clinic. I think even you'll find a considerable variation between that and, say, what gets thrown around at some religious fest like Love Won Out (which is, of course, protected under free speech regardless of how dishonest, misleading or unfounded those opinions are).

Raw figures on suits against psychologists (or disciplinary actions against) are a very poor measure of whether a therapy should be constrained. Google "recovered memory therapy" for a perfect example with a very sad and sorry history.
 
Warren,

I think the use was offensive (and intentionally) but I'd prefer it remains for that very reason.

Does that make sense? :)
 
Most people know to look for a licensed professional but they do not often know to complain to a board if they feel harmed.

We do not know how many complaints about reparative therapist have been lodged. But we would hear about it if there were investigations or findings. RT may not be illegal or unethical but if RT folks were doing lots of harm, one would expect to see more complaints and findings than none (which is what I am aware of now).

There are a couple of pretty famous cases regarding recovered memories (Ramona case and Genesis Associates case) where harm was found and people lost licenses and paid lots of money.
 
one would expect to see more complaints and findings than none (which is what I am aware of now).

None? Not true.

I have held this one back, but here it is now...

From 2002 that Richard Cohen was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association for ethics violation.

That took 3 years to become "public" knowledge (and it certainly wasn't because Cohen fessed up).

But, of course, you did know that. Must have slipped your mind :)

The FMS cases are particularly interesting because of the length of time it took for these to roll through to the eventual avalanche. Different, of course, but ditto for the child abuse cases that the Catholic churches sat on for decades. With many FMS cases it wasn't the client that sued, but the people that had been falsely accused.

With regards to the potential for any RT/exgay cases, I don't imagine those would emerge for some time. I have no idea of the general frame of mind of clients when they exit RT, but if it took a number of years before they realised they had been duped or manipulated (such as the Genesis cases you mentioned) this would make any complaint much more difficult to sustain through to a professional sanction. And, of course, the former client has to consider it worth the expense/bother of doing so.

Because it is difficult to sustain a complaint against a therapist, when one is found guilty this should be VERY big news.

Yet... Richard Cohen is still working the exgay market to this day. Hmmm.

(And I agree that many clients don't even know where to start with a complaint)
 
Cohen's situation does not appear to be due to RT per se but that he asked a client buy his books and attend a seminar. As a past ethics chair and expert witness on ethics, I can tell you they gave him a much harsher reaction than others who have committed the same breach.

In this climate, licensing boards would be very keen to go after a reparative therapist if complaints were filed frequently.
 
Oh come off it Warren! I am appalled you'd even try passing it off like that, as if it was trivial matter.

Such breaches do not have anything to do with the therapy per se (as you well know). What a red herring! These concern the environment around the therapy and the relationship between the client and the professional.

That's why it's called a breach of professional ethics and not professional negligence.

I have little doubt what you'd say if a therapist -- providing (otherwise) excellent therapy -- was to begin a sexual relationship with the client.

>>As a past ethics chair and expert witness on ethics, I can tell you they gave him a much harsher reaction than others who have committed the same breach.

From that I assume you are completely familiar with the case? Heard all the statements? Read all the reports? Sat in judgement?

Perhaps the ACA thought this was a particularly egregious example and acted accordingly.

I'm still shaking me head....

(But at least, for the future, I guess you will not claim that there have been no cases found against an exgay therapist.)
 
My point is that RT with its aim to redirect sexual energies toward the opposite sex was not judged unethical. Cohen's practices were. This could be true of someone doing career counseling if the client was asked to buy books and attend seminars. One would not invalidate the method of career counseling used because a practitioner was guilty of an infraction.

Further, I am only going on what Mr. Cohen told me so I do not know what the ACA knows but neither do you. I suppose then neither of us can speculate much.
 
I didn't make a value judgement about the outcome. You did.

Might I also suggest that Richard Cohen isn't the best one to ask with regard to his unethical counselling practices.

And who knows: perhaps this type of pressured selling, as well as alignment with social prejudices and a reliance on encouraging gross misinformation is a basic part of most exgay efforts.

There's a thought.
 
Even if it was part of most ex-gay therapies (which I highly doubt) it is not of necessity a part of it.
 
"Highly doubt" sounds very confident.

I'm happy to read anything you believe would back that up.
 
There are plenty of ways the medical and psych establishments can mete out horrific abuse on their clients and not technically be considered to be doing anything unethical. Just ask any intersexed person, or any survivor of Toronto's CAMH gender clinic, especially before 1998.

Of course, Joe is nowhere near in that league. Whether we like it or not, RT is client-directed. "Ex-gay" practitioners will exist as long as there is a demand for them. The root causes that drive people to this will ultimately have to be addressed partly within the gay community and partly within the wider society so families can see that a gay kid isn't something to mourn.

Boo
 
families can see that a gay kid isn't something to mourn.

Actually, for me it is something to mourn, at least initially. Having a truly homosexual kid (Kinsey 6 with 0 attraction to the opposite sex) is the same as having a kid who was born without arms. Is it a disadvantage in society? Yes. Is it abnormal? Yes, in the sense that it is a deviation from what usually happens (being born with both arms). Is it something I would wish on my child? NO. But if it does happen, I will probably be very sad initially, but I will quickly get over it and support him so that he makes the most out of his life, and lives responsibly.

Yes, I view true homosexuality as a birth defect that I would not wish on the children of my worst enemy. Just as a parent would hope that his friend's baby is born with both arms intact, it is my wish that no one's kid is born gay.
 
That is unfortunate, anonymous. Because the reality is that homosexuality is only as big a "problem" as people like yourself wish to make it.

And it's pretty sick to compare a gay kid to a kid born without arms. Someone missing limbs is objectively disabled and will have problems going through life with less ability than a person with arms. Kids born gay experience only those problems that others choose to impose on them. So why be one of those people?

Boo
 
And it's pretty sick to compare a gay kid to a kid born without arms. Someone missing limbs is objectively disabled and will have problems going through life with less ability than a person with arms.

First of all, by assuming that a person born with no arms will automatically have difficulties in life is discriminatory. I wouldn't be surprised if you were to say that in public and get beaten to death by a man with no arms (he'd probably use his feet, kung fu style).

Who are you to say that such a person is "objectively disabled" (what the f___ does that mean anyways?) and will have lesser ability than someone with arms? I know individuals who are missing arms who, after hard work, are capable of much more than joe schmoe who has both arms.

Seems like its pretty sick of you to brush aside handicapped people as having "lesser ability", but to insist that we all recognize that being gay is somehow normal, and natural.

I agree with anonymous, it is a birth defect. Learn to deal with it, and become stronger. But pretending that it is on par with heterosexuality is delusional and stupid
 
"Who are you to say that such a person is "objectively disabled" (what the f___ does that mean anyways?) and will have lesser ability than someone with arms? I know individuals who are missing arms who, after hard work, are capable of much more than joe schmoe who has both arms."

Take two people who have identical abilities, and subtract the arms from one of them. The one without arms will then have less ability than the one with arms, and hence be objectively disabled, which is to say have less ability in a clear, measurable way irrespective of how they are perceived by others.

Take two people who have identical abilities, but one is gay and one is straight. To the extent that you consider the gay person disabled, it can only be a subjective disability, because it exists only in your perception of them, and the extent to which society chooses to deny them rights and freedoms available to heterosexuals.

Boo
 
As was said by a mother I know. (She overheard someone speak rather too loudly in a supermarket about her son...)

"That's my son, and I don't mind one bit that he's gay. I feel sorry for your mother because her son is a BIG-MOUTHED IDIOT."

The check-out queue fell about laughing.
 
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