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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

Some reflections on Brokeback Mountain: The story

"What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger." Annie Proulx - Brokeback Mountain.

I have yet to see Brokeback Mountain. However, I have read the short story and so my comments are based on the brief tale of the same name by Annie Proulx. About the movie, it’s by now like the Gulf Coast to me: I haven’t been there since Katrina but I think I can almost imagine it.

According to the popular press, the movie represents a new genre: gay romantic western. I would agree the short story is a western, but that’s about it. I think by most definitions, the characters are not gay and it does not read like a romance to me.

First of all, the story is not about gay cowboys. Many have pointed out that the two men at the center of attention were sheep herders; but fewer have recognized that the characters, if they can be labeled at all, are closer to bisexual than strictly gay. In the story, the men were portrayed as married and heterosexually responsive. Factor in the main event; two men having intermittent sexual flings, and it is clear the fictional pair were bisexually capable.

The actor who played bisexual sheep herder, Jack Twist, rejected the idea of gayness altogether. Jake Gyllenhaal, in an interview with Details magazine said: "I approached the story believing that these are actually straight guys who fall in love…These are two straight guys who develop this love, this bond. Love binds you, and you see these guys pulling and pulling and tugging and trying to figure out what they want, and what they will allow themselves to have."

In the story, there are some interesting stereotypes. The only relatively good males are the two tragic heroes, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist. On the other hand, their fathers are men behaving badly. Ennis' father took his young son to see a dead man beaten unrecognizable for being gay and Jack recalls as a child missing the toilet and being beaten and urinated upon for this transgression.

Speaking of bad fathers, Brokeback Mountain includes a nod to a much maligned theory of causation of homosexuality in men: a distant, rejecting father. Both Ennis and Jack had the kind of dads that psychoanalysts say breed attractions to the same sex. According to same-sex parent theory, these young, hard luck bucks, lonely and unaffiliated, were looking for daddy’s love and found it by "satisfying some shared and sexless hunger" in each other's arms. Out on the mountain, without women but with whiskey, times can get a might lonesome, pardner.

The tag line of the movie poster for Brokeback Mountain intends to teach us that “love is a force of nature.” Rather, I think the Ms. Proulx, perhaps unintentionally, portrays how sometimes the longing for love is also a force of nurture. Whether nature or nurture, the feelings are strong and human. Such well-written emotions compel a belief in their truth.

I realize apologists for the story could accuse me of denigrating homosexual coupling. I mean no such thing. I question the epic significance of male and female pairs engaged in the same kind of furtive search for something beyond the sameness of everyday life. It is the genius of the storyteller that makes finding some kind of tortured magic even plausible in the nexus of such ordinary characters. Every therapist has several Brokeback Mountain scenarios in the case files; they go by titles like the Ett-Mar Motel, the Office Next Door and Choir Practice.

And most of the players in these dramas believe their romance cannot be wrong because it feels so right. The experience of intense persistence, however, does not, in itself, make feelings represent something desirable and good.

This tension between what is and what ought to be is where we learn more about the moral philosophy of those consuming the story than the story itself. When those favorably disposed to gay advocacy watch it, they report a tragic story of love unrealized due to societal homoprejudice. In other words, despite the two broken families, fatherless children and lonely aging, they see the relationship between Jack and Ennis as representing something good, even epic.

Those who focus on the aforementioned negative consequences of the tryst render another moralistic generalization from the story: to wit, homosexuality invariably leads to dead-end relationships and despair.

I submit another point of view. As I read them, Ms. Proulx’s musings represent a reality that some men and women face in their lives. They are attracted to others of the same sex and experience conflict over that fact. For them, the feelings they experience just are. They did not choose or want them, nor do they find much change even with help. Being in circumstances where passion can overcome reflection makes the dilemma all the more raw, intense and, to use a religious word, tempting.

Some people decide that what is must signal what ought to be. Moral philosophers in this vein reason that if nature or God allows something to be felt intensely and changed only with great difficulty, then the experience must have been intended. Reasoning from naturalness has a long history in philosophy, and from reading voluminous reactions to Brokeback, this line of thought has a bright future. Many people seem to think this way.

Others however, do not believe their feelings, no matter how intense, signal anything authoritative about their true nature or the path they are obligated to follow. They believe, on the other hand, that what ought to be is defined for them either by a higher power or loyalty to prior commitments. Such people often populate houses of worship and lament the elevation of feeling over moral sense.

A test: what if Brokeback Mountain featured two men who kept their marital commitments instead of going fishing? Would such a film be reaping a harvest of Oscar nominations?

Comments:
"Both Ennis and Jack had the kind of dads that psychoanalysts say breed attractions to the same sex."

This sentence would be improved by inserting "almost no" in front of "psychoanalysts." I don't think the movie actually mentioned Jack's father at all, and it portrays Ennis' father as the cause of his fear of his sexuality rather than his sexuality itself.

"The actor who played bisexual sheep herder, Jack Twist, rejected the idea of gayness altogether. Jake Gyllenhaal, in an interview with Details magazine said: "I approached the story believing that these are actually straight guys who fall in love…These are two straight guys who develop this love, this bond. Love binds you, and you see these guys pulling and pulling and tugging and trying to figure out what they want, and what they will allow themselves to have.""

This tells you more about Jake Gyllenhaal than about the story.

"Factor in the main event; two men having intermittent sexual flings, and it is clear the fictional pair were bisexually capable."

What on earth does "bisexually capable" mean? I'm going on the movie instead of the story here, but in the movie their relationships with their wives are quite mechanistic, their passion is with each other. Which is to say, they did what virtually all gay men who have sex with women do: close their eyes and think of Christmas.

"When those favorably disposed to gay advocacy watch it, they report a tragic story of love unrealized due to societal homoprejudice. In other words, despite the two broken families, fatherless children and lonely aging, they see the relationship between Jack and Ennis as representing something good, even epic."

What do you mean by "good?" I seriously doubt anybody, gay str8 or bi, leaves the theater thinking "Wow, I wish my life was like that!"

"A test: what if Brokeback Mountain featured two men who kept their marital commitments instead of going fishing? Would such a film be reaping a harvest of Oscar nominations?"

No, it would be too short. Or it would have to be completely reworked into a story about a pair of joyless marriages that lead to isolation and despair. (Of course, the Academy often loves those too- re: American Beauty, Ordinary People, etc)

It's just not a good idea for gay people to marry the opposite sex. Bit of a burden on the spouse even if they never stray.
 
Almost all my life I experienced same sex attraction but never acted on it. Having been happily married now to someone of the opposit sex for nearly 30 years, I know of the ability to overcome sensual forces in order to remain loyal in a well-deserving monogamous relationship. Temptations come from both same sex attractions and opposit sex attractions. As an old fable about the wolf that wins goes... which ever wolf we feed is the wolf that wins. Jack and Ennis could have found the strength to feed only one wolf. They just chose to feed both. Every one must deal then with the consequences of which ever wolf or wolves we feed.
 
Boo, you are clever to suggest that inserting "almost no" in Dr. Throckmorton's views on Brokeback Mountain would make them a more accurate statement. What you left out is the extensive research you carried out that supports your statement. Inference does not make good support for analysis.

I personally have not seen this movie. I became bored of the topic while doing estensive research on the origin of, "Mateship", as part of a very strong bond that exists between Austrailian males.
My research leads me to conclude that the practice of attaching a 20' logging chain to the legs of two transported English felons would leave them with little opportunity to escape after being dumped in the "outback" and charged with the care and upkeep of a few thousand sheep. "Dam cheap labor" was the way the early Aussie station owners described it.
Eliminating female contact, forcing males into very close contact with each other, i.e. males serving time in prison, has always produced a forced change in interpersonal behavior. This behavior has been replicated by caging up lower animals of the same gender.
The drive to copulate is a powerful one and when denied the opportunity for normal, hetersexual sexual relations abnormal behaviors tend to occur in some individuals.
Boo did not mention his own, personal sexual orientation, but there are hints that flow from his remarks that he is not just making a case for the poor, defensless, down trodden, male homosexual.
When the world, at large, gets fed up with "trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's", then we can look forward to a better world in which providing food for the starving poor takes a far greater precedience over the futile and senseless effort attempting to make an abnormal behavior become accepted as normal. The lastest statistic I found indicates that less than 4% of the world population is of homosexual persuasion. Wouldn't you think that a reasonably intelligent person would conclude that the numbers are just too great to overcome and that by making a movie that presents a couple of transplanted, Aussie sheep herders dressed in 21st century American Western costumes as a way to bring this about?
 
I have not seen this movie or read the story.. but I certainly have read quite alot about it.. It doesn't suprise me that it was written by a woman and she probably doesn't have much background with sheep or cow ranching. Of course stories of unrequited love, dead lovers and conflicted emotions always tugs at the heart strings, but these two characters (they are not real after all) didn't have to marry and have families they chose to, so I am guessing they either feared being thought of as gay if they stayed single, or else their gay relationship didn't quite fulfill all their needs. I suppose the common take would be that they feared being thought of as gay if they remained single. Having been raised in ranching I can say that this is not very realistic. Many cowboys and sheep men live solitary lives without fear of being beaten to death because they are assumed to be gay. I can understand why this touches the compassions of so many people but it is not real.. and there are so many factual stories of people who could use that compassion that it seems such a shame to waste it on fiction. So what is the social lesson of this story? Lets all go look for some gay sheep herders married to women who believe they are legitimately loved and the children who love and respect their fathers and say, "Forget them, ignore their pain, it is more important for you to walk away and go find your partner?"
 
What I have never understood is why is it all right to create human unhappiness all around the gay relationship but that is O.K.as long as the gay relationship is "happy". Others experiencing unhappiness are told to change their feelings and surpress their unhappiness.
 
I was intensely attracted to two boys while experiencing puberty. I fantasized sexual encounters and came very close to engaging in such with one of them. After a while those intense emotions faded. I am now happily married and no longer experience such attractions yet I wonder what would have happened had I lived in today's climate, which touts Brokeback Mountain. Would I have been encouraged in my temporary emotion and fantasy? I think that is a likely possibility. And then, after years of homosexual conduct, would I be a homosexual advocate, as the activity would become seared in my psyche. I fear Brokeback Mountain (and I've seen it) will only confuse some to "celebrate their nature." I am grateful I did not have the challenges boys have today. Finally, I have begun to share my experience with others. This was a result of our denomination debating the issue of homosexuality. I have come to discover that not a few males have had similar experiences as myself.
 
Could I have been dancing nancy.
Dancing nancy.
Could I have been anyone other than me?

-Dave Matthews

Dave seems to assert in this song that destiny is probably fixed. I lean toward disagreement and this last post provides some interesting support for my disagreement.

Anonymous, I would be interested in conversing about your history.
 
Anonymous #1- ok, you're bi. Good for you.

Jaybird- I'm a "she" not a "he."

Every mainstream mental health organization rejects Dr. Throckmorton's views. I don't have to carry out personal research to know this.

The characters in this movie were not isolated from female contact except for a few months at the beginning.

Prison sex is mainly about power and establishing hierarchy.

"The lastest statistic I found indicates that less than 4% of the world population is of homosexual persuasion. Wouldn't you think that a reasonably intelligent person would conclude that the numbers are just too great to overcome and that by making a movie that presents a couple of transplanted, Aussie sheep herders dressed in 21st century American Western costumes as a way to bring this about?"

Numbers are to great to overcome what? You think LGBTs can only have equality when we, like, somehow make everyone gay? That's ridiculous on many, many levels. We don't have to choose between feeding the poor and having LGBT equality. We can easily do both at the same time. It's not like serving a meal at a soup kitchen is going to eat into my precious time of not burning crosses.

Nancyb- this is a movie. Movies are fiction. That is their nature.

"I can understand why this touches the compassions of so many people but it is not real.. and there are so many factual stories of people who could use that compassion that it seems such a shame to waste it on fiction."

So seeing this movie is going to delete your compassion supply and then you'll have no choice but to go out and kick puppies?

The lesson of the movie is not to ignore the pain they caused their families. Better not to encourage gay people to marry people of the opposite sex so the pain doesn't exist in the first place.

Anonymous #2- No one said the unhappiness they created around their relationship was ok. In the movie it's tragic for everyone involved.

Anonymous #3- in today's society you would undoubtedly have become a transvestite hooker in San Fransisco.
 
Boo, be nice to us transvestite hookers, and it is spelled SAN FRANCISCO.
 
"Dave seems to assert in this song that destiny is probably fixed. I lean toward disagreement"

Picturing you leaning so far back you're doing a backbend.....Maybe gymnastics isn't your thing?
 
I came back to check on my post and was shocked and hurt (and confused) by another's comment which said, "Anonymous #3- in today's society you would undoubtedly have become a transvestite hooker in San Francisco."

What I said was hard to say and I don't appreciate the sarcasm. I see this as a matter of civil rights. Boys today should have the "right" to experience mixed emotions and attractions during puberty without being forced into the belief that they were born gay and "must accept the facts of their nature." Boys deserve honest information that there is no "gay gene", adolescent sexual confusion is common, and most boys can expect to pass into healthy heterosexual relationships. They don't need their tender consciences seared and misled by angry LGBT activists. The level of intolerance and bigotry often goes unnoticed by such (including Boo). They tolerate only their narrow and unproven assumptions, and seem to despise other views. This should come as no surprise as the majority opinion often seeks to destroy the minority--often by claiming it’s size and collection of so called experts settle the issue without much concern for the individual. By the way, my name is Bryan, and I am a real living person...not some joke to poke fun at...
 
"Every mainstream mental health organization rejects Dr. Throckmorton's views. I don't have to carry out personal research to know this."

I think you ought to be more careful here. First of all, what are Throckmorton's views? I want you to give me his actual views, not just Ex-gay watch's angry INTERPRETATION of his views.

Second, you may have heard of the ACA--American Counseling Association, which is a large organization on par with the APA. Throckmorton was past president, and last time I checked, his current views are in accordance with the ACA--namely that of respecting the free will of a patient.

Boo, you mindlessly toss around the slogans of the large health organizations, but do you really know where they come from, and what research they rely on? I believe you've been asked to come up this research many times in the past, but you've convieniently forgotton. (naughty naughty).



Different Anonymous
 
Anonymous of Saturday, February 04, 2006 1:57:26 AM:

"What I said was hard to say and I don't appreciate the sarcasm. I see this as a matter of civil rights. Boys today should have the "right" to experience mixed emotions and attractions during puberty without being forced into the belief that they were born gay and "must accept the facts of their nature." Boys deserve honest information that there is no "gay gene", adolescent sexual confusion is common, and most boys can expect to pass into healthy heterosexual relationships."

There's nothing quite like a member of the powerful majority trying to portray himself as an aggrieved minority. Sorry, but you come off like a white person complaining of "reverse discrimination."

No one is denying boys (or girls, for that matter) the "right" to experience mixed emotions and attractions during puberty without being forced into the belief that they were born gay and "must accept the facts of their nature." Sorry, but there is no Gay Gestapo tramping around telling kids they must be gay. Admittedly, gay rights organizations have been very hard on straight people what with the numerous Constitutional Amendments they've managed to pass in many states outlawing heterosexual marriage, and their work to make it legal to discriminate against straight people on the basis of their sexual orientation in Maine, Washington, and many other states and localities. I think straight people will somehow endure this onslaught against them, tho.

At this point, we have no idea how sexual orientation is determined, which is what gay advocacy groups say. Check PFLAG's website:

http://www.pflag.org/index.php?id=83#6

Or GLSEN:

http://www.glsen.org/binary-data/GLSEN_ATTACHMENTS/file/123-1.pdf (particularly page 3)

"The level of intolerance and bigotry often goes unnoticed by such (including Boo). They tolerate only their narrow and unproven assumptions, and seem to despise other views. This should come as no surprise as the majority opinion often seeks to destroy the minority--often by claiming it’s size and collection of so called experts settle the issue without much concern for the individual."

Again, there's nothing quite like seeing the purveyers of intolerance claiming to be the victims of intolerance. When straight kids start getting kicked out of the house because of their sexual orientation, packed off to forced conversion camps because of their sexual orientation (http://www.wreg.com/Global/story.asp?S=4454613), or commit suicide because of the rejection they face due to their sexual orientation, then you might have something to complain about. It's not my fault the bulk of professional opinion is against you. It's not my fault that in decades of trying, ex-gay advocates have never published any studies substantiating their claims. It's not my fault the best they can come up with is Robert Spitzer demonstrating that out of a highly selective group of people who are greatly motivated to claim that they have changed their orientation, some of them will make that claim in the course of a 20 minute telephone interview.

"By the way, my name is Bryan, and I am a real living person...not some joke to poke fun at..."

Yes you are a real person Bryan, and your attempt to co-opt victimhood is frankly disgusting.


Anonymous of Saturday, February 04, 2006 4:30:12 PM

"First of all, what are Throckmorton's views?"

That at least some predominately same-sex attracted persons can be convinced to become predominately opposite-sex attracted persons through therapy. If that isn't his view, then he needs to just come right out and be a celibacy advocate.

"Second, you may have heard of the ACA--American Counseling Association, which is a large organization on par with the APA. Throckmorton was past president, and last time I checked, his current views are in accordance with the ACA--namely that of respecting the free will of a patient."

According to Dr. Throckmortons' colleagues at NARTH, that's not entirely accurate:

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

"Boo, you mindlessly toss around the slogans of the large health organizations, but do you really know where they come from, and what research they rely on? I believe you've been asked to come up this research many times in the past, but you've convieniently forgotton. (naughty naughty)."

Um, I would guess the opinions of the large health organizations come from the large health organizations. Just a guess, tho.

As to coming up with research, what I said is that there's no evidence that trying to change someone's sexual orientation (not merely their behavior) works and that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it's harmful. It is the responsibility of people who claim that there is evidence that it works to come up with said evidence. So far, no one has.
 
Boo,

The weblink you sent me says that the ACA opposes "Reparative Therapy."

Now....

How many times has Throckmorton said that he's not a reparative therapist? Obviously that has fallen on deaf (or dumb) years. There's a big difference in what Throckmorton promotes and what Nicolosi promotes. Hell, even I'm opposed to the reparative therapy that Nicolosi pushes.

If you don't get it, I'll spell it out. the ACA agrees with Throckmorton's moderate stance, but disagrees with Nicolosi's more extreme stance. Throckmorton supports Nicolosi only insofar that he supports client autonomy.

"As to coming up with research, what I said is that there's no evidence that trying to change someone's sexual orientation (not merely their behavior) works and that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it's harmful. It is the responsibility of people who claim that there is evidence that it works to come up with said evidence. So far, no one has."

Well, you haven't bothered to back up your statement. Just saying that there's no evidence because the big (liberal, biased) organizations say so just won't do it. This ain't Hitler's Germany or Mao's Red China--think and research for yourself--you may be surprised at what you find. I recommend that you check out Wright and Cummings: "Destructive trends in mental health" book (reviewed on this site as well). But then again, since they don't agree with the APA, you'd probably just ignore them completely.

You also mention anecdotal evidence.
What good is anecdotal evidence anyways? Do you even know what that means? You say there's anecdotal evidence that people who try to change are harmed. I've heard anecdotal evidence that such efforts can be quite helpful.But it doesn't matter..you know why?...because its ONLY anecdotal evidence. There's anecdotal evidence that Elvis is alive and well down in Panama, working as a transexual bartender.

Of course, reading that story in print would be far more interesting than reading strawmen arguments.
 
Anonymous Sunday, February 05, 2006 3:56:51 PM,

You're splitting hairs. It is quite clear from the context that the term "reparative therapy" was used in the statement as a blanket term for attempts to change homosexuals into heterosexuals through therapy. Also, despite his claims, Throckmorton is neck-deep in bed with Nicolosi and NARTH.

"Well, you haven't bothered to back up your statement. Just saying that there's no evidence because the big (liberal, biased) organizations say so just won't do it. This ain't Hitler's Germany or Mao's Red China--think and research for yourself--you may be surprised at what you find. I recommend that you check out Wright and Cummings: "Destructive trends in mental health" book (reviewed on this site as well). But then again, since they don't agree with the APA, you'd probably just ignore them completely."

It is impossible to prove a negative. You can always keep claiming that the complete lack of evidence is only due to someone not looking hard enough. There is no evidence that unicorns exist, but that may be just because people haven't looked hard enough. It is the responsibility of people who claim that they have been able to change people's sexual orientation to come up with the evidence that they have done so. Until they do, their claims are unfounded. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but absence of evidence is also not presence of evidence.

"You also mention anecdotal evidence.
What good is anecdotal evidence anyways? Do you even know what that means? You say there's anecdotal evidence that people who try to change are harmed. I've heard anecdotal evidence that such efforts can be quite helpful.But it doesn't matter..you know why?...because its ONLY anecdotal evidence. There's anecdotal evidence that Elvis is alive and well down in Panama, working as a transexual bartender."

No evidence of success on one side, anecdotal evidence of harm on the other side. Anecdotal evidence cannot tell you about the prevalence of harm in conversion therapy, but it does tell you that harm is caused in conversion therapy. There is anecdotal evidence of people who have claimed to "experience change," by which they mean all different kinds of things, but those claims have never been tested in any objective way. If you meet a Panamanian transsexual bartender who claims to be Elvis, you really ought to try and do a DNA test or something before taking her word for it.
 
Anecdotal evidence is valuable in that it can tell you that someone reports some kind of experience but it cannot tell anything about how wide spread the experience is or what actually caused the experience. The same is true of those who report being helped to change via change therapies as well as those who report feeling harmed by them.

In my opinion, the issue of change will not be resolved by therapy studies. Therapy studies can tell something about a phenomenon that can be measured reliably and validly. We as yet have nothing that can do that with sexual feelings, except self-report. If you cannot accept self-report about benefits then I do not know how you can do this with reports of harm.

Regarding NARTH, I not a member and have been pretty critical of reparative drive theory on this blog and elsewhere. Can't figure out why this is not clear.

My belief is that people who wish to live in accord with beliefs that forbid homosexual behavior can do so without psychological damage. This can include feeling change and/or celebacy without feeling change. I do not decide such things for my clients.

I was the President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association which at the time was the largest division of the ACA. The ACA is in process of reevaluating its position on change therapies but has taken a more client centered view off and on over the years.
 
"If you cannot accept self-report about benefits then I do not know how you can do this with reports of harm."

"Benefits" is often quite a loose term in ex-gay circles. I'm talking specifically about changing orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. I guess I've heard too many John Paulks and Michael Johnstons to now take their reports at face value. I haven't heard of anyone who claimed harm and was later determined to be lying.

"Regarding NARTH, I not a member and have been pretty critical of reparative drive theory on this blog and elsewhere. Can't figure out why this is not clear."

I didn't say you were a member. I said you were in bed with them.

http://www.gcc.edu/alumni/enewsletter/11-25-02/throck.htm 2nd paragraph

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

http://www.narth.com/docs/discussionlist.html 4th paragraph

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

http://www.narth.com/docs/2002conf.html 5th speaker profiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.narth.com/docs/defends.html 15th paragraph

http://www.narth.com/docs/press2.html 4th paragraph
 
I think defining terms is a good idea. I would like to see harm defined to exclude pre-existing conditions of depression, anxiety, etc. Some reports of harm comes from people who work for gay advocacy groups (now where have you seen the twin criticism?). We do not know whether the conditions described by those saying they were harmed might have occured anyway. Again, I accept that some people have been poorly served by those doing things in the name of reparative therapy. Those practices should be identified and stopped. Critics on the other hand fail to accept any reports of benefit from efforts to change or bring behavior in line with beliefs.

If a Catholic organization publishes my op-eds, does that make me Catholic? If a Baptist organization publishes my stuff, does that make me Baptist? If a Muslim group publishes my articles, does that make me in bed with Muslims? My bed would be pretty crowded if I was in bed with all the places that print my columns.
 
Again, I didn't say you were a member, I said you were in bed with them. In addition to their publishing several of your articles with permission, you have presented at their conferences:

http://www.gcc.edu/alumni/enewsletter/11-25-02/throck.htm

http://www.narth.com/docs/2002conf.html

http://www.narth.com/docs/press2.html

Received an award from them:

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

And as of January 25 2006 they claim you as a member and a leader of their discussion list:

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

"Critics on the other hand fail to accept any reports of benefit from efforts to change or bring behavior in line with beliefs."

I don't accept specifically claims of change in orientation because:

Very few people actually make that claim.

Those who do often "fall" later.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and there is no way to test their claims.

Virtually everyone among the few who do publically make that claim are in the paid employ of ex-gay organizations.

Every year the claimed success rate of Exodus International has increased by a factor of ten. Alan Chambers claimed there were "thousands" of ex-gays in 2003, "tens of thousands" in 2004, "hundreds of thousands" in 2005, and just a few weeks ago Jerry Falwell went him one better and claimed there are "millions." Yet we never see them, just a few people making mostly vague claims and who happen to be paid by the people they're making the claims for.

I think both secular and religious ex-gay groups have helped some people in the sense that most of the people drawn to these programs seem to be living extremely unhealthy lifestyles and therefore getting them to constrain their promiscuous behavior may well save their lives, but they could get the same thing from what you call gay-affirming counselors without having to repress their orientation in the bargain.
 
Warren,

I think you ought to take into account all the evidence Boo has regarding your connection to NARTH.

Why not lay it all on the table once and for all?

Best wishes,

Dan
 
Dan: Lay what on the table?
 
I've never blogged before. Just wonderng-Does Boo assert that there is such a thing as a sexual "Orientation." where is the evidence that such a thing exists? In light of the comment that "extraodianry claims require extraordinary evidence" Is there really a way to prove orientation?
it's difficult to have a beef about something that may or may not exist.
 
http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/answers.html

I would argue that when they say:

"There are numerous theories about the origins of a person's sexual orientation; most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors."

it's really just a fancy way of saying "we don't know," but I don't claim to have a strong case for that view.
 
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