|Posted on October 23, 2021 at 11:55 AM|
Want to get involved in a Christian ex-gay ministry and counsel people with same-sex attractions who seek a life beyond the gay scene? Here are some points to ponder:
If you want to counsel someone, you definitely need solid psychological training and knowledge as well as guided experience - even when you are not offering psychotherapy. Just to mean well certainly is not enough and might cause a lot of damage. Make sure your knowledge is always up-to-date!
If you offer Christian counseling or pastoral care, get a solid education! There are guidelines that must be followed in order to help your clients!
In order to answer and deal with theological questions, you need to have the background needed to do so. A pastor's degree from the church of the moonlight does not count as theological background!
If you are a man married to a divorced wife because your way of interpreting the Christian faith allows that, do not criticize gay Christians for doing the same.
Do not write self-help books, do not counsel and do not give public speeches if you have none of the above!
Being an ex-gay does not mean you have no same-sex attractions anymore. It means you left a life in the gay scene (or did not even go there to begin with) and chose another way.
Your job is NOT to turn gays into straight people. As a Christian, it does not matter if you have same-sex attractions or not. What matters is if you follow Jesus Christ!
Don't make a living preaching to the choir or by living in the past. Going from Church to Church talking about your experiences is a nice thing to do, but the people that need you most are probably not in there. They are where most Christians usually don't dare to go. Yet Jesus commanded us to go (out!) and make disciples, not to give nice talks to fellow Christians while charging them for it!
You need to be in constant contact with gays as well. They are not your enemies. Love them like Jesus would!
Offer unconditional love - not a "I love you, but..."!
Be there also for those who are not Christians or who want to stay in a gay life. Show them God will never leave them!
Don't keep on giving testimony over and over again. It is not about you and you should not stir things up all the time, but look ahead now!
Be honest! There is nothing wrong with having same-sex attractions! It is up to us what we do with them. Don't tell people you don't have them anylonger ("ex-homosexual") when this is not the truth!
Remember it is always up to the client to set a goal, not to you. Even - and especially - if you have a license as a psychotherapist you should only work within the standards, rules and guidelines of your profession!
|Posted on May 19, 2017 at 2:05 PM|
Some might not like to hear what I am saying, but it needs to be said. No wonder the ex-gay (or "purity" or whatever you call it)-movement has so little impact on society! Look at its "leaders": They brag with scientific credentials in psychiatry and/or psychology while most have no credentials at all or at best low-level ones. Extremely few really are psychiatrists. Others point out their theological "achievements". It is not an achievement when you were appointed pastor by some small church - which would not be recognized by 99% of Christianity! Others try to make their own name big, forgetting who really set them free. Then you have those who studied theology or whatever else and now claim to be expert on any given field. Most of their "knowledge" comes from stuff they have read somewhere. Finally you have those who travel across the globe and write books about how to find freedom from same-sex attractions, how to look at them from a Christian and scientific point of view, how to deal with them from a political perspective - you get the picture. The "I-know-everything"-types. However, if you look at their private lives things do not look so shiny - they might be divorced or married a divorced partner, which makes their cohabitation a form of adultry no better than any homosexual act.
So what am I getting at? That we are all liars and hypocrites?
I can't look into someone's heart, so it is not up to me to say that. But! we should stick at what we truly know about and not try to beat the world in areas where it is better than we will ever be. God does not need credentials. Your own life story is worth a whole lot more if you present it - and yourself - authentically! Don't try to brush it up, to make it look better. Don't push your own agenda, but God's.
As Doug from Homosexuals Anonymous used to say: "The only thing that keeps us from finding true freedom is the belief that it can be done!"
He sometimes told me how they started off in 1976, having no fancy psychology books, but the Bible. Yet to this day I have not met a man with a stronger faith than Dr. Douglas McIntyre, who passed away in 2015.
He did not put human science down, but he gave credit where credit was due.
Finally, at the end of the day, we need a love bigger than whatever our hearts and bodies held on to so far. A love that can give eternal life.
Director Homosexuals Anonymous
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 2:45 PM|
Yes, we've been gone for so long. We've been outsiders - and still are. "The marginalized" you call us - and you use us to knock off your loving the unlovable off the list. You want to bring Jesus to us hookers, pimps, inmates, gays, drug addicts, homeless and what not. We don't need you to bring us Jesus so you feel better and can tap yourselves on your shoulders. Jesus is already here. Yes, we left our old lives behind, but we are still "we" - and that's alright with God. We went to those nice and fancy church buildings where they all asemble - all those nicely dressed people, some of which we knew too well from their double lives. They "welcome" us, but all the time they let us feel they are something better - and we are not.
Oh, they certainly know how to hide that behind spiritually or wanna-be-psychologically sounding phrases - "You might want to pray about...", "Don't take it personal, but...", "A Christian does not say/wear/do this/does not listen to this music...", "This looks like you're still gay/a hooker/a drug addict/a criminal..." - you get the point.
Then you wonder why so many call Christians hypocrite. Because many of you are. We sure don't need churches and Christians like these and we can smell your true attitude a mile away. This is why we feel much better among our own. Yes, we are Christians now - and certainly not worse ones than you are - and this is why our folks love us like we are. No "but" attached. And vice versa. We do not have to look like a middle class American John Doe in his suit and tie to worship the Lord. We dress up for Him - but that might look different than what you know. Who are you to tell us we should pray about our behavior - meaning to say you are standing on your hill, pretending to be God and having all the truth in the world. You are a sinner like the rest of us, not better, not worse.
When we follow Jesus, we are dead serious about it. We see you spreading much "wisdom" on facebook and telling everybody what should be done - but when we ask you to join us going out on the street to all those wild places where you find those people Jesus loves so much, you give us a trillion excuses why you cannot come along. Teary-eyed snowflakes, that's what you are. Chicken. Your house is not built on a rock and your seed fell among thorns.
So with all of our heart we tell you: Keep on doing whatever you think you should be doing, but leave us and our likes alone. We don't need you. We need Jesus - and we assemble for and with Him and we go to meet Him. Actually, it is pretty easy. He assembled twelve simple men called apostles and told them on the Sermon of the Mount the basics of what a believer in God is all about. This is what we go by.
We have two words for you:
|Posted on December 7, 2016 at 5:45 AM|
For those among us who found freedom and married a beautiful wife or husband: Praise the Lord! Those, however, who married a divorced partner did not find freedom, they simply exchanged one sin for another. If you love your partner, you want the best for him/her - and the best is always the best in God's eyes. You loose all of your credibility when you keep on talking about ex-gay stuff while continuing to live in another sinfuld live. Most of all, you do not do us (and yourself) a favor with that - quite on the contrary. And please stop justifying that with your own personal view of the Bible that happens to meet your lifestyle. This is exactly what gay Christians do.
|Posted on August 13, 2016 at 4:50 PM|
I cannot understand how some ex-gays tour the world with spreading the biblical message of freedom from same-sex attractions when at the same time they married a divorced woman while being divorced themselves. That alone takes away pretty much all of your credibility.
|Posted on January 7, 2016 at 3:10 PM|
DON'T FORSAKE HOMOSEXUALS WHO WANT HELP
Written By : Charles Socarides, Benjamin Kaufman, Joseph Nicolosi, Jeffrey Satinover, and Richard Fitzgibbons
Reprinted from Letters to the Editor, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 1997.
(Posted: October 2010)
© 1997 by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), founded in 1992, is composed of psychoanalysts, psychoanalytically-informed psychologists, certified social workers, and other behavioral scientists, as well as laymen in fields such as law, religion, and education.
Suppose that a young man, seeking help for a psychological condition that was associated with serious health risks and made him desperately unhappy were to be told by the professional he consulted that no treatment is available, that his condition is permanent and genetically based, and that he must learn to live with it. Perhaps this young man, unwilling to give up hope, sought out other specialists only to receive the same message: "Nothing can be done for you. Accept your condition."
How would this man and his family feel when they discovered years later that numerous therapeutic approaches have been available for his specific problem for more than 60 years? What would be his reaction when informed that, although none of these approaches guaranteed results and most required a long period of treatment, a patient who was willing to follow a proven treatment regime had a good chance of being free from the condition? How would this man feel if he discovered that the reason he was not informed that treatment for his condition was available was that certain groups were, for political reasons, pressuring professionals to deny that effective treatment existed?
Every day young men seek help because they are experiencing an unwanted sexual attraction to other men, and are told that their condition is untreatable. It is not surprising that many of these young men fall into depression or despair when they are informed that a normal life with a wife and children is never to be theirs.
This despair can lead to reckless and life-threatening actions. Many young men with homosexual inclinations, feeling their lives are of little value, are choosing to engage in unprotected sex with strangers. Epidemiologists are well aware that the number of new HIV infections among young men involved in homosexual activity is rising at an alarming rate; within this population, the "safer sex" message is falling on deaf ears. One recent study revealed that 38% of homosexual adolescents had engaged in unprotected sex in the previous six months.
Young men and the parents of at-risk males have a right to know that prevention and effective treatment are available. They have a right to expect that every professional they consult will inform them of all their therapeutic options and allow them to make their own choices based on the best clinical evidence. A variety of studies have shown that between 25% and 50% of those seeking treatment experienced significant improvement. If a therapist feels for whatever reason that he cannot treat someone of this condition, he has an obligation to refer the patient to someone who will.
Also, these young men and their parents have the right to know that, contrary to media propaganda, there is no proven biological basis for homosexuality. A November 1995 article in Scientific American pointed out that the much-publicized brain research by Simon Le Vay has never been replicated and that Dean Hamer's gene study has been contradicted by another study.
The truth is that the clinical experience of many therapists who work with men struggling with same-sex attractions and behaviors indicates that there are many causes and various manifestations of homosexuality. No single category describes them all, but the disorder is characterized by a constellation of symptoms, including excessive clinging to the mother during early childhood, a sense that one's masculinity is defective, and powerful feelings of guilt, shame and inferiority beginning in adolescence.
If the emotional desire for another man is primarily a symptom of the failure to develop a strong masculine identity, then a man's unconscious desire to assume the manhood of another male may be more important than the sexual act. The goal of therapy in such cases is to help the clients understand the various causes of his feelings and to strengthen his masculine identify. It has been our clinical experience that as these men become more comfortable and confident with their manhood, same-sex attractions decrease significantly. Eventually many find the freedom they are seeking and are able to have normal relationships with women.
Help is available for men struggling with unwanted homosexual desires. The National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality offers information for those interested in understanding the various therapeutic approaches to treatment. In addition, a number of self-help groups have sprung up to offer support to those who suffer from this problem.
As we grieve for all those lives so abruptly ended by AIDS, we would do well to reflect that many of the young men who have died of AIDS have sought treatment for their homosexuality and were denied knowledge and hope. Many of them would be alive today if they had only been told where to find the help they sought.
Dr. Socarides is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Kaufman is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Nicolosi is director of a clinic in Encino, Calif. Dr. Satinover is a Westport, Conn., psychiatrist. Dr. Fitzgibbons is director of a clinic in West Conshohocken, PA.
|Posted on January 7, 2016 at 12:20 AM|
Why Gays Cannot Speak for Ex-Gays
Written By: Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
(Posted April 2014)
This summer, a British television network called to interview me for a show about efforts toward sexual-orientation change. The host of the show, they informed me, was a gay man. I declined the invitation, stating that the host’s gay identity would disqualify him from a fair evaluation of the ex-gay experience.
To refuse participation because the host is gay may seem unreasonable, until we recognize that the adoption of a gay identity typically prevents someone from honestly assessing the experience of the other man who has taken a different developmental route-- i.e., the ex-gay person.
Why would this be true? Let me explain.
According to the literature, the “coming out of the closet” process begins in early adolescence with the discovery of same-sex attraction. The teenager then usually rejects his homosexual feelings because of the negative social values around him. His painful and lonely efforts to suppress, repress and deny his feelings result in guilt and shame, which eventually culminates in self-loathing.
But shortly thereafter, this teenager discovers that there are others like him, and often through the support and encouragement of a gay counselor, coach, teacher or religious leader, he decides that gay is “who he is.” The adoption of this gay identity necessitates the abandonment of any hope that he could ever modify his unwanted feelings and develop his heterosexual potential. He must surrender his earlier wish that he could have a conventional marriage and family. So in order to internalize this gay identity he must mourn the possibility of ever resolving his unwanted homosexuality; i.e., he must grieve the loss of what he yearned for.
It is this process of grieving his own hopes and mourning his own dreams which prevents the person who later identifies as gay from believing that change is possible for others: “If I myself could not change, how could they?” Perhaps on a deeper level, this thought is also rooted in anger: “If I cannot have what I wanted for my own life, neither should they.”
Explaining this inherent bias of the gay-identified person against the ex-gay person’s experience, an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine commented: “It would be like a group of rabbis deciding that they themselves would determine if Jesus really was God.” “Worse,” I responded. “It would be more like a person desperately trying to find God in his life, abandoning the hope and adopting atheism, then setting himself up as the person who determines the reality of God in the lives of others.”
And it is that grieving process, that painful letting-go of one’s dreams, that has biased the gay person’s evaluation of the ex-gay experience.
However, public-policy decisions on homosexual issues are, in fact, typically determined by gay activists who carry this intrinsic prejudice. It is gay teachers who determine policy for homosexual students; gay librarians who determine what books are permitted on the library shelves; and gay mental-health professionals who get to tell the world whether any sort of sexual-orientation modification is possible. For example, anyone who has a comment or question about APA (American Psychological Association) policy is referred to the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, which does not recognize ex-gays or the concerns of people struggling to change. In fact, the most grievous and damaging example of this prejudice is the recent APA Task Force Report on the treatment of homosexuality, written by a panel that consisted entirely of gay mental-health practitioners -- all of whom admitted, at the start, to being opposed to reorientation therapy. No reorientation therapists who applied to be a part of the Task Force--and there were several distinguished and scholarly psychologists who did apply-- were permitted to join the committee.
This dominance of gay-identified homosexuals on panels that determine policy for non-gay homosexuals is due, in large part, to the larger community’s intimidation and subsequent avoidance of the whole polarizing issue. Faced with policy decisions, the straight person, ignorant of the fact that gay-identified homosexuals are a category that is quite distinct from non-gay homosexuals, readily relinquishes his authority to a gay co-worker, and takes the easy way out. “I don’t know about such things myself, of course; but Steven is gay-- he’ll know the best policy for the library collection.” (Needless to stay, “Stephen” is all too ready to comply.)
An additional result of gay activism’s power to determine public policy is the fact that ex-gays are then marginalized and intimidated into silence. Gays see them as “gays-in-process,” or gays with a small “g,” and not entitled to claim a valid identity in their own right. Ex-gays, they believe, are merely gays who have not yet come out of the closet; they are simply “inhibited by their own homophobia.”
But the emergence of the ex-gay person can change this balance of power. Despite the intimidating influence of gay activism, society is beginning to recognize the ex-gay person’s existence, as ex-gay men and women are telling us about their lives. Further, there is an impressive group of ex-gay websites, such as peoplecanchange.com, restoredhopenetwork.com, and voices-of-change.org, where ex-gay men and women tell their stories.
People Can Change continues to offer its JIM (Journey Into Manhood) Weekends, scheduled in 2013 for several locations in the U.S., as well as one in Israel. The ex-gay person was also recently legally acknowledged by Washington D.C. as a distinct sexual minority. And soon, we will see the first- ever Ex-Gay Pride March in our nation’s capital (scheduled for Summer 2013).
The new support group Restored Hope Network has also emerged, vibrant and powerfully committed, to replace the faltering Exodus Ministries (which recently closed down). Further, the Executive Director of HA (Homosexuals Anonymous), Dr. Douglas McIntyre, is launching a 10-day tour this summer to lobby for freedom of choice for youth to pursue counseling for unwanted homosexuality.
Every social movement has used as a tool toward its success, the shaming and intimidating of others who do not agree with them. Those who disagree with them are stigmatized and excluded from the cultural discourse. As time goes by, I believe this swing to extremism will ultimately right itself. But in the meanwhile, we must look to that core of committed individuals who understand that our bodies tell us who we are-- that humanity was designed and created for heterosexuality, and we must support those men and women who are brave enough to speak out and say, “We have changed.”
|Posted on January 6, 2016 at 2:50 PM|
What Really Motivates The Ex-ex-gay Movement
Written By: Phelim McIntyre
(Posted August 2014)
In recent months the ex-gay movement has, prematurely, been declared by the secular media as dead by emphasizing the shift in position of Alan Chambers of Exodus International and the self-publicity of John Paulk. Alongside this we can see the ongoing campaigns of groups like Ex-gay Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center and others to attack the ex-gay movement whenever they can, aided and abetted by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. But what motivates their bile and anger towards the ex-gay movement?
There is not one single issue that causes these people to be part of the anti-ex-gay movement. While some of these issues may have legitimate roots, that does not mean that the actions that emanate from those root issues are to be sanctioned; however, many of these root issues are not legitimate. So what are these issues?
Firstly, there is the misunderstanding of the nature of what homosexuality is. Recently I had a stand for my counselling life coaching and work at a Christian expo. I had three main reactions to my exhibit. It covered not just my ex-gay work but also the work I do with those addicted to pornography, BDSM and other issues.
The first reaction was a relief that someone in the community was actually talking about these things.
The second, especially about pornography, was an ostrich mentality of "we do not have a problem with this in our church/youth group" -- if only that were true!
The third was the claim that people choose to be gay (I only had a few people who took the "born gay" position. All these souls needed to do was repent of their behaviour.) No, people do not choose to be gay. However, this does not mean that people are born gay - something even the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organisation will agree with. What it does mean is that homosexual feelings develop as a result of societal, psychological and sociological factors affecting an individual. Personal choice does not come into it. "Choice" is involved when we speak of two other factors relevant to homosexuality: behaviour and identity. The feelings come about involuntarily but whether one wishes to act upon those feelings or to create a sexual identity as a homosexual, those are choices. Yet this is not what most people hear when listening to the ex-gay message. Because we say (and science backs us up), that there is no evidence indicating that people are born gay (though most of us accept that biological factors such as "sensitivity" influence our feelings), people assume that we are saying that homosexuality is a choice. They confuse the issues of feelings, behaviour, or identity and merge them together.
On the other hand, many so-called "evangelicals" (by this I mean very ultra-conservative churches and some which are more right-wing in their attitude to people) also confuse and merge the questions of feelings, behaviour or identity. They dismiss the ex-gay movement as ubber liberals because we say people can refrain from both a homosexual behaviour and a gay identity and in some cases can overcome the feelings. Thus, over simplistically, we choose to not be "gay". Hopefully, they recognize the concept of "repentance", that those with a homosexual past (as a separate group to those who openly embrace what we see as the sinful behaviour of the homosexual lifestyle) will go to heaven. To summarize this first issue: there is a significant misunderstanding of what the ex-gay message actually is.
The second issue involves the question of harm. In a small number of cases - legitimate hurt may be experienced as part of the therapy or discipleship process. Yes, some people have been hurt, but this is true of all therapy. During therapy, one's feelings can opened up. If the person prematurely abandons his therapy, the open wound may not be healed. The question of alleged "harm" has been over emphasized by the various pro-gay professional bodies. They uncritically use studies like Shidlo and Schroeder (who stated that their study should not be used to ban sexual orientation change efforts) as well as more recent studies that unfairly claim that sexual orientation change efforts carry an excessive risk of harm.
I have posted elsewhere on my blog how Shidlo and Schroeder advertised specifically for those who had been harmed - but nevertheless reported that over two thirds of those who responded to their study benefited from the therapy. However, there are three newer studies who are less honest than Shidlo and Schroeder about their statistics.
Flentje, Heck, & Cochran (2013) used listservs to specifically identify ex-ex-gays. In this study, over half of those who went through the ex-gay process (56.1%) received help from "pastoral counsellors". Often these are church leaders with little or no training beyond a session in theological college or are counsellors from a specific "religious" school of thought -- that can range from Nouthetic (also known as True Biblical Counselling) through inner healing/prayer counselling methods such as Theophostics through Gary Collins "Christian Counseling" to the "Biblical Counseling" of Larry Crabb (also the core of the training offered in the UK by CWR and others), and that's just the Christian ones -- some of which are counselling in name only with others offering no training on the underlying psychological issues around sexuality, whether the presenting issue be pornography or same sex attraction. We have no way of knowing what the qualifications, if any, of these pastoral counsellors are/were of if they were actually involved with any ex-gay groups.
Another 16.8% saw peer counsellors, suggestive of self-help groups. However once again we have no indication of what groups these were, or the level of training available to the leaders (some are much better than others) amongst other problematic issues.
This leaves only 34.6% who went to mental health professionals. There are major problems with this study, (which also exists in the Shidlo and Schroeder study). (1) We do not know whether these people actually went through therapy, (2) as to those who went through therapy or attended a support group, we have no idea how many sessions they went to, and (3) we do not know whether they believed the therapy was effective or not after finishing counselling with the mental health professional.
Why are these major questions? Because of the outright falsifications and misrepresentations of many of those who subsequently identify as gay. A few examples will illustrate this point. In New Jersey, a witness for the effort to ban sexual orientation change efforts for minors, whose fraudulent testimony was initially exposed by the ex-gay movement called "Voice of the Voiceless", falsely testified before a legislative body. He claimed he had been sent to a conversion camp which did not exist. His testimony was actually the script of a 1999 RuPaul movie called "But I'm a Cheerleader." No records existed for any aspect of his false testimony after they were checked with state, local, and church officials who were allegedly involved.
Are there other false testimonies out there? Absolutely. In the recent action filed against the ex-gay group, JONAH, one of the plaintiffs erratically attended four sessions with his licensed therapist to whom he was referred by JONAH. Nevertheless, he claimed that neither JONAH nor the referral counsellor was able to help him change his sexual orientation. As all therapists know, such a paltry number of sessions, done erratically, is not a prescription for healing. Another plaintiff, whose attendance was likewise erratic, expressed himself to several witnesses as being satisfied about the counselling he received. He continued to do so for approximately 18 months after he dropped out of his therapy sessions. However, after being recruited to bring a lawsuit, he totally changed his story in the complaint for the court action. In both the Shidlo and Schroeder and Flentje, Heck, & Cochran studies, there is no mention of how many sessions the person attended or whether they actually attended, or even if they regularly attended any therapy sessions or support groups.
Another study, Dehlin, Galliher, Bradshaw, Hyde, & Crowell (2014), looked at individuals who were past members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Here again, most bishops in the Mormon Church are layman. They receive little or no psychological or pastoral care training. This takes us back to the problem seen in the Shidlo and Schroeder and Flentje, Heck and Cochran studies. We do not know the qualifications of the pastoral counsellors or even the mental health professionals who may have been involved with the subjects. (I am a qualified therapist but there are issues -- such as PTSD -- that I do not handle as I am not trained to deal with them). Once again, the participants were not a representative sample; they were recruited through liberal sources. Neither the LDS Church, nor the LDS ex-gay group Northstar, nor NARTH or other more representative groups were contacted for participants. No adverts were put into the LDS press.
This last study (Dehlin, Galliher, Bradshaw, Hyde and Crowell (2014)) dismisses studies such as Jones and Yarhouse (2011) and the several studies of Nicolosi, Byrd et al. They also dismiss the landmark Spitzer study. Dr. Spitzer was the individual primarily responsible for removing homosexuality from the DSM and several years later looked at the question whether change of sexual orientation was possible and agreed that change was possible. Because of pressure from gay activists and his failing health, he ended up apologizing to homosexuals for having done the study that indicated change of sexual orientation was possible. The authors of the 2014 study failed to quote the editor of Archives of Sexual Behaviour (where Spitzer's study was published) who explained that Spitzer's study could not be retracted because his methodolgy was valid. They also neglected to report on the statements from Armelli, Moose, Paulk, and Phelan (2013) all of whom were subjects of the original study. They published a letter declaring that their change of sexual orientation was authentic and that they stand by what was reported by them to Spitzer. The authors further neglect to report on comments by Spitzer's wife concerning the bullying he received from the gay activists, despite his deteriorating physical and mental health (Spitzer is suffering from Parkinson’s disease). All of the above raises serious doubts about the veracity of his alleged retraction.
All the studies that claim to show a high level of harm fail because there is no evidence to prove that the participants actually went through any ex-gay programme. So what about those studies that show evidence of participants going through some form of ex-gay programme or therapy?
The Spitzer study showed little harm. So too does the Jones and Yarhouse study. The only study indicating a "significant" statistic is the study by Nicolosi, Byrd et al which reported a level of harm of 7%. This figure is well below the 10% number generally seen as the level of concern by the American Psychological Association, the British Psychological Society and other mental health organizations. (That is to say, that any therapy where more than 1 in 10 people are at risk of harm is to be used only with caution).
So back to the point of some having been harmed,... but clearly not as many as the ex-ex-gay movement and the pro-gay lobby would like to claim. Those who have been harmed have a legitimate concern - but what is not legitimate is to allow those concerns to be force-fed to the rest of the world as claimed by pro-gay advocates. This strategy comes with the mis-claim of the ex-ex-gay movement that sexual orientation change efforts claim to "cure" homosexuality and that they promise 100% change. This has never been the case! No guarantee of change has ever been provided. Desert Streams, First Stone Ministries, Mastering Life Ministries, True Freedom Trust, NARTH, JONAH and others have always been open and honest about the fact that not everyone will see the complete removal of homosexual feelings, that different people will see differing amounts of change, and that some will see little or no change. They have also been honest that they are not "curing" homosexuality and, despite the reporting of various media outlets, have been careful not to use the term "cure." So while the failure hurts, we must ask where the disappointment comes from? Are those who have been hurt wanting something that the ex-gay movement, and those who provide sexual orientation change efforts do not promise and are then disappointed when their unrealistic hopes are not met?
This leads me onto the third rationale used against the ex-gay movement. It is most often utilized by parents and the family of those who identify as same sex attracted. If people are "born gay", then no fault can be laid at the doorstep of these parents and friends. Stated another way, if people are not born gay then the argument goes that parents, siblings, family members and others must be at fault. But most people do not wish to feel "guilty" or to accept responsibility for the issue faced by a loved one. We see this attitude in ministries such as Canyon Walkers, PFLAG (Parents Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) as well as in the book Natures Choice. By accepting this rationale, the ex-gay movement is then seen by these people as blaming people. Yet, as the World Health Organisation is now admitting, upbringing plays a significant role in the development of same sex attraction. However, it is but one variable of many. For example, we have no idea of how an action as simple as leaving a new born child in a hospital too long may affect the child psychologically, which may lead to an infant's feelings of abandonment. To run away from a false guilt by clinging to the "born gay" lie does neither the family nor the individual good. As someone once said, feelings that are buried do not die - they just lie dormant waiting to explode at the most inopportune moment.
The fourth issue, and one I am seeing more and more, is that of narcissistic tendencies of the pro-gay advocates. Narcissism can be defined as "the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride". I see this is the behaviour of Michael Bussee, John Shmid, John Paulk and other ex-leaders of the ex-gay movement as well as"pro-gay activists" such as Wayne Besen and Patrick Strudwick. Those "leaders" have failed to be honest with themselves about their own issues, including for the ex-ex gay, why they failed to see the change they sought (were their expectations realistic?) and their motivations. They have been dishonest about the change seen in other people -- by denying change is possible. They also exhibit great inconsistency. For example, John Paulk calls his ex-wife a liar while at the same time he tells people on Facebook not to attack her. This is a very two-faced approach. Wayne Besen attacks the integrity of anyone with whom he disagrees, including those scientists who promote the fact that people are not born gay. Yet, as his latest website shows, he expects people to "Respect My Research" without question. To call his ministry "Truth Wins Out" while failing to quote research he does not like is dishonest. It is not truth. All this behaviour is classic narcissism - these people see themselves as somehow better than those who want to change but their vanity is so fragile they cannot cope with others who point out their failures. This narcissism recently seen in Paulk and Shmid and long term in Bussee and Peterson Toscano, drives such individuals to be in the public eye. Not only is embracing homosexuality easier (it takes hard work and dedication to overcome homosexual feelings, behaviour, or identity) it gives them the media opportunities to be in the spotlight that they crave as classic narcissists .
It is this narcissism that allows the legitimate hurt to become a rabid crusade,that allows the misunderstanding to become the root of the twisting of emotive terms such as homophobia.
In my dealings with both the ex-gay and ex-ex-gay movements (with the accompanying pro-gay "accepting evangelical" movement of Colin Coward and Changing Attitudes amongst others) through my past involvement with the Anglican Listening Process, I am yet to meet an ex-gay leader who enjoys the publicity, even from the sympathetic media such as Charisma Magazine, as the ex-ex-gay and pro-gay leaders do. The ex-ex-gay courts the media in a way that, at times is sycophantic. Someone once said that you can tell a true prophet because they do not want to be in the public eye and only accept being there because God has called them. This is the spirit that is missing in John Shmid, John Paulk, Michael Bussee, Peterson Toscano and too many others.
Those of us who, because of our testimony and life experiences, have been forced - unwillingly - into the spotlight have learned to live with the failures of former friends, colleagues and loved ones. Recognising the roots does not make it easier to cope with what can feel like betrayal - but it is a reminder of why we need to be true to our testimony and what we have been called to do by the God who heals, saves and restores.
|Posted on January 6, 2016 at 1:35 PM|
Why Many Homosexuals Hate Ex-Gays: Thoughts From A JONAH Member
Michael Shaw (Posted 2006)
Why Many Homosexuals Hate Ex-Gays: Thoughts From A JONAH Member
I recently came across a posting on message board on a politically-oriented Web site entitled "Why Do So Many Homosexuals Hate Ex-Gays?." The question made me stop and think.
I wouldn't say that all homosexuals hate ex-gays but I would say that homosexual rights activists don't care about the individual journeys and lives of people with homosexual feelings, they care about their political cause and nothing else.
How can it possibly be wrong for a young man who experiences homosexual feelings to seek ways to cope with and even overcome these feelings and learn to expand his range of sexual expression to include members of the opposite sex? How can it be wrong to offer such a young man help?
Here is my story: When I was college my best friend Alan defined himself as gay. I had certain sexual fantasies and feelings about men but wasn't so sure. Alan became politically active in the gay organizations on and off campus (with the support of liberal professors), dated men and believed that he was gay and that was it. Unfortunately, Alan was just in time to catch the AIDS virus before anyone knew what it was. Needless to say, he does not walk in any more gay rights marches.
At that age, you are very open and close in your friendships. I knew him like I have known few other friends in my life.
When I read his obituary, it shored up my resolve to take another path. I never acted on my homosexual feelings with another person and sought to know myself as honestly as I could. Now, I can't say life has been easy or perfect; I am who I am. But I have experienced incredible changes in my sexual fantasy life and arousal patterns. My homosexual attractions are a miniscule percentage of what they once were. I have experienced genuine sexual arousal from physical contact with a woman. These are not changes in behavior, these are changes in my core way of thinking, a reflection of a gradual process of attaining emotional maturity.
If political activist gays would tell the truth they would say it takes a lot of hurt to make a boy a homosexual. They would also say that the human mind can accomplish anything and that, whatever mistakes we make, change is always possible. These are subtle concepts and may never get play in the mass media.
But it is the truth.
|Posted on January 6, 2016 at 8:40 AM|
The ongoing story of ex-gay Larry Houston, a Harvard-employed cook in Annenberg Hall, who was criticized by students late last year for speaking openly about his conversion, is just one more example of the intolerance faced by former homosexuals and lesbians all across this country. Robert Spitzer's Columbia University study of former homosexuals and lesbians has shown that same-sex attractions can be overcome. Ex-gay organizations such as National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, Regeneration Books, Evergreen, International Healing Foundation, One by One and Exodus have also helped demonstrate that homosexuality is neither genetic nor irreversible.
Each year thousands of men and women with same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality by means of reparative therapy, ex-gay ministry or group counseling. Their choice is one only they can make. However, there are others who refuse to respect that choice, and endeavor to attack the ex-gay community. Consequently, ex-gays are subject to an increasingly hostile environment where they are reviled or attacked as perpetrators of hate and discrimination simply because they dare to exist.
For example, ex-gay David Ott of Madison, Wisconsin, was charged with a hate crime because he insisted that homosexuals could change their sexual orientation as he had done. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors termed the activities of ex-gay ministries as "acts of discrimination." The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network distributed the booklet "Just the Facts" to many of the public school districts in America accusing ex-gay participation in public schools as "harassment." The Human Rights Campaign demanded that a contributor reconsider her sizeable donation to a children's school merely because it had indirect ties to an ex-gay ministry.
Tim Wilkins was fired from his job as supervisor at the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer newspaper for daring to "come out" as a former homosexual. Lesbian Jackie Goldberg of the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution condemning an ex-gay conference held in that city as "perpetuating fear and intolerance."
Facing homosexual pressure campaigns that mischaracterized ex-gay speech as promoting discrimination, Detroit's three major television networks rejected ads featuring ex-gay men. Prominent ex-gay author Richard Cohen was accused of discriminating against homosexuals when he released his new book Coming Out Straight. And now Larry Houston. The list is endless because every day brings new hostile acts against the ex-gay community. In this climate of intolerance against ex-gays due to their very existence, support for the ex-gay community is interpreted as bigotry and discrimination against homosexuals.
The harassment of ex-gays by gays themselves is a sad end to the long struggle for tolerance by the gay community. That ex-gays and their supporters are now oppressed by the same people who until recently were victimized themselves, demonstrates how far the gay rights movement has come. Indeed, a new chapter in the movement has begun-the right of homosexuals and lesbians to leave that lifestyle should they so choose.
We need to face the real issue of sexual orientation-intolerance of ex-gays. Would Harvard students allow ex-gays to apply outright for funding under the Undergraduate Council's Anti-Homophobia project? To give sexual orientation protection to one group while excluding another is the worst form of discrimination. Please remember that former homosexuals and lesbians are also worthy of respect and a voice in the public policy forum. Ex-gays are not the hate mongers you deem us to be.
Regina Griggs is national director of the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, based in Alexandria, Va.