Homosexuality exists, like it or not, and it exists in nature as well as humanity. I talked in another post on how homosexuality is something one is born with. The opposing view is that there is no proof of that and they claim it is something learned and can be unlearned through reparative or conversion therapy. They believe that they have proof in that they have used these techniques that have successfully converted homosexuals to heterosexuals – or ‘ex-gays’.
But the reality appears to be quite different. These ex-gays may have stopped having relationships with the same-sex but they are still gay. They have become celibate or are in relationships with the opposite sex but they are still the same inside. That’s not really a big change as gays and lesbians have been doing this for centuries in order to blend into society. And, just like in the past, many of these ‘ex-gays’ are sneaking out for what they really need.
First of all if it isn’t broke you don’t fix it. That holds true with this therapy. Unless you’re Christian, Muslim or Mormon there is nothing wrong with being homosexual. The truth is homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality. The American Psychiatric Association states:
In December of 1998, the Board of Trustees issued a position statement that the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or conversion therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a prior assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation. In doing so, the APA joined many other professional organizations that either oppose or are critical of “reparative” therapies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, The American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers.
So the tool to fix the “problem” may be worse than the problem. Later on in that document it continues:
The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
The risks are huge! Many who take part in programs such as this are members of one of the religious faiths already mentioned and, as such, have a deep sense of self-hatred. To build further on this self-loathing causes many to seek the release of suicide. Of course we’ll never hear those numbers. Also, the first part of that paragraph totally shatters the “first do no harm” principle. Ending up with a dead patient would constitute harm in my opinion. Increasing a sense of self hate and driving them into the depths of despair would also be harmful. The second part indicates that many of these people are being lied to. What happened to the commandment against bearing false witness? In a report by People For the American Way Foundation entitled “Back to School with the Religious Right” it states:
At the center of these efforts are the so-called “ex-gay ministries.” Like the creationists who now embrace “intelligent design,” anti-gay groups push “reparative therapy” and cast themselves as brave dissenters from a politically correct establishment. However, the real goal is the same as ever — rolling back civil rights protections for lesbians and gays.
It’s apparent that the only reason for this treatment is the fight by these groups against their civil rights and nothing else. They certainly are not doing so out any sense of love. I’ve provided links below with the experiences of some of these people. They are not pleasant. In the interview With Tom Ottosen, Former Love In Action Ex-Gay:
“I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery.” –The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In Action (LIA), San Rafael’s “ex-gay” clan.
Read some of the stories in the link for Beyond Ex-Gay. Some of those stories are heart wrenching. They show the real pain these people go through and, as always, it doesn’t work. Then there is the story of the former LDS ex-gay. His experiences were with the Mormon church and their Evergreen program. Watch it and listen.
The last link I have placed below is just to show what the group National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH, will do in order to make their views look good and that brings us back to the question “What happened to the commandment against bearing false witness?”
If you are homosexual and want to try the ex-gay thing there are various organizations that will do this and will provide you with the tools to live and appear to be a heterosexual or, alternatively, live a celibate life. You won’t change inside and I hope you don’t expect that. What I sincerely hope you do is you look after yourself no matter what path you take.
Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies) – Position Statement
GLAAD Media Reference Guide – IN FOCUS:”EX-GAYS” & “CONVERSION THERAPY”
Back to School with the Religious Right – A report by People For the American Way Foundation
Love In Action: The Final Indoctrination – Interview With Tom Ottosen, Former Love In Action Ex-Gay
Beyond Ex-Gay – an online community and resource for those of us who have survived ex-gay experiences
Truth Wins Out – Fighting Anti-Gay Lies and the Ex-Gay Myth
Former LDS ‘Ex-Gay’ Claims Evergreen is a Suicide Mill
U. psychologist says sex research distorted
I came across this write-up after I had written mine and it is far, far better. Please give Am I Ex-Straight? Ex-Gays And The Ethics Of Labels By Candace Chellew a good read.