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So I don’t have to worry about it anymore
April 11, 2012 10:26 AM   Subscribe

The two largest groups that provide ex-gay counseling are Exodus International, a nondenominational Christian organization, and NARTH, its secular counterpart. If Exodus is the spirit of the ex-gay movement, NARTH is the brain. The organizations share many members, and Exodus parrots the developmental theories about same-sex attractions espoused by NARTH. Together with the late Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist who led the opposition to declassifying homosexuality as a mental illness, Nicolosi formed NARTH in 1992 as a 'scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.' By 1998, the group was holding an annual conference, publishing its own journal, and training hundreds of psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. Nicolosi remains NARTH’s most visible advocate.

[...] When I first reach Nicolosi on the phone, he says he remembers me well and that he is surprised that I 'went in the gay direction. You really seemed to get it.'


Gabriel Arana talks about his experiences with attempting to change his sexual orientation: My So-Called Ex-Gay Life.
posted by shakespeherian (31 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great article, thanks for posting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:31 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


My wife and I were once eating at a Boston Market, when I noticed that the couple next to us were wearing shirts with a ton of text of them. The man's shirt explained how he had been married, fallen victim to thinking he was gay, and then was able to come out of it because of Jesus and now he was happily married to a WOMAN (that part was in bold, there was no mention if it was the same woman he was married to before). The woman's explained how she was the proud wife of an ex-gay man who was now living as God intended.

It just made me really sad for everyone involved.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:43 AM on April 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


If influencing someone else's sexual orientation was that easy, there would be rogue prankster counselors out there converting patients to be into ficus plants, truck tires and manhole covers.
posted by delfin at 10:45 AM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


I was tricked for three months into having a fetish involving flash mobs. It turned out to be a particularly successful campaign for AOL online.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:49 AM on April 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


NARTH

Poit!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:50 AM on April 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


If influencing someone else's sexual orientation was that easy, there would be rogue prankster counselors out there converting patients to be into ficus plants, truck tires and manhole covers.

Jeez, would you shut up about this? You should know we're not supposed to talk about it with outsiders.

(Also, I don't know where you're getting your intel, but ficuses are very 2010. Latest trend is kudzu.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:52 AM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's so sad. Over the years, I've seen several Craigslist ads for married men looking for a guy on the side. ("My regular guy has moved away, so I'm looking for someone new...") I've also seen gay men looking for a woman who will bear his child, but is not interested in any actual relationship ("just a mutually respectful shared custody arrangement"). What pain there is, in this world.
posted by Melismata at 10:56 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: "My wife and I were once eating at a Boston Market,
....
It just made me really sad for everyone involved.
"

Yourself and your wife included.


HAMBURGER
posted by wcfields at 10:57 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've also seen gay men looking for a woman who will bear his child, but is not interested in any actual relationship ("just a mutually respectful shared custody arrangement"). What pain there is, in this world.

As someone who is part of what was functionally the latter, I would suggest that that isn't necessarily a situation that is at all painful. Given the constraints in many locations against gay and lesbian people adopting, it makes sense for people who want children to partner non-romantically with other people who can make that happen. I know I was delighted to make my friends' amazing kids possible.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:58 AM on April 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


I like to blithely pretend most of the time that I'm a non-violent person, until I start reading stuff like this, then as I get overcome with white-hot rage, I realize that yes, I could probably be persuaded to visit violence on these pernicious assholes. I'm not gonna hit anyone, but damn, I sure want to.

HULK RANCHER MAD
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:10 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The man's shirt explained how he had been married, fallen victim to thinking he was gay, and then was able to come out of it because of Jesus and now he was happily married to a WOMAN

"I married a woman and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:20 AM on April 11, 2012 [25 favorites]


Worth highlighting: The Point Foundation,which provides scholarships to to talented students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation or gender status.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:34 AM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Science Daily April 6 2012:
"Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?
Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates. (...) Conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, the research will be published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," adds co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research."
posted by iviken at 11:54 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality

Not being comfortable with one's sexuality is the saddest thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:55 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


converting patients to be into ficus plants, truck tires and manhole covers.

I prefer anal bum covers myself.
posted by Nomyte at 12:23 PM on April 11, 2012


Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?

Well, duh.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have read articles on the same topic before and it conjures up a decade's worth of my adolescent loneliness, depression, and suicide. Every time.

I am happy now and soon to be married to my partner of seven years. But when I think about that time and the abuse these therapists are inflicting on children it makes me want to test their theories: if therapy can change your orientation can we turn these charlatan therapists into ass-eating, cock-sucking, S&M power bottoms? If not, that should be a court-ordered community service for them.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


In related news: Robert Spitzer, Psychiatrist Behind Controversial 'Ex-Gay' Study, Retracts It.
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Probably a reflection of where I live, but when I come across someone trying to "cure homosexuality" these days, it feels roughly like coming across someone using a VHS tape player. "Really, still doing that? Wattayaknow?".
posted by benito.strauss at 1:06 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone should check out the incredible film This Is What Love In Action Looks Like, a documentary about an incident with a Memphis ex-gay camp for teenagers and the fallout and protests that ensued when a 16-year-old kid was enrolled against his will. It's a really great movie, directed by my friend Morgan Jon Fox, that deals with the people involved in a surprisingly forthright, unjudgemental, and compassionate way. I think it's a must-see for anyone interested in the folly of gay conversion therapy.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:02 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I sometimes wonder if it's a mistake to engage with the anti-gay-rights crowd on the question of choice. It turns a discussion of ethics into a derail about questions of fact that don't really have anything to do with the topic at hand.

I suspect that for most of us, the honest response to the statement, "homosexuality is a choice," is, "It seems pretty unlikely. But, if so, it's a fine choice. What's your point?"

Then I hear another story like this one, and suspect that those steering the national discussion probably have more sense than I give them credit for, and that this actually is a useful tactic. It's an argument we can almost certainly win, and in the short term, winning it may do a lot to improve the lives of millions of queer kids. But, it sure does feel like a waste of time marshaling resources to prove a point that doesn't actually matter.
posted by eotvos at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2012


Not that I've gone looking for science on the subject, but I've believed for a while that, if the Kinsey Scale went from 0-100 instead of 0-6, almost nobody would be a 0 or a 100. Almost everyone's a little queer, almost everyone's a little straight. And I don't think anyone's number would stay the same all their life. I know I'm marginally queerer now than 5 years ago, and I've known plenty of folks with pretty fluid orientations.

So yeah, I'd buy that sexual orientation may well be, to some degree, a choice for lots of people. But it goes just as much for straights as queers. Straightness isn't "righter," just more popular.
posted by Peevish at 8:18 PM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I sometimes wonder if it's a mistake to engage with the anti-gay-rights crowd on the question of choice.

The mistake is that gay rights and women's rights and pot-smokers' rights and burger-eaters' rights and sky-divers rights should all be the same:

AIN'T NOBODIES BUSINESS IF YOU DO.

So long as it involves informed consenting adults and does not damage the rights of others to the same… ANBIYD.

Search for it. Get it. Read it.
Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:33 PM on April 11, 2012


Punctuation question: incorrect use of possessives? I see I dropped one and now they all look wrong...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 PM on April 11, 2012


You missed one in sky-divers (should be sky-divers') and ain't nobodies business in the third line should be ain't nobody's business.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:46 PM on April 11, 2012


These articles always make me so thankful for my life, in a "there but for the grace of God I go" sort of way. My life matches up with Gabriel's so well it's scary, except my parents (good, God-fearing Southerners) had more sense. When I came out to my mom, her response was "I want you to be happy, and I don't think that's possible if you're gay" instead of going all problem-solver. It's so much easier to have a dialog starting from unconditional love and a slight misunderstanding of reality than where his parents were.
posted by This Guy at 9:42 AM on April 12, 2012


Almost everyone's a little queer, almost everyone's a little straight.

Everyone who has ever masturbated has committed a homosexual act.
posted by jamjam at 10:54 AM on April 12, 2012


In related news: Second Activist Finds Illusory 'Ex-Gay Therapy' At Marcus Bachmann Clinic.
posted by ericb at 10:58 AM on April 12, 2012


jamjam: "Almost everyone's a little queer, almost everyone's a little straight.

Everyone who has ever masturbated has committed a homosexual act.
"

Especially if you follow "pastor" Marc Driscoll's preferred method of watching yourself in a mirror while you do it...
posted by This Guy at 12:01 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


In other news, London mayor Boris Johnson has blocked ads on some of the city's buses which seek to promote 'post-gay therapy' (couldn't get quite enough quote marks in there to adequately express my utter disdain for this homophobic crap, sorry)
posted by Myeral at 3:29 AM on April 13, 2012


This is just chilling. :( Thanks for posting it.
posted by zarq at 8:35 AM on April 17, 2012


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