Alan Colmes Radio Show: Wayne Besen vs. Richard Cohen

I listened to the Alan Colmes Radio Show tonight with a debate of sorts between Richard Cohen and Wayne Besen. During the call-in segment, Chad Thompson called in and said a cheery hello. Chad, you were the most reasonable voice on the show.

I think Richard mostly got the best of Wayne. Wayne needs to learn to let people talk. He sounds like he had way too much caffiene.

Wayne’s criticisms of Richard’s marriage were in very poor taste.

Richard made a point to emphasize that homosexuals are emotionally wounded and can change if they heal their wounds.

Wayne attacked Richard on several grounds. Of course, Richard is vulnerable here due to his expulsion from the ACA. Here is the expulsion letter and below are the sections of the code violated.

A.1.a: Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.

A.1.b: Positive Growth and Development. Counselors encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the clients’ interest and welfare; counselors avoid fostering dependent counseling relationships.

A.5.a: Personal Needs. In the counseling relationship, counselors are aware of the intimacy and responsibilities inherent in the counseling relationship, maintain respect for clients, and avoid actions that seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients.

A.6.a: Avoid When Possible. Counselors are aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients. Counselors make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. (Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, or close personal relationships with clients.) When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, counselors take appropriate professional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.

C.3.b: Testimonials. Counselors who use testimonials do not solicit them from clients or other persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influence.

C.3.f: Products and Training Advertisements. Counselors who develop products related to their profession or conduct workshops or training events ensure that the advertisements concerning these products or events are accurate and disclose adequate information for consumers to make informed choices.

Additional note: My friend David Blakeslee got on the show and reinforced the concept of people living in alignment with their beliefs and values. Chad and David were the highlights as far as I’m concerned.

75 thoughts on “Alan Colmes Radio Show: Wayne Besen vs. Richard Cohen”

  1. Ariel –

    The tragedy isn’t that their are just many unsuccessful stories, it is that the Ex-Ex Gay people in these stories were hurt so much, emotionally and physically – granted, most of the hurt was unintentional, but it was still there. Story after story of young kids being forced into change camps by parents, or of adults wanting to change and not being able to, finally being led to suicidal and destructive thoughts. Many of these people have not only left Ex-Gay programs, they left the Church as well. If Reparative Therapy wants to continue to exist it must stop being used as a political tool, and the people who push it must not force anyone, old OR young, into such situations.

  2. Ariel

    We would include as a “success story” anyone who actually achieved what they genuinely wanted.

    If complete celibacy, for life, was their aim; and (at least so far) they’ve happily stuck to that — then, well, bully for them.

    We can name a few (heterosexual) priests that seem perfectly content with that choice for their life.

    Leaving aside the issue of blatant lies etc…

    It’s the “I am (at least publically) doing it — so can/should/must you be the same” that I have a problem with. Particularly if they look for the law to help impose that on others.

    In many cases, that sounds less like success and more like a desperate clutching for affirmation. And very intrusive. And none of their business.

  3. I have no doubt that many gays and straights, socially labeled, have some degree of bisexual erotic orientation. And the environment can push and pull one way or another. I am not convinced that there is a congenital gayness. I do think there are temperamental traits that in interaction with the social world can lead to SSA. But then you’ve heard that from me before…

  4. “Again – as I’ve brought up so many time before: Countless people who identify as ex-gay, truly believed that there SSA were gone – cured by God and/or therapy, only to find out years down the road that they were wrong. These stories have to make us all think twice about anyone who claims to have completely cured SSA. We also need to remain mindful of the fact that many, many people with SSA are really bisexual.”

    I’ve heard stories from both sides. One needs to be smart about these things. the religious right will try to trump up the success stories, whereas gay activists love to up-play the unsuccessful stories. One may never know the objective truth.

    As for many people with SSA being bisexual, I would extend that statement to ALL people, not just those with SSA. A lot of people, I believe, are bisexual to varying degrees. Only some appear to be truly exclusively straight or gay.

    That said, psychosocial factors may dicate which side of Bi a person ends up on. For instance, a distant father, smothering mother may very well push boy with bisexual potential towards the gay side, and some sort of psychological therapy may be able to bring him back (if that is what he desires as an adult).

    That said, one cannot deny that there are congenital versions of homo and heterosexuality–that is, the orientation is present, and quite obvious, at a very young age.

    Going back to the exgay success stories: I truly believe many of the authentic success stories were bisexuals who fell on the gay side of the train tracks, and were somehow able to come back to the straight side through some sort of counseling.


  5. Again – as I’ve brought up so many time before: Countless people who identify as ex-gay, truly believed that there SSA were gone – cured by God and/or therapy, only to find out years down the road that they were wrong. These stories have to make us all think twice about anyone who claims to have completely cured SSA. We also need to remain mindful of the fact that many, many people with SSA are really bisexual.

  6. Exclusive SSA would be a challenge. I am writing a book now on mixed attraction couples and I am finding amazing situations and have been involved as a therapist in some as well.

  7. It’s still bad news, particularly for the unfortunate heterosexuals who marry them. As a bisexual woman, I know it’s possible to have attractions to both genders yet love only one person, but I can’t imagine a marriage really working between a person with exclusive SSA and a person of the other gender.

    Thank you for your comments about politics.

  8. The first Truthwinsout version of what Dr. Throckmorton wrote removes the important qualifier ‘usually’. Although the second version quotes him properly and includes the ‘usually’ part, the overall effect is still to convey the idea that Throckmorton says all ex-gays are kidding themselves or lying, which I think (I assume he will correct me if I am wrong) cannot have been what he meant.

  9. Amen, from


    Conversion therapist Warren Throckmorton made a stunning admission in the “comments” section of his blog. He claimed that “ex-gay” really means a person who says he is straight, even though he is STILL attracted to the same sex (SSA). In the real world we call this “false witness.”

    “Ex-gay usually really means ‘I no longer identify as gay even if I have SSA,'” wrote Throckmorton.

    It is no surprise that Throckmorton would slip and reveal the truth. After all, he is the same Christian “therapist” who created an “ex-gay” film starring exorcist Joann Highley.

  10. Throck: My most recent point built upon your statements, it was not a repeat of a previous position.

    That having been said, your tantrum about threatening to delete future comments is unfortunate for a man claiming to engage in a profession which requires vigorous discussion, discovery and debate.

    Interesting that you start to draw the line when it comes close to examining precisely what it is that you are, and most decidedly are not, selling.

  11. j in dc – you have made your point. You add nothing with your posts to what you have already said. You refuse to see the nuance in what I and others have said. If you continue to post redundantly, I will delete your posts.

    Timothy – We agree on the term issue and I can tell you this matter has been debated for years in house as well. My suggestion of post-gay has just as many problems as ex-gay I think. Some people like it better but it may raise as many issues as it addresses.

  12. Warren: Ex-gay usually really means “I no longer identify as gay even if I have SSA.”

    There’s such a difficulty with language. Ex-gay seems – within the intuitive language of culture – to mean that SSA no longer is present. And unfortunately, some ex-gay leaders capitalize on the confusion in the language to reinforce that misunderstanding.

    But I have a hard time thinking of a better term.

    “Former homosexual” is completely dishonest unless, indeed, they no longer have SSA.

    “Re-closeted”, though it might appeal to anti-ex-gay folks, isn’t accurate either. Many ex-gays are not hiding their SSA.

    “Celibate homosexuals” is probably the most accurate, most of the time. A few of this crowd do (or claim to) make their way to “former homosexual”. And some are not celibate but sexually involved with an opposite-sex spouse while still struggling to not act on same sex attractions.

    I seem to recall the term “practicing homosexual” that in days of yore described someone who was sexually active. I don’t recall if there was a correlating term but perhaps “non-practicing homosexual” could apply to at least those who still have SSA.

    However, I can’t imagine some married guy who stuggles same sex fantasies would ever describe himself with the clumsy and not-very-positive sounding “non-practicing homosexual”. Ick.

    So I guess with all the various permutations, it seems that ex-gay will just have to be the all encompasing term for people who have (or had) SSA but do not want to identify as gay.

    I just wish it wasn’t so deceptive and confusing of a term.

    Timothy Kincaid

  13. Glad to hear you don’t “teach suppression.”

    You just make apologies for it, apparently, vis the slack you give to Cohen when he claims he “NEVER” left his wife to look for gay sex, despite writing in his book that he did just that, for two years.

    Also glad to hear you’re acknowleding that your efforts will leave many, perhaps most, “ex-gay” men little changed beyond avoiding relations or relationships with other men.

    You’ve admitted, then, counseling men towards a goal of being really well closeted, semi-permanently (and two-year stints in NYC seem to get a bit of a pass from you), so they can marry hetero women.

    That’s quite a gamble you’re asking women, and children, entire families, to take.

  14. I agree that suppressing internal events is counterproductive. I do not teach suppression but rather acceptance without approval. Beliefs that are not derived from reflection are not what I am speaking about. Obsessions just are; they are not chosen.

  15. Obsessions are beliefs, by definition, but I get the distinction you are making. My point was more that aligning onesself with beliefs can lead to destructive behavior, particularly if one believes that one needs to suppress a core part of their personality. People who believe they need to change their sexuality and can’t do it can be driven to act out sexually in unhealthy ways, a la Michael Johnston.

  16. One has to also wonder if the people who claim they have no same sex feelings anymore are telling the truth – I mean, especially if they are directly involved in the ex-gay movement, they have a very deep, vested interest in believing their same-sex attractions are gone, right? If they are conservative Evangelicals this would make them even more prone to believing they have changed – I mean, their beliefs and desires are so at conflict, who in such a situation wouldn’t want to believe they have changed. This is why the ex-ex gay story is so fascinating – because these peopel too truly believed their SSA were gone, only to find out years later they weren’t.

  17. The fact remains that Reparative Therapy doesn’t work for the majority of gay people who try it, and many if not most ex-gays continue to have homosexual feelings. Alcoholics that never touch a bit of alcohol again don’t even call themselves ex-anything. The term really is a misnomer. Its one thing to choose to be married to a woman and/or have kids, but these things definitely don’t make you ex-gay!!!!!

  18. Obsessions are not values and beliefs. In behavioral terms, they are private events that reflect psychological rigidity. I have done pretty well with OCD over the years and do not think most people value their obsessions. They tend to obey them but not value them.

  19. There’s a very fine line there. I know someone whose values and beliefs tell him there’s dirt everywhere so he washes his hands at least 30 times a day.

  20. Values and beliefs become the focus of life. Worldview changes are reflected in decisions about how to spend time; avoidance of certain places or activities. I have written about this before: change does not mean all gay attractions go away for all people. For some people, I believe they do change completely, for others they do not or at least have not as of now.

  21. What do you mean by this:

    “… for many ex-gays I know, the change is in how they organize their lives.”?


  22. I have wondered aloud if the term “post-gay” might work, but the usual reaction is that it sounds like an effort to be trendy. I believe that over time some people do for all practical purposes lose their same sex attraction. However, for many ex-gays I know, the change is in how they organize their lives. And I say, if that is what they believe to be best, more power to them.

  23. Ex-gay usually really means “I no longer identify as gay even if I have SSA.”

    I don’t think anyone really knows what percentage of people do or feel each outcome. I am in this stuff everyday and I don’t know. I don’t see how anyone could know given the poor research in the area.

  24. I think my point is, that the more ex-ex gay experiences I read about, the more I realize that they sound exactly like Ex-gay stories, up until Ex-Ex gays realize that the changes they felt weren’t as certain as they originally thought – so are Ex-gays just a step towards being Ex-Ex gay – it sounds like most people go full cirle.

    My other issue is not understanding what it means to be EX-GAY then – obviously, even of the small percentage of people who identify as ex-gay, these people also claim to still occasionally have same sex feelings/thoughts – so how can be really be labeled EX-gay????

  25. “What has happed in the past with Cohen doesn’t imply anything about what he currently does or where he’s holding. That’s called an argumentum ad hominem.”

    Remember that scene in Lion King where Rafiki whacked Simba with a stick and then told him it didn’t matter because it was in the past? Soryy, but the past does matter, especially if Cohen is being less than honest about it.

  26. I don’t question the reality of either type of story. Hearing about ex-gays doesn’t make me doubt ex-ex-gays. To do so would seem like all or nothing thinking to me.

  27. I mentioned this on another part of this blog, but how many stories do we have to hear about ex-gay people who preach and believe that God and/or therapy has removed their same-sex attractions completely, only to find themselves in bed with someone of the same sex years down the road. I keep hearing about Ex-Ex gay people all the time – I think their existance should really make us question the claims made by current so-called Ex-Gay people –

    My other problem with this whole issue has something to do with what Alan Chambers – President of Exodus International said – he acknowledged that even many ex-gay people who are married still occasionally have homosexual thoughts – (along with the fact that Reparative Therapy doesn’t even work for most gay people) – So then, how does this make them EX-gay – This makes them sound much for like repressed gay people, than EX-gay people.

  28. j in dc:

    What has happed in the past with Cohen doesn’t imply anything about what he currently does or where he’s holding. That’s called an argumentum ad hominem.

    As for his pillow whacking, I have no clue. I’m sure if he was a regular heterosexual therapist he’d be doing the same thing — It’s not exactly banned, unethical and rare, though there are obviously many objections.

    As for his comment, I won’t say anymore since I’ve commented the same comment over and over again. You kinda remind me of my grandmother. She is utterly convinced when she see’s sibling A “bully” sibling “B”, and no matter what you tell her, she is utterly convinced, and no one can tell her different. She see’s through rose coloured glasses. She doesn’t take into accout other possible explanations; the fact that she didn’t see everything, etc. You very much remind me of her. A serious case of tunnel vision.


    P.S. You said in an earlier post you tried to “pray the gay away”. I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work for you – This is unfortunate. I really do wish you all the best, and may you have a happy, strong and healthy life.

  29. I’m quite certain you are, given your backslide on the statement he doesn’t make a living from this, except when he’s being paid of course.

    Just like Cohen has NEVER left his wife to look for gay sex, except when of course he did, for two years, in NYC’s seediest locales.

    The only thing that has invaded your bog are some inconvenient questions.

  30. NitpickersRus have invaded my blog. I don’t know how many SSA men and women Dave sees, I know he sees some but his practice would go just fine without the few people he sees with that presenting issue. Long way from ex-gay for pay that you all want to make it. Now keep on chattering if you’d like, I’m done with the “Blakeslee issue.”

  31. Dear Warren,

    I’m a long time supporter of you and your website.

    However, your opponents raise some pretty damning accusations, linking you to NARTH. Please reply to these serious matters, and give your side of the story.

    A friend

  32. grantdale–
    Fraternizing, as I do, with certain Episcopal Church so-called “orthodox” conservatives (among them, but not “of” them), I hear a lot of “sexual addiction” and “sexual brokenness” ideas. There’s a NARTH section in our Assistant Rector’s office bookshelves.

    Anyway, I with you on the bentness — hell, the outright inhumanity — of the NARTH view of the world. All I’m offering up here is the observation that same-sex attraction is, to them, one manifestation of sexual brokenness. To them SSA equates to spouses and families dealing with sex-addiction, porn-addiction, dysfunctional marriage, cheating, sexually active children, and so on.

    So that makes Blakeslee an expert, because therapy based on the same Religious Right family-values dogma — abstinence education, marriage and individual therapy to deal with cheating, pornography “addiction” and other compulsive, excessive and self-destructive behaviors — can correct those destructive behaviors. If you assert that SSA is in the same category (even though it makes no sense whatsoever to an enlightened mind), then the cure is the same, and bingo, Blakeslee is an expert. Without ever interviewing a healthy gay or lesbian individual! (The vast majority of whom will tell you the cure is worse than the disease.)

  33. Living in alignment with your beliefs and values shouldn’t mean lying to yourself or others because you feel you must. Being married, having children, etc. – these things don’t make you ex-gay, and they certainly don’t make you holy. I don’t always agree with Wayne, but this time I think his comments were right on the money. Chad is nice guy, but we shouldn’t put him on a pedestal simply because he tries to come across as a peacemaker. There are many nice people with the best of intentions who end up doing very bad things.

  34. j in dc — if you want anon mon’s “point” it may be best looking for it under “Retta” or “Precious CRC” at the sites below.

    She is under the mistaken belief that The Gays(R) are hatched on tree stump like a moth, live for a day, and never remember who she is.

    You may attempt to breach the fortress (be warned, you will be transported back 2500 years to Judea) or go for a trawl for the disruptive nonsense imposed on the good folks at Teach The Facts.

  35. Jay — if, as you suggest its “none” rather than “very few”… that makes Blakeslee and NARTH even more bent than we thought a few hours ago.

    (And at that point, that was very bent)

    Perhaps. Perhaps it’s not uncommon for NARTH “experts” to have no direct contact with gay men and lesbians — that we can well assume — and also no, nil, nada contact with reported exgays as well.

    Refresh me. What therefore is the expertise again? It sounds like absolute zilch.

    Still want to hear from Warren, but I guess he may want to contact David first.

  36. Anon Mom: your point being?

    Wayne is honest about his background and work, while others are employing shades of the truth regarding the other side.

    And as a Mom, I sincerely hope you get the opportunity to hear what the Mom at Wayne’s press conference had to say. I hope Wayne or someone makes her full comments available. She moved nearly the entire room (except for Knight and his rather comely young associates) to tears. She spoke as a mother, as a dedicated wife of a marine, as a Lutheran of national standing, and from a very deep and wise Christian spiritual perspective.

  37. It wouldn’t surprise me if Throck is technically correct. By all appearances, Blakeslee’s practice strictly “marriage and family” counseling. There is probably a lot of “sexual addiction” talk inside his four walls, but if a full-blown opportunity for reorientation therapy presented itself, my hunch is that Blakeslee would make a referral to an Exodus franchise instead of taking it on himself.
    References: Here and here.

  38. Excuse me but did’t Wayne use to work for HRC and “appears to make his livelihood off exgays as well” or should I say slamming exgays?How about Kevin Jennings, he doesn’t work for free at GLSEN. Isn’t he making a living off the fact that he is gay? etc. etc.
    So? Is everyone suppose to work for free?
    anonymous Mom

  39. Warren

    (this is the less socially polite half of grantdale)

    You have been working with David Blakslee for a number of years.

    Let me be blunt:

    Have you been duped about his involvement in NARTH etc, or did you just attempt to “do a Chad”?

    I have little doubt he may have seen very few exgays. That is the case with all of “you”. (Where all those hundreds of thousands go, GOK.) But please don’t insult people by claiming he’s not an exgay therapist.

    That’s not what has been presented in the past. Do we need to ask, say, JimK etc at for a response about your joint paper?

    Or should people simply do dump and search through

  40. Warren, you need to pay attention to the fact some people watch NARTH.

    No, really. Particularly when you yourself get a glowing mention.

    Here is David Blakeslee running a NARTH forum.

    And mention of the award that NARTH gave you. Unlike Spitzer, you accepted it.

  41. Do you realize what you’ve just stated, Throck? Are you suggesting that Blakeslee makes no part of his wages from either ex-gay ministry or ex-gay therapy or pseudo therapy?

    Well, we have Google too. At the very least, he’s an active political voice against gay equality.

    If every bit of his ex-gay claims and efforts are done pro bono, that would be the only support for your claim.

    I don’t recall the Ten Commandments addressing shades of truth, but I do believe we can imagine our own footnotes.

    And Ivan: YOU claimed I was taking Cohen’s words out of context, yet you provide no such context. The only thing left standing is Cohen’s false claim. Oh, but wait, that was in his PAST, the past doesn’t matter. OK, how about the present: whacking pillows with tennis rackets.

  42. One of my objection … was that he took something from [the] past and said that it invalidated his present experience.

    Excuse me Warren!?

    But isn’t that also the entire basis for Exodus’ claims??? And Cohen’s pillow-beating-man-cuddling therapy???

    Too funny 🙂

    And yes Daniel — Blakeslee (who is a NARTH collegue of Warren’s) is an exgay therapist, from Oregon. He’s also actively politically, and we can guess from what direction and about what. Chad, of course, is well known to us and makes his living from it.

    Obviously neither must be on Wayne’s radar… or those call-ins could have turned out to rather embarrassingly have proved Besen’s point.

    (The clue for Besen should have been those words “I know hundreds of…etc”)

  43. J – I am not sure who you are referring to in your rant but I am not a defender of Richard for the sake of defending Richard. I don’t think of him as a therapist colleague but believe he thinks he is doing good things to help people. However, I disagree with him on most things relating to counseling.

    One of my objection to Wayne’s performance on the Colmes show was that he took something from Richard’s past and said that it invalidated his present experience. Very few people would say anything about values if that standard was used.

  44. grantdale:

    I’m only commenting on j in dc’s initial comments of Cohen admitting in his own book to have “strayed” from his wife, and me putting it into context. He *did* stray from his wife, but not after his “breakthrough”. I’m going by what’s written in the book, as per j in dc’s comment.


  45. Just to short circuit all this…

    Cohen: “I didn’t actually legally divorce my wife during those 2 years” = “I didn’t leave my wife”

    Everyone else: yeah, sure.

    Ivan: probably best if you said what you thought “leaving” would mean, if it’s not the latter.

    And Cohen’s wife: one wonders how she felt. The one voice who’s never been heard from.

    I’d guess abandoned and deserted and betrayed, ie “left”, but that could be just me projecting my own insecure dependencies. Perhaps she really appreciated all that time alone with her new infant?…

  46. j in dc:

    Firstly, don’t make any assumptions about me.

    As for his statement, I think it’s pretty clear for all the comments above – I don’t think there’s more to say.


  47. Yes I’m talking to you, and anyone else on here who is trying to create slack for Cohen’s clear duplicity.

    What is out of context in his quote? Please tell us. His statement was clear and emphatic. And it is simply in contradiction with what he wrote in his book.

    I will grant this much: after Wayne challenged Richard on his claim, Richard quickly said “that was when I was in therapy.”

    Ok, fine, but that period was while he was married, it lasted TWO YEARS, two years of–as Cohen stated–having a boyfriend and still cruising around NYC’s seedier locales.

    So how is that not leaving your wife to look for gay sex? What possible context are you pointing to that demonstrates that didn’t constitute leaving his wife (and kids) to look for gay sex?

  48. Unless the context was “Alan, I’m about to say something that’s untrue for no reason at all. I have never left my wife to look for gay sex. There, I just said something untrue for no reason.” then yes, he does win.

  49. j in dc said:

    “Don’t you think that’s at least worth a small portion of the time you’ve spent trying to pray away your feelings? ”

    Are you talking to me?


  50. j in dc:

    I guess your argument wins when you take his words out of context.


  51. Please correct me if I’m wrong but David Blakeslee appears to make his livelihood off exgays as well? I find it interesting the two callers reinforce Wayne’s idea of exgay for pay.

  52. His words are clear. “I NEVER left my wife to look for gay sex.” That doesn’t mean “well, except for that one small time when I was in therapy, that small TWO YEAR stint where I was cruising NYC’s seediest locales for sex, and most likely cheating on my boyfriend at the time while I was cheating on my wife, not to mention time for my children.”

    As for why he would blatantly contradict his own words, you’d have to ask him. It’s his contradiction. It’s real, despite your effort to condition an obvious contradiction.

    I mean, this man advocates whacking pillows with tennis rackets while viciously screaming about your mother, touching his clients, and all his personal examples are founded on a “marriage” that was arranged by the Rev. Moon.

    If you’re willing to try and hang on to his threads, knock yourself out. But there is another way: rejecting shame, rejecting loons like him, and at least giving a chance to the many gay affirming (yet personally hetero) Christians willing to sit down with you and explain their side of this entire debate.

    Don’t you think that’s more worth some of your time than defending Cohen? Don’t you think that’s at least worth a small portion of the time you’ve spent trying to pray away your feelings? You do realize, don’t you, that there are two (or more) sides to the gay issue even within the major denominations. You do realize there are other sides to this issue within psychiatry, and among therapists who haven’t been permanently banned (like Cohen). All I’m saying is spend as much time talking with those folks, even a little, as you do defending an obviously bizarre man like Cohen.

  53. j in dc:

    Again, I think it’s pretty obvious what he was referring too. His story is in his book. Why would he blatantly contradict it?


  54. “I have NEVER left my wife to look for gay sex.”
    – Richard Cohen, on the Colmes show

    “I was out there running around New York City with my boyfriend, and she was at home alone taking care of our son, knowing her husband was out with a man.”
    – Richard Cohen, in “Coming Out Straight”

  55. I’m admitting up front that the quote is one page ahead of the previous claim.

    One page number in a book. That’s all you have to hang an argument upon regarding Cohen’s credibility?

  56. j in dc said:

    “And for those claiming there’s nothing afer page 10, that quote is from page 9.”

    Did I miss something? Maybe I don’t understand.


  57. That’s a rather convenient construct, throck. Anytime any “ex gay” engages in gay activity (which would kinda indicate the “ex” part of the label is false), people shouldn’t give weight to that fact, because it happened in the past.


    As a Christian, I do not believe the holes in Christ’s limbs were punched by sinners looking to punch a ticket and move on. HIS sacrifice was so that our sins could be forgiven, but so that we then start anew WITH a sense of responsibility and wisdom moving forward.

    Cohen, like the vast majority of “ex gays” seem to abuse Christ’s sacrifice, using so many “renewals” until they hit an internal emotional wall. Stop punching holes in Christ like that, please.

  58. Quick clarifications:

    – I am happy to entertain the debate over whether Moonie mass weddings are holy (let alone whole); my grammar indicated I was willing to entertain that they are holy. I believe they are not.

    – Cohen lied on the show with Wayen; I mis-typed “on Wayne’s show.”

  59. Determining whether Richard “left” his wife or not seems minor to me. Wayne’s choice of the word left allowed Richard some wiggle room. It’s clear to me that two perspectives are at work. Richard is seeing that time from the perspective of the present (It was part of my journey…) and Wayne is seeing that time as being present (You did it, it is a proof of how you are now). Most people see things in their past as being past. This is one hallmark of Christianity – you are forgiven it is over, in the past. However, I feel Richard could have made better use of Wayne’s incessant reference to the past. He could have asked Wayne if there is anything in his past that he doesn’t think of being himself today.

    I’m ok with exposing fraud – intentional intent to mislead or deceive with an aim to gain from the deception but I do not see Wayne’s methods as focusing on fraud exclusively. By focusing on Richard’s past he is pursuing a policy of exposing fault and fallibility.

    Wayne is a parallel to the people on the right who refuse to acknowledge that any gays are happy, living well in a committed relationship or had fine happy families.

  60. “I was out there running around New York City with my boyfriend, and she was at home alone taking care of our son, knowing her husband was out with a man.”

    – Richard Cohen, in “Coming Out Straight”

    And for those claiming there’s nothing afer page 10, that quote is from page 9.

    Let’s all wake up here. Cohen lied. He lied to his wife. He lied to his God and his Savior (by consecrating a marriage before the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, unless some of you want to argue that mass Moonie weddings are holy weddings, which I’m happy to entertain). Cohen lied on Wayne’s show. And now some of you are desperate to defend this man. Why?

  61. Grantdale:

    I think I may have misunderstood you. Sorry about that.

    From page 10 until the end of that chapter, Richard doesn’t write anything about, or imply “straying from his wife”, as per j in dc’s comment.


  62. Grantdale:

    You’re fairly sure…? Not sure what to say to that because I was responding to j in dc’s claim of Cohen never straying from his wife — specifically referring to cruising for gay sex, and other such activities. After that breakthrough he hasn’t met anyone for sex. By the way, I AM responding to the claim of Cohens own writings, and what it says about him straying from his wife. It was false. It’s not what the book said.


  63. And that BREAKTHROUGH would be before or after he got into intensive male cuddling as “therapy”?

  64. Right — Ivan this is from memory, I borrowed a copy (as if I’d buy one) — this is the bit about “David” (?) etc?

    Which refers to 1986/7.

    I’m fairly sure homosexuality continues long after that…

  65. Grantdale:

    Page 10, the heading “BREAKTHROUGH” (obviously the breakthrough in getting to the root of his homosexuality and healing it), until the end of the chapter.


  66. Ivan, you’ll need to be more specific. Cohen has claimed a number of therapies, healings and groups over the years. He’s basically been in continuous “therapy” since his late teens.

    The episode I think you’re referring to would be the time they were living in NYC — early/mid 80’s. Cohen had encounters with (Exodus-style) exgay groups at that point.

    He attended his first Exodus conference while still involved with Hillendahl.

    I’d also caution taking anything Cohen says at face value.

  67. Wayne was right to tell the truth about Cohen’s marriage

    Don’t be ridiculous, as if Wayne knows the truth about Rich’s marriage, as if Wayne can even comprehend the enormous (private) complexities that go on between two married people.

    All he can offer are personal attacks meant to belittle his opponent.

    I agree with Warren. Wayne showed poor manners.

  68. J in DC:

    I don’t know the details, so I’m only commenting based on your post. But how someone gets married is kinda irrelevant if they’re still with each other today. Do you think the wife is just holding it up for Richard? I highly doubt anyone could do that. I’m sure they have a marriage good enough that they’re still together. How or when or by whom is an ad hominem in my opinion. If there is a bad marriage, something’s gotta give.

    You also wrote: “Furthermore, Cohen claimed on the show to have essentially never strayed from his wife”

    Have you read his book? Cohen was referring to after his therapy he never strayed from his wife. Not before.


  69. I don’t know which debate you listened to, because I heard the show, and Wayne clearly knocked his opponent down for the count.

    Wayne was right to tell the truth about Cohen’s marriage, because that marriage is something Cohen sells as proof of his “ex-gay” success.

    Cohen’s wedding was arranged by Rev. Moon, according to Cohen’s own admission (as reported by the Washington Post). Cohen was in the Unification Church for TWENTY years, and his wedding was a Moonie wedding, plain and simple.

    Furthermore, Cohen claimed on the show to have essentially never strayed from his wife, yet Wayne quoted from Cohen’s own writings, where he told of cruising for gay sex during his marriage.

    Cohen’s duplicity was evidenced right there, not to mention the entire false nature of his marriage. Are Moonie mass weddings Cohen’s idea of marriage values for America?

  70. I have been pretty full of comments on the matter over the years. I don’t have much new to add of late.

    As far as the ex-gay movement goes, I think it is very difficult to manage the tension between public policy objectives and outreach with a ministry message.

    I also do not see the necessary relationship of ex-gay concerns with the concerns that prompt support for man-woman marriage.

    I don’t think right wing groups exploit ex-gay ministries in any intentional way though. I think ideologically, the people involved are moving in the same direction so it makes sense that they walk along together.

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