APA responds to the Narth/Exodus protest

Gay365 is reporting a statement from the APA in response to the Exodus/NARTH protest this morning. I have a call in to the APA press office to verify it since I can’t find it online as yet.

Update: Pam Willenz from the APA confirmed the statement which will be released to the press today:

“For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA’s concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

Here is the AP’s story about the protest.

28 thoughts on “APA responds to the Narth/Exodus protest”

  1. Dear Dr. Throckmorton(Pt 2):

    Here’s the e-mail I sent to Michael Airhart @ ex-gay watch clarifying my position & asking him to reply.

    As noted, I believe that he’ll either not reply or will write something predictable & you may find my post on the Narth blog. I use the name SwissAlps & incidentally, I’m not gay nor am I ex gay:


    Thanks for taking the time to reply, but I believe you misunderstood some of my points, so I’ll clarify before getting to John Stossel. Here’s a link I found from 2004 which I’ve copied & pasted from New Scientist, click Oral sex linked to mouth cancer – 25 February 2004 – New Scientist & if you do an Internet search, you’ll find the Nov. 2005 Swedish study which confirms the same. Perhaps New Scientist also has the 2005 Swedish study. http://www.newscientist.com

    You wrote that I have a dual standard with regard to sodomy, but if you reread, I state that I’m against sodomy REGARDLESS of whether it’s 2 men doing it or a man doing it to a woman. As you’re aware, many American states once had laws against sodomy & oral sex, though it was usu. applied only against homosexual men. There are nations today which still have laws against sodomy & oral sex & yes, a man & his wife can go to jail for sodomy or oral sex. If you reread my position, it’s missionary activity or no sexual activity.

    As far as the AMA, I didn’t say that the AMA supports reparative therapy-they’re against it. I happen to be an AMA critic of the AMA & I personally have contempt for the AMA. What was written was that EVEN the AMA doesn’t dispute that sodomy carries risks. ALL sexual activities carries medical risks & promiscuity certainly adds to the risks.

    I used to have a neutral view on h & l activities, but am now against them as you’re aware. If you want to know my views on other things, I would abolish plastic surgeries unless 1 has been a cancer, burn or accident victim. Medicines & surgeries must only be done if it’s needed in order to live. I want to abolish vasectomies-condoms, the Pill & the Rhythm Method will suffice for Birth Control.

    With regard to John Stossel, the truth is that he reruns what others have said before him & offers little which is new. It’s politically safe for John Stossel to critique NARTH & Exodus. John Stossel & ABC have discussed the harms of overexercising, the dangers of Viagra & sport injuries, because it’s politically safe to do so.

    Writing about the medical harms of sports such as football & boxing (arthritis, bone fractures, etc.) are easy to do. Advising boxers & football players to make their millions, have their fame & retire before they’re 30 years old is safe to do because when they get older they won’t have the same resilience as in their youth. Writing about the medical harms of blue collar jobs (I once worked on a construction project) such as arthritis & harms from inhaling chemicals & paints are easy to do. I’d give a construction worker the same advise as I would give an athlete-learn a new job when you turn 30 or older, because you won’t have the same coordination as when you’re younger.

    ABC, John Stossel & the media have discussed the topics mentioned here incl. Evel Knievel’s medical problems from all the fractures as a result of jumps that failed. This is easy to discuss & most athletes & blue collar workers will acknowledge the dangers of their activities. It’s also easy to discuss the fact that if you’re a rock star it puts strain on the vocal chords. Personally, I think Ozzy, the Village People (they performed @ Ozzy’s wedding anniversary) Britney Spears (her music has peaked) really need to retire.

    But when it comes to homosexuality, John Stossel just isn’t bold on this topic. If John Stossel says that he supports free will when it comes to not engaging in H & L activities, then he must state so instead of simply discussing Exodus or his implication that it’s just the Religious Right. Even with respect to AIDS, would John Stossel dare ask who must be helped 1st-a child who has Multiple Sclerosis or a man who got AIDS as a result of anonymous sexual encounters with many men & didn’t care to use condoms?

    It’s horrible when any1 dies of a disease, but ABC along with the rest of the media does reruns when it comes to condoms. If a man has sex with many women, doesn’t use condoms & gets VD, most people wouldn’t empathize with him. Must we empathize with homosexual AIDS victims who got it as a result of anonymous encounters with many men & refusal to use condoms? Don’t tell me that they don’t know about condoms-they know but they don’t care. I would like to see John Stossel say something that’s politically wrong about AIDS-blame homosexual AIDS victims for getting the disease, just as any1 would blame a man for getting VD if he has sex with many women & refuses to use condoms. Now John Stossel is not the only reporter who does this, but as you see, I’m not using religious arguments to state my case.

    With regard to PFLAG & GLSEN, when I went to college in 1993, PFLAG was invited as a speaker to 1 of my Sociology classes. The Sociology Professor gave a 1 sided view with respect to homosexuality & when PFLAG spoke, I certainly felt as though we were being proselytized. When I say that PFLAG & GLSEN proselytize, I’m giving what I feel when I’ve heard them speak. You may not think it’s proselytizing (esp. if 1 shares their view) but that’s just how I felt.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to address my points & your welcome to reply again. Finally, I’d appreciate that if you don’t post this on ex gay watch, you @least clarify that I’m against the AMA & that I’m against sodomy regardless of whether it’s straight or homo because you’re wrong when you wrote that I believe the AMA agrees with me & you’re wrong when you wrote that I apply a double standard with respect to sodomy because it’s missionary way or no way.

  2. Dear Dr. Throckmorton (I posted this on Narth blog):

    Here’s a predictable reply I got from Michael Airhart of ex gay watch when I posted concerning John Stossel’s May 2006 comments on the Bill O’Reilly show.

    Observe how Michael Airhart either distorts or doesn’t understand my views. I’ve e-mailed Michael Airhart (which I’ll post in Part 2) for clarification & have asked for his reply, but I think he’ll either not reply or give a predictable answer. Here’s what I’ve copied & pasted:


    I’ve provided my e-mail, to be fair.

    1st of all, it’s VD or Venereal Disease-the old words are better. It’s predictable that you don’t want a dialogue but to proselytize your point of view.

    As far as sexual orientation, that is a moot point. As far as I’m concerned, homosexual & lesbian activities must be prevented or people must be helped to quit, EVEN IF it’s inborn & EVEN IF orientation doesn’t change. As far as I’m concerned, it’s orthodox sex or no sex & I’m against sodomy & oral sex, straight or homo. I don’t know how to copy & paste the link but if you do a Yahoo search, you’ll find the 2005 Swedish study that shows that oral sex incr. risk of oral cancer. What the % is is unknown-perhaps it’s not that high but still I believe in preventing it.

    With regard to sodomy, 1 need not be an expert to understand that if you put things up you know where, it’ll tear the lining, come into contact with blood & you know what thus incr. risk of piles, proctitis & an incr. risk of anal cancer. Even the AMA in its journals writes about proctitis, piles & anal cancer, so I’m not inventing anything new.

    As I’m not a Christian, don’t give me the rerun about born again this or that, which John Stossel has implied on 20/20 & on an interview with Bill O’Reilly in May 2006. Groups like GLSEN & PFLAG consistently imply that it’s Religious Right Christians such as Rev. Lou Sheldon who are against h & l activities. I support mercy killing of the terminally ill & the handicapped if they choose, but don’t believe a Dr. is needed to do it. The Rev. Lou Sheldon opposes mercy killing, so the Religious Right argument doesn’t apply to me.

    There are atheists who are against h & l activities. My parents came from India & while Hinduism is neutral on this topic, India as of 2004 has laws against h & l activities. I don’t know how to paste the link but do a search of laws in India & you’ll find it. China, Vietnam & N. Korea (Confucian, Taos, Christianity & Buddhism exist but are suppressed) also have laws against Homosexual & Lesbian activities, making them felonies & as you know, China, Vietnam & N. Korea suppress religions-atheism is the rule.

    The point is that John Stossel’s implied message about Exodus was that the Religious Right is the only group who are against h & l activities. No, he didn’t directly say it on Bill O’Reilly’s show when he was interviewed in May, but that’s what he certainly implied. Has John Stossel ever discussed atheists & non-Christians who are against homosexual & lesbian activities?

    The conclusion here is that John Stossel’s point of whether or not orientation’s inborn, learned, socioenvironmental or a combination of all is a moot point. Even if orientation doesn’t change, we believe that h & l activities must be prevented or changed to either straight activity or no activity. As far as what John Stossel has said about primates engage in h & l activities such as Bonobos formerly Dwarf or Gypsy Chimpanzee, it’s a bad justification to say that because something happens in nature people must emulate. Pythons cruelly kill their preys, as do crocodiles & Komodo Dragons, but we don’t emulate them as what Ozzy did in the 1980s when he bit the head off of a pigeon. I hope this clarifies my points.

    Posted by: swissalps at October 16, 2006 12:41 PM

    Below is Michael Airhart’s reply:


    You again failed to provide a single quote, link, or bibliographic reference to support your strawman arguments.

    Instead, you put your own words in the mouths of Stossel (whom I find highly disagreeable, by the way), GLSEN, PFLAG, Bill O’Reilly, and the AMA. Without providing any evidence, you claim that those whom you dislike say disagreeable things. That’s not a very sincere method of dialogue.

    Then, again without any direct quotations or bibliographic references, you claim that the AMA supports your views about homosexuality. But it doesn’t; the AMA wisely airs cautions about specific unprotected sexual acts which occur among people regardless of sexual orientation, acts which do not define or encompass same-sex attraction or behavior.

    In particular, your obsession with excretory organs indicates a double standard — you disregard the regrettably high prevalence of anal sex among young heterosexuals — and it also indicates your ignorance of homosexual attractions and behaviors.

    (I also find it bizarre that you would boast that you support mercy killing — personally, I don’t consider that a virtue.)

    Until you demonstrate an ability and willingness to provide quotations, links and/or bibliographic support for your claims about your supposed allies and opponents, your comment privileges are suspended. Please contact us via e-mail if you ever get around to researching and documenting your concerns.

  3. So I still obey ALL of the Old Testament laws but not the old penatly?

    How do you know which OT laws still pertain? Where is this clearly explained in Scripture? Seems ot me a lot of Christians pick and choose.

  4. Lying is a sin; gluttony is a sin; over-drinking is a sin. So, yes, you repent. And when you find that these sins seem to be in control of your life, you seek therapy. Same with homosexual behavior.

    Re: the Old Testament death sentence. If you take the New Testament seriously then I have good news! It’s been paid. That’s what Calvary was all about.

  5. Who cares how many “ex-gays” there are? Or how many ex-ex-gays? If Alan Chambers and I have anything to do with it, there won’t be ANY because we are doing away with the word “ex-gay”.

    And it’s not true that EXODUS would be quick to tell you it’s a sin not an illness. You repent of a sin. You treat an illness. And EXODUS can’t seem to decide. Elizabeth Moberly and Joe Nicolosi “treat” it with “reparative therapy”.

    And for those who think of it as sin; if you take the Old Testament seriously (as you claim to do), shouldn’t we be imposing the death sentence for gays?

  6. The in front has a sign reading “Keep my choice ethical”. Who ever said that going back in the closet was unethical?

  7. On August 17, Anonymous said “Hundreds if not thousands of Ex-Ex-Gays used to tell everyone that they were cured, and believed this themselves…” I find those numbers staggering, in fact, unbelievable.

    1)I don’t believe that ‘everyone’ has heard from ‘hundreds if not thousands’ of Ex-Gays…much less Ex-Ex-Gays. 2)Most Exodus related individuals avoid the word ‘cure’; they prefer the word ‘change’. (Cure implies an illness; Exodus would be quick to tell you it’s a sin not a sickness.)

    So, anonymous, could you please back up your statement that, at the moment, appears to be filled with gross generalizations.

  8. The APA only appears to ever be a joke to those who are so conservative that they can’t accept the idea that people can live long and happy lives being gay.

  9. The problems are with the terms – Being Ex-Gay, doesn’t mean someone no longer has a gay orientation. So many self-identified ex-gay people, who are married and even have kids, still struggle with same-sex attractions. Hundreds if not thousands of Ex-Ex gay people used to tell everyone that they were cured, and believed this themselves, only to find out years later that that wasn’t the case – does this mean there aren’t any REAL cures – No, but it should make us all pause when a self-identified Ex-Gay person makes such a claim.

    If NARTH isn’t happy with the APA, then it should conduct its own study.

    The other thing that doesn’t seem to get talked about here, is that being married, having kids – these things don’t make anyone good, holy or righteous – Why do Christians seem to push so hard for change at the expense of holiness, and why aren’t Reparative Therapists more honest about the fact that the majority of gay people in therapy will be living celibate lives.

  10. Grace, I was glad to see your post. I’ve been looking for your voice over the past week.

    Mike, I made a lot of notes re your blog and need to work through them before posting a reply.(I’m having an internal conflict. I see this as Warren’s site and can’t help feeling guilty for posting so much!)

    The rest of my comments are in response to the questions posed by ‘anonymous’ AKA Timothy.

    My girlfriend and I were never engaged but we were starry-eyed young people and we both thought that marriage was in our future. When she began taking classes at the Bible school, she got a more clear sense of the ministry and purpose for her life. When we took an honest look at her calling as opposed to mine, we couldn’t envision the two fitting together. We broke off the dating and remained friends, reserving the idea that somewhere down the line, perhaps we’d reunite. (I remember now that we thought of her work as a lifetime thing and mine as 3 to 5 years tops!) I lost touch with her about 4 years later and I still had 6 more years of the ‘ex’gay’ ministry ahead of me. We didn’t know how long at the time; we just knew that it didn’t look like it was winding down any time soon. I’ve tried to track her down several times over the years but to no avail.

    I dated several women over the years but only one came close to having the ‘spark’ I had with Shawn. (I never thought to look her up again once I got web-connected. You’ve just added to my ‘to do’ list.) Because I’ve often been guilty of over-analyzing things, I tried not to figure everything out. I did notice that the feelings of revulsion that I once had towards a woman’s anatomy disappeared and I was attracted to a rather specific female type. (I’m extremely short and that likely explains my attraction to petite women.)

    Attractions to men seem to come and go. Again, my attractions have tended to be rather specific (and, I believe, revealing). There’s something about ‘the straight or ‘straight looking’, bad-boy type’ that catches my eye. I have examined and re-examined that ‘hook’ over the years and won’t belabor it here. I am intelligent enough to realize that this attraction was/is fraught with psychological implications and that it would likely never lead to a committed, long-term relationship.

    Blogging on this site is my first venture into ‘the public eye’ or to have contact with Exodus related ministries since I left the ministry back in 1987 or 88, as a result, I don’t have much to offer with regard to other people’s ‘track records’. I occasionally bump into former clients who seem happily married heterosexually but I haven’t probed for specifics.

    By the way, I wouldn’t have started blogging here either but I ‘heard through the grapevine’ that my name had surfaced several times in Mike’s comments so I thought I’d better check it out. We started out talking Exodus’ early history which I knew something about; as discussions branched out to include what Exodus is up to today, I began digging for information on their website and through e-mails to Alan Chambers.

    My apologies to all for consuming so much blog space again. I’m trying to get Alan to blog again so that I can take a break!

    BTW, Warren: It appears that the other ‘anonymous’ never did provide the support for their hyperbolic statement re PFLAG and GLSEN.

  11. Ed, humor my curiosity if you will.

    I noticed that at one point in the past (1977 or thereabouts) you were pledged to celibacy and anticipating marriage fairly soon. I really don’t know much of your testimony since that time so please tell me, did that ever happen?

    Were you every able to reorient your sexuality so that now you are attracted solely to women and never to men? Did you marry?

    I notice that you favor therapy for that effort and wondered if that was based on personal success in such therapy? Do you know anyone personally who has actually changed attraction completely from the same sex to the opposite sex?

    Thanks, and I hope I’m not being too personal or asking too many questions.

    Timothy Kincaid

  12. Ed: All of these discussions of “whether or not gays CAN change” begin with a religious and cultural PRESUPPOSITION that there is something WRONG with homosexuality and that it can and SHOULD be changed. That’s not science. That’s your prejudice.

    The DSM IV/TR definition of a “Mental Disorder” states that “neither deviant behavior(political, religious or sexual) nor conflicts that are PRIMARILY BEWTEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY are mental disorders”. (Emphasis mine.)

    That someone (like you) is at odds with his sexual orientation does not, therefore, MAKE it a “mental disorder”.

    That’s why the APA took it out — not because they “caved” to political pressure — as “ex-gays like to claim, but because it didn’t meet criteria that ALL of the other disorders (like Schizophrenia or Major Depression) had to meet.

    A gay person may BE mentally ill, but his homosexuality is not, in and of itself, a “Mental Disorder”

    Why not just stick to your original contention: that homosexualy behavior is “sin”?
    You gain NOTHING by making it into a “Mental Disorder”.

    The APA states that, for something to be classified as a “mental disorder”, it must cause “distress, disability,impairment in functioning, and/or increased risk of death, pain, disability or an important loss of freedom.”

    True, many gays experience intense suffering or disability and loss of freedom — they are rejected by freinds and family, ridiculed, shamed, deprived of employment, beaten, murdered, etc. Some suffer from AIDS or other diseases. Does this prove illness or something else?

    Think about it. Other groups have experienced similar pain, disability, loss of freedom and mistreatment (for example, blacks, Jews, women — even Christians!), but we don’t label them as “mentally ill or disordered”, do we? Why not?

    Because it is not homosexuality that is the “illness” here — it’s the ongoing cultural, religious and political prejudice that many of us still encounter EVERY DAY.

  13. “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.

    What is so funny about this statement is that the APA and the PC gay lobby at APA HQ, have never tried to put money behind such a such a study to see if this statment is true.

    Also there is simply no scientifically sound evidence that being gay is genetic either,but they keep trying to find and higlight any suspicion of a gay gene with tax payers money!

    Also the APA shows just how far left they are by there calling Focus on the Family and NARTH hate groups.

    I think maybe Focus on the Family should contact a congressman and hold a commitee meeting on the APA’s federal funding, and activity.

    Calling a a group like Focus on the Family a hate group is only going to put the APA right smack in the midle of the cultural wars.

    The APA should be sued for denying people the right to change.

    Shame on the APA!!!!

  14. This is going to probably be a really unpopular and politically incorrect thing to say…and I usually choose very wisely as to when I might say something like this…

    Since when did one’s “desires” get to be so important that they override one’s conscious determined efforts to overcome said desires? And why do we have to get involved politically to undermine folks in either case? (those who are content in their desires and those who are not)

    I understand and agree, as I’m sure all who read here do, that no one wants pedophilia to become legal. We have laws in the books now that are severe when carried out depending on circumstance. For instance, I was very worried for some time that the parents of the 16 yr.old girl that my 18 yr.old son had become sexually active with might press charges. They could have…and been justified. I don’t have a daughter, but I do support that sort of law. Fortunately, that sort of action was prevented. I’m pretty sure we are not going to legalize pedophelia in my lifetime.

    So yeah, if there were a way to change pedophiles, we could possibly agree, legally, to inject all pedophiles with said change agent and be done with that.

    However, a way to change gay folks wouldn’t need to be applied to consenting adults. Would it? I mean, really?

    And, if ANY change at all is possible, as in, my sexual attraction toward men has greatly decreased and my attraction toward my wife or women (just being hypothetical here) has increased…then that would mean that change is possible. It IS some change, and it IS possible.

    Yes, we need to be honest about it. Yes, we need to accept the more BRUTAL facts associated (in that those seeking change may still have lingering or latent attractions that crop up from time to time) but, change is change. Any way you slice it. Is it not?

    When I post here I feel like a kindergartener in the midst of a room full of teachers….so please be gentle with me. 😉 I appreciate it.


  15. Just a significant typo update! I thought that the linked article had a strange phrase and then I quoted that same phrase in my posting. As I looked at other links, I’m pretty sure that the phrase ‘conversation therapy’ was intended to be ‘conversion therapy’. Reminds me of the days when we’d accidentally type ‘homosexulaity’ for ‘homosexuality’. Maybe ‘homosexulaity’ ought to be a word but, for the time being, we’re having enough trouble with words at is.

  16. I graduated from high school in 1970 and ‘came out’ that fall in my freshman year. I knew that I was different all of my life and wrestled with my gay attractions from the onset of puberty. In 1972, after I moved back home, I went to a local mental health clinic for counseling. It took 2 sessions before I could convince the counselor that I was not seeking help to change my homosexuality; I was seeking help to deal with society’s oppression.

    Finally, my therapist ‘heard me’ and the nature of our sessions changed. The point I want to stress here is that this was 1972! Just two years prior to the 1974 ‘decision to cease listing homsexuality as a mental disorder’.

    I was a strong-willed, free-thinking, intelligent gay-identified individual and yet, I don’t recall any big news about the scientific process or evidence that prompted this decision. I cheered the decision but I could not find that it had any roots in research.

    Ironically, it was in that same year that I had a ‘born-again’ experience and based on my interpretation of the Bible, decided that homosexuality was not a part of God’s designed order. The very therapist who once tried to persuade me (for two entire sessions) that it was a disorder was now compelled to label me as ‘ego-dystonic’ because I wanted to change.

    Over the next few years, I studied the Bible and kept on the lookout for the scientific studies that must have precepitated such a drastic change…I’m still looking.

    I suppose that’s why I read today’s statement with a sense of wry criticism. “There has never been a well designed study to show that people can change. Our concern about the so-called converstation therapy is that it isn’t supported by science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

    While I absolutely loved the alliteration: supported, science, simply, sufficiently scientifically sound, I couldn’t help but reflect on the time when they DE-classified it. I want to see the scientific support that serves to sufficiently explain their sovereign decision back in 1974. (Right back at ya with the alliteration!)

    Thread of logic: If, for the most part, licensed therapists are discouraged or forbidden from administering reparative therapies, where will this scientific support for the possibility of change come from?

    Please remember that the big change came way back in 1974! We were living on “Leave It To Beaver” in the 1950’s. This leaves a span of less than 20 years where psychology actually gave the homosexual issue any serious look at all.

    This is why I want the possibility of change to be explored by the psychological community. I’m not talking an examination of the success rate of para-church ministries. I want credentialled psychologists to have the freedom to approach the issue of homosexuality with an open mind, to explore with each client the uniqueness of their homosexual drives, desires, identity, etc.

    Until that happens, I will remain persuaded that they simply exchanged one bias for another.

  17. Anon – Please post evidence for this: How can you believe what this organization says when they also support gay advocacy organizations (PFLAG and GLSEN) that recommend pedophilia in their reading material for children and sexual mutilation of young children?

    Hyperbole does not help anyone make a point in this environment.

  18. The APA has become a joke and has lost their credibility in the public. How can you believe what this organization says anymore when they also say the following in their policy statement about gay parenting:
    “The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers’ and gay fathers’ parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents.”

    How can you believe what this organization says when they recommend and support organizations that rely on bogus information like the National Mental Health Association’s information about Bullying: http://www.nmha.org/pbedu/backtoschool/bullyingGayYouth.cfm

    How can you believe what this organization says when they also support gay advocacy organizations (PFLAG and GLSEN) that recommend pedophilia in their reading material for children and sexual mutilation of young children?

    If I was in need of counseling, I think the first thing I would ask is “Are you a member of the APA?” and run to the nearest door if he/she said yes.

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