What did the AAPA really say?

Yesterday, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out posted a video on You Tube criticizing the nomination of James Holsinger for Surgeon General. Wayne criticizes the Dr. Holsinger for his support of an ex-gay ministry in his church in KY.

In the video, Wayne says this: “The fact is that every respected mainstream medical and mental health group in the nation including the AMA, ApA, APA and the AAP say that attempts to change sexual orientation don’t work and can be dangerous, leading to anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior, including suicide.” Although he does not say the American Academy of Physician Assistants, he displays their logo, among others, as a backdrop for his comments. Knowing what the AAPA actually did at their convention, I contacted Nancy Hughes, VP for Communications for the AAPA to ask if there was more to the AAPA position than I knew. I also asked her if the statement from Wayne mischaracterized the AAPA position. She would only say, “We have contacted the gentlemen who posted the video.” She did not say however, what the nature of the contact was. I guess it is only for her and Wayne to know.

At any rate, at risk of redundacy, here is all I know the AAPA has said on the matter:

“The American Academy of Physician Assistants opposes any psychiatric treatment directed specifically at changing sexual orientation, such as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.”

This statement renders this report from Family New in Focus a bit off as well, but I am told this morning that it will be changed to better reflect the AAPA’s actual statement. This report from the Christian Post seems more on target.

All in all, the AAPA position seems pretty moderate. It seems important for medical groups to state the obvious about same sex attraction (not a mental disorder in itself) and that therapists should not impose their moral views on clients/patients in a coercive manner. I also hope that the APA task force and all those reviewing this issue come to a similar place regarding religious belief. This quote from the Christian Post article says it well:

“Health care professionals should not coerce patients into reorientation but neither should they discourage patients from bringing their sexuality into accord with their religious convictions,” said Dr. Robert Spitzer, professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City. “Even though I am not religious, I do believe it to be hubris for health care professionals to use our position to promote one set of beliefs over another.”

UPDATE: 6/5/07 – Wayne Besen emailed to say the AAPA had informed him that he used the logo without authorization. However, the use was inadvertant. He included the logo after he saw that the group had made a statement about therapy. However, he did not mention them in the narration and accidentally left the logo in the video. He has a new version out with the logo removed. In the place of the logo, he has some spiffy graphics. The first version is to be retired soon. Also, today the AAPA emailed to say that the statement approved by the AAPA House of Delegates on May 28 is the only policy they have.

7 thoughts on “What did the AAPA really say?”

  1. Oops, I meant to post this before my other post:

    I wouldn’t put much faith in mental health organizations. They’ve been high jacked by ‘gay’ activists ever since the APA (Psychological) redefined ‘homosexuality’ in ’73. ‘Gays’ realized they wouldn’t get anywhere trying to change religion from within, so they high jacked ‘science’. Mental health organizations have long sought for public authority over the church on soft issues as intangible as morality. They’re the church of secularism, however oxymoronic.

    The same has happened to the scientific community ever since Darwin discovered micro-evolution and tried to extrapolate it into the wild speculation of macro-evolution. Atheism dominates the scientific community, though the theory has become so devoid of any evidence that they have rely on printing lies in textbooks and using intimidation on their pupils and peers.

  2. And from the Velveteen Rabbit:

    There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen.

    What does that have to do with the APA? Oh, nothing.

  3. Oo, speaking of the APA’s about-face, look at what they used to say:

    “Fifteen years into the epidemic the American Psychiatric Association Press reports that “30 percent of all 20-year-old gay men will be HIV positive or dead of AIDS by the time they are age 30” – Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Jeffrey Satinover, M.D.

    and from the same book:

    “The impact of homosexuality on politics is obvious. Gay activists, working closely with mental health professionals for the past twenty years, have successfully shaped and promoted a new consensus on homosexuality that is a potent political force. This consensus is composed of three key propositions that fit the so-called “bio-psycho-social” model of mental functioning that is now in vogue. As the propositions have slowly spread throughout society, people use them to demand that all sectors of society — including religious institutions morally opposed to homosexual practice — treat practicing homosexuals in exactly the same way as active heterosexuals.”

    “AIDS was certainly unexpected and more horrifying than anyone could have imagined. And yet to an extent, it should not have been unexpected. For in the ten years or so before the bright young men began turning up in major medical centers with alarming purple splotches and rare infections, the scientific literature showed a startling increase in gay-related conditions: hepatitis B causing sometimes fatal liver collapse; bowel parasites causing systemic infections rare outside the homosexual community; immune dysfunction less severe than AIDS would prove to be, but serious nonetheless. The medical community understood that as the influence of the 1960s’ counterculture had lifted all constraint on human sexuality — not just the homosexual variety — so too had it lifted the constraints on every imaginable form of sexually related illness.”

  4. There is an additional comma in the earlier entry, which may change the meaning somewhat, indicating that the AAPA only opposes the reorientation therapy which is based on a priori assumptions. The text above seems to indicate that attempts at reorientation are themselves based on such assumptions. Which is it?

  5. I’m confusled…. isn’t all reparative therapy based in the idea that homosexuality is a disorder resulting from something that needs to be “repaired.” So how can you repair something that ain’t broken? How can “some” reparative therapies then be allowed?

    It seems like most of the Christian therapists are saying that if the patient asks for it, then we can give it – the old reparative therapies based in the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder – to them.

    One thing to ask… if an AAPA member does believe they can refer a patient to someone for reparative therapy – if they are asked for it….. then can one, an AAPA member, refer a patient to an APA member who is not in alignment with the APA guidelines. Does cross-professional ethics come into play?

  6. Actually I listened to the narration, and the AAPA wasn’t included. Perhaps like any human being he made a mistake by including the extra logo?

  7. Thanks for posting this. Wayne Besen spins as much as any I have seen – right and left.

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