Paula Zahn to examine “changing attitudes and lifestyles”

Wednesday June 27, at 8pm (est), Paula Zahn will examine changes in attitudes among people doing sexual identity therapy and ministry. I was interviewed for this segment as was Alan Chambers. Not sure what the exact focus will be. But the Zahn website has this brief description:

Wednesday’s show

Boys who want to be girls… women who want to be men.. and gays who want to be straight! Uncovering changing attitudes and changing lifestyles, this Wednesday on “Paula Zahn NOW,” 8 p.m. ET.

UPDATE: Apparently it is a kind of GLB-fest today on CNN with several segments devoted to research about causes and change of sexuality. Here is a segment that was posted today online. Douglas Abbott takes the environmental view. You can read more about his views here.

52 thoughts on “Paula Zahn to examine “changing attitudes and lifestyles””

  1. Mary –

    I think we agree here. No one should be imposing their interpretation of scripture or their notion of God onto anyone else – gay or straight. The implications of living this way allows everyone to be free, and to live their lives as they wish and in accordance to their beliefs.

    I appreciate your clarification.

  2. I don’t want anyone to deny their God. I’m just tired of reading about gays who want others to accept their version of God. I am also tired off non-gays who want gays to accept their version of God, too.

    David Roberts:

    My thoughts have not been all over the map. I am consistent with the ideas that you have your life, i have mine, and others have theirs – and that we should stop imposing “our God” onto others.

    As far as my own personal story – even Michael’s is hard to follow without detailed information. And you have been far too focused on my family – gives me the creeps.

  3. Mary –

    “So where’s the bias???? That gays who want their freedom want others to deny their God.”

    Never. That’s the lie you hear over and over again, however. Most of the gay individuals I know are christians, so why would they want others to deny God? The gay individuals I know got married in a church before God, friends and family. I don’t know why you separate it out – Gay from God….they can and do often coexist.

    I hope that in the future, we can extend the “civil” rights of marriage to same-sex couples, but this is also including that the church has freedoms as to whether or not to marry someone…as they do with the heterosexual community. For example, the Catholic Church may not marry you if you were divorced before and did not have that relationship annulled.

    I do want those with same-sex attractions to act on it, as I hope that those with opposite-sexed attractions act on it – responsibly, with the same rules all around (no rape, not with someone underage, etc..). Why should they have to lead one life, and heterosexuals another?

  4. I agree. There is no basis for the 1/3-1/3-1/3 conjecture or the 70/30 figure, or any other statistic that anyone else wants to offer.

    I’ve often used the 70/30 figure for illustration purposes, but always with the caveat that there is absolutely no data to back it up. It’s nothing but a guess, pure and simple.

    Probably the best person to comment on it is Dr. Robert Spitzer, who wrote the study that ex-gay ministries like to use as proof that “change is possible.” But it took him so long to find 200 people who claimed to have changed — despite NARTH and Exodus providing referrals for some 2/3rds of the study population — that he concluded that change was “extremely rare.”

    When pressed, Spitzer offered the guess of 5%, but that was only to illustrate what he meant by rare. There no data to substantiate that figure either. But since it took him 16 months to find 200 people even with the active assistance and support from NARTH and Exodus, he concluded that it was a rare phenomenon indeed.

  5. I believe the 70/30 figure is from Alan, and to my knowledge has no basis in fact whatsoever. At some point in the past few weeks a lot of people started repeating it, which is essentially how any bad info gets set in the minds of others, ala Paul Cameron. I suggest dropping it entirely until and unless there is authoratative proof that it represents anything but a guess.

  6. Seems like the gay community wants people who have same sex attraction to act out on it.

    Just so you know, I am for gay rights etc..

    So where’s the bias???? That gays who want their freedom want others to deny their God.

  7. Mary –

    “In addition to which has anyone in this forum had a feeling of such extreme anger as to want to kill someone?? Really. Let’s get this out on the table. Having that feeling and not acting on it is okay – isn’t it??”

    We all have inclinations and choose what to act on. My thoughts? If people can legally act on their heterosexuality (if it follows the “rules” of not harming another – no rape, violence, sex with minors, etc..), why should those who are attracted to the same sex remain abstinent or change their inclinations if they are also between consenting adults and follow the same rules?

    Seems a bit biased, no?

  8. Lynn,

    I keep hearing this 70%/30% used to justify not helping those who want to leave homosexual behaviour behind them. I am not sure where this is coming from but what my understandiing of these values is is that 1/3 of those who attempt change are able to experience a significant level of change, 1/3 do not experience a great change in the feelings but are able to stop acting on the feeling (celibate?) and another 1/3 choose to go on to accept a gay identity.

    I do not see how this can be considered a failure on the part of those who wish to change. If after you make an attempt at change and find the feelings to be to powerful for you to overcome I can appreciate that you may want to look elsewhere, but if you find some level of change why would you not want to share that with others who are looking for the same.

  9. Mary wrote:

    My wonder is – why didn’t these people get up and walk away? They have every right. Finally they did and then turn around and start blaming others for their poor decision making or poor self realization.

    How do you turn an apology into blaming others? There is in their apology also a warning, based in their own experience. That the homosexual attraction for the most part does not go away and that, by the admission of Exodus itself, more than twice as many walk away than are helped by the ministries Exodus represents.

    Now if you feel blame, guilt, maybe you should look within, not from without.

  10. Amen on #7 Timothy!!! Amen! I couldn’t have expressed that thought better myself

  11. Mary,

    To be honest, I’m really surprised at you – and suprised at a great many number of people who claim that we need to accept both sides and then who turn around and lambast the Ex-Ex-Gays as much as they can. I don’t remember a single one of the BXG people who were trying to blame anyone – in fact, they have been more mature about everything that has been going on than anyone else on this thread – myself included.

    @ANON2 –

    If you had read my last post you would have seen that I said some people are happier becoming ex-gay – and some people find very happy and satisfying lives being gay – To be honest I’ve seen families broken up not because the family couldn’t accept their children not being ex-gay.

    You do not have to say you are ex-gay to be happy anymore than you have to say you are gay – you have to choose what makes you happy. But don’t let Exodus or Love In Action or any GLBT support group tell you what is going to make you happy – make sure your doing it of your own accord.

  12. @Mary

    You may give lip service in this forum but your stripes sure do change as one travels along the blog avenue.

    It’s incredibly brazen of you to make that accusation of someone else, when your behavior and claims have been all over the map. I suspect I have seen far more of Timothy’s comments around the blogs than you over the years, and he is quite consistent throughout. On the other hand, you have been just the opposite, leaving behind a trail of inconsistencies while running from any requests for clarification or explanation.

    It’s one thing for you to exhaust your own credibility in that manner, but quite another when you leap to falsely accuse someone else of those same things. Speaking of apologies, you owe Timothy one.

  13. Anon2

    Have people been hurt by pro-gay propaganda and activism – YES! and I have seen families broken up because the partner who has SSA has been convinced that the only way they will ever be happy is to leave their family and accept they are gay.

    I’ve yet to meet a single solitary soul that thinks that the reason their marriage ended was “pro-gay propaganda and activism”. If someone left a marriage because they could no longer deny their orientation, it wasn’t because propaganda and activism had anything to do with it.

  14. Mary,

    Oh yawn yawn yawn with your “justification” accusations. You’ve said it before and it is no less offensive and no more honest now than it was then.

    In case you think I’m saying different things, let me clarify:

    1. I do not like the message of ex-gay ministries because they don’t say, “we’re here for those who have this set of values” but instead say “being gay is universally evil for all people at all times and you absolutely CANNOT be gay and Christian”. The end result is that a vast percentage of that 70% (to use the hated number) end up walking away from God entirely. And that makes me sick. So, yeah I’m not a cheerleader for Exodus.

    2. I will criticize Exodus or anyone else in the movement that I think is lying. Because they have made themselves enemies of my life, my rights, and my freedoms. Yeah maybe it’s unfair that I put more of my focus on the lies of Exodus than I do on the lies of, say, Michael Moore, but that is because he is not actively trying to take away the health care or adoption rights or marriage abilities of me and those I love. If Exodus stops with that crap I may lighten up.

    3. I am not in any way trying to stop you from living your life how you please. Knock yourself out. FYI, Mary, I appreciate and support people – like Jayhuck – who believe that sex is simply never going to be part of their life. And you, even, who hope to live heterosexually. So your application for martyrdom is hereby turned down.

    4. Yes, I do think same-sex attracted people – in general – can be happier living consistent with their sexual orientation. Not everyone, but most folks. And I have no problem saying so. Some can not. And that’s fine too. But I have little patience with those who can only be ex-gay by being anti-gay; those who have to define gay in the most evil terms to motivate their efforts. If your struggle is so difficult that it requires you to be unkind and untrue to others, then you would probably be happier giving that struggle up – not to mention more moral.

    5. The gay community does say “you’ll be happier after you come out”. Why? Because that seems to be the universally shared experience. Obviously it isn’t true in every single instance – you, for example. But I’ve met very very few people who are unhappy that they accepted their orientation as something to live rather than something to oppose. So, it only makes sense to say what most of us have observed.

    6. I think “change” in orientation doesn’t occur for the vast overwhelming percentage of gay men. Sure people change perspectives, political parties, religious affiliations, opinions about lifestyles, behaviors, and even values. But i simply don’t think gay men change into heterosexual men. I’m willing to allow for some small number who may (I don’t want to be absolutist) but I think that number is so small that I feel comfortable in saying that it doesn’t occur (in the same way I can tell someone that they aren’t going to be killed by a runaway elephant – yeah, it has happened but its a safe bet that it isn’t going to happen to you right now).

    7. For those who simply can’t reconcile their faith and their orientation, I have no opposition to their decisions to live according to their values. I genuinely wish there were some group that I could send them to that would help them live a happy celibate life – or maybe eventually find a way to have a heterosexual marriage. But the only ones I know of would tell them that they can’t be my friend, that I’m evil, that politicians should take away my rights, that I cannot be a Christian, and that their life will now consists of a struggle not just to remain celibate but to deny that you have attractions and fight against your very being – all defined as being submissive to God. I’m not so much a big fan of that.

    OK, Mary, are we clear about who I am and what my “stripes” are?

  15. My wonder is – why didn’t these people get up and walk away? They have every right. Finally they did and then turn around and start blaming others for their poor decision making or poor self realization.

    It seems their own self comtempt is turned outward onto others so they do not have to look at themselves and say ” I chose to belong to that organization/ideology/belief system”

  16. Warren wrote:


    On the point Dr Abbott wants to make about choice, I am wondering how his theory would apply to the person who has been same-sex attracted since junior high but has never acted on it? I know several such men. They have never chosen to do sexual things and yet they are feel sexual feelings for men. Also, I am not sure how his theory could explain the same-sex attracted man who falls in love with a woman and whose only actual sexual experience is with a woman. Wouldn’t the neuroplasticity, if possible, start to erode the SSA? Now, I think for some men, there is a change with a value based decision to pursue a straight marriage. But for those men who are still SSA even after several years of marriage, I am thinking that some other account must be offered for them.


    I was same sex attracted since junior high. My first wet dream at 14 was about a guy. That’s always been a sticking point for me that no matter how much I repressed and supressed (because of my Christian value based systme), that my sexuality always found expression in my dreams. I married at 21 and didn’t have a sexual experience with a man until I was 26. In my current value system (I’m married and want to be faithful and honest, I no longer believe in a God who will change me) I am celibate as regards men, but still have about 2 dreams a week where I am with a man sexually. At ‘best’ I have found sexual self control through accepting my ssa, but never an eroding of the actual ssa. Indeed, my ssa was bent and enhanced by the repression/supression employed by my value based system, rather than eroded.

  17. Jayhuck,

    Have people been hurt by pro-gay propaganda and activism – YES! and I have seen families broken up because the partner who has SSA has been convinced that the only way they will ever be happy is to leave their family and accept they are gay. You do not have to say you are “gay” to be happy and the sooner some on this website and EGW can come out and accept that the sooner we can all move on.

  18. Mary,

    I’m gay and I think we have to look at both how change has worked and how it hasn’t – being too focused on one doesn’t allow us to objectively analyze the whole situation. Have been people found happiness and wholeness being ex-gay – yes. Have people found happiness, wholeness and a spiritual peace being gay – yes. Have people been hurt by Ex-Gay experiences – YES!

    My two cents!

  19. Timothy,

    It seems gays always focus on how change did not work instead of looking at the success. I suppose because it gives them justification for who they are. And yes, read any of Besen or XGW (what do you think the name means) and there is plenty of promotion of “accept your gaynees, you cannot change” ideology and “you’ll never be happy until you do” commenting. And please don’t tell this ex lesbian what the gay community is/isn’t saying.

    You may give lip service in this forum but your stripes sure do change as one travels along the blog avenue.

  20. Eddy,

    I’m fine with political involvement as long as one group isn’t trying to undermine the rights of the other group – especially when Ex-Gays are pleading for equal rights and treatment and then turning right around and preventing groups who disagree with them from having the same thing –

    As for the well-though-out letters – that might actually be a good idea. I doubt it would have any affect, but it can never hurt to try. I will plan on doing that.

  21. Mary,

    I’m not saying people can’t know themselves, but you can’t possibly be suggesting that all people do. And to say what you said, completely absolves society as a whole from its ability to indoctrinate people with a particualr message – if you don’t believe society has any influence on people, then you and I will have to agree to disagree there – NOTE: I am not suggesting people shouldn’t be responsible for their own lives

  22. I just noticed that there are 4 or 5 of us blogging here that would fall into the label of ‘ex-gay’ and most (if not all) of us have trouble with Exodus being political.

    I want them out of politics altogether but I’m aware that they feel that a political strategy is being worked that would restrict their basic right to say that they believe, according to the Bible, that homosexuality is wrong. I feel that pressure too. Even here, if the topic calls for me to state my basic belief, it is called judgmental.

    Politically, I think we are stuck with a ‘drop your weapons on the count of 3’ situation. Exodus will feel compelled to speak politically if they sense that the above strategy is in play; the opposing side will remain politically involved as a counter-defense. Both sides seem to perceive themselves as being involved for reasons of ‘defending their rights’. Ironically, both sides perceive the other side as being on the offensive. It’s been going on so long that it’s impossible (and non-productive) to determine ‘who started it’.

    Anyway, how about if each of us takes the time to send well thought out e-mails to Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas expressing our concerns about the negative messages that Exodus’ political involvement is sending? (LOL! NOT in the blog ‘zinger’ style but as concerned Christian ex-gays who suffer by the infamous ‘guilt by association’!) Actually, if we learn from the other thread that the goal of the Ex-ex-gays is not the annihilation of Exodus, it might not be a bad idea for EVERY serious blogger here, to send a similar letter of concern.

    We’d all have slightly different takes on the issue of political involvement but I believe we’d ALL have points of agreement as well. These, especially, could have a real impact.

  23. Jayhuck,

    Give people some credit for knowing themselves. There are those who want to blame some person, society, group for their poor, poor, situation – but what about the rest who actual accept responsibility for themselves and tell it like it is – can’t that be used as the tool for separating those poor, poor, poor people who have been “fooled” out from the rest of the crowd?

  24. Warren,

    And what about those who are ssa but believe that living a celibate live is more rewarding for them, especially if they are able to find a supportive community that does not pressure them to be married, but does help them to deal with loniliness issues. I know some such men and they have not desire to live out the sexual side of their ssa. Of course so many of us have given into the misconception that the sexual drive is such a natural part of who we are that we cannot do without it. It seems strange to me that there are many who do whether they are ssa or osa.

  25. Warren,

    Wouldn’t the same questions apply to those men who are Opposite Sex attracted? I’m just curious?

    And how do you separate out those people who truly want a marriage from those who have been taught that is what they SHOULD do – either by an ex-gay group or society as a whole?

  26. On the point Dr Abbott wants to make about choice, I am wondering how his theory would apply to the person who has been same-sex attracted since junior high but has never acted on it? I know several such men. They have never chosen to do sexual things and yet they are feel sexual feelings for men. Also, I am not sure how his theory could explain the same-sex attracted man who falls in love with a woman and whose only actual sexual experience is with a woman. Wouldn’t the neuroplasticity, if possible, start to erode the SSA? Now, I think for some men, there is a change with a value based decision to pursue a straight marriage. But for those men who are still SSA even after several years of marriage, I am thinking that some other account must be offered for them.

  27. Mary,

    Technically, I’m an ex-gay, but I hate that moniker so I don’t use it.

    The politicing you’re talking about from the gay side doesn’t prevent ANYONE from seeking the type of therapy they deem necessary – just because the APA makes a statement about some therapy, doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to seek it out.

    However, the activism from the radical religious right, DOES prevent LGBT people from having equal rights, from having benefits for those partners and their children, etc….

    Although I understand what you are trying to say, there is a difference. And I am glad that you do not support Exodus’s politics!!!

  28. Oh – and Jayhuck – please don’t put all of us ex gays into the same cateogry with Exodus and such. I mean, you wouldn’t want me to clump you in with the rest of “those” gays – now would you??

  29. Jayhuck,

    I don’t care for the politicking of Exodus or any other ministry. Nor do I care for the politicking of gay activists to try and remove my right to seek counseling for my particular issues – WHATEVER those issues may be – it is not anyone’s right to take that away from me. Nor do I want someone coming into my church and telling me that I have to believe what they believe. I find a church that matches my beliefs – if I can’t find one then make one. Jayhuck – really – it goes both ways. I have rec’d this old line from both sides and they are both wrong for imposing their will onto others.

  30. It is an oxymoron to demand tolerance for intolerance.

    And that is the request of Exodus (as it currently operates) and PFOX and the rest. They scream “you aren’t really tolerant because you don’t accept me”. But a condition of accepting them seems to be to accept their activism against others.

    In short, tolerance does not demand that you accept the guy who wants to hit you over the head with a stick. Nor the guy who wants to take away your health care, your children, your inclusing in school health programs, your employment protection, your protection against hate crimes, or your freedom.

  31. Drowssap –

    I agree with you and Mary to a point! The religious right has been using that argument for the last several years to try and gain acceptance for Exodus and Reparative Therapy – the argument that: Oh, if you’re REALLY going to be diverse and inclusive then that includes us.

    That’s all fine and good, but they don’t often abide by their own rules. Exodus and many Ex-Gays want to be treated equally and with respect, and yet while they say its fine if a person wants to be gay, they turn around and use their wealth, power and influence to legislate THEIR way onto other people. Tolerance, respect and equal treatment is a two-way street. If you want it, as Ex-Gays claim they do, then they need to get their hands out of politics and let Gay people have all the rights that others do.

  32. Mary

    I am with you on this one. By any rational standard we are what we do. Not pretend to do, or feel or imagine, but really do. Our actions are the only impact we have on ourselves or the rest of the world.

    Groups instinctively know that by influencing an individual’s actions they influence his/her inner self. I guess that is why nobody wants diversity unless it acts just like them. 😎

  33. Homosexuality caused by poor socialization?

    Thirty years ago the same thing was said about these…


    Until about the 1960s scientists thought that Autism had no organic basis. Intead they believed it was mainly influenced by the upbringing of mothers who did not want their children to live, either consciously or unconsciously, which in turn caused them to restrain contact with them and fail to establish an emotional connection. Absent fathers were also blamed.


    Until the 1960s Schizophrenia was largely viewed as a personality disorder and blamed on bad parenting. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann coined the term schizophrenic mother in 1948, and Gregory Bateson (more an anthropologist than a psychologist) in the mid-1950s alluded ominously to parents of schizophrenics placing their children in highly anxiety-provoking, unresolvable dilemmas termed “double binds.”

    What do both of these disorders have in common? Genes certainly create susceptability but a growing mountain of evidence points to the fact that both of these are autoimmune diseases. Narcolepsy has been virtually confirmed as an autoimmune disease and might not be that far from being cured. (not sure if that one has ever been blamed on bad parenting)

  34. I am constantly amazed at how dictation accusations come from the gay community towards the christian community but that a whole group of people fail to see that they are doing exactly the same thing when they dictate happiness for a same sex attracted individual will be found when they “embrace” who they “really” are.

    I don’t think anyone is saying you HAVE to embrace who you are to be happy. We just don’t see that many happy people who haven’t. I think Eddy seems pretty happy with his life and some seem better off.

    But usually we see strugglers and those who have to see the gay community as an agressor in order to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    I say live how you want. More power to ya. Clearly you can see that I think some people are better off as ex-gay. They had miserable lives and now at least they have some structure. Woo-hoo. Reason to celebrate.

    But if we happen to notice the anger and frustration and say, “hey, all that went away when I learned to reconcile my life with my orientation”, try not to see it as an insult. It’s quite similar to when the church says, “when I came to Christ he filled my life with joy.”

  35. Mary,

    Be careful about separating the Gay and Christian communities – they aren’t necessarily separate camps 🙂 There are thousands if not millions of gay Christians and straight Christians who support them 🙂

  36. timothy,

    Once again you read into what I have said something that has nothing to do with what I am saying. I have friends and those friends have helped me to realize that I do not have to identify as “gay” in order to be happy. I have also began developing friendships with some in the gay community. In fact I have gotten to know a couple of women recently who I have alot of respect for, but I still feel it is unfortunate that they have accepted the hypothesis that this is a genetic condition that does not allow for any choice. That to me is such a foreign concept in light of the knowledge that has been gained on how the brain works.

    What I was really saying earlier was that the same-sex feelings got in the way of my feeling comfortable about making meaningful friendships in the past because of a fear of judgement or rejection. Once I was able to be more open and honest about these feelings I discovered that I no longer had to hold onto the fear of judgement and I could enjoy the company of many people. Of course there are still those who find it difficult to accept that someone would much sooner live free of the hold that same-sex attraction might have on them. It would be so nice if these same individuals could show some acceptance of those who do not see things the same way they do. So much of my own struggle was with my perception of myself not with how others felt about me. The more I talk to people about this issue the more I am learning how deceived I had been by some in the gay community, who have decided they did not want to have to work through the issues that led to their same-sex attraction. I am fine with that, but that does not give them the right to tell others that nothing can be done.

    I can see that we will continue to disagree on what is behind these feelings of same-sex attraction. Both my religious and scientific backgrounds are beginning to help me understand how complex this is, but not hopeless.

  37. In addition to which has anyone in this forum had a feeling of such extreme anger as to want to kill someone?? Really. Let’s get this out on the table. Having that feeling and not acting on it is okay – isn’t it?? Or wanting to tell your boss what exactly you think and instead not saying anything because it would not promote your other “needs”. Just because a person feels like doing something or may have an inclination does not mean that they MUST act on it to find happiness. Happiness is defined differently by all sorts of people. And WE ALL NEGOTIATE the pros and cons of our actions everyday from being polite to being rude with strangers (when no one is looking idea). We just negotiate differently.

    I am constantly amazed at how dictation accusations come from the gay community towards the christian community but that a whole group of people fail to see that they are doing exactly the same thing when they dictate happiness for a same sex attracted individual will be found when they “embrace” who they “really” are. Who’s call is that??? WOW! Just blows my mind.

    When do we as individuals get to decide how we will live and then accept that from ourselves??? Not everyone who feels attracted to the same sex wants to pursue a gay life/culture/identity/romance or whatever you want to call it.

    This diversity idea is sure difficult to get across to the masses.

  38. Quo

    I don’t agree with everything in Abbott’s article, but his suggestion that, ‘a gay man or lesbian may not recall “choosing” to be homosexual, but forgetfulness does not eliminate the possibility that conscious decisions were made that put the person on the path to homosexuality’, is quite correct in my view.

    Well then your view flys in the face of every informed opinion on this subject. And to suggest that EVERY gay person suffers from forgetfulness is, well, a stretch at best.


    I am so sorry that all of your bad choices have left you incapable of making friends.

    Ironically, all the gay people I know have very strong and meaningful non-sexual relationships with people of the same sex. Often moreso than the straight men I know. I don’t know why, but it may be that in the gay community you are often encouraged to talk about your thoughts, fears, emotions, feelings, and beliefs with your other friends while at times some parts of the straight community puts more emphasis on “being a man” and not showing emotion. I am so sorry that you were unable to experience this loving and nurturing experience without turning it into sex.

    I’m happy for you, though, that it seems that you are now learing that skill. I hope that ability continues.

    And it seems too that you are discovering that you are a man. Good for you. I do agree that some gay people get caught up in a subset of the gay community that does not encourage recognition of one’s male identity. I feel bad that this was the segment you frequented and that you did not experience that part of the community that recognized and validated your maleness (without making odd expectations based on it).

    It does sound as though the life you currently have is better for you than the life you were living. So I wish you well with it.

    If you (or anyone else reading) ever do decide that your reorientation efforts are not acheiving the desired results (and I’m not saying that you will) I do hope that you don’t fall into old patterns. Instead find those parts of the gay community that are based on real friendships and recognition and validation of you as a whole person. You might be surprised at just how big that community is.

  39. quo –

    Decisions were made that put a person on the path to……? I don’t understand that statement. A person is either born homosexual or they aren’t, right? I grew up in a very conservative and very religious community. I never made any decision to become homosexual, I just knew I was. Now, living as a practicing homosexual is something different, but I never had a choice about whether or not I was a homosexual.

  40. ANON2 –

    Being gay has nothing to do with having healthy relationships with men. I am gay and have many great, loving, caring, non-sexual relationships with other straight and gay men. I’m sure you had other issues that were preventing you from having these “healthy relationships” (whatever that means), but being gay isn’t or wasn’t one of them. Being gay, or living as a gay man, doesn’t ever mean you can’t have healthy relationships with other men.

    As for your the nature/nurture debate – that is exactly what I was trying to say. I said Abbott is wrong because his sole focus is the environment when science today clearly sees the effects of BOTH genetics AND the environment in determining who and what we become. I never suggested that genes control our destiny, just that they play a part – which is what Abbott is denying

  41. Timothy,

    I may not feel like I chose to have the attraction that I have found myself with at any one instant in my past, but I certainly made a lot of bad choices growing up that reinforced the idea that I needed to be attracted to members of the same-sex in order to find happiness. I now realize that the same feelings of attraction have been exactly what have prevented me from finding meaningful non-sexual relationships with men for years. The behaviour damaged my identity and prevented me from truly discovering who I was as a man. I am grateful today to have grown beyond that and learned that having healthy relationships with other men has nothing to do with being gay unless I allow myself to turn these feelings into sexual desires.

    I know this may not be the same for everyone, but I do believe that it is true for many.

  42. Timothy,

    You are being completely unfair to Douglas Abbott. He doesn’t say that homosexuality is simply a choice, only that choice is one factor that is likely to be involved, along with both environmental and genetic influences.

    I don’t agree with everything in Abbott’s article, but his suggestion that, ‘a gay man or lesbian may not recall “choosing” to be homosexual, but forgetfulness does not eliminate the possibility that conscious decisions were made that put the person on the path to homosexuality’, is quite correct in my view.

  43. Jayhuck,

    As does claims that our genes dictate who we are. The science does not support the idea that because we have a genetic predisposition towards something that we must ignore the influence that our family upbringing and the environmental conditions as we develop. There is still some level of choice as to how we live out the orientation that we find ourselves experiencing as we mature and there is definitely a major level of responsibility that is also important.

  44. From the rushed transcript, :

    DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his cramped office, Alan Chambers points out books on homosexuality.

    (on camera): Here’s “God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door.

    CHAMBERS: That’s my book.

    FEYERICK (voice-over): There are dozens of them promising hope and change. But is change possible?

    CHAMBERS: I came out of homosexuality…

    FEYERICK: Chambers, now married with two kids, says it is.

    CHAMBERS: I think that the best hope that we can give each other is by being really honest.

    FEYERICK: He heads up Exodus International, an umbrella group of over 170 ministries across the country meeting this week. The group caters to so-called ex-gays, men and women, like Chambers who say they have overcome homosexuality.

    CHAMBERS: I have absolutely 100 percent no desire to be involved in homosexuality or be with someone in the same sex. That’s different than temptation, it’s different then attraction, but I’m not gay.

    FEYERICK (on camera): There are critics who will say all you’ve succeeded in doing is suppressing your real sexual urges.

    CHAMBERS: I challenge anyone to say what I have isn’t authentic and it isn’t real, because no one can say that.

    FEYERICK (voice-over): And yet, that’s exactly what many men and women maintain who went from gay to not gay and back again.

    Darlene Bogle, once a major voice in the ex-gay movement, appeared today with other former Exodus leaders to say they were wrong.

    DARLENE BOGLE, FMR EXODUS INT LEADER: I apologize to those individuals and families who believed that my message of change was necessary to be acceptable to God.

    FEYERICK (on camera): Indeed, there are many programs, from team workshops to support groups, to one-on-one therapy, some of it unconventional.

    All say they cure what they call same-sex attraction, though none offer any scientific proof.

    (voice-over): Yet some people, wrestling with their sexual identity, will try anything.

    Father, I just pray for these men, Lord, that…

    FEYERICK: Take this live-in program in Memphis, Tennessee. The rules are strict. There’s no flamboyant behavior, no provocative clothing or underwear. Men travel in groups of three, read Bible passages dealing with sexual immorality, and keep journals, what they call “moral inventories.”

    Other techniques used in non-religious based therapies includes something called bioenergetics to release painful memories.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom! Mom! Why did you do that to me!

    This psychiatrist denounces this therapy. He says they are harmful.

    FEYERICK: Psychiatrist Jack Drescher, specializes in homosexuality. He denounces these types therapies had harmful.

    DR JACK DRESCHER, AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSN: It’s unfortunate that that there are people who are willing to accept, because of their desperate homosexual feelings, to accept this kinds of treatment.

    FEYERICK: Which is why some therapists, like David Matheson say keep God out of it.

    DAVID MATHESON, GENDER WHOLENESS THERAPIST: It is an emotional and a psychological issue, not a spiritual or religious issue, similar to diabetes. Not to compare the two, but if someone was dying of diabetes, I’d send them to hospital and not to church.

    FEYERICK: That may help explain a recent shift in parts of the ex-gay community towards choice, not change.

    WARREN THROCKMORTON, PHD, GROVE CITY COLLEGE: If the sexual identity therapy puts the emphasis on how do you want to live? What do you believe is valuable? What are you beliefs? What core beliefs do you have? And how can we help you, then, live in alignment with this?

    FEYERICK: In some cases that means celibacy. And succeed or not, however one defines that, sees that, it is certainly likely to be a lifelong struggle.

    Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.

    There followed a commentary on this report with Zahn and three guests:

    ZAHN: And back to our panel, now. Eric Metaxas, Dr. Justin Richardson, and Sean Kennedy.

    I want to put that poll back up on the screen, right now, because I think it’s really interesting, showing that the majority of people don’t think you could change your sexual orientation. Still, about a third of the folks out there think you can.

    Sean, can you?

    SEAN KENNEDY, FEATURES ED, THE ADVOCATE: Well no, you can’t. You can’t. And I think it’s great that the American public is starting to realize that. I believe, I saw it on CNN today, that poll, and I was really excited when I think this was the first time that an American majority understand that gay people can’t change their sexual orientation, just like straight people can’t change their sexual orientation.

    ZAHN: And this is something, Dr. Richardson, you’ve studied a lot, and you think there are three key components to one sexuality.

    DR JUSTIN RICHARDSON, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, and just as Alan Chambers explained — he’s the president of the Exodus ministry — his attractions haven’t changed, but he’s found a way to suppress them. And that’s what we think that homosexual attractions are not changeable, that people who have fantasies about somebody of the same sex.

    That won’t change, but if it is great conflicts with their religious beliefs, that they will struggle to find a compromise to both have their religious affiliation and have their sex and love life. And that’s a struggle, which we feel compassion about.

    But what won’t change is the sexual fantasies. And the one thing I would love to do is to dropped the word “cure” from the bottom of your screen, because, you know, the American Psychiatric Association, over 30 years ago said homosexuality is not an illness. So, it doesn’t make any sense to say…


    Yeah, it’s been over 30 years, so we should be past that.

    ZAHN: But Eric, we aren’t and I know you have friends who lived gay lifestyles who now have gone straight. Are they living completely straight lives, free of even this fantasy life Dr. Richardson was talking about?

    ERIC METAXAS, AUTHOR, “EVERYTHING ELSE…”: Yeah, it’s strange to hear this kind of stuff, because I total — I absolutely know people, know them well, they’re friends that have totally changed.

    Now, that’s incendiary to say that, and yet it’s true. In other words, I don’t think this because that’s true…

    ZAHN: With all three of those components, though? Do they still fantasize about… METAXAS: But, we don’t hold straights to that. In other words, I think straights all across America fantasize about people other than their spouses. Right? And we don’t say to those people, you are an adulterer, you need to accept the fact you want to be with other people, you need to be like a prisoner of your own desires. We can choose what we want to do.

    KENNEDY: And have you asked your friends whether, you know, they went through turmoil or anxiety or depression on their road to being “straight,” that’s what people tell me.

    METAXAS: When you tell people what they are — I mean, it’s kind of like if somebody looks at a gene and says, No, Sean, you’re straight. It really doesn’t matter what you do or what your feelings or anything, you’re straight. You know, you would be offended by that, because you say, I have free will and I am what I say that I am, not what genes say that I am. It’s — there’s something — in other words, there’s a double standard and I just think we have to be careful about the double standard.

    ZAHN: Dr. Robertson, have you ever wanted to be straight?

    ROBERTSON: You know, when I was a child, it was a terrible and humiliating thing to grow up to be gay. That was a long time ago. It’s a little bit easier now, but it’s not that much easier for young children. So, of course, kids and teens who are growing up and recognizing that they are gay, feel a terrible amount of turmoil, and if then they’re in a position where they’re a part of a religious community or society that says if you were gay, you’re a sinner, or you have to leave this family, that’s a terrible position for them to be in. They either have to renounce this part of themselves or that part of themselves and that’s…

    ZAHN: You get the last word, Sean.

    KENNEDY: Oh, thanks. I just wanted to point out Paula, that you know, the American Academy of Pediatrics are against reparative therapy. They say that, you know, kids and teenagers and adults can’t be changed, their sexual orientation, they say, furthermore, and only is it not successful, but that it does create a lot of anxiety and depression and mental problems in these people, so…

    ZAHN: All right, we’re going to have to leave there, tonight. Why do they always blame the mom? Aren’t the fathers ever the fault for anything?

    Eric Metaxas, Dr. Justin Richardson, Sean Kennedy thank you all.

    It’ seems to be all the same to me, news reports all want black and white and instead they all end up grey.

  45. Hey Abbott… it skips a generation and like baldness is carried by the female, not the male. And it is a genetic process not a gene, so it need not happen every time. And another thing. Explain ex-ex-gays. Your theory has no explanation for them. Or even someone like Alan Chambers. Abbot’s theory doesn’t explain attraction, it explains behavior without attraction.

    Tim… Abbot’s article on NARTH is seems to lean to a Christian interpretation, even to heading a section, “A Religious Understanding of Free Agency.” Wonder if Abbott reads this?

  46. Did anyone see the video on Bishop Carlton Pearson (hope I got his name right) – on the CNN site Warren published – he used to denounce homosexuality and send his gay parishioners to counseling – apparently he has had a complete change of heart and now embraces gay people of faith.

    He has done so at great cost though. Almost all his supposed Christian brothers and sisters have denounced HIM now, have left him and have labeled him a heretic – that’s some real Christian love for ya!!!!

  47. Why, oh why, don’t people like Abbott understand that human sexuality is most likely to be a product of genes AND the environment? Isn’t that what every self-respecting scientist seems to be suggesting now? Searching for a group of genes involved in orientation is one thing, but to outright claim that orientation is ONLY a product of the environment seems to fly in the face of current evidence and research.

  48. Warren,

    I’m sorry, but the Abbott’s information is posted on the NARTH web site, and you still want us to take him seriously? I know you’ve been watching all the wild stuff that NARTH has been involved in this year.

    NARTH is nothing but a fringe psychological group! I was willing to look at Abbott’s stuff until I saw where it was posted.

    Abbott also seems to be a lone voice – he seems to resolute, yet many other people who know his stuff and who are just as involved in this type of research don’t seem to agree – that should say something.

  49. Abbott points to studies that look at the sexual orientation of the offspring of gay people. “If homosexuality was caused by genetic mechanisms, their children would be more likely to choose same-sex interaction,” he says. “But they aren’t more likely, so therefore it can’t be genetic.”

    This guy has a PhD?

    OK, it isn’t nice to mock, but… environmental and personal choice and free agency. This guy starts with the premise that “it’s a choice” – or more accurately a series of choices and free agency (and he knows this to be true because his religion tells him so. See: “A Religious Understanding of Free Agency”) – and works backwards.

    This guy’s entire argument can be synopcized as “I’m right because my opinion agrees with my beliefs”. Yikes.

  50. Warren,

    I hope you don’t mind me asking this question here, but I read the Sexual Identify Framework PDF that you co-wrote with Mark Yarhouse. Most of it I understood and agreed with, but not the take on adolescents. You write: “Adolescents should be dealt with conservatively because sexual identity

    confusion and change can be more prevalent during the teen years than during adulthood

    when individuals begin to synthesize their identity (Savin-Williams, 2005). Adolescents

    should be followed, provided psychotherapeutic support, educated about identity options,

    and encouraged to attend to other aspects of their social, intellectual, vocational and

    interpersonal development.”

    I actually didn’t come out until I was in college because I grew up in a very conservative environment, but my question for you is, will you treat kids who claim they are heterosexual in the same way? You will discourage them from making any proclamation about their orientation until they understand their options????

    I don’t understand to what extent your views are biased?

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