Queersighted: Imprison conversion therapists

AOL’s GLBT community blog Queersighted has an article by Richard Rothstein this morning that marks tomorrow’s first meeting of the APA Sexual Orientation Task as an important date in gay history. Why? Because he hopes the task force will suggest to the APA that all reparative/conversion therapy should be banned. And what if the APA bans reparative therapy (never defined in this piece)? Well, round up the posse, boys, Mr. Rothstein has the answer:

If the APA does in fact ban reparative or conversion therapy, we will at long last have a solid legal argument for shutting down such groups as Exodus International and Homosexuals Anonymous. This will also mean that under standard and existing malpractice laws, psychologists and therapists who continue to advocate and practice such therapy would be subject to license revocation, hefty fines and even imprisonment.

So if Mr. Rothstein’s vision is realized, reparative therapists and maybe the Exodus crew will be answering questions like: “Hey, doc, what are you in for?”

This is disturbing.

One recent commenter here proposed that what I do under the framework of sexual identity therapy was really reparative. I was fired from Magellan’s Provider Advisory Board in 2005 (and later reinstated) because it was alledged that I was a reparative therapist. People who should know better in the academic community refuse to acknowledge the distinctions I make between what I do and reparative therapy. So should I set up a trust fund for the kids?

The APA may not advocate such strong legal measures, but as the recent AP story made clear, the audience for the APA’s decisions is not only a professional one. PFLAG and the Task Force are ready, presumably with lawyers.

Psychologists to review stance on gays: AP article

David Crary of the AP has an article out today about the APA task force on sexual orientation policies.

In this article, David Crary refers to a letter signed by numerous Christian groups and individuals. I am attaching the letter and signers. This is a broad spectrum of people agreeing to only what is written in the letter here. One possible misinterpretation of the Crary article is that the signers of the letter were seeking APA’s recognition of reparative therapy. Not so. If that were the case, I would not have been involved with this. However, the request to the APA is pretty simple: let’s meet and discuss the same-sex attracted constituents represented by the signers. To regular readers of this blog, this will all sound very familiar.

UPDATE: 7/12/07 – The Christian Post published a follow up article today.

Stephen Bennett declares “public divide” with Exodus

Stephen Bennett weighs in on the recent LA Times article and CNN appearance of Alan Chambers.

Stephen takes issue with suggestions from Al Mohler and others that biological factors may be involved in homosexuality:

There is ZERO biological, scientific “evidence” for homosexuality to this date. The biblical evidence for homosexuality is very clear: it’s sin.

Ominously, he declares:

“What we see here is the public divide of the pro-family movement.”

Well, since he brought it up…

I think there have been some significant tensions among social conservatives that may be a part of the broader development of evangelicalism. Of late, divides have occured over environmental policy and abortion. I think we are seeing tensions now over sexuality.

LA Times article features ex-gay debate and sexual identity therapy

NOTE: This article is archived here now… 

This morning’s LA Times pulls together a host of factors to suggest that there is “New ground in debate on ‘curing’ gays.” Written by Stephanie Simon, the article cites or quotes numerous sources as evidence that changes are happening in the dialogue regarding sexual orientation, ministry and therapy.

The article begins with a bang:

Alan Chambers directs Exodus International, widely described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry. But when he addresses the group’s Freedom Conference at Concordia University in Irvine this month, Chambers won’t celebrate successful “ex-gays.”

Truth is, he’s not sure he’s ever met one.

With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he’s a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he’s come to resent the term “ex-gay”: It’s too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete,” Chambers said.

His personal denunciation of the term “ex-gay” — his organization has yet to follow suit — is just one example of shifting ground in the polarizing debate on homosexuality.

While I am not sure Alan would categorize his process as “years of therapy,” this section reprises many discussions on this blog about ex-gay as a term and the changing focus at Exodus.

Speaking of blog discussions, Michael Bussee adds his perspective:

“Something’s happening. And I think it’s very positive,” agreed Michael Bussee, who founded Exodus in 1976, only to fall in love with another man — a fellow ex-gay counselor.

Now a licensed family therapist in Riverside, Bussee regularly speaks out against ex-gay therapies and is scheduled to address the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference at UC Irvine at the end of the month.

But Bussee put aside his protest agenda recently to endorse new guidelines to sexual identity therapy, co-written by two professors at conservative Christian colleges.

Lee Beckstead gives a fine description of sexual identity therapy:

“It’s about helping clients accept that they have these same-sex attractions and then allowing them the space, free from bias, to choose how they want to act,” said Lee Beckstead, a gay psychologist in Salt Lake City who uses this approach.

Speaking of the sexual identity therapy framework, I think this might the first public mention of their endorsement by Robert Spitzer.

The guidelines for this type of therapy — written by Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University — have been endorsed by representatives on both the left and right. The list includes the provost of a conservative evangelical college and the psychiatrist whose gay-rights advocacy in the 1970s got homosexuality removed from the official medical list of mental disorders.

“What appeals to me is that it moves away from the total polarization” common in the field, said Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist.

While not in this article, his complete statement to me about the framework is:

I have reviewed the sexual identity framework written by Warren Throckmorton and Mark Yarhouse. This framework provides a very necessary outline to help therapists address the important concerns of clients who are in conflict over their homosexual attractions. The work of Drs. Throckmorton and Yarhouse transcend polarized debates about whether gays can change their sexual orientation. Rather, this framework helps therapists work with clients to craft solutions tailored to their individual situations and personal beliefs and values. I support this framework and hope it is widely implemented.

You heard it here first

UPDATE: The article has been reprinted by Newsday and the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, the San Mateo County Times, the Chicago Tribune Redeye edition, AM New York and the Advocate.

APA task force may not report until 2008

The Washington Blade is reporting that the APA task force on sexual orientation responses may not report until 2008 although they will issue a private report in December. Issuing a private, preliminary report is common and often gives a heads up to those might be impacted by the results. Interesting that the Love in Action-Zach Stark episode was pointed to as a catalyst for review.