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Posted by: Gareth | 2008/05/23

Article - For HypnoTest especially

THE EX-GAY MOVEMENT FRAUD


Thursday, 22 May 2008


While growing up, many of us probably experienced negative ways of thinking with regard to our sexual orientation. Influences from external sources - such as parents, friends, teachers and the media - often worked towards making us fit in; to be something we knew we were not.

While most of us ultimately come to grips with our identity, others continue to struggle with their sexuality; convinced that they are wrong, unnatural or destined to never be happy or fulfilled. It is these people that are the targets of organisations that are dedicated to changing, or ‘converting’ gays and lesbians from homosexuals to heterosexuals.

This is the ‘Ex-Gay Movement’: An assortment of organisations – usually with a religious and politically conservative background – committed to eradicating the “traumatized, issue-ridden and confused gay and lesbian population” of the world through means of ‘reparative therapy.’

‘’Ex-gay’’ is a term used by reparative therapists, religious groups and others to describe persons who used to identify as gay or bisexual, but now see themselves as heterosexual.

Various controversial forms of therapy and treatments, denounced by many professional bodies including the American Psychiatric Association and the Psychological Society of South Africa are used to achieve the ‘success’ the ex-gay proponents boast of.

Attempting to ‘cure’ homosexuality is nothing new, but while in the past castration, electric shock, brain surgery and breast amputations have been used, today less overtly barbaric techniques such as psychotherapy, aversion therapy and prayer are more common.

But does it really work? Can gay men and women be “turned straight?” Most modern research on the origin of sexuality leans towards the idea that whether we are gay or straight is primarily a genetic or biological factor – and not one of choice, conditioning or our upbringing. This would suggest that reparative therapy would not be effective.

Some people who have undergone the therapy claim that it works, but most commentators believe that they are fooling themselves and are destined to live a life of denial.

Anti-gay activists often cite a study done by Dr Robert Spitzer to support their contention that gays can become straight. Their dilemma is that the author of the study has publicly stated that the ex-gay proponents misinterpreted his work.

“…Of course no one chooses to be homosexual or heterosexual. It would be a mistake to interpret the study as implying that any highly motivated homosexual could change if they were really motivated to do so,” said Dr Spitzer.

The American Psychiatric Association also does not believe that reparative therapy actually works, and that it can in fact do harm. The board of trustees of the association endorsed the following position statement in 1998:

1. "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

2. "Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction."

3. "The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatisation discussed."

4. "Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation..."



Many desperate people have been hurt through the actions of the ex-gay movement, to the extent that a community of ex-gay survivors has arisen...



If you think reparative therapy is an American phenomenon, think again. The rationale behind the ex-gay movement has found its way to our sunny shores.

Evidence of this can be seen in the disturbing trend taking hold in South Africa schools, namely ‘’corrective rapes,’’ in which lesbians are raped in order to ‘make them straight.’ While these rapes are not supported by any ex-gay organisations (who admittedly usually only ‘treat’ consenting people), the mindset that being gay or lesbian can be ‘corrected’ is common to both the rapists and the people behind the ex-gay ministries.

Wayne Besen, Executive Director and Founder of TruthWinsOut dot org, a non-profit organisation aimed at exposing ex-gay myths and right-wing propaganda agrees, stating in his “’Corrective Rape’ of Lesbians In South African Schools Shows Sickness of ‘Ex-Gay Movement’” post, (May 7th 2008) that the belief that GLBT people must be altered no matter what the psychological or physical consequence, is in step with the West’s ex-gay movement.

“The indirect actions and violent words by America’s ex-gay organisations give license to those who wish to justify assaults and intimidation against homosexuals,” wrote Besen.

Recently, a letter promoting reparative therapy was published in the local Jewish community newspaper, the Jewish Report, from a New Yorker advocating an organisation called Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), an offshoot of the National Association of Reparative Therapy (NARTH).

Dr Juan Nel of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) responded to the letter, stating that since 1990 reparative therapy has been strongly discouraged by the American Psychological Association (APA) and many others due to “poor prognosis, the ethics involved in trying to change a trait that is vital to a person’s identity, and because such a practice can do more harm than good.”

PsaSSA partakes in the International Network for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual concerns and Gender Identity Issues in Psychology (INET), consisting of national, multinational, and international psychological associations.

“INET, among others, has as an aim to increase the number of national psychological associations that formally reject the mental disorder conception of homosexuality and that promote mental health practice that is affirmative of LGBT people,” says Nel.

In conclusion to his letter, Dr Nel states, “PsySSA therefore does not condone or support the use of reparative therapy.”

Many desperate people have been hurt through the actions of the ex-gay movement, to the extent that a community of ex-gay survivors has arisen. Beyond ExGay (www dot beyondexgay dot com) is an online community for people who at one time participated in the ex-gay movement in an attempt to change their sexual orientation. The site has many contributions from ex-gay survivors.

While it is undeniably every person’s right to choose to undergo ex-gay therapy, and all that it entails, it remains the responsibility of organisations that provide these therapies to offer realistic expectations as to what they can expect.

It is also vital that we understand what some claim is the real rationale behind the ex-gay movement; a political one. Dr. Jack Drescher, a leading voice against the ex-gay movement in the US, recently wrote in the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychatrists newsletter:

“One major goal is to influence public policies toward gay people. As religious social conservatives claim gay people can change from “gay to straight,” they also argue that homosexuality should not be regarded as a legally protected class (like race, age or gender). And if homosexuality does not meet the definition of a protected class, there is no reason to pass laws protecting gay civil rights.”

It’s a chilling reminder that in the battle for equality, we should be very careful in naively believing that those who aim to alter our identity wish to do so for our own well-being. In that sense reparative therapy is not therapy at all, it is scientific quackery aimed at advancing a bigoted political and cultural agenda.



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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Thanks Gareth!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Nikkits | 2008/05/27

What happened in the SADF was inhuman and beyond horrible.

No, it was not addessed properly in the TRC, and to my mind mostly because the "victims" of that horror that are still alive today will not talk about it - and I dont blame them.

I missed that "trip" by making a mere decision to keep quiet and see the conscription through the best I could.

The main kingpin behind the "treatment" is hiding in a foreign country I understand .....

BTW - any "ex-gay" was NEVER GAY to begin with and if there are any that ARE gay - their "cure" wont last forever, shame.

Nikkits
xxxxxxx

Reply to Nikkits
Posted by: LONEWOLF | 2008/05/26

Yeas there were reports of that in the old SADF. I wonder if it came out at the TRC hearings.

Reply to LONEWOLF
Posted by: Almost Shocked..... | 2008/05/25

didn't the old SADF try electro shock therapy and porn to "convert" their gay conscripts in the old days? i visited the pysh. in the army about my"feelings" and he told me it was normal and i would be fine once i left the army.....hahaha..!!! lucky for me it must have been post electro shock therapy season.

Reply to Almost Shocked.....

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