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Ex-Gays Turn On Movement

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More and more so-called ex-gays are coming out against the movement, including one of the most prominent anti-gay activists, Alan Chambers.

Chambers reached national infamy as the spokesperson for Exodus International, an ex-gay group dedicated to “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ”.

Despite years of religious reparative therapy to “cure” his queerness, Chambers finally woke up to the dangers – and impossibility – of his movement.

Los Angeles Times reports:

…When [Chambers] addresses the [Exodus]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.

Chambers isn’t the only ex-gay to question the controversial treatment. Michael Bussee, who founded Exodus but later fell in love with another male “ex-gay”, tells LA Times there’s been a sea change in the medical and theological world. “Something’s happening. And I think it’s very positive.” And this something isn’t only happening in churches and research labs, but in the general public. 42% of Americans believe homosexuality to be innate, according to a recent Gallup pole. The unflappability of faggotry’s leading ex-gay advocates to take a new direction.

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

He and other gay activists — along with major mental-health associations — still reject therapy aimed at “liberating” or “curing” gays. But Bussee is willing to acknowledge potential in therapy that does not promise change but instead offers patients help in managing their desires and modifying their behavior to match their religious values — even if that means a life of celibacy.

“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.

These tactics come hot on the heels of the American Psychological Association’s decision to revisit reparative therapy – the head shrinkers formed a five-person task force to determine ways in which patients who disapprove of their own desires can modify their behavior without causing irreparable psychological damage.

Task force leader Dr. Warren Throckmorton insists,

What we’re talking about is the right of clients who are unhappy with their feeling (of same-sex attraction). Those people have the right to seek therapy to help them live the way they want to live – the way they value.

Throckmorton’s theories have garnered praise on both sides of the ideological divide. Columbia professor David Spitzer offered,

For many years, mental-health professionals have taken the view that since homosexuality is not a mental disorder, any attempt to change sexual orientation is unwise… For healthcare professionals to tell someone they don’t have the right to make an effort to bring their actions into harmony with their values is hubris.

Should doctors attempt to modify unhappy patients’ gay behavior? We suppose that’s up to the doctor, but we certainly wouldn’t enlist their services, even if it is fair and balanced.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Jun 18, 2007
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 1 Comment
    • zack
      zack

      I still don’t buy it. Psychologists should be equally interested in the social factors that contribute to someone’s wanting to change, or curb, what is a complicated, if not innate, part of a person’s psyche.

      While helping individuals pursue a frustrating, lifelong goose chase may seem compassionate to these doctors, it furthers the national and international zeitgeist that sexual preference can and should be meddled with.

      This belief maintains anti-gay attitudes. It makes sure more children grow up thinking their desires are degenerate, keeps uninformed masses voting to hurt minorities they don’t understand, and pushes more people to seek reparative therapies.

      These doctors would do well to encourage individuals and communities alike to learn a thing or two about stigmatization, stereotype threat, and the unhealthy, far-reaching effects of benighted taboos. Either that, or mind their own business.

      Jun 18, 2007 at 6:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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