August 10th, 2008
August 2nd, 2008
April 18th, 2007
Learn about my trip to Phoenix Pride, my first boyfriend (during the Nicolosi years) and an interview with Wayne Besen about the Love Won Out conference in Omaha last weekend.
April 18th, 2007
Yesterday, we learned about the modification to Brigham Young University’s honor code. BYU officials deny any linkage to Soulforce’s presence on that campus a few weeks ago, although others contend that this visit did at least spark a dialog. Last Friday, the Washington Post published a report on the eastern leg of the Equality Ride’s visit to Patrick Henry College:
A Patrick Henry press release announcing the visit called them a “traveling group of homosexual activists” and “false teachers.” Many of the riders come from evangelical families and attended colleges like the ones they visit. At some point they decided that, despite what their church told them, they could be Christian and gay.
“Listen up, folks,” said Robin Reynolds, who organized the Patrick Henry stop and had gathered everyone for a briefing. … “All Patrick Henry faculty and students must adhere to a worldview that says the Earth was created in six days,” Reynolds began. “The Bush administration loves them so much. As a tiny school they’ve had as many White House interns as Georgetown.”
April 17th, 2007
The Salt Lake Tribune noticed a slight modification to Brigham Young University’s honor code. The code was changed to more clearly emphasize sexual behavior over sexual orientation. It now reads:
Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or orientation and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. … One’s stated sexual orientation is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.
It used to read:
Brigham Young University will respond to student behavior rather than to feelings or orientation. … Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.
Students complained that the previous version of the honor code was ambiguous. What did “implied” advocacy mean exactly? And what were the boundaries when the code added, “including those not sexual in nature”?
One BYU freshmen commented that this change “remove[s] a lot of the Gestapo atmosphere from the campus.” BYU officials deny that this change was prompted by the Soulforce Equality Riders’s recent campus visit.
April 16th, 2007
Update: My bad. Bill Maier did give his talk on same-sex in Omaha.
The recent “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus last Saturday in Omaha had a few changes in its normal line-up. The most notable change was Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s absence as lead-off speaker. Nicolosi, the outgoing president of NARTH (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), typically gives the first talk of the day, “The Condition of Male Homosexuality.” That talk was instead given by Joe Dallas, who runs Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California. Nicolosi had also previously spoken on the “Prevention of Male Homosexuality” as a breakout session. It looks like that has been replaced by another talk by Joe Dallas, “Raising Healthy Kids In An Unhealthy Culture.”
It’s too early to know what all this means. This may be fallout from Nicolosi’s stormy CNN appearance a few weeks ago. Focus and Exodus are very media savvy and I imagine Nicolosi’s performance probably didn’t go over very well. There may be other tensions as well, as Nicolosi hews to a more clinical line in his talks, in contrast to the more unabashedly faith-based messages of Focus and Exodus.
On the other hand, this may wind up being nothing more than a simple scheduling conflict. While I doubt that, only time will tell.
I don’t know what Joe Dallas said at Omaha yet, but I hope to soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made some changes to Nicolosi’s talk. Having heard him speak on other topics at Love Won Out in Phoenix two months ago, I expect his talk is likely to be a bit “kinder and gentler” than Nicolosi’s. He’s certainly a much more gifted speaker. And if this change in the line-up is permanent, then it also raises Dallas’ profile at Love Won Out. He may have not only led off the conference first thing in the morning, but he probably closed it as well with his usual talk, “How Then Should We Respond?” Both talks are important highlights of the conference.
Other changes of note: Nancy Heche wasn’t there to give her usual talk,
and Bill Maier didn’t give his talk on same-sex marriage. (He didn’t show up at Phoenix either). Both are She is still listed as conference speakers on Love Won Out’s web site — as is Nicolosi — so it’s still unclear if any of these line-up changes are permanent.
April 13th, 2007
Dr. Throckmorton asked Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch to review Paul and Kirk Cameron’s paper, “Federal Distortion Of Homosexual Footprint (Ignoring Early Gay Death?),” the paper that Paul Cameron claimed to have presented to the Eastern Psychological Association. Dr. Frisch, had been the lead author of a recent report comparing childhood experiences between those who marry heterosexually and those who marry homosexually in Denmark. Dr. Frisch generously responded to Dr Throckmorton’s request with an unusually blunt assessment:
Cameron and Cameron’s report on ‘life expectancy’ in homosexuals vs heterosexuals is severely methodologically flawed.
It is no wonder why this pseudo-scientific report claiming a drastically shorter life expectancy in homosexuals compared with heterosexuals has been published on the internet without preceding scientific peer-review… The authors should know, and as PhD’s they presumably do, that this report has little to do with science. It is hard to escape the idea that non-scientific motifs have driven the authors to make this report public. The methodological flaws are of such a grave nature that no decent peer-reviewed scientific journal should let it pass for publication.
You can read the whole thing here.
April 13th, 2007
The Family “Research” Council continues to sound the drumbeat of “Thought Crimes” in their latest e-mail action alerts, and the “Thought Crime” meme is spreading among anti-gay lobbyists and activists around the country. Focus on the Family is also spreading the word:
“It’s fair to call it a Thought Crimes law,” said Caleb H. Price, social-research analyst for Focus on the Family. “Ultimately, it punishes those who hold politically incorrect thoughts and beliefs about homosexuality.”
This is a shockingly shameless distortion of what the proposed hate crimes legislation actually says. It’s a distortion so twisted, it’s fair to call it a bold-faced lie — an expression I virtually never use. It’s not about “thoughts” or speech; it’s about violence. Are any of these “thought crimes”?
The proposed legislation will not set up “special rights” for a select few. It will protect everyone, including Feudale and Felicano. When it says regardless of sexual orientation, it really means regardless of sexual orientation. What part of regardless do they not understand?
April 13th, 2007
When Commanding Officer Bob Claunch first met and fell in love with Army Sgt. Jack Reavley while stationed in Munich, Germany in 1950, it was “highly impossible that [the two] could have all the freedom that gay people have today,” Claunch said. Though they are still seeking widespread acceptance, the two say things are getting easier with each passing year.
They’ve been together ever since then. They’ve seen a lot of changes over that time:
“Ten, 20 and 30 years ago, we had to be very circumspect to make sure people didn’t think we were gay and two men living together,” Claunch said. “The concept has very much changed.”
Based on his last press release of April 10th, it appears he already knew the EPA's statement was in the works.
April 13th, 2007
When Paul Cameron participated in a poster session at the Eastern Psychological Association’s convention on March 23rd, he sumultaneously issued a press release entitied, “1.4% of Adults Homosexual?” which matches what the EPA says he presented. So far, so good, as far as the EPA is concerned.
But after the convention is over, he began a very regular schedule of issuing press releases, touting evidence of a “shortened lifespan” that he claims to have presented at the EPA, a claim that the EPA now disputes. Every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two weeks, like clockwork, he issued four press releases claiming that gays in Scandinavia die young.
I first contacted the EPA on April 4th with several questions about Cameron’s participation at the convention. I also told them about the press releases. We exchanged just a couple of brief e-mails through Saturday, April 7th, during which I kept them apprised of his later releases.
On Monday, April 9th, I released my report on Cameron’s paper that he claimed to have presented to the EPA.
Noticing Cameron’s pattern of issuing press releases on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I eagerly awaited last Tuesday’s press release from him. That morning on April 10th, it arrived right on time. Except this time, I noticed that he returned, more or less, to his original subject for the title, “Are Governments Misreporting To Advance Gay Rights?” He drops the Danish and Norweigan statistics from his press release, although he continues to conclude that gays experience an “early average age of death.” But by dropping those statistics, this press release returned to a theme which more closely matched what he presented at the convention’s poster session — at least in content, if not necessarily in tone.
I also noticed something else that was odd about that press release. While he still included the title of the paper he claimed to have presented at the EPA, he didn’t mention his participation at the EPA’s convention. He dropped all mention of it.
On Wednesday, April 11, the EPA responded to my inquiries with an official statement, disputing Cameron’s description of his participation at the convention.
If Cameron were to continue his pattern on press releases, we should have seen another one yesterday. But yesterday came and went with blessed silence. (On the other hand, he did respond to the EPA’s statement via an on-the-record e-mail to Dr. Warren Throckmorton.)
Press releases can cost a lot of money, and Cameron’s Family Research Institute doesn’t have very deep pockets. After issuing six press releases, maybe he felt he got all the mileage he could out of it, and the stream of press releases would have come to an end anyway. Six press releases really are an awful lot. He’s never issued so many to promote a single paper before that I’m aware of.
Whatever the case may be, one thing’s for certain — we’ll definitely hear from him again.
April 12th, 2007
Many anti-gay American activists distort statistics from Scandinavia to portray gays and lesbians as a danger to marriage. And when they do, they inevitably claim that “homophobia” doesn’t play a role there, as if it didn’t exist. But if that were true, how would they explain this?
Neo-Nazi convicted of gay-bashing
The leader of a neo-Nazi group in southern Sweden has been jailed for three months for an attack on the local headquarters of gay rights group RFSL in Kristianstad….
Prosecutor Christofer Ramkvist had earlier told the court in Kristianstad that the incident was a “typical hate crime,” and that the people in the RFSL building had been attacked because of their sexual orientation.
Nope. No anti-gay prejudice there.
April 12th, 2007
In the weeks leading up to the February 10 Love Won Out conference in Phoenix, Focus on the Family and Exodus put up a billboard off of I-17 that proclaimed, “Change is possible. Discover how.” Meanwhile, Love Won Out’s web site promoted the conference, saying, “Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions.” Then, three weeks before the conference, Melissa Fryrear, Director of Focus on the Family’s Gender Issues Department was quoted in a press release, “We want to let people know that change is possible for those who are unsatisfied living as gay or lesbian.” Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, told an NPR reporter on the day of the conference that homosexuality “is a condition that people have found freedom from, they have changed.”
Earlier I described how most of those who spoke at Love Won Out used a very carefully crafted language to impart a particularly narrow view of homosexuality. It is a view that separates one’s sexuality from one’s sense of self, which is very different from how most people experience their sexuality whether they are gay or straight. Instead, for gays and lesbians only, their sexuality is treated as an exception, as something foreign or as an external “issue” that they “struggle with”.
But as precise as everyone was in how they defined homosexuality, they were startlingly imprecise when it came to defining “change.” Just when you thought you understood that “change” meant one thing (a change in one’s sexual attractions), you were suddenly presented with another concept of change (a change in identity only), or maybe it meant something else (a change in behavior only).
As I said before, there were remarkable few gay people attending Love Won Out. Most of those who were there were relatives or friends of gays and lesbians, and many of these relatives were parents. And in my conversations with them, it was clear that they saw their loved one’s homosexuality as a terrible tragedy, as something awful that happened. Some were quite desperate in their hope to see their loved ones changed.
During the lunchtime hour, Love Won Out set aside a room where parents and loved ones could gather together in fellowship. There, they shared their experiences, consoled each other, and spoke words of encouragement and hope, and they held hands and prayed together that their loved ones would experience “freedom from homosexuality.
The hope for change was paramount in the minds of these parents. As it was, many of them had a very strained relationship with their children. For some, their relationships were at or near the breaking point. And so it seemed to me that Love Won Out had a special responsibility to do two things to meet the needs of these parents. The first thing they needed to do was to provide practical advice on how to maintain their relationship with their loved ones. Love Won Out did that much better than I thought they would, although there are certainly areas I found wanting. I’ll talk more about that in another post.
But the second responsibility that Love Won Out had toward these parents and relatives was to set realistic expectations for what change was all about and how likely that change would be. And here is where I think they failed in that responsibility. And they failed for two reasons: 1) They didn’t provide a coherent definition of change, and 2) without a coherent definition, they couldn’t provide a realistic basis for an expectation for change.
For a conference to advertise itself as proclaiming that “change is possible,” then one reasonable assumption might be that this “change” would refer to a change in one’s sexual attractions or orientation. This was certainly the base assumption that was rigorously reinforced throughout the first part of the day.
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi was the lead-off speaker, and as far as he was concerned this sort of change was the only thing that mattered. In both of his talks that day, he consistently drove home the point that changing one’s sexual orientation — as defined by one’s sexual attractions — was possible for anyone as long as they followed through with his program. And in some of his examples, that change was complete and unambiguous. Just as his talk was getting underway, he described one client this way:
He just told me in our last session, he said to me, “I have no more homosexual attraction.” There’s a lot of talk about how it diminishes but that it never goes away. Just today, in my last session with him, he said, “I have no more homosexual attractions.”
And how does this change occur? According to Nicolosi, when a gay man’s sense of masculinity is restored, when he no longer looks to other men for the parts of his masculinity that is missing in himself, then his same-sex attraction “disappears”:
The healing of homosexuality is “I want a man to see me as a man,” and to have that experience repeatedly until it becomes internalized. And when it becomes internalized there’s no more mystique and there’s no more eroticization.
Sometimes this disappearance of same-sex attraction was very dramatic according to Nicolosi’s descriptions. During a breakout session later that afternoon, he claimed that a teen client’s sexual attractions experienced a virtually instantaneous change. This change reportedly occurred when the boy and his father made an emotional breakthrough during a therapy session. With this connection between the father and the son, the son’s homosexuality became “nonexistent.” And what was Nicolosi’s evidence for this change? He asked the son to do an impromptu experiment:
I said, “Let’s try an experiment. Right now,” I said to him, “try to have a homosexual fantasy.” And only a fourteen-year-old boy would do this because, you know, your mother and father are there, you think he’d say no? So he does it. This is what he does … Now, this is what I said to him. “Try to have a homosexual fantasy” and this is what he does. … [silence] … He can’t generate it. He can’t generate. And that’s the whole therapy. If you make emotional connection, the homosexuality is nonexistent.
That’s right. Dr Nicolosi’s “evidence” was the failure of his teenage client to enact a command performance to conjure a sexual fantasy — in a doctor’s office with his parents present, parents whom the boy would probably like to please since he’s getting along with them so well at the moment.
Exodus board chairman Mike Haley’s testimony immediately followed Nicolosi’s talk that morning, where he reinforced Nicolosi’s message about a change in sexual orientation. While he didn’t directly address his own sexual attractions to the Love Won Out audience, he left little doubt that it had changed when he ended his testimony with pictures of his wedding and his two beautiful children. Alan Chambers also talked about his wife and kids, as did Joe Dallas (founder of Genesis Counseling and former Exodus board chairman) and John Smid (executive director of Love In Action and Exodus board vice-chairman).
While the other speakers could hint at the extent of their change by referring to their wives and children, Melissa Fryrear, who is single, had to be much more direct if she was to remove all doubt. She humorously described all of the things she had to learn in order to become a heterosexual woman (clothes, make-up, panty hose, etc.), and she even went so far as to describe her ideal man — “tall, red-headed, looks good in a kilt!” — as a photo of her sitting beside a Ronald McDonald mannequin bounced comically onto the multimedia screen behind her. Yet through all the laughter, her message was unmistakable: she was thoroughly heterosexual.
By the time Melissa Fryrear’s talks concluded at 11:00 that morning, there had been only one type of change discussed in all of those morning sessions: the change of sexual attractions from same-sex to opposite-sex attractions. And each speaker up to that point was absolutely unambiguous on that point as the audience heard one success story after another. All that was needed was a re-connection with the father (for gay men, according to Nicolosi) or with the mother (one of many theories according to Fryrear), and a deep commitment to Christ (according to Haley and Fryrear).
But the strangest example of change was given by Dr. Nancy Heche during one of the general sessions that everyone attended soon after lunch. Dr. Heche is the mother of Anne Heche who, you may remember, was the partner of comedian Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 to 2001.
Dr. Heche used her testimony to talk about her own change of heart, from what she describes as her “hard heartedness” after having endured the humiliation of her husband’s death from AIDS and her daughter’s “public lesbian affair.” She described her anger at the “gay community” and for gay people in general during that period. But over time, through reading scriptures and much prayer, she said she was able to set aside her anger as God changed her “hard heartedness” to a soft heart. But her talk, which might have been a very good talk on how to come to terms with life’s difficulties, instead ended up becoming something of a formula for changing her daughter’s sexuality, at least in the minds of some of the parents.
Dr. Heche described how she learned about blessing from reading her Bible while flying on a small plane to Nantucket. She read Acts 3:26, which says, “When God raised up his servant [Jesus], he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” She then described a blessing as asking “God to interfere, … to take action in one’s life to bring them in the desired relationship with Himself, so that they are truly blessed and fully satisfied.” She took that to mean that when Jesus blessed her, He turned her from her ways to His ways. And she also took that to mean that she could also bless others, and in blessing others, she could be a part of God’s plan in doing the same:
Now that I’ve been blessed, and turned from my way to God’s way. I could be part of God’s plan to bless her [Anne] and maybe turn her from her way to God’s way. I could bless her now.
So in that little plane with my Bible on my lap, I confessed my hard heart. And I blessed her, and I blessed her friends. And as God would have it, that was the weekend she ended her lesbian affair.
Sometimes I hesitate to tell this part of the story because it sounds like “ooga-booga!” Like, poof! I sent up a magic blessing and they broke up. Well, there’s no “ooga-booga.” And the real magic or mystery that was revealed in that little plane was the work that God did in my heart.
Now I need to acknowledge two things here. First, I must acknowledge that she did not literally claim credit for her daughter’s relationship breaking up. In fact, she explicitly denied it. I also must acknowledge that Nancy titled her talk “It’s All About Me,” to reinforce the idea that as a parent, she needed to change herself and overcome her own anger rather than focus on changing her daughter.
But it is also true that even though she said “sometimes I hesitate to tell this part of the story,” she nevertheless goes ahead and tells it every single time she speaks at Love Won Out. It’s even on the DVD of Love Won Out testimonies that Focus on the Family sells on their web site and at the temporary book store they set up that day. She’s been a part of Love Won Out since June of 2005, and as far as I know, she has never omitted this detail from her testimony.
She really doesn’t seem to hesitate at all. And the fact is, her testimony would be just as valuable to those parents and family members without throwing in the hope that if you change your heart and bless your child, your child will change. But since “change” is the very central theme of the entire conference, it magnifies the significance of Dr. Heche’s inclusion of Anne’s “change” to everyone in the auditorium. And even though she explicitly denies this direct connection, what other conclusions would the audience draw? That Anne just “happened” to have left Ellen on the very same day her mother blessed her?
Remember, this isn’t an audience that is given to believing in coincidences. It’s an audience that is predisposed to believing in miracles. And this is exactly the kind of anectdote that many audience members will likely cling to in desperate hope for many days or even years.
That is very unfortunate, because Anne Heche’s side of the story is decidedly different:
This Nonsense about my mother praying for me is really making me angry. My mother never approved of my relationship with Ellen. Her hatred for our relationship is one of the many things that ultimately led to my breaking off all communication with her. (My mother, that is, not Ellen.)”
… The fact that my mother is using my name to promote this movement makes me even sicker…. I do not believe that homosexuality is something that should be brainwashed out of someone. I do not believe that homosexuality should be anything but celebrated if that is the thing that makes an individual feel good about their life. I believe, as I have always said, that people should love who they want to love.”
As far as I can tell, Anne is still estranged from her mother despite all her mother’s blessings. And because many of those parents in that audience were also experiencing different levels of estrangement from their children, friends and relatives. holding out hope for such miraculous conversions doesn’t bode well for them when their gay or lesbian loved one dismisses the possibility. And to consider that these estranged parents are listening to advice from a mother who is still estranged from her daughter, that also doesn’t bode well for those families’ futures. Messages like these are only more likely to more firmly entrench these family members in their ongoing estrangement.
After Dr. Heche linked her self-described change of heart to her daughter’s ending “her lesbian affair,” she encouraged the audience to participate in the same two-step formula with a closing prayer:
So I close by saying now it’s all about you. I invite you into the heart of God. You and I are not going to wipe out homosexuality, but we can wipe out hate and fear and anger and confusion. We have the ultimate winning strategy. Love trumps everything. So will you hold out your hands to receive a blessing?
I ask God to bless you, to interfere in your lives, to bring you into the right relationship with Himself so that you are truly blessed and fully satisfied regardless of your circumstances. I ask God to release His power in your lives to change your character and your destiny.
And now, reach out your hands to give a blessing to your loved ones.
Father, we ask You to bless our loved ones. We ask you to interfere in their lives, to take action in their lives, to bring them into the right relationship with Yourself. We ask You to bless them, to release Your power in their lives to change their character and destiny. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
During the afternoon as people attended various breakout sessions, some cracks started to appear in the presumption of change. But those cracks were only evident to those who happened to attend the right workshop. And with different speakers running different workshops simultaneously, it was often the luck of the draw as to which explanation for change one would hear.
For example, when Melissa Fryrear held her question and answer session on lesbianism at 3:45 in the afternoon, someone in the audience was still confused about “change” and asked for clarification. As he did so, it was obvious that he had been paying attention — notice how he framed his question using Love Won Out’s dialect. But learning that dialect didn’t’ bring him any closer to understanding change. Melissa tried to clear it up as she read the question off of an index card:
“Do people still struggle on this journey?” And I appreciate the honesty of that question. And we try to be genuine about our own stories. I think it’s important to mention that it looks different for every person, and that if we consider that continuum again, that individuals have fallen in every place and in every place in between.
I know some people that God — and it’s their testimony — that God did an instantaneous work, and they never have had a homosexual thought or temptation or idea again in their lives, and moved on to heterosexual… heterosexuality, and that identity — marriage, children — and it was an instantaneous moment for them.
The majority of the people with whom I’ve talked, it’s been a journey and a process, that we didn’t get involved overnight, often don’t get out overnight. And so it does look different for different people. Many have moved on to marriage and families, and I know some individuals that, much of the contributing factors have been resolved, and opposite sex attraction hasn’t fully blossomed, if you will, in their lives. It may never, or may come further down the road. But their commitment is to the Biblical sexual ethic, and that they want to live chaste and celibate lives.
It’s clear here that she’s still describing the “struggle” in terms of sexual attractions, but now the certainty of “change” is starting to crack. It doesn’t always occur. In fact, it often doesn’t. And it’s important to note that her acknowledgment wasn’t exactly a grudging one. During two of her workshops where she addressed change, she was reasonably candid that this change in sexual attractions wasn’t necessarily in the cards for everyone.
And yet, she remains ambiguous about both the nature and the likelihood of change. Here, she also reinforces Nancy Heche’s possibility of a miraculous “instantaneous work” — she said she knew these people herself. Again, I wonder how many in that audience clung to that part of her answer in hope that a miraculous change may come to their son or daughter as well.
But whatever unrealistic expectations Fryrear may have reinforced among some, she did also include an acknowledgement that change in sexual attractions doesn’t always happen. She also mixed her notion of a change sexual orientation with a change in a commitment to behavior. In Fryrear’s talk, it was much more evident that the more important change was a change in faith and a commitment to what she described as a “Biblical sexual ethic.” And under this understanding of change, it didn’t matter so much of a person’s sexual attractions changed much. The more important question was whether that person’s behavior changed in response to a religious conversion
So whoever posed that question to Fryrear was very lucky to have heard at least that much of an answer. Imagine if he had instead attended Nicolosi’s “Prevention of Male Homosexuality,” which was being held at exactly the same time as Fryrear’s Q&A. His understanding of change would certainly have been very different because Nicolosi only talked about one kind of change: a change in sexual attractions. And to hear Nicolosi describe it, likelihood of change seemed rather high and had very little to do with faith. It was all about clinical therapeutic outcomes, not a commitment to Christ.
And as I said, he was very self-assured about the prospects for change. He described only two cases of failure in his workshop. The first case was because the young man “did not continue” with therapy. The second case was because the father didn’t follow through with Nicolosi’s instructions. Not only are father’s responsible for their son’s homosexuality according to the theory Nicolosi espoused first thing that morning, but this particular father was also blamed for the son’s failure to be cured. But aside from those two cases, examples of change abounded, lending further encouragement for those family members in his audience.
While I believe most of the descriptions of change were neither clear nor realistic, there was one candid exception that I wish more parents could have heard. During the first set of breakout sessions just before lunchtime, Alan Chambers gave an excellent talk entitled, “Hope for Those Who Struggle.” As far as I was able to hear, he was the only one who set out to establish realistic expectations for change, and he was the only one to thoroughly and accurately describe what change really means. But only about 75 people attended his session, and that is very unfortunate. It should have been one of the general sessions for all 700 attendees to hear. Instead, only a tiny fraction of the overall conference heard what he had to say.
I was going to include his talk in this post, but it is already running quite long. And besides, I believe his talk was so important that it deserves a separate post. Just as he gave his talk to a small group of people, it was almost like attending a completely different conference. It shouldn’t have been that way. Because what he had to say was far more candid and useful — and far more realistic — than any magic blessing or hopes for an instantaneous work that anyone else had to offer.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change” (Coming Soon)
Part 6: The Science Of “Love Won Out”
Part 7: The Politics Of “Love Won Out”
Part 8: Hope For Parents Who Struggle
April 11th, 2007
I received the following statement from Dr. Phil Hineline, president of the Eastern Psychological Association, concerning Paul Cameron’s poster presentation at their recent conference. I am posting it in full, followed by my original email of April 4th to the EPA. I followed up with another email on the 7th, to which Dr. Hineline kindly responds.
Following up on your message of 7 April, the following is a statement suitable for public distribution, provided that quotations from it are not lifted out of context.
Thank you for bringing the matter to our attention.
Paul Cameron and Kirk Cameron have posted for circulation a controversial and lengthy manuscript that purports, via the tagline at the bottom each page, to be the account of a presentation at the March 2007 meeting of the Eastern Psychological Assocition. The title of that manuscript, as well as its main emphasis, focuses upon an issue that was not present in the title nor was it in the supporting materials that were submitted by the Camerons for a poster presentation at EPA.
The submitted title, which appears in the EPA printed program, is: “Federal distortion of homosexual footprint.” The accompanying Abstract asserts that the proportion of the Canadian population identified as lesbian, gay and bisexual is substantially lowered if adults over age 60 are included than if they are excluded from the sample. The asserted implication is that federal agencies are exaggerating the size of the homosexual proportion of the population by excluding adults over 60 from the assessments.
In contrast, the manuscript at issue carries the title: “Federal Distortion Of Homosexual Footprint (Ignoring early Gay Death?).” Two of the three paragraphs in its accompanying Abstract focus upon the topic of the added parenthetical phrase, which is an inference — indeed a topic — that was not present in the materials submitted to EPA. Irrespective of its potential for controversy, it is highly unlikely that the augmented/altered version would have been accepted for presentation, for there clearly are many reasons other than differential longevity that could result in the under-reporting of homosexuals over 60.
Whatever its content, even the format of the manuscript to which the EPA identification has been affixed — a manuscript of more than 7000 words plus three tables and six graphs, would have been completely inappropriate as a poster presentation, which was the venue in which Dr. Cameron proposed to participate in the meeting.
To clarify the relevant history and circumstances:
After putting out the call for submissions to be proposed for the EPA meeting, we typically receive over 700 submissions as was the case this year. These submissions are divided into categories (e.g. Animal Learning, Social psychology, etc ..) and each section is reviewed by a volunteer on the program committee. As each submission typically has at least two authors, vetting authors against other organizations’ lists of people with problematic ethical records is simply an impossibility, especially given the time-frame of preparations for an annual convention.
For acceptance, a work had to be complete, be methodologically sound using proper data collection techniques and/or experimental methods, the conclusions had to be derivable from the presented results, and the topic deemed to be one that could stimulate interest and discussion among those attending the meeting.
The submission by Dr. Cameron indicated that there was a possibility that the prevalence of homosexuals in the population had been overestimated by previous techniques. Data were presented, reportedly using a broader defined sample than that used by government agencies, which indicated that the prevalence of homosexuality in the population was smaller than had been previously suggested. The submission by Dr. Cameron was for a poster presentation, and it was accepted as a poster, not as a paper or address. Whatever the Camerons ultimately presented, occurred in an hour-long “poster session” among approximately 70 posters.
There was nothing in the materials submitted by the author for review by EPA that indicated that the work could, or would, be informative with respect to the longevity of homosexuals.
Philip N. Hineline
President, Eastern Psychological Association
The following is my original e-mail sent to the EPA on April 4th. I followed up with another e-mail on the 7th, to which Dr. Hineline replied above.
President Hineline, President-Elect Sternberg, members of the Program Committee;
I was quite astonished to see a number of press releases from the Family Research Institute’s Paul Cameron in which he cites a paper that he presented to the Eastern Psychological Association March 13-16. Given Dr. Cameron’s well-established track record for misrepresenting legitimate scientific research — and his well-documented ethical violations of the APA’s preamble — I found it very odd that his paper, “Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint” would be accepted by the EPA.
I am not writing to discuss the merits of the paper. However I do have a number of questions about the process that allowed the paper to be accepted. Please be assured, it’s not my intention to draw anyone into a debate. I am asking only to understand the circumstances behind the acceptance of Drs. Cameron’s paper.
1) Do the papers themselves undergo any sort of peer review before they are accepted by the EPA?
2) If the paper undergoes a peer review, are there any checks or specific processes by which this review takes place?
3) How is acceptance of a paper determined?
4) Are authors vetted to ensure there are no ethical complaints lodged against them by other professional organizations (for example, the American Psychological Association)?
5) Does the EPA maintain a repository of the papers that have been accepted? I ask this because I would like to verify that the paper the Drs. Cameron make available on the Internet is actually the paper that was presented at the conference.
Any information you can provide me would be most appreciated.
I am grateful for Dr. Hineline’s thorough response to each of my questions.
You can read my critique of Cameron’s paper in my latest report, “Paul Cameron’s Footprint.”
April 11th, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, Terrance Heath tagged me and four others with the Thinking Blogger Award. The first response on my part, of course, should have been to thank him. If I had to come up with a short list of five thinking bloggers, he would definitely be on the list, without question. I wouldn’t have to think twice about it. And so I am very honored and flattered that he thought of me.
But the second response I should have made was to respectfully, but gratefully, decline. You see, the TBA really isn’t an award so much as a meme that’s called an award. And while it’s very generous — and altogether proper — for people to recognize others who make them think on a regular basis, memes have a way of circulating around the internet until they hit just about everybody. And while this meme may be dressed up like an award — you even get a little award badge to put on your blog — it’s still a meme. And because of that, eventually all it means is that you’ve managed to get yourself entangled in a web we call the Internet.
That same meme that circulated around the internet and tagged Terrance and me also found its way eventually to Exodus Vice-President Randy Thomas. He unthinkingly passed on an internet rumor whose original source was the discredited Paul Cameron, then half-heartedly retracted that post while continuing to justify it. (“I have to chuckle,” he says.)
And — get this — the meme, err, award also made its way around to Stacy Harp. Stacy thought enough to try to round up support for Stephen Bennet’s latest commercial venture, a parent’s support group for those “struggling with homosexuality” (for only $15/mo or $200/year). She also links homosexuality with pedophilia.
Being named by someone I admire is very flattering, and I really do appreciate it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not ungrateful in the least. In fact, I’m very flattered, coming from Terrance and all. But if it’s alright with you, I’ll respectfully decline the invitation to join that august company.
April 10th, 2007
ABC News has a fun article about “Guerrilla Gay Bar” in Washington, D.C. It’s a phenomenon that began in San Francisco among gay men and women who grew tired of segregating themselves at the same old watering holes. So they gathered up a couple hundred friends and started going to a straight bars. It’s spread to several cities across the country:
There is strength in numbers. [D.C. organizers] believe many people who come to Guerrilla events would be afraid to otherwise venture socially outside of gay bars. “Especially early on, we got a lot of e-mails from people saying, ‘What if I get beat up?'” Jones said. That’s never happened.
…The neighbors are noticing. Alan Dickey and his wife, Ann, play pool at Black Cat every weekend… His wife said she loved the concept, but confessed that she didn’t see anything too different about tonight’s crowd. “It’s really busy, the energy is really up. It’s really wonderful,” she said.
Good article, but ABC News accompanied it with a very unfortunate poll: “Should Gay Patrons Go to Straight Bars?” Only if they use separate restrooms I guess?
At first glance, David Benkof appears to be a young gay man who believes that same-sex marriage will damage the institution of marriage, that there are better options for gay couples than marriage, that the community should join him in prioritizing other more pressing issues, and that the marriage discussion is harming the efforts of gay couples in red states to get recognition for their unions. He also claims that he’s a gay columnist, that he speaks for an influential collection of gay thinkers, and that he is part of the gay and lesbian community and that he shares our goals and dreams. But none of that is true.
The April 2008 edition of the pay-to-publish vanity journal Psychological Reports featured a new report from NARTH. Written by NARTH president A. Dean Byrd, past president Joseph Nicolosi, and Richard W. Potts, the report carries the unwieldy but self-descriptive title, “Clients perceptions of how reorientation therapy and self-help can promote changes in sexual orientation.” While the title describes what the authors meant to show — how clients describe the benefits of reparative therapy — the report itself actually illustrates something very different: the ex-gay movement’s remarkable ability to instill an almost robot-like parroting of ex-gay rhetoric among their clients.
The Toronto Star said that a new study “discover[ed] a new strain” of a super-bug “hitting gay men.” Headlines in Britain screamed, “Flesh-eating bug strikes San Francisco’s gay community,” and anti-gay extremists across America spread the alarm that gays were introducing another plague into “the general population.” But there was a small problem with all of this: None of it is true!
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
When Karla Jay and Allan Young published The Gay Report in 1979, it quickly a favorite source of statistics for many anti-gay extremists. But before you accepts these statistic at face value, you should examine the inner workings of this survey very carefully. What you learn might surprise you.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.