Another controversy opens a NARTH conference

Just over three years ago, I decided not to make a planned presentation to the annual conference of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. At the same time, friend and colleague Dr. David Blakeslee resigned from the NARTH Scientific Advisory Board. We decided to take these actions in response to NARTH’s slow and, in my opinion, inadequate response to statements by NARTH members and advisers, Joseph Berger on bullying of gender variant kids and Gerald Schoenewolf on racial politics.

Three years later, NARTH is about to open another conference in Florida. No advisers have made offensive comments but the organization has in recent days featured an interview with Michael Glatze on their website. The interview is quite positive and promotes Mr. Glatze as a successful role model for others and particularly same-sex attracted kids. However, Mr. Glatze has made statements recently which raise the same sad red flags raised by Berger and Schoenewolf three years ago.

Glatze has indeed gone through a series of changes (change is not just possible but apparently frequent). Of concern here however, is his views on race and bullying. The blog where he wrote the following is down now (that changes too so perhaps it will come back), but there is no indication that his views have changed since they were written.

On race, Glatze had this to say about President Obama:

Have I mentioned lately how utterly *disgusting* Obama is? And, yes, it’s because he’s black. God, help us all.

This was retracted when I asked Glatze if he had any comments about it. He wrote

Yes, I can. I was talking with some friends about Jimmy Carter’s recent comments along the lines of that anybody who disagrees with Obama is a racist. My friend posted that on my blog, as sarcasm.

Warren, I am about fed-up with the “race card” being pulled, any time someone so much as *suggests* that Obama may not be doing something right. It’s getting to the point, where people are literally losing their minds trying to speak up, trying to have their voices heard. You don’t know how many friends I have who feel crippled, in a country that has its foundations in the notion of freedom and – more importantly – liberty.

You’ll see a quote on my little blog – now – that says, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” It’s a quote by George Orwell. I’m trying to do my small part, in the midst of all this insanity, to find integrity.

No, I’m not happy with the current administration. No, I don’t hate Obama because he’s black. What I do hate is evil, and many of the things he has done I would consider evil.

Although he backed away from his earlier comment, the words were still careless as was his explanation. Making or allowing a friend to make a racist statement on your public blog is playing the “race card” which he said in his explanation he was tired of others doing.

On bullying, Exgaywatch quoted from an entry on Glatze’s blog just before it was removed, where he said:

We live in a culture that hopes to destroy manhood, by promoting policies that shame men, and make them out to be villians.  “Patriarchy is bad! Down with patriarchy!” What is “patriarchy”? Patriarchy is the idea that men exist. There is nothing more. People invent “matriarchy,” otherwise known as a more emotional approach, a more flowy approach, to doing things, as though men have no emotions or desire to have a happy existence. The false duality created by non-“patriarchy” thinking leads to the corrosion of humanity, as exhibited by political correctness, Liberalism, and embodied by The One … a.k.a., Barack Obama, the world’s first official girl-man President.

Even so much as uttering the statement in the previous paragraph gets the victim-minded whiners, those lacking a backbone, those denying their manhood, to heights of hysteria and indignation. “That’s the very type of behavior that leads to bullying in schools.” Bullying in schools is a part of life, a part of growth. Every time somebody needs to grow up, even just a little bit, the process will be painful and probably not the first choice for what that individual might want to do. Take away every one of these instances in the name of “compassion,” and you will tear out the souls and spirits of everyone you hope to control with such insidious policies.

While this is a bit hard to follow, he appears to be saying about the same thing Joseph Berger said three years ago when he said:

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.

Being bullied is a growing experience? If they miss out on the bullying then their “souls and spirits” are torn out? Is this the kind of masculinity it takes to leave the gay behind? No, on the contrary, bullying can tear out souls and spirits.

Nicolosi didn’t hear this kind of thing in the interview and so he wants to make Glatze a role model for youth. From the interview:

Joe Nicolosi:  Do you think you could be of help to young people who are struggling?

Michael Glatze:  …Do you think I could?

JN:  I think so.

I don’t.

If you need a soundtrack for this post, try this. Here’s some better guidance about how to be “of help to young people who are struggling.”

The lyrics to the rap at the end of this song are:

Little Mikey D was in the one class

Who everyday got brutally harassed

This went on for years

Until he decided that never again

Would he shed another tear

So he walked through the door

Grabbed the 44 out of his father’s dresser drawer

And said I can’t take life no more

And like that life can be lost

But this ain’t even about that

All of us just sat back

And watch it happen

Thinkin’ it’s not our responsibility

To solve a problem that isn’t even about me

This is our problem

This is just one of the daily scenarios

Which we choose to close our eyes

Instead of doing the right thing

If we make a choice

And be the voice

For those who won’t speak up for themselves

How may lives would be saved, changed, and rearranged

Now it’s our time to pick a side

So don’t keep walking by

Don’t wanna intervene

Cause you just wanna exist and never be seen

So let’s wake up

Change the world

Our time is now

UPDATE: This statement has replaced the Glatze interview on the NARTH website:

Following the counsel of our friends at Exodus and others in the ex-gay community we have removed the Michael Glatze interview from our site. Some of his public comments have been found to be offensive to NARTH and hurtful to others. It is never appropriate to make some of the comments attributed to Mr. Glatze and we at NARTH wish to make our disapproval public.

You can see below what was there this morning. The first interview from 2007 is still available.

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  • Lynn David

    Awww…. I was just reading the feed and I got halfway through and decided to come here and read the entire post. Along the way I was thinking that you hadn’t posted any music in quite a while. So I made a decision to ask you to do so… you read my mind! Even before I had the thought! Too bad it wasn’t Coldplay though.

    Hearing about Nicolosi/Glatze brought to mind my own bit of problems with some people. But I heard of a young fellow down in Kentucky who had it much worse. According to the Evansville, Indiana, newspaper he had regularly been beaten all his life because of his effeminancy, but it was said he took it with a smile. That is, until one day in his late teens the beating killed him.

    I don’t understand some people…. and I don’t think I ever want to.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I don’t understand some people…. and I don’t think I ever want to.

    Lynn, that one pithy statement speaks volumes. I have concluded that some people, as well as their actions, just defy understanding. And yes, some we have to try real hard to even want to know. We are all pretty deep wells.

    Here, we examine and discuss some pretty obvious things. But others are nebulous and have all sorts of shades of gray that cause us to step back and scratch our heads in wonderment. Some of it is also an interesting study in the art and science of communication.

    We had Michael Glatze stopping by this blog a short time ago. My impression from the relatively brief exchange then was that he still had some significant growing to do and that he didn’t get why folks were upset over what he thought was a joke of sorts. I guess anyone has the freedom to hang out a shingle, but it takes time and experience to earn the credentials.

    I can only speak for myself, but this blog has given me an opportunity to do lots of self-examining. It has been a course in life education for me. And I want always to remain open to more personal growth. It can take a while for us to realize — and that’s even if we are open to looking at all — how lopsided our thinking can be in certain areas. And the stronger and more painful our past experiences have been, the more difficult it can be to really see inside ourselves, I think. We need mirrors in the form of other people, even those from vastly different worldviews, to help us take that good, long look. Well, anyway, that’s the way “philosophical Debbie” sees it.

    NARTH, Nicolosi, Berger and Glatze need to make a clear distinction between bullying and what I think they are trying to say is the “mirror” element to our learning, even in childhood. If I hark back just to my own training as a Marine, I am well aware of the value of the tough part of instilling character. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Plenty of folks misunderstand that. But bullying and shaming and mercilessly tearing down an individual without recognizing and helping to shape their unique giftedness is wrong. We obviously don’t want the “Lord of the Flies” rule of the jungle for our kids.

    Frankly, there are parts of what Glatze says in the quotes above that make perfect sense to me. But there are inconsistencies that need clearing up. Final point: Naive associations can come back to bite you.

  • Michael Bussee

    But bullying and shaming and mercilessly tearing down an individual without recognizing and helping to shape their unique giftedness is wrong.

    I don’t understand how you could “bully, shame and mercilessly tear down a kid” and “recognize and help shape his unique giftedness” at the same time. Am I misunderstanding you Debbie? I bet I am.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I don’t understand how you could “bully, shame and mercilessly tear down a kid” and “recognize and help shape his unique giftedness” at the same time. Am I misunderstanding you Debbie? I bet I am.

    Yes. “Without” should be “instead of.” I must have been a cup of coffee shy of being fully awake when I wrote that. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks, Debbie. I know the feeling. Sometimes even a giant energy drink won’t do it for me… Oh, look! A chicken!…

    (I get distacted easily these days. Got to stay focussed.) Have a great day. :)

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Actually, I am sitting here now near the end of the work day, trying not to fall asleep at the computer again as I reread for the umpteenth time a book chapter … that I wrote. Yeah, I’m boring myself silly. :)

    Need to go start dinner or something.

  • Michael Bussee

    What bullying can do. Please watch the whole nine minutes. Then, think what can happen when individuals, groups, religious leaders, politicians — or nations — are infected by the spirit of bullying.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wcx2qM5C4g

  • Michael Bussee

    “Being bullied is a growing experience? If they miss out on the bullying then their “souls and spirits” are torn out? Is this the kind of masculinity it takes to leave the gay behind? No, on the contrary, bullying can tear out souls and spirits.” — W. Throckmorton.

  • http://floridasqueezed.blogspot.com Jarrett Terrill

    I think everybody at NARTH is corrupt simply because the idea is corrupt. It doesn’t pass the “minding your own business” litmus test.

    The test is a very simple one to apply:

    Does it hurt me?

    Does it hurt anyone I know?

    If the answer to both of those questions is no, then you must let it be.

    Oh, and I looked into that crazy lady from West Palm Beach, and her history is sketchy at best… it’s like somebody took the story of her life and crossed out the beginning of every chapter: Julie Harren

  • Jayhuck

    Ugh – forgive me, but why, why, why is anyone still giving “airtime” to a ridiculous organization like NARTH? Does anyone, outside its own members, still take it seriously?

  • Mary

    When there are few outlets for those with unwanted SSA to resource for guidance and help – organizations like NARTH will exist and continue to do so. I don’t agree with everything they write, say, do, believe etc… but have panned some valueable information from them. Like any other organization – you are never going to like everything but one can take what they like and leave the rest.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I think everybody at NARTH is corrupt simply because the idea is corrupt. It doesn’t pass the “minding your own business” litmus test.

    The test is a very simple one to apply:

    Does it hurt me?

    Does it hurt anyone I know?

    You may see that as a simple test, Jarrett, but those are anything but simple questions. I can well imagine the folks who decided NARTH was a necessary response to the way they were being ostracized by the APA believing they were being hurt as were, by extension, their clients. So that’s an affirmative answer to your questions right there.

    You’ve only got to look at NARTH’s history. It’s going beyond what their original purpose was in some ways that riles folks the most, not necessarily that a more conservative approach to therapy for SSA individuals may have been warranted or fair. Yes, they could more carefully vet some of their mouthpieces, but that’s true of just about every organization out there. Bottom line: They have a right to exist and the liberal establishment does not get to define “doing harm.” Both sides are meant to balance each other out.

  • http://www.exodusinternational.org Alan Chambers

    Love the video, Warren. Thanks for the visual–powerful. As I sat and watched it I remembered the horrors of being bullied and felt a new resolve to take a greater stand against it than ever before.

    Glatze doesn’t need to be featured on NARTH’s site, for sure.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn Harrison

    Thanks for your post Warren. I don’t know Michael Glatze or Joseph Berger at all, but from what I have “heard” from them, I can guarantee that these men do not know the first thing about ministering to students – much less the GLBT community. To advocate bullying, for the sheer fact of “growing” someone into “personhood” is beyond stupid and insensitive. Just ask those who have lost loved ones to suicide, because of being bullied. If only their voices could be heard on this subject ….

  • Pingback: Bullying is not a growth experience — Warren Throckmorton

  • Michael Bussee

    Bottom line: They have a right to exist and the liberal establishment does not get to define “doing harm.” Both sides are meant to balance each other out.

    Yes, Debbie, NARTH has a “right to exist”, just as a person of conscience has a right — more then that, a moral responsibility – to define “doing harm” when they see it, and to speak out strongly against it. Why is Exodus still associated with NARTH anyway? Isn’t it about time to dump them, as Warren has done? Bad science, misguided “experts” like Cameron, Berger, Schoenewolf, etc. Exodus does not need to be associated with them, for sure.

  • http://www.truthwinsout.org Wayne Besen

    Debbie says: Bottom line,They have a right to exist and the liberal establishment does not get to define “doing harm.”

    You are so right Debbie. It is the survivors bearing the mental scars, few of whom belonged to the “liberal establishment” at the time of their so-called therapy who have a right to define “harm.” I find it sad that you see everything through the jaded lens of liberal vs. conservative politics. You have reduced life and the experiences of such victims to a rerun of “Crossfire”.

  • http://www.truthwinsout.org Wayne Besen

    Oh, thank you Dr. Throckmorton for speaking up on the Glatze issue and on Uganda as well. Much appreciated.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie says: Bottom line,They have a right to exist and the liberal establishment does not get to define “doing harm.”

    You are so right Debbie. It is the survivors bearing the mental scars, few of whom belonged to the “liberal establishment” at the time of their so-called therapy who have a right to define “harm.” I find it sad that you see everything through the jaded lens of liberal vs. conservative politics. You have reduced life and the experiences of such victims to a rerun of “Crossfire”.

    No, Wayne. I don’t and I haven’t. You read selectively, as usual. I am not out to defend what is indefensible in NARTH. I merely pointed out that they have a valid raison d’etre. So does TWO, by the way. The one has conservative underpinnings while the other has liberal. I didn’t make it that way. And APA has a decidedly liberal political bent. I don’t go “high and right” just because you may disagree with me.

  • David Blakeslee

    That’s a riot, Wayne Besen accusing someone of reducing life and experiences to a rerun of Crossfire.

    Wayne is especially gifted at this form of communication…

    Kind of like the McLaughlin group….

    ELEANOR!

    PAT!

    bye, BYE!

    Really, Wayne, look in the mirror.

  • Mary

    Wayne- you’re the reductionist. It’s either your way or the wrong way. Pullleeeeease. Get a grip on reality. There are a lot more moderates and middle ground than being an extremist to one side or the other.


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