New gay change group cites Francis Collins to mislead readers

One would think a scathing criticism on the National Institute of Health from NIH director Francis Collins would be enough to stop misuse of his book, the Language of God. However, not so for a relatively new Latter Day Saint sexual reorientation organization called Foundation for Attraction Research. Writing in the Salt Lake City Tribune, FAR Board members Dennis V. Dahle, John P. Livingstone and M. Gawain Wells provide the same quote that led Collins to rebuke the American College of Pediatricians.

As to science, contrary to a source cited by Hansen that same-sex attractions are of purely biological origin, Dr. Francis S. Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the current director of the National Institutes of Health, reached a very different conclusion. Collins, in addressing the etiology of homosexuality in his book, The Language of God, offers the conclusion that homosexuality is “genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”

Exgaywatch first reported on the misuse of Collins’ words back in 2008. At that point, Dr. Collins wrote to me in order to verify his communication with David Roberts, editor at XGW.

Then, the American College of Pediatricians cited Collins in an effort to establish the mutability of sexual orientation. Collins did not take kindly to their citation and wrote the following on the NIH website.

Statement from NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in Response to the American College of Pediatricians

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Director

April 15, 2010

“It is disturbing for me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against  homosexuality.  The American College of Pediatricians pulled language out of context from a book I wrote in 2006 to support an ideology that can cause unnecessary anguish and encourage prejudice. The information they present is misleading and incorrect, and it is particularly troubling that they are distributing it in a way that will confuse school children and their parents.”

Now the Foundation for Attraction Research takes up the same line of argumentation, although in a somewhat more subtle manner. While the first quote from Collins is clearly about homosexuality and represents Collins views about that specific trait, the second one is not. The FAR authors write:

Collins offers the following additional insight on homosexuality: “There is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive. Environment, particularly childhood experiences, and the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us. Scientists will discover an increasing level of molecular detail about the inherited factors that undergird our personalities, but that should not lead us to overestimate their quantitative contribution. Yes we have all been dealt a particular set of cards, and the cards will eventually be revealed. But how we play the hand is up to us.”

While the quote is in Language of God, the statement leading up to it – “Collins offers the following additional insight on homosexuality” – is not. In the book, Collins makes a general statement about the role of genetics and environment but does not offer this view specifically about homosexuality. He does not suggest that “free will” or “childhood experiences” have anything to do with homosexual attraction. The authors want you to think that he does but he does not.

Regarding sexual reorientation which seems to be the real issue for FAR, Collins said this to Roberts and me in the earlier correspondence:

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable. (emphasis mine)

No one knows what sexual attractions to be directed toward the same sex. Collins does not opine on these factors in his book beyond saying that they may not be strongly related to genetics. There are other biological factors besides genes that could be involved. Whatever those factors turn out to be does not mean that they are alterable.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Whatever those factors turn out to be does not mean that they are alterable.

    The “factors” may or may not be alterable, but their outcome in one’s life is not predetermined or fixed. We are not exclusively at the mercy of our “wiring.”

    Has anyone really tried to explain the differentiations in male and female homosexuality? Can they be explained?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Warren,

    It’s even more troubling that Foundation for Attraction Research is a project of Dean Byrd. There is no way that they are unaware of Collins’ slap-down of Byrd. He founded the group and is on their Board.

  • Teresa

    The “factors” may or may not be alterable, but their outcome in one’s life is not predetermined or fixed. We are not exclusively at the mercy of our “wiring.”

    I don’t understand this statement, Debbie. Are you saying homosexuality is ‘alterable’, or simply behavior is ‘alterable’? Could you elaborate a bit more on your meaning here?

    Has anyone really tried to explain the differentiations in male and female homosexuality? Can they be explained?

    Again, what are you trying to say here? Is the fact that female homosexuality ‘appears’ to be more fluid, alterable? My opinion on this, is that we women ‘lie’ more about what’s going on, and hide very easily in a str8 marriage. Children are often the most important thing to a woman than simply a man.

    Also, I’ve noticed a phenomenon which is not much talked about; but, there’s a whole boatload of older supposed str8 women, who after divorce, being widowed, or the kids are gone … end up in gay relationships. What’s going on here? Why isn’t it talked about?

    Women have sociologically had to hide a lot of what’s going on beneath the surface. It’s a form of defense being physically (in some ways) the weaker sex. We, women, breathe fear like we breathe air.

    Last note: there are plenty of websites now dedicated to people who have been married to ‘gay’ people; and, have suffered lots of damage as a result. Another phenomenon not getting much attention. It’s a real eye-opener to read some of the stories of women and men who have been emotionally devastated in these situations.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Collins also said:

    No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years. [emphasis added]

    None of this has not stopped Greg Quinlan (now president of PFOX of all things) from dishonestly portraying otherwise — dishonestly because I have personally given him the responses from Collins to clear up the matter.

    All of this is really moot for the purpose of equal rights anyway. Homosexuality is not a disorder, it is a common and naturally occurring variance in human sexuality. Even if one is able to alter one’s behavior through monumental acts of will (natural fluctuations in some female sexuality aside), it is the height of hubris to expect that someone must, as a matter of course, try to change or hide a deep and fundamental part of themselves in order to live freely as an equal part of society.

  • stephen

    For-profit ‘ex-gay-lifestyler’ propaganda site shown to be riddled with lies? Color me shocked.

    Teresa, best not to try to reason with Mrs Thurman. She has a masters in English from some provincial college which she seems to think qualifies her as a psychiatric-theological-ethical-sexual-moralistical expert. She also seems to have a money-making side-line publishing her nonsensical pray-away-the-gay books as part of her ‘church’. Tax breaks anyone? Google her website on her name: you’ll learn all you need to know.

    Oh and plus: I am now an ordained minister. If Rick Warren, Ted Haggard, and Mrs Thurman can do it so can I.

    Send contributions to stopfagweddingspraisejeebus.com

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Teresa, I am saying predispositions are not deterministic. Collins referred to “free will choices.” If I don’t like something about myself, I am free to do something about it.

    As regards male-female homosexuality, most studies are geared to males. We are supposed to extrapolate from them overarching assumptions. But they don’t always apply to females. Our experiences are easily dismissed, but they mean something. For instance, why do adolescents girls who identity as bisexual experience a high rate of suicidal thoughts? Why do some feminists insist they choose to be lesbians?

  • stephen

    re this Thurmanista: huh? Are you conscious? Are you real? Hard to believe.

    Teresa. You know? The ridiculous? The desperation of the closet? The desperation?

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    LOL. This keeps getting better. Could you up my degree to a doctorate next time, Stephen? Don’t forget to let everybody know who ordained me (let me know, too). And please tell me which bank account has all that money. I really want to know that.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Predispositions – like to alcoholism, for example (that’s a common one ex-gays bring up) – usually need triggers. For example, having a drink, or several drinks.

    And yet, there are homosexual virgins – those who have never had sex with any person – those who may not have even kissed any other person or done anything romantic or sexual with anyone else. They are still attracted to the same sex.

    I think David Roberts summed it up perfectly however when he said

    Homosexuality is not a disorder, it is a common and naturally occurring variance in human sexuality. Even if one is able to alter one’s behavior through monumental acts of will (natural fluctuations in some female sexuality aside), it is the height of hubris to expect that someone must, as a matter of course, try to change or hide a deep and fundamental part of themselves in order to live freely as an equal part of society.

  • carole

    Warren,

    Speaking of Collins’ quote, where’s any news from the Sanders-Bailey study on gay brothers? That was supposed to be a five year study, yet it seems it’s been much longer and as far as I know there have not been any updates in ages. What goes?

    But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

  • Teresa

    Teresa, I am saying predispositions are not deterministic. Collins referred to “free will choices.” If I don’t like something about myself, I am free to do something about it.

    OK, Debbie, I’m a gay woman. I can lie about this, I can hide this, I can pretend I’m not gay and marry, I can therapize myself, and try to ‘pray away the gay’ … but, at the end of all of it; I’m still attracted to women … never had the least attraction to men, at. all. So, what am I free to do about my gayness, Debbie?

    Do I closet myself to make the culture at-large feel more comfortable with itself? I’m well aware that women ‘appear’ to be somewhat different with homosexuality; but, I can tell you from my own great experience with a Janelle Hallman Associate (Janelle Hallman’s book, The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction), that from their lengthy experience with female SSA; at best, 10% experience ‘change’ from gay to str8.

    I take seriously what these people say, now. This practice used to be associated with Exodus … not any longer. Their on-the-ground experience told them otherwise.

    How about Tony Camopolo? He may differ with his wife on monogamous, homosexual relationships; but, from his long experience … here’s what he says: “Gays don’t choose their orientation, and it’s not alterable”.

    In my small world, I personally know several women who tried for years in Exodus organizations to ‘change’; and, they ended-up almost killing themselves. Not big news, but an actuality, nevertheless.

    Can you tell me exactly what you mean, Debbie, what is it gay people “are free to do something about it” … ?

  • Jayhuck

    Teresa,

    In Debbie’s world, you would be free to live your life as a chaste and penitent homosexual woman, deprived of the right to love and share your life with the person of your choosing :) In a nutshell anyway

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    OK, Debbie, I’m a gay woman. I can lie about this, I can hide this, I can pretend I’m not gay and marry, I can therapize myself, and try to ‘pray away the gay’ … but, at the end of all of it; I’m still attracted to women … never had the least attraction to men, at. all. So, what am I free to do about my gayness, Debbie?

    You are also a Christian, are you not, Teresa? You may choose to lay your sexuality on the altar and ask God to sanctify you. Who knows where He might take that? You can continue asking Him why, you can weep over it or you can presume He knew exactly what He was doing when he made you and seek His will for your life. Or you can go your own way and seek happiness. Jesus told us to seek first his kingdom and everything else would be provided for us. I take that to mean we are not to seek after self-fulfillment. Read the Beatitudes again.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    @ carole – My understanding is that the data analysis is taking much longer than anticipated; that was the status as of Dec.

    @ Teresa, Debbie – Lisa Diamond’s work on fluidity would be a good place to start. Adam Safron has a study submitted which looks at brain scans and I have some survey data I hope to get out by early next year. Savic’s brain scan work also indicates that the lesbian response to putative pheromones is not as definite as that of gay males. I do think it might be more likely that a female who dramatically alters her social world along with non-affirming beliefs could suppress or even reduce the experience of same-sex attractions than it would be for a man to do that. There are other women who spontaneously and without attempt shift sexual response for reasons that are not entirely clear.

    My problem with Debbie’s stance is that I don’t believe there is any cause effect relationship between sexual reorientation and the Christian process of sanctification. I think the process can alter behavior but I am skeptical that there is any clear causal link between spiritual disciplines and commitment and change in automatic sexual arousal.

    The practical problem is that when challenges about laying sexuality on the altar are made it presents a causal relationship and sets up a person for a sense of betrayal and frustration. I have encountered many more people who have given up their faith because it didn’t work than I have met who have followed the prescription and it did.

  • Ann

    I’m a gay woman. I can lie about this, I can hide this, I can pretend I’m not gay and marry, I can therapize myself, and try to ‘pray away the gay’ … but, at the end of all of it; I’m still attracted to women … never had the least attraction to men, at. all. So, what am I free to do about my gayness

    Teresa,

    You are free not to lie or hide or pretend or therapize or pray away the gay. You are also free not to force yourself into any relationship that you have no interest in. Why do you have to do anything about your gayness other than live a life you value? Who you are or are not attracted to does not determine the value of your life and/or how you want to live, only you do.

  • Ann

    I have encountered many more people who have given up their faith because it didn’t work than I have met who have followed the prescription and it did.

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    I think this is a very true statement. If the question were to be asked of those who have given up on their faith – “when did you decide you no longer believed in God or religion or faith or Christianity, etc., I think the answer would be – “because it didn’t work”. This is not limited to homosexuality but a myriad of other things based on personal needs. There is so much to say about this and it would take someone with a lot more knowledge than I have to say it.

  • carole

    @ carole – My understanding is that the data analysis is taking much longer than anticipated; that was the status as of Dec.

    Thanks, Warren. That could mean a lot of things–that they found nothing statistically exciting or that they found several things that need further examination or perhaps both.

    Still, long ago when they first announced the study, they said they’d give frequent updates.

  • Jayhuck

    The Language of God, offers the conclusion that homosexuality is “genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”

    I think this would also apply to heterosexuality. It would be very interesting to see a study done addressing this as well :) It seems a staggering thing to try and determine all the various genetic, biological and sociological elements that come together to form a person’s sexual orientation. I’m guessing we won’t know the details of all this in the near future.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Collins referred to “free will choices.” If I don’t like something about myself, I am free to do something about it.

    Collins also referred to cantaloupes. Of course, that was on his shopping list and not part of his discussions on homosexuality and it would be deeply dishonest to imply otherwise.

    Honesty…. hmmmmm… why is that so frequently missing when anti-gay activists speak?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    The practical problem is that when challenges about laying sexuality on the altar are made it presents a causal relationship and sets up a person for a sense of betrayal and frustration. I have encountered many more people who have given up their faith because it didn’t work than I have met who have followed the prescription and it did.

    I quite agree.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    My problem with Debbie’s stance is that I don’t believe there is any cause effect relationship between sexual reorientation and the Christian process of sanctification.

    Why must we limit it to scientific terms? I am not talking about reorientation. I am talking about the human condition before God, which happens to be heterosexual for some and homosexual for others. We don’t bargain with God. We also don’t have to be fatalistic about the hand we’ve been dealt. The clay doesn’t tell the Potter He made a mistake. God has a purpose for everything. Instead of running from it, why not seek it? If God cannot sanctify our sexuality, then He is not God.

    Are you telling us, Timothy, that free will does not apply to homosexuality? Would you care to let us know what other areas of life it doesn’t touch?

  • preston

    it is the height of hubris to expect that someone must, as a matter of course, try to change

    But it is much worse to prevent people who want to change from trying. The gay agenda has made great progress in achieving this both through convincing the public that homosexuality is probably innate (it’s probably not) and getting professional organizations to forbid members from providing non-gay-affirming treatment under threat of dismissal.

    It’s a travesty.

  • preston

    I think this would also apply to heterosexuality

    Except that heterosexuality is the basis of all of life and homosexuality is wholly a contradiction. The comparison is just plain dumb.

    How anyone could really believe that homosexuality is a normal variance is breathtaking. Homosexuality violates the fundamental root of life: reproduction.

  • Teresa

    You are free not to lie or hide or pretend or therapize or pray away the gay. You are also free not to force yourself into any relationship that you have no interest in. Why do you have to do anything about your gayness other than live a life you value? Who you are or are not attracted to does not determine the value of your life and/or how you want to live, only you do.

    Ann, I agree with everything you’ve stated above. What I’m after from Debbie is to know, with a ‘Yes or No’ answer, is the following:

    If someone has actively tried to ‘change’ their orientation (through placing on the ‘Altar’), and it hasn’t worked … lives chastely … Debbie, is that person ‘disordered’ in your eyes. Do you still believe that there’s something ‘wrong’ with a gay person who lives chastely? Are they a ‘less than’ is your eyes?

    Just ‘Yes or No’, Debbie, is sufficient.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    You are now doing your usual thing where you use ChurchSpeak to remove any logical meaning whatsoever from what you are saying. All that is left is emotional gobbledigook that sound churchy but means nothing in real life terms.

    Remember, Debbie, I grew up immersed in this language so I’m not fooled by it.

    As for free will, of course we have free will. And free will applies as much to sexual orientation as it does to race, height, handedness or anything else that is an immutable characteristic.

    But we do not have the free will to distort the words of others or to dishonestly imply that when Francis Collins talked about free will that he meant the free will to pick one’s orientation. That would be dishonest.

  • preston

    It’s annoying that even someone like Francis gets guilted by gay activists into moderating his views. That homosexuality is not pre-determined of course does not imply that it is alterable. But it also does not imply that it is not alterable. And in fact, a psychological development, even if helped out by pre-dispositions, is likely alterable to some extent.

  • Teresa

    If God cannot sanctify our sexuality, then He is not God.

    What does this mean, Debbie, ‘Change’ or ‘Chastity’ ? What exactly? Can you be more specific, Debbie. I get the sense you’re beating about the bush. Lay it out, if you can.

    Thank you.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    @ Debbie – Why must we limit it to scientific terms? I am not talking about reorientation. I am talking about the human condition before God, which happens to be heterosexual for some and homosexual for others.

    Because the thread is about a new gay change group and their claims, that is what I thought we were talking about. As you know, I have no problem at all with people living in accord with their beliefs about how they should live. Teresa is asking what that means in your eyes, practically.

    @preston – Francis Collins has not been guilted into anything. What he has done is discerned the intent of those arranging his work for unscientific purposes. Your comments about the gay agenda indicate to me that you are not particularly interested in where the science leads, unless it leads to confirmation of your views. The fact is that the evidence about change is not encouraging for those who want it to be. I would offer to you the same offer I have made to NARTH on several occasions: Provide the three best studies which support your views of change or causation. I will be glad to review them.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Preston said:

    But it is much worse to prevent people who want to change from trying. The gay agenda has made great progress in achieving this both through convincing the public that homosexuality is probably innate (it’s probably not) and getting professional organizations to forbid members from providing non-gay-affirming treatment under threat of dismissal.

    Judging from your statements there is probably no point in responding, however I will on this one point.

    You have introduced a Straw Man — no on is preventing anyone from trying anything. No matter how futile the evidence suggests the attempt will be, individuals continue to make such attempts through all sorts of dubious methods.

    What no one can reasonably expect is that professional organizations be forced to advocate or condone “therapy” for something which is not recognized as a disorder — especially when such “therapy” is built upon false data and pseudo-science. It is, in fact, exactly the kind of thing which professional organizations were, in part, created to help eliminate.

    Your enemy here is reality, and the facts of the matter. Don’t blame the messengers.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    What does this mean, Debbie, ‘Change’ or ‘Chastity’ ? What exactly? Can you be more specific, Debbie. I get the sense you’re beating about the bush. Lay it out, if you can.

    I am not God, and I can’t speak to all His purposes. Science does not explain the spiritual. Some things cannot be measured. I cannot be a minor providence for you.

    If someone has actively tried to ‘change’ their orientation (through placing on the ‘Altar’), and it hasn’t worked … lives chastely … Debbie, is that person ‘disordered’ in your eyes. Do you still believe that there’s something ‘wrong’ with a gay person who lives chastely? Are they a ‘less than’ is your eyes?

    Why on earth would you need to ask me this? Who am I that you seek my approval? If there is something disordered about a gay person who chooses to live chastely or celibately, then we are all disordered since we all find we have to resist temptations of many kinds. The plain answer, in English, is “no.” That’s for Timothy’s benefit.

    You are now doing your usual thing where you use ChurchSpeak to remove any logical meaning whatsoever from what you are saying. All that is left is emotional gobbledigook that sound churchy but means nothing in real life terms

    .

    Timothy, I am not using what you like to call ChurchSpeak. I am speaking the King’s plain English. I’m just a provincial English major, remember? I’m sorry you seem to have difficulty speaking it, too.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Because the thread is about a new gay change group and their claims, that is what I thought we were talking about.

    Yes, but they are not a scientific group. They are LDS, are they not? That opens the topic to spiritual concerns.

  • Mary

    challenges about laying sexuality on the altar

    I know I’m taking this out of context and my response is not really about the post. It’s just that those words caught me as marking how pagan many of our religious ideas still are.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    “Who am I that you seek my approval?”

    She’s not asking for your approval Debbie, but your opinion.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Feb 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    “Yes, but they are not a scientific group. They are LDS, are they not? That opens the topic to spiritual concerns.”

    however they are distorting scientific findings to bolster their claims. The issue here isn’t their religious beliefs but there distortion of scientific claims.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    @Debbie – The group claimed in the Salt Lake City paper that science and religion were on the same page and used Francis Collins to bolster their case for science. This is what I object to. They claim to be a scientific group in their public statement but (mis)use science as a means of advancing an essentially religious perspective.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    The group claimed in the Salt Lake City paper that science and religion were on the same page and used Francis Collins to bolster their case for science. This is what I object to. They claim to be a scientific group in their public statement but (mis)use science as a means of advancing an essentially religious perspective.

    That is clear, Warren. I have not disagreed with you on that, have I?

  • Teresa

    @Debbie: Why on earth would you need to ask me this? Who am I that you seek my approval? If there is something disordered about a gay person who chooses to live chastely or celibately, then we are all disordered since we all find we have to resist temptations of many kinds. The plain answer, in English, is “no.” That’s for Timothy’s benefit.

    Bolding is my addition to the above quote. First, I wasn’t asking for your approval, Debbie. Second, your “NO” is not only for Timothy’s benefit; but, also for my own prior question to you.

    The following, Debbie, is not meant to be a pain-in-the-neck to you; but, for my own reading purposes, your responses leave me bewildered and confused. Here’s what I think your beliefs are regarding homosexuality:

    1. Orientation can be changed, if just enough prayer is done … e.g., your own self, which only you can be the judge of.

    2. If your orientation doesn’t change, well you really haven’t done #1 correctly; but, in lieu of anything else, you’ll be sort of OK if you’re chaste … but, don’t mention the fact that you’re gay … because you’re really not, you’re a Child of God.

    If I have misunderstood you, Debbie, I apologize. You’re free to correct me … in plain enough words.

    I wonder though, Debbie, when you refer to yourself; you refer to yourself as a wife, mother, etc. Why don’t you leave all of that out of your story; and, simply refer to yourself as a Child of God?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    @Debbie – It seems we have gone in a circle.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    It seems we have gone in a circle.

    Well, some here want it to be that way. I believe you established that those who want to place a scientific covering over their religious beliefs have a very long row to hoe. As science seems to be king at this blog, I merely pointed that science cannot account for the spiritual realm, which is a powerful one.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I don’t know how you arrived at the conclusions you did about what I believe, Teresa. Or why it is so important to establishment every jot and tittle of what I believe here. Have you clearly stated your own beliefs about your sexuality? About mine you are mistaken.

    Prayer is not a magic wand. It is a way of drawing nearer to God and opening your heart to Him. It is not a rote, repetitious thing. It is not bargaining with God.

    A person sincerely seeking God will never come away unchanged in some meaningful way. That doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. It means you can find peace in the struggle and that it will keep you closer to God.

    To address an earlier comment you made, to “lay something on the altar” is not a pagan expression. If anything, it is a Jewish one. For Christians, the term that is most appropriate may be to lay it at the foot of the cross. In either case it represents sacrificial obedience. If we want God to speak more deeply into our lives, it requires obedience to what He has already spoken.

    I wonder though, Debbie, when you refer to yourself; you refer to yourself as a wife, mother, etc. Why don’t you leave all of that out of your story; and, simply refer to yourself as a Child of God?

    Because those are important parts of who I am. That does not automatically judge someone who is not a wife or mother. I am first a follower of Christ, a fellow heir with him to God’s kingdom.

  • preston

    no on is preventing anyone from trying anything

    C’mon, Dave! The APA, due primarily to gay agenda influence, prohibits members from treating or researching in a non-gay-affirming manner. Sure, that does not preclude non-licensed practitioners from engaging in such activities but surely you can see the problem? The only reason it’s not considered a disorder is because the APA made a rash decision to remove it from the DSM. The tasks forces it has convened to set policy on the matter have been hysterically pro-gay. It’s inconceivable they could come up with non-gay-affirming policy.

    Do you dispute that no one has changed? Do you dispute all of the studies that have observed change? There is zero question in my mind that change is possible. Why can’t you let people self-determine on this matter?

    And, sorry, Warren, but I think yours and Yarhouse’s current position is a cop-out. Think about treating a married couple. You steer them away from divorce. But if marriage remains untenable, you help them through the process. With sexuality, patients aren’t even allowed to move towards hetero which is completely insane.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    C’mon, Dave! The APA, due primarily to gay agenda influence, prohibits members from treating or researching in a non-gay-affirming manner. Sure, that does not preclude non-licensed practitioners from engaging in such activities but surely you can see the problem? The only reason it’s not considered a disorder is because the APA made a rash decision to remove it from the DSM. The tasks forces it has convened to set policy on the matter have been hysterically pro-gay. It’s inconceivable they could come up with non-gay-affirming policy.

    You obviously don’t understand the history behind the reason the APA removed homosexuality from its list of disorders. The decision you claim was rash actually took almost a year. There have been numerous studies done since proving it is not a disorder.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Do you dispute that no one has changed? Do you dispute all of the studies that have observed change? There is zero question in my mind that change is possible. Why can’t you let people self-determine on this matter?

    What are “all the studies” you refer to? The best studies we have to date show that change is nearly impossible for most people. Of the people who really wanted to change, who appeared to try the hardest, only a small fraction were able to show any real change. Which speaks volumes about the “possibility” of change. I’m fine with allowing people to self-determine, they already do.

  • preston

    We could start with Spitzer. There are many others. As well as people and groups reporting change. As well as common sense that a psychological development would be mutable. I have *never* seen a study that showed “only a small fraction” were able to change. I have *never* seen a study that showed it was “nearly impossible”.

    Please stop implying that non-religious people can go to a licensed therapist and get non-gay-affirming treatment. It is forbidden by the APA as unethical.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    preston – I believe you have been spending way too much time on the NARTH website because your view is only partially informed.

    The 2009 APA task force opened up the situation for people to pursue objectives they wanted with the caveat that therapists are to provide informed consent and are not bound to provide treatments that don’t work. The APA asserted that sexual orientation change efforts have inadequate research support but that some people seem to change sexual identity and/or behavior. The situation is such that the APA found no evidence for reparative therapy but recognized that some SSA people will not embrace a gay identity and therapists should respect that. To me, that seems to be a good integration of current research and respect for divergent world views.

    As for our cop out, you should read the framework and pose specific questions, because you don’t seem to understand what we are advocating.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    PS – You do realize that Spitzer’s study was of people who said they had changed already. And that the changes were not complete and that he believes based on his research that change is infrequent, perhaps less than 10% of those who seek it? You probably also know that the study did not employ a control group or many of the aspects that would allow someone to assess change?

  • ken

    Warren# ~ Feb 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    “preston – I believe you have been spending way too much time on the NARTH website because your view is only partially informed. ”

    I was thinking the same thing :)

    With regards to the Spitzer study, the biggest takeaway (which both sides ignored) was his call for more research into the area of conversion therapy.

  • preston

    Yes, of course I know exactly what Spitzer found: more than zero people changed!! And his study definitely did not limit the number to 10%.

    I will admit, I do not automatically dismiss NARTH. I don’t think NARTH is perfect but I don’t think it’s reasonable to reject 100% of its citations.

    The APA still precludes non-religious people from seeking SSA change. How can you dispute that?

  • ken

    preston# ~ Feb 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    “I don’t think NARTH is perfect but I don’t think it’s reasonable to reject 100% of its citations.”

    If you actually lookup NARTH’s citations (and how they mis-represent them) as well as read some of their “research” it really isn’t that hard to see why some would reject everything they do.

    “The APA still precludes non-religious people from seeking SSA change. How can you dispute that?”

    Got a better idea, how about you actually try to prove it? After all it is your (inaccurate) claim.

  • preston

    No, I think it you have to be either brain-dead or obscenely prejudiced to discount “everything they do”. Forget what NARTH says, just look at what they cite (if you can).

    The proof that heterosexuality is normal is that it is required to procreate. The burden really should be on you to prove that a prevention of reproduction is normal.

  • preston

    Regarding the APA, If you look at the people on the Task Force you can easily see that they area all gay-friendly. All. 100%. Which makes it highly unlikely that they would advise in a balanced manner. If you cannot se this, you are blind or way too married to the result.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    I haven’t gone looking at NARTH’s site recently, but here’s the problem that I had with their credibility in the past: On the site, they presented a number of case histories, but there seemed to be a suspicious “shortage” of case histories that said:

    Mr. X.Y.Z. self-referred to us, complaining of alcohol-abuse issues that he attributed to feeling conflicted about his homosexual attractions. After consultation with the patient, we determined that he was quite well-adjusted with respect to his homosexuality, and would be unlikely to benefit from our therapeutic approach, so we referred patient to another clinic specializing in substance-abuse problems.

    In other words, although NARTH claims to be interested in treating only those clients who are “dysphoric” about their sexual orientation, in practice it’s not clear that they have any screening protocol to help identify those who aren’t truly suffering from “dysphoria” over their homosexual desires.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Teresa, best not to try to reason with Mrs Thurman. She has a masters in English from some provincial college

    Opening with an ad hominem about an opponent’s educational background is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot, Mr. Voice-of-Rationality.

  • preston

    If you think NARTH is not reputable, that’s fine. NARTH had some problems which I am willing to admit. But. You cannot disregard that there are people who claim change. And you cannot discount that there are groups who claim change. And you cannot discount that change is intuitively possible.

    In sum: leave people alone who want to change!

  • preston

    Let people change!!!

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @preston – very well – change.

    Conduct an experiment, with yourself as the subject (to avoid ethics issues). Record your involuntary response to erotic stimuli of various kinds, using blood flow to the brain as recorded by fMRI, polygraph, plethysmograph etc.

    Then have whatever therapeutic intervention you wish to change your sexual orientation. Not your sexual behaviour, you should be celibate over the experimental period to shackle that variable..

    Now make the same measurements of the objective evidence about your sexual orientation. Make annual measurements for five years, then have whatever medical therapy you wish to change back to the baseline.

    For good experimental data, we’d need a sample size >1, and a control group who don’t have the therapy you insist must exist. But we have to start somewhere.

    I’ll even volunteer myself, except after the experiment is over, I’d prefer to change back once more from straight (the baseline) to lesbian. It would make my life a lot easier (for reasons it would be tedious to explain).

    As I and most everyone else have already changed sexual orientation from asexual (most do so at puberty), change should be possible, but it may not be reversible and may be pre-ordained from about the 12th week after conception.

    See Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

    The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.

    My interest is mostly in gender identity rather than sexual orientation. Much as I would like to be a completely rational scientist, when it comes to sex I’m very prudish. I could probably do with the services of a sex therapist, but if I was able to bring myself to see one, then the problem would already have been solved.

  • William

    Preston, neither the APA nor anyone else is stopping anyone from seeking therapy to change their sexual orientation, any more than it is stopping anyone from going to a chiromantist to get their hand read, from consulting a tarot reader, astrologer or numerologist, or from calling in a clairvoyant to read their tea-leaves. They just don’t endorse these things.

  • Mary

    Preston,

    I am one of those who has changed. It does happen. But I am convinced that it is a very personal journey and that it does not happen for everyone or to the same degree for everyone.

    I, too, am discouraged by the onslaught of naysayers. I think it impedes any progress that can be made. Having said that, while there are people who will continue to consider counselors who help those with change as reading tea leaves, it is important to stand, speak up, be rational, and continue to show that change does happen.

    My counselor went to an Ivy League school, is reputable, is christian, and has been very helpful. She has also stayed well within the guidelines of allowing me to meander along in my journey willy nilly. It is up to the client to determine how things will go. That’s the ethical code.

  • ken

    preston# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 1:11 am

    “Forget what NARTH says, just look at what they cite (if you can).”

    I have looked at what they cited. And most of the time what they cited didn’t really say what NARTH claimed it did. Or wasn’t peer-reviewed research (and was easy to see why it wasn’t), Granted it has been nearly 10 years since I looked at anything NARTH has had to say.

    Now if there is something specific you’d like me (or others here) to look at and discuss feel free to post the citation(s).

    “The proof that heterosexuality is normal is that it is required to procreate. The burden really should be on you to prove that a prevention of reproduction is normal.”

    1st, from an evolutionary standpoint the purpose of sexual intercourse (and sexuality) is not necessarily reproduction (I’ve post the argument about that here: ken# ~ Feb 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm )

    2nd, homosexuality doesn’t prevent heterosexual reproduction AND many gays have actually reproduced.

    preston# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 1:26 am

    “If you look at the people on the Task Force you can easily see that they area all gay-friendly. All. 100%. Which makes it highly unlikely that they would advise in a balanced manner. If you cannot se this, you are blind or way too married to the result.”

    what task force are you talking about? the NIMH Task force on homosexuality that Evelyn Hooker headed?

    Do you have actual evidence/examples of bias or are you just throwing mud and hoping it sticks?

    by the way, I’m still waiting for your evidence that:

    “The APA still precludes non-religious people from seeking SSA change.”

    preston# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

    “You cannot disregard that there are people who claim change.”

    I don’t. However, claiming to change and actual change in sexual orientation are not the same thing. Actually tried to keep an open mind about conversion therapy when I 1st started looking into it (back in the late 90s). The I read the less convinced I became about it and the more I saw how organizations (like NARTH and EXODUS) claiming to change gay men into straight were being deceptive.

    Now, I do believe change MAY be possible IN SOME CASES (and more likely for women than men), but that change is very rare and in some extreme cases may be dangerous to try.

  • Mary

    Preston,

    Also, let me add, that change while it can occur quickly, lasting change takes much longer than one or two years.

    It was my experience that I changed without therapy. Only when confronted with other life issues did I enter into therapy and start dealing with the foundations of my sexuality. I realized that although change does occur, a person, when confronted with a stress or difficulty in life may be tempted to go back and partake in activities that were satisfying in the past. Once that boundary has been crossed – it has been crossed.

    However, change does occur.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Preston..

    Just how do you define change? Are you referring to a complete change of orientation?? A lessening of same sex desire?? .. a change of behavior? .. a change to celibacy? Or something else??

    Even Alan Chambers of Exodus admits that he still has same sex feeling at times … so if you are defining this as an absolute change you may have great difficulty finding people who testify to it. A more practical approach might be for you to explore the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework which was put together by Dr. Throckmorton and Dr. Yarhouse. See this link .. This therapy does not give false promises about change of feelings or attractions but instead allows the client to choose how they wish to identify. I believe the APA has shown a favorable response to this framework .. which I encourages the professional counselor to consider their client’s religious beliefs as being important part of their well being.

    The basic problem with guaranteeing a change of feeling / attractions / orientation to a client or a brother or sister in Christ is that such a promise has very little grip on reality and is, in fact, dishonest .. Emotions and feelings are a barometer of the soul .. they give indication to what is going on inside of us … they cannot be “fixed”. We would not promise / guarantee someone on the apsergers / autism spectrum such a change. We would not guarantee / promise someone who is bipolar such a complete change. Nor would we guarantee / promise someone who is an extrovert that they could become an introvert or vice versa. So why would we guarantee / promise things here? I sense you are being influenced by something that I call the Galileo effect. The Galileo effect refers to the controversy that the church had with the science of Galileo. They were sure that the earth being the center of the universe was a biblical irrefutable truth and thus condemned his scientific findings (that the earth was not the center). In a similar way .. the Bible has nothing to say about a same sex orientation .. nor the things I mentioned earlier in this paragraph. So why insist on change when scripture gives no such guarantee? And why presume that psychology (APA) is wrong on the issue of orientation change especially when we recognize the validity of other traits or conditions a person may have?

    Another problem that comes in with orientation change therapy is that it is often shame based. People are driven to it because they are ashamed of themselves for having these feelings. When / if change fails to occur they are left feeling unloved and ashamed .. ashamed of their own inability to change and (in their minds) unloved by God because they have same sex attractions. With such a heavy shame load and such an expectancy at times from the church for change .. it is easier for some folks to deny feelings and lie about their attractions rather than face rejection by the church and rejection (in their minds) by God. I suppose there are some who feel loved by God regardless of whether change occurs or not (which would be healthy) but this is often the exception .. not the rule. I personally think it is very difficult to honestly measure or prove that change has occurred especially when there is such a heavy weight of shame and expectation put on people in this area. This site tells the stories of many people who finally broke away from the self denial that they were in.

    Having said all of this .. the presence of same sex feelings does not necessarily mean a same sex orientation. The same sex relationships that can occur in same sex prisons are indicative of this. This site tells the stories of many people who finally broke away from the self denial that they were in.

    Having said all of this .. the presence of same sex feelings does not necessarily mean a same sex orientation. The same sex relationships that can occur in same sex prisons are indicative of this. This is often called “Situational Homosexuality” and can happen between straight people.

    Additionally there may be some who have greater fluidity in this area than others .. in other words people who are bisexual may be able to focus themselves on the opposite sex and accomplish “change” easier than those who may be more hardwired in their attractions.

    Folks in either of these two situations outlined above may call something “change” when it is actually a return to their true orientation or emphasis on one side of their (bisexual) orientation. Thus the difficulty of a one size fits all ideology.

    I am opposed to orientation change therapy for several reasons one of which is the many self worth issues that can get wrapped up in it. For example .. I know of many gay Christians who believe a life of abstinence from same sex sex is the way to honor God. However .. for some / many of them .. their church and even their families reject this as not good enough .. and expect orientation change. Such a lack of acceptance does not .. IMHO .. create a good atmosphere for people to explore their feelings honestly.

    It seems to me that the best approach for someone to take who is unhappy with their attractions would be to pursue a life in Christ first .. if they find issues in their life that require counseling then perhaps they should pursue that and resolve those issues. If their feelings and attractions change as a result .. then that’s OK. If they don’t .. then that’s OK too. God loves them either way.

    Dave

    P.S For a well written article on the broadness of experience in this area see this post by Wendy Gritter.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Not sure what happened in my post above .. just ignore the first time you see the paragraph that begins with: “Having said all this .. the presence of …” and jump to the second time you see the same phrase

    Dave

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    It seems to me that the best approach for someone to take who is unhappy with their attractions would be to pursue a life in Christ first .. if they find issues in their life that require counseling then perhaps they should pursue that and resolve those issues. If their feelings and attractions change as a result .. then that’s OK. If they don’t .. then that’s OK too. God loves them either way.

    I wish we could all put this in stone and agree on it.

    The realm of therapy is not the place to pursue “change” in sexual attractions, IMHO. It can do lots of good for associated problems, which then might put one on track to be more receptive to spiritual growth.

  • preston

    Debbie, sounds good except for the god part. I wish there was more non-religious work in this area. Religion really screws it all up, in my opinion, because it’s too easy to dismiss anything with a hint of religious underpinnings.

    Zoe, Swaab is one of the more biased researchers I’ve come across. The evidence supporting those assertions is severely lacking. The bolded statement is a perfect reflection on why the credibility of the researchers is questionable. “No indication”? Really? As in zero indication? That’s just not true.

    William, people can seek the therapy and research but they won’t find it with APA-licensed professionals. Which is more than unfortunate. I actually think it’s quite irresponsible of the APA and its members.

    Dave, I would be OK with change sufficient so that self-identifying as gay is unnecessary. So not “absolute change” (whatever that means). I suppose the Yarhouse/Throckmorton stuff is OK but I don’t like the religious underpinnings and I wish it wasn’t so non-committal. If people want to change, why not try and help them? It’s like if people want to save their marriage we steer them away from divorce. But if divorce ends up being the answer, then we help them with that.

    Ken, here you go: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexual-orientation.aspx The APA only permits SOCE for religious people.

    Here are NARTH’s references: http://narth.com/main-issues/what-do-clinical-studies-say/ Again, since you have a problem with NARTH itself, just read the sources.

    Here are the members of the task force: Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, Chair; Lee Beckstead, PhD; Jack Drescher, MD; Beverly Greene, PhD; Robin Lin Miller, PhD; Roger L. Worthington, PhD. All pro-gay. Drescher, in particular, is a joke. The APA refused to include anyone who’s opinions departed from the desired outcome.

  • Teresa

    @Mary: I am one of those who has changed. It does happen. But I am convinced that it is a very personal journey and that it does not happen for everyone or to the same degree for everyone.

    Are you saying, Mary, that your present sexual orientation is heterosexual? That you indeed ‘changed’ from being a lesbian to being str8?

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Preston, it’s rather hard to take “the God stuff” out of the human equation. We are all spiritual beings, like it or not. Religion messes things up, agreed. I don’t think God is too interested in religion. He’s interested in having His people know Him and themselves. Also, most people acknowledge their spirituality, even if they don’t know how best to access it.

  • Mary

    The realm of therapy is not the place to pursue “change” in sexual attractions, IMHO.

    As a christian, I disagree with this statedment. Debbie, I’m just providing scope to others who are new to this topic and subject. You and I are both “changed” women who took different approaches.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Mary, if it happens that therapy helps someone to experience change, great. They should be free to pursue that goal, as long as the therapist is very clear that there are no guarantees. There will likely be other serendipities along the way. I went through a year of Christian therapy specifically for my SSA, and it helped me a great deal. I also went through years of therapy (secular) for depression and other stuff. Mixed reviews.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    I think we can all agree that the experience is very personal and unique to each person.

  • Mary

    Theresa,

    Yes.

  • preston

    Why is SSA the only condition that so many feel the need to remind everyone that there are no guarantees?

  • ken

    preston# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    “William, people can seek the therapy and research but they won’t find it with APA-licensed professionals.”

    the APA doesn’t license therapists, the state does. Although, I believe some states relying heavily on APA guidelines. Btw, many NARTH members are (were) also APA members, including Nicolosi. What research are you talking about?

    “Dave, I would be OK with change sufficient so that self-identifying as gay is unnecessary. ”

    Good for you, is that what the actual patients are seeking though? I doubt it.

    “So not “absolute change” (whatever that means).”

    It means being straight, i.e. not still “struggling with SSA”, means not “lapsing”, means not fantasizing about Kevin Bacon in order to have sex with a woman.

    “If people want to change, why not try and help them? ”

    Because you probably aren’t going to be able to change their orientation.

    “Ken, here you go: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexual-orientation.aspx The APA only permits SOCE for religious people.”

    I’ve read this twice now, perhaps you can just post the part where is says “The APA still precludes non-religious people from seeking SSA change.” or “SOCE is only for religious people.” cause I can’t find where it says either of those.

    “Here are NARTH’s references: http://narth.com/main-issues/what-do-clinical-studies-say/ Again, since you have a problem with NARTH itself, just read the sources.”

    I’ve read this stuff before. This is just NARTH attempting to attack research it doesn’t like and doing a poor job of it. they do what they always do, mislead and misrepresent the research.

    “Drescher, in particular, is a joke. ”

    Other than he doesn’t agree with you do you have anything to back this claim up with or are you just slinging mud again?

    ‘The APA refused to include anyone who’s opinions departed from the desired outcome.”

    Who did the APA refuse to include in the task force? And how do you know why they were refused?

  • Mary

    Preston,

    There will be aired on television this week some interviews with sexual violators (for lack of a better word). I am curious to watch and see how they deal with changing their “attractions”.

  • Mary

    “William, people can seek the therapy and research but they won’t find it with APA-licensed professionals.”

    Taken in the spirit of what you are saying – yes APA members do engage in sexual orientation change therapy. Not all members agree with that – but some do.

  • Mary

    ‘The APA refused to include anyone who’s opinions departed from the desired outcome.”

    After reading the entire APA report, I felt that it was biased from those who were on the review board. And I felt that it’s opinions did not cover those people with a religious view enough.

  • Mary

    “If people want to change, why not try and help them? ”

    Because you probably aren’t going to be able to change their orientation.

    I can only imagine my life if my counsleor had said no to me, too.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    preston# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Why is SSA the only condition that so many feel the need to remind everyone that there are no guarantees?

    It isn’t .. its the only “condition” that Christians in particular say must be changeable.

    Dave

  • Mary

    Dave,

    Not true. We talk about transforming our lives in many, many ways not just this one.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Why is SSA the only condition that so many feel the need to remind everyone that there are no guarantees?

    Because the chance of any substantial change is incredibly small, and its only fair that people understand that and aren’t led to believe otherwise.

    I hope you aren’t trying to hold NARTH up as some kind of respectable organization.

    You steer them away from divorce. But if marriage remains untenable, you help them through the process. With sexuality, patients aren’t even allowed to move towards hetero which is completely insane.

    You are comparing apples and oranges here. I think its pretty safe to say that divorce is generally a bad thing, even if its necessary at times. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is not a disease. There is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality. There is no reason to seek a cure for it unless people experience what I think the APA and the WHO call Egodystonic sexual orientation. In this case then people could pursue LGB affirming therapy or something more along the lines of What Throckmorton proposes.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    If you think NARTH is not reputable, that’s fine. NARTH had some problems which I am willing to admit. But. You cannot disregard that there are people who claim change. And you cannot discount that there are groups who claim change. And you cannot discount that change is intuitively possible.

    NARTH had “some” problems? LOL – nice try minimizing the extent of the problems that surround that organization.

    You also cannot discount that many people who used to claim change, come out years later saying that they were deluding themselves, or that people who started these organizations that “claim change” later decide they were wrong. The best evidence we have to date says, in a nutshell, that of the people who tried hardest to change, only a small percentage were actually able to achieve it – and even then, they weren’t able to leave their same sex attractions behind completely

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Swaab is one of the more biased researchers I’ve come across. The evidence supporting those assertions is severely lacking. The bolded statement is a perfect reflection on why the credibility of the researchers is questionable. “No indication”? Really? As in zero indication? That’s just not true.

    OK then, show me some peer-reviewed research showing p <0.05 change in randomised samples of a decent size with 5 year follow-up compared with controls in double-blind experiments.

    Behavioural change is easy to demonstrate, but even then, the expected solid evidence is lacking.

    Considering that the majority of the testimony is from people who say that they don't act on their feelings any more, and that those who in the past have said the feelings have gone away notoriously revert, and that there is no backup at all from objective measurements – I'd say there is as not nearly as much indication as there is for the existence of the Easter Bunny.

    People can be traumatised into bisexual, asexual, homosexual or heterosexual behaviour. As the trauma heals, the behaviour will usually change. But there's no indication that sexual orientation changes either before or after. Situational homosexual behaviour in even mildly bisexual people who would otherwise be exclusively heterosexual in behaviour is well-documented. But the behaviour reverts when the stimulus is removed, and again, there's no indication of changes to feelings, just whether they are acted upon.

    We have to be careful with transitions from asexual sexual orientation though. These are one-way trips, as the organisation of the brain's structure gets activated by hormonal stimulus, causing changes to neuro-anatomy. Further stimulation, or counter-stimulation by cross-sexed hormones, has no effect.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Mary# ~ Feb 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Dave,

    Not true. We talk about transforming our lives in many, many ways not just this one.

    I am a Christian pastor .. I know about transformation .. I also know that sometimes we make the mistake of portraying certain things as simple and instantaneous when in reality .. they are not .. When we do this sort of thing we set people up for dissillusionment (and potential abandonment of the faith because they do not experience what we said they would).

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Having said all that, and pontificated at length – I have to *listen* to Debbie Thurman (for example), to her narrative of what she says she has felt, and not impose my own world-view on reality. I must be open to the evidence, and adjust my theories to fit the evidence, not the other way around.

    I particularly thank Debbie for being so open and honest about her own situation. I try to show the same degree of honesty in introspection myself. I may be mistaken – honesty doesn’t stop that, but when it comes to others’ narratives, I have no right for my Ideology to trump others Experience.

  • Teresa

    From Zoe: Having said all that, and pontificated at length – I have to *listen* to Debbie Thurman (for example), to her narrative of what she says she has felt, and not impose my own world-view on reality. I must be open to the evidence, and adjust my theories to fit the evidence, not the other way around.

    I particularly thank Debbie for being so open and honest about her own situation. I try to show the same degree of honesty in introspection myself. I may be mistaken – honesty doesn’t stop that, but when it comes to others’ narratives, I have no right for my Ideology to trump others Experience.

    Zoe, I think what you’ve said is excellent. I can’t discount Debbie’s or Mary’s story etc., at all. It is, after all, their story, and their experience. I must be willing to walk with them, listen to them, and not be dismissive of their reality. I shouldn’t feel threatened that they have been able to ‘change’; and, I have not.

    I shouldn’t have to manufacture data, lie about other data to try and dismiss the ‘change’ stories (which, btw, seem to mainly affect women … and, that in small numbers) because it’s threatening to me in some ways. I need to be open to everyone’s story, and let them be who they are.

    The homosexual community is not a monolithic community. In our community are conservatives, liberals, Christian, non-Christian, those pursuing chastity, those not. If Christianity means anything to me, and it does, it means sometimes being on the outside of even the gay community, because of the positions I hold. That’s OK with me, as long as I can try to understand rather than be understood.

    I’d like to thank everyone on this blog for your participation, and, in the main, being courteous and polite.

    BTW, Mary, very COOL!

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    We have to be careful with transitions from asexual sexual orientation though. These are one-way trips, as the organisation of the brain’s structure gets activated by hormonal stimulus, causing changes to neuro-anatomy. Further stimulation, or counter-stimulation by cross-sexed hormones, has no effect.

    Er, are you talking about humans here, or laboratory studies of juvenile animal models (e.g., baby hamsters)?

    I’m just asking because I know that the effects of hormones on infant brain sexualization have been extensively tested and confirmed with rodents and other “model organisms,” but I don’t think we have the same wealth of direct empirical data for humans — we can only assume that a similar effect operates in human development.

  • preston

    There is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality

    Except that it violates evolutionary theory and if pursued universally would lead to the end of humanity. That’s not right.

    The best evidence we have to date says, in a nutshell, that of the people who tried hardest to change, only a small percentage were actually able to achieve it.

    the chance of any substantial change is incredibly small

    I have actually never seen any research to support these assertions. Can anyone provide a link or two?

    Zoe, your bar is higher than mine. A satisfying heterosexual relationship would be adequate. People have all sorts urges, fantasies and feelings that don’t disrupt that.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    preston# ~ Mar 1, 2011 at 4:13 am

    There is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality

    Except that it violates evolutionary theory and if pursued universally would lead to the end of humanity. That’s not right.

    As has been said before .. plenty of gay folks have had children .. and even if you discount that .. the number of people who are gay is as low as 2% .. and certainly not more than 10%. So I don’t see it leading to the end of humanity as we know it..

    Since you asked for data on change .. here is an example .. (though I personally think the number is not that high).. The data was focused on a particular change group and did not follow the people out in time for a long enough period IMHO.

    You keep talking about change as if no one has attempted .. plenty of gay and lesbian peope I know of attempted it .. it didn’t work .. and for many .. due to the self worth issues I described earlier .. it was destructive to them.

    Our sexuality .. like may other aspects of our personality .. seems to be hardwired. Psychologist and even pastors know that changing someone’s personality is not possible. Helping them manage who they are and mature as a person is possible.

    There are folks here who have testified that they personally were able to change … that’s their life expereince and I’m not out to topple that. But how do they define change. Thats a question I have heard asked in this thread but has not been answered. From my own experience of listening to people I know that for some the change is probably more how they internally have decided to interpret their feelings. What they may experience intermittantly as temptation .. folks who are gay experience as identity and personhood. Not everyone experiences same sex attractions the same way. For some, as I said before .. there is more fluidity in this area. Some may be able to brush off this aspect of themselves .. others may not be able to without it feeling crippling to their sense of self.

    Another obvious question is: Why should a person change their feelings? Because society is uncomfortable with those feelings?? Because of your evolutionary theory ideas?? Because of what the church says??

    Why can’t people be allowed to be themselves? Yes for those who are religous or have some other background that guides them morally .. there may be a moral question here. But that moral question is IMHO seperate from personal feelings and personhood.

    Dave

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I think we would do well to remember that therapy and spiritual transformation are two different “schools” of change. They may intersect, especially in the Christian therapist’s office, as was the case with me. But when a person opens up himself/herself to God and allows the Holy Spirit to search the depths, earnestly seeking, incredible things happen. And it’s not a one-time process. Growth continues, ergo change continues.

  • Mary

    Dave,

    If you are preaching and teaching only about instantaneous change then you’ve missed a whole lot of scripture.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Mary# ~ Mar 1, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Dave,

    If you are preaching and teaching only about instantaneous change then you’ve missed a whole lot of scripture.

    Mary,

    That is not the case. I am simply saying that often Christianity expresses itself as .. just except Jesus .. and your whole life will be OK. Or just take it to the altar and evrything will be OK. But the Christian life is much more than that .. it is journey and spiritual development and maturity that lasts a life time.

    Dave

  • Mary

    Dave,

    I’ve not said that nor endorsed that. I have said that as christians we do work on tranforming our lives in many, many ways – not just working on the SSA issue.

  • Mary

    And it’s not a one-time process. Growth continues, ergo change continues

    I completely agree with this. It’s ongoing.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Except that it violates evolutionary theory and if pursued universally would lead to the end of humanity. That’s not right.

    It does not violate Evolutionary theory, LOL – And celibacy, if pursued universally would lead to the end of humanity as well.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I have actually never seen any research to support these assertions. Can anyone provide a link or two?

    You should read the Jones & Yarhouse study then. And you say you’ve never seen any research, but weren’t you just talking with Warren about the Spitzer study?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    But when a person opens up himself/herself to God and allows the Holy Spirit to search the depths, earnestly seeking, incredible things happen. And it’s not a one-time process. Growth continues, ergo change continues.

    Although our experiences with the Holy spirit have been different, as a Christian, I couldn’t agree more :)

  • Teresa

    I think we would do well to remember that therapy and spiritual transformation are two different “schools” of change. They may intersect, especially in the Christian therapist’s office, as was the case with me. But when a person opens up himself/herself to God and allows the Holy Spirit to search the depths, earnestly seeking, incredible things happen. And it’s not a one-time process. Growth continues, ergo change continues.

    What’s really bothersome to me throughout this conversation is the constant use of the word ‘change’ without adequate definition. If we’re going to have a sensible discourse, our terms need to be adequately defined.

    For Debbie and Mary, it appears ‘change’ means several things including re-orientation. Am I wrong about this? We’re mixing the spiritual with the therapeutic, we’re say ‘transformation’ … this is obfuscating this whole conversation, imho.

    If we’re talking about re-orientation, why can’t we use that term specifically. If we’re talking about some spiritual experience which makes one feel more accepting of themselves, why aren’t we using terms adequate to that definition.

    Why do we persist in using a term ‘change’, which means whatever we want it to mean? A spiritual journey is NOT re-orientation.

    This is the whole problem with the ex-gay movement. ‘Change’ is whatever we say it is, including being duplicitous about study results.

    Why can’t we use terms that have clear definitions?

  • Teresa

    And it’s not a one-time process. Growth continues, ergo change continues.

    Debbie, this is true, for sure. But I’ll alert you to the fact that SSA may ‘seem’ likes it’s gone away, and all is well … but, you may be surprised with what awaits you in the future. I certainly was.

    Our Lord may have big surprises down the road … the door swings both ways. Fluidity isn’t a one-way thing!

  • preston

    Dave, your link, and all of the research I’ve seen does *not* come to the conclusion that it is rare or nearly impossible. I don’t think it’s hardwired at all. Like many personality traits or desires, it’s mutable.

    I’ve put forth definitions of change so I guess you just missed them. Change sufficient that gay self identification is unnecessary and/or a satisfying heterosexual relationship is achieved. It’s the pro-gay folks who want such a high bar as 100% homo to 100% hetero. Or zero urges. That’s not the bar for virtually any type of change effort. But it’s a convenient definition for you all because it really is much more difficult.

    Why can’t people be allowed to be themselves?

    I completely agree. Except that it is the gay agenda who is on a mission to prevent people from changing. It shouts down any evidence of change, shames professionals into not studying the matter or providing treatment and distorts views and definitions.

    My question to you: why won’t you let people make an effort to change? And don’t pretend that you allow it. You rebuke it at every point. Belittle it as not possible. Make the ridiculous assertion that it is somehow the only psychological treatment that can lead to harm. Just leave people alone who want to change!

    Finally, I reject categorically that religion and morality are the only reasons that someone should be allowed to change. Wanting to have a family and wanting to have a heterosexual relationship are very powerful, non-external drivers.

  • preston

    “Re-orientation” is problematic because it assumes homosexual orientation which I think remains undecided. We are probably all hardwired to be heterosexual as is demanded by evolutionary theory.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Teresa, the “change” debate is an old one, and it’s been talked around the horn several times on this blog. I agree that some in ex-gay ministry have been and may continue to be disingenuous about what they mean by change. I’m not sure today many folks would even accept the term reorientation. So many believe it is not really possible to have total reorientation. And others have decided it doesn’t really matter. We will never arrive at a common definition for change.

    Any movement away from a gay identity or a lessening of same-sex attractions can be considered change. Perhaps that can become more significant over time. In spiritual terms, change is being transformed by the renewing of the mind (through knowing Christ). It is not being more accepting of oneself (that’s just changing your point of view), but having more of the mind of Christ. We don’t want to be accepting of sin in ourselves. We want to be discerning and growing.

    A spiritual journey may lead to reorientation, but that is not what it is for.

    Our Lord may have big surprises down the road … the door swings both ways.

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? … How will we who died to sin still live in it?” God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not fluid, and neither do we have to be. The only surprises I look forward to are the unexpected ways in which He works in my life. He never breaks in when or where or how I think He will.

  • Emily K

    Alan Chambers, head of Exodus, doesn’t even think “reorientation” is possible. He has to get on his knees everyday and beg the Lord carry him through the day so that he may “deny what comes naturally” to him. And VP Randy Thomas is so immune to any orientation change that he has to muddle his life in terms like “Christian on a post-gay journey” just so he can avoid calling himself what he still is.

    I mean, no WONDER people don’t believe reorientation can occur. Even the leaders in the ex-gay cottage haven’t experienced such a thing.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    “Re-orientation” is problematic because it assumes homosexual orientation which I think remains undecided. We are probably all hardwired to be heterosexual as is demanded by evolutionary theory.

    I’m not sure what your idea of evolutionary theory is but it appears to be simplistic and incorrect. Evolutionary theory does not demand that we all be heterosexuals

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I’ve put forth definitions of change so I guess you just missed them. Change sufficient that gay self identification is unnecessary and/or a satisfying heterosexual relationship is achieved. It’s the pro-gay folks who want such a high bar as 100% homo to 100% hetero. Or zero urges. That’s not the bar for virtually any type of change effort. But it’s a convenient definition for you all because it really is much more difficult.

    Its achieved only by an incredibly small number of people who try very hard to change Preston – the evidence we have says just this. And what is a satisfying heterosexual relationship anyway? How do you measure that?

    Gay people, their friends and allies, and almost ALL of the scientific community don’t ask for 100% anything, they ask for the truth! Anyone who seeks change, and this group is admittedly pretty small to begin with, should be presented with the truth about change, and all alternatives open to them – or do you not agree with this? Do you think it would be more appropriate to lie to people, to give them false hope, because that’s what you seem to suggest.

    Finally, I reject categorically that religion and morality are the only reasons that someone should be allowed to change. Wanting to have a family and wanting to have a heterosexual relationship are very powerful, non-external drivers.

    I would agree that religion and morality are not the only reasons that someone would seek change, but they appear to be the primary reasons for most of the change that is out there.

    Believe it or not Preston, today you can have a family, be married and be gay. :)

    I completely agree. Except that it is the gay agenda who is on a mission to prevent people from changing. It shouts down any evidence of change, shames professionals into not studying the matter or providing treatment and distorts views and definitions.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    The only surprises I look forward to are the unexpected ways in which He works in my life. He never breaks in when or where or how I think He will.

    Amen :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I completely agree. Except that it is the gay agenda who is on a mission to prevent people from changing. It shouts down any evidence of change, shames professionals into not studying the matter or providing treatment and distorts views and definitions.

    Ooops! Anyway, the gay agenda may have segments of it that don’t desire people to change, but often its because they tried to change and were hurt in the process or after years of trying and praying realized that they were let down because the reality of change did not live up to the dreams they were promised.

  • preston

    Its achieved only by an incredibly small number of people who try very hard to change – the evidence we have says just this

    Again, please provide at least one citation that supports the assertion that only an incredibly small number who try have success.

    Anyone who seeks change, and this group is admittedly pretty small to begin with, should be presented with the truth about change, and all alternatives open to them – or do you not agree with this?

    I strongly agree with this. The one option that is forbidden by the APA to be presented to non-religious people is non-gay-affirming treatment. This is a direct result of the gay agenda not wanting to let people self determine towards change. It’s a travesty.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Alan Chambers, head of Exodus, doesn’t even think “reorientation” is possible. He has to get on his knees everyday and beg the Lord carry him through the day so that he may “deny what comes naturally” to him. And VP Randy Thomas is so immune to any orientation change that he has to muddle his life in terms like “Christian on a post-gay journey” just so he can avoid calling himself what he still is

    .

    I think that’s a bit overly dramatic on both counts. :)

    Sin comes naturally to us all (Romans 7), therefore we all need to be honestly and prayerfully seeking God every day.

  • Emily K

    Actually, that’s Alan’s actual account. He said almost those exact words at a recent LWO conference – one that BTB’s Jim Burroway attended. And regarding Randy, well, those are his words in the quotes. Maybe how I interpret it is “overly dramatic” to you but I respectfully disagree there.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    1. Debbie Thurman# ~ Mar 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    ……

    A spiritual journey may lead to reorientation, but that is not what it is for.

    Our Lord may have big surprises down the road … the door swings both ways.

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? … How will we who died to sin still live in it?” God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not fluid, and neither do we have to be. The only surprises I look forward to are the unexpected ways in which He works in my life. He never breaks in when or where or how I think He will.

    Debbie,

    Well there it is .. I am sorry to see it but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. It appears you are now putting a biblical moral imperative on orientation change … correct me if I am wrong… and if I misunderstood what you are saying .. please restate what you mean.

    Thanks,

    Dave

  • Michael Bussee

    … lessening of same-sex attractions can be considered change.

    Lessening of libido (gay or straight) is also a common sign of major depression. And for many “ex/former/post”-gays, it only means they have gotten older or have become less compulsive about acting out – not that they have become heterosexual.

    Let’s be honest. Let’s at least try to define “change”: You can change spiritually. You can change behavior. You can change labels. You can change “lifestyle” and self-concept. You can change “identity”. No one has ever argued that gays cannot change these things.

    What does not seem to change (at least in gay men) is reorientation of attractions from homosexual to heterosexual — unless you count gay men who get heterosexually married and develop some sort of “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives. Some such men were most likely bisexual to begin with. Joe Dallas of Exodus is an example. Alan Chambers may be another.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Again, please provide at least one citation that supports the assertion that only an incredibly small number who try have success.

    References to the studies that show that only an incredibly small number of people who earnestly try change and actually experience it to some degree have already been presented. Scroll up.

    I strongly agree with this. The one option that is forbidden by the APA to be presented to non-religious people is non-gay-affirming treatment. This is a direct result of the gay agenda not wanting to let people self determine towards change. It’s a travesty.

    LOL – In a way, that’s because it is not a disease Preston, and I’ve personally never met anyone who even talked about change who wasn’t doing it for religious/moral reasons. Neither have I ever read of anyone wanting to change for reasons that were not religious/moral. Furthermore, they, the APA, do recognize Egodystonic orientation and encourage the use therapy to help these people. Whether it be gay affirming therapy or as I said before something along Warren Throckmorton’s SIT.

  • preston

    Change is 1) not needing to self identify as “gay” and 2) satisfaction with heterosexual relationships and lifestyle.

    Please, all of you, let people pursue that! Enough with your “it’s not possible” or “it’s only for religious morality” or “you’re going to harm yourself”! Just let people self determine and let counselors help people.

  • Michael Bussee

    The one option that is forbidden by the APA to be presented to non-religious people is non-gay-affirming treatment.

    I don’t think this is accurate. The APA does not forbid such treatment. It does provide guidelines in terms of ther therapist’s professional and ethical responsibility to provide accurate scientific information about SOCE, about the potential for harm — while at the same time showing respect for a client’s personal and religious beliefs. I know Warren will correct me if I am wrong.

  • Jayhuck

    Michael Bussee,

    What does not seem to change (at least in gay men) is reorientation of attractions from homosexual to heterosexual — unless you count gay men who get heterosexually married and develop some sort of “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives. Some such men were most likely bisexual to begin with. Joe Dallas of Exodus is an example. Alan Chambers may be another.

    Yes! I’ve told this story before but what you said above is very reminiscent of my mother who, unbeknownst to me, had a romantic relationship with a woman for many years. After it ended I asked her about it and she said she didn’t think it could ever happen again, and that she seemed to only have these sorts of feelings for this one particular woman. Even though they were not married, I think this might fall under the “spouso-sexual” feelings you talk about above. :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Please, all of you, let people pursue that! Enough with your “it’s not possible” or “it’s only for religious morality” or “you’re going to harm yourself”! Just let people self determine and let counselors help people.

    Please stop saying that we can somehow stop people from pursuing change if they really want it. No one is stopping anyone. We just want people to be presented with the facts and not falsehood – or to be given fase hope. Mary is a great example. She wanted to seek some sort of change and pursued it. There are options out there for people who want this and no is “stopping” them.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    @Preston – Ok, you talked me into it – Everybody who has not been changing because this blog won’t let you, go for it.

    @Michael – You’re right.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    What I would hope would apply across the board is gay-affirming secular therapists who have clients seeking help with “change” referring those clients elsewhere. Likewise, those who may be a client of a therapist who cannot in good conscience affirm their homosexual identity ought to be referring them to more appropriate therapists.

    I hope those cases we are hearing about where challenges are being issued when client-therapist incompatibility arises are exceptions to the rule. It doesn’t help for people with a clear agenda either way to push the envelope. In the one instance where I had an infiltrator with an agenda come into my recovery group under false pretenses, I felt as if we’d been violated. I was very protective of those women. And trust is hard to come by for them.

  • Jayhuck

    I hope those cases we are hearing about where challenges are being issued when client-therapist incompatibility arises are exceptions to the rule. It doesn’t help for people with a clear agenda either way to push the envelope.

    I think that they are exceptions Debbie and I agree completely with your last statement on agendas.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    What does not seem to change (at least in gay men) is reorientation of attractions from homosexual to heterosexual — unless you count gay men who get heterosexually married and develop some sort of “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives.

    I think we ought to accept that outcome as a very positive form of change for those men. And a blessing for their wives! What wife wouldn’t want her husband to be attracted only to her? Spouso-sexual faithfulness is God’s plan. Otherwise, it’s celibacy and devotion only to Him.

    This may seem silly to some, but my husband and I have talked a number of times about what we might do if either of us became widowed and we weren’t “really” old. Could either of us remarry? It would have to be a “God thing.” As it stands now, neither of us could even consider it. We are so deeply united as “one flesh” that neither of us can see giving ourselves intimately to another, ever. If that’s spouso-sexual attraction, then so be it. Should I be a widow, I intend to change the inscription on my wedding band “Wed to Christ.” Unless God has another plan for me. :)

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Gee, it’s nice to be in such agreement, Jayhuck. :)

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    I completely agree. Except that it is the gay agenda who is on a mission to prevent people from changing. It shouts down any evidence of change, shames professionals into not studying the matter or providing treatment and distorts views and definitions.

    It’s the “gay agenda” that is imposing on you? That’s funny.

    Cuz just last week Anthony Falazano and Greg Quinlan were testifying before a Maryland committee that gay people should be denied rights because gay folk can choose not to be gay anymore.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    “Re-orientation” is problematic because it assumes homosexual orientation which I think remains undecided.

    Preston, a word of advice: when you say that you “think” something that is patently ridiculous, it doesn’t give more credence to the nonsense. It only makes people believe that you have a flaw in your thinking mechanism.

  • Jayhuck

    I agree Debbie :)

  • Jayhuck

    This is also off-topic, but I wanted to thank the States of Hawaii and Maryland for extending at least a few more equal rights to same-sex couples :)

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid
    Our Lord may have big surprises down the road … the door swings both ways.

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? … How will we who died to sin still live in it?” God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not fluid, and neither do we have to be. The only surprises I look forward to are the unexpected ways in which He works in my life. He never breaks in when or where or how I think He will.

    That’s so contradictory and funny that it’s worthy of a Dickens character.

  • preston

    Michael, yes, the APA forbids non-gay-affirming treatment except in the case of religious belief. It states that patients requesting SOCE cannot make that determination on their own and are only being pressured by societal influence. It goes further and considers such treatment unethical and grounds for dismissal. All of this at the behest of the gay agenda with little scientific support.

    Jayhuck, yes, gay activists have made it very difficult to perform the research and get the treatment. Please don’t say “no one is stopping” because it’s plainly false.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Michael, yes, the APA forbids non-gay-affirming treatment except in the case of religious belief. It states that patients requesting SOCE cannot make that determination on their own and are only being pressured by societal influence. It goes further and considers such treatment unethical and grounds for dismissal. All of this at the behest of the gay agenda with little scientific support.

    NO, you are wrong. They do no – please re-read Michael’s post above and Warren’s confirmation of that post.

    Jayhuck, yes, gay activists have made it very difficult to perform the research and get the treatment. Please don’t say “no one is stopping” because it’s plainly false.

    You are wrong again – no one is stopping anyone. Despite the fact that you say these nebulous “gay activistss” have done this, I know of at least two studies done fairly recently – two we’ve been talking about on this blog. And we have several decades of change history which shows a great deal of harm to gay people.

  • Michael Bussee

    What I would hope would apply across the board is gay-affirming secular therapists who have clients seeking help with “change” referring those clients elsewhere.

    That’s the problem. Who? Where? Where to find competent, ethical, well-trained, properly credentialed therapists who offer a scientifically supported and honestly defined “change”? You would have to rule out NARTH and Exodus. Does Warren know of any professional organization that credentials and screens such practitioners?

  • Teresa

    Our Lord may have big surprises down the road … the door swings both ways.

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross. “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? … How will we who died to sin still live in it?” God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not fluid, and neither do we have to be. The only surprises I look forward to are the unexpected ways in which He works in my life. He never breaks in when or where or how I think He will.

    Debbie, I said nothing about “nailing sins to the cross”. My implication for the door “swings both ways” is that you have no idea, Debbie, what will happen to you tomorrow, next year or ten years down the road. Today, you’re untroubled by SSA … your future may be otherwise. It has nothing to “nailing sins to the cross”.

    So, I won’t be misunderstood … you have no clue what is awaiting you and your walk with Our Lord and your SSA. He may have simply given you a reprieve, no?

    Be careful where you take your thoughts for others; they may come back to bite you.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross.

    I must have missed this. Oh well, it was nice being able to agree for as long as we did :) You’re experience of God and others experience of God are different. I understand the Christian need and possibly even mandate to believe they have the right religion, the “truth” as it were, but you should at least respect that other people, people of faith, experience God and Christ differently than you. Yes God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but people of God interpret the scriptures differently.

  • Teresa

    @Debbie: Spouso-sexual faithfulness is God’s plan. Otherwise, it’s celibacy and devotion only to Him.

    God’s Plan is Spouso-sexual faithfulness … Otherwise it’s, etc. … is this somehow a second-best and not God’s Plan? Just sort of a make-do arrangement?

  • Michael Bussee

    “…you should at least respect that other people, people of faith, experience God and Christ differently than you. Yes God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but people of God interpret the scriptures differently.”

    Good luck with that. We have tried many times before to get Debbie to acknowledge that her understanding of God and of God’s will — and of God’s Word — may be wrong. Or that others, just as devoted to serving God and who love Him just as deeply, may have it right. She won’t even entertain the possibility.

    She knows she is right. Humility about such matters does not seem to be one of her strong points. Just once, I would like to hear her say, “I believe such and such to be true…” or “It is my understanding of Scripture that…” For some reason, perhaps pride, she just doesn’t seem capable of it.

  • Mary

    Where to find competent, ethical, well-trained, properly credentialed therapists who offer a scientifically supported and honestly defined “change”?

    My therapist is excellent.

    I can say this that the gay community here has done a wonderful job at curtailing anyone from finding such a person. My counselor does not advertise with NARTH or Exodus and I would never give out her name for fear of retribution.

    Job well done gay community.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Ummm .. gee Mary I am straight … and .. Gee … lets look at the blog roll to the right side of the page .. oh look .. references to Exodus .. and look a reference to Alan Chamber’s (head of Exodus) blog..

    Wow .. big prevention here … no offense Mary but you just severely discredited yourself.

    Dave

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: Glad you hear you found a therapist that met your needs. That’s ONE. Please provide some sort of proof that the “gay community” has curtailed anyone from finding a therapist. How exactly does the “gay community” do that? As long as a therapist is properly trained and licensed, clients are free to go to any therapist of their own choosing — gay affirming or not. I have been to both types. I have read several claims now that the freedom to choose one’s own therapist is “prohibited” by the APA or “curtailed” by the “gay community”, but not proof.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    No, the door swings only one way for the person who has allowed Jesus to nail their sin to the cross.

    I must have missed this.

    I understood Teresa to be saying — warning me, really — that I or others are in danger of swinging back to our old lives. While people can and do backslide, once they really understand what submitting to Christ means, I don’t think they are in this danger. If we disagree on that, we disagree.

  • Mary

    The proof is that I won’t put her name out in public.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, I don’t claim to know all truth. Some things are a mystery that will only be unraveled for us when we see Jesus face to face. That’s what faith is for. But I do know some things. If I am wrong, I will be put straight in the end, won’t I?

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    I can say this that the gay community here has done a wonderful job at curtailing anyone from finding such a person. My counselor does not advertise with NARTH or Exodus and I would never give out her name for fear of retribution.

    I’ve never curtailed anyone from finding such a therapist. However, of all my gay friends I don’t know any who have any desire to change – and I know many. Anyone who has access to the internet or a reliable and ethical counselor such as Michael, should find it easy to get in touch with such a person.

  • Ann

    But I’ll alert you to the fact that SSA may ‘seem’ likes it’s gone away, and all is well … but, you may be surprised with what awaits you in the future

    Teresa,

    I am not sure that anything as profound as who we are attracted to, or who we once sincerely loved, ever completely goes away. There are many things that continue to re-surface throughout our lives – so what? I am prepared for mine and never for a minute think that I am free of feelings that I don’t want. I think the most important thing is not to compare yourself to another. Identify and think of the most important things in your life that you value – concentrate on them and don’t feel like you have to do anything with anyone that makes you uncomfortable – your well being is far more important than that – be careful who you listen to and make sure that they have your well being in mind and not their own, and really allow the rest to unfold. It’s a great big world out there and I think there is more to being happy than how are attractions tell us we should be. I like the things you say and how intelligent and emotionally mature you sound. No one is going to understand God in the same way you do and no one is probably going to understand you in the same way God does either – I think that is very cool :-D

  • Ann

    big prevention here … no offense Mary but you just severely discredited yourself.

    Dave,

    I am not sure what you mean with the above comment. How has Mary, who speaks with such fairness and credibility, severely discredited herself?

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Well Ann .. first of all I am not gay .. so her claim that the gay community here has prevented people from finding a therapist is false. Secondly .. since Dr Throckmorton clearly references at least one exgay ministry on this blog and refers to many others in his posts I don’t see how anyone is being prevented from finding a therapist by the people on this blog.

    To be honest I am getting a bit annoyed with the ongoing statements by certain persons that people are being prevented from finding a therapist by this blog .. Everyone here is an adult .. I think they are capable of venturing out on their own and making their own decisions.

    Dave

  • Ann

    We have tried many times before to get Debbie to acknowledge that her understanding of God and of God’s will — and of God’s Word — may be wrong. Or that others, just as devoted to serving God and who love Him just as deeply, may have it right. She won’t even entertain the possibility.

    She knows she is right. Humility about such matters does not seem to be one of her strong points. Just once, I would like to hear her say, “I believe such and such to be true…” or “It is my understanding of Scripture that…” For some reason, perhaps pride, she just doesn’t seem capable of it.

    Michael Bussee,

    Hi :-D

    Ok, Debbie, who I admire, has strong convictions. You have strong convictions. I have strong convictions. And we all have a different way of articulating them. I used to be frustrated, as you might remember, with the use of the Christian concepts, terms and words used here. I felt it was an exclusive club that only those who “understood” were able to join. Sometimes I still feel that way, however, I have changed the way I respond to it. I think it is important for me to listen to Debbie and learn how her faith has shaped her life. It inspires me. It is also up to me to be grounded enough to understand that the terms and words she sometimes uses are her way of expressing her convictions, and I need not be frustrated if I do not grasp it or do not agree with it.

  • Ann

    Dave,

    An ex-gay ministry is not the same as a qualified, credentialed therapist who treats individuals for their unwanted same gender attractions.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, I don’t claim to know all truth. Some things are a mystery that will only be unraveled for us when we see Jesus face to face. That’s what faith is for. But I do know some things. If I am wrong, I will be put straight in the end, won’t I?

    Yes. That’s all I was asking for. Some humility. Some admission that we are fallible.Thanks. We ALL see through a glass darkly. Then we shall know fully. Not until then. The words “I believe” are very powerful. I just wish more people would use them. “I believe” keeps the believer in the equation. Let’s be more careful to say it.

  • Michael Bussee

    For the record, I have no problem with any therapist helping a client live in accordance with their own beliefs and goals. That’s what good therapy is all about. Therapists who have any other agenda should consider another career.

  • Teresa

    An ex-gay ministry is not the same as a qualified, credentialed therapist who treats individuals for their unwanted same gender attractions.

    @All,

    I thought qualified, credentialed therapists were to follow the client’s wishes in the direction of their therapy. A therapist is free to tell a client their particular viewpoint or not; but, I thought these sessions were client-directed. Are we really talking faith-based therapists here?

    Am I mistaken?

  • Teresa

    For the record, I have no problem with any therapist helping a client live in accordance with their own beliefs and goals. That’s what good therapy is all about. Therapists who have any other agenda should consider another career.

    Michael, what are the rest of the people saying here who are inferring that only a small, subset of therapists actually help clients with unwanted SSA; and, the rest have an agenda contrary to the client’s goals?

  • Ann

    I thought qualified, credentialed therapists were to follow the client’s wishes in the direction of their therapy. A therapist is free to tell a client their particular viewpoint or not; but, I thought these sessions were client-directed. Are we really talking faith-based therapists here?

    Teresa,

    My understanding is that a qualified and credentialed therapist follows the client’s wishes in the direction of the therapy. If they cannot do this, then it is probably appropriate, ethical, and fair to refer them to someone else.

  • preston

    Dave and whoever else, the choices of therapists who provide non-gay-affirming treatment has dwindled significantly since the gay community was able to get homosexuality removed from the DSM. Badly needed research has also diminished significantly. The gay community has created an inaccurate sense in the public mind that change is not possible or is to be ridiculed. And the science to support all of this is severely lacking.

    So, ok, you are right that people aren’t literally being prevented. But you must be able to see the problems the gay community has created for those seeking change.

  • preston

    My understanding is that a qualified and credentialed therapist follows the client’s wishes in the direction of the therapy.

    That’s unfortunately not the case with SSA because the gay community has convinced the governing bodies that people are incapable of making up their own minds about it. That people only want to change because of societal intolerance. It’s really very shocking that a professional organization could be defrauded like this.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    preston – You have yet to provide any real evidence for your claims. I suppose you can keep saying these things but I am done addressing your comments until you provide some evidence.

  • Teresa

    That’s unfortunately not the case with SSA because the gay community has convinced the governing bodies that people are incapable of making up their own minds about it. That people only want to change because of societal intolerance. It’s really very shocking that a professional organization could be defrauded like this.

    Preston,

    Are you a therapist? Are you gay? Do you have proof/evidence that accredited therapists are doing what you claim?

    Michael, would you accept a client who had unwanted SSA and wanted to ‘change’, whatever that ends up being for the cient?

  • preston

    Here’s the most recent policy: http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx

    You have to connect the dots a bit but should be able to understand the result.

    Not gay, not a therapist, not religious. Just fed up with the gay (activist) community and extremely irritated at the current state of unwanted SSA research treatment.

  • Michael Bussee

    My understanding is that a qualified and credentialed therapist follows the client’s wishes in the direction of the therapy. If they cannot do this, then it is probably appropriate, ethical, and fair to refer them to someone else.

    Agree totally.

    Michael, would you accept a client who had unwanted SSA and wanted to ‘change’, whatever that ends up being for the cient

    I am no longer in practice, but if I were, I would accept any client as long as I felt the training and expertise to help the client reach his goals. I would inform the client about the lack of current scientfic evidence for orientation change. I would inform the client about the potential for harm. I would explain that I do not know how to make a person heterosexual. I would explain that I don’t know of any therapy method with proven results in reorientation. If the client wanted to “change” in the sense of living in accordance with their own personal and religious values, I believe I could help them do that.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Yes. That’s all I was asking for. Some humility. Some admission that we are fallible.Thanks.

    This isn’t the first time you’ve heard me say this, but I’ll take the belated thanks.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    preston – I agree with the conclusions of the APA report. However, it does not prevent people from choosing to try to change if that is what they feel they need to do. It simply provides an honest reflection of the research on the topic. And it alerts psychologists that change efforts are not necessary to effect the positive changes that have been reported in association with SOCE.

    You obviously wish that change in orientation was more frequent than it is and while understandable is simply not how it is. If such change was frequent, the APA would not be able to keep it a secret. I have been told by many people that they changed only to later be told by the same people that they really had not. I came to my conclusions as one who once was in the ex-gay world but am not now because of what I saw, not because of opposition from gays. It is laughable that I changed my stance because of such opposition.

  • Teresa

    Not gay, not a therapist, not religious. Just fed up with the gay (activist) community and extremely irritated at the current state of unwanted SSA research treatment.

    Preston,

    So, you haven’t sought treatment yourself for unwanted SSA. Your insight is from reading your side of the story only (which we all tend to do at times), supporting your dislike of the gay activist community. How do you really know what’s available, Preston? You don’t actually.

    When my SSA resurfaced several years ago, I had no problems finding a therapist that met my needs and has been quite beneficial. I had to go through 2 therapists, one specifically recommended by a priest, that were not what I wanted because of their non-professionalism. I wasn’t harmed, bothered, put-off by any gay agenda or activists.

    I found books that met my needs quite readily: Into the Promised Land, The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction, etc. I found websites and blogs that seemed fair, ethical, relatively unbiased, etc.

    Why is it that you, Preston, who have not had to do any footwork can pretend to speak as if an authority? I may not quite yet understand Debbie, Mary, Ann; but, at least these people have had to negotiate what we’re about here. They’ve walked the walk, not just talk.

    Isn’t this a little like your a white guy telling me what it’s like to be black, Preston?

  • preston

    Sorry, I have read, discussed, listened to, etc. all sides fo the story. One need not have first-hand experience to weigh in. In fact I think first-hand experience can cloud judgment (however, I think first-hand experience generally merits more weight).

  • Teresa

    Sorry, I have read, discussed, listened to, etc. all sides fo the story. One need not have first-hand experience to weigh in. In fact I think first-hand experience can cloud judgment (however, I think first-hand experience generally merits more weight).

    I couldn’t disagree more with this statement, Preston; especially, since you haven’t sought or used therapy for SSA. You haven’t counseled anyone with SSA. Your weigh-ins have all been NARTH oriented, which seems to fit with your anger with gay activism. I seriously doubt you’ve actually read scientific studies opposed to your prejudice. At least, that’s what it appears to me … as someone on the inside having struggled with this issue, personally.

  • Mary

    I don’t see how anyone is being prevented from finding a therapist by the people on this blog

    The therapist referred to on Throck’s blog are associated with ministries – Exodus or Narth. The ones (of therapists) who don’t want to enter into the argument go unreferred and there are some really good therapists out there – unmentioned.

    I did not say someone was prevented from finding a therapist. I said that there are therapists who do not wish to be part of the argument and go unidentified. I certainly will never give up the name of mine – which is too bad for another individual out there somewhere.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    My apologies then.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Change is 1) not needing to self identify as “gay” and 2) satisfaction with heterosexual relationships and lifestyle.

    Well, I’m a 100% “Kinsey 6″ homosexual male (and, I might add, a “teleiophile”). Meaning that ever since puberty hit, I’ve felt erotically attracted to adult men, but have never felt erotically attracted to women, or indeed females of any age, or males significantly younger than my own age. (In other words, I haven’t been attracted to teenage boys since I stopped being one myself.)

    But suppose for the sake of argument that I decided to try some form of “conversion therapy,” and after a few years, I found that the therapy helped me to develop an erotic attraction to adult women, but I also continued to feel an erotic attraction to adult men — so I henceforth started self-identifying as “bisexual,” and sought to date women, while still being open to dating men.

    From my POV, that would be a huge “change,” and clinical proof that “change therapy” works — but I don’t think NARTH or Exodus would be eager to put me on display as a case history or poster boy. From their POV, a former “Kinsey 6″ who is able to re-identify as a “Kinsey 3″ is essentially a failure, rather than proof of concept!

    P.S. I prefer not to self-identify as “gay”, because I think the contemporary gay subculture is mostly stupid, but I definitely self-identify as a “homosexual.”

    P.P.S. I’m kinda sympathetic to NARTH and Exodus et al. because over the years I’ve met so many “gay men” whose values and sense of sexual ethics were so different from mine that I started wondering if some of them might really be maladjusted bisexuals or even maladjusted heterosexuals who had latched onto a “gay” identity for utterly the wrong reasons.

  • Jayhuck

    Throbert,

    P.P.S. I’m kinda sympathetic to NARTH and Exodus et al. because over the years I’ve met so many “gay men” whose values and sense of sexual ethics were so different from mine that I started wondering if some of them might really be maladjusted bisexuals or even maladjusted heterosexuals who had latched onto a “gay” identity for utterly the wrong reasons.

    I’ve had similar experiences, but honestly, I’ve felt the same about many straight people I’ve met as well. I think some of them might have been maladjusted homosexuals who latched onto a straight identity for the wrong reasons.

    Re: the contemporary gay subculture – Its different quite frankly doesn’t seem to be as closely-knit as those in the past, but I wouldn’t call the entire lot stupid.

  • preston

    I couldn’t disagree more with this statement

    Which one?

    1. One need not have first-hand experience to weigh in

    2. I think first-hand experience can cloud judgment

    3. I think first-hand experience generally merits more weight

    I think it’s generally difficult for gay people to acknowledge anything that doesn’t support their cause.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I think it’s generally difficult for gay people to acknowledge anything that doesn’t support their cause.

    Why am I not surprised you would say such a thing? I think it is generally difficult for you to acknowledge anything that doesn’t support your own cause.

  • Teresa

    I think it’s generally difficult for gay people to acknowledge anything that doesn’t support their cause.

    I think there’s plenty of us SSA individuals who actually don’t have a ’cause’ except to live peacefully with our neighbors. Perhaps, Preston, you’re indulging in the same character defect that you accuse others of, maybe?

  • Mary

    If the client wanted to “change” in the sense of living in accordance with their own personal and religious values, I believe I could help them do that

    I believe your bias would have harmed me.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    God’s Plan is Spouso-sexual faithfulness … Otherwise it’s, etc. … is this somehow a second-best and not God’s Plan? Just sort of a make-do arrangement?

    Apologies, Teresa. I had seen this comment last night and meant to respond, but somehow forgot to.

    I didn’t say that clearly enough. Actually, for some, singleness and celibacy may be a higher calling than marriage. A “eunuch for the kingdom” is an honorable thing, and a highly desirable state from the Apostle Paul’s perspective.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: In that case, I would have been happy to help you try to find a therpist who better suited your needs. We can’t be everything to everybody.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I don’t see how anyone is being prevented from finding a therapist by the people on this blog

    The therapist referred to on Throck’s blog are associated with ministries – Exodus or Narth. The ones (of therapists) who don’t want to enter into the argument go unreferred and there are some really good therapists out there – unmentioned.

    I did not say someone was prevented from finding a therapist. I said that there are therapists who do not wish to be part of the argument and go unidentified. I certainly will never give up the name of mine – which is too bad for another individual out there somewhere.

    Hi Mary .. thanks for clarifying what you meant .. in light of this I retract my earlier statement regarding integrity…. :)

    Blessings and peace to you :)

    Dave

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

    “I believe your bias would have harmed me.”

    how?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Actually, for some, singleness and celibacy may be a higher calling than marriage. A “eunuch for the kingdom” is an honorable thing, and a highly desirable state from the Apostle Paul’s perspective.

    You are right Debbie. The Apostle Paul by all accounts did not seem to favor marriage. He saw it as a necessary evil.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I wouldn’t say a necessary evil, but an encumbrance for many.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Its not worth debating really, but he sure makes it sound more like a necessary evil:

    “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”[1 Cor 7:8]

  • Jayhuck

    Something else interesting that I did not know:

    Building on the example of Jesus and Paul, first-century Christians placed less value on the family, and rather saw celibacy and freedom from family ties as a preferable state.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I don’t think you can attach the word evil to marriage, given its role in procreating or that Christ referred to the church as his bride.

    Building on the example of Jesus and Paul, first-century Christians placed less value on the family, and rather saw celibacy and freedom from family ties as a preferable state.

    And who says this?

  • Michael Bussee

    MIxed orientation marriages, encouraged by ex-gay groups, are certainly an encumbrance for many — and cause much collateral damage to children and spouses when these marriages fail.

  • Eddy

    I’ve had similar experiences, but honestly, I’ve felt the same about many straight people I’ve met as well. I think some of them might have been maladjusted homosexuals who latched onto a straight identity for the wrong reasons.

    But a prejudice exists. If a person with a straight identity questions that identity, they not only have access to many therapeutic options but it’s also somewhat likely that the therapy will be weighted favoring the gay identity. (Prevailing logic: If a straight person is capable of imaging themselves as a partner to gay sex, then they are likely gay.)

    However, if a person with a gay identity questions that identity, their access to therapeutic options is somewhat limited and the therapy will likely, at least initially, be weighted towards favoring the gay identity. (Prevailing logic: There is much societal pressure against being gay; the conflicts you are feeling, whether you are aware of it are not, are likely due to this pressure.)

    Building on the example of Jesus and Paul, first-century Christians placed less value on the family, and rather saw celibacy and freedom from family ties as a preferable state.

    Some theorize that because our current society, while favoring ‘freedom from family ties’, actually mocks and disparages celibacy. Some folks who were destined for celibacy get caught up in homosexuality. (Yes, I know, some get caught up in free-wheeling heterosexuality as well.) They might be single but they don’t fit the definition of celibate.

  • Mary

    @ Ken,

    michaels bias would have prevented me from exploring my sexuality and developing a healthy heterosexual interest because he would have not seen change as a possibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    Correction: I don’t see change of sexual orientation as an “impossibility”. I just don’t see it supported by science. Bigfoot may exist, but I want proof. As far as making other changes (in behavior, “identity”, labels and life-style…) ALL of those things are very possible.

    I have always thought so. If you came to me asking if I could help you become heterosexual, I would have to tell the truth and tell you I don’t know how — and I don’t think anyone else does either. Some good scientific evidence might change that “bias”.

  • Mary

    I would have to tell the truth and tell you I don’t know how — and I don’t think anyone else does either

    I can consider my life experience the evidence only I need to know that your bias would have impeded the happiness in my life.

  • Michael Bussee

    Would you want me to lie to you and tell you that science does support orientation change or claim that I know how to do it? Wouldn’t it be best to assist you in finding a therapist who fits your goals. I think it would be unethical to keep you as a client if I did not believe that what you were requesting was both quite possible and also supported by good scientfic evidence.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Its in a Wikipedia article titled Christian Views On Marriage. I didn’t look at the reference material, but I have heard this before.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    If a person with a straight identity questions that identity, they not only have access to many therapeutic options but it’s also somewhat likely that the therapy will be weighted favoring the gay identity. (Prevailing logic: If a straight person is capable of imaging themselves as a partner to gay sex, then they are likely gay.)

    Really? Do you have proof or is this just your opinion? I’ve never heard of anyone suggesting what you call “prevailing logic”

  • Mary

    Wouldn’t it be best to assist you in finding a therapist who fits your goals

    Of course it would be ethical to refer me out but that’s not what you said – you said you wouldn’t know how to help and that you don’t believe reorientation is possible because science does not support it.

    actually, science does support it – just not in huge numbers. And I’m one of the lucky ones. Thank God for people who are willing to stand up, give it a try, pursue a passion and succeed. ( I might add- just as you have done with your own life)

  • Mary

    And no offense Michael but I doubt I would take your referal seriously with your attitude towards sexuality.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I don’t think you can attach the word evil to marriage, given its role in procreating or that Christ referred to the church as his bride.

    I believe it was Paul who drew up the analogy of the Church as the bride and Christ as the bridegroom. The fact remains that Jesus did not marry! What sort of an example is that? The idea that Paul puts forth is that marriage is not the ideal – its to be reserved for those who otherwise might be a slave to their passions.

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks God that we live in a country where people are free to be who they are and to try to become what they would like to be. If we lived in Uganda, you and I would both be in big trouble. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: As I said, I would not have a specific referral for you. I don’t know of anyone who knows how to make people heterosexual. I couldn’t lie to you and tell you that I did. I would encourage you to keep searching. I am glad you found someone who helped you. I would wish you well in your journey, but would not take you on as a client, That’s all. Isn’t that better than pretending I do know how or that I know someone who has that ability?

  • Jayhuck

    And the nebulous “those” would probably include most of the population :)

  • Mary

    I don’t know of anyone who knows how to make people heterosexual

    So back to the truth, running into you would impede my growth and happiness. Your bias would interfere with my growth.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    I don’t know of anyone who knows how to make people heterosexual

    To be fair, that’s not bias, it appears to be a fact. He does not know anyone who can make people heterosexual. In fact, there is no scientific proof that anyone can. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a bias, we all do, but he’s merely stating facts here that don’t have anything to do with bias.

  • Mary

    To be fair, that’s not bias, it appears to be a fact.

    Obviously not fact as I am evidence of a person who has changed and therapy has helped me during a time of struggle. I am an example where the fact is the fact.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Well, there you go, Jayhuck. We married people are just slaves to our passions. (LOL. When I first typed it, the Freudian typo came out as “salves”).

  • carole

    I

    don’t anyone who knows how to make people heterosexual.

    As a fence sitter here, let me throw in how I view what Mary has said. As I have read her words, she has never claimed that any therapist “made her heterosexual.” She has reiterated that she found a therapist who was supportive of her client’s (Mary’s) desire to change. Why would you word things like that?

    I think most educated, thinking people know (and that all professional and competent therapists know) that no therapist can make a smoker stop smoking, an aggressive person be a passive person, a person prone to addiction to not be prone to addiction, a liar be a truth-teller, a this be a that or a that be a this and so on and so on. Instead, the good therapist, as I understand it, can help the client clarify his or her thoughts and feelings, can help them articulate goals/outcomes, and help the client perceive options in respect to those goals. A therapist who feels he/she cannot help the client reach the outcomes the client has specified, should be honest in telling them that.

    Mary is one, with the aid of therapy, who has had success achieving at least one outcome important to her. She has, in her words, changed. Surely we have talked long enough about the research on women’s sexual proclivities to agree that it appears that, at least for some women, sexual attraction is not rigidly set. At least, that seems to be the state of things in the field right now, and Mary testifies to that.

    Any therapist that claims they can change anyone for anything is a false advertiser. It’s the client that does the work. Mary never claimed that because she changed, anyone can. She never claimed men were the same as women. She just said she has been happy that her therapist did not buy into the “change impossible” mantra that might persuade many therapist to not wade into those waters.

    FWIW–on this blog , which has male and female posters, gay and straight, and points in-between, some of you act as if women are afterthoughts regarding the subject of sexuality, as if to say, “Yeah, okay, women, but hey, we’re not talking about you.” I can see how some people would see that as demeaning.

  • Michael Bussee

    A therapist who feels he/she cannot help the client reach the outcomes the client has specified, should be honest in telling them that.

    I completely agree.

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    “So back to the truth, running into you would impede my growth and happiness. Your bias would interfere with my growth.”

    I’m curious how you know that Michael (or any other gay affirming therapist) couldn’t have helped you. how do you know they couldn’t have helped you to became a healthy, happy lesbian?

    I’m also curious about the therapy that changed your orientation. What was the method the therapist used?

  • Mary

    I completely agree.

    And because you have a bias, you don’t know anyone who could help a person – therefore you cannot refer anyone to a place such as the one I was able to find. With your help I would have found nothing. And because of the gay attack on such people, I cannot even give you her name so that you

    COULD refer someone to her. With your help I would have been miserable.

  • Mary

    It is a fact that some people do change. No one can refute that.

  • Mary

    Any therapist that claims they can change anyone for anything is a false advertiser. It’s the client that does the work. Mary never claimed that because she changed, anyone can. She never claimed men were the same as women. She just said she has been happy that her therapist did not buy into the “change impossible” mantra that might persuade many therapist to not wade into those waters

    Thank you Carole. I was certain to choose my words and you paraphrased them well.

  • Mary

    I’m curious how you know that Michael (or any other gay affirming therapist) couldn’t have helped you

    Because he said so and he even stated that he does not know anyone who can help with such sexual issues.

  • Mary

    A gay affirming therapist would affirm my homosexual feelings rather than explore my sexual development with me.

  • Mary

    BTW, my therapist has gay cleints who can give a rats ass about being heterosexual.

  • preston

    Like I said, I believe first-hand experience carries more weight. But I believe there is a role in these types of discussions for those without first-hand experience. And I believe it is particularly important in this discussion since it is very difficult to overcome bias when invested so heavily in the outcome. I don’t have an investment in the result and thus only bring science and reason to the table with little or no bias.

  • preston

    how do you know they couldn’t have helped you to became a healthy, happy lesbian

    Jayhuck, she doesn’t want to be a lesbian!! How hard is that to understand? No one should be encouraged to be gay or lesbian against their wishes!

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    “It is a fact that some people do change. No one can refute that.”

    It is also a fact that such change in orientation is very rare. Why do you always leave that part out when you talk about how people can change mary?

    #

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I’m curious how you know that Michael (or any other gay affirming therapist) couldn’t have helped you

    Because he said so and he even stated that he does not know anyone who can help with such sexual issues.”

    No, michael said he didn’t know how to change your orientation. Not that he didn’t know how to help people dealing with issues over their orientation. And if you hadn’t taken what I said out of context that would have been clear.

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    “A gay affirming therapist would affirm my homosexual feelings rather than explore my sexual development with me.”

    a good therapist would do both.

    and I’m still curious what therapy method changed your orientation mary.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    It is a fact that some people do change. No one can refute that.

    I don’t think anyone on here is trying to refute that some people claim change, although what change means is still pretty nebulous

    Preston,

    Jayhuck, she doesn’t want to be a lesbian!! How hard is that to understand? No one should be encouraged to be gay or lesbian against their wishes!

    I think Mary is a fine person from what I know of her from her postings, but frankly I don’t care if she wants to be a lesbian or if she uses therapy to try to be straight or if she chooses celibacy. What Mary does has absolutely no impact on me whatsoever. Mary has thrown her support behind the gay community in many areas, including gay marriage and that is enough for me :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I don’t have an investment in the result and thus only bring science and reason to the table with little or no bias.

    No bias? Really? You could have fooled me. And as for science, you have proven that you don’t seem to care for it either.

  • Mary

    It is also a fact that such change in orientation is very rare. Why do you always leave that part out when you talk about how people can change mary?

    I don’t leave that part out. I reiterate that change can happen because people should be encouraged to grow in a direction of their choosing. And even if it is rare – IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT CHANGE DOES HAPPEN.

    Not that he didn’t know how to help people dealing with issues over their orientation

    Then – how could he help me? He said he could not – I believe he could not. That is how I know he could not help me.

    a good therapist would do both.

    Then there are many bad gay affirming therapist out there.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    BTW, that quote above that you attributed to me was written by Ken!

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT CHANGE DOES HAPPEN.

    I agree but not without the fact that it is incredibly rare, that some same sex feelings will probably always be there, and the fact that there is potential for harm. If all these things are done, then I would consider the therapist a good one.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Well, there you go, Jayhuck. We married people are just slaves to our passions. (LOL. When I first typed it, the Freudian typo came out as “salves”).

    That’s not really what I meant, although I had to smile at your typo :) I think using the phrase, slaves to their passions, was probably the wrong way to word what I was trying to say. Oh well

  • Mary

    I agree but not without the fact that it is incredibly rare, that some same sex feelings will probably always be there, and the fact that there is potential for harm. If all these things are done, then I would consider the therapist a good one

    Informed consent.

  • Ann

    It’s the client that does the work.

    Carole,

    Yes, as it should be – the therapist only facilitates. Anything outside these boundaries is not ethical therapy, IMO.

  • ken

    preston# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    “Jayhuck, she doesn’t want to be a lesbian!! How hard is that to understand? No one should be encouraged to be gay or lesbian against their wishes!”

    that was me, not jayhuck, you where quoting. People don’t normally walk into a dr. office say “i have to have brain surgery because I get these bad headache.” Instead they go to a dr. with a problem and the dr. would suggest treatment options. Similarly, people go to a therapist with psychological/emotional problems and a good therapist will diagnose and help them deal with the problem. For issues dealing with sexual orientation attempting to change a person’s orientation isn’t the only (nor should it be the recommended) option.

  • Mary

    For issues dealing with sexual orientation attempting to change a person’s orientation isn’t the only (nor should it be the recommended) option

    Nonetheless, it is an option and one that is left available to the client. Not Ken, Or Michael, or Jayhuck or anyone else. The decision is with the client and the therapist is there to facilitate.

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Mar 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    “I reiterate that change can happen because people should be encouraged to grow in a direction of their choosing.”

    how about helping them to set realistic and achievable goals?

    “And even if it is rare – IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT CHANGE DOES HAPPEN.”

    why should it be mentioned mary? some people have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day all their lives and lived to be 80 (and I’d bet that number is more than the number of people who have actually changed their orientation through therapy), so should that fact be put on every pack of cigarettes next to the surgeon general’s warning?

    “Then – how could he help me? He said he could not – I believe he could not. That is how I know he could not help me.”

    he said he couldn’t help you change your orientation mary. let me ask the question you previously ignored again: how do you know he couldn’t have helped you become a healthy, happy lesbian?

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Mar 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

    “The decision is with the client and the therapist is there to facilitate.”

    which reminds me of the other question I asked. What was the therapy used on you to change your orientation mary?

  • Mary

    which reminds me of the other question I asked. What was the therapy used on you to change your orientation mary?

    My story goes likes this. I had experienced change and then later (a few years) I was struggling with SSA again. I sought out a Christian counselor. What type of therapy – I do not know. I do know we covered many sexual topics. I also know we have worked on other issues that I had. All belonging to me as one person in a whole. I was very fortunate to find someone who is educated ( Ivy League), christian, experienced and not of the thinking that living my life was a dangerous proposition.

  • Michael Bussee

    I agree that I could not have helped Mary very much, if at all. She has said so repeatedly, and I believe her. No therapist can be everything to all people. I do have a particular bias (I am gay affirming). I would make that clear up front so that she would know where I was coming from — Just as I would expect a non-gay affirming therapist to level with a potential client.

    She was looking for something that I do not know how to do, something that I strongly believe is likely to be harmful and something that I believe is not supported by good science. I would have affirmed her right to pursue her therapeutic goals with a different therapist of her own choosing. I believe that would be the only ethical thing to do.

  • Mary

    I would have affirmed her right to pursue her therapeutic goals with a different therapist of her own choosing. I believe that would be the only ethical thing to do

    Too bad you could not refer someone (as you said in the beginning). And all because therapists have steered clear of the attacks from the gay community.

  • Michael Bussee

    Even if they had the courage to make themselves known, I would never refer a client who was struggling with homosexuality to a non-gay-affirming therapist. It runs contrary to everything I believe. I am not ashamed of that. I don’t think any therapist should do something they do not believe in, something they believe is potentially harmful or something they believe is not supported by good scientific evdience.

  • Mary

    It runs contrary to everything I believe.

    Bias , in your own words.

    The fact is that I and people like myself exist. Somehow, the science you read and choose to follow does not support me – and yet, here I am.

  • preston

    I agree but not without the fact that it is incredibly rare, that some same sex feelings will probably always be there, and the fact that there is potential for harm.

    It’s primarily rare because it is extraordinarily discouraged. When it’s attempted, it’s not rare. Some feelings may always be there. OK, fine. No different than any other condition. Ah, yes, the potential for harm. This is one of the most powerful yet most bankrupt of everything put forth by the gay agenda. The simple truth is that quite a lot of activities offer the potential for harm. And for crying out loud, what is more harmful than steering someone away from reproduction?

  • Teresa

    Mary,

    I give you credit for holding your own during these last responses. Your life and story are yours; and not to be discredited.

    The animus is sort of bi-polar on this ‘change’ issue, if I can steal that term. Both sides appear threatened by perceptions of invalidation.

    ‘Change’ or re-orientation does happen, however rarely; and, usually with women. I think on this statement all of us can agree, or should. It seems ‘change’ with women can sometimes occur spontaneously … meaning without therapy, religion, and often in spite of what these few women wanted to happen. Agreed.

    If people want to pursue ‘change’/’re-orientation’ that’s their choice, and should be honored. They should, as clients, be as informed as possible, beforehand.

    Perhaps, one day ‘change’ will be defined and parsed so that parties on both sides of this issue can speak less emotionally and more contextually.

    Anyway, Mary, you’ve done a fine job!

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Jayhuck, she doesn’t want to be a !! How hard is that to understand? No one should be encouraged to be gay or against their wishes!

    I think Mary is a fine person from what I know of her from her postings, but frankly I don’t care if she wants to be a l-word or if she uses therapy to try to be straight or if she chooses celibacy. What Mary does has absolutely no impact on me whatsoever. Mary has thrown her support behind the gay community in many areas, including gay marriage and that is enough for me :)

    Ok, so I tried to post the above statement twice but its been sitting in moderation for quite awhile – I think it might be because the l-word was used, I’m not sure. Before the conversation moves on too far I’m going to try this post again sans that word. :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Jayhuck, she doesn’t want to be a !! How hard is that to understand? No one should be encouraged to be gay or against their wishes!

    I think Mary is a fine person from what I know of her from her postings, but I honestly do not care if she wants to be a l-word or if she uses therapy to try to be straight or if she chooses celibacy. What Mary does has absolutely no impact on me whatsoever. Mary has thrown her support behind the gay community in many areas, including gay marriage and that is enough for me :)

    Ok, so I tried to post the above statement twice but its been sitting in moderation for quite awhile – I think it might be because the l-word was used, I’m not sure. Before the conversation moves on too far I’m going to try this post again sans that word. :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    It’s primarily rare because it is extraordinarily discouraged. When it’s attempted, it’s not rare.

    Oh wow – LOL – where have you been the last few days Prest? The studies that have been done didn’t study the amount of people that tried change, they showd that of the people who did try change, only a very small percentage were able to achieve anything that might deserve the title.

    Its not rare because it is discouraged – the evidence doesnt suggest that at all. Its when its attempted that it IS rare!

    Wow – I’m continually amazed at your inability to look at the data. You seem like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over without giving proof of anything. ARe you just trying to push buttons? ARe you bored?

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    Too bad you could not refer someone (as you said in the beginning). And all because therapists have steered clear of the attacks from the gay community.

    I personally know 3 therapists Mary who don’t steer clear of it due to fear of the gay community, they steer clear of it because their is no science to back up the idea of change. They wouldn’t stop the client from pursuing their goals, but they also couldn’t offer the client anything themselves. Let me repeat this again – it has nothing to do with attacks from the gay community, at least for the 3 therapists I know. I’m sure there are some out there who do steer clear of it for the reasons you mentioned, I just don’t know any. NARTH offers safe haven for counselors who support change and the APA does too, even the gay therapists in the APA – so I’m not sure why some therapists are so gun shy

  • preston

    they showd that of the people who did try change, only a very small percentage were able to achieve anything that might deserve the title

    Jayhuck, I’ve requested numerous times that you point to a study that supports this and you have yet to do so. I have read up a lot on this and have not seen evidence that supports the contention that of those who try, those experiencing change is a small percentage. Please cite at least one study that supports your assertion. One.

    The Yarhouse study, for example, showed a solid percentage changing by any definition. Ball’s in your court.

    And that’s despite the overwhelming pressure for SOCE to fail. As evidenced on this discussion thread, for example.

    So don’t give me an LOL unless you’re able to back up your assertions.

  • Teresa

    The Yarhouse study, for example, showed a solid percentage changing by any definition. Ball’s in your court.

    And that’s despite the overwhelming pressure for SOCE to fail. As evidenced on this discussion thread, for example.

    So don’t give me an LOL unless you’re able to back up your assertions.

    Preston,

    I think Warren answered your assertions quite adequately many, many Comments ago. Perhaps, you could go back and read those. It appears you’re really not interested in facts, only your prejudice.

    C’est le vie.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    The Jones and Yarhouse study showed exactly what I’ve been saying – that only an incredibly small percent were able to show any real change, and the people in this study earnestly wanted to change. What are you talking about?

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I suggest, if you want to understand the J&Y study better, you go here:

    Jones And Yarhouse Study Followup

    Warren has devoted several threads to discussing this study in the past, its problems and what it does and doesn’t say about change. The one thing the J&Y study doesn’t show, is that it is frequent. The study shows that among the participants who truly wanted to change and made an earnest attempt, only a small number showed what can be considered to be change, at least of identification if not change in orientation itself.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ask Warren about the Jones and Yarhouse study. I doubt that he would agree that it “showed a solid percentage changing by any definition.”

  • preston

    Teresa, I am terribly sorry but I have re-read the whole thread and did not see any evidence cited by Warren. I saw a reference to it being “not encouraging” but no citations. I saw some references to the APA but no citations. I saw some anecdotal impressions without much detail. If you would be so kind as to point it out to me that would be helpful. I’m sorry you get the impression I am not into facts when that is really the only thing I am interested in.

    Jayhuck, could you please point out what data in the study supports a conclusion of “rare”? From what I can tell from the study, the majority experienced change. I would not consider that “rare”.

    The conclusion is about as succinct as it gets:

    In conclusion, the findings of this study would appear to contradict the commonly expressed view of the mental health establishment that sexual orientation is not changeable and that the attempt to change is highly likely to produce harm for those who make such an attempt

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I am re-posting some of what Warren said on an earlier thread. You should also understand that change/success in that study also involved celibacy, and many of the people who reported successes did so because they were celibate, not because they were able to function as heterosexuals. Nor did the study suggest that people actually changed orientation.

    In my view, this means of description confuses success with change. Over half did describe some version of success but that is not the same as over half describing sexual orientation change. I will be interested to see how this is reported in the press.

    The changes reported here are significant and no doubt welcomed by the people involved. However, they are not the types of changes which I suspect the various mental health groups mean by “sexual orientation change.” Whatever happened to the participants in this study, they do not appear to have gone from gay to straight — in the sense that people who have always been straight are straight. They have gone from gay to less gay and a bit more straight. I do not mean to suggest that this is not important information; it is. But I am wondering if anyone at APA would dispute the within category changes reported here. I am going to ask and will report what I learn.

    Jones and Yarhouse seem to be aware that the results can be understood as a change in identity and not orientation. They write:

    From J&Y

    There is also the question of sexual identity change versus sexual orientation change (see Worthington & Reynolds, 2009). Recent theoretical (e.g., Yarhouse, 2001) and empirical (e.g., Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Yarhouse & Tan, 2004; Yarhouse, Tan & Pawlowski, 2005; Wolkomir, 2006) work on sexual identity among religious sexual minorities suggests that attributions and meaning are critical in the decision to integrate same-sex attractions into a gay identity or the decision to dis-identify with a gay identity and the persons and institutions that support a gay identity. In light of the role of attributions and meaning in sexual identity labeling, is it possible that some of what is reported in this study as change of orientation is more accurately understood as change in sexual identity?

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I’m also copying a section from an article written by Timothy on Boxturtle:

    the Jones and Yarhouse study revealed little to no statistically measurable change in orientation in the prospective sample. The much touted “successes” were either in recollection (which again were quite small) or were those who had decided to no longer call themselves “gay”. However, they still identified their orientation as homosexual (”I’m not gay but my attractions are”).

    In short, the Jones and Yarhouse study was funded and fully supported by Exodus and conducted by two researchers who were avid supporters of ex-gay ministries. They wanted to study 300 participants, but after more than a year, they could only find 57 willing to participate. They then changed the rules for acceptance in order to increase the total to 98. After following this sample for 4 years, 25 dropped out. Of the remainder, only 11 reported “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment.” Another 17 decided that a lifetime of celibacy was good enough.

    What the 2007 Jones and Yarhouse book revealed, and what this update further confirms, is that the “change” which NARTH and Exodus loudly proclaim is not a change in sexual orientation at all and, in fact, may be nothing more that a change in identity or recollection.

    ONLY 11 reported “satisfactory” heterosexual adjustment

    This is the number I was talking about. I have trouble understanding some parts of the study, but you don’t seem to have a grasp on it at all – what it says, what it doesn’t say and some of the problems surrounding it.

    It most definitely doesn’t show that of the participants in the study that change was frequent, common or something that a majority of people experienced.

  • preston

    Warren’s main quibble seems to be that he doesn’t consider “success” demonstrative of “change”. That seems like a rather narrow view to me.

    Here’s a list of dozens of studies reporting change:

    http://www.gaytostraight.org/IS%20GAY%20TO%20STRAIGHT%20POSSIBLE.doc

    Can anyone put forth even one study showing it to be rare?

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Of the remainder, only 11 reported “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment.” Another 17 decided that a lifetime of celibacy was good enough.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Can anyone put forth even one study showing it to be rare?

    Just did :)

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    YOu publish a link to Richard Cohen’s web site? LOL – You do know this guy has been debunked don’t you. This guy who says change happens encourages unethical types of therapeutic holding and hitting pillows with tennis rackets. OMG – LOL

  • preston

    It’s a typical tactic by you and others to only discuss the one number that relates to the most change and to disregard the others who experienced some change.

    You also seem to discount those who report “success”.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    I didn’t discount anything – I happily mentioned that many of the people who reported success did so because they were happy with celibacy, not because their feelings changed. You wanted to see a study that showed how rare a change to even complicated heterosexual functioning was and I gave it to you? ARe you looking for something else now?

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    In light of the role of attributions and meaning in sexual identity labeling, is it possible that some of what is reported in this study as change of orientation is more accurately understood as change in sexual identity?

    I imagine Jones and Yarhouse are correct in surmising thus. Changing one’s identity is an important step, I believe. I wish we could just see orientation as a human nature/sin nature thing and not get so hung up on it. We are all born with an orientation that is disordered to the extent that we carry the dual nature burden of a proclivity to sin and selfishness, even while wanting not to act on it. It is a hard thing to change, no matter how it manifests in an individual. Identifying with Christ and allowing the old nature to be crucified is the only way to really become a “new creature.” That is change we can believe in.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    FWIW–on this blog , which has male and female posters, gay and straight, and points in-between, some of you act as if women are afterthoughts regarding the subject of sexuality, as if to say, “Yeah, okay, women, but hey, we’re not talking about you.” I can see how some people would see that as demeaning.

    Thanks for pointing this out, Carole. It is something we gals have to take in stride. I stand with Mary in being one of those invisible women who have changed, and am very happy for it.

    I still don’t believe research has any meaningful answers for the differences in change outcomes for men and women. Most of the studies are directed toward men. Is it possible that women’s vulnerability (emotional attachments) coupled with our strength (strong mothering/care-giving instincts) gives us some kind of ability to move beyond same-sex attractions that men can’t muster?

  • Mary

    I personally know 3 therapists

    Good you know at least three. You know different people. And…. your point?

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    NARTH offers a limited view on SSA. I’m glad my therapist doesn’t narrow her understanding.

  • David Blakeslee

    Complete change in homosexual attractions is rare for men, less rare for women (still a minority though).

    What is hard to remember is that complete change in human behavior is rare generally. If you watch weight loss ads, or understand anger management, house cleaning or the way people make financial decisions; earlier, well established behaviors and impulses tend to persist even after “ardent” efforts to change.

    There is no “psychological cure” for anything in the human condition…our cerebral cortexs are too wonderful and complex for such a simple outcome.

    Rates and kinds of change will vary by individual and reasons for motivating the change.

    Oppressive, sadistic motives for change are likely to cause psychological harm; just as in the other areas mentioned.

    Collaborative, nurturing and reality based motives are likely to increase a person’s willingness to experiment with new behaviors and explore previously unexplored feelings and goals. Under those conditions, new behaviors and sensations are possible…but not guaranteed.

    Both sides in this debate have been partisan and distorted the data for their own purposes (Born that way vs. Ex-gay)…change is possible, in a variety of ways, some of them quite minimal and dissatisfying.

    Welcome to the world as we all have always known it is…for Christians in all areas of struggle please see Romans 7 and 8.

    Grace

  • Mary

    Perhaps, one day ‘change’ will be defined and parsed so that parties on both sides of this issue can speak less emotionally and more contextually.

    Anyway, Mary, you’ve done a fine job

    Thanks Teresa

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    What is hard to remember is that complete change in human behavior is rare generally. If you watch weight loss ads, or understand anger management, house cleaning or the way people make financial decisions; earlier, well established behaviors and impulses tend to persist even after “ardent” efforts to change.

    Welcome to the world as we all have always known it is…for Christians in all areas of struggle please see Romans 7 and 8.

    Thank you, David. Yes, grace is the word for us all.

  • Mary

    Grace – Amen,

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    preston – I see now what is happening. You are looking at these studies as if they are all good research. I have read all but a handful of the studies on Phelan’s list. I have reviewed them for peer reviewed journals. They are all flawed in ways that make any kind of assessment of frequency of change only guesses. None uses representative samples or control groups together. The best study is Jones and Yarhouse and it demonstrates less than a quarter of participants said they shifted and even these were more appropriately considered shifts in sexual identity and behavior rather than a complete shift in attractions.

    Having said that, you are wrong to say that I link change with success. I don’t think men change very often, but they often reach successful identity outcomes and satisfaction with therapy when using our model. But they rarely change attraction much. For instance, someone who is generally attracted to the same sex but falls in love with one person of the opposite sex, marries that person and then struggles with urges to infidelity with same sex partners will not change those attractions in therapy with me, but if their values are for monogamy, they will often succeed in pursuing that value.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Preston ..

    Looking at some of your research …

    First of all, the title of the paper “Gay to Straight” describes a change that, to my knowledge, even those who are claiming change on this thread would not adhere to. Unless I missed something no one is claiming to be straight here who was formerly gay or SSA. Additionally the studies are old with no follow up (but plenty of time for follow up).. do not have controls .. and many of them report a change that was only followed for 6 months to a year. That is not long enough to establish whether their treatment had long lasting effect. The folks I have talked to pursued change for 10 or even 15 years with a success that they later termed as denial. Some of them are now celibate and others are affirming.

    Again the issue of defining what one means by change is rather important here. If you want to define change as celibacy then that is a very different matter. If you want to define change as having the skill sets to stay in a mixed orientation marriage that is also a different matter. If you want to describe change as avoiding certain sexual addiction behaviors then that is something else as well. If you want to define change as a lessening of desire that .. also .. is something different. The reason the word ‘change’ is such a charged word is because many who sought change expected it to mean one thing (because of how it was represented by certain groups) and were most distraught to find it meant something very different. In terms of various psychology conditions or attributes it is rarely if ever guaranteed that absolute change will occur. One might learn to manage their sexual temptations better (same sex or opposite sex) but not eliminate them. One might learn to better manage their depression but not eliminate every having those feelings again. One might learn to manage their anger but this does not mean they will never be angry again. One might learn to manage their interactions with their dysfunctional family better (re: better boundaries) but that does not mean they will never get frustrated with them ever again. Thus the need for clarification

    You still have not identified why you are here and why you continue to push for something you have neither experienced nor apparently even desired or needed for yourself. Other then trolling and complaining what do you hope to gain by these discussions?

    To those who have experienced change (whatever that is)….

    How do you define this change?? .. If someone came to you seeking change what would you promise them? What would you caution them against? What would you advise them to stay clear of? What possible outcomes would you describe to them (such as a meaningful and enjoyable opposite sex marriage, celibacy , lessening of attractions .. and so forth)? What therapy methods would you recommend? What therapy methods would you not recommend? Side Question: Of those of you who are Christian .. Do you consider it a biblical moral imperative to change your feelings or attractions .. and if so why?

    Thank you,

    Dave

  • Jayhuck

    David B -

    Both sides in this debate have been partisan and distorted the data for their own purposes (Born that way vs. Ex-gay)…change is possible, in a variety of ways, some of them quite minimal and dissatisfying.

    First of all, I don’t know any organization like those of the AFA and NARTH who have so blatantly distorted data so often that the authors of various studies have had to repeatedly chastise these groups. I don’t doubt that both sides have to some extent used various data in their favor, but clearly groups like the AFA and NARTH have gone beyond occasional distortion and turned the act into an art form.

    What is hard to remember is that complete change in human behavior is rare generally. If you watch weight loss ads, or understand anger management, house cleaning or the way people make financial decisions; earlier, well established behaviors and impulses tend to persist even after “ardent” efforts to change.

    Yes, but I wonder, is it as rare to change the way to you make financial decisions, or the way they eat, as it is to try and change orientation? Also, it cannot be emphasized enough that homosexuality is not a disease – there is no need to change it, as opposed to those who are overweight or have some sort of anger management issues.

    Oppressive, sadistic motives for change are likely to cause psychological harm; just as in the other areas mentioned.

    I think there is evidence that even more well-intentioned motives for change have caused harm, because they have promised what could not be delivered.

    Complete change in homosexual attractions is rare for men, less rare for women (still a minority though).

    Change sufficient to have even problematic heterosexual functioning is rare. Thank you for saying this :)

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Changing one’s identity is an important step, I believe.

    This doesn’t make anyone straight though, it doesn’t even mean anyone has changed. Look at Throbert for example, he doesn’t identify as gay, but is clearly a practicing homosexual. People will identify the way they wish and society will probably identify them in another way depending on their behavior. If it makes them feel better, I have no problem with this, but lets not pretend that the way you identify is much more than a change in title. There are so many titles and it seems more and more that the definitions for them are becoming blurred – which may not be a bad thing

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Oppressive, sadistic motives for change are likely to cause psychological harm; just as in the other areas mentioned.

    I just realized I may have misunderstood this paragraph. Are you talking about motives for changing people, by others, or a person’s own motives for change?

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    And for crying out loud, what is more harmful than steering someone away from reproduction?

    Gay people are steered away from reproduction all the time by much of the Christian church. We’re told that we have a cross to bear and that we need to remain chaste and celibate in order to remain right with God.

    Heck, Catholic priests are required to remain chaste and celibate, too. Are you suggesting that the priesthood is a harmful institution?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Changing one’s identity is an important step, I believe.

    Or College Jay who used to be a poster here, who says that he could never call himself ex-gay, because he feels it would be dishonest (he calls himself gay), but has nevertheless decided to remain celibate due to his religious beliefs.

  • preston

    You all define change as “complete” which suits your position because that is a difficult proposition. I define change as sufficient to avoid self-identifying as gay and/or having a satisfying lifestyle, a significantly more practical definition. But also easier to achieve and thus rejected by your camp (“you” being the pro-gay people here).

    While there may not be a “need” to change (I think that’s at least partially disputable) there can be very strong desires to change both internally and externally driven. The strongest reasons to change are to have opposite sex relations, as mammals are supposed to, and to have sexual reproduction (as is required by species to remain in existence). That heterosexuality is more accepted by society is a bonus.

    Warren and others, I can understand that some of the research is imperfect but it does seem like the nit-picking is done to mis-lead. Different people can look at the Yarhouse study and come up with numbers closer to 25% or 75%. Neither would qualify as “rare” to me. Also I know people like Michael are only looking for exclusive SSA to exclusive OSA which is probably too high of a bar…but of course convenient to the argument despite its impracticality.

    And I must reiterate that, yes, much of the research is very old. This is clearly a result of the suppressive activities that have been thrust upon the professional organizations and public at large by the gay agenda. Absolutely shameful.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    You all define change as “complete” which suits your position because that is a difficult proposition. I define change as sufficient to avoid self-identifying as gay and/or having a satisfying lifestyle, a significantly more practical definition. But also easier to achieve and thus rejected by your camp (“you” being the pro-gay people here).

    We did no such thing, you obviously need, again, to reread our Previous posts. Earlier you suggested that change should be sufficient to include heterosexual functioning and we gave you the data that shows thats incredibly rare and even then problematic. If you are ok with people living a celibate lifestyle, then you have a few more.

    Warren is hardly pro-gay, and he is probably the most familiar with the studies than anyone, yet you reject his writings because of your own beliefs and personal agendas I assume, and not because of the facts.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    Both…especially since sometimes they are inseparable.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    You all define change as “complete” which suits your position because that is a difficult proposition. I define change as sufficient to avoid self-identifying as gay and/or having a satisfying lifestyle, a significantly more practical definition. But also easier to achieve and thus rejected by your camp (“you” being the pro-gay people here).

    We do not define it that way, please reread our Previous posts. Earlier you suggested that change should be sufficient to include heterosexual functioning and we gave you the data that shows that’s incredibly rare and even then it is “problematic.” If you are ok with people living a celibate lifestyle, then you have a higher number.

    Warren is hardly pro-gay, and he is probably the most familiar with the studies than anyone, yet you reject his writings because of your own beliefs and personal agendas I assume, and not because of the facts.

  • David Blakeslee

    Heterosexual attractions and heterosexual functioning are two different things.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I’m “pro-gay”. I personally don’t care if people want or need to attempt to change. I believe that it’s sometimes necessary for people to try, even if they fail. But it’s true that change is rare, especially lasting change. For those that made it work, I’m truly happy for them. For those that don’t make it work — especially after years of sustained effort — I believe that it’s in their best interest to adjust their goals — whether that’s likelong celibacy or work towards accepting that they aren’t going to shift from gay to straight.

  • Jayhuck

    David B -

    Heterosexual attractions and heterosexual functioning are two different things.

    Absolutely!

  • Jayhuck

    David B -

    I do agree with your statement above and I am sorry if I misinterpreted your earlier statement about attraction. The study showed that the development of both meaningful attractions and functioning to be rare.

  • Jayhuck

    Jon,

    I believe that it’s sometimes necessary for people to try, even if they fail. But it’s true that change is rare, especially lasting change. For those that made it work, I’m truly happy for them. For those that don’t make it work — especially after years of sustained effort — I believe that it’s in their best interest to adjust their goals — whether that’s likelong celibacy or work towards accepting that they aren’t going to shift from gay to straight.

    I completely agree with you.

  • Ann

    If someone came to you seeking change what would you promise them?

    Dave,

    It would be irresponsible to promise anyone anything as it is their journey and decision, not anyone else’s. I would ask them what their reasoning/motivation was for wanting to pursue a different path than what they had before. I would ask them if they were aware of what choices they had. I would ask them how long they had thought about this and if they felt they could sustain the ongoing contention and negativity around those who will not support or encourage this decision.

    What would you caution them against?

    To be careful who they trust with their feelings and thoughts when they need emotional encouragement. To not compare themselves to anyone else. To be careful and thorough in choosing a credentialed and qualified therapist to help them explore and understand themselves better. To understand that this could be, and probably will be, an ongoing process of identifying, understanding, and responding with a different perspective to their feelings. I would tell them that trying to change how they feel, whether the feelings are sporadic or pervasive, is unproductive and emotionally unhealthy and to,rather, use them as an opportunity to understand the feelings and the best way to respond to them.

    What would you advise them to stay clear of?

    I would strongly advise them to steer clear of anyone who is coercive, self serving, negative, dismissive, and/or does not have their best interest/well being in mind.

    What possible outcomes would you describe to them (such as a meaningful and enjoyable opposite sex marriage, celibacy , lessening of attractions .. and so forth)?

    I don’t think I would describe anything to them without asking them first what it was that they wanted and the reasonings/motivations for wanting them. I think the only thing I would tell them is that changing their sexual and emotional orientation should not be the priority or goal as, to date, their is no real, credible or conclusive medical or scientific data (that I know of) that can determine how a person will respond throughout their lives to emotional and/or sexual attractions. I would probably add that, while we don’t know a lot, we do know there are ways to respond to unwanted desires with a different perspective that allows for understanding and self control. I really don’t think it is our place to describe an outcome as each person is so different (my personal belief is that was God’s idea) and that must be respected. I realize all the studies, etc. have been from people willing to talk about their experience, however, there are also people who quietly live their lives and will not expose themselves to scrutiny and we will never have their story to study for outcomes.

    What therapy methods would you recommend? What therapy methods would you not recommend?

    If there is no chemistry, then the sessions are meaningless. I recommend meeting several who have sustained, reputable, and credible experience in the areas of sexual orientation/identity. I would recommend asking them what their ongoing educational commitment in this area is and if they felt their personal bias would interfere or impede the client’s self direction for sessions. I would stay away from anyone who promises, corercises, or is self serving.

  • Teresa

    To those who have experienced change (whatever that is)….

    How do you define this change?? …. Side Question: Of those of you who are Christian .. Do you consider it a biblical moral imperative to change your feelings or attractions .. and if so why?

    Dave, thank you for asking these questions. Since I’m not capable of answering the therapy questions, I’ll just stick to the following:

    For myself, and myself only, I would define ‘change’ as having sexual attractions to men … being capable of operating in that milieu. For me, ‘change’ would imply that I would be a heterosexual, and no longer homosexual.

    ‘Change’ for me is not relabeling what I call myself (gay to SSA, whatever), or modifying my behavior to chastity.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    How do you define this change?? .. If someone came to you seeking change what would you promise them? What would you caution them against? What would you advise them to stay clear of? What possible outcomes would you describe to them (such as a meaningful and enjoyable opposite sex marriage, celibacy , lessening of attractions .. and so forth)? What therapy methods would you recommend? What therapy methods would you not recommend? Side Question: Of those of you who are Christian .. Do you consider it a biblical moral imperative to change your feelings or attractions .. and if so why?

    The only thing I could promise — and I have only worked with women in a ministry setting — is that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. His promise, really. I could refer them to the many other promises from Scripture.

    I would caution them against setting their sights on complete change from gay to straight. I would make them aware they would receive spiritual attacks from Satan once they set out to claim a life in Christ. I would make sure they know their feelings may not all go away, but that no one is to be ruled by fickle feelings.

    I would advise them to steer clear of nay-saying friends (gay or straight) who would only want to pull them back into the crab bucket and to avoid situations they knew could compromise their faith or their recovery. And if they stumble, I’d encourage them to get back up.

    I consider it a biblical moral imperative to seek reconciliation with Christ and to forgive others, to pursue sexual purity — to live righteously in all areas. “Fear God and keep His commandments.”

  • Ann

    Since I’m not capable of answering the therapy questions, I’ll just stick to the following:

    Teresa and all,

    I did not think they were therapy questions – my responses to them were not from a theraputic point of view as I am not a therapist. Thanks for pointing that out Teresa.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Understanding that the Bible holds celibacy up as something sacred and at times even better than marriage, when you counsel women do you teach them about the very real possibility of a life of celibacy, or do you merely talk about changes in feelings?

  • William

    O.K., Preston, here’s my objection to “ex-gay” ministries. The desire to be just like everyone else (or nearly everyone else) is something that drives most people at some period of their lives, and it is particularly strong during one’s youth. It can keep people on the right path, but it can also be very effective in pushing them onto the wrong one. “But I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself.” (Anne of Green Gables)

    Incidentally, the fact that homosexual attraction (like heterosexual attraction) is generally something of which one becomes consciously aware at the very age when the desire to be just like everyone else, especially one’s peers, and the dread of being different are at their height makes nonsense of the idea, held by ever fewer intelligent and thoughtful people, that sexual orientation is somehow chosen. But I digress.

    I think that this is the most powerful motive, apart from religious beliefs, behind a gay person’s wanting to change his or her sexual orientation: “I want to be straight, like Dad, like my brother Jim, like my mate Tom.” The ex-gay message is typically presented, in adverts for ex-gay ministries and in the titles of books by ex-gay leaders, in such a way as to seem to promise exactly that:

    “Help for Leaving Homosexuality

    “For over thirty years, Exodus International has offered hope and help to people seeking freedom from homosexuality. We believe and we have seen in thousands of lives that this freedom is possible… The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay!”

    Homosexual No More – Practical Strategies for Christians Overcoming Homosexuality

    You Don’t Have to Be Gay: Hope and Freedom for Males Struggling With Homosexuality or for Those Who Know of Someone Who Is

    Leaving Homosexuality: A Practical Guide for Men and Women Looking for a Way Out

    Now you can argue that it all depends on what you mean by “leaving” homosexuality, by “freedom” from homosexuality, by “overcoming”, by “no more” and even by “homosexuality”. However that may be, it’s obvious to me that these statement have been carefully worded so as to give a misleading impression. You need only a very basic knowledge of human nature to know how a gay person, particularly a young gay person, desperately hoping for “change” is going to interpret the above statements and titles. There’s a word for this: deceit. Any would-be ex-gay ought to be told frankly that becoming straight in the same sense as Dad, Tom or Jim is an extremely unlikely outcome; that the most that can be realistically hoped for is “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment” – in other words, not quite the real thing; that it is more likely than not that they will fail to achieve even that; and that the next best thing will be a lifetime of sexual abstinence. But, as Wayne Besen commented at the time that Jones and Yarhouse’s book was published, if ex-gay ministries told their clients that on Day 1, they wouldn’t stay in business for long.

    “…the choices of therapists who provide non-gay-affirming treatment has dwindled significantly since the gay community was able to get homosexuality removed from the DSM.”

    Frankly, I think that the number has dwindled for the same reason that it’s difficult now to get styluses to play 78 rpm gramophone records (although an elderly relative of mine has found a man in London who is able to supply her with them): most people just don’t want them or need them any more. Here in the UK – and I’m sure that the story is similar in America – even back in the days when people could get sent to prison for engaging in gay sex (male) and other kinds of discrimination were rampant, few gays spent their lives wishing they could change, even if they initially had a struggle adjusting to the discovery that they weren’t like the majority. Those who did ask for “treatment” were most likely to do so as the result of family pressure, because they were afraid of getting caught and sent to prison, or because, having been caught and prosecuted, they hoped that consenting to treatment would get them a lighter sentence. As the British psychiatrist Arthur Guirdham noted, after the law was reformed in the UK homosexuals stopped presenting themselves in doctors’ surgeries and at hospital outpatient departments requesting a “cure”. Damn good job, too.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Understanding that the Bible holds celibacy up as something sacred and at times even better than marriage, when you counsel women do you teach them about the very real possibility of a life of celibacy, or do you merely talk about changes in feelings?

    I am not a counselor, and I no longer facilitate a group. But when I did, it was clearly understood that same-sex feelings might not all go away and that these women might not marry. Nearly all of them hoped to marry one day. They were not allowed in my presence to engage in wishful thinking. They could speculate about possibilities as long as they understood nothing was guaranteed. We focused on Christ first.

  • preston

    I believe that it’s sometimes necessary for people to try, even if they fail. But it’s true that change is rare, especially lasting change. For those that made it work, I’m truly happy for them. For those that don’t make it work — especially after years of sustained effort — I believe that it’s in their best interest to adjust their goals — whether that’s likelong celibacy or work towards accepting that they aren’t going to shift from gay to straight.

    I agree with all of this except for the word “sometimes”. I think “frequently” would be better.

    William, I sort of get what you are saying but I don’t think you’re examples are that good. None suggest that the reason is to “be like everyone else”. First, I think it’s mostly OK to want to be like everyone else when it comes to sexuality and that humans are heterosexual. But I think you discount the internal desire to be hetero which in my mind is as powerful or more so. Living organisms have an extremely strong inclination towards reproduction so it seems reasonable to want to go in that direction.

    I think the phrase “You don’t have to be gay” is perfectly reasonable and severely underutilized in today’s society. If you talk to someone like Michael B or others on this thread, you might not get that impression which is a dramatic shame.

    Repeat after me: “You don’t have to be gay”.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Incidentally, we have made a huge idol of sexuality. People have been told so many times that a life of celibacy is such a dreadful thing, they believe that. We also have failed to hold up meaningful same-sex non-romantic friendships as an ideal all their own. We need many kinds of relationships. To believe that marriage and sexual intimacy are the Holy Grail is to enthrone self where Christ ought to be, IMHO.

  • Teresa

    Teresa and all,

    I did not think they were therapy questions – my responses to them were not from a theraputic point of view as I am not a therapist. Thanks for pointing that out Teresa.

    No problem, Ann. Actually, after having read your initial Comment, I thought “why didn’t I think of that”, in the way you did.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    “You don’t have to be gay”.

    You also don’t have to try to become ungay in order to be happy, healthy, or well adjusted; or to have a family.

    You don’t have to change or try to change.

  • Teresa

    Incidentally, we have made a huge idol of sexuality. People have been told so many times that a life of celibacy is such a dreadful thing, they believe that. We also have failed to hold up meaningful same-sex non-romantic friendships as an ideal all their own. We need many kinds of relationships. To believe that marriage and sexual intimacy are the Holy Grail is to enthrone self where Christ ought to be, IMHO.

    Debbie and All,

    Good Comment, indeed.

    There was a time, although some centuries ago, when religious ceremonies were held for ‘committed, non-sexual, same-sex friendships’. Where’d all that go?

    Caught between Scylla and Charybdis, the proverbial rock and a hard place, is what we homosexuals are who have chosen to be chaste. Often, those homosexuals who have chosen differently, consider us traitors, deceitful, etc. Those that should support us, the Church, consider us not good enough, if we say we’re homosexual … we’re still deviant in most Church-goers eyes.

    It’s actually best to pick your battles, and often that means keeping quiet about who we are, unfortunately.

    BTW, I really think that female homosexuality and male homosexuality are worlds apart in etiology and social context. Female homosexuality is non-threatening, somehow, to anybody. Male homosexuality is very threatening to str8 men.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    They were not allowed in my presence to engage in wishful thinking. They could speculate about possibilities as long as they understood nothing was guaranteed. We focused on Christ first.

    I’m really happy to hear that :)

    Incidentally, we have made a huge idol of sexuality. People have been told so many times that a life of celibacy is such a dreadful thing, they believe that. We also have failed to hold up meaningful same-sex non-romantic friendships as an ideal all their own. We need many kinds of relationships. To believe that marriage and sexual intimacy are the Holy Grail is to enthrone self where Christ ought to be, IMHO.

    I would agree with you to an extent. When I was going through my own “ex-gay” experience though, my church held up marriage as the ideal. Everyone talked about children and romance, they held these things up and idealized them, they celebrated them, it became unbearable for me in many ways. The idea that celibacy should be revered was there in the literature, but it wasn’t displayed in the actions of the church members.

    I was also told when I was going through this period in my life to cultivate more same sex friendships, as if this was going to somehow help me. It did not. I’ve always had many same sex friends, mostly straight, but these are not substitutes for romance, for holding someone’s hand, or lying together with them on the couch, or kissing them, etc.

  • Jayhuck

    Preston,

    Repeat after me: “You don’t have to be gay”.

    I would respond to that with a: You don’t always have to be straight either :)

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Jayhuck, I understand totally the wonderfulness of romantic love. I just believe we ought not, in our haste to hold it up as the gold standard for the best life has to offer, forget that many happy, fulfilled people are single and celibate. I have a dear aunt I can hold up as an example. She’s not the only one, but she’s the one who has has inspired me the most all my life. She is in love with the Lord and in love with life. And she is loved by others for it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Any would-be ex-gay ought to be told frankly that becoming straight in the same sense as Dad, Tom or Jim is an extremely unlikely outcome; that the most that can be realistically hoped for is “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment” – in other words, not quite the real thing; that it is more likely than not that they will fail to achieve even that; and that the next best thing will be a lifetime of sexual abstinence.

    I agree, but they never will. It’s asking too much. I have repeatedly asked Exodus leaders to be this honest, but they refuse. They tell me they don’t want to take away a would-be ex-gay’s hope that it might happen.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I think the phrase “You don’t have to be gay” is perfectly reasonable and severely underutilized in today’s society.

    You truly are clueless.

  • Jayhuck

    Jayhuck, I understand totally the wonderfulness of romantic love. I just believe we ought not, in our haste to hold it up as the gold standard for the best life has to offer, forget that many happy, fulfilled people are single and celibate. I have a dear aunt I can hold up as an example. She’s not the only one, but she’s the one who has has inspired me the most all my life. She is in love with the Lord and in love with life. And she is loved by others for it.

    I agree with you Debbie, and for a long time I thought that this is what God wanted for my life. I don’t believe that anymore. I am very thankful to God for my wonderful partner and my exceptional friends to whom I owe so much. Being in a relationship is not easy, but it does teach you about sacrifice. I still do, however, believe that celibacy is something that is a sacred and good and meant for some people

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I just believe we ought not, in our haste to hold it up as the gold standard for the best life has to offer

    I also think that churches need to do a better of job of this with their congregations. Don’t make people who have chosen or been forced into celibacy for whatever reason feel like outsiders or second-class citizens.

  • NickC

    Quite a long thread here, and I have no idea who’s still following it at this point. But in scrolling through, I noticed one post by Debbie Thurman that I cannot let go unremarked.

    Commenting on someone’s remarks about “gay men who get heterosexually married and develop some sort of “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives,” she says:

    I think we ought to accept that outcome as a very positive form of change for those men. And a blessing for their wives! What wife wouldn’t want her husband to be attracted only to her?

    As I’ve explained here before, I was “ex-gay” for 30 years and married for 26. (You can find a video of my personal story, created by my son BTW, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT-4nmr3e_s . That’s not intended as self-promotion, but just a quick way to provide the back story.)

    I consider myself something of a poster child for the concept “spouso-sexual” attraction. Through all 30 years, I never developed the slightest degree of sexual attraction to women in general. But I was genuinely in love with my wife, and for many years we had a very fulfilling sexual relationship.

    So was that a “very positive form of change” for me? Was it a “blessing” for her? Only if you overlook the frustration and anguish that we also experienced because our relationship was ultimately based on denial and wishful thinking, rather than reality. It was certainly no blessing to go through the turmoil of divorce in our 50s, when I could no longer go through life pretending to be someone other than who I truly was.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I also think that churches need to do a better of job of this with their congregations. Don’t make people who have chosen or been forced into celibacy for whatever reason feel like outsiders or second-class citizens.

    Absolutely.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    So was that a “very positive form of change” for me? Was it a “blessing” for her? Only if you overlook the frustration and anguish that we also experienced because our relationship was ultimately based on denial and wishful thinking, rather than reality. It was certainly no blessing to go through the turmoil of divorce in our 50s, when I could no longer go through life pretending to be someone other than who I truly was.

    I appreciate your perspective, Nick. It’s not going to work out the same for everybody. But it at least worked for a while for you. Do you really feel you were living in denial during your “good” married years?

  • preston

    You truly are clueless.

    Why do you say that, Dave? The only problem with “You don’t have to be gay” is that it undermines the gay agenda. But truth seekers should not worry about that.

    Nick, that’s a good story but I worry about the phrase “living in denial” which sounds awful but is probably not as bad as that. Certainly there are plenty of couples that may have lost the love or had external urges or even just enjoyed themselves at a strip club but for various reasons want to retain a marriage. Is that “living in denial”? It is another lightning phrase used by the gay agenda to discourage SOCE.

  • Mary

    I understand totally the wonderfulness of romantic love. I just believe we ought not, in our haste to hold it up as the gold standard for the best life has to offer, forget that many happy, fulfilled people are single and celibate

    Love and sex are not the end all and be all of a person’s existence. Fun and enjoyable but not the zenith!

  • Mary

    I think the phrase “You don’t have to be gay” is perfectly reasonable and severely underutilized in today’s society.

    You truly are clueless.

    I don’t think calling someone clueless is helpful. And I also agree with preston on this – that you don’t have to be gay is underutilized.

  • Mary

    It’s actually best to pick your battles, and often that means keeping quiet about who we are, unfortunately

    So true. Although some encourage testimony and such and complete honestly with people in the church – there are many people who are not prepared nor educated enough to accept the idea that some people really are gay and that it is not going to change for them.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Look at Throbert for example, he doesn’t identify as gay, but is clearly a practicing homosexual.

    This is putting it a bit more strongly than I intended: I don’t NOT identify as gay, and in some contexts I will use the term “gay” to describe myself.

    At the same time, however, I don’t deprecate the term “homosexual” as being Too Clinical, or whatever; and I don’t especially value the term “gay” as being either the Politest term, or the Most Neutral term. Instead, I see “gay” as having accrued plenty of political and other connotative baggage over the years, and thus is almost as far from Neutral as “queer” is.

    For example “gay” sometimes implies a sort of off-the-rack, prefab identity that has nothing at all to do with sexual attractions, and if anything tends to sound like it’s compensating for the awkward fact of homosexuality, e.g.:

    We gay men are witty, We have great fashion sense, We love the Oscars, We are emotionally sensitive, We are artistic, We keep ourselves physically fit, etc.

    If you keep on reading the litany of gay-male fabulousness, you might find “We like stuffing penises in our mouths” somewhere in the fine print towards the bottom, or it might not be mentioned at all.

    My feeling is that, in reality, many homosexual men AREN’T witty; many heterosexual men ARE witty; but most importantly, homosexuality is not a personal failing that need must be offset by wit or high intelligence or artistry or anything else. Nor is homosexuality a shame and a scandal that demands a discreet codeword (the Victorian British used the word “gay” in exactly this way, as a slang euphemism for a certain form of heterosexual lewdness, namely female prostitution).

    So, while not always avoiding the term “gay” — I mean, I’m not allergic to it — I often make a point of not using it, and instead describing myself as “homosexual” and “homo”; depending on context, I also sometimes use the terms “MSM” or “same-sex attracted” or (rarely) “androsexual” or “androphilic” .

    And for teenagers who are figuring out that they have very strong same-sex attractions but very weak opposite-sex attractions (and also for the parents and family of such teenagers), I encourage them not to feel in any rush to embrace “gay” or “LGBT” or “queer” simply because those labels are currently in vogue with a lot of other homosexuals. Also, they should not be swayed by peers who tell them, “If you don’t like the word gay, you might have self-loathing issues.”

    It’s okay to take your time being “just a plain old homosexual.” And it’s okay to conclude that “gay”, as a word, has no particular merits apart from being fashionable (with other people).

  • Mary

    And for teenagers who are figuring out that they have very strong same-sex attractions but very weak opposite-sex attractions (and also for the parents and family of such teenagers), I encourage them not to feel in any rush to embrace “gay” or “LGBT” or “queer” simply because those labels are currently in vogue with a lot of other homosexuals. Also, they should not be swayed by peers who tell them, “If you don’t like the word gay, you might have self-loathing issues.”

    It’s okay to take your time being “just a plain old homosexual.” And it’s okay to conclude that “gay”, as a word, has no particular merits apart from being fashionable (with other people

    I like!

  • Jayhuck

    Throbert,

    I think you and I understand the term “gay” differently. I use it synonymously with homosexual, you seem to apply other ideas to it.

  • Mary

    I get it Throbert – you’re just a person.

  • Ann

    Mary,

    I like what Throbert writes as well.

  • Ann

    think you and I understand the term “gay” differently. I use it synonymously with homosexual, you seem to apply other ideas to it.

    Jayhuck,

    I think this is a good example of how these terms and labels and names can be interpreted and used and understood differently. I think we have talked about this before :-D

  • Jayhuck

    Throbert,

    My mistake. The word gay has more than one definition. It can simply mean homosexual, OR it can involve more. I suppose I think of it in both ways depending on the context :)

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    It just seems odd to me, Replace the word gay, with straight and the word homosexual with heterosexual in Throbert’s post. It makes sense but seems unnecessary

  • Ann

    The word gay has more than one definition

    I’ll be darned!

  • Jayhuck

    @ ANN -

    Ok, LOL ;)

  • Ann

    Jayhuck,

    I appreciate you :-D

  • Jayhuck

    Ty Ann – I appreciate you as well!

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    It just seems odd to me, Replace the word gay, with straight and the word homosexual with heterosexual in Throbert’s post. It makes sense but seems unnecessary

    Maybe the problem is that “member of the majority” does not necessarily map well onto “member of a minority.”

    What I mean to say is that, at least in a U.S. context, perhaps the difference between “black” and “African-American” is more significant than the difference between “white” and “European-American,” because the former is talking about the experiences of a minority ethnic group, and the latter is talking about the experiences of a majority ethnic group?

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    By the way, in case anyone missed that thread, I did get a response today from Drs. Dreger and Blanchard about the methodology of the “penile plethysmograph” tests on heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles.

  • Eddy

    Any would-be ex-gay ought to be told frankly that becoming straight in the same sense as Dad, Tom or Jim is an extremely unlikely outcome; that the most that can be realistically hoped for is “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment” – in other words, not quite the real thing; that it is more likely than not that they will fail to achieve even that; and that the next best thing will be a lifetime of sexual abstinence.

    I agree, but they never will. It’s asking too much. I have repeatedly asked Exodus leaders to be this honest, but they refuse. They tell me they don’t want to take away a would-be ex-gay’s hope that it might happen.

    I can’t believe Michael is making this statement in the same thread where we have references to Alan Chambers, the EXODUS president, admitting that he still has homosexual temptations. And I think we acknowledge that the married EXODUS leaders are few–which translates that the others are living their lives in sexual abstinence. (Yeah, I know, miss the point and jump on it and insinuate that most are probably getting some on the side. The point is that such characterizations of the ‘message of EXODUS’ are exaggerated and without solid grounding.)

    And, by the way, can ANYONE define the what that heterosexual ‘real thing’ is??? Is it the Charlie Sheen example?

    And, please, for Jayhuck’s sake, can everyone please say in every post that it works both ways?

    And, I’m sorry, but I’m really put off by the response ‘we’ve already discussed this’. If we haven’t at least summarized what we’ve discussed in the months and years preceding in the current discussion, this seems a bit rude to those who have only recently come on board. It would be far better to say “As we’ve discussed before” and then summarize either the conclusions arrived at or points of disagreement that were still left hanging.

  • Mary

    They tell me they don’t want to take away a would-be ex-gay’s hope that it might happen

    Thank God! It’s the room I needed to grow!

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    I don’t think calling someone clueless is helpful.

    Perhaps, but it is accurate in this case. At least the viewpoint he expressed is clueless, as is the one-dimensional response about the “gay agenda.”

    Now Eddy is back with the same argument he has made for the past three years which signals my exit.

    I’m sorry for being at all caustic, but this blog has become some sort of twisted, sad parody of what it once was. The recent commentary has only served to accelerate that process. Nothing against you, Mary, but it’s sad to see the decline. It draws out the wost in everyone, including me.

  • Mary

    Actually David you seem to exist when people talk about change. Seems like a difficult subject for many.

    Michael, after having been caught in his own bias that he at first did not want to admit – has also left.

  • preston

    Bye, David. Your comments were not helpful or appreciated.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Actually David you seem to exist when people talk about change. Seems like a difficult subject for many.

    Think you probably meant “exit” and no, that subject is only trying by way of the bat poop crazy people it sometimes draws to the blog. What I said is what I meant — there have been serious and productive discussions here before, but it’s been a while and I suspect Warren is too busy to weed out the most recent crop of loons. If you can really get anything worthwhile out of this, knock yourself out.

    I can’t speak to your dig at Bussee as I didn’t read any of his comments, but he’s always seemed like a decent guy to me.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Preston, if you would, please click on my username — it may give you some insight and backstory into how, when I was about 35, I came to be involved in an affair with a married evangelical Christian father of two, about 55, perhaps similar to NickC.

    “Daryl” and I saw each other for about two-and-half years — he was the second guy that I really and truly cared about, after my seven-year relationship with Juan in my 20s (Juan was about my own age and also out-of-the-closet as homosexual, but not particularly fond of “the gay community”). And he was such a caring and sensitive lover — generally, he knew how to touch a man, but he was never shy about asking for coaching if he “wasn’t doing it good enough.”

    I had to break things off with Daryl because I loved him too much, and he loved me too much, but he also loved his wife — in a different way — and was torn up by lying to her. And I very much wanted to say to him, “Could we ask your wife’s permission for me to be your boyfriend?”, but I began to realize that he would never take that step.

    However, he left a lasting good impression on me as an example of a Christian man who was struggling to balance his need for homosexual intimacy with his commitment to his wife and family.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @ThRobert

    Er, are you talking about humans here, or laboratory studies of juvenile animal models (e.g., baby hamsters)?

    Adult humans exposed to hormones for the first time (Intersex conditions that block puberty), and adult humans exposed to cross-sexed hormones as well as the original.

    Some areas of the brain change depending on whether Estrogen or Testosterone predominates, and can switch back.

    Others masculinise or feminise when exposed to hormones of either type. A potentially male structure masculinises regardless of whether exposed to T or E for example.

    Yet others have 1-way trips in both directions: repeated exposure has no effect.

    This is of particular interest to me in light of my own Intersex condition. My brain has been masculinised as much as it was possible for it to be, and feminised as much as it was possible for it to be. The plastic parts are now of the F pattern due to continued HRT. In terms of lymbic nucleus, F and always was. Other structures though are more M, and as is typical with Trans people, other parts just plain weird, matching neither M nor F nor anywhere in-between.

    It’s not as simple as M type brain or F type. There’s overlap. FtoM and MtoF are not mirror-images either

    It was hypothesized that the MtF participants’ dichotic performance would be significantly different from the control males and resemble the control female pattern. This hypothesis was supported. It was also hypothesized that the FtM dichotic pattern would be significantly different from the control females and would resemble the control male pattern. This hypothesis was not supported. Finally, it was hypothesized that there would be significantly more nonexclusive right-handers in both trans-groups. This hypothesis was supported. Taken together, the dichotic and handedness data reported here indicate that the MtF and FtM conditions are not mirror images in terms of the verbal-auditory aspects of their brain organization and neurobiology plays an important role, particularly in the development of the male-to-female trans-condition.

    — Dichotic Listening, Handedness, Brain Organization and Transsexuality Govier et al International Journal of Transgenderism, 12:144–154, 2010

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Warren wrote:

    For instance, someone who is generally attracted to the same sex but falls in love with one person of the opposite sex, marries that person and then struggles with urges to infidelity with same sex partners will not change those attractions in therapy with me, but if their values are for monogamy, they will often succeed in pursuing that value.

    What about someone who is generally attracted to the opposite sex but falls in love with one person of the same sex, marries that person

    It’s not that I’m tempted to infidelity. It’s that I wish she were a man – or I was – or that we were both lesbian. I want a love life, but only with one person.

    When I was asexual, and appeared (mostly) male, at least I could please, if not be pleased. Now I’m fully functional sexually, anatomically, even orgasmic, all dressed up but nowhere to go. I do finally understand sex though, how powerful it can be, something I never understood before. The advice my father gave to me – “relax, your body will know what to do” makes sense now, not only don’t I have to think, but I actually can’t think, too swept up in the feelings. Before, it was always “what happens if I do this…. then this… then THIS?” and taking joy from my partner’s feelings. I had to think about everything, as my instincts were either missing, suppressed, or in mismatch with my physical biology. I just wasn’t physically equipped to do what my instincts called on me to do.

    Intersex sucks, you know? Or at least, transsexuality does, because I was for all intents and purposes transsexual, no matter what the biologists might say.

    Meh. There are worse things than chastity. It’s one of life’s little ironies that now I know what it’s like to have “chemistry”, an actual sexual attraction, that it can’t be to the one who I want to spend the rest of my life with. She seems OK with that though, so it could be a lot worse.

  • Eddy

    Now Eddy is back with the same argument he has made for the past three years which signals my exit.

    Which argument is that I wonder? That Michael makes exaggerated and negative comments about EXODUS that I find fault with? That Jayhuck keeps rebutting with ‘it’s the same for the other side’? That I wish people wouldn’t just dismiss a comment with “we’ve already talked about that’? Or ‘would someone please define what that heterosexual ‘real thing’ is?

    Or is David referring to my only other comment on this thread several days ago?

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Why isn’t Eddy allowed the freedom or courtesy to maintain his argument, in David’s view? Is it wrong to feel the same way he did three years ago? Sorry, Eddy. You haven’t evolved your thinking to the watered-down standards of the it’s-all-relative class. So you are dismissed.

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  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Everyone should take a deep breath, back away from the keyboard and then read the rebuttal to this article which I post about here.

  • NickC

    My! When I posted yesterday, I thought this thread was winding down. I can’t even get through all those comments, so I’m not sure what the conversation is focused on right now.

    But I did see a couple of responses to my own story from Debbie Thurman and Preston, raising questions I can answer.

    From Debbie Thurman: ” at least (it) worked for a while for you. Do you really feel you were living in denial during your “good” married years?” And Preston raises a similar point: “I worry about the phrase “living in denial” which sounds awful but is probably not as bad as that. ”

    Well, yes, Debbie,. I do feel my wife and I were living in denial even during the best years of our marriage. And yes, Preston, it was as bad as that.

    We were denying the reality, of which we were both fully aware, that I was fundamentally a gay man pretending to be heterosexual. We thought we could just pretend that my sexual orientation didn’t matter, and move through life like any straight married couple, and somehow our faith in God would make all that work out.

    Long story short: My sexual orientation DID matter. The more successful my marriage and family and career appeared from the outside, the more disassociated I became from myself. Eventually I had to tell my wife that I couldn’t continue in the marriage because “I cannot not be gay anymore.” My life had become focused on trying not to be something. (Again, if anyone wants the details, go to the tape.)

    Debbie, do you think it was a lot of consolation for her at that point to think, “Hey, at least it worked for a while?”

    My life today has plenty of problems and struggles. I am often amused by how many of the small and large conflicts in my relationship with my partner are almost exactly the same issues my wife and I used to fight about. And there are plenty of little denials of reality I practice every single day.

    But one thing I can say today is that I never feel the dissassociation within myself I experienced throughout my years as ex-gay. I feel a wholeness, knowing that I am the same person, for good or for bad, in all parts of my life.

  • NickC

    And one more point, to Throbert:

    I will say that in my current life as an openly gay man, I have muchbetter fashion sense!

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie, do you think it was a lot of consolation for her at that point to think, “Hey, at least it worked for a while?”

    Probably not, but I hope she at least cherishes the memories of the life you made together.

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