NYT and reparative therapy: The names are different but the narrative is the same

Reading this New York Times article was like deja vu all over again.

My first reaction to this article on ex-gays was that the names are different but the narrative is the same. Some men report changes in their sexual feelings and then therapists like Joseph Nicolosi apply that self-report to all gays. Note his statement that nobody is really gay. A few men, probably bisexuals, experience a shift in their current attractions and all of a sudden no one is gay. The fluidity that some people experience as a part of their personality is exploited by those who desperately want to pretend that all gays are made by parenting mistakes.

Another reaction I had was to wonder why the reporter did not go into the history of ex-gay claims. Many people over the years have made similar claims only to later say they were mistaken or that they had not really changed.

And then I feel sorry for Mr. Swaim.

  • Karen

    I found this side note comment the reporter made to be strange: “(While some women also struggle with sexual identity, the ex-gay movement is virtually all male.)”

    He seems to think lesbians are a rarity (“some women”). As for the ex-gay movement being “virtually all male”–women have certainly been marginalized in the ex-gay movement (Exodus never really took seriously having a Women’s Ministry Director). But, the women certainly show up at the conferences and support groups even if there is a larger percentage of men.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Where did everybody go? I miss the discussions when we used to have 100 – 150 comments, I learned so much.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ SGM

    I think Barton (who cannot seem to stop opening his mouth and letting weird, and not-so-wonderful, utterances spew forth) and now Uganda (where it’s Bahati Bill Take Four, or Five, or Six … I’ve lost count!) have taken our attention for the time being.

  • Jean Pierre Katz

    I am glad to see you are recovering from your heart problems. I also had a heart attack a few years ago and have healed completely, although I haven’t seen a doctor in a few years due to a lack of health insurance.

    The new theories on EPIGENETIC etiology, featured also by National Geographic, seem to make sense to me. Although I first experienced my sexual orientation at the age of 5, it makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons that orientation is determined before birth.

    The fact that identical twins have a 10 time greater chance of being gay if one of the twins is gay.

    Another case that really impressed me was the anecdote of the man that had brain injury, and after a life time of being straight he turned gay immediately.

    This conforms perfectly to the theory that the hypothalmus area is masculinized in straight males in a way that they are attracted to the opposite sex. But obviously in this case that area was removed.

    I think that children are very influenced by their parents in how they form their personalities. I think that introversion and extroversion are reactions to the parent’s personalities.

    But I also think that parents have nothing to do with their children.s orientation after birth. The clliche of the domineering mother and distant father is ludicrous. Probably about half of all parents fit that bill, certainly way more than 5%.

    Reparative therapy offers only a false basis for change. It denies any hard wired orientations. People who need to abstain from or behave sexually in opposition to their orientation should do so from a basis in truth.


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