Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Randy Thomas of Exodus is Crying Wolf Over Possible APA Standards Revisions

I was somewhat amazed to receive an e-mail last night from Randy Thomas of Exodus that put me in the same address box with the likes of Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend, the Gay City News and the blogger at “As Good As You.” Of course, anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I totally disagree with everything Exodus stands for and have said as much. Unlike Mr. Thomas, I very much hope that the American Psychological Association, in the process of revisiting the ethical standards for its members, will finally take a firm stance that condemns reparative therapy and make it an ethical offense for licensed psychologists to subject patients, particularly minors, to such “cure” programs.

Not surprisingly, on Mr. Thomas’ personal blog he is raising a hue and cry that Christians will be persecuted:

Criminalize and Shut Down Alternative Views of Homosexuality
Some people, who identify as gay, have been laughing at me for years for warning that activists want to use public policy and the professional sector to shut down resources and even criminalize what Exodus believes in and seeks to help others accomplish.

I understand that this isn't a reality at the moment but we need not ignore the warning bells. A client's right to self-determination should not be undermined. Exodus exists for people who want our help. Our religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and respect for a mature person's ability to self-determine their life path/identity (among plenty of other arguments) should be civilly and professionally protected regardless of what the APA determines.

Note how Mr. Thomas talks about a “mature person’s ability to self determine,” yet the number one target audience of these “cure ministries” is teenagers and young adults – e.g., Love Won Out’s youth boot camp is now back in business.

Increasingly, the civil laws protect children and minors from dangerous non-treatment for medical conditions even though the parents’ religious beliefs prohibit treatment (e.g., blood transfusions). Applying Mr. Thomas’ “mature person” standard, then Mr. Thomas should be fine with the APA banning minors (i.e., anyone under age 18 at a minimum) from being subjected to reparative therapy in light of the emotional and psychological damage, including potential suicide, it can cause. A parent’s religious beliefs should not put a child’s or young adult’s emotional and psychological health at risk. I personally know a number of people who grew up in fundamentalist homes and were subjected to these programs that still carry the emotional and psychological scars of handiwork

Therefore, I fully agree with the view that if the APA does in fact ban reparative or conversion therapy, there will at long last be a solid legal argument for shutting down such groups as Exodus International and Homosexuals Anonymous. This will also mean that under the professional standard care and existing malpractice laws, psychologists and therapists who continue to advocate and practice such therapy would be subject to license revocation and/or fines, and probably be hard put to secure malpractice insurance. All in all, it would be a very positive development.

Of course, Mr. Thomas unvoiced concern is also that he'd have to get real employment and stop being a professional ex-gay for pay.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. Randy Thomas is worried about his payroll and nothing more. I hope he gets put out on the street.

Anonymous said...

Michael, how is the APA to arbitrate such matters? It initiated reparative therapy, lest you have forgotten. Since all its myriad theories are just as superstitious as all other cults, who determines the orthodoxy of its cult members? Dobson? Nicolosi? Albert Ellis? Or the Victims of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? The APA and Psyche Industry are just as superstitious and unfounded as its founders, and its divinations with lobotomies, neuroleptics, reparative therapies, and ECT. Biologists and philosophers alike have sought to decertify the whole Psyche Industry as violence against humanity. Perhaps you should revisit E. O. Wilson's indictment of it in his Pulitzer Prize book, "On Human Nature," wherein he likens the cult to Nazi death camps of Buchenwald. If YOU think the cult is the friend of GLBT, you need to revisit your history. Be sure to visit the cult's Convocation in Hawaii, 1973, wherein the demands of scientists and philosophers achieved a new orthodoxy (at least for the moment). Electrodes attached to gay men's penises in the name of pathology and cures ceased not because the cult had a choice, it had no proof of its barbaric practices. It still has no proof. It IS the Illusion that Freud promised, and its Victims are still legion.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Randy didn't send that: I did and for incorrect reasons, I might add.

That said, you appear to have sensed exactly what I find wrong with that blog entry and another one that followed that posting.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

The APA would still have to rely on complaints being filed to revoke licenses. On the civil law suit side, however, if the APA modifies the professional standard of care as to what is proper treatment or not, it would set the stage for victims of ex-gay "cure" ministries to sue the treating therapist and/or his employer for malpractice. It would make success in such lawsuit far easier to achieve and probably force most of theses "ministries" to shut down.

Anonymous said...

The APA has no coherent theory or consistent set of practices to which IT can appeal in order to arbitrate ANYTHING. It can no more tell Cultist A to stop Torture B than the rabbi can tell the pope.

If the standard was "tort damages," the Psyche Industry would have been bankrupted long ago. Most Victims want nothing to do with the Psyche Industry, only to warn others of its harms.

It is our "secular religion," to quote Philip Reiff. Co-dependents come to believe its myth and practices as Therapeutic, and if they choose to do so as "adults," then caveat emptor, you get what you pay for. What it does to children and our elderly is unconscionable. But how many people can sue individual cult members and obtain damages? And one cannot sue a professional association. So the outcome is the same: Beware of Wolves who divine Behaviors in the Pseudo-Science of Cults and their gurus.

Anonymous said...

I realize I'm late in coming to this, as it were, but as a good Queer, I SUPPORT reparative therapy.

The heterosexual lifestyle is SICK and DEPRAVED (not to mention painfully dull). Heterosexuals should be encouraged to become well-adjusted queers with open hearts.

Isn't obvious that heterosexuality on an overpopulated planet is a psychosocial disorder?

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my BEST FRIENDS are heterosexuals. But I can just hate the sin.