Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is NARTH Back Peddling on Its "Change" Claims?

One of the leading proponents of what I refer to as the "change myth" for many years has been National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a/k/a NARTH. Not coincidentally, NARTH is largely funded by anti-gay Christianist organizations. And also not coincidentally, NARTH's claims run counter to the positions of every legitimate, non-Christianist funded medical and mental health association. In my opinion, NARTH's claims that "change is possible" are principally motivated by the far right's anti-gay agenda. As additional icing on the cake, ex-gay "ministries" continue to rake in large amounts of money as religiously brainwashed individuals and their families futilely throw money at trying to change their own or their loved one's sexual orientation.

Of late, however, acceptance of the "change myth" seems to be waning with the general public. Worse yet, as I have noted recently, Exodus International - a principal marketer of the change myth - has been seriously distancing itself from the categorical claim that gays can change their sexual orientation to become totally heterosexual. Alan Chambers, president of Exodus has even stated that 99.9% of those who seek to change their sexual orientation faile in the process. In contrast, NARTH has continued to trot out and display "ex-gays" who say they have "changed" and are now married to someone of the opposite gender with children. Having been married myself for 24 years, marriage to a straight spouse and parenting children proves absolutely nothing in terms of one's true sexual orientation. It is a testament soley to how much one wants to delude them self and deny reality.

Now, in a stunning development, NARTH has issued a statement contending that "change" cannot be measured on a categorical change. Rather, NARTH says "change" must be measured on a "continuum. The apparent shift is to position NARTH so that it can claim that change is possible even if the percentage of "change" is in the range of 1%. It's a disingenuous tactic, but then, everything NARTH has done over the years in my view has been disingenuous. Warren Throckmorton looks at this sea change at NARTH. Here are excerpts:

Apparently in response to Alan Chambers’ candor about sexual orientation change, the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality issued a clarification of what that organization means by change.

Issued January 27, the statement reads . . . :

Rather than pigeonholing homosexual sexual orientation change into categorical terms, NARTH believes that it is far more helpful and accurate to conceptualize such change as occurring on a continuum. This is in fact how sexual orientation is defined in most modern research, starting with the well known Kinsey scales, even as subsequent findings pertinent to change are often described in categorical terms. NARTH affirms that some individuals who seek care for unwanted same-sex attractions do report categorical change of sexual orientation. Moreover, NARTH acknowledges that others have reported no change.

[T]hose who are highly pessimistic regarding change in sexual orientation appear to have assumed a categorical view of change, which is neither in keeping with how sexual orientation has been defined in the literature nor with how change is conceptualized for nearly all other psychological challenges. NARTH believes that viewing change as occurring on a continuum is a preferable therapeutic approach and more likely to create realistic expectancies among consumers of change-oriented intervention. With this in mind, NARTH remains committed to protecting the rights of clients with unwanted same-sex attractions to pursue change as well as the rights of clinicians to provide such psychological care.
In sum, NARTH seems to be conceding - as Exodus International has already conceded - although in a dishonest manner, that total change in sexual orientation simply doesn't happen. Hence the malarkey about change on a continuum. No coincidentally, NARTH also ignores the fact that nearly 100% of those who publicly claim to be "ex-gay" are either on the payrolls of "ex-gay ministries" or otherwise make their livelihoods based on their alleged ex-gay status - e.g. Greg Quinlan, president of PFOX and the New Jersey Family Policy Council. In short, the ex-gay claims and "ministries" continue to be scams that seek to take advantage of the ignorant and gullible while providing a smoke screen for anti-gay propaganda and politicians. The other motivation, of course, may be to try to limit the potential for lawsuits by those who enroll in and throw away their money on "ex-gay" cure programs. In my opinion, most whores have more integrity than the folks at NARTH.

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