Thursday, May 27, 2010

Homophobia: The Untold Story pt. 3

Oh look, there's more Catholic bigotry! (We started it here and continued it here, but there's always more bigotry.) In case anyone would like to say I can't blame the Catholic Church for Susan's writings, I'll concede that this e-book is found on, which is not an official Vatican site. However, is and here's what it has to say about homosexuality.
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.


Homosexual persons are called to chastity. also features a number of clerical endorsements on their site. So now let's go on with at least a few Catholics' views on homosexuality.
Assuming that there is a gay gene, it would therefore be logical to conclude that the homosexual condition is irreversible. Acting on this premise, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer of Columbia University, a champion of gay activism, pioneered a successful movement to have homosexuality removed from the psychiatric manual of mental disorders in 1973.
Yes, because being gay isn't a mental disorder. Medical science, including psychiatry, adjusts its views over time as evidence is revealed. I expect gender identity disorder (GID) to also be removed from the list of mental disorders at some point in my lifetime. And while the presence of a specific "gay gene" might well indicate that homosexuality is "irreversible" we have not yet been given sufficient reason to think a gay person should want to be straight (other than the fact that Susan would prefer it.) Also, "irreversible" is an odd word, as it suggests homosexuality is somehow "reversed" from its "natural" state, which of course does not apply to genetic traits, which simply are as they are.

Oh, one further point. Notice how Susan calls Spitzer a "gay activist" while leaving out that important word "rights." He was a gay rights activist. Rights - they matter.
Spitzer himself seems to have changed his mind and published a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (Vol. 32, No. 5, Oct. 2003, pp 403-417). His new study surveyed 200 respondents (143 male and 57 female). After therapy, 61 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women reported a marked changed toward heterosexual attraction that lasted at least five years.
What exactly is a "marked change?" No matter. When Spitzer first presented this paper at the APA conference in 2001, the APA immediately released a statement noting that Spitzer's paper had not been peer-reviewed and saying, "There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation."

A brief analysis of the problems with Dr. Spitzer's study can be found here, but the Cliff's Notes version is that the individuals he asked survey questions of were self-selected and referred by conservative Christian groups with an anti-gay agenda (including 46 out of 200 from NARTH); it is unknown if survey participants were homosexual or bisexual; and the majority still report attraction to members of the same sex. In a Washington Post interview in 2005, Spitzer said his findings had been misrepresented by groups such as NARTH.
"It bothers me to be their knight in shining armor because on every social issue I totally disagree with the Christian right...What they don't mention is that change is pretty rare."

He noting [sic] that the subjects of his study were not representative of the general population because they were considerably more religious. He calls as "totally absurd" the beliefs that everyone is born straight and that homosexuality is a choice.
From (a great reference site) I found this, from Dr. Jack Drescher of the APA's Committee on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues:
As for the scientific merits of his study, I believe it is significantly flawed. One flaw is that the majority of subjects in the study had one 45-minute telephone interview with Dr. Spitzer and no follow-ups. Other than Dr. Spitzer, I can find no reputable researcher who will agree that this is an accurate way to assess whether a person has changed their sexuality. That point was underscored in another study presented at the same symposium. Schroeder and Shidlo's study (in press) found that many individuals who claimed to have changed sexual orientation during a first telephone interview changed their story at a second, follow-up interview
Okay, so now that we know the study Susan is claiming proves her point is bogus (and not even as pro-her-view as she pretends: 86% of men and 63% of women surveyed reported they still felt attraction for members of the same sex.) Back to Susan.
In Spitzer's conclusions, he writes, "The mental health profession should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has, as a goal, a change in sexual orientation."
In Spitzer's 2001, highly contested, methodologically unsound, self-selected biased, study he made this conclusion, which 99% of the psychological community disagrees with. Okay - bully for him.
He discounts those who believe therapy to reverse same-sex attraction is actually harmful to the individual. "To the contrary," he writes, "they reported that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual orientation itself." For this reason, he urged the American Psychiatric Association to stop discouraging reorientation therapy, while encouraging treatments that affirm the gay-identity in people.
Do you realize that Susan is trying to play the "expert" card with Spitzer, while simultaneously playing the "martyr" card because no one agrees with him and the big bad APA thinks we should stop hurting gay people? Specifically, regarding reorientation therapy the APA says, "Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation." So the fact that Susan was able to find one guy who (kind of) agrees with her is hardly earth-shattering or so valuable it justifies throwing out the conclusions of virtually every other psychologist.
It's important that people understand that the gay gene remains a phantom. It's important to those who believe they have the "gene" and, therefore, cannot change. It's also important to the American public, which is far more likely to give in to demands for change in law and religious teaching if they believe sexual attraction is genetically determined and unchangeable.
Whether or not there is a single "gay gene" does not answer the question of whether or not sexual orientation is genetic. There is not a single "OCD gene" although there are genetic factors associated with it. The fact that I lack an OCD gene does not mean that I either do not have OCD or that my OCD is a "choice" that I should go be cured of through insane theories on gender roles (or anything else.) Susan either lacks understanding of genetics, or is intentionally misrepresenting information on the basis of her biases.

Also, even if gay people choose to be that way, so what? How are you, Susan, harmed by ATAT reader Buffy and her lovely wife being together? What does it matter to you if Ellen and Portia have a loving family? Why does it get your panties in such a twist if Perez Hilton likes men? What do you think is actually wrong with being gay?

Well, before we can get to that, Susan is going to take us through what she believes (or claims) are the "Known Causes" of homosexuality. I'm sure it will be ridiculous.
Known Causes of Same-Sex Attraction part 2 of 6

Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a West Conshohocken psychiatrist and principal contributor to the Catholic Medical Association's book, Homosexuality and Hope, identifies the major causes of same-sex attraction disorder (SSAD) in men and women.
Gee, that SSAD sounds like a real honest-to-gosh medical disorder. Is it one? No. The best site I could pull up by Googling that phrase was Landover Baptist. The medical community (including both APAs) does not recognize this "SSAD" as an actual mental health condition. Funny how old Fitz here and Susan were presenting it like it was real (kind of like "cures" for homosexuality!) Oh, and in case you were thinking Fitzgibbons was someone we ought to take at his word, please review my research on him from earlier this week.
Weak Masculine/Feminine Identity
In his contribution to the book by Father John Harvey, The Truth About Homosexuality, Fitzgibbons writes: "Weak masculine identity is easily identified and, in my clinical experience, is the major cause of SSAD in men. Surprisingly, it can be an outgrowth of weak eye-hand coordination which results in an inability to play sports well. This condition is usually accompanied by severe peer rejection."
Wow, so not throwing a ball well makes you queer? How on earth does he handle such cockamamie opinions in the presence of the Gay Softball World Series? Even if it was shown that gay men had poorer hand-eye coordination than the male population as a whole, how on earth does one arrive at the conclusion that the poor hand-eye coordination causes homosexuality? To some degree, gay men have finger-length ratios more like straight women than straight men (yup, gay hands.) Does that mean having gay hands causes you to like men? It may be that both are the cause of something else, or several factors of something else, or that it's only a coincidence and doesn't really mean anything at all. Not all correlations are causations.
In a culture dominated by sports heroes, it's easy to understand how a young boy who can't play ball or run fast may not feel very good about himself — especially when this is accompanied by ridicule from his peers and perhaps even exclusion and isolation. He may escape the resulting loneliness with academics or by cultivating comfortable relationships with girls.
Okay, so now we have an assumption that male homosexuality is actually caused by sucking at sports and who is subsequently lonely. Gay kids don't have friends? Maybe if that's true, it results from their being gay, not from being bad at sports. (Also, what about the millions of straight men who suck at sports? Did they dodge the gay bullet?) Plus, hanging out with girls will make you gay. Uh, huh.
"The sports wound will negatively affect the image of himself, his relationships with peers, his gender identity, and his body image," Fitzgibbons writes. "His negative view of his masculinity and his loneliness can lead him to crave the masculinity of his male peers."
Wait, now if your son is wants to hang out with the guys, it's a sign he's gay? But wait, so was hanging out with girls! And there's no avoiding them, since loneliness has been linked to gayness, too. It's a miracle anybody is a heterosexual if The Gay is so pervasive. Also? Gay men hate themselves. I know it because Fitzgibbons said so and he's a dude that Susan found, so you know. He's "credible" and stuff.
Another major cause for SSAD is when a father is perceived by a child as distant, critical, selfish, angry or alcoholic. This produces yet another crucial conflict in the development of a boy's masculine identity. "As children and adolescents, these men yearned for acceptance, praise and physical affection from their fathers," Fitzgibbons said, "but their needs were never met."
No data to support this proposition is being offered - just Fitz's assertions. And it's a pretty easy target, since a lot of people grow up without a father in the home, or have troubled relationships with their fathers. (Also, he's gotten every type of difficult dad in here, so it's a pretty wide net to cast.)
Another major cause for SSAD is when a father is perceived by a child as distant, critical, selfish, angry or alcoholic. This produces yet another crucial conflict in the development of a boy's masculine identity. "As children and adolescents, these men yearned for acceptance, praise and physical affection from their fathers," Fitzgibbons said, "but their needs were never met."
First, I have to say I hate the idea that the reason fathers should accept, praise and show affection for their sons is so they don't turn out gay. Further, Fitz is continuing in his trend of offering no data, no peer-reviewed studies, no findings - just his claims.
In women, a weak feminine identity leading to SSAD can be caused by mother conflicts, peer rejection or poor body image. Fitzgibbons writes, "This condition is far more rare than weak masculine identity, and this is why, in my view, male homosexuality is much more common than female homosexuality. The female role model, the mother, is much more likely to be more affirming, to be giving, to be nurturing to her daughter than the father to his son."
Oh, this condition he made up isn't as easy to claim in woman. Well, how fascinating. Oh wait, no, it's boring, because it's bullshit. Things which are true are desirable to know.
Distrust of Men/Women
Distrust of the opposite sex is the second most common cause of SSAD in men and the most common cause in women. In men, "Feelings of mistrust may develop as a result of a difficult mother relationship or from experiences of betrayal by women," Fitzgibbons writes. "Male children in fatherless homes often feel overly responsible for their mothers. As they enter their adolescence, they may come to view female love as draining or exhausting. They want a relationship that is lighthearted and enjoyable and, by default, turn to male love."
By default, you say? Why, that's what most of us have been arguing all along - that gay men (and women) are predisposed to their sexual orientation, as heterosexuals are predisposed to theirs. It is only "natural" to turn to male love if you are sexually oriented in such a way that you desire men. You know, because homosexuality is natural.

And moms, it's not your "fault" your son is gay, nor is it the "fault" of any dead-beat dad. (Nor is it the "fault" of the person who is gay.) Homosexuality is not "right" or "wrong" - it just is, like heterosexuality just is.
In females, the mistrust of men's love is one of the major conflicts a woman may choose to "resolve" in a homosexual relationship. She may have had a distant, emotionally insensitive or even abusive father and grows up with a fear of being vulnerable to men.
Wow, so lesbian ladies, the only reason you like girls is because you are trying to "resolve" your major conflicts. It couldn't possibly be because you are atracted to women, and maybe even love on in particular. No, no. It's because of your issues. Thus saith Fitz.
Women who have been betrayed in love relationships may also seek safety in a relationship with a woman. Women who are sexually abused or raped as children may find it almost impossible to trust men and turn to a woman instead for affection.
Ah yes. An old man diddled me and that's why I fancy boobs. It would make more sense to say sexual abuse might turn someone away from the sex or sexual organs associated with their abuser, but it does not follow that decreased desire for men would lead to increased desire for women. I don't like boobs because a pervert touched me as a little girl; I like them because they're kind of awesome (and soft and pillowy.)
Loneliness is another major factor in the development of SSAD in females. Many women experience disillusionment in their search for the right man and may turn to women instead.
This is ridiculous (as I'd guessed) and again, there's not a scrap of evidence offered. Just claims and assertions. Maybe the reason all these lesbians couldn't find a satisfying relationship with men was because they're homosexual.

Tomorrow I'll get on to the even more insulting "causes" of homosexuality, as reported by small-town psychiatrist Fitz.