Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homophobia: The Untold Story pt. 6

Oh yes, it's time for another installment of Catholic anti-gay bigotry. So far we've learned that homosexuality is a plot to persecute Christians in the workplace, there's no single gay gene (therefore sexuality isn't genetic?), poor hand-eye coordination causes The Gay, being selfish makes people gay, and that having gay sex will give you anal cancer. Let's see what Susan has in store for us today.
Treatment and Prevention part 4 of 6

One of the two great pioneers of the irreversibility of same-sex attraction, Robert L. Spitzer, officially reversed his position. The release of his October, 2003 study (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, pp. 403-417) revealed that therapy not only changed sexual orientation in a significant percentage of cases, but it also proved helpful in other areas of the person's life. He concluded that the mental health profession should not prevent people from this kind of therapy, should they desire it.
We went over this earlier. (Has anyone else noticed how repetitive this ebook is?) Of course, earlier our author Susan at least had the decency to say he "seemed to suggest" he'd changed his mind. Now she's claiming he "officially reversed his position." In actuality, here's what Spitzer said about people like Susan quote-mining him this way.
"It bothers me to be their knight in shining armor because on every social issue I totally disagree with the Christian right..." He calls as "totally absurd" the beliefs that everyone is born straight and that homosexuality is a choice.
That's not really the reversal she's inferring or claiming (or making up) now is it?
The other pioneer, the Salk Institute's Simon LeVay, had already reversed his position in another under-publicized event in the year 2000, in a Spanish homosexual publication, Reverso.
Again, Susan is exaggerating at best, lying at most likely. In the Reverso interview, LeVay said, "Science cannot tell us what constitutes core identity." Susan gave us no reason to believe he meant "Science cannot tell us why some people are gay." She just hasn't.

Even if both these men personally believed homosexuality was reversible, like NARTH does and claims they do, that would not mean they were right.
If a person does want to explore the possibility of a change in their sexual orientation, what kind of therapy is available and what are the success rates?
Therapy is for mental health, not for sexual orientation. To quote the APA again, "There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation."
Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, who has practiced child and adult psychiatry for 27 years, reports that when people with same-sex attraction disorder (SSAD) are treated, a number of studies have found that one-third get better, one-third get mixed results and one-third do not get better.
Which studies have found this? For those of you just joining us, Fitzgibbons has been practicing psychiatry (not therapy) since homosexuality was considered a mental health disorder, in a town of about 1400 people. He remains Susan's sole interviewee for the entire ebook. This is the best she could do (which may say something on its own.)
"Frequently, young men come into treatment because they are troubled by the lifestyle and a fear of AIDS," Fitzgibbons writes in Origins and Therapy for Same Sex Attraction Disorder, "an inability to establish healthy committed relationships, sadness, weak confidence and the fear of an early death. They are tired of the lack of commitment they have found in the homosexual lifestyle and they do not want to continue to be used as sexual objects."
Remember folks, SSAD is (so far as I can tell) something Fitz here made up. It's not in the DSM-IV. It's not a recognized condition. It's just what he calls homosexuality, so he can pretend to have a cure.

Furthermore, I wonder how many lesbians seek orientation-reassignment therapy because they're afraid of getting AIDS from their partners? Throughout this book, homosexuals are really just gay men, and homosexuality is really just anal penetration. Lesbians have been little more than an afterthought.

A lot of people have what I like to call "the slutty years" - straight people, gay people, bisexual people. And again, if all these horny homosexuals want nothing more than a little butt pirating, why are they trying so hard to get married?
Fitzgibbons' practice has been in the nature and treatment of excessive anger. Because a large percentage of gay men, and a somewhat smaller number of lesbian women, suffer from the sadness and pain associated with either a father or peer rejection, which often results in anger, he found himself treating more and more people with SSAD.
Wait a second - Fitz is an anger management doc? And he's decided that, because everyone he sees is angry, including his homosexual patients, anger is the cause of homosexuality? I don't even think confirmation bias begins to cover the fallacies in this guy's thinking. It'd be funny, if he wasn't teaching people to hate an integral part of themselves.
"Many of the emotional conflicts that lead to SSAD begin very early and this may explain why some homosexuals feel they were born that way. . . .When a person is hurt in a relationship, a series of reactions occur. First, sadness develops, then anger accompanied by low self-esteem, and finally a loss of trust. It is essential to resolve the anger associated with all these types of betrayal pain. . . . The work of therapy is, in part, to understand and resolve the betrayal pain."
This second part isn't even universally true. Being hurt by someone does not always or necessarily cause a person to have low self-esteem. Sometimes there's far more hurt than anger. Yoda had this better.

Hey, maybe fear is the real problem here, and not anger. Fear of an early death or of AIDS (flamed by anti-gay crusaders bent on keeping HIV labeled as a gay disease); fear of being alone; fear of being ostracized by family, community, or god. Yoda might be onto something, when it comes to why people would go to Dr. Fitzgibbons to have their sexual orientation changed.
His goal is not so much to change their sexual orientation but to help them overcome their emotional pain. He does this by helping his patients let go of their anger through three levels of forgiveness: intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. As a result, many are helped in resolving their homosexual attractions and behaviors.
If his goal wasn't to change his patients' sexual orientation, why is that what you're writing about Susan? Oh yeah, I forgot. You're not very honest. I do have one more question though. How does on spiritually let go of anger? Anger is an emotion, not a spiritual condition. Oh, and anger has nothing to do with homosexuality. Notice how Susan didn't even try to cite any real studies to back this up? We're just supposed to take her word and Fitz's.
When he adds a spiritual component, the recovery rates are much higher. "My approach is very similar to the one used in addictive disorders," he writes. "Significant healing rarely occurs unless some form of spirituality is brought into the healing process by turning the emotional pain and compulsive behaviors over to the Lord."
Aw, how cute. He modeled his practice after Bill W*! Fitz here seems to think that involving god-belief in addiction recovery helps. Well, let's look at the evidence. In reality, Alcoholics Anonymous has a "success rate" equal to or less than the spontaneous remission rate (people who just give up drinking, with no intervention or treatment program.) According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, Octor 1995, p. 3,
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated.
Homosexuality, on the other hand, is not a disease or an addiction, and has no "spontaneous recovery".
Some of these compulsive behaviors are difficult to overcome, such as sexual addiction, which is a major problem with many in the homosexual lifestyle. This is especially true when the addiction is accompanied by extreme narcissism. "Sexual addiction with extreme narcissism causes serious illnesses and early deaths in many young men and we must take some steps to change a very dangerous trend," writes Fitzgibbons. "Prozac or other anti-depressants can help to a degree. They will cut down sexually compulsive behaviors, but they will not resolve the emotional pain leading to the attractions."
Homosexuality is not a compulsion. I've got OCD; I'm also bisexual. None of my compulsions - NONE - are sexual in nature. They all have to do with germs, and counting, and checking things. There's nothing "compulsive" about me being attracted to beautiful women. And Dan Savage doesn't love his husband and son because he's a narcissist, or a sex addict, or in emotional pain. He's gay and he loves his family. It really is that simple people.
Children subjected to sexual abuse may often be predisposed to homosexual behavior and are difficult — but not impossible — to treat. "One can work at trying to help the client understand and resolve the anger against the abuser, if for no other reason than to alleviate the abusers negative influence," Fitzgibbons said. "We need to help those who have been abused before they become sexually addicted or involved in sado-masochistic practices. Only when, through forgiveness and God's grace and healing, they are free from the dark side of abuse will they be able to develop a healthy identity."
Sorry, but where's the evidence for a causal relationship between child sexual abuse and adult sexual orientation? Oh that's right - there isn't any. Susan quoted earlier some statistics about the prevalence of child sexual abuse among homosexual adults, but that's not the same as showing a causal link. The old man who licked and touched beneath my dress did not make me bi. I liked girls before that, and can remember being romantically attracted to another little girl on my block. (I think she liked me, too.)

And you know what? I'm not actually mad at him any more. Yes, he hurt me. He confused me. He took advantage of my vulnerability, that my parents had instilled in me. He was a very sick man, and he is probably dead by now. I do not need a hell for him to suffer in forever. He can't harm anymore.

I'm not a sex addict, and I'm not into BDSM. It was only when I escaped "God's forgiveness and healing" (and what on earth does an abuse victim need forgiveness for?!) that I was able to form a healthy identity. It's only free of the clutches of religion, free of the perfectionism and rebellion cycle, free of your god and his abominations that I am able to stop hurting. I am not somehow sullied by not being a virgin, and I am not still under the influence of a man I haven't seen in nearly 20 years. I own myself, and myself is bisexual.
This is one of the reasons why Fitzgibbons and many other doctors who treat this condition warn against the dangerous practice some schools are taking in referring at-risk children and teens to groups that will lead them even further into the homosexual lifestyle. Many of these children are experiencing same-sex attractions because of serious emotional problems in their lives, problems that should be dealt with, not pushed aside at the urging of homosexual activists.
Lots to take apart here, so let's be thorough. We'll start with "doctors who treat this condition." What condition is that again? Would this be more of the made up SSAD? And I have to wonder who these many doctors are. Much in the same way that reputable scientists accept (and understand) evolution, reputable psychiatrists accept sexual orientation. So, I'm guessing what Susan really means is "the mailing list of NARTH."

Second, what does Susan mean when she refers to "at-risk children and teens?" Usually that phrase applies to children who are in poverty, or are otherwise at risk of becoming criminals, drug addicts, or similar. Yet, I suspect Susan is using this loaded phrase to instead refer to children who are homosexual, and she sees as being "at risk" of adopting a "homosexual lifestyle." I admit, this is just what I'm reading into it, but I'm basing it on the last five posts of her drivel I've had to wade through.

Okay, these "groups that will them further into the homosexual lifestyle" she's talking about? Yeah, I have a feeling that's groups like the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Human Rights Campaign. I was part of the GSA at two of my high schools. Nobody ever said anything about getting me involved in some "homosexual lifestyle" of bareback sex and casual sex. Mostly we talked about things like coming out, if our parents knew and how they were handling it, and just regular teenage life. Certainly no one was suggesting I brush aside my emotional problems. The GSA was a great place of support. It was not what Susan paints. And these "homosexual activists" she mentions are of course gay rights activists. In school environments they're involved in implementation of Safe School programs and other anti-bullying techniques. Better watch out for those homosexual activists! They'll tell your kid he's fine just the way is. And we can't have that now, can we?

If you recall, a few posts ago Susan was talking about the correlation between homosexuality and suicide. Groups like the GSA work to reduce those suicides, and they don't do it by "curing" homosexuality, but by embracing it. Your attempt at playing the Concerned Citizen card has failed due to lack of sincerity.
Prevention of same-sex attraction disorder remains largely with parents because the roots of this condition are laid early in life. Father John Harvey, the founder of Courage, a support group for people with same-sex attraction who are striving to live chaste lives, published a new book especially for parents entitled, Same-Sex Attraction: A Parents Guide.
So a priest and a bunch of gay men get together for meeting on how to be celibate? Sounds like something Catholics would do. In all seriousness, yes the roots of sexuality almost certainly are laid down early in life, in fact, before we're born. In 2003, researchers found difference in the involuntary blinking startle response of participants. Gay men responded in a manner more similar to heterosexual women, and lesbians responded in a manner more similar to heterosexual men. The startle response is controlled by the limbic system, which also controls sexuality. One of the researchers, Dr. Qazi Rahman, said, "The startle response is pre-conscious and cannot be learned...This is very strong evidence that sexual orientation may be 'hard-wired' in this region" of the brain." Want more? Okay.

Okay, researchers at the University of Texas of all places found differences in the spontaneous otoacousitc emissions (tiny noises our ears make) between the ears of heterosexual and homosexual women. A Swedish experiment in 2005 involving pheremones and PET scans revealed that heterosexual women and gay men responded to the smell of male pheromones with activity in the part of the brain that deals with sexual response, while heterosexual men had no such response. Heterosexual men did, however, respond to female pheromones, while homosexual men did not. Then there's sweat. Lesbians, straight women, and straight men are all turned off by the smell of a gay man's sweat. Gay men are not. From the Associated Press, "In particular, [lead researcher] said finding differences in body odor between gay and straight individuals indicates a physical difference> It's hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor, he said." Parents, you are not making your kids gay or straight (at least not in a postnatal sense.)

Let me leave you with a parting song on "the Lord's" views of sex - a song about anal sex and God. I'll get into the rest of this tomorrow. Ciao!

* Bill Wilson & Dr. Bob Smith were cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Their group was modeled off of the cult both men were members of, the Oxford Group, which had 6 steps. Bill W. broke each step into two parts. Those were slightly edited over the years (ie, to changed God to Higher Power) and the resulting steps are the infamous 12 Steps of today. Within AA, the founders are called simply Bill W. and Dr. Bob.