Love Wins Out

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the anti-gay crusade called Love Wins Out..

It's Past Time for this Ex-Gay Business to Get with It

There are probably people who think that Kansas City is privileged to have the "Love Wins Out" show come to town in late June. Christian right-wing entrepreneur, politician, and CEO of "Focus on the Family" James Dobson's ex-gay "ministry" group is arriving to comfort those who have been taught to fear a "gay agenda" and to believe that self-accepting LGBT people are responsible for Christianity's problems.

What they are promoting in sincerity and in a successful money-raising fashion is a return to something like the Dark Ages of psychology and religion, when gay people were considered "the problem," sinners to be forgiven, anti-God, and "unnatural." They continue to promote one of the interpretations of passages in the Christian Bible, the one that supports cultural prejudices against LGBT people.

And in these modern times, this movement uses "scientific" language to legitimate their position. Their "experts" promote out-dated theories treating homosexuality as a psychological problem associated with such things as identification with the "wrong " parent or the "wrong" gender role.

When will they get with it? How long will they hang on to their prejudices? How long must we listen to their ignorance? How long will they accuse mainstream psychological professional groups of being the ones who are wrongly motivated?

What these groups refuse to do in their attempts to convert, cure, or change sexual orientations that they don't like, is to give up their lucrative strategies and recognize what all mainstream psychological organizations have been saying for over 25 years. It's not that these "ex-gay" leaders don't know that they are acting like enemies of science. They just refuse to change the prejudices upon which they've built their self-image.

It wasn't just yesterday, but back in 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association's Board of Trustees confirmed that: "homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness." Since then, all major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is NOT a mental illness.

Is that not clear enough? Listen to the unambiguous language of an American Psychiatric Association statement about attempts to "convert, repair, or cure" homosexuality: "The American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder, or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation."

In fact, the APA says the "therapy" these groups tout as loving is hardly positive for the patient: "The potential risks of Areparative therapy are great: including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

There is no debate here. The other professional psychological organizations all agree - the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Back in 1975 the American Psychological Association agreed with the American Psychiatric Association and made it clear that: "Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities."

Like the American Psychiatric Association, they call for professionals to be involved in proactive change: "Further, the American Psychological Association urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations." We must assume then that any so-called "therapists" who continue to promote prejudice and "cures," are frankly acting unprofessionally.

In summary, "the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual ordination, and mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation."

All this couldn't be clearer. Then, why do we have these "ex-gay" people coming to Kansas City?

We must assume, as the professionals themselves say, that they are here to promote their ignorance and bigotry. They somehow need to obsess with this issue in the same way that prejudice based on race or right-handedness refused to change no matter what the evidence. If Kansas Citians support their approach, then "Everything's not up-to-date in Kansas City."

Source: Robert N. Minor, Ph.D. is author of Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard To Be Human* (HumanityWorks!, 2001), Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, and a staff writer for the Midwest Times the LGBT news magazine of Kansas City, MO

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