That is the number of successful clients that New Jersey therapist Jeffrey Danco was able to provide to the Newark Star Ledger today to defend the success of reparative therapy. Here is the gist of the story:
Assemblyman Tim Eustace, a recently elected, openly gay Democrat from Bergen County, finds this frightening. The father of two sons who has been with his partner for 32 years, Eustace says it offends him as a parent.
“This is someone who claims to be a professional, who is making good money off a family, who could end up damaging a kid forever,” he said. “It’s a message akin to quackery.”
He plans to introduce a bill this week to outlaw so-called “gay conversion therapy” for licensed practitioners who perform it on minors, even with parental permission. New Jersey would be only the second state to do so, after California.
Because children often have little choice about therapy, Eustace argues the government should protect them — much in the way it restricts other potentially harmful activities, such as underage drinking, indoor tanning and buying cigarettes.
But Danco calls that a politically motivated government intrusion and says parents have the right to choose whatever therapy they want for their kids. And whether a bill like this would actually be signed into law, and upheld up by the courts, is a huge question mark.
Here is more on Danco’s position:
Danco, an evangelical Christian, is aware of that assessment but firmly disagrees. He received his degree from a Christian psychology program in California and, like others doing this therapy, believes homosexuality is a choice.
“Reparative therapy” isn’t a big part of his practice, but over two decades, he said he’s used it on dozens of patients, many teenagers. The major counseling organizations don’t call it unethical, he points out. So why, if someone really wants to change and asks him to help, should he be forbidden from doing so?
Danco describes homosexuality as “a distortion in an individual’s sexual identity,” which can develop from past trauma, or when someone dissatisfied with his own physique doesn’t just admire characteristics of other men, but sexualizes them. He often encourages male patients to form platonic friendships by joining sports teams, and talks to the girls about their search for “a mother substitute.”
Does it work? The evidence is anecdotal. Danco would not produce a patient who would speak about it for this article, for confidentiality reasons.
Not even a single former patient, huh? Here are a few things to think about:
1) Of course Danco is an Evangelical Christian. That is his motive to foist such quackery on children — not science. He seems far more interested in promoting his religious beliefs than the mental health and well being of children. But isn’t therapy supposed to be about helping the client rather than proselytizing?
2) Danco claims that he has used his religious quack techniques on a number of patients over two decades. Yet, he can’t even find one client to come forward and tout its success? He hides behind confidentiality — but this is a ruse and Danco is being less than truthful. He can’t come up with a success story because there are none to be found. The weird part is, this is the guy that the “ex-gay” industry has chosen, meaning that other ex-gay therapists have presumably had even less success. Though I’m no mathematician, it is difficult to find less success than the big goose egg put forth by Danco. In my view, unless he can showcase success stories, it is fair to wonder if this guy is a complete fraud.
This absence of success was echoed in a new video by the Jersey City-Based Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), where the group was forced to use an elderly Catholic poster boy from Phoenix. What? A group that purports to help gay Jews go straight can’t find a single Jewish convert in New Jersey? Or, at least the east coast? And the “success story” they featured was clearly gayer that Liberace’s tights. (And watch JONAH’s Elaine Berk reveal remarkable ignorance when she talks about the “gay genome.” Do these people know anything?)
3) This is rich. Danco has the nerve to call Eustace’s bill politically motivated. Yet, the only “ex-gay” found for the story in New Jersey is a professional lobbyist, Greg Quinlan, who works for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. Quinlan, who is also the board president of President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), likes to refer to gay men as “flaming faggots” and his a long history of falsehoods and fabrication.
Meanwhile, Chaim Levin (pictured), who is not a lobbyist, spoke openly about how he was harmed by his reparative therapy treatment in New Jersey. It is always amazing how our side can come up with survivors, while the extremists virtually never come up with anyone who isn’t paid to say they’ve “changed.”
4) No, Danco, parents do not have the absolute right to do whatever the heck they want to their children. There are laws against beating children. There are laws against using religious freedom to deny children medical care. There are laws against taking a child out of school. There is no absolute ability for parents to use tyrannical beliefs to psychologically harm or physically abuse.
5) The experience of millions of LGBT people, as well as modern medicine, shows that sexuality is innate and not a flippant choice, nor a matter of moral belief systems. Has Danco done even a hour of homework on a topic in which he wrongly fancies himself an expert?
Reparative therapy is a fraud and isn’t really therapy at all. It is nothing more than zealots using junk science to support bad theology. It is child abuse and should be banned for minors because it’s harmful, coercive by nature, scientifically dishonest, and psychologically traumatic. Plus — it doesn’t work except for professional political lobbyists like Quinlan who are “ex-gay” for pay.
So, where are all the legions of successful “ex-gays”? It seems they don’t exist.