NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out discovered a deeply troubling paper today written by Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a professor at Grove City College, that minimizes the risk of gay teen suicide and mocked the victims of ex-gay therapy, including those who suffered electroshock therapy. The revelation of this paper comes as Throckmorton has emerged as a leading critic of an American Psychological Association task force that is reviewing guidelines on sexual orientation. Throckmorton is also a defender of a new Pat Robertson University sham study that claims some gay people can go straight through prayer.
“Dr. Warren Throckmorton has worked hard to portray himself as mainstream, but his views are quite extreme and show an alarming lack of sensitivity to the victims of ex-gay therapy,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “He owes an apology to those who were harmed by ex-gay therapy. His divisive views are polarizing and not helpful for those who want to have a reasoned scientific debate on sexual orientation.”
In his paper, titled, “Is Sexual Re-orientation Possible?”, Throckmorton dismissively brushes off the pain experienced by those who have been through electroshock therapy by saying, “I have never found evidence of electroshock treatment being used anyway.”
Sadly, Throckmorton also seemed to minimize the experiences of GLBT people who have committed suicide or tried to take their own lives because they could not change.
“The last issue that has been advanced to prove conversion therapy is harmful is the supposed link between youth suicide and conversion therapy,” Throckmorton wrote. “Let me say this clearly: there are no data supporting any such link.”
In a similar manner, Throckmorton mocked the claims of former ex-gays who say they were hurt by ex-gay therapy. “Where’s the evidence for the contention of harm?” he wrote with a hint of disdain.
“I would be more than happy to introduce Throckmorton to victims of ex-gay ministry and electroshock therapy,” said Besen. “Poking a finger in the eye of people who have been damaged by ex-gay ministries is abusive and has no place within civilized medicine.”
This is not the first time Throckmorton has shown callousness towards ex-gay survivors. In 2003, Michael Johnston stepped down after it was discovered the HIV+ ex-gay leader was having unsafe sex with multiple partners he met on the Internet. Instead of having sympathy for his victims, Throckmorton blamed gay activists for revealing Johnston’s behavior.
In response to Johnston’s demise, Throckmorton wrote an op-ed in American Daily on August 7, 2003 that said, “These gentlemen (activists) wanted to make sure the world knew about the private pain of Mr. Johnston and those touched by his failings.”
Indeed, Throckmorton seems to think that the stories of victims should be contrasted with a defense by the offending therapists, as if a doctor would be likely to admit he or she hurt a client. “I submit that there are reasons to be cautious about client reports of dissatisfaction with psychotherapy that are not counterbalanced with reports of the therapists involved,” Throckmorton wrote, further rubbing the wounds of victims with salt.
The doctor also compared homosexuality to unhealthy habits, such as smoking. “Most people who stop smoking report cravings but don’t give into them,” Throckmorton wrote in his controversial paper. “Does this minimize their status as former smokers?”
“Personally, I resent my love being compared to smoking,” said TWO’s Besen. “I can’t think of a more noxious and offensive comparison. Throckmorton’s hostility towards the GLBT community is alarming.”
Surreally, Throckmorton claimed that he “healed” a gay client after teaching him “self-understanding and assertiveness.” Even more bizarre, Throckmorton backed his case that gay people could go straight by suggesting that homosexuals could be “cured” by taking anti-anxiety drugs.
What makes this record so alarming is that Throckmorton is attacking the American Psychological Association and trying to force the organization to accept his methods, which he calls, Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT). The doctor also is a primary defender of a new study sponsored by Pat Robertson University that suggests some gay people can go straight.
“This study is a groundbreaking classic-scientifically erudite and clearly presented,” he explained on the book jacket of the study. “It shares irrefutable data gained over time that serve to explode arguments based on ideology and anecdotes. Its irenic and thoughtful discussion invite an open forum where scientific evidence and rational thinking are allowed to dominate discussion on the subject.”
Although an outspoken proponent of ex-therapy, Throckmorton is relatively unaccomplished. He has not written a book, nor has he conducted any major studies. He does claim to have counseled 250 patients, but he is unable to bring any success cases forward.
Throckmorton also produced a defamatory ex-gay video entitled, “I Do Exist.” The movie’s opening scene was a wide shot of the 8th Avenue New York porn palaces that supposedly represent gay life. His film featured Joanne Highley, a known exorcist, who in a previous video that appeared on PBS (One Nation Under God) discussed how she extracted the demon of homosexuality from the orifices of gay men.
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
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