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Contact: Wayne Besen
“Ex-Gay’ Therapy is Harmful and Ineffective, Says TWO
NEW YORK — Truth Wins Out commended the American Psychological Association today for adopting a resolution and releasing a report that explicitly says that “there is insufficient evidence” for therapists to claim conversion therapy works. The APA report also admonishes so-called “ex-gay” counselors to not mislead clients by telling them that their sexual orientation can be changed.
“Ex-Gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “It is our hope that persistent violators of the principles enumerated by the APA will be held accountable for their unethical actions.”
The APA report cast doubt on efforts to change sexual orientation and said, “Enduring change to an individual’ sexual orientation was unlikely.” It also questioned the objectivity of some counselors promoting “change” programs and cautioned them to not “prioritize one outcome over another.”
“We recommend that the APA take a leadership role in opposing the distortion and selective use of scientific data about homosexuality by individuals and organizations and in supporting the dissemination of accurate scientific and professional information about sexual orientation in order to counteract bias,” the report said.
“It is clear that many ex-gay therapists use stigma and shame to keep gay and lesbian people from genuine self-acceptance,” said Truth Wins Out’ Wayne Besen. “We hope that the APA’ willingness to couch its criticisms so directly will limit the number of psychological casualties produced on the couches of ex-gay therapists.”
The report included a section on adolescent inpatient facilities that try to change sexual orientation in youth.
“The limited published literature on these programs suggests that many do not present accurate scientific information regarding same-sex sexual orientations to youth and families, are excessively fear-based and have the potential to increase sexual stigma,” said the APA report, “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.”
Additionally, the report recognized survivors who “described their experiences as a significant cause of emotional and spiritual distress and negative self-image.”
Truth Wins Out released a new video today featuring, Patrick McAlvey, a survivor of ex-gay counseling under Mike Jones, director of the Exodus International ministry, Corduroy Stone, based in Lansing, Michigan. Jones’ sessions with McAlvey, who was 19 at the time, included prolonged hugs, the suggestion that he use handyman tools to increase his masculinity and questions about the size of his genitalia. There was also an episode of “holding therapy” where he reclined into the lap of his supposedly “ex-gay” counselor for an hour. The goal, according to McAlvey, was to get comfortable with his own manliness by “feeling the strength” and “smelling the smell” of another man.
“I think it does a lot of damage to peoples’ mental health,” said McAlvey. “If I had had a fair representation (of gay life) I could have avoided a lot of suffering.”
The APA report came one week after Exodus International’ President, Alan Chambers, admitted that he is still “tempted” and must live in “self-denial” to remain “ex-gay.”
“The truth is, I’m in denial, but it is self-denial,” Chambers told Citizen Link, Focus on the Family’ online magazine. “…What I’ve found is that my freedom, and the freedom of those who’ve left homosexuality, was centered around denying what might come naturally to us…there is a way out for those who want it, but it doesn’t say that they are going into heterosexuality.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that counters anti-gay misinformation, exposes the ex-gay myth and educates America about gay life.
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