Once again, we get a silly little story by the media that is ostensibly objective. This time, it is from the Daily Progress, based in Charlottesville, VA. While the story appears “balanced”, it is not. It, unfortunately, gives equal footing to real science and junk science, while elevating quacks to “authorities” and “experts” on gay issues.
Since “ex-gay” programs are consumer fraud, media stories — if they are to be accurate — should be told from the perspective of the victims who were harmed. But, no, in this puff piece we got a “he said/she said” regurgitation of the issue that gave the veneer of credibility to bizarre programs that use outlandish techniques and border on possible sexual misconduct.
There is also no mention that Arthur Abba Goldberg, the formerly jailed con artist, is the brains behind People Can Change, JONAH, and Journey Into Manhood. Did the reporter fail to do his research on this obviously important piece of the puzzle?
There is also the issue of citing fake statistics that hold no relation to reality. The story parrots the following non-peer reviewed, unscientific garbage:
In 2007, People Can Change conducted a survey of 497 men who had participated in Journey Into Manhood six months to five-and-a-half years prior. Of the 224 respondents, 79 percent reported a decrease in same-sex attractions and 58 percent reported an increase in heterosexual attractions, according to survey results. Additionally, 50 percent reported an increase in heterosexual behaviors, such as dating women, and 13 percent experienced enough change to consider themselves “straight.”
About 90 percent reported feeling better about themselves, and 83 percent reported feeling more masculine.
Note to reporter Brandon Shulleeta: Before citing this B.S., why didn’t you demand to speak with a several of the alleged participants (not working for these groups) in the pseudo-study who supposedly had “changed”? From what my vast experience on this issue has taught me, most of the people who claim to have transformed are those on the payroll of “ex-gay” groups — such as as ministers and therapists.
In other words, they are “ex-gay” for pay. Brandon, you got played and rolled by the People Can Change PR team. The fact is, there just aren’t many real, live, walking, talking, “ex-gays” to interview, such as the ones who are purported to be in People Can Change’s fake study.
Do you not understand that these profit-making groups are an industry that has a stake in peddling fake statistics and inflated numbers? Dude, you essentially provided free advertising for a group that hurts people. You don’t deserve a Pulitzer – you deserve a Putz Prize for shoddy journalism.
Note to Rich Wyler: I hope you enjoyed your little PR coup with the country reporter in southern Virginia. While the spotlight can be delightful, it can also be quite harsh. I’m sure Mr. Abba Goldberg understands this concept. :)
Here is an excerpt from the article:
From his Greene County home, Rich Wyler has spent eight years organizing private weekend camps throughout the country to rid men of sexual attraction to other men.
“They don’t want us to choose our own path and to live out our lives the way we want,” Wyler said. “They want us to join the gay cause.”
Wyler, the founder of the nonprofit People Can Change, has hosted camps throughout the United States and in England, including several in the Charlottesville area. More than 1,300 men have attended.
Many participants in the Journey Into Manhood camps blame their gay feelings on childhood experiences. Some were molested. Others felt shunned by male adults or peers.
Like Wyler, most of Wyler’s volunteer staff members have fought same-sex attraction.
Some participants believe bad childhood experiences caused a disconnect with men, which sparked homosexual attractions, as a way of filling the need for male bonding.
“Every person needs to identify with their gender and connect with others from their gender, and unconsciously, a way to do that is sexually,” Wyler said.
Many scholars argue there’s little proof gay-to-straight therapy works. They say such programs can, instead, inflict deep psychological wounds.
Dr. Jack Drescher, of the American Psychiatric Association, said setting out to change others’ sexual orientation can be dangerous. When conversion camp participants fail to eliminate gay attraction, participants can conclude they are failures, or that God doesn’t love them enough, which could cause more emotional distress or suicidal thoughts, Drescher contends.
“In a way, they are screwing with people’s heads,” Drescher said. “You have to be more careful, when you’re screwing around with people’s heads or their sex lives.”
But Wyler contends that many critics are ignoring the sexual reorientations for political reasons.