PFOX now has a new leaflet designed for ex-gay strugglers to provide to their friends to help answer questions they may have.
Unfortunately, PFOX’s leaflet makes claims that are not close to truthful. In fact, many ex-gay individuals and groups don’t make the claims that are in the brochure. Here are a few:
Neither genes nor hormones cause this, as the world’s media would lead us to believe. No one is born with sexual feelings for the same sex.
Warren Throckmorton, a spokesman for PFOX, has stated that some men (particularly younger brothers) who “owe the SSA to sex atypical neurohormonal differentiation”. He does not beleive SSA to be a “final destination”, but nonetheless, this statement by PFOX is inconsistent with his statements on this site.
Psychologists have known for decades that such feelings stem from temperament and deeply rooted underlying emotional factors.
This statement implies that temperament and emotional factors as a cause of homosexuality is an accepted premise in the field of psychology. It suggests that reorientation is a process well established and respected. Actually the opposite is the case. A handful of rogue psychologists hold to this position while every reputable professional organization for mental health has rejected reorientation and believe it to be potentially harmful.
This therapy will reduce his unwanted same-sex attractions.
Not even Exodus claims that all who go through reorientation therapy will reduce their same-sex attractions. Many ex-gay groups claim that all can reduce their attractions but that isn’t the same thing.
So does this mean he’s “gay”?
No! … [He is] trying to have no “gay” feelings at all. He’s just a normal human being like you and everyone else.
No, he’s not gay, he’s normal. Can’t you feel the love in that paragraph?
What made him turn out this way?
That’s a long story. He will know, if not now, then in the course of his therapy where he’ll find out what things contributed to his getting SSA.
There is no evidence whatsoever that a person “gets” SSA. Even assuming one did, the process of trying to remember events from very early childhood and deciding that they contributed to “getting SSA” is highly suspect.
Some of the information provided in the brochure is realistic and may be helpful to the friends of those going through reorientation therapy. There is even some information that those wishing to go through the process should consider. For example:
Will he ever be totally “straight”?
Perhaps – some do get that far. He might get to a point where his SSA is so weak or unimportant that it plays no role in his day-to-day life. On the other hand, it may continue to be a problem.
While I am suspect of “some do get that far”, at least there is recognition in this brochure that reorientation is not a universally successful process. And this does let the participant know that they may spend the rest of their life in therapy without experiencing success.
I thought being “gay” was fun. Why doesn’t he just accept it?
You should ask him. No one chooses to have same sex attractions. Why force him into living a life he did not choose? Instead, respect his individual self-determination. He has the right to decide whether to seek counselling for unwanted same sex attractions. It’s his life.
I have no complaints about this statement other than the assumption that being a gay person is somehow frivolous. And while I believe that gay people generally respect another person’s self-determination, I wish that PFOX did the same.
But I heard on TV that it’s genetic?
Wrong. The media tries to be clever when it claims there’s a “gay gene.” No scientist ever claimed to have found such a thing. The American Psychiatric Association agrees that there is no replicated scientific study supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. There is no medical test for sexual orientation.
While all the words in this paragraph are technically true, its deception level rates right up there with “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.”
Although PFOX is trying to appeal to those who hate “the liberal media”, it is true that a “gay gene” has not been identified. But that does not mean that homosexuality is “not genetic”. It is quite clear that for at least some gay men genetics, along with hormones, does play a part. In fact, for all we know, sexual orientation may be entirely determined by a series of genes and hormones and may have no post-birth environmental factors at all.
Although recent research suggests that genetics are important in the determination of sexual orientation, the truth is that we simply don’t know for certain what factors result in homosexuality in any individual. Nor does PFOX. Yet throughout the leaflet they suggest that they do. PFOX claims there is no “gay gene”, “neither genes nor hormones cause this”, “such feelings stem from temperament and deeply rooted underlying emotional factors”, “he’ll find out what things contributed to his getting SSA”, and “It’s a condition of mind”.
PFOX had an opportunity to provide real and much needed information to those going through reorientation therapy and their friends. Instead, PFOX provided a leaflet which seeks to deceive and put a political spin on the issue. And for that PFOX should feel shame.