Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays operates a Yahoo group for antigay parents and relatives of adult gay persons.
The e-mail discussions are tightly moderated by conservative federal “civil rights” attorney Estella Salvatierra, who has served as PFOX vice president. Salvatierra not only blocks any e-mail message that is critical of an exgay activist or tactic, but also has been known to edit the PFOX list members’ messages — changing key phrases and deleting paragraphs to comply with PFOX’s strict and politically correct worldview — without informing the writer or the group of her changes.
Following PFOX president Richard Cohen’s embarrassing appearance on CNN on May 23, three messages of support for Cohen were released by Salvatierra. It is unknown whether any messages voicing skepticism toward Cohen were blocked, or whether these three messages of support were rewritten by Salvatierra.
Here are the three messages, shown in their entirety except for the writer’s identity.
From one woman:
I felt Richard did an excellent job–it’s too bad that we didn’t get to see the other 4 hours of filming!–in our note to Paula Zahn we wrote” Thank you Paula for your show last night. The ex gays are an emerging community that the politically active gays are trying to suppress. By giving the ex gays a voice, those who presently are leading a gay lifestyle and who want to change are given hope and an alternative to the gay lifestyle that they are now living.”
I also want to thank Richard’s client Rob for his courage to be on her program. It has taken a tremendous amount of work on his part to reach his dream. Both he and Richard have given us hope that our son Christopher will want therapy and that one day he, too, will be looking on E Harmony for a date with a woman!
From another woman:
I watched the Paula Zahn show last night and taped it. In general, I thought it was very good and allowed both sides to be shown. Of course, it had it’s liberal slant but the ex-gay side was shown. The most important thing Paula said that I liked, which has never been said on a liberal channel before was that ‘DOCTORS DON’T KNOW WHAT CAUSES SAME-SEX ATTRACTION. THERE IS NO GAY GENE! AND, NO DEFINITIVE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH THAT ONES FAMILY OR ENVIRONMENT TRIGGERS IT.” Richard did a good job, as well as his client Rob, who was shown as a success story on the show. I was also glad that it showed Richards book, ‘Coming Out Straight.’ enlarged on the screen. They focused in on Richard’s technique of hitting the pillow with a tennis racket to make him look a bit like a nut case and also said he was not a licensed therapist. But, the fact is that they did say that Richard had changed, was married, and had kids and was happy as well as Rob. Richard also said that he was not against those who wanted to be gay. He said, ‘That’s great if they want to be gay’ but he wanted the option that change is possible to be represented as well. Richard demonstrated the ‘Holding’ Technique with Rob. This technique of cradling or holding someone in a loving way as a healthy parent would with a child, demonstrated a healing non-sexual process. Having gone to one of Richards Healing Seminars with our son, I experienced this technique, first hand, and my son really liked it too. The show said that people used religious and secular therapy as change methods. Even though these techniques may not work for some, it did for Richard and many others. Just like many religions may not agree on everything, we can find common ground.
On the other side, they showed Jack Dressier who represented the APA as putting down reparative therapy. He said that there was no research or evidence for reparative therapy and that it was dangerous. The fact is that there is research out there (like Dr. Spitzer’s) and even if the research is antidotal, it shows people have changed. Most medical research started by experimentation and Richard was just showing some of the things that have worked for him and others. A guy named Xavier Yager, who had gone through reparative therapy was shown as not being able to change and how that depressed him and they mentioned how he almost killed himself. They actually did a poor job of representing their side I thought. They both looked like stressed out, unhappy people, and the ex-gays looked at peace and happy. I was sorry to not see Dr. Spitzer on the segment. I just wrote Paula Zahn this morning and here is what I wrote:
Thank you so much for airing last nights ( 5/23/06 ) program about whether change is possible for gay people. I so appreciated your segment with Richard Cohen. It is SOOO important to have that option available to those who want it. I have a 23 year old son who discovered his same-sex attraction at 16. I wish the schools had informed him about change is possible groups when he was young instead of pushing him to be gay. He connected with a pro-gay Danish youth on the net who sent him porn and influenced him to accept himself as gay. I wrote to this Danish youth for two years and our letters to each other became a book I wrote, [identifying information omitted by XGW].
Richard Cohen wrote the foreword to it which is at that link. This Danish youth, and my son allowed me to publish our story to show that those on both sides of this issue can find common ground and get along.
I thought your segment was fairly balanced and I GREATLY appreciated it. I had heard that Dr. Spitzer was going to be on your show and was disappointed that he was not. It would be wonderful if you could have him and Dr. Warren Throckmorton on your show with the new ‘I do Exist’ video they have put out. Again, Thanks a bunch!!!
Finally, from a third woman:
Wow! I was scared to look and had to mute the APA guy, but Richard, you really scored one! And they were actually fair, I thought. They only showed part of the therapy of course, but what hope you have given people!