Focus on the Family recently claimed gay activists (NGLTF and PFLAG) have “pressured” the APA to re-examine it’s position on allowing members to practice gay conversion or reparative therapy. Given Focus’ recent history of distorting science and reality to fit their worldview, I contacted the NGLTF, PFLAG, and the APA myself and spoke respectivly with Jason Cianciotto, Ron Schlittler, and Clinton Anderson. What I learned was that in an informal meeting Schlittler (PFLAG) expressed concerns to Anderson (APA) over: (in Schlittler’s words)
“aggressive promotion of “reparative therapy” by right wing groups.”
Given that the APA’s position statement on reparative therapy is 8-years old Anderson issued a formal memo in September of 2005 to NGLTF and PFLAG seeking formal opinions from both organizations. To be clear, NGLTF never even gave their opinion to the APA until asked for it. I hardly consider that “pressure.”
Focus did not report the primary reason for the formation of the investigative task-force, which is because: (in Cianciotto’s words)
[since 1997 a] “growing body of new research has been published on conversion therapy and a number of other medical and mental health professional associations have released new statements and policies on the issue.”
All three sources I spoke with, the APA, NGLTF, and PFLAG indicated this was the primary reason for the formation of a task-force. Focus neglected to report this.
Focus on the Family took in 143 million dollars in revenue in 2005.
Focus has contributed nothing to the body of research on conversion therapy but rather spent vast sums of money erecting billboards asking people to “question homosexuality.” The only evidence of “successful” conversion therapy Focus has offered is a troupe of career professional ex-gays, and and even Focus would have to agree that for the APA to base their professional scientific standards and methods on that would be akin to malpractice.
It’s no wonder Focus doesn’t want to report the primary reason the APA is reevaluating its position. They could have contacted these same people for the facts but apparently did not. Either this is incredibly sloppy journalism or they were trying to spin a story that wasn’t there.
Anderson (APA) also reported the formation of a task-force has been authorized and nominations will be accepted in March.