The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality is now the “main source of anti-gay ‘junk science,'” according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“But even as NARTH is held up as an authority on the science of homosexuality by both fringe groups and politically potent national organizations like the Family Research Council, its claim that LGBT people can be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality is not backed by the evidence,” the SPLC said.
The report gives a brief history of NARTH, which began in 1992 as a response to the medical consensus that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. Psychiatrists Charles Socarides, Benjamin Kaufman and Joseph Nicolosi — the chief engineer of modern reparative therapy — founded the organization to fight the increasing influence of the “homosexual agenda.”
Authors Ryan Lenz and Evelyn Schatter provide several damning facts about NARTH, including its pseudoscientific claims of a cure for homosexuality; its associations with extremists like Scott Lively, whose book The Pink Swastika says gay men orchestrated the Nazi Holocaust; and the 2010 revelation that NARTH scholar Dr George Rekers paid a male prostitute for nude massages. Also mentioned is the embarrassing 2007 episode that led to Nicolosi’s resignation as NARTH president, after he defended a NARTH adviser’s racially offensive claim that American slavery rescued Africans from a much worse “savage” life in what was “still primarily a jungle.”
Read the full report: NARTH Becomes Main Source for Anti-Gay ‘Junk Science.’
The SPLC is a “nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. ”[Edit 03/13/12: Joseph Nicolosi defended controversial remarks about slavery; it was Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH’s scientific advisory committee, who made the claims in an essay.]