Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Concession

August 21, 2006 - At the APA Conference in New Orleans — where APA President Koocher commented about the ethicality of sexual reorientation therapy — Clinton Anderson, director of the APA Office of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns, offered further commentary.*

Mr. Anderson said he does not dispute that some people leave homosexuality. "I don't think that anyone disagrees with the idea that people can change, because we know that straight people become gay and lesbian — so it seems totally reasonable that some gay and lesbian people would become straight. The issue is not whether sexual orientation changes...the issue is whether therapy changes sexual orientation."
That shifting moment when everyone suddenly agreed that change is possible somehow escaped me. Was someone else there? Can you describe it for me? Regardless, I hope the legions of folks who constantly reference the APA as a scientifically credible organization which has debunked reparative therapy will now fall in line with this statement that nobody "disagrees with the idea that people can change" sexual orientation! Hee.

9 comments:

Chris said...

You'll forgive me if I read NARTH's report with some skepticism. I'd certainly like to read the comments in their broader context, without commentary from NARTH.

Rebecca said...

I think there's a distinction between changing for some possibly unknown reason, and changing through reparative therapy. This quote states: "The issue is not whether sexual orientation changes...the issue is whether therapy changes sexual orientation."

I'm pretty much down with that line of thinking. I don't know why some people feel like they're straight and years later are attracted to the same sex, but I know it happens (having known at least one person like that). Maybe it has something to do with changing hormones. Who knows. My point is that a person can believe reparative therapy is not helpful, and also believe that people sometimes do change sexual orientation. You don't have to think reparative therapy is crap JUST BECAUSE people CAN NEVER CHANGE.

Will said...

There are several problems with this posting, including the source, the context, and the verifiability of what was said.

Scot said...

I think I’m with Rebecca here. Caution has to be exercised in saying gays can’t or can do anything, as a great diversity may be wrapped up in the word ‘gays’. There may be many reasons people are gay or straight, each with their own malleability or means of change one way or another. It’s reasonable to think most orientation may be how many gays and straights experience it, immovably set. For them conversion therapy is futile. But others could be malleable with force or simply time.

-L- said...

I'm not saying anything different than what Rebecca has said. I think the distinction between change in response to therapy and just plain change is a crucial one.

It's the idea that everyone agrees that sexual orientation changes that is so laughable. I don't know about you guys, but I've come across a few folks who believe it's immutable--who believe it, umm, religiously.

Will, welcome to the blog. Please come often and comment. You'll be disappointed if you expect my posts to be carefully researched and annotated (try Scot's). I deal mostly in ideas. Rarely science or something that approximates it. And sometimes being obnoxious. ;-)

Chris, is there any context that would qualitatively change what the quote means?

Scot said...

“but I've come across a few folks who believe it's immutable”

It probably is, for some, but not all.

“Religiously” would be more in believing that one sort of gay is the only sort of gay. The gay to rule them all…

Chris said...

L:

Was he talking about changing orientation? Thoughts? Feelings? Behavior?

My behavior used to be exclusively heterosexual, while my thoughts and feelings were almost exclusively homosexual. Now my behavior is exclusively homosexual, as are my thoughts and feelings. So I've "changed" from straight to gay, right? But my sexual orientation has always been homosexual.

My suspicion is that NARTH is spinning us.

stenar said...

When you look in depth at studies on change therapy, you see most of the people who have "changed" are merely repressing their true selves and their behavior, but haven't actually changed their sexual orientation.

CharlotteJ said...

to Chris, my ex-husband had the same argument. His behavior with my was straight, but his feelings and attractions were homosexual. Now he is living a more homosexual lifestyle but is still "in love" with me and seeks out non-sexual romantic relationships with women. It is very confusing and is why I had to leave.