Monday, October 12, 2020

Sorry, Family Research Council but the APA opposes 'ex-gay' therapy

It goes without saying that LGBTQ people have a lot of work to do when it comes to calling out the anti-LGBTQ industry, i.e. the organizations and personalities better known as the religious right. For years, they have been allowed to control most of the narrative when it comes to our rights and safety. They've demonized us and stigmatized our families with fear tactics, cherry-picked science, and out-and-out lies. And hiding behind  a veneer of religion while doing it.

While it has been difficult to point these facts out,  the difficulty does not lie with the lack of information or incidents of lies. Probably because they feel that they won't be called out, religious right groups and personalities openly and brazenly distort legitimate information to lie on LGBTQ people.

One example of this is recent piece by SPLC-designated hate group, the Family Research Council. 

A few days ago, Facebook removed the page of Restored Hope Network. Restored Hope Network is a  group of organizations pushing the false science of 'ex-gay' therapy or the belief that people can change their sexual orientation. Needless to say, a lot of folks on that side of the spectrum are angry, including FRC,  at Facebook over this

One of FRC's spokespeople, Peter Sprigg, claimed that it was blatant censorship. He also that there should be a debate about whether or not people can change their sexual orientation. To back up his claim, he included information from the American Psychological Association:

This focus on the causes of same-sex attraction is squarely within the realm of mainstream scientific debate. Even the American Psychological Association, though critical of SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts), has said: "[M]uch research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation... Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles..."

Even though Sprigg acknowledges that the APA is critical of 'ex-gay' therapy, he deliberately omits just how critical the organization is of the practice.
First, look at the passage as Sprigg cherry-picked it:

"[M]uch research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation... Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles..."

Now look what the entire passage says (Editor's note - you can find it under 'What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation/' via this link):

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.

The passage has nothing to do with 'ex-gay' therapy. But concerning 'ex-gay' therapy  the APA said the following (under 'What about therapy intended to change sexual orientation from gay to straight?'):

All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings. 

 Helpful responses of a therapist treating an individual who is troubled about her or his same sex attractions include helping that person actively cope with social prejudices against homosexuality, successfully resolve issues associated with and resulting from internal conflicts, and actively lead a happy and satisfying life. Mental health professional organizations call on their members to respect a person's (client's) right to self-determination; be sensitive to the client's race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, language and disability status when working with that client; and eliminate biases based on these factors.

To summarize - Peter Sprigg cherry-picked a passage from online information by the American Psychological Association to make it seem that the APA gives backhand support to 'ex-gay' therapy while ignoring the statement by the organization proving that it clearly opposes 'ex-gay' therapy.

When it comes to cherry-picking credible information to reach an inaccurate conclusion, this isn't Sprigg's "first time at the rodeo," so to speak. Sprigg has been guilty of this offense on several occasions.  And he will probably continue to do it because very few people are looking. 

And that epitomizes the problem LGBTQ people have when it comes to bringing attention to the lies of the anti-LGBTQ industry. There is too much focus on the lies passed along as truth, but not enough focus on the fact that these are lies passed along as truth.

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