AUTHOR ADMONISHES EX-GAY GROUP FOR FILING FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT AGAINST MARYLAND SEX ED PROGRAM
PFOX'S Professionally Disgraced President Richard Cohen Has No Business Dictating Sex Education Content In Maryland
NEW YORK - Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, called on Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays to drop a frivolous lawsuit they filed on Tuesday against the Montgomery County Maryland Board of Education and its superintendent Jerry Weast. The obstructionist legal maneuver is an attempt to scuttle the county's plan to enact a new sex education program that provides gay students positive, healthy messages and accurate information.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays is upset because they want "ex-gays" to be included in the curriculum. They are also angry because the program lists affirming religious groups that can save a young gay person's life.
"PFOX's is the most despicable anti-gay group in the nation because its main thrust is to infiltrate schools and inject venom into the curriculum," said Wayne Besen, Author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. "PFOX knows that gay students with high self esteem and self-worth will reject the group's failed programs. So, this frivolous lawsuit is an attempt to put a right wing program into place that will tear down gay students and make them vulnerable to the appeals of charlatans such as PFOX."
Most disturbing, PFOX President Richard Cohen was "permanently expelled" from the American Counseling Association in 2003 for serious ethics violations. The ACA document can be viewed here.
Sadly, Cohen doesn't freely advertise his professional failure on his various promotional materials and leads people to believe he is a counselor in good standing.
"It seems that before PFOX tells schools how to operate, it should clean up its own messy house of mendacity," said Besen. "Certainly no decent, loving parent would want Richard Cohen dictating what their children are learning and what belongs in a school's curriculum."
"John strongly beleived that just because the intellegence community had a conclusion on an issue, that didn't necessarily have to be his view,"
-- Alan Foley, former head of the CIA's weapons proliferation center
In other words, John Bolton, the nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, only wanted intellegence that conformed to his agenda. Bush is making a big mistake by sticking by Bolton. Anyone in America who has ever worked for an abusive boss is against his nomination. Regular folks, including many Bush voters, can see that Bolton is bad news. Here is the big test: Would you want to work for the stapler throwing Bolton?
With these Soprano-like words, the right wing's most fearsome sharks circled Magellan Health Services. Like Microsoft, only a week earlier, the ruthless killing machines quickly devoured the nation's leading behavioral health company. Magellan was easy prey and surrendered to the savage attack so quickly, the Jaws music barely hit its first note.
Let me explain.
In March, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who recently produced a video on ex-gays called, "I Do Exist", had been removed from Magellan's National Professional Advisory Council because of his controversial and unorthodox view that some homosexuals could become heterosexual through therapy.
Shortly after his exile, Throckmorton joined forces with Concerned Women for America and the Illinois Family Institute to try to overturn their wise decision. In April, Magellan mysteriously reinstalled the right wing doctor.
Jack Nichols completed 67 years of a wonderful and inspiring life at 1:20 AM on May 2, 2005. He slipped away quietly. He was surrounded by many friends and family during his final days. At the end two of his close friends Scott Hall and Steve Yates were with him, as they listened to Rosemary Clooney's "I Don't Want to Walk Without You". Jack touched everybody with his great heart and his love of the people he met and interacted with, each in a unique and personal way.
Jack Nichols was the editor of GayToday.com from 1997 until 2004 utilizing the new media of the Internet to broadcast his voice around the world. He literally touched the lives of over 50,000 people weekly as they read his articles published online.
Most important, from my personal experience, Jack was just a heck of a nice guy. I will greatly miss him and his wealth of warmth and wisdom.
Magellan Health Services Attn: Erin S. Somers Vice President of Public Relations Via Email: email@example.com
Dear Ms. Somers:
As the Author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, I have witnessed first hand the devastating consequences of reparative therapy. It is an outdated, cruel form of mental manipulation. It aligns the therapist with societal prejudice and religious pressure to coerce victims into believing they must change their sexual orientation. I am saddened and deeply disturbed by Magellan's reinstatement of Dr. Warren Throckmorton to its National Professional Advisory Council, considering he is one of the nation's chief proponents of such harmful and abusive therapy.
Magellan was correct in March when it removed Throckmorton from the Council. The company clearly and rightfully concluded that Throckmorton's advocacy of such a biased, and often barbaric practice made him uniquely unfit to serve. With great alarm I write to ask for a reasonable and coherent explanation for the reinstatement of Throckmorton.
Magellan should be applauded for clearly stating that it wholeheartedly agrees with all respected medical and mental health organizations, including the American Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, that homosexuality is not a mental illness, disorder or emotional problem.
Given that Magellan supports the views of mainstream medicine, it is perplexing that your company would endorse Throckmorton and sanction reparative therapy as simply an innocuous option that patients have the "right to explore". While these vulnerable and desperate victims may have this right, it is Magellan's responsibility to dissuade people from experimenting with doctors who practice a strain of obsolete and emotionally damaging therapy. The American Psychiatric Association says, "the potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior", that can "reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."
Why would Magellan encourage patients to "explore" such dangerous quackery? The answer is simple: Magellan capitulated due to a pressure campaign orchestrated by extreme right wing groups.
Following Throckmorton's original dismissal, I contacted him via E-mail to ask why he was eliminated from the Advisory Board. Throckmorton hinted at the formation of an organized campaign to reinstate him when he replied, "you will hear more about the Magellan situation in due time." Almost immediately following this initial exchange, Throckmorton wrote an e-mail to Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute, Bob Knight of Concerned Women for America and professional ex-gay agitator Stephen Bennett, referring to the Magellan situation by saying, "Just thought I would keep y'all aware that the blood is in the water." I know Throckmorton did this because I was inadvertently included on this E-mail.
Despite Magellan's denials, it is clear by these E-mails and by Magellan's subsequent buckling that your company was pressured and cowed into surrendering your principles. Magellan knows that Throckmorton represents the worst in the mental health profession. This is why he was dismissed in the first place. His reappointment is a slap in the face to victims of reparative therapy and an insult to the gay community who have been historically persecuted by pseudo-science.
Moreover, it is a severe blow to the leadership and credibility of your company. Throckmorton is cynically using his position on Magellan's Advisory Council to gain respectability and legitimize his backwards, dangerous and politically motivated anti-gay views. Magellan should reverse course and not offer a platform to an extremist to further his political agenda.
Ms. Somers, I would like you and other Magellan representatives to meet with me and several ex-ex-gays - who are people that have been victimized by the type of sham therapy promoted by Throckmorton. I offer you their moving stories and harrowing tales so Magellan can see that it is not in its best interest to be associated with such a harmful practice.
Thank you for your kind consideration and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.