The "ex-gay" picket of the American Psychological Association's annual convention today was a total flop. It received a chilly reception from mainstream psychologists in New Orleans and their press conference had to be cancelled because there was virtually no press. Indeed, there was only one local camera, News Channel 6, and they interviewed me, ensuring that the prevailing mainstream viewpoint was represented.
After bussing in about 50 professional "ex-gay" lobbyists and likely spending thousands of dollars, one could only describe this as a total bust. If I were Dr. Nicolosi of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), I'd be depressed by the results. The high-priced event consisted of so-called "ex-gays" walking aimlessly in circles and shouting slogans to themselves.
On the other hand, Truth Wins Out had a very successful day. Joined by the APA's Clinton Anderson and Greater New Orleans MCC pastor Rev. Dexter Brecht, TWO was on-site and prepared to counter the ex-gay myth. This morning, TWO also obtained a new and devastating statement from the APA repudiating the ex-gay hoax. Additionally, the APA's rejection of conversion therapy is now being reported in publications such as Planet Out, The Advocate and 365Gay.com. Here are pictures of NARTH's failed event:
In response to Friday's picket of the American Psychological Association's annual convention by the conversion therapy group NARTH, the APA today released the following statement obtained by Truth Wins Out:
"For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversation therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."
"Truth Wins Out applauds the APA for taking a strong stand against quack science and not buckling to a transparent PR campaign designed to politically pressure the APA into abandoning sound science," said TWO's Executive Director Wayne Besen.
Religion-Based Bigots Cloak Scripture in the Guise of Science, Says TWO
WHAT:Truth Wins Out will hold a press conference to counter a right wing attempt to bully the American Psychological Association into re-labeling homosexuality a mental illness. The anti-gay coalition is staging a politically-motivated "protest" at the New Orleans convention center on Friday. These groups believe that homosexuality is sinful, and therefore they are attempting to pressure the APA into twisting science so it will correspond to the coalition's fundamentalist beliefs. The main tactic the coalition is using to manipulate the APA is the exploitation of so-called "ex-gays," which are recloseted homosexuals who say they have prayed away the gay.
"This is the subversion of science and a religious racket designed to con Americans into believing that homosexuality is a mental illness," said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. "This coalition is trying to kill the APA messenger because they don't like their science-based message. These ex-gay groups keep no statistics, they produce no peer reviewed studies, most of their top leaders have reverted back to homosexuality and they conveniently disregard scientific evidence that does not conform to their political agenda."
WHO: Wayne Besen, Executive Director, Truth Wins Out Other Speakers TBA WHERE: Outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Friday, August 11 (11 a.m.)
BACKGROUND: In 1974, the American Psychological Association deleted homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. It did so, because it was determined that prejudice instead of proof was responsible for the original diagnosis. There was no evidence to support the notion that gay people were psychologically different from anyone else in society.
Unfortunately, the right wing has launched an unethical and scientifically bankrupt campaign to politically pressure the APA into overruling its respected research. Ironically, the groups that are criticizing the APA use bizarre techniques to "cure" homosexuals. Some of their methods include exorcisms, repossessing a client's Calvin Klein underwear because it is deemed "too gay," taking Prozac and drinking Gatorade in an effort to make men more masculine.
"If the quack science is examined, it is clear that conversion therapy is a cruel hoax that is destroying lives and shattering families," said Besen. "The goal of this right wing coalition is to fool voters into thinking homosexuality is mutable, because polls show that when Americans believe people are born gay, they are more likely to vote in favor of equality."
Truth Wins OUT (TWO) is a non-profit think tank and educational organization that counters right wing disinformation campaigns, debunks the ex-gay myth, and provides accurate information about the lives of GLBT people.
Please support TWO in its efforts to counter right wing lies in New Orleans. To help CLICK HERE
Police have been "forced" to cancel a planned demonstration by gay rights activists in Bursa after anti-gay protesters took to the streets to scupper the march. Hundreds of football club Bursaspor supporters lined the route of the planned demonstration and threw stones at the offices of the local homosexual association, Gokkusagı (Rainbow).
Rainbow's president, Omer Evren, speaking at a press conference, said they would file a complaint against the Bursaspor club, promising to stage an even bigger march next year.
"The police could have taken the required measures, but they didn't. They even sought to dissuade us from holding the event," Emir Birant, an activist from the Ankara-based KAOS-GL gay rights advocacy group, told Agence France-Presse by telephone from Bursa. "There was absolutely no help from the authorities, which clearly demonstrates how homosexuals are regarded in Turkey," Birant said.
If Turkey wants to join the western world, they must stop such terror tactics and bullying of its gay citizens. There is no place in the civilized world for such barbaric and hateful behavior. The government must help fulfill Birant's promise of a bigger and better Pride celebration next year.
"This is what happens when religion takes over politics. Rational negotiation becomes impossible; victory becomes a theological mandate; no end becomes feasible except conflict; and in this case, some of the actors actually want that conflict to be apocalyptic. We have to understand the fundamentalist mindset we are grappling with. It is not rational in worldly terms. It is other-worldly - and rational only under those theological constructs. For those reasons, it is the biggest threat to Western freedom since the totalitarianisms of the last century; and easily the most mortal theat to Israel since its founding. It cannot be disarmed or reasoned with; it can only be defeated."
In a stark repudiation, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) narrowly lost the Democratic Senate primary here Tuesday night, falling to antiwar candidate Ned Lamont in a campaign that became a referendum on the incumbent's support for the Iraq war.
"I am, of course, disappointed by the results, but I am not discouraged," Lieberman said. "I'm disappointed not just because I lost but because the old politics of partisan polarization won today. For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand."
Instead of accepting the results, the self-centered Lieberman vowed to run as an Independent. Talk about lack of loyalty! The Democratic party made him and catapulted him to a VP nomination, even though he lacked charisma. Now, he is stabbing his party in the back and won't accept defeat. What a first class cry baby!
Joe keeps telling us that he was just wrong on one issue. Well, today Joe learned that war is a pretty big issue and kissing Bush's ass so he could earn Sunday apperances on Meet the Press was a bad political move.
After a brutal summer of judicial defeats, the future of gay marriage looks about as healthy as Fidel Castro. The high courts in New York and Washington turned their backs on justice, while the court jesters in Georgia and Nebraska ruled to reinstate constitutional amendments that prohibit gay couples from marrying.
Instead of rallying to revive the patient, however, 250 respected activists took it upon themselves to pull the plug on equal marriage rights. In a Kevorkian document titled, "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage," these activists call on the GLBT community to trade in white wedding gowns for a white flag.
The signatories of the document include notables such as feminist icon Gloria Steinem, crooner Holly Near and gay authors Terrence McNally and Armistead Maupin. There are also advocates such as Mandy Carter of the National Black Justice Coalition and Wendy Curry of BiNet.
The loopy and long-winded manifesto tries to make the impossible case that marriage should lose its special status and become just one option on a buffet table of relationship possibilities. The idea is for our nation's laws to mirror those of Canada. What these activists don't seem to understand is that much of Middle America believes a person is either "married" or "shacking up." The former commands respect and the latter confers ridicule. If you thought convincing Americans that gay people should be allowed to marry was a tough sell, try hawking the idea that marriage no longer has a special place in society.
If people hold this alternative view, I have no problem if they promote their beliefs and try to convince other Americans. It is profoundly unwise, however, for this coalition to pursue this effort under the umbrella of gay rights activism. What this group has done is provide fodder to anti-gay zealots eager to show that the GLBT community is working to undermine marriage.
The only mission of gay activists should be to ensure that we have the exact same rights and responsibilities as other Americans. Our advocates should fight for marriage equality, the right to serve in the armed forces and the ability to hold a job without fear of getting fired for being gay. An activist's role is to fight to give gay individuals every choice and option afforded heterosexuals.
Personally, I don't want gay activists telling me that I shouldn't get married any more than I want Rev. Jerry Falwell telling me I can't. But, the moment that our leaders believe they are morally superior and can make these choices for us, they represent just another form of demagoguery.
For example, why is this coalition making universal healthcare a gay issue? While I personally support this worthy goal, many gay people I know find this anathema to their values and politics. If these activists want to fight for universal healthcare, join a group that fights on behalf of this issue. However, please don't impose your values and say that to be gay, one must support such a controversial political goal.
In an article in the Washington Blade, one of the manifesto's authors, Kenyon Farrow, has apparently decided for us that we should be focusing on other issues."People of color, women and trans people don't have the luxury of just being gay," Farrow said. "We have to look at the totality of our lives and make decisions about the total impact of our lives. Marriage will not be the thing that saves our lives."
While I deeply respect Farrow's work, I have to fervently disagree. Gay people are still getting bashed because they are seen as less than human and some homosexuals continue to have unsafe sex because they do not value their lives. This is often a direct result of living in a homophobic society that promotes discrimination and sends the unmistakable message that GLBT people are inferior. Nothing would undermine this ugly stigma more than winning equal marriage rights that would elevate our loving relationships to the same plane as heterosexual unions.
To illustrate this point, look at the intensity in which the right wing fights marriage, military service and ordination of gay bishops. Our opponents know that the key to holding us down is to officially deny our families the freedom to marry, forbid us from the ultimate expression of patriotism and isolate us from our houses of worship. It is a shame that the signers of this document are unintentionally aiding attempts to separate us from mainstream institutions that are considered the pillars of our society.
The GLBT movement can either battle for equality or we can fight for the utopian pipe dream of turning Kansas into Canada. However, we don't have the political power or popular support to pursue both goals. In my view, it makes more sense to wed our movement to the tangible idea of achieving basic legal rights, including marriage.