Monday, May 02, 2005
by Wayne Besen
(Magellan Was Easy Prey)
"The blood is in the water."
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.
Amazingly, Erin Somers, vice president of public relations and communications at Magellan, downplayed the influence the right wing pressure campaign had on their decision to reverse course.
"We got feedback [on the initial decision to remove Throckmorton from the panel] from both sides of the issue--folks who thought we had done the right thing in retracting the invitation and folks who thought we had not," she told The Advocate magazine.
The stubborn facts, however, belie the lies told by Magellan and betray the company's betrayal of the gay community. Evidence of the right's coordinated campaign with Throckmorton first surfaced when I e-mailed Throckmorton to ask why he was eliminated from the Advisory Council. Throckmorton replied to my query by writing, "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. I know this to be true because the dolts inadvertently included me on the E-mail chain. Referring to the Magellan situation, Throckmorton wrote, "Just thought I would keep y'all aware that the blood is in the water."
Either he cut himself shaving, or he and his nefarious buddies had hatched a plan to harass Magellan until they capitulated and brought back Wacky Warren, a man with quack-like ideas that the company made clear they had no use for.
Magellan's absurd spin and daft dissembling has bordered on theatre of the absurd.
First it claims to agree with all respected medical and mental health organizations that homosexuality is not a mental illness, disorder or emotional problem. Yet, they endorse Throckmorton and by extension reparative therapy, a practice that holds that homosexuals are sick and need to be fixed.
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 its patients to explore a barbaric practice that can cause such emotional mayhem?
Next, Magellan speciously pretended its buckling under pressure from the morality mob was not a politically motivated decision.
"Our decision to retract the invitation has made it appear we're taking sides on the issue of homosexuality," said Somers. "The fact is that we're not."
What they did was much worse. By reinstating Throckmorton, Magellan signaled that the company would abandon sound science if badgered by right wing bullies. Magellan was correct the first time when their punitive actions declared Throckmorton uniquely unqualified and ill suited to offer unbiased advice to the Council.
Magellan's forfeiture of conscience is a severe blow to its leadership and credibility. Throckmorton is cynically using his position on Magellan's Advisory Council to gain respectability and legitimize his backwards and dangerous anti-gay views. Magellan should reverse course and not offer a platform to a politically motivated extremist interested only in furthering his radical agenda.
Moreover, his reappointment is a slap in the face to victims of reparative therapy and an insult to a gay community that has historically been persecuted by practitioners of pseudo-science.
"Individuals have the right to explore a variety of different kinds of treatment for issues that are troubling them," explained Somers.
This is true, in the same way Asians can "explore" eye rounding or an African Americans can get a kin bleaching "treatment" to find acceptance, escape persecution and fit in. While vulnerable and desperate victims may have this right, it is Magellan's responsibility to dissuade people from experimenting with doctors who practice obsolete and emotionally damaging therapy.
Magellan's contortions and distortions have fooled no one. Instead of telling the gay community to take a hike, they should give Throckmorton his walking papers. The decisions by Microsoft and Magellan reveal that there is a lot of blood in the water. It is time the gay community rises to meet this challenge. Shark hunting, anyone?
Sign me up for the first excursion, Wayne!
Please take some time to research how much money is brought in by medical corporations who convince parents to release their kids to in-patient custody for such insane "medical and psychological treatments" as were even tried on penguins recently and failed.
Perhaps there is more to the quick-switch by this moral-less, winds of politics board than ignorance, cowardice and blinding bigotry in the face of sound science.
posted by , at
Thank you Wayne Besen. See also Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by Spong.
posted by , at
I'm more curious to see what Stephen Bennett thinks he has on Wayne.
It looks like they're not only willing to sick their attack dogs on Magellan, they're turning their guns on Wayne Besen.
Stephen Bennett of all people should be very careful about digging into anyone's past to find dirt.
His "personal testimony" is thin and specious at best.
100+ partners in the greater P-Town area? Who are they? Anyone in P-Town remember Steve?
Several of his ex's dead from AIDS. Really? Who were they?
Stephen gives a very slick, glossed over story that isn't easily verified. Anyone have any info on him?
posted by , at
I agree - we ought to make sure any 'blod in the water' doesn't come from LGBT folks. By caving, Magellain says this half-baked quack will have the "opportunity to “influence health care outcomes for millions of individuals every day.” That is simply not good enough. For more on my feelings about this evil little man and the cowards at Magellan, please see this issue of the gay news bllog.
posted by gay news ed, at
what kind of a sicko would take that picture?
posted by , at
the photo is fake, from "Jaws"
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