I may add some additional comments later but I wanted to post the transcript of the Anderson Cooper CNN segment (scroll a bit over half way down the page) this evening regarding Ted Haggard’s rehabilitation.
The report was quite interesting with several points worthy of discussion. I felt Alan’s tone and responses were reasonable and quite consistent with the sexual identity paradigm. The stance of the Human Rights Campaign representative was less so in my judgment.
COOPER: Mark, you know people who have been through this kind of therapy. Some call it reparative therapy. In your experience, does it work?
SHIELDS: Again, absolutely not. Every bit of evidence we’ve seen is that it does not work. And at the Human Rights Campaign, we believe the only choice there is about being gay is, you know, whether or not you choose to be open and honest about it, if that’s how you were born.
I think that people have the choice that they can try and hide that or try and deny that piece of themselves, but ultimately, that’s not healthy for them or for their loved ones.
COOPER: But Mark, if someone is not happy being gay, as Alan clearly wasn’t as a child, what’s wrong with him trying to change?
SHIELDS: You know, again, the mental health professionals tell us that, in trying to change or fix something that’s not broken, you can actually cause a great deal of harm to yourself and ultimately to those that are around you.
You know, I wonder if Ted Haggard had been told as a child that it was OK to be gay and that he could have a rich, full life, if his life story wouldn’t have been less painful and contorted
Here is an example where the Shidlo and Schroeder study of possible harm relating to reorientation is referred to but not cited. Also, the real picture regarding research on etiology of sexual orientation and outcomes of sexual identity integration efforts is of course much more complex than depicted by Mr. Shields.
Another interesting point was the agreement between Alan and Mr. Shields that being gay does not preclude happiness. When I said this in the October, 2006 LA Times article regarding the NARTH controversies, I was the target of some conservative fire. I wonder how things will go for Alan.