Michael Glatze writes again; removes inflammatory comment from blog

Michael Glatze is back and according to one of the blog posts he left up, he is ready to “rumble.”  

Glatze caused quite a stir in July, 2007 when he announced that the former Young Gay America editor had gone straight. He was interviewed by NARTH’s Joe Nicolosi in addition to being featured by various socially conservative groups.

If you clicked the first link above, you went to a WorldNetDaily article by Glatze where he gives an update of his life since he first left his work as an advocate for gay youth.

The second link is to his blog which is a recent effort. However, he has already removed most of the posts prior to today. ExGayWatch early this morning posted a link to the blog where inflammatory statements were posted. The most troubling was the one titled, “I really can’t stand that man” (see below):

glatzeblogclip

In case it is difficult to read the picture, here is the quote: “Have I mentioned lately how utterly *disgusting* Obama is? And, yes, it’s because he’s black. God, help us all.”

I asked Glatze if he wanted to offer comment. He said the following in an email response: 

Yes, I can. I was talking with some friends about Jimmy Carter’s recent comments along the lines of that anybody who disagrees with Obama is a racist. My friend posted that on my blog, as sarcasm.

Warren, I am about fed-up with the “race card” being pulled, any time someone so much as *suggests* that Obama may not be doing something right. It’s getting to the point, where people are literally losing their minds trying to speak up, trying to have their voices heard. You don’t know how many friends I have who feel crippled, in a country that has its foundations in the notion of freedom and – more importantly – liberty.

You’ll see a quote on my little blog – now – that says, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” It’s a quote by George Orwell. I’m trying to do my small part, in the midst of all this insanity, to find integrity. 

No, I’m not happy with the current administration. No, I don’t hate Obama because he’s black. What I do hate is evil, and many of the things he has done I would consider evil.

Even with his explanation, this is still very troubling. Readers can decide if they feel the explanation is sufficient. There was no apology, no recognition that the “sarcasm” was incredibly offensive and incendiary. I suspect that WND did not know about this and will be interested to see if they leave the Glatze articles on their site.

UPDATE: Glatze added the previous posts he deleted back to his blog.

APA Monitor on the APA sexual orientation and therapy report

The current American Psychological Association Monitor briefly reports on the August report from the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. Not much new here for regular readers of the blog. The big news in my view was the treatment of religion which did not get as much coverage as the discouragement of change therapies.

The article ends with quotes from NARTH’s Julie Hamilton and me.

Warren Throckmorton, PhD, an associate professor of psychology and fellow at the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., described the task force’s work as a “well-done effort.”  

“I felt the treatment of religion was very respectful, and in doing so, it created space for clients of conservative religious faith to explore the reality of their sexual orientation, while maintaining their faith commitments,” said Throckmorton, who researches sexual orientation and homosexuality and writes about such issues from a Christian perspective.

Julie Harren Hamilton, PhD, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), said she appreciated what she described as the task force’s recognition that clients have a right to self-determination, and its respect for religious diversity. But she disagreed with the task force’s main conclusions, and charged that the task force was composed only of members opposed to sexual orientation change efforts. 

“We believe that if the task force had been more neutral in their approach, they could have arrived at only one conclusion, that homosexuality is not invariably fixed in all people, that some people can and do change,” she said.

 Some people may change something but there is little evidence which would allow more than guesses about what the potent elements in any such change might be. The NARTH review found that all kinds of approaches reported some degree of change. Can they all be right? In such a situation, a more plausible guess might be that there was some common element of the clients and/or the therapy that could be involved. And as Jones and Yarhouse suggested in the discussion section of their APA report, perhaps sexual identity is a better concept to consider when discussing categorical change. If someone shifts a Kinsey point or two, one might feel satisfied with this and justified in considering themselves to have changed.

As I have noted, the distance between opposing views may be narrowing significantly.

PFOX wants libraries to heart Alfie’s Home

At least, I think Alfie’s Home is the book meant by the following PFOX (Parents and Friends of Exgays) news release:

“Ex-gay books are also not made available in many community public libraries,” said Griggs. “The libraries in West Bend and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin will not accept our donation of an ex-gay book for children, although these libraries circulate several picture books with gay themes for children.”

alfies_homeI wrote to ask PFOX if Alfie’s Home by Richard Cohen is the book they tried to donate. They have not answered as yet. I do know that they have donated it elsewhere. It was offered to the Ex-gay Educators Caucus during the 2004 National Education Association convention as a possible giveaway to people who stopped by the booth. However, all involved refused to provide it and gave the books back.

Classically Liberal has an expose of the book with most of it in pictures. Essentially the book depicts the reparative view of how people become and un-become gay. It also contains a creepy and unnecessary drawing of a boy in bed with a man. I would not want my son to read it.

alfieshomeThe book is offensive on at least two levels. For gays, it reduces their experience to bad fathers and sexual abuse. For those who have been sexually abused, it makes becoming gay the real tragedy of the book, not the abuse. There may be a sensitive way to tackle these issues, but this is not it.

I think any number of ex-gay books could be made available simply for information and research purposes. But please, not this one.

Reflections on what we share in common

(This post from occasional contributor, clinical psychologist David Blakeslee, covers some similar territory as conservative gay blogger, GayPatriot on the Kevin Jennings controversy.) 

I have been a bit agitated lately, it is probably my own problem, but instead of being internally ruminative about such sensations I decided to find some object to focus these feelings on.  It didn’t take long, all I had to do was visit Warren’s blog .  There I could find a few outlandish assumptions, hypocritical comments and distortions of fact to justify ventilation.  Apparently that was not satisfactory enough, so I am writing this posting after a couple of years of absence (Warren, I don’t know how you do this day in and day out, your energy and integrity are deeply appreciated). 

Rationalization, minimization, and justification are not scientific arguments; they are psychological defenses to ward off anxiety.  Sometimes they are so effective that we feel quite calm when a grave injustice, which we should agonize about, has occurred.  Instead of tossing and turning at night, struggling with headaches and pacing the floor, we sleep quite soundly.  Sometimes they are so effective that the weak and the vulnerable are left without an outraged and strong protector; instead they get a philosopher, who through his mental games ends up functionally being a passive collaborator with a predator. 

Are gay teens vulnerable? Absolutely.

And just to whom are they vulnerable? Continue reading “Reflections on what we share in common”

Does Brewster’s age matter?

As noted here two days ago, Kevin Jennings made a statement regarding a student’s disclosure of involvement with an older man while Jennings was a teacher at Concord Academy. Here again is the statement:

Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently.  I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing. All teachers should have a basic level of preparedness. I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers.

Since then, left-leaning websites, some gay advocates (although a notable exception is Gaypatriot who says Jennings should resign) and CNN have commented further on the matter, defending Jennings. At issue is dispute over Brewster/Robertson/Thompson’s age – was he 15 or 16? And does it matter?

Media Matters, parroted by CNN, asserted that Brewster was 16, not 15. If Brewster was 16, Jennings was not required to report sexual conduct because 16 was the age of consent in MA. Their reasoning is:

Massachusetts law required reporting by those with reason to believe child “is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse.” According to a footnote in a 1990 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case, in 1988, chapter 119, section 51A, of the General Laws of Massachusetts provided:

[Any] public or private school teacher … who, in his professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him including sexual abuse … shall immediately report such condition to the department by oral communication and by making a written report within forty-eight hours after such oral communication …

Jennings’ attorney: Book passage does not indicate that Jennings had reason to believe student was being abused. In the letter, Boland stated, “Nowhere in the book does Mr. Jennings state that he understood the student was being abused of victimized, or that he suffered injury from any abuse.” Boland added, “Based on the plain meaning of the words in the book, it is clear that Mr. Jennings had no ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the student was being abused in any way. Because there was no abuse and no ‘sexual victimization,’ the statute does not apply.” [Boland letter, 8/3/04]

Media Matters accuses Politico’s Mike Allen and Fox News of not reporting all of the facts in this instance. While they may be correct about some omissions, they also make omissions in their reporting. For instance, Media Matters does not include all of what Boland said on behalf of Jennings.

jenningsboland letter

They left out the phrase, “…or indeed that the student was even having sex.” In light of Jennings’ 2006 book where he was advising Robertson on safe sex, the description from his book, One Teacher in Ten, where Brewster disclosed a relationship with an “older man” in Boston, and the 2000 speech where Brewster went home with someone he met in a Boston bathroom, this statement from Boland now seems misleading. Media Matters also ignored the audio of the 2000 speech where Jennings himself said that the boy was 15 years old. He also said that Brewster was an advisee and that he learned about the Boston trip early in his first year. Here is what he said about it:

And in my second job I wasn’t sure how I wanted to deal with that. And I was in my first month on the job and I had an advisee named Brewster. Brewster was missing a lot of classes; he was in the boarding school so I said to his teacher, his first period teacher, I said, ‘next time Brewster misses a class I want you to tell me that he’s missed that class and, uh, I will go find him.’ So I went and found Brewster one morning when she had called and he was asleep in his dorm room. And I said, “Brewster, what are you doing in there asleep?” And he said, “Well, I’m tired.” And I said, “Well we all are tired and we all got to school today.” And he said, “Well I was out late last night.” And I said, “What were you doing out late on a school night.” And he said, “Well, I was in Boston…” Boston was about 45 minutes from Concord. So I said, “What were you doing in Boston on a school night Brewster?” He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, “Well I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.” High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn’t know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly so I finally said, My best friend had just died of AIDS the week before. I looked at Brewster and said, “You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.” He said to me something I will never forget, He said “Why should I, my life isn’t worth saving anyway.”

Why did they omit those details? Surely, they are relevant to the defense they are trying to mount.

I don’t know how old Brewster was or even if there is a Brewster. Only Mr. Jennings know this and up to now, he has not disclosed much. I can understand some of this. It is not uncommon for speakers to disguise details of case studies in order to preserve confidentiality. Age might be one of those details. Readers will have to judge which account seems more plausible.

The credibility of statements in the Boland letter is now open to review given the 2000 speech, the 2006 book and the statement from Mr. Jennings this week. I am puzzled that Media Matters (then followed by CNN and others) would rely so heavily on it and ignore other relevant information.

The other age-related wrinkle here is the requirement that mandated reporters (teachers in public and private schools are mandated reporters) notify the Department of Social Service if they have

 reasonable cause to believe…that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare including sexual abuse…

Everybody seems to stipulate that if the boy was 15 then a report should have been made. However, if not, then what? One would need to make a judgement call about the nature of the disclosures and whether they are causing the child under 18 to experience injury. Given the repeated statements that the boy was suicidal, something was not right and needed some attention. What was causing the boy’s distress?

We may be dealing with an issue of attribution. Apparently Jennings believed the boy’s suicidal thoughts were coming from a lack of acceptance of his sexual attractions. Many gay defenders of Jennings point to this as quite likely and have an intuition to relate to his 1987/1988 response. However, others may believe the suicidal thoughts derive from his youthful sexual behavior and possible remorse or dissonance. Some might wonder if he was struggling with his sexual identity. Still others might suggest mental illness or some combination of all three. Different attributions about the cause of the behavior will lead to different actions on the part of the teacher. It is difficult enough for people who are trained in mental health to make these calls, it surely is above the pay grade of an inexperience teacher to be certain. The law says that suspicion of abuse is needed not certainty. With that in mind, Jennings admission that he should have sought consultation is a step in the right direction.

There is a larger issue here which I will take up in future post. When ideological differences are great, how can we develop policies and procedures which help offset our biases? Brewster is like a Rorschach test for projecting adult recollections of adolecent angst. Each of us look at the situation and think, ‘he needed this or he needed that.’ As many have opined through the years when reflecting on GLSEN, perhaps what adolecents need is not to be turned into a political movement but guided in light of their individual needs.

UPDATE: Media Matters apparently is the PR arm of the Department of Education and has released what they say is a photo of Brewster’s license. MM however, continues to avoid dealing with what Jennings said to his own constituents about the boy’s age.

UPDATE #2: A Brewster has come forward to express support for Jennings. CNN has the summary and Media Matters has the details, including a Facebook conversation between FOX News reporter, Maxim Lott and Brewster. The account provided by this Brewster is confusing when trying  to reconcile it with Jennings’ past accounts and the recent statement that he should have handled the situation differently. While Media Matters has focused on the exact age of the boy, the group has not addressed the discrepancies in past accounts. They accuse FOX of wildly inaccurate reporting but fail to note that the reporting was based on Jennings own statements.

The APA report and the sexual identity therapy framework

The recent American Psychological Association task force report on sexual orientation and psychotherapy included several positive references to the SITF. I have archived those on the SITF website and am providing two here with brief commentary.

The abstract of the sexual identity therapy framework (SITF) says

Sexual identity conflicts are among the most difficult faced by individuals in our society and raise important clinical, ethical and conceptual problems for mental health professionals. We present a framework and recommendations for practice with clients who experience these conflicts and desire therapeutic support for resolution. These recommendations provide conceptual and empirical support for clinical interventions leading to sexual identity outcomes that respect client personal values, religious beliefs and sexual attractions. Four stages of sexual identity therapy are presented incorporating assessment, advanced informed consent, psychotherapy and sexual identity synthesis. The guidelines presented support the resolution of identity conflicts in ways that preserve client autonomy and professional commitments to diversity.

 

I think the APA report and the SITF are compatible in many important ways.  They both recognize the difference between attractions, behavior and identity. They both recognize that informed consent is critical and that client may seek congruence with other aspects of personality, other than sexual desire, a distinction made in this segment from page 18 of the APA report: Continue reading “The APA report and the sexual identity therapy framework”