I love that sculpture but I would love it better in pieces.

Now here is something I am going to learn to treat. Maybe Freud was correct; everything does go back to sex and aggression, sometimes simultaneously.

I do think the “David Syndrome” is the result of a developmental arrest. My son does this all the time. He builds things and then delights in tearing them down. He draws things and then he rips them up. I think it should be called the “Lego Syndrome.”

DSM-V, here I come.

Reparative therapy for females

This excerpt from a recent NARTH newsletter seems to be a pretty wild claim:

When I ask women who do not struggle with same-sex attraction the question, “What were your hopes and dreams as a little girl?” they quickly describes fantasies or hopes about escaping from their sadness or loneliness. In contrast, women with same-sex attraction struggle to remember any hopes or dreams. As little girls they didn’t or couldn’t project themselves beyond the pressent moment. Perhaps they were tied to the present because they still needed to build their most foundational piece, a self. Life cannot progress without a self.” – August, 2005, Janelle Hallman, p. 13.

Much reparative therapy literature is about men. As I understand it, men work with men and women with women in therapy. So here is some reparative “wisdom” about women. Lesbians don’t have selves? The claim is the same as on the male side. Lesbians did not bond with mom and thus failed to develop a secure feminine sense of self. They then look for it in another woman. I guess that makes lesbians selfless. Isn’t that a good thing? Any selfless women out there want to take this on?

I am not a reparative therapist, Advocate article

From the Advocate:

Gay man runs for APA president

The Advocate, CA

An openly gay man is running for president of the American Psychiatric Association. Jack Drescher heads the APA’s Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists and is a critic of therapeutic efforts to turn gay people straight. This summer he told The New York Times that “most people who go through these experiences often come out feeling worse than when they went in.”

Activists in the “ex-gay” movement say that if Drescher wins the post, it could mean dark days for them. Alan Chambers of Exodus International said on Focus on the Family’s news site that he’s “very concerned that our culture is being fed misinformation and that people are reacting in a way that is detrimental to our religious liberties.”

One of the leading proponents of reparative therapy, Warren Throckmorton, told Family News in Focus that there’s no way of predicting Drescher’s agenda but that whatever it is, he’ll be highly visible and influential. The APA sends out ballots next month. (Sirius OutQ News)

For the record, I am not a reparative therapist. I don’t accept the validity of the neo-psychoanalytic explanation for all same sex attractions; I do not follow the therapeutic formulations of reparative therapists. I believe people are capable of integrating their sexuality within a traditional religious or value position regarding sexuality and that sometimes this leads to significant change in the direction of their sexual attractions. I believe that romantic orientation and erotic orientation are related but distinct processes and that romantic attachment can re-orient erotic orientation (e.g., Sheryl Swoopes, ex-gay men who are attracted to their wives only). I believe that biologically based temperamental factors interact with environmental factors which lead to same sex erotic orientations (e.g., Bem). If that makes me a reparative therapist, then the word is a poor choice for a general belief in change potential for those who desire to pursue it.

Ake Green

This came today from the Alliance Defense Fund. Anyone care to comment?

This is about Pastor Ake Green, the Swedish pastor facing imprisonment for preaching a sermon on Bible and homosexual behavior. Argued before the Swedish Supreme Court last Wednesday, November 9th, this case has serious ramifications worldwide.As we told you, ADF sent chief counsel Benjamin Bull to Sweden to assist with last Wednesday’s trial. Unlike U.S. Supreme Court oral argument, this was an actual trial where Pastor Green was called to testify and grilled by the prosecuting attorney.

Ben reports:“Pastor Green’s trial before the Swedish Supreme Court was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. It was surreal. The case should have been called Sweden v.The Bible. It was like a cross between George Orwell’s 1984 and a Stalin Soviet show trial. It was hard to believe that this was happening in a “developed” Western country. The entire case was televised live in Sweden and Parliament stopped to watch the proceedings.The prosecutor made amazing arguments. He repeatedly mocked the Word of God. He ridiculed Biblical texts on homosexual behavior. The prosecutor asked Pastor Green several times what version of the Bible he was using. When Pastor Green politely replied that he used the New International Version, the prosecutor replied that Pastor Green was using a ‘bad translation’ and to ‘get a new Bible’ – one that does not question homosexual behavior. I sat in amazement as a government prosecutor was telling a minister to use another Bible translation. It was like a pastor telling the government that they need to use another law book. This was a case where the state was trying to dictate and reshape theology to fit its own agenda. The prosecutor demanded that the court convict Pastor Green so he would be an example to deter other pastors from preaching what the Bible says about homosexual behavior. He did concede – quite amazingly – that it is still legal to publish such Bibles in Sweden (for now). The radical homosexual activists demand that Pastor Green be made an example as the first person to be prosecuted under the ‘hate speech’ law since it added ‘sexual orientation’ in 2003.

Throughout the trial, the justices were almost completely silent. Percy Bratt, Pastor Green’s defense attorney – whom we helped prepare the day before at a moot court – did a fabulous job. He also mentioned the brief that ADF had filed and another we funded on behalf of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council – and the chief justice acknowledged that he had read the brief and found it to be helpful.All people of faith need to continue to be in prayer for this decision – as three out of four people in Sweden (per a poll) believe that Pastor Green should be sent to prison for simply preaching the uncensored Gospel. If Pastor Green is convicted, it will open the floodgates – and the same thing will be happening in the United States and Canada – sooner than you think. It will be a precedent in international law that pastors can be targeted and prosecuted for engaging in ‘hate crimes’ and we will soon see this cited in American courts. This case must be won and it must be defended.” Please continue to be in prayer for Pastor Green and for this decision – which is expected in 3-4 weeks.

Ron Schlittler reacts to my article about Sheryl Swoopes

Ron Schlittler of PFLAG reacts to an email query about my article on Sheryl Swoopes. I was cc:ed in this exchange. I have removed email addresses.

—–Original Message—–
From: Andy Derksen
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 3:16 AM
To: Ron Schlittler
Cc:
Subject: RE: “Becoming out”
Dear Mr. Schlittler,

Hello. Please tell me how you compare the remarks of basketball player Sheryl Swoopes and Focus on the Family’s Bill Maier, re. the origins of individual homosexuality. I note from the article copied below that you disparaged Maier’s comments, but have apparently said nothing about Swoopes. How do you explain that?

Thanks and regards,

Andy Derksen

(This is Mr. Schlittler’s reply)

Hello Mr. Derksen,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

I have always maintained that women appear to have a bit more fluidity concerning their sexual orientation than men, as an honest interpretation of the research suggests. That, however, is not the same thing as “conversion” through the “therapy” advocated by religious ideologues.

Men, almost without exception the research also finds, experience their sexuality as hard-wired one way or the other.

So, it is disingenuous and self-serving of Warren Throckmorton to suggest that the Swoopes story is evidence that sexual orientation can flip like a switch.

I also have always maintained that some people are gay, some are lesbian, a few are bisexual and most are heterosexual. These are natural, healthy, normal variations of the human experience – also evidenced widely in the animal kingdom. And though individuals may
shift how they self-identify and express sexuality over time, as the evidence also indicates, basic innate sexual and affectional attractions do not change.

Though Throckmorton seems to insinuate I’ve been caught in an inconsistency by not commenting on Sheryl Swoopes, the fact of the matter is that I’ve simply not been asked – by him or anyone else until your note arrived.

Regards,
Ron Schlittler
Deputy Executive Director
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
1726 M Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
202-467-8180 ext. 226
www.pflag.org
“You Have a Home in PFLAG”
Join PFLAG today and help us make the world a better place!
Make a Contribution to PFLAG!http://www.pflag.org/donations.htm

After Mr. Schlittler’s response, Mr. Derksen answered some of the points as follows:

Schlittler: So, it is disingenuous and self-serving of Warren Throckmorton to suggest that the Swoopes story is evidence that sexual orientation can flip like a switch.

Derksen: Why should you assume Mr. Throckmorton is “self-serving” because he stands up for his convictions? Couldn’t I just as easily assume your email to me is self-serving? Why is pitching an argument self-serving on the other side but truth- and freedom-serving on *your* side? Are you suggesting the world’s selfless people are lined up on your side, while the other side as all the self-serving people?

Schlittler: These are natural, healthy, normal variations of the human experience
– also evidenced widely in the animal kingdom. >

Derksen: There are some animals that eat their young as well. Would you be okay with me killing and eating my baby (if I had one)? Why should we presume to take our moral cues from the animal kingdom?

Schlittler: And though individuals may shift how they self-identify and express sexuality over time, as the evidence also indicates, basic innate sexual and affectional attractions do not change.

Derksen: Isn’t it self-contradictory that you base part of your stance on what men “experience,” while at the same time refusing to consider the experiences of those who are now ex-gay? Isn’t that self-serving?

For the record, I do not know Mr. Derksen. I may have met him at a conference but I cannot place which one.

If anyone cares to take up the dialogue, feel free. I thought it was an interesting exchange.

Love Won Out Controversy

I found the article in the Bay Windows newspaper interesting. There were apparently lots of protestors including the anti-war folks. I found the author’s candor refreshing regarding the fear he felt at the sight of the protestors. There are some other aspects of the article I am looking into. If Joe Nicolosi really made the “joke” about the boy cracking his head, I would be offended at that and worried that some parents would take all that stuff literally. This paragraph made me cringe:

One such joke came at the end of a discussion about what he sees as an essential lesson that fathers teach sons: that danger can be fun. He said fathers begin to teach that lesson by tossing their infant sons into the air and catching them, to help build up their courage (never mind that plenty of mothers play this game as well, and plenty of parents play it with their daughters). He followed this discussion by saying, “Even if the father drops his kid and cracks his head a little bit, at least he’ll be straight,” a line that generated thunderous laughter from the audience.

Infants!? I hope he did not say infants. Toddlers sure, but infants? Please not infants.

Michael Jackson’s kids will be straighter than straight then. If tossing them kids around is good, then dangling them from balconies must be better.

I do agree that danger can be fun. All my kids think so, and nary a one was tossed or dangled or sent out in the woods in a sweathouse. I think I will stop while I am ahead.

Becoming Out – More on Sheryl Swoopes

Becoming Out

Sheryl Swoopes is arguably the finest female basketball player ever. No, check that, actually there is no argument, as a three time MVP in the Woman’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and two time gold medal Olympian, she is the best. So when she came out of the closet recently, there was excitement in the gay and lesbian community about a high profile public figure declaring herself a lesbian.

Her story was featured in a recent ESPN magazine article where she said about her sexuality: “I didn’t always know I was gay. I honestly didn’t. Do I think I was born this way? No. And that’s probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are.”

The notion that people attracted to the same sex might not be wired that way from birth is more than confusing to some gay activists. It makes them indignant. When psychologist Bill Maier of Focus on the Family suggested the exact same viewpoint to the Washington Times several months ago, Ron Schlittler officer with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said in reply that such views advance “baseless fears and misguided claims about [homosexuals].”

No word from PFLAG on the Swoopes coming out.

The Swoopes story reminds me of one of the first columns I wrote about sexual orientation. Writing in 2003, I noted that the character Dr. Kerry Weaver on the television drama, ER, had gone from straight to gay in about one season. I wondered why change from straight to gay was accepted by gay activist groups who say sexual orientation cannot change. Had her character gone from gay to straight, the show might have been denounced as portraying an unscientific view of sexual orientation. After all, major mental health groups all say sexual orientation is unchangeable. I was attacked for using a fictional character to illustrate a change in sexual orientation that, critics say, cannot happen in real life.

Now comes Ms. Swoopes saying that she does not believe she was born gay. Moreover, she said in the ESPN interview: “I’ve been married, and I have an 8-year-old son. Being with a man was what I wanted. When I got divorced in 1999, it wasn’t because I’m gay.”

So she became gay?

Apparently so. As one who studies how people resolve sexual identity conflicts, her story is fascinating. She told the Houston Chronicle that she and her husband divorced for the same reasons that many people do: “Probably for about the last year, year and a half of my marriage we were just going in different directions. It got to a point to where I knew it was over with and really didn’t want to do anything else to make it work.” As she told ESPN, her divorce wasn’t due to a conflict over being gay.

In fact, she told ESPN that before she fell in love with her partner, Alisa Scott, she had not entertained any attractions to women. Before her current relationship, Ms. Swoopes said, “The thought of being intimate with her or any other woman never entered my mind. I’ve had plenty of gay friends I’ve hung out with, but that thought never entered my mind.”

I suspect there will be those who say she was in denial about her “true” sexuality but they would need to explain away most everything Ms. Swoopes said about herself. As far as bisexuality goes, Ms. Swoopes was asked directly by Cyd Ziegler of Outsports.com if her marriage really means she is bisexual. Ms. Swoopes answer: “Nope, I’m not bisexual.” She told Outsports.com that she began thinking of herself as gay after commencing her relationship with Scott and several years without feelings for men.

Ms. Swoopes has a different way of explaining her change. Her belief now is her friendship with Ms. Scott after her divorce was catalytic for the emergence of sexual feelings. About the transformation, Ms. Swoopes said to the Chronicle, “Maybe it was just the fact that I needed that comfort. Or maybe she was there for me to talk to and I just got very comfortable being around her. Talking to her, seeing her spirit … things evolved from there…”

Gay political groups may be ambivalent or worse about Ms. Swoopes story. Like PFLAG’s Mr. Schlittler, they often are quite hostile to those who describe changes in sexual identity. Since polls show support for gay political objectives is higher among people who believe same sex attraction is inborn, she may feel some pressure to change her story or her view of it.

Ms. Swoopes says she now feels free to be able to tell her story. Having gone from straight to gay, she might well understand the story of someone who has gone from gay to straight. Perhaps in an ironic twist, her coming out story might add credibility to an aspect of human change many experts and activists say cannot happen.
————————————————————
See also her interview with Outsports.com.