Depression and gay men

The Southern Voice is running an article about the Medius report on depression and gay men. I think this addresses some of the comments and concerns expressed in recent posts. This article expresses the common view that depression leads to risky sexual behavior. However, I wonder if this could go the other way around. We have evidence that at least for teen girls, sexual behavior leads to depression. I wonder if this the link could run both ways in this case.

Common Ground?

Commenter Dr. David Blakeslee suggested 8 points of possible common ground regarding sexuality policy on a recent thread. I am posting these for continued discussion. Feel free to suggest others. The idea is to discuss issues of perceived common ground rather than policy positions that are unlikely to generate commonality (e.g., Federal Marriage Amendment versus the federal recognition of same-sex marriage). As usual, it is fine to discuss the merits of any given policy position as long as it is done civilly. For this post, however, I think it would be interesting to discuss the points of commonality.

Dr. Blakeslee suggested “a short-list of proposed common ground:
1. Ethical therapeutic practices.
2. Protecting gays and lesbians in public and private settings.
3. Forbidding discrimination in employment and housing.
4. Access to quality sex education (not advocacy education)
5. Encouraging delay in sexual expression (heterosexuals also) into early 20’s.
6. Building a consensus on the scientific literature on same-sex attraction (a general title).
7. Protecting all groups (gay and straight) from sexual exploitation.
8. Encouraging the bonding of love as an expression of empathy and devotion with the behavior of sex.”

I invite those from all sides to express whether you feel you can agree to these points. Feel free to be candid about points of disagreement or concern.

Australian TV documentary: “Gay Conversion”

I blogged about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program regarding ex-gay programs on August 22.

The 20 minute video is now available on the ABC news website. The documentary features much more than the radio interview, although the radio interview has some material not in the video. Click here for the broadband streaming video. The link to the website above has options for Real video and Windows video for dial-up and broadband.

There is a footage of Love Won Out, Love in Action, Richard Cohen, Focus on the Family, SoulForce, and Wayne Besen. Forgive me, if I have forgotten anyone…

UPDATE: I have wondered where Wayne got the subliminal recording that is supposed to reorient sexuality. Thanks to this ABC mini-documentary, I found it. It is done by a guy named Barrie Konicov at PotentialsUnlimited. Scroll down to Gay and Unhappy? I wonder how many of Shidlo and Schroeder participants got something like this and called it reorientation therapy.

Washington Times: APA’s position unchanged

Today’s Washington Times addresses the differences in interpreting APA President Gerald Koocher’s remarks at the APA convention last month. We covered that issue here at that time noting that President Koocher clarified his remarks following the APA Town Hall meeting.

The Washington Times site has been down most of the last two days. Here is the article from the Google cache.

APA denies any retreat on gay therapy

By Joyce Howard Price
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
September 3, 2006

Some pro-family groups say recent comments by the head of the American Psychological Association suggest the organization is softening its opposition to treating homosexuals who want to change their sexual orientation.

The APA denies any changes in its stance, and the president later clarified his statements.

The Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder and chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, a group that believes some homosexuals can become heterosexuals through “deep reparative therapy,” said he is convinced “peer pressure came down on the APA president like a mountain cougar and forced him” to back away from public comments he made less than a month ago.

“The APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction,” said Gerald P. Koocher, president of the 155,000-member APA, at the group’s annual convention in New Orleans last month.

In an e-mail message early last week, Sharon Slater, president of United Families International, a nonprofit that works to protect the family as the fundamental unit of society, called Mr. Koocher’s comments “an amazing turnabout,” given that for more than 30 years, the “APA has aggressively opposed treatment of unwanted same-sex attraction.”

Leaders of groups engaged in treating homosexuals who want to become heterosexuals, such as the National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuals and Exodus International, also described Mr. Koocher’s remarks as a positive development. They indicate the APA is “recognizing a person’s autonomy and right to self-determination,” Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, told the Baptist Press. Mr. Chambers and other therapists who offer such treatment picketed outside the APA convention and believed their presence was a contributing factor in Mr. Koocher’s comments.

But the APA executive clarified his comments shortly after the convention. “In a full, multifaceted therapeutic relationship, the therapist has every duty to respond to patient choice and to help patients achieve their goals,” Mr. Koocher said. “I will always affirm the crucial importance of providing our services with careful attention to patients’ wishes.”

But Mr. Koocher said discussion of interventions in the “extremely complex issue” of sexual orientation “must balance patient choice with the therapist’s ethical obligation to obtain informed consent for any therapy process.” “When dealing with sexual orientation,” he said, a therapist “must” be sure that a person wishing to change is not “motivated purely from the social pressures of a homophobic environment” because therapy “will not modify societal prejudices.” Mr. Koocher further stressed that “patients must understand” that treatments intended to modify sexual orientation “lack a validated scientific foundation and may prove psychologically harmful.”

There is not much new here but the Times is the only paper that I know of that has covered the post-convention spin.

Dr. Joseph Berger’s statements on the NARTH website retracted

Regarding a controversial article on the NARTH website by Dr. Joseph Berger about gender variance, I received this statement from Dr. Joseph Nicolosi this evening:

Narth disagrees with Dr. Berger’s advice as we believe shaming, as distinct from correcting can only create greater harm. Too many of our clients experienced the often life long, harmful effects of peer shaming. We cannot encourage this.

UPDATE: As has been noted by commenters here, NARTH pulled the offensive post by Dr. Berger on their blog and left this note:

Entry pulled on “gender variant” children

We have pulled the discussion on gender variant children in Oakland. The article contained comments that were deemed offensive to many readers and failed to accurately express the overall views of the physician who expressed them.

We apologize for publishing the article without getting proper clarifications first about how children with gender identity disorders should be treated by parents, teachers, and counselors.

The article remains on the website but I suspect it will be pulled soon.

UPDATE: The article has been removed from the website. No explanation has been posted on the main website as of 9/2/06.

Comments on “mixed attraction marriage”

An anonymous commenter left these thoughts on my Ex-ex-gay? post. I thought they were refreshing in their honesty and provide another perspective not often heard. I wanted to give this point of view some additional exposure so with the permission of the gentleman who made the remarks, here they are:

I’m not worried about Dr. T “endorsing” these marriages. Surely he will not be endorsing each and every one of them, encourageing ALL such couples to marry and follow the advice he comes up with.

Then, it must ultimately come down to the individuals, their evaluation of their relationship in light of hopefully honest communication and the best information they can come by. Happiness, as an individual or as a couple, is dependent on many different factors, and different factors for different folks, and, from what some writers have said, factors that may change over time.

Personally, I do not see a “mis-match” of sexual orientations as necessarily, eventually detrimental to a relationship. People have many different conceptions of sexuality, spirituality, relationships, and, yes, happiness. Does the man or woman who is primarily attracted to the same sex (yes, sexually) have a fighting chance within the context of his/her marriage and social circumstances to continue to grow as an integrated, whole person, especially including in terms of sexual orientation, personal identity and meaning, and self-esteem? Part of the answer may also lie in the past social circumstances of childhood and adolescence, in which the psyche and self-esteem of the gay individual is in formation. (My preference for terminology is revealed: I’m gay, to me we’re all gay who have shared a particular internal experience — which varies amongst individuals, no doubt — as we were growing up, WITHIN a social environment that supported things like shame, denial, repression… in those who did not fit THE MOLD.

Admittedly, I am only 13 yrs. and two children into a “mixed orientation marriage”. Ironically, since having children and going back to work full-time when I took over as Mr. Mom 7 yrs ago, it is my wife who is less interested in sex than I am. I will add that I never set out to become any less gay than I was during the six years in my twenties when I was Out, and socially and politically active. I kept my gay friends, the ones who kept me anyway, and my gayness has continued to be an open topic of discussion with my wife, my parents, good friends, etc. More recently, I’ve been making some new gay friends through support groups. What I did do was change my behavior, and some mental habits that tended to focus my mind on the importance of bodies, sexual attractions, and satisfying my “needs”. For me (so far) spiritual needs, relationships, identity, transcend the physical and psychological. (The primary stimulus for my motivation and spiritual development has been the Baha’i Faith.) While I did not set out to change my sexual orientation, I have found that it’s evolved somewhat over the years of being married, say from 95%/5% toward other men/women, to about 85%/15%. But, more importantly, if it’s not about my wife, my mind doesn’t linger too long, or attach too much importance to it. I wouldn’t deny that this issue is an added source of stress for me and my wife and our marriage. But we share a strong commitment to faith and marriage and family, we work through issues and toward greater emotional intimacy like any couple that’s trying to make things work for the best.

These are my views at the moment, but I can certainly understand how others would see things differently and appreciate the perspectives that have been shared here.