On NPR’s Bryant Park Project, David Scasta talked about the cancelled symposium. You will need to listen to the audio to get the discussion since the article is not a transcript.
I will have some comments about this as the day goes on…
This will be short. This morning I spoke at the Christian Medical Society breakfast along with Dr. Al Mohler. We presented abbreviated versions of the remarks originally planned for the APA symposium. From there, I had conversations with several psychiatrists who were quite enthusiastic about the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework. Without naming names, I learned that there is a group of gay psychiatrists and observers who were not happy that the symposium did not happen.
Something I want to mention is that I presented a similar program regarding the SIT framwork at the American Psychological Association last August in San Francisco. At that meeting, there were no protests and few distortions of my views and work. Why the difference here? Part of it may have related to Dr. Mohler’s presence but I am struck by the extreme differences at this APA.
I enjoyed meeting the participants of the symposium and reflecting on the turn of events.
The Washington Times has a lengthy article on the APA cancellation with an interview from David Scasta. For now, I only have time to post it. I hope to have more comment about the whole situation soon.
May 3, 2008
Other articles about the symposium have come from MedPage Today, Citizenlink and Worldnetdaily.
First a couple of corrections and observations about these articles. The MedPage Today article leads by saying the symposium was to have covered “the ethics of ‘therapies’ for homosexuality.” Not so. We were not going to discuss therapy for homosexuality as if homosexuality is a disorder to be treated. In a related statement, the reporter referred to me as “closely identified with therapies to ‘cure’ homosexuality.” Again not so. That would require me to hold a view of homosexuality as a disorder which I do not.
The Citizenlink article makes a similar mistake in reporting that the symposium was to provide a “‘balanced discussion’ on the origins and treatment of homosexuality.” See the above on the treatment issue and the symposium was not going to discuss causal factors relating to homosexuality.
The Worldnetdaily article is interesting as I think it is largely accurate about some of the factors which led to the demise of the program. For instance, the Gay City News article of last weekend was an attack piece and may get a separate post to outline the problems with it. The WND article incorrectly identifies David Scasta as past-president of the APA (he is past-president of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, a related group). Another point of the WND article is the quote attributed to Peter LaBarbera: “it wouldn’t be correct to ‘paint Warren Throckmorton as the religious right.'”
Peter’s quote highlights something I recently taught in social psychology: The more familiar one is with a group, the more one sees the diversity of that group. Social conservatives are not of the same mind when it comes to homosexuality. Case in point, this blog posts from Derek Keefe at Christianity Today and the Indegayforum regarding the different ways to respond to the Day of Silence. Those outside the social conservative world may very well lump me in with “efforts to cure” as a part of the “religious right” (is there a membership card?). However, those closer to those circles see the differences and experience them as very significant. As I have talked and listened to people of various ideological leanings, I see the same thing on the other side. I continue to hope for opportunities for dialogue, despite the efforts of those who worked to undermine the symposium.
I am looking forward to the May 5th symposium in Washington DC, hosted by the APA at their annual conference involving Bishop Gene Robinson, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Al Mohler, Past-President of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, David Scasta, Harvard psychiatrist John Peteet and me. Here is a rebuttal to a critical article from Wayne Besen about the symposium and brief coverage of the event by Citizenlink.