Gay City News writer misleads readers about my stance on Uganda

At least that is how it seems to me.

Maybe I am sensitive about this, but this piece by Paul Schindler does not report well the stance and action I have taken regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Here is the part that concerns me:

Nath argued that just as the existing sexual conduct prohibitions in place in Uganda are a relic of British colonial rule, this more lethal approach is in part an import from the West. She noted that Exodus International, a Christianist group that promotes “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ,” even as it calls for “spiritual warfare” against gay-identified people, recently met in Uganda.

On November 16, however, Exodus International released a press statement noting that it had written to President and Mrs. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda voicing its opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Law, stating, in part, “We believe that sexual crimes against children, homosexual or heterosexual, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished accordingly. Homosexual behavior in consensual relationships, however, is another matter. While we do not believe that homosexual behavior is what God intended for individuals, we believe that deprivation of life and liberty is not an appropriate or helpful response to this issue.”

Talk to Action, a website that monitors the Religious Right, published a post alleging that two allies of the controversial Christian pastor Rick Warren, who gave the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration –– Archbishop Henry Orombi, the Anglican bishop of Kampala, and Pastor Martin Ssempa –– are major supporters of the bill.

Ssempa has endorsed the bill, recently writing to Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., (himself a controversial figure due to his therapeutic approach toward individuals wishing to “alter homosexual feelings or behaviors”), “I am in total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.” Ssempa reiterated that view in an interview on Premier Radio, a UK Christian station.

Warren, however, released a statement in October opposing the bill, writing, “Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church,” and noting that he had cut his ties to Ssempa.

 

Exodus, Rick Warren and I are mentioned from the evangelical world. The opposition of Exodus to the bill is mentioned, Rick Warren’s schism with Martin Ssempa is mentioned but I am made to seem as though I might support the bill.

I wrote Mr. Schindler this note this morning:

I take great exception to your portrayal of me in your recent article:

You noted correctly that Martin Ssempa wrote to me regarding his support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but your words about me being controversial because of my views would easily lead people to think that I also support the bill.

I ask that you amend your story to alert your readers that I vigorously opposing the bill. I started a Facebook group called “Speak Out Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.” The group now has almost 5500 members from around the world. I had an op-ed published in the Ugandan press regarding my opposition. The statement from Rick Warren that you mention was given first to me due to my reporting on the issue. 

You have confused your readers by your reporting and I call on you to correct the situation immediately. 

Warren Throckmorton, PhD

Readers here and on the Facebook group will know better, but I doubt that readers of the GCN will. If you are so inclined, you can write Mr. Schindler at editor@gaycitynews.com.

UPDATE: Mr. Schindler wrote to say he did not intend to mislead and made a amendment:

Ssempa has endorsed the bill, recently writing to Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., (who is himself a controversial figure due to his therapeutic approach toward individuals wishing to “alter homosexual feelings or behaviors,” but someone who has condemned the measure strongly), “I am in total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.” Ssempa reiterated that view in an interview on Premier Radio, a UK Christian station.

Thanks to Mr. Schindler for this….

Gay City News prints letter clarifying sexual identity therapy

Part of the chorus of dissent bringing down the recent APA symposium was an April 24 article in the Gay City News, called “Junk Science on Stage.” In that article, some false claims were made about sexual identity therapy and my work. I addessed themhere on the blog recently.
Generally, “junk science” is a phrase used by advocates when they want to discredit views with which they disagree. The tobacco industry used the term to describe the research on second hand smoke and generally the term is little more than an ad hominem attack. Such was the case in the GCN report.
So I am glad that Paul Schindler, editor of GCN and author of the article in question, allowed me to make the record clear about the SIT framework. At the end of the letter, he acknowledges the error.

UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL IDENTITY THERAPY
05/22/2008
To the Editor:
In “Junk Science on Stage” (by Paul Schindler, Apr. 24-30), a claim was made about the Sexual Identity Therapy framework. The SIT framework was to be presented at the cancelled May 5 American Psychiatric Association symposium on religion, therapy, and homosexuality.
Gay City News described SIT this way: “‘Sexual Identity Therapy,’ which [Throckmorton] says he has successfully applied to help patients ‘alter homosexual feelings or behaviors’ and live their lives ‘heterosexually’ with ‘only very few weak instances of homosexual attraction.'”
This is false. The article attributes to me claims about SIT I have never made. In fact, the SIT framework says this: “Prior to outlining the recommendations, let us define what they are not. They are not sexual reorientation therapy protocols in disguise.”
The SIT framework, first contemplated formally in 2005, does not provide any means to do what the Gay City article references – “alter homosexual feelings…” etc. These quotes are taken out of context from a 1999 speech. Putting these phrases in quotes makes it appear that I was interviewed for the article and quoted in reference to SIT, which is not true.
Endorsed by Robert Spitzer, the former editor of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and former American Psychological Association president Nicholas Cummings, the SIT framework provides guidance for therapists who work with clients experiencing sexual identity conflicts but does not prescribe beliefs about homosexuality or religion. The SIT framework specifically discourages several practices conducted by reparative therapists and so it is disappointing that the Gay City News wrongly suggested that my presentation would somehow support their work.
Warren Throckmorton, PhD
www.sexualidentity.blogspot.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: Paul Schindler acknowledges Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s advisory that he made the statements about the results of his therapeutic work, quoted in Schindler’s article, prior to the development of his Sexual Identity Therapy framework.

Note my statement about reparative therapy. You cannot be in compliance with the SIT framework and tell clients that you (the therapist) know why people are homosexual. Explaining a theory and helping clients find themselves in it is not the way we believe this work should be done. We likewise do not promote a view of same-sex attraction that views it as a disorder to be cured or grow out of. The GCN article created a false picture of what the symposium would discuss and falsely attacked me for trying to promote views I do not hold.