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FW: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: Ex-gay ministry exporting to Singapore

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  • Steve Boese
    I tried to send this last night, but hosed it up... hopefully the second time s a charm! --Steve ... From: Steve Boese [mailto:bose@opho.org] Sent: Monday,
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2003
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      I tried to send this last night, but hosed it up... hopefully the second
      time's a charm!

      --Steve

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steve Boese [mailto:bose@...]
      Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 1:53 AM
      To: 'exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com'
      Subject: RE: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: Ex-gay ministry exporting to Singapore


      Hey Alex...

      I've read Spitzer's published study and related material. Here are a couple
      of updates that you might find interesting.

      Spitzer started with a very narrow objective. Noting that many
      professionals had stated that there is no credible evidence that ex-gays
      even exist, Spitzer sought to do a pretty simple survey. The question he
      wanted to answer was this: Given three decades of reports that thousands of
      ex-gays exist and the lack of objective studies of them, what does a
      successful ex-gay look like?

      As a result, his study sample was limited to people who (1) reported being
      predominantly homosexual in the past, (2) sought ex-gay therapy (broadly
      defined as everything from ministry support to professional psychotherapy),
      (3) started their therapy 5 or more years earlier, and (4) currently report
      some degree of good heterosexual functioning. (It sounds like Dr. Spitzer's
      criteria didn't get communicated very clearly to the associate who talked to
      you, or maybe they were changed later.)

      Before starting the research, Dr. Spitzer was skeptical that change might be
      possible for any gays or lesbians.

      He didn't have heavy funding and was thus limited to doing 45-minute phone
      interviews, not face-to-face and not penile plethysmography, leaving the
      study results only as accurate as its participants' self-reports.

      He did, however, use a structured interview, have a colleague verify that
      results were recorded objectively, submit his results for peer review, and
      offer to make his raw data (including tape recordings of the interviews)
      available to his peers. (The peer reviews were just published in the
      October 2003 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, along with a response
      from Dr. Spitzer.)

      Was the sample size for the study small? Sure, but Spitzer gives no
      indication of having turned away anyone who fit his criteria. In fact, he
      talks about the difficulty he had finding the 200 despite multiple petitions
      to ex-gay ministries and reparative therapists over a 16-month span.

      Sometimes studying microscopically-sized samples of unique populations lead
      to answers, though. HIV research has progressed in part because Gambian sex
      workers were studied after noting that they seemed to be resistant to
      infection. There is no illusion that the sex workers comprised a random or
      substantive sample; the answers came from comparing them to what was already
      known about people with HIV and figuring out what made them different.

      Of the 26 peer reviewers, several were scathing, suggesting that the
      questions are not even worthy of being asked much less studied. Spitzer had
      concluded that the accuracy of his subjects' self-reports was probably high,
      and several reviewers cited reasons why they questioned that. The concept
      that resonated with a lot of the reviews, positive and negative, was that
      there was value in listening to ex-gays themselves instead of ignoring them
      as irrelevant (as gays were often treated during early controversies).

      His conclusion: "This study indicates that some gay men and lesbians,
      following reparative therapy, report that they have made major changes from
      a predominantly homosexual orientation to a predominantly heterosexual
      orientation." He didn't shy away from the sampling issue, either: "There
      is no doubt about what the participants in the study reported. The key
      question is judging the credibility of their self-reports."

      He qualified the degree of change, even in these best-case scenarios: "It
      probably is the case that reparative therapy rarely, if ever, results in
      heterosexual arousal that is as intense as a person who never had same sex
      attractions."

      Spitzer's strongest recomendations, in my mind, are those that suggest
      further research is needed to understand the lives of ex-gays and efficacy
      of reparative therapies. Several of the reviewers noted that he set a
      positive example -- lighting a candle to illuminate the darkness -- instead
      of merely cursing the darkness.

      One of the things I found most interesting among the peer reviews is what
      Joseph Nicolosi, president of NARTH, had to say (or rather, what he didn't
      say). I thought he might amplify Spitzer's call for more detailed research.
      After all, why not tap the FRC, Focus on the Family, the AFA and a few other
      moneybags, pull together a few million bucks, and establish a scientific
      foundation for reparative therapy once and for all?

      Nicolosi completely ignored the idea that more objective research was
      needed. He talked about some of the clients he's known or known of,
      equating sexual compulsion with same-sex attractions, and closes by saying
      "There is no doubt that reorientation therapy is not for everybody. Many
      clients choose to live out their same-sex attractions-and respect for client
      diversity and autonomy require that gay-affirming therapy be available."
      But, in the face of the perfect opportunity to push for a major expansion of
      -- and increased stature for -- his organization, he was silent.

      Personally, I have a lot of respect for Dr. Spitzer. I give him credit for
      taking a pretty simple step that NARTH hasn't come close to in its decade,
      nor Exodus in its near-three-decade lifespan. I would like to see further
      research (though Spitzer and his peers seem to agree that is unlikely)
      because I think it would show the very limited benefits and frequent harm
      which come from attempts to change one's orientation.

      The distortions of Spitzer's work that I've seen have been distortions of
      his intent and his findings, but not perpetrated by Dr. Spitzer himself.
      Unfortunately, we live in a culture that gives lip-service to science and
      evidence more often than it drills down to a more accurate, nuanced
      understanding.

      A tiny number of people have been found to have greater natural resistance
      to HIV than millions of others who are infected and have died. That doesn't
      mean the rest of us could become immune by becoming Gambian sex workers,
      though.

      Similarly, a tiny number of the millions gays and lesbians in the world have
      reported that they've switched to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean the rest
      of us can or should do the same.

      Take care, folks...

      --Steve

      -----Original Message-----
      From: nyguy_1225 [mailto:no_reply@yahoogroups.com]
      Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 10:27 AM
      To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: Ex-gay ministry exporting to Singapore


      Nice post as usual, Steve. And while we're on the subject of the
      Spitzer study...
    • calldon2k
      ... resistance ... That doesn t ... workers, ... world have ... the rest ... Is anyone familiar with the Law of Truly Large Numbers?
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 19, 2004
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        --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Boese" <ophoguy@o...>
        wrote:
        > A tiny number of people have been found to have greater natural
        resistance
        > to HIV than millions of others who are infected and have died.
        That doesn't
        > mean the rest of us could become immune by becoming Gambian sex
        workers,
        > though.
        >
        > Similarly, a tiny number of the millions gays and lesbians in the
        world have
        > reported that they've switched to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean
        the rest
        > of us can or should do the same.


        Is anyone familiar with the "Law of Truly Large Numbers?"
        http://skepdic.com/lawofnumbers.html

        Some folks have been promoting a young musician whose bio claims he
        has "absolute pitch and photographic musical memory." Well??? His
        biographer shlould write political speeches...since thousands of
        folks can make the same claim. Yet the original poster was SO
        impressed because he had never known anyone who had "absolute pitch
        and photographic musical memory." The fact is that the "music
        department" of any moderate sized university has several students and
        staff members who could make the same claim.

        Nothing new at all. However, I am surprised that most "Christians"
        seem to ignore the fact that, if you get enough people in one group,
        you will probably have someone in that group who:
        1) Who used to be gay but is now happily married...
        ...or...
        2) Who used to be "straight" but is now gay...
        ...or...
        3) Who speaks both German AND Russian...
        ...or...
        4) Who claim to be heterosexual but often has "different" sex...
        ...or...
        5) Who is "black" but passes as white...
        ...or...
        6) Who used to be allergic to strawberries, but isn't now...
        ...or...
        7) Who used to have perfect 20/20 vision, but now wears glasses...
        ...or...
        8) Who used to blah, blah, blah...

        The law of truly large numbers is also helpful if you are financially
        busted and need to bolster your income with a TV Healing Ministry.

        Ater all, not everyone can heal a TV!

        <gr>
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