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Re: [ExGDBd] A Rebuttal to Ex Gay Stalker Wayne Besen

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  • Elizabeth Reese
    Yeah. It is unfortunate that he and others like him do this. I personally do not discuss this issue in public for the very reason that I do not want to be
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 2, 2006
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      Yeah. It is unfortunate that he and others like him do this. I personally do not discuss this issue in public for the very reason that I do not want to be persued or ridiculed at my home. We who are healing can make mistakes in our growth and one step to the side and it blows everything up. Just like John, he was probably at a place in his growth that he needed to sort of revisit his past and re-evaluate it from a new perspective - honestly I don't know though. Anyhow, his book was malicious.

      Gay activists are very angry. And sometimes that goes very far.

      Laura Miers <exgaydates@...> wrote:
      I also read the book at barnes an Nobles,
      I refused to buy it.

      The book was horrible, and I was suprised he
      was not sued by John.

      I would have sued him likeno tommorow.
      He is stillcashing in on the book.
      I would have sued him.

      Also the next ex gay stalker who does
      this needs to be hit with a major law suit.


      Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote:
      I am so glad you posted this article. Wayne Besen is a mean man with malintent towards people "who don't see things his way" Reading his book was like being at a gay cocktail party where the game was who could insult people the most. That's what his book is filled with. What he did to John Paulk was almost criminal. Besen's book is slanderous. And he so left out the misconduct of Kinsey's research where homosexuality first recieved so much attention.

      Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote: Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
      is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
      giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay minsitries.
      Below are some rebuttals to him.


      Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States. He is a former
      spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the book
      Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-
      Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in 2003

      A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
      By Glenn Wyler,

      People Can Change

      Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
      Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the back cover as a
      "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition an attempt
      to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus, the reader should
      keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by design, anything
      but straightforward. It is anything but fair, complete or honest.
      In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence of balance,
      fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that is decidedly
      yellow, and deliberately so.

      There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
      but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe and surrounded
      by such vicious vituperation that all that can be determined for
      certain is that the author holds a seething hatred for anyone and
      anything that argues for the possibility of altering one's sexual
      attractions.


      In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen repeatedly employs
      name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm, generalizations,
      stereotypes and double standards as he introduces one allegation and
      false claim after another. His central claims are that sexual
      orientation change is a myth, that there are absolutely no means of
      effecting change, and that everyone who claims to have experienced
      change is either lying or deluded.


      He repeatedly makes completely unsupported allegations and uses
      anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as though they were
      proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for supposedly having
      insufficient data or substandard studies to support their claims. He
      dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or more often,
      declines to mention that such evidence even exists) but accepts
      unquestionably any and all information that bolsters his position.
      He is the king of the double standard, liberally applying methods
      that he turns around and decries as the epitome of hate and ignorance
      whenever he is the recipient rather than the purveyor of them.


      NAME CALLING AND LABELING


      To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a small sample of the
      name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout the book in an
      obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his subjects:


      "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative reparative therapy
      industry" (p. xviii)


      "the zany characters who run these programs" (p. xxi)


      "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p. 104)


      "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized, shockingly
      unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors and
      fundamentalist
      shamans who cause untold damage to the very people they are supposed
      to
      be helping" (p. 59)


      "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)


      "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover" (p. 137).


      "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).


      In some of his most egregious moments of name calling, he actually
      titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p. 133) and
      "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads like "Inside
      Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p. 136) and
      "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for good measure. But
      his single most bitter denunciation may be this:


      "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry con artists who
      lure and bamboozle susceptible people with misleading promises and
      false hope. One reason these quacks practice their chicanery is to
      cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot dismiss raw hatred
      as the primary motive that drives these charlatans to extreme lengths
      to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).


      Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight" will make
      perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that us seething with
      "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)


      Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred" for lesbians
      and gays choose to spend his professional life, day after day,
      working with homosexuals? And if a professional were actually
      motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come across to his
      clients, and drive them away in droves?

      On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
      part on a model in which the therapist is more engaged with the
      client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a loving-parent role,
      than is the case with standard therapy. This places reparative
      therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship with their
      clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.


      But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his disparagements. It
      serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and hope it
      sufficiently
      dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he needn't
      provide any actual evidence of misconduct or malfeasance.


      MOCKERY AND SARCASM


      Continuing in this spirit of verbal assault, the author delights in
      mockery and sarcasm, especially of all things religious. For a man
      who
      seems to think "diversity" and "tolerance" are the ultimate
      moral virtues, he certainly draws the line at religious diversity or
      respect for traditional Christianity, for which he clearly has a zero
      tolerance policy.


      Besen describes his visit to a church in Orlando, Florida, that had,
      in his words, "an authoritarian, hocus-pocus worship style" (p. 48).
      This, under a chapter subhead he calls "Ministry Mouse and
      Deuteronomy Duck." He refers to "convincing Jesus to wave his
      magic wand" as the means by which some people experience change, and
      claims "they have reduced God to no more than a rabbit's foot, a
      simple good luck charm that is used to stop them from masturbating or
      running to an adult bookstore" (p. 44).


      Besen, a self-described secular Jew, demonstrates his special
      contempt for the notion, widely held by people of many faiths, of
      listening to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. He slanderously
      equates such experiences as signs of mental illness.


      "Crazy stories are almost as ubiquitous in the ex-gay community as
      prayer" (p. 45)


      "Many of the ex-gay leaders appear to have untreated mental
      disorders...An alarmingly high number of ex-gays...report hearing
      voices and having visions, which may very well be hallucinations" (p.
      43).


      In one chapter subhead, he even coins the mocking moniker
      "Hallucinogenic Heterosexuals" (p. 43). But what kinds of
      hallucinations or divine acts (depending on one's point of view) is
      Besen referring to?


      Regarding the infamous visit to a Washington gay bar by Focus on the
      Family's John Paulk, a public spokesman for sexual orientation
      change, Besen quotes a repentant Paulk as saying in an interview on
      Focus's radio program, "I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, 'Turn
      around and run. Do not go in there.'" Besen's mocking response:
      "I don't know about you, but if I heard the Holy Spirit personally
      tell me not to go into a bar, this Jew would sprint to the nearest
      sink, dunk my head under the water faucet, and self-baptize" (p. 20).


      "Anne Paulk is one who seems to receive miracles from God as
      frequently as most people eat breakfast," Besen writes (p. 45). He
      then describes an answer to prayer Anne writes about in her book in
      which she called on God to help her find a lost contact lens, and
      another where she receives a spiritual impression while looking at
      cloud formations that she might be pregnant. While Anne may be
      quicker to see the hand of God in her life than some others, her
      experiences are hardly on the fringe of a spiritual life, as Besen
      likes to portray them.


      Besen quotes author Richard Cohen, who at a critical juncture in his
      life sat down near a lake and prayed to God, with both impatience and
      resolve, "OK, God, it's showdown time! I'm not moving from this
      spot until you tell me what to do and where to go." Besen mocks:
      "God, sufficiently alarmed that Cohen might expire lakeside,
      dutifully dropped whatever he was working on and instantly submitted
      to Cohen's demands." Then, after Cohen received a clear prompting,
      Besen adds: "Knowing God was at his beck and call, Cohen had the
      chutzpah to ask for verbal confirmation, as if God were a travel
      agent" (p. 168).


      Besen should know, but apparently does not, that this kind of
      spiritual seeking is hardly unique to ex-gay experience. By openly
      ridiculing these and similar experiences in his book, Besen proves
      his utter disdain for the spiritual life of Christians and other
      people of faith generally. By mocking these testimonies, he also
      mocks anyone who seeks to listen for and follow the whisperings of
      God's Spirit.


      Besen's mocking is not reserved for spirituality. Naturally, he
      takes delight in mocking such things as "lipstick application
      seminars to help some lesbians become more feminine and touch
      football games to butch up some of the more effeminate homosexual
      men" (p. xvi). And naturally, he mocks without explaining that the
      deeper psychological purpose of such activities is to help same-sex
      attracted women and men face their fears of traditional gender
      associations.


      GENERALIZATIONS, STEREOTYPES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS


      Given the vehemence with which Besen blasts any perceived slight
      against homosexuals or gay culture, the blatant and hostile
      stereotypes and generalizations that he directs at ex-gays and
      reparative therapists represent the worst kind of double standard:


      "Most (ex-gays) are suffering unbelievably dark, lonely, miserable
      lives" (p. 37).


      "Most (ex-gays) are chronically depressed" (p. 40)


      "The vast majority of the (ex-gay ministry) leadership and nearly all
      of the spokespeople ...(are) self-destructive, unstable individuals
      who
      lack self-control and have decimated their personal lives" (p. 42)


      "A significant number appear to have problems with mental illness"
      (p. 42).


      "Little evidence supports the existence of 'normal' ex-gays"
      (p. 56).


      "Most ex-gays are not looking for a religion, but a regimen. They
      are learning scripture because they seek structure. When they claim
      they are searching for God, they really mean they are searching for
      guidance" (p. 48). (Apparently, Besen is a mind reader who can divine
      what seekers are "really" seeking.)


      "They have left behind colorful, three-dimensional lives of
      uncertainty and despair for monochrome, one dimensional lives of
      relative stability and security" (p. 52). (This may be the most
      bizarre sentence in the entire book. Colorful, three-dimensional
      lives of uncertainty and despair? What kind of a color is that?)


      (Ex-gays) "are stuck in a lifestyle that demeans, diminishes and
      dehumanizes them for who they are" (p. xviii, emphasis added).


      Reparative therapy clients are "hapless victims" with "fragile
      minds" (p. 156).


      Imagine the howls of protest if these same aspersions were directed
      at gays instead of ex-gays!


      Besen charges reparative therapists with nothing short of malpractice
      for allegedly telling clients that there is no true happiness to be
      found in a homosexual life, or that promiscuity, disease, infidelity
      and broken relationships are rampant in the gay community. This is
      supposedly reckless and demeaning, driving reparative therapy clients
      to the brink of suicide. But Besen thinks it's perfectly acceptable
      to label thousands of people as mentally unstable, out-of-control,
      chronically depressed, unable to handle personal freedom, and on and
      on - simply for not wanting to be gay!


      In one glaring example of his double standards, Besen decries the use
      of the term "gay lifestyle" as small-minded and bigoted, because it
      supposedly indicates that there is one monolithic gay scene that
      defines all of homosexual life. But then he deliberately titles a
      chapter subhead "The Ex-Gay Lifestyle" (p. 55) and says ex-gays are
      "stuck in a lifestyle that demeans" them.


      An even more egregious example: Besen quotes NARTH as saying, "In
      reality, there is no evidence that homosexuality is simply genetic,"
      and then charges, "This phrase illustrates how slippery NARTH really
      is. The statement is technically true," Besen says, "because the
      research cannot show, at this point, that homosexuality is simply
      genetic, but NARTH's statement conveniently omits the
      incontrovertible fact that a growing body of research points to a
      possible biological component."


      That's on page 149. Now flip back just two pages. Besen summarizes
      the Pillard-Bailey twin study, which found that out of 56 gays who
      had an identical twin, 29 of the twin brothers were also gay/ Besen
      concludes, "This study clearly showed a biological/genetic component
      to sexual orientation..." Stop right there. No, it didn't. A
      biological component is only one possible explanation, since these
      twins shared a common upbringing. Besen continues his sentence: "but
      the fact that not all of the identical twins were gay suggested that
      there may be more than just a simple genetic explanation for
      homosexuality" (emphasis added).


      "May" be? Suggested? Now who is slippery? - and the sentence
      isn't even close to technically true. The study actually proved that
      there must be more than genetics at work, since identical twins, by
      definition, share identical genes.


      Understanding Besen's "slipperiness," spite and ill intent will
      help to put into perspective the allegations and false claims he
      presents throughout his book.


      ALLEGATION: NOBODY EVER SUCCEEDS AT CHANGE


      Wayne Besen's central claim is, of course, that sexual orientation
      change is a myth. He writes:


      "The extraordinary claims made by ex-gay groups are without merit,
      and the efficacy of their programs is dubious at best and harmful at
      worst" (p. xvi).


      "The most these deceptive entities can usually accomplish is teaching
      fearful people how to repress natural feelings, at the risk of grave
      psychological harm, which is really no accomplishment at all" (p.
      xvii).


      "Sexual orientation is a deep-seated, unalterable part of who people
      are; it runs as deep as the soul; it is the very core of being" (p.
      192).


      "In general, ex-gay groups have a near total failure rate" (p. 40).


      "Nobody has 'changed'" (p. 38)


      Supporting his viewpoint, Besen contends that everyone who claims to
      have experienced change is either lying or deluded: "For a time,
      through faith and mental repression, a person may even believe he or
      she has become the straight person being portrayed" (p. xvi, emphasis
      added). But he claims those who say they have experienced change
      will inevitably have to face the "truth" one day that they really
      haven't changed at all.


      Besen's greatest concession to the possibility of change comes in
      this qualifier-packed sentence: "I would not rule out the remote
      possibility that, in some very rare circumstances, a few people may
      be comfortable and honestly function as if they have changed their
      sexual orientation" (p. xvi, emphasis added). (Would it be possible
      to hedge this sentence any more without it collapsing under the
      weight of its own equivocation?)


      But Besen sets up a precarious predicament for himself by taking the
      extreme position that change is always impossible and in fact nobody
      has ever changed - precarious because it requires only a single
      success story to debunk his thesis. By contrast, the ex-gay
      ministries and reparative therapists are on much firmer ground by
      defending the position that some people have experienced some degree
      of change, and are happier for it, and if change is possible for some
      people, it is likely possible for some others as well. This position
      is not subject to the Achilles Heel of Besen's absolutist
      perspective. It is not subject to collapse from a single case, or
      any number of cases, countering its claims.


      So let's consider (since Besen certainly doesn't) the abundant
      evidence that some people have experienced at least some degree of
      change in their sexual attractions.


      In more than 50 years of research, including 48 studies referenced in
      this paper, there are data and published accounts documenting easily
      more than 3,000 cases of change from homosexual to heterosexual
      attraction and functioning. With one notable exception - a chapter
      dedicated to railing against Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's 2001 study of
      successful sexual reorientation clients - Besen disregards this
      entire body of psychological literature, preferring to pretend it
      doesn't even exist.


      But he is in good company. Besen approvingly quotes the American
      Psychiatric Association's medical director as saying, "There is no
      published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative
      therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation" (p.
      235). With that, Besen can safely skirt the debate, and avoid
      confusing the poor reader with the facts. After all, even the
      experts say there is "no published evidence."


      But is that true?


      "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change" Project


      New Direction Ministries in Toronto, Canada, has collected and
      critiqued 31 clinical research studies, individual case studies and
      surveys on homosexuality and the possibility of change published in
      books or academic journals between 1952 and 2003#. The reviewers
      looked for reported changes, and supporting evidence for changes, in
      behavior, attractions, fantasy and self-identification by the
      subjects of the various studies and surveys. On their Web page, they
      summarize the collective results of 28 of the studies, and discuss
      the other three separately.


      Collectively, the 28 studies present information on 2,252 subjects.
      The reviewers with the "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
      project selected for analysis only those subjects for whom enough
      data was available in the published reports to assign the subjects
      approximate before-and-after Kinsey sexual orientation scores of from
      0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). They
      eliminated from consideration those subjects whose "before" scores
      were lower than 5 (where 5 is "predominantly homosexual") or for
      whom insufficient information was available to assign any scores at
      all.


      The reviewers found that using even this conservative before-and-
      after analysis, the published research clearly supports at least:


      45 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
      (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a full shift in sexual
      orientation o a 0 on the Kinsey scale).


      287 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
      (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a partial shift in sexual
      orientation (to a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale).


      86 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
      who transitioned to satisfying heterosexual relationships. (This
      third group of studies measured change by external behavior and
      reports of satisfaction, rather than reports of levels of
      attraction.)


      Thus you have at least 418 cases in the published psychological
      literature of heterosexual orientation shift, according to the
      criteria used by the "Possibility of Change" project. However, the
      studies themselves actually report at least 563 subjects who
      experienced varying degrees of change toward increased
      heterosexuality. (The lower number is due to the project reviewers
      applying uniform criteria, years after the fact, to summarize more
      than 50 years of published studies, and thus excluding reports that
      didn't fit their criteria for analysis.)


      Besen would argue, of course, that many of these studies are old, and
      thus outdated. But old and outdated are not synonymous. Research
      doesn't "go bad" with time alone, like old bread. Older research
      can be confirmed, expanded, reinterpreted or contradicted by new,
      better designed or more thorough research. But age alone never
      invalidates a research study. And it is striking that these 31
      studies, conducted over 50-some years, consistently show at least
      some evidence for sexual orientation shift, every time.


      NARTH Survey of Reparative Therapy Clients#


      In addition to the 28 studies summarized above, the "Homosexuality
      and the Possibility of Change" project reports on three others. The
      first, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy
      of Homosexuality in 1997, is a survey of 882 individuals who had been
      in reparative therapy or other intervention programs in an effort to
      effect a sexual-orientation change.


      The anonymous survey found that, before counseling or therapy, 581
      men and women out of the 882, or 66%, considered themselves
      exclusively or almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). Another
      188 (21%) considered themselves more homosexual than heterosexual
      (Kinsey 4) before treatment.


      After treatment, only 111 (13%) considered themselves exclusively or
      almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). That's 470 fewer
      individuals who placed themselves in this category, post-treatment.
      And in fact, 282 individuals (32%) described themselves as either
      exclusively or almost entirely heterosexual after treatment (Kinsey 0
      or 1).


      Those surveyed also reported significant decreases in the frequency
      and intensity of their homosexual thoughts - from 63%
      indicating "very
      often" before treatment to 3% after treatment. The same was true of
      sexual behaviors with a partner: 30% had homosexual sex "very
      often" before treatment, while only 1% did so afterward.


      NARTH Survey of Therapists#


      The second survey was also conducted by the National Association for
      Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in 1997, but this one surveyed
      206 therapists and counselors who have counseled individuals who
      sought
      to change from a homosexual orientation. Collectively, these 206
      professionals had worked with a total of at least 9,702 homosexual
      clients seeking sexual reorientation.


      More than 40% of therapists said that the majority (61% or more) of
      their clients had either "adopted a primarily heterosexual
      orientation (not just behavior)" or "experienced a significant
      decrease in unwanted homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors" or
      both. At an average of 47 clients per therapist, that would
      represent
      more than 2,350 clients who experienced a significant
      homosexual-to-heterosexual shift, according to the therapists who
      counseled them.


      Spitzer Study#


      The last of the 31 studies summarized by the "Homosexuality and the
      Possibility of Change" project was conducted by Columbia University
      psychiatrist Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who studied "the self-reported
      experiences of individuals who claim to have achieved a change from
      homosexual to heterosexual attraction that has lasted at least five
      years." (This study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior
      in October 2003.) He located and interviewed 143 men and 57 women
      who had had a predominantly homosexual attraction for many years
      (defined
      as at least 60 on a 100-point scale of sexual attraction, where 0 is
      exclusively heterosexual and 100 is exclusively homosexual), and who,
      after therapy, had experienced a heterosexual shift of no less than
      10
      points, lasting at least 5 years.


      Spitzer found that the average level of reported homosexual
      attraction among the 200 interviewees dropped from 90 (on a 100 point
      scale) in the 12 months before the change effort began to 19 in the
      12 months just prior to the interview. Also:


      37 (19%) of the respondents reported "complete" change, with no
      lingering homosexual thoughts, fantasies or desires.


      119 (60%) met Spitzer's criteria for "good heterosexual
      functioning" (which included never or rarely having same-sex thoughts
      during heterosexual sex).


      Other Studies


      In their book, "Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the
      Church's Moral Debate," psychologists Dr. Stanton L. Jones and Dr.
      Mark A. Yarhouse present summary data on 30 research studies
      conducted between 1954 and 1994. Of these, 13 are also included in
      New Direction's "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
      summary, but 17 are not. These 17 additional studies#, conducted
      mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, present data on 327 subjects. Of
      these, 108 men and women made a successful shift from primarily
      homosexual to primarily heterosexual attractions and/or behaviors.


      One of the more recent publications on the topic is in the American
      Psychological Association's June 2002 issue of Professional
      Psychology: Research and Practice. An article by Dr. Warren
      Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the
      Change Process for Ex-Gays," summarizes 11 studies and concludes:
      "My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health
      organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once
      thought
      to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many
      people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others
      and spontaneously for still others."


      Personal Experience with Change Efforts


      What is Besen's response to all this published research by scores of
      professionals, published in dozens of books and journals, over
      several
      decades? Quite simply, to ignore it. To pretend it doesn't exist.
      And to present instead anecdotes of seven former ex-gay leaders who
      either relapsed into old patterns or left their ministries altogether
      and recanted their claims of change.


      These seven cases of failed (or in John Paulk's case, incomplete)
      change efforts are supposed to counterbalance all the data collected
      on
      3,000-plus individuals in 48 published studies over 50 years. This
      is
      the equivalent of saying that the experiences of millions of people
      who
      have found sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous throughout the world are
      invalid simply because some people who succeed for a time later fall
      back into drunkenness. This is a ridiculous leap. Remember, Besen's
      thesis is that nobody succeeds at change, not that some people fail.
      He has, at a bare minimum, hundreds more cases to attempt to
      discredit
      before he gets anywhere close to proving his thesis.


      And he can't have it both ways. He can't present the anecdotal
      accounts of failed change efforts as proof of universal failure while
      dubbing all personal accounts of success as fraudulent. Why should
      we
      believe these seven individuals are representative of everyone who
      seeks change while disregarding the personal experiences of so many
      others?


      Consider also the many men and women who have published
      autobiographical (or combined autobiographical and educational) books
      relating the authors' personal experiences with overcoming unwanted
      homosexuality: Scott Anderson, Richard Cohen, Andy Comiskey, Joe
      Dallas, Bob Davies, Erin Eldridge, D.L. Foster, Janelle Hallman,
      Jeanette Howard, Dennis Jernigan, Jeff Konrad, Alan Medinger, David
      Morrison, Jason Park, Anne Paulk, Sy Rogers, Barbara Swallow, and
      Frank
      Worthen, among others. In addition, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has
      written
      a book of eight case studies,# and Bob Davies has compiled a book of
      14
      personal testimonials.# In addition, scores of personal accounts of
      change can be found on the World Wide Web.#


      But never mind all that. In Besen's world, every last one of them is
      lying, faking or self-deluded.


      ALLEGATION: ONLY A 180 DEGREE SHIFT "COUNTS" AS CHANGE


      A linchpin of Besen's argument that no one ever changes is the
      self-created tenet that change must be a 180 degree shift from 100
      percent homosexual to 100 percent heterosexual in order to be
      considered (by him) to be legitimate. It makes for a convenient
      stipulation, one that neither reparative therapists, ex-gay
      ministries
      nor we who have experienced change have ever made ourselves.


      With this manufactured provision, Besen discounts claims of change by
      those who had any degree of heterosexual interest prior to pursuing
      change. Criticizing the Spitzer study, for instance, he claims that
      "many of the 'success' cases may have been bisexual or
      heterosexual prior to therapy" (p. 238) and wonders "whether a
      change in sexual orientation occurred or whether the subjects simply
      sublimated their homosexuality in favor of their heterosexual side"
      (p. 231).


      At the other end of the scale, Besen disregards the experience of
      anyone who still has any degree of homosexual feelings or
      susceptibility to homosexual "temptation." He takes advantage of
      the honest candor of certain ex-gays who admit to not being "totally
      healed" or who confess that in times of stress, they sometimes think
      about resorting to past homosexual behaviors. See, they haven't
      really changed, Besen gloats. But one wonders why people who are
      supposedly lying or self-deluded don't just go all the way and claim
      complete change. Why tell half a lie?


      Given Besen's harsh criteria for defining change, he would have to
      argue that no one has ever gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.
      After
      all, even after 20 years or more of sobriety, AA members always speak
      of themselves as "recovering," never fully recovered, to remind
      themselves that they may always be vulnerable to backsliding.


      So according to Besen, anyone who shifts from a Kinsey 5 (almost
      exclusively homosexual, but with some slight heterosexual interest)
      to
      a Kinsey 1 (almost exclusively heterosexual, but with some slight
      homosexual interest) hasn't really changed. The person wasn't
      "truly gay" before, and isn't really "straight" now, Besen
      maintains.


      At the same time that splits hairs over the definitions of "gay"
      and "straight," Besen is critical of therapists and ministry
      leaders who can't agree on a clear definition of "change," and
      thus describe or measure it in varying ways. But of course. Sexual
      orientation is an extremely amorphous concept. Warren Throckmorton
      writes, "There is no consensus of a direct, physical means of
      assessing sexual orientation...Self-report is the most common means
      of
      assessing sexual orientation, with all of the limitations known for
      this assessment method."# And Throckmorton quotes John Gonsiorek and
      James Weinrich: "Given such significant measurement problems, one
      could conclude there is serious doubt whether sexual orientation is a
      valid concept at all."#


      And to Besen, behavior change doesn't count, of course. "Remember,
      reparative therapy changes sexual behavior, not sexual orientation.
      People can learn to act straight and repress their sexual urges, but
      they rarely, if ever, change their fantasies, attractions or capacity
      to fall in love with members of the same sex" (p. 189). This claim
      once again ignores the psychological literature, which draws quite a
      different conclusion. But it also shows Besen's ignorance of the
      fact that, for many who seek change, sexual behavior is the real
      problem, not sexual attraction. They seek to bring their behavior in
      line with their values and beliefs, as a means of eliminating
      internal
      conflict. If they can accomplish that, living with an attraction to
      the same sex oftentimes is not particularly burdensome to them.


      What Besen doesn't realize is that for most people who seek change,
      heterosexuality is not actually the ultimate goal; happiness is. For
      them, happiness is not contingent on sexuality alone, but on living a
      life congruent with their values, beliefs and life goals. So, unlike
      Besen's unreasonable demand for a 180 degree turn or nothing, the men
      and women who actually seek change are often quite content with a
      much
      subtler shift. To be free from the constant pull of homosexual
      desires, to have a happy marriage, to have children, and to live a
      life
      they believe to be in line with God's will for them - many ask for
      nothing more. Never mind where they fall on anyone's Kinsey scale or
      what critics like Besen expect.


      ALLEGATION: THERE'S NO SANE REASON TO WANT TO CHANGE


      Besen's portrayal of those who seek to alter their sexual attractions
      shows a deep misunderstanding - or more accurately, a mocking
      misrepresentation - of this sincerely motivated population.
      According to Besen, only homosexuals who are emotionally unstable,
      homophobic and victims of societal oppression would want to change
      their sexual orientation, This is Besen at his most vicious.


      "Unlike many other communities, the GLBT community is blessed with
      unparalleled freedoms. One can comfortably choose from a plethora of
      lifestyles that span the ideological, theological and fashion
      continuum with minimal condemnation,...from conservative Log Cabin
      Republicans to flamboyant drag queens. For those who are centered,
      this unbridled lierty and diversity can make for an incredibly rich
      and fulfilling life.


      "However, for those who are weak-minded, mentally unstable, or
      lacking in self-esteem, the dearth of clearly defined rules in the
      GLBT community can be a nightmare... Without unambiguous strictures
      dictating every detail of their lives, they have to make choices for
      themselves, and, often, they make terrible choices that lead to
      addiction, misery and, in many cases, death.


      "When these people hit rock bottom, they often mistakenly blame the
      GLBT community for their own personal failings. When these
      individuals say they 'hate the so-called gay lifestyle,' they really
      mean they disdain a world with limitless options. To thrive, these
      individuals need clear guidance - a roadmap for life...


      "To join the ex-gay ministries, one has to accept a hard-core,
      right-wing fundamentalism that outlines every minute detail of one's
      life. This almost always means joining an authoritarian, right-wing
      church...(that appeals) to those who are mentally unstable" (p.
      47-48)


      Here again, Besen's duplicity is jaw-dropping. He praises the
      "unparalleled freedoms" and "limitless options" of the GLBT
      community, in which one can "comfortably choose from a plethora of
      lifestyles," but absolutely precludes from this plethora the choice
      of which sexual orientation to pursue or develop. This, apparently,
      is the one area of choice that should be prohibited and universally
      condemned. All else is open season, a celebration of wonderful
      diversity.


      Including gender. Notice the subtle inclusion of the "T," for
      transgender, in his use of the GLBT acronym. By slipping it in to
      his defense of limitless options, he is subtly arguing for the choice
      to determine one's own gender. Was anything ever more hardwired,
      more genetically encoded, then gender? And yet Besen and his ilk
      adamantly defend the rights of gender-benders and gender-switchers,
      including the right to undergo mutilating surgery and take chemical
      hormones to alter the body's natural hormone production. All this is
      celebrated as diversity and choice.


      And yet sexual attraction - something that is far less biologically
      based, that may only have a possible genetic component, yet to be
      discovered (as may just about any human inclination) - is not to be
      consciously channeled, according to Besen. This is where he abruptly
      slams the door on tolerance, diversity and choice. He clearly is no
      purist when it comes to these values. Rather, he merely uses them to
      bolster his only real value, which is homosexuality itself. If
      tolerance, diversity and choice collide with a pro-homosexual stance,
      they must fall by the wayside. Otherwise, he would have to tolerate
      the choice of some people to pursue a heterosexual shift, and respect
      their
      diversity. But there he draws the line.


      Now, according to Besen:


      "Most (ex-gays) are desperate, depressed people who have decimated
      their lives through irresponsible choices and now find it easier to
      blame their sexual orientation rather than themselves" (p. 30)


      "One of the major reasons people join the ex-gay ministries is
      because they believe gay life is bars, drugs, and sex. This has more
      to do with their personal moral failings than those of the (gay)
      community" (p. 268).


      "These individuals cannot handle freedom" (p. 52).


      Did Besen ever ask even one individual why he wanted to change his
      sexual orientation? When Robert Spitzer asked that question of 200
      men and women who said they had changed, the number one answer was
      that they did not find a homosexual life to be emotionally satisfying
      (81% of respondents), closely followed by 79% who said it conflicted
      with their religious beliefs. Fifty-eight percent said that gay life
      was an obstacle to their desire either to marry or remain married.#


      These responses are consistent with my own experience supporting men
      who seek change. When I asked the question (open-ended) on one of
      the People Can Change online support groups, the most frequent
      reasons given for seeking change were:


      Living as a homosexual felt wrong and conflicted with my moral
      beliefs
      (10 responses)


      It conflicted with my religious beliefs or my beliefs about God's
      will for my life (10 responses)


      I wanted to one day have a wife and children (8 responses)


      I felt emotionally unfulfilled in a gay life; it didn't meet my
      deeper needs (8 responses)


      I wanted to hold together an existing marriage and family (5
      responses).


      For me, homosexuality was addictive, obsessive or compulsive (5
      responses)


      I couldn't find "Mr. Right" and stopped believing he existed in
      the gay world (5 response)


      I feared disease and early death (5 responses).


      Seventeen additional responses were volunteered by one or two people
      each. Only two people responded that one reason they were pursuing
      change was that they feared societal rejection and wanted to fit into
      mainstream society.


      These are not the life goals of mentally unstable people who "can't
      handle freedom" or have "decimated their personal lives."
      Seeking emotionally satisfying relationships, working to live in
      congruence with one's moral belief system, seeking to do God's will
      as they understand it, desiring to get married and have children or
      hold an existing family together - these are hardly the desires of a
      mentally unstable fringe group. If Besen truly wants to welcome
      these men and women into the gay fold, he needs to consider what, if
      anything, the homosexual community has to people with this particular
      set of moral values and life goals.


      Despite Besen's insistence that gay life is not just bars, sex and
      drugs, the research indicates that, in fact, much of it is. No
      wonder that Spitzer's respondents - an unusually spiritually oriented
      group - said they found homosexual life to be so emotionally
      unsatisfying. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer
      of gay culture that the homosexual community emphasizes sex and
      promotes promiscuity, which in turn leads to notoriously short-lived
      relationships, casual and risky sex, drug use, and untold health
      problems.


      Speaking among themselves, gays are generally quick to acknowledge
      their culture's celebration of unrestrained sexual expression. (As
      one man described it to me, he was once scolded for his abstinence,
      "Quit screaming gay if you're not going to put out." Then there
      is the gay advocacy group "Sex Panic," which considers anonymous
      sex with multiple partners to be a defining value of gay culture.#)
      It is only when they attempt to propagandize conservative
      heterosexuals that gay apologists sometimes profess that homosexuals
      are no more promiscuous as a group than heterosexuals. (At other
      times, they take a completely different tack, freely admitting to gay
      promiscuity but insisting that it is the non-promiscuous who are
      sexually repressed and thus mentally or emotionally unhealthy.)


      So let's look at the facts. A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, in a 1978
      study#, found that:


      74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 partners during
      their lifetime, 43% more than 500 partners, and 28% more than 1,000.


      75% reported that more than half their partners were strangers.


      65 percent reported that they had sex with more than half their
      partners only once.


      A study of several hundred A study of several hundred male couples
      published in 1984# found that:


      87% of those who had been together less than a year were non-
      monogamous


      91% of those who had been together more than five years were
      non-monogamous.


      A Kinsey Institute study# published in 1990 found that:


      79% of homosexual male couples reported at least one instance of
      non-monogamy in the previous year, compared to 10% among married
      heterosexuals and 23% among cohabitating heterosexuals.


      In 1984, gay researchers McWhirter and Mattison published a study of
      156 male couples in relationships that had lasted between one and 37
      years. Only seven of those couples (4%) were monogamous, and all
      seven had been together less than five years.# More recently,
      surveys published in 2001 of more than 13,000 gay men in Seattle
      showed the number reporting six or more partners in the previous 12
      months increased from 45 percent in 1994 to 58 percent in 2000.#


      Drug abuse in the homosexual community is likewise well documented.
      A
      study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in
      1989# found that:


      89% of gays used marijuana (compared to 25% of heterosexuals)


      72% used poppers, an illicit nitrate inhalant used as a sexual
      stimulant (compared to 2% of heterosexuals)


      50% used cocaine (compared to 6% of heterosexuals)


      50% used LSD (compared to 3% of heterosexuals)


      and 33% used barbiturates (compared to 9% of heterosexuals).


      A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1992#
      found that, between 1985 and 1988:


      80% of 481 homosexual men studied had used marijuana


      70% had used poppers


      60% had used cocaine


      30% had used amphetamines


      and 20% had used LSD


      And a study published in the British Journal of Addiction in 1992#
      found:


      58 times as much use of poppers among gays as among the general
      population


      4 times as much tranquilizer use


      3.6 times as much marijuana use


      2.3 times the cocaine use


      and 1.5 times the alcohol use.


      The health consequences of all this indiscriminate sex and illicit
      drug use are all too predictable. Surveys published in 2001 of gay
      men in Miami found 16% of 23 to 29 years olds and 34% of those over
      29 were HIV positive.# Meanwhile, a six-city study by the Center for
      Disease Control and Prevention in 2001 found 30% of gay black men in
      the 23-to-29 age group were HIV positive, as were 12% of 23-to-29
      year-olds overall.#


      But the health risks go well beyond HIV and AIDS to include all forms
      of sexually transmitted diseases as well as intestinal diseases,
      Hepatitis, anal cancer and rectal trauma. Rowan and Gillette's Gay
      Health Guide devotes eight chapters to common diseases among male
      homosexuals. Studies have found:


      an estimated 75% of gay men have a history of at least one sexually
      transmitted disease#, compared to 17% of the general population#


      65% have a history of Hepatitis B#


      25% or more report a history of syphilis or gonorrhea#


      Putting all these numbers into perspective, Thomas Schmidt
      summarizes, in his book Straight & Narrow? (p. 127):


      "Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a
      group of 10 randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties.
      According to the most recent research from scientific sources, whose
      authors are without exception either neutral or positive in their
      assessment of homosexual behavior, and with the use of lower numbers
      where statistics differ, the relational and physical health of the
      group would look like this.


      "Four of the 10 men are currently in relationships, but only one of
      those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year.
      Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and
      only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years.
      Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages
      almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally
      take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to
      men.


      "Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have a history of
      alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three
      currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal
      drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of
      acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two
      have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted
      diseases... At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS."


      All of this has led one health professional to ask: "Can anyone
      refute that increased morbidity and mortality is an unavoidable
      result of male-with-male sex - not to mention the increased rates of
      alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide and other maladies that
      so often accompany a homosexual lifestyle? ...My primary question
      is: why isn't homosexuality considered a disorder on the basis of its
      medical consequences alone?"#


      When we look at what all this "unparalleled freedom" and
      "unbridled liberty and diversity" have brought the GLBT community,
      we have to ask Wayne Besen: Just who is it really who has decimated
      their lives through irresponsible choices? Who is it really who
      can't handle freedom?


      And how can the desire to avoid a culture of promiscuity, infidelity,
      drugs and health problems be considered anything but sane?


      ALLEGATION: THEY'RE FORCING CHANGE THERAPIES ON THE UNWILLING


      But Besen thinks he knows better what truly motivates people to seek
      change.


      "People go to these 'doctors' only because they are made to feel
      terrible about themselves," he writes. "They are convinced that
      they will go to hell if they do not change, and many believe that
      suicide may be the only alternative. They are lied to - told that
      there are no happy, productive gay people and that the so-called gay
      lifestyle leads to only 'death and destruction.' These dejected
      individuals also fear that coming out will mean a loss of status,
      family, friends, and church. Under such duress, how can one argue
      that
      these people are freely making the choice to change?" (p. 142,
      emphasis added).


      Since Besen has proven that he believes "these people" are weak
      minded and mentally unstable, it should be no surprise that he also
      thinks they are not capable of freely making the choice to change.
      In fact, he sees "Nicolosi and his cohorts (using) deceit and guile
      to bully desperate people into reparative therapy" (p. 141). (One
      imagines Nicolosi donning a motorcycle jacket and beating up gays in
      West Hollywood until they beg for mercy by agreeing to pay for
      unwanted
      therapy.)


      This may be one of Besen's most ridiculous claims in the entire book:
      that people are somehow being forced to pursue change against their
      will. One wonders: How would that even be possible, short of cult
      kidnapping and brainwashing? But Besen insists:


      "My opinion on reparative therapy ... (calls for) the discontinuation
      of forced medical 'treatments' designed to 'cure'
      homosexuality" (p. 142).


      "There is also the matter of coercion and forced participation.
      Although I have found no evidence of adults being forced to attend
      therapy, adolescents - and even toddlers - are often dragged into
      Nicolosi's clutches against their will" (p. 142, emphasis added).


      "Unfortunately, bad science has not stopped Nicolosi from convincing
      parents to force kids into his programs" (p. 142).


      Surely, if he knew of any such cases of forced therapy, Besen
      wouldn't hesitate to document them. The best he can offer is
      anecdotes of teenagers being escorted by their parents to a
      reparative therapy conference, or asked to read ex-gay literature -
      hardly cause for court intervention in family life. But yes,
      Nicolosi does offer counseling on issues related to gender identity
      disorder in children and youth# - a diagnosis that has long been
      recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (although it is
      under heavy attack by the gay lobby).


      The fact is that the large majority of people pursuing change are in
      their twenties and thirties at the time they begin the change effort.
      (In the Spitzer study, the average age of interviewees - who had
      maintained a heterosexual shift for at least five years - was 43.)
      Relatively few are teenagers or living under their parents' roof. A
      significant number are married, with children. (Twenty percent of
      Spitzer's subjects were married before beginning therapy.) They have
      matured enough and struggled, often silently, long enough to know
      what they want in life and what they don't want. (Three-quarters of
      Spitzer's subjects were college graduates.)


      In fact, in the People Can Change online support groups, members
      often express frustration at the lack of support for their change
      efforts - from the psychological community, certainly, but also at
      times from family members, peers, fellow church or synagogue members
      and even pastors and rabbis. They tire of people telling them
      to "just accept and enjoy" something they consider to be a cancer in
      their lives. Recognizing that "gay" is not who they truly "are," that
      these unwanted desires, in their case, largely come from unmet
      emotional needs, they diligently search the country for the too-rare
      professional who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to help them
      in the way they want to be helped.


      As morally aghast as Besen is at the fantasy that some people are
      forced into reparative therapy against their will, he sees nothing at
      all immoral with outlawing reparative therapy for those who freely
      seek
      it. In fact, that is what Besen argues for - an outright ban. Never
      mind what the client wants. Never mind that reparative therapy is
      often successful. Never mind that many say they have benefited from
      it. If it isn't pro-gay, it should go away.


      Besen asks rhetorically, "Would these people want to change if they
      were not subject to religious persecution, legally sanctioned
      discrimination, and social condemnation - if not outright physical
      danger?" (p. 142).


      The answer, inevitably, is an emphatic yes - as a matter free will by
      those who are strong-minded enough, mentally stable enough, and
      determined to create for themselves constructive, moral and
      fulfilling lives that are congruent with their own, deeply held
      values.


      ALLEGATION: REPARATIVE THERAPY THEORIES HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED AND
      DISPROVED


      For as many times as Besen beats this drum throughout his book, you
      would think he would provide some evidence. He repeatedly labels
      reparative therapy principles and research as "old, outdated ideas"
      (p. 136), "outlandish, unproven therapies (p. 171), with
      "anachronistic data" (p. 131), "outdated notions" (p. 132) and
      "outdated psychoanalytic techniques" (p. 172). He claims
      "reparative therapy is rooted in outdated and disproved
      psychoanalytic thought" (p. 183) and the so-called "discredited
      works of Bieber, Socarides, Moberly and Nicolosi" (p. 172).


      Yet Besen offers virtually nothing in the way of evidence that the
      research and principles supporting reparative therapy have actually
      been disproved or discredited.


      He claims that findings from Dr. Irving Bieber's 1962 study of 106
      homosexual clients (which found, for instance, that all 106 men
      experienced profound disturbance in their relationship with their
      fathers) "could not be replicated and were disproved by more diligent
      researchers" (p. 127). But Besen doesn't offer so much as a
      footnote to support this claim.


      He writes that "Dr. Charles Silverstein released an exhaustive survey
      (in the early 1970s) that showed that previous research on
      homosexuality was either skewed or biased" (p. 130). Again, he
      offers not so much as a footnote to reference this supposedly
      exhaustive survey. And he certainly doesn't bother to mention, lest
      it should bias the reader, that this is the same Charles Silverstein
      who wrote the illustrated, erotic handbook, "The Joy of Gay Sex: An
      Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle."


      That's it. That is all Besen can do to back up his repeated claims
      of "outdated ideas" and "discredited works." In contrast, in
      his seminal work, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New
      Clinical Approach (1991), Dr. Joseph Nicolosi references no fewer
      than 300 books, academic studies and journal articles as he lays out
      the core principles of reparative therapy. These principles, and the
      basic profile of the "typical" reparative therapy client, have been
      borne out in the clinical experience of hundreds of therapists and
      counselors working with thousands of clients over the years. And as
      we've seen in the surveys and clinical studies of thousands who have
      participated in these therapies, they work. Not always, and not
      perfectly, but much of the time they produce the desired outcome.


      Reparative therapy has not been discredited. It has simply fallen
      out
      of favor since the 1973 vote by the board of the American Psychiatric
      Association to remove homosexuality from its official encyclopedia of
      mental disorders. What Besen sees as outdated is simply out of
      fashion. The research hasn't been disproved; it has simply been
      disenfranchised by the political correctness of the times.


      ALLEGATION: CHANGE EFFORTS CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM


      "The ex-gay ministries can be a soul-shattering experience that leads
      to low self-esteem, depression and sometimes suicide," Besen claims
      (p. 59).


      He quotes several people who failed to change, who felt like they had
      wasted time and money, and that the whole effort only prolonged an
      inevitable "coming out." These are unfortunate cases, but what do
      they prove? Only that that particular therapy or ministry was not
      helpful or appropriate for those particular individuals at the time.
      It doesn't prove that they are not helpful to or appropriate for
      anyone ever - any more than the grumblings of a few lapsed Catholics
      would "prove" that Catholicism is harmful to all. Especially when
      there is significant evidence of others who benefit.


      Dr. Robert Spitzer found no evidence of harm among the 200
      individuals he surveyed on their experience in reparative therapy and
      ex-gay ministries. He has stated, "To the contrary, they reported
      that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual
      orientation itself." #


      The NARTH survey of 882 men and women who had pursued change said the
      therapy was beneficial to their mental health and helped them cope
      with and reduce their homosexual attractions. They also
      overwhelmingly rated their experience as positive on a range of
      variables, including self-acceptance, trust of the opposite sex, self-
      esteem, emotional stability, relationship with God, and depression.
      Only 7% of survey respondents said they were doing worse than before
      the therapy on three or more of 17 measures of psychological well-
      being.#


      In fact, if there is one consistency in the scores of published
      testimonials by those who have succeeded at change, it is the
      universal claim those that their lives are better now:


      "Tremendous rewards followed - fulfilling friendships with other
      men, better health and greater confidence with my body and emotional
      freedom and power."#


      "The journey has been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was
      worth it. Today, I am a different man - stronger, healthier, happier,
      more loving, more confident, more mature. I am a better father, a
      better husband, a better friend, and a more devoted son of God. I
      would never trade the peace, growth and healing I have experienced
      for anything in the world."#


      "I am at the point in my life now where homosexuality is no longer a
      struggle. I'd have to go through a lot of barricades -
      psychologically, spiritually and emotionally - to get to the point of
      acting on any temptation. I am very fulfilled in my life. I no longer
      want homosexuality in my life. I no longer need it. Today, I identify
      with other heterosexual men as my peers, my brothers and my equals. I
      am in love with my wife. I love being a husband and a daddy."#


      "Finally, I am at peace with myself as a man. I am at peace in the
      world of men, grounded and connected. I have finally experienced
      unconditional love - from my wife, my mother, my therapist, my
      'adopted' father and brothers and family. These are men and women
      who know my secrets and love me more, not less. I no longer yearn for
      sexual experience in order to feel love."#


      "I now feel I have successfully transitioned from gay and bisexual to
      straight. The change is immensely satisfying and rewarding. I started
      dating women again because I wanted a healthy relationship that would
      last. I will settle down with one, eventually. I am a stronger man
      now,
      better prepared to be in a close relationship, with more to give as a
      whole man."#


      "More and more, I was coming in to therapy sessions reporting joy
      instead of hurt, anger or fear, sharing my increased sense of
      identity
      and power as a man, reporting on new friendships I was building and
      new risks I was taking to test my increased inner strength....Now I
      could
      be in honest relationships with others. I could make friends. I could
      ask for help. I could be real. And more than anything else, I could
      love. I had learned to give love and receive love from other men as
      my brothers, and trust them with my heart. In this, I truly had found
      what I had been looking for all my life."#


      These and countless other personal stories of change do not "prove"
      that reparative therapy and other change efforts are right for
      everyone or will work for everyone. But they do disprove Besen's
      thesis: that they work for no one and are harmful to everyone.
      Virtually everything he has to contribute to the debate on the value
      and efficacy of sexual orientation change is politically motivated
      propaganda in the service of that discredited and disproved thesis.


      # Source: New Direction Ministries, "Homosexuality and the
      Possibility of Change" project, Toronto, Canada.
      http://www.newdirection.ca/a_change.htm and
      http://www.newdirection.ca/research/index.html








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    • Laura Miers
      I agree gay activist do not care about the soul of a person just futhering there agenda. They did not care of John would get hurt. How would they feel if
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 2, 2006
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        I agree gay activist do not care about the
        soul of a person just futhering there agenda.

        They did not care of John would get hurt.

        How would they feel if conservatives activist
        whent into gay bars and clubs and watched them
        and video taped it for the world to see.

        I persoanly know many gay leaders who
        are not always on there best behavior.

        One was caught having sex in a park
        near where I live.

        The media and gay activist
        tried to cover it up as a reckless police raid.



        Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote:
        Yeah. It is unfortunate that he and others like him do this. I personally do not discuss this issue in public for the very reason that I do not want to be persued or ridiculed at my home. We who are healing can make mistakes in our growth and one step to the side and it blows everything up. Just like John, he was probably at a place in his growth that he needed to sort of revisit his past and re-evaluate it from a new perspective - honestly I don't know though. Anyhow, his book was malicious.

        Gay activists are very angry. And sometimes that goes very far.

        Laura Miers <exgaydates@...> wrote:
        I also read the book at barnes an Nobles,
        I refused to buy it.

        The book was horrible, and I was suprised he
        was not sued by John.

        I would have sued him likeno tommorow.
        He is stillcashing in on the book.
        I would have sued him.

        Also the next ex gay stalker who does
        this needs to be hit with a major law suit.


        Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote:
        I am so glad you posted this article. Wayne Besen is a mean man with malintent towards people "who don't see things his way" Reading his book was like being at a gay cocktail party where the game was who could insult people the most. That's what his book is filled with. What he did to John Paulk was almost criminal. Besen's book is slanderous. And he so left out the misconduct of Kinsey's research where homosexuality first recieved so much attention.

        Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote: Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
        is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
        giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay minsitries.
        Below are some rebuttals to him.


        Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States. He is a former
        spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the book
        Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-
        Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in 2003

        A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
        By Glenn Wyler,

        People Can Change

        Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
        Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the back cover as a
        "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition an attempt
        to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus, the reader should
        keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by design, anything
        but straightforward. It is anything but fair, complete or honest.
        In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence of balance,
        fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that is decidedly
        yellow, and deliberately so.

        There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
        but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe and surrounded
        by such vicious vituperation that all that can be determined for
        certain is that the author holds a seething hatred for anyone and
        anything that argues for the possibility of altering one's sexual
        attractions.


        In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen repeatedly employs
        name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm, generalizations,
        stereotypes and double standards as he introduces one allegation and
        false claim after another. His central claims are that sexual
        orientation change is a myth, that there are absolutely no means of
        effecting change, and that everyone who claims to have experienced
        change is either lying or deluded.


        He repeatedly makes completely unsupported allegations and uses
        anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as though they were
        proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for supposedly having
        insufficient data or substandard studies to support their claims. He
        dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or more often,
        declines to mention that such evidence even exists) but accepts
        unquestionably any and all information that bolsters his position.
        He is the king of the double standard, liberally applying methods
        that he turns around and decries as the epitome of hate and ignorance
        whenever he is the recipient rather than the purveyor of them.


        NAME CALLING AND LABELING


        To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a small sample of the
        name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout the book in an
        obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his subjects:


        "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative reparative therapy
        industry" (p. xviii)


        "the zany characters who run these programs" (p. xxi)


        "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p. 104)


        "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized, shockingly
        unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors and
        fundamentalist
        shamans who cause untold damage to the very people they are supposed
        to
        be helping" (p. 59)


        "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)


        "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover" (p. 137).


        "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).


        In some of his most egregious moments of name calling, he actually
        titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p. 133) and
        "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads like "Inside
        Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p. 136) and
        "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for good measure. But
        his single most bitter denunciation may be this:


        "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry con artists who
        lure and bamboozle susceptible people with misleading promises and
        false hope. One reason these quacks practice their chicanery is to
        cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot dismiss raw hatred
        as the primary motive that drives these charlatans to extreme lengths
        to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).


        Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight" will make
        perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that us seething with
        "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)


        Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred" for lesbians
        and gays choose to spend his professional life, day after day,
        working with homosexuals? And if a professional were actually
        motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come across to his
        clients, and drive them away in droves?

        On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
        part on a model in which the therapist is more engaged with the
        client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a loving-parent role,
        than is the case with standard therapy. This places reparative
        therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship with their
        clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.


        But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his disparagements. It
        serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and hope it
        sufficiently
        dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he needn't
        provide any actual evidence of misconduct or malfeasance.


        MOCKERY AND SARCASM


        Continuing in this spirit of verbal assault, the author delights in
        mockery and sarcasm, especially of all things religious. For a man
        who
        seems to think "diversity" and "tolerance" are the ultimate
        moral virtues, he certainly draws the line at religious diversity or
        respect for traditional Christianity, for which he clearly has a zero
        tolerance policy.


        Besen describes his visit to a church in Orlando, Florida, that had,
        in his words, "an authoritarian, hocus-pocus worship style" (p. 48).
        This, under a chapter subhead he calls "Ministry Mouse and
        Deuteronomy Duck." He refers to "convincing Jesus to wave his
        magic wand" as the means by which some people experience change, and
        claims "they have reduced God to no more than a rabbit's foot, a
        simple good luck charm that is used to stop them from masturbating or
        running to an adult bookstore" (p. 44).


        Besen, a self-described secular Jew, demonstrates his special
        contempt for the notion, widely held by people of many faiths, of
        listening to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. He slanderously
        equates such experiences as signs of mental illness.


        "Crazy stories are almost as ubiquitous in the ex-gay community as
        prayer" (p. 45)


        "Many of the ex-gay leaders appear to have untreated mental
        disorders...An alarmingly high number of ex-gays...report hearing
        voices and having visions, which may very well be hallucinations" (p.
        43).


        In one chapter subhead, he even coins the mocking moniker
        "Hallucinogenic Heterosexuals" (p. 43). But what kinds of
        hallucinations or divine acts (depending on one's point of view) is
        Besen referring to?


        Regarding the infamous visit to a Washington gay bar by Focus on the
        Family's John Paulk, a public spokesman for sexual orientation
        change, Besen quotes a repentant Paulk as saying in an interview on
        Focus's radio program, "I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, 'Turn
        around and run. Do not go in there.'" Besen's mocking response:
        "I don't know about you, but if I heard the Holy Spirit personally
        tell me not to go into a bar, this Jew would sprint to the nearest
        sink, dunk my head under the water faucet, and self-baptize" (p. 20).


        "Anne Paulk is one who seems to receive miracles from God as
        frequently as most people eat breakfast," Besen writes (p. 45). He
        then describes an answer to prayer Anne writes about in her book in
        which she called on God to help her find a lost contact lens, and
        another where she receives a spiritual impression while looking at
        cloud formations that she might be pregnant. While Anne may be
        quicker to see the hand of God in her life than some others, her
        experiences are hardly on the fringe of a spiritual life, as Besen
        likes to portray them.


        Besen quotes author Richard Cohen, who at a critical juncture in his
        life sat down near a lake and prayed to God, with both impatience and
        resolve, "OK, God, it's showdown time! I'm not moving from this
        spot until you tell me what to do and where to go." Besen mocks:
        "God, sufficiently alarmed that Cohen might expire lakeside,
        dutifully dropped whatever he was working on and instantly submitted
        to Cohen's demands." Then, after Cohen received a clear prompting,
        Besen adds: "Knowing God was at his beck and call, Cohen had the
        chutzpah to ask for verbal confirmation, as if God were a travel
        agent" (p. 168).


        Besen should know, but apparently does not, that this kind of
        spiritual seeking is hardly unique to ex-gay experience. By openly
        ridiculing these and similar experiences in his book, Besen proves
        his utter disdain for the spiritual life of Christians and other
        people of faith generally. By mocking these testimonies, he also
        mocks anyone who seeks to listen for and follow the whisperings of
        God's Spirit.


        Besen's mocking is not reserved for spirituality. Naturally, he
        takes delight in mocking such things as "lipstick application
        seminars to help some lesbians become more feminine and touch
        football games to butch up some of the more effeminate homosexual
        men" (p. xvi). And naturally, he mocks without explaining that the
        deeper psychological purpose of such activities is to help same-sex
        attracted women and men face their fears of traditional gender
        associations.


        GENERALIZATIONS, STEREOTYPES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS


        Given the vehemence with which Besen blasts any perceived slight
        against homosexuals or gay culture, the blatant and hostile
        stereotypes and generalizations that he directs at ex-gays and
        reparative therapists represent the worst kind of double standard:


        "Most (ex-gays) are suffering unbelievably dark, lonely, miserable
        lives" (p. 37).


        "Most (ex-gays) are chronically depressed" (p. 40)


        "The vast majority of the (ex-gay ministry) leadership and nearly all
        of the spokespeople ...(are) self-destructive, unstable individuals
        who
        lack self-control and have decimated their personal lives" (p. 42)


        "A significant number appear to have problems with mental illness"
        (p. 42).


        "Little evidence supports the existence of 'normal' ex-gays"
        (p. 56).


        "Most ex-gays are not looking for a religion, but a regimen. They
        are learning scripture because they seek structure. When they claim
        they are searching for God, they really mean they are searching for
        guidance" (p. 48). (Apparently, Besen is a mind reader who can divine
        what seekers are "really" seeking.)


        "They have left behind colorful, three-dimensional lives of
        uncertainty and despair for monochrome, one dimensional lives of
        relative stability and security" (p. 52). (This may be the most
        bizarre sentence in the entire book. Colorful, three-dimensional
        lives of uncertainty and despair? What kind of a color is that?)


        (Ex-gays) "are stuck in a lifestyle that demeans, diminishes and
        dehumanizes them for who they are" (p. xviii, emphasis added).


        Reparative therapy clients are "hapless victims" with "fragile
        minds" (p. 156).


        Imagine the howls of protest if these same aspersions were directed
        at gays instead of ex-gays!


        Besen charges reparative therapists with nothing short of malpractice
        for allegedly telling clients that there is no true happiness to be
        found in a homosexual life, or that promiscuity, disease, infidelity
        and broken relationships are rampant in the gay community. This is
        supposedly reckless and demeaning, driving reparative therapy clients
        to the brink of suicide. But Besen thinks it's perfectly acceptable
        to label thousands of people as mentally unstable, out-of-control,
        chronically depressed, unable to handle personal freedom, and on and
        on - simply for not wanting to be gay!


        In one glaring example of his double standards, Besen decries the use
        of the term "gay lifestyle" as small-minded and bigoted, because it
        supposedly indicates that there is one monolithic gay scene that
        defines all of homosexual life. But then he deliberately titles a
        chapter subhead "The Ex-Gay Lifestyle" (p. 55) and says ex-gays are
        "stuck in a lifestyle that demeans" them.


        An even more egregious example: Besen quotes NARTH as saying, "In
        reality, there is no evidence that homosexuality is simply genetic,"
        and then charges, "This phrase illustrates how slippery NARTH really
        is. The statement is technically true," Besen says, "because the
        research cannot show, at this point, that homosexuality is simply
        genetic, but NARTH's statement conveniently omits the
        incontrovertible fact that a growing body of research points to a
        possible biological component."


        That's on page 149. Now flip back just two pages. Besen summarizes
        the Pillard-Bailey twin study, which found that out of 56 gays who
        had an identical twin, 29 of the twin brothers were also gay/ Besen
        concludes, "This study clearly showed a biological/genetic component
        to sexual orientation..." Stop right there. No, it didn't. A
        biological component is only one possible explanation, since these
        twins shared a common upbringing. Besen continues his sentence: "but
        the fact that not all of the identical twins were gay suggested that
        there may be more than just a simple genetic explanation for
        homosexuality" (emphasis added).


        "May" be? Suggested? Now who is slippery? - and the sentence
        isn't even close to technically true. The study actually proved that
        there must be more than genetics at work, since identical twins, by
        definition, share identical genes.


        Understanding Besen's "slipperiness," spite and ill intent will
        help to put into perspective the allegations and false claims he
        presents throughout his book.


        ALLEGATION: NOBODY EVER SUCCEEDS AT CHANGE


        Wayne Besen's central claim is, of course, that sexual orientation
        change is a myth. He writes:


        "The extraordinary claims made by ex-gay groups are without merit,
        and the efficacy of their programs is dubious at best and harmful at
        worst" (p. xvi).


        "The most these deceptive entities can usually accomplish is teaching
        fearful people how to repress natural feelings, at the risk of grave
        psychological harm, which is really no accomplishment at all" (p.
        xvii).


        "Sexual orientation is a deep-seated, unalterable part of who people
        are; it runs as deep as the soul; it is the very core of being" (p.
        192).


        "In general, ex-gay groups have a near total failure rate" (p. 40).


        "Nobody has 'changed'" (p. 38)


        Supporting his viewpoint, Besen contends that everyone who claims to
        have experienced change is either lying or deluded: "For a time,
        through faith and mental repression, a person may even believe he or
        she has become the straight person being portrayed" (p. xvi, emphasis
        added). But he claims those who say they have experienced change
        will inevitably have to face the "truth" one day that they really
        haven't changed at all.


        Besen's greatest concession to the possibility of change comes in
        this qualifier-packed sentence: "I would not rule out the remote
        possibility that, in some very rare circumstances, a few people may
        be comfortable and honestly function as if they have changed their
        sexual orientation" (p. xvi, emphasis added). (Would it be possible
        to hedge this sentence any more without it collapsing under the
        weight of its own equivocation?)


        But Besen sets up a precarious predicament for himself by taking the
        extreme position that change is always impossible and in fact nobody
        has ever changed - precarious because it requires only a single
        success story to debunk his thesis. By contrast, the ex-gay
        ministries and reparative therapists are on much firmer ground by
        defending the position that some people have experienced some degree
        of change, and are happier for it, and if change is possible for some
        people, it is likely possible for some others as well. This position
        is not subject to the Achilles Heel of Besen's absolutist
        perspective. It is not subject to collapse from a single case, or
        any number of cases, countering its claims.


        So let's consider (since Besen certainly doesn't) the abundant
        evidence that some people have experienced at least some degree of
        change in their sexual attractions.


        In more than 50 years of research, including 48 studies referenced in
        this paper, there are data and published accounts documenting easily
        more than 3,000 cases of change from homosexual to heterosexual
        attraction and functioning. With one notable exception - a chapter
        dedicated to railing against Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's 2001 study of
        successful sexual reorientation clients - Besen disregards this
        entire body of psychological literature, preferring to pretend it
        doesn't even exist.


        But he is in good company. Besen approvingly quotes the American
        Psychiatric Association's medical director as saying, "There is no
        published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative
        therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation" (p.
        235). With that, Besen can safely skirt the debate, and avoid
        confusing the poor reader with the facts. After all, even the
        experts say there is "no published evidence."


        But is that true?


        "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change" Project


        New Direction Ministries in Toronto, Canada, has collected and
        critiqued 31 clinical research studies, individual case studies and
        surveys on homosexuality and the possibility of change published in
        books or academic journals between 1952 and 2003#. The reviewers
        looked for reported changes, and supporting evidence for changes, in
        behavior, attractions, fantasy and self-identification by the
        subjects of the various studies and surveys. On their Web page, they
        summarize the collective results of 28 of the studies, and discuss
        the other three separately.


        Collectively, the 28 studies present information on 2,252 subjects.
        The reviewers with the "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
        project selected for analysis only those subjects for whom enough
        data was available in the published reports to assign the subjects
        approximate before-and-after Kinsey sexual orientation scores of from
        0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). They
        eliminated from consideration those subjects whose "before" scores
        were lower than 5 (where 5 is "predominantly homosexual") or for
        whom insufficient information was available to assign any scores at
        all.


        The reviewers found that using even this conservative before-and-
        after analysis, the published research clearly supports at least:


        45 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
        (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a full shift in sexual
        orientation o a 0 on the Kinsey scale).


        287 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
        (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a partial shift in sexual
        orientation (to a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale).


        86 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
        who transitioned to satisfying heterosexual relationships. (This
        third group of studies measured change by external behavior and
        reports of satisfaction, rather than reports of levels of
        attraction.)


        Thus you have at least 418 cases in the published psychological
        literature of heterosexual orientation shift, according to the
        criteria used by the "Possibility of Change" project. However, the
        studies themselves actually report at least 563 subjects who
        experienced varying degrees of change toward increased
        heterosexuality. (The lower number is due to the project reviewers
        applying uniform criteria, years after the fact, to summarize more
        than 50 years of published studies, and thus excluding reports that
        didn't fit their criteria for analysis.)


        Besen would argue, of course, that many of these studies are old, and
        thus outdated. But old and outdated are not synonymous. Research
        doesn't "go bad" with time alone, like old bread. Older research
        can be confirmed, expanded, reinterpreted or contradicted by new,
        better designed or more thorough research. But age alone never
        invalidates a research study. And it is striking that these 31
        studies, conducted over 50-some years, consistently show at least
        some evidence for sexual orientation shift, every time.


        NARTH Survey of Reparative Therapy Clients#


        In addition to the 28 studies summarized above, the "Homosexuality
        and the Possibility of Change" project reports on three others. The
        first, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy
        of Homosexuality in 1997, is a survey of 882 individuals who had been
        in reparative therapy or other intervention programs in an effort to
        effect a sexual-orientation change.


        The anonymous survey found that, before counseling or therapy, 581
        men and women out of the 882, or 66%, considered themselves
        exclusively or almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). Another
        188 (21%) considered themselves more homosexual than heterosexual
        (Kinsey 4) before treatment.


        After treatment, only 111 (13%) considered themselves exclusively or
        almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). That's 470 fewer
        individuals who placed themselves in this category, post-treatment.
        And in fact, 282 individuals (32%) described themselves as either
        exclusively or almost entirely heterosexual after treatment (Kinsey 0
        or 1).


        Those surveyed also reported significant decreases in the frequency
        and intensity of their homosexual thoughts - from 63%
        indicating "very
        often" before treatment to 3% after treatment. The same was true of
        sexual behaviors with a partner: 30% had homosexual sex "very
        often" before treatment, while only 1% did so afterward.


        NARTH Survey of Therapists#


        The second survey was also conducted by the National Association for
        Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in 1997, but this one surveyed
        206 therapists and counselors who have counseled individuals who
        sought
        to change from a homosexual orientation. Collectively, these 206
        professionals had worked with a total of at least 9,702 homosexual
        clients seeking sexual reorientation.


        More than 40% of therapists said that the majority (61% or more) of
        their clients had either "adopted a primarily heterosexual
        orientation (not just behavior)" or "experienced a significant
        decrease in unwanted homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors" or
        both. At an average of 47 clients per therapist, that would
        represent
        more than 2,350 clients who experienced a significant
        homosexual-to-heterosexual shift, according to the therapists who
        counseled them.


        Spitzer Study#


        The last of the 31 studies summarized by the "Homosexuality and the
        Possibility of Change" project was conducted by Columbia University
        psychiatrist Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who studied "the self-reported
        experiences of individuals who claim to have achieved a change from
        homosexual to heterosexual attraction that has lasted at least five
        years." (This study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior
        in October 2003.) He located and interviewed 143 men and 57 women
        who had had a predominantly homosexual attraction for many years
        (defined
        as at least 60 on a 100-point scale of sexual attraction, where 0 is
        exclusively heterosexual and 100 is exclusively homosexual), and who,
        after therapy, had experienced a heterosexual shift of no less than
        10
        points, lasting at least 5 years.


        Spitzer found that the average level of reported homosexual
        attraction among the 200 interviewees dropped from 90 (on a 100 point
        scale) in the 12 months before the change effort began to 19 in the
        12 months just prior to the interview. Also:


        37 (19%) of the respondents reported "complete" change, with no
        lingering homosexual thoughts, fantasies or desires.


        119 (60%) met Spitzer's criteria for "good heterosexual
        functioning" (which included never or rarely having same-sex thoughts
        during heterosexual sex).


        Other Studies


        In their book, "Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the
        Church's Moral Debate," psychologists Dr. Stanton L. Jones and Dr.
        Mark A. Yarhouse present summary data on 30 research studies
        conducted between 1954 and 1994. Of these, 13 are also included in
        New Direction's "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
        summary, but 17 are not. These 17 additional studies#, conducted
        mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, present data on 327 subjects. Of
        these, 108 men and women made a successful shift from primarily
        homosexual to primarily heterosexual attractions and/or behaviors.


        One of the more recent publications on the topic is in the American
        Psychological Association's June 2002 issue of Professional
        Psychology: Research and Practice. An article by Dr. Warren
        Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the
        Change Process for Ex-Gays," summarizes 11 studies and concludes:
        "My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health
        organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once
        thought
        to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many
        people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others
        and spontaneously for still others."


        Personal Experience with Change Efforts


        What is Besen's response to all this published research by scores of
        professionals, published in dozens of books and journals, over
        several
        decades? Quite simply, to ignore it. To pretend it doesn't exist.
        And to present instead anecdotes of seven former ex-gay leaders who
        either relapsed into old patterns or left their ministries altogether
        and recanted their claims of change.


        These seven cases of failed (or in John Paulk's case, incomplete)
        change efforts are supposed to counterbalance all the data collected
        on
        3,000-plus individuals in 48 published studies over 50 years. This
        is
        the equivalent of saying that the experiences of millions of people
        who
        have found sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous throughout the world are
        invalid simply because some people who succeed for a time later fall
        back into drunkenness. This is a ridiculous leap. Remember, Besen's
        thesis is that nobody succeeds at change, not that some people fail.
        He has, at a bare minimum, hundreds more cases to attempt to
        discredit
        before he gets anywhere close to proving his thesis.


        And he can't have it both ways. He can't present the anecdotal
        accounts of failed change efforts as proof of universal failure while
        dubbing all personal accounts of success as fraudulent. Why should
        we
        believe these seven individuals are representative of everyone who
        seeks change while disregarding the personal experiences of so many
        others?


        Consider also the many men and women who have published
        autobiographical (or combined autobiographical and educational) books
        relating the authors' personal experiences with overcoming unwanted
        homosexuality: Scott Anderson, Richard Cohen, Andy Comiskey, Joe
        Dallas, Bob Davies, Erin Eldridge, D.L. Foster, Janelle Hallman,
        Jeanette Howard, Dennis Jernigan, Jeff Konrad, Alan Medinger, David
        Morrison, Jason Park, Anne Paulk, Sy Rogers, Barbara Swallow, and
        Frank
        Worthen, among others. In addition, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has
        written
        a book of eight case studies,# and Bob Davies has compiled a book of
        14
        personal testimonials.# In addition, scores of personal accounts of
        change can be found on the World Wide Web.#


        But never mind all that. In Besen's world, every last one of them is
        lying, faking or self-deluded.


        ALLEGATION: ONLY A 180 DEGREE SHIFT "COUNTS" AS CHANGE


        A linchpin of Besen's argument that no one ever changes is the
        self-created tenet that change must be a 180 degree shift from 100
        percent homosexual to 100 percent heterosexual in order to be
        considered (by him) to be legitimate. It makes for a convenient
        stipulation, one that neither reparative therapists, ex-gay
        ministries
        nor we who have experienced change have ever made ourselves.


        With this manufactured provision, Besen discounts claims of change by
        those who had any degree of heterosexual interest prior to pursuing
        change. Criticizing the Spitzer study, for instance, he claims that
        "many of the 'success' cases may have been bisexual or
        heterosexual prior to therapy" (p. 238) and wonders "whether a
        change in sexual orientation occurred or whether the subjects simply
        sublimated their homosexuality in favor of their heterosexual side"
        (p. 231).


        At the other end of the scale, Besen disregards the experience of
        anyone who still has any degree of homosexual feelings or
        susceptibility to homosexual "temptation." He takes advantage of
        the honest candor of certain ex-gays who admit to not being "totally
        healed" or who confess that in times of stress, they sometimes think
        about resorting to past homosexual behaviors. See, they haven't
        really changed, Besen gloats. But one wonders why people who are
        supposedly lying or self-deluded don't just go all the way and claim
        complete change. Why tell half a lie?


        Given Besen's harsh criteria for defining change, he would have to
        argue that no one has ever gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.
        After
        all, even after 20 years or more of sobriety, AA members always speak
        of themselves as "recovering," never fully recovered, to remind
        themselves that they may always be vulnerable to backsliding.


        So according to Besen, anyone who shifts from a Kinsey 5 (almost
        exclusively homosexual, but with some slight heterosexual interest)
        to
        a Kinsey 1 (almost exclusively heterosexual, but with some slight
        homosexual interest) hasn't really changed. The person wasn't
        "truly gay" before, and isn't really "straight" now, Besen
        maintains.


        At the same time that splits hairs over the definitions of "gay"
        and "straight," Besen is critical of therapists and ministry
        leaders who can't agree on a clear definition of "change," and
        thus describe or measure it in varying ways. But of course. Sexual
        orientation is an extremely amorphous concept. Warren Throckmorton
        writes, "There is no consensus of a direct, physical means of
        assessing sexual orientation...Self-report is the most common means
        of
        assessing sexual orientation, with all of the limitations known for
        this assessment method."# And Throckmorton quotes John Gonsiorek and
        James Weinrich: "Given such significant measurement problems, one
        could conclude there is serious doubt whether sexual orientation is a
        valid concept at all."#


        And to Besen, behavior change doesn't count, of course. "Remember,
        reparative therapy changes sexual behavior, not sexual orientation.
        People can learn to act straight and repress their sexual urges, but
        they rarely, if ever, change their fantasies, attractions or capacity
        to fall in love with members of the same sex" (p. 189). This claim
        once again ignores the psychological literature, which draws quite a
        different conclusion. But it also shows Besen's ignorance of the
        fact that, for many who seek change, sexual behavior is the real
        problem, not sexual attraction. They seek to bring their behavior in
        line with their values and beliefs, as a means of eliminating
        internal
        conflict. If they can accomplish that, living with an attraction to
        the same sex oftentimes is not particularly burdensome to them.


        What Besen doesn't realize is that for most people who seek change,
        heterosexuality is not actually the ultimate goal; happiness is. For
        them, happiness is not contingent on sexuality alone, but on living a
        life congruent with their values, beliefs and life goals. So, unlike
        Besen's unreasonable demand for a 180 degree turn or nothing, the men
        and women who actually seek change are often quite content with a
        much
        subtler shift. To be free from the constant pull of homosexual
        desires, to have a happy marriage, to have children, and to live a
        life
        they believe to be in line with God's will for them - many ask for
        nothing more. Never mind where they fall on anyone's Kinsey scale or
        what critics like Besen expect.


        ALLEGATION: THERE'S NO SANE REASON TO WANT TO CHANGE


        Besen's portrayal of those who seek to alter their sexual attractions
        shows a deep misunderstanding - or more accurately, a mocking
        misrepresentation - of this sincerely motivated population.
        According to Besen, only homosexuals who are emotionally unstable,
        homophobic and victims of societal oppression would want to change
        their sexual orientation, This is Besen at his most vicious.


        "Unlike many other communities, the GLBT community is blessed with
        unparalleled freedoms. One can comfortably choose from a plethora of
        lifestyles that span the ideological, theological and fashion
        continuum with minimal condemnation,...from conservative Log Cabin
        Republicans to flamboyant drag queens. For those who are centered,
        this unbridled lierty and diversity can make for an incredibly rich
        and fulfilling life.


        "However, for those who are weak-minded, mentally unstable, or
        lacking in self-esteem, the dearth of clearly defined rules in the
        GLBT community can be a nightmare... Without unambiguous strictures
        dictating every detail of their lives, they have to make choices for
        themselves, and, often, they make terrible choices that lead to
        addiction, misery and, in many cases, death.


        "When these people hit rock bottom, they often mistakenly blame the
        GLBT community for their own personal failings. When these
        individuals say they 'hate the so-called gay lifestyle,' they really
        mean they disdain a world with limitless options. To thrive, these
        individuals need clear guidance - a roadmap for life...


        "To join the ex-gay ministries, one has to accept a hard-core,
        right-wing fundamentalism that outlines every minute detail of one's
        life. This almost always means joining an authoritarian, right-wing
        church...(that appeals) to those who are mentally unstable" (p.
        47-48)


        Here again, Besen's duplicity is jaw-dropping. He praises the
        "unparalleled freedoms" and "limitless options" of the GLBT
        community, in which one can "comfortably choose from a plethora of
        lifestyles," but absolutely precludes from this plethora the choice
        of which sexual orientation to pursue or develop. This, apparently,
        is the one area of choice that should be prohibited and universally
        condemned. All else is open season, a celebration of wonderful
        diversity.


        Including gender. Notice the subtle inclusion of the "T," for
        transgender, in his use of the GLBT acronym. By slipping it in to
        his defense of limitless options, he is subtly arguing for the choice
        to determine one's own gender. Was anything ever more hardwired,
        more genetically encoded, then gender? And yet Besen and his ilk
        adamantly defend the rights of gender-benders and gender-switchers,
        including the right to undergo mutilating surgery and take chemical
        hormones to alter the body's natural hormone production. All this is
        celebrated as diversity and choice.


        And yet sexual attraction - something that is far less biologically
        based, that may only have a possible genetic component, yet to be
        discovered (as may just about any human inclination) - is not to be
        consciously channeled, according to Besen. This is where he abruptly
        slams the door on tolerance, diversity and choice. He clearly is no
        purist when it comes to these values. Rather, he merely uses them to
        bolster his only real value, which is homosexuality itself. If
        tolerance, diversity and choice collide with a pro-homosexual stance,
        they must fall by the wayside. Otherwise, he would have to tolerate
        the choice of some people to pursue a heterosexual shift, and respect
        their
        diversity. But there he draws the line.


        Now, according to Besen:


        "Most (ex-gays) are desperate, depressed people who have decimated
        their lives through irresponsible choices and now find it easier to
        blame their sexual orientation rather than themselves" (p. 30)


        "One of the major reasons people join the ex-gay ministries is
        because they believe gay life is bars, drugs, and sex. This has more
        to do with their personal moral failings than those of the (gay)
        community" (p. 268).


        "These individuals cannot handle freedom" (p. 52).


        Did Besen ever ask even one individual why he wanted to change his
        sexual orientation? When Robert Spitzer asked that question of 200
        men and women who said they had changed, the number one answer was
        that they did not find a homosexual life to be emotionally satisfying
        (81% of respondents), closely followed by 79% who said it conflicted
        with their religious beliefs. Fifty-eight percent said that gay life
        was an obstacle to their desire either to marry or remain married.#


        These responses are consistent with my own experience supporting men
        who seek change. When I asked the question (open-ended) on one of
        the People Can Change online support groups, the most frequent
        reasons given for seeking change were:


        Living as a homosexual felt wrong and conflicted with my moral
        beliefs
        (10 responses)


        It conflicted with my religious beliefs or my beliefs about God's
        will for my life (10 responses)


        I wanted to one day have a wife and children (8 responses)


        I felt emotionally unfulfilled in a gay life; it didn't meet my
        deeper needs (8 responses)


        I wanted to hold together an existing marriage and family (5
        responses).


        For me, homosexuality was addictive, obsessive or compulsive (5
        responses)


        I couldn't find "Mr. Right" and stopped believing he existed in
        the gay world (5 response)


        I feared disease and early death (5 responses).


        Seventeen additional responses were volunteered by one or two people
        each. Only two people responded that one reason they were pursuing
        change was that they feared societal rejection and wanted to fit into
        mainstream society.


        These are not the life goals of mentally unstable people who "can't
        handle freedom" or have "decimated their personal lives."
        Seeking emotionally satisfying relationships, working to live in
        congruence with one's moral belief system, seeking to do God's will
        as they understand it, desiring to get married and have children or
        hold an existing family together - these are hardly the desires of a
        mentally unstable fringe group. If Besen truly wants to welcome
        these men and women into the gay fold, he needs to consider what, if
        anything, the homosexual community has to people with this particular
        set of moral values and life goals.


        Despite Besen's insistence that gay life is not just bars, sex and
        drugs, the research indicates that, in fact, much of it is. No
        wonder that Spitzer's respondents - an unusually spiritually oriented
        group - said they found homosexual life to be so emotionally
        unsatisfying. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer
        of gay culture that the homosexual community emphasizes sex and
        promotes promiscuity, which in turn leads to notoriously short-lived
        relationships, casual and risky sex, drug use, and untold health
        problems.


        Speaking among themselves, gays are generally quick to acknowledge
        their culture's celebration of unrestrained sexual expression. (As
        one man described it to me, he was once scolded for his abstinence,
        "Quit screaming gay if you're not going to put out." Then there
        is the gay advocacy group "Sex Panic," which considers anonymous
        sex with multiple partners to be a defining value of gay culture.#)
        It is only when they attempt to propagandize conservative
        heterosexuals that gay apologists sometimes profess that homosexuals
        are no more promiscuous as a group than heterosexuals. (At other
        times, they take a completely different tack, freely admitting to gay
        promiscuity but insisting that it is the non-promiscuous who are
        sexually repressed and thus mentally or emotionally unhealthy.)


        So let's look at the facts. A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, in a 1978
        study#, found that:


        74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 partners during
        their lifetime, 43% more than 500 partners, and 28% more than 1,000.


        75% reported that more than half their partners were strangers.


        65 percent reported that they had sex with more than half their
        partners only once.


        A study of several hundred A study of several hundred male couples
        published in 1984# found that:


        87% of those who had been together less than a year were non-
        monogamous


        91% of those who had been together more than five years were
        non-monogamous.


        A Kinsey Institute study# published in 1990 found that:


        79% of homosexual male couples reported at least one instance of
        non-monogamy in the previous year, compared to 10% among married
        heterosexuals and 23% among cohabitating heterosexuals.


        In 1984, gay researchers McWhirter and Mattison published a study of
        156 male couples in relationships that had lasted between one and 37
        years. Only seven of those couples (4%) were monogamous, and all
        seven had been together less than five years.# More recently,
        surveys published in 2001 of more than 13,000 gay men in Seattle
        showed the number reporting six or more partners in the previous 12
        months increased from 45 percent in 1994 to 58 percent in 2000.#


        Drug abuse in the homosexual community is likewise well documented.
        A
        study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in
        1989# found that:


        89% of gays used marijuana (compared to 25% of heterosexuals)


        72% used poppers, an illicit nitrate inhalant used as a sexual
        stimulant (compared to 2% of heterosexuals)


        50% used cocaine (compared to 6% of heterosexuals)


        50% used LSD (compared to 3% of heterosexuals)


        and 33% used barbiturates (compared to 9% of heterosexuals).


        A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1992#
        found that, between 1985 and 1988:


        80% of 481 homosexual men studied had used marijuana


        70% had used poppers


        60% had used cocaine


        30% had used amphetamines


        and 20% had used LSD


        And a study published in the British Journal of Addiction in 1992#
        found:


        58 times as much use of poppers among gays as among the general
        population


        4 times as much tranquilizer use


        3.6 times as much marijuana use


        2.3 times the cocaine use


        and 1.5 times the alcohol use.


        The health consequences of all this indiscriminate sex and illicit
        drug use are all too predictable. Surveys published in 2001 of gay
        men in Miami found 16% of 23 to 29 years olds and 34% of those over
        29 were HIV positive.# Meanwhile, a six-city study by the Center for
        Disease Control and Prevention in 2001 found 30% of gay black men in
        the 23-to-29 age group were HIV positive, as were 12% of 23-to-29
        year-olds overall.#


        But the health risks go well beyond HIV and AIDS to include all forms
        of sexually transmitted diseases as well as intestinal diseases,
        Hepatitis, anal cancer and rectal trauma. Rowan and Gillette's Gay
        Health Guide devotes eight chapters to common diseases among male
        homosexuals. Studies have found:


        an estimated 75% of gay men have a history of at least one sexually
        transmitted disease#, compared to 17% of the general population#


        65% have a history of Hepatitis B#


        25% or more report a history of syphilis or gonorrhea#


        Putting all these numbers into perspective, Thomas Schmidt
        summarizes, in his book Straight & Narrow? (p. 127):


        "Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a
        group of 10 randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties.
        According to the most recent research from scientific sources, whose
        authors are without exception either neutral or positive in their
        assessment of homosexual behavior, and with the use of lower numbers
        where statistics differ, the relational and physical health of the
        group would look like this.


        "Four of the 10 men are currently in relationships, but only one of
        those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year.
        Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and
        only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years.
        Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages
        almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally
        take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to
        men.


        "Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have a history of
        alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three
        currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal
        drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of
        acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two
        have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted
        diseases... At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS."


        All of this has led one health professional to ask: "Can anyone
        refute that increased morbidity and mortality is an unavoidable
        result of male-with-male sex - not to mention the increased rates of
        alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide and other maladies that
        so often accompany a homosexual lifestyle? ...My primary question
        is: why isn't homosexuality considered a disorder on the basis of its
        medical consequences alone?"#


        When we look at what all this "unparalleled freedom" and
        "unbridled liberty and diversity" have brought the GLBT community,
        we have to ask Wayne Besen: Just who is it really who has decimated
        their lives through irresponsible choices? Who is it really who
        can't handle freedom?


        And how can the desire to avoid a culture of promiscuity, infidelity,
        drugs and health problems be considered anything but sane?


        ALLEGATION: THEY'RE FORCING CHANGE THERAPIES ON THE UNWILLING


        But Besen thinks he knows better what truly motivates people to seek
        change.


        "People go to these 'doctors' only because they are made to feel
        terrible about themselves," he writes. "They are convinced that
        they will go to hell if they do not change, and many believe that
        suicide may be the only alternative. They are lied to - told that
        there are no happy, productive gay people and that the so-called gay
        lifestyle leads to only 'death and destruction.' These dejected
        individuals also fear that coming out will mean a loss of status,
        family, friends, and church. Under such duress, how can one argue
        that
        these people are freely making the choice to change?" (p. 142,
        emphasis added).


        Since Besen has proven that he believes "these people" are weak
        minded and mentally unstable, it should be no surprise that he also
        thinks they are not capable of freely making the choice to change.
        In fact, he sees "Nicolosi and his cohorts (using) deceit and guile
        to bully desperate people into reparative therapy" (p. 141). (One
        imagines Nicolosi donning a motorcycle jacket and beating up gays in
        West Hollywood until they beg for mercy by agreeing to pay for
        unwanted
        therapy.)


        This may be one of Besen's most ridiculous claims in the entire book:
        that people are somehow being forced to pursue change against their
        will. One wonders: How would that even be possible, short of cult
        kidnapping and brainwashing? But Besen insists:


        "My opinion on reparative therapy ... (calls for) the discontinuation
        of forced medical 'treatments' designed to 'cure'
        homosexuality" (p. 142).


        "There is also the matter of coercion and forced participation.
        Although I have found no evidence of adults being forced to attend
        therapy, adolescents - and even toddlers - are often dragged into
        Nicolosi's clutches against their will" (p. 142, emphasis added).


        "Unfortunately, bad science has not stopped Nicolosi from convincing
        parents to force kids into his programs" (p. 142).


        Surely, if he knew of any such cases of forced therapy, Besen
        wouldn't hesitate to document them. The best he can offer is
        anecdotes of teenagers being escorted by their parents to a
        reparative therapy conference, or asked to read ex-gay literature -
        hardly cause for court intervention in family life. But yes,
        Nicolosi does offer counseling on issues related to gender identity
        disorder in children and youth# - a diagnosis that has long been
        recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (although it is
        under heavy attack by the gay lobby).


        The fact is that the large majority of people pursuing change are in
        their twenties and thirties at the time they begin the change effort.
        (In the Spitzer study, the average age of interviewees - who had
        maintained a heterosexual shift for at least five years - was 43.)
        Relatively few are teenagers or living under their parents' roof. A
        significant number are married, with children. (Twenty percent of
        Spitzer's subjects were married before beginning therapy.) They have
        matured enough and struggled, often silently, long enough to know
        what they want in life and what they don't want. (Three-quarters of
        Spitzer's subjects were college graduates.)


        In fact, in the People Can Change online support groups, members
        often express frustration at the lack of support for their change
        efforts - from the psychological community, certainly, but also at
        times from family members, peers, fellow church or synagogue members
        and even pastors and rabbis. They tire of people telling them
        to "just accept and enjoy" something they consider to be a cancer in
        their lives. Recognizing that "gay" is not who they truly "are," that
        these unwanted desires, in their case, largely come from unmet
        emotional needs, they diligently search the country for the too-rare
        professional who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to help them
        in the way they want to be helped.


        As morally aghast as Besen is at the fantasy that some people are
        forced into reparative therapy against their will, he sees nothing at
        all immoral with outlawing reparative therapy for those who freely
        seek
        it. In fact, that is what Besen argues for - an outright ban. Never
        mind what the client wants. Never mind that reparative therapy is
        often successful. Never mind that many say they have benefited from
        it. If it isn't pro-gay, it should go away.


        Besen asks rhetorically, "Would these people want to change if they
        were not subject to religious persecution, legally sanctioned
        discrimination, and social condemnation - if not outright physical
        danger?" (p. 142).


        The answer, inevitably, is an emphatic yes - as a matter free will by
        those who are strong-minded enough, mentally stable enough, and
        determined to create for themselves constructive, moral and
        fulfilling lives that are congruent with their own, deeply held
        values.


        ALLEGATION: REPARATIVE THERAPY THEORIES HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED AND
        DISPROVED


        For as many times as Besen beats this drum throughout his book, you
        would think he would provide some evidence. He repeatedly labels
        reparative therapy principles and research as "old, outdated ideas"
        (p. 136), "outlandish, unproven therapies (p. 171), with
        "anachronistic data" (p. 131), "outdated notions" (p. 132) and
        "outdated psychoanalytic techniques" (p. 172). He claims
        "reparative therapy is rooted in outdated and disproved
        psychoanalytic thought" (p. 183) and the so-called "discredited
        works of Bieber, Socarides, Moberly and Nicolosi" (p. 172).


        Yet Besen offers virtually nothing in the way of evidence that the
        research and principles supporting reparative therapy have actually
        been disproved or discredited.


        He claims that findings from Dr. Irving Bieber's 1962 study of 106
        homosexual clients (which found, for instance, that all 106 men
        experienced profound disturbance in their relationship with their
        fathers) "could not be replicated and were disproved by more diligent
        researchers" (p. 127). But Besen doesn't offer so much as a
        footnote to support this claim.


        He writes that "Dr. Charles Silverstein released an exhaustive survey
        (in the early 1970s) that showed that previous research on
        homosexuality was either skewed or biased" (p. 130). Again, he
        offers not so much as a footnote to reference this supposedly
        exhaustive survey. And he certainly doesn't bother to mention, lest
        it should bias the reader, that this is the same Charles Silverstein
        who wrote the illustrated, erotic handbook, "The Joy of Gay Sex: An
        Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle."


        That's it. That is all Besen can do to back up his repeated claims
        of "outdated ideas" and "discredited works." In contrast, in
        his seminal work, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New
        Clinical Approach (1991), Dr. Joseph Nicolosi references no fewer
        than 300 books, academic studies and journal articles as he lays out
        the core principles of reparative therapy. These principles, and the
        basic profile of the "typical" reparative therapy client, have been
        borne out in the clinical experience of hundreds of therapists and
        counselors working with thousands of clients over the years. And as
        we've seen in the surveys and clinical studies of thousands who have
        participated in these therapies, they work. Not always, and not
        perfectly, but much of the time they produce the desired outcome.


        Reparative therapy has not been discredited. It has simply fallen
        out
        of favor since the 1973 vote by the board of the American Psychiatric
        Association to remove homosexuality from its official encyclopedia of
        mental disorders. What Besen sees as outdated is simply out of
        fashion. The research hasn't been disproved; it has simply been
        disenfranchised by the political correctness of the times.


        ALLEGATION: CHANGE EFFORTS CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM


        "The ex-gay ministries can be a soul-shattering experience that leads
        to low self-esteem, depression and sometimes suicide," Besen claims
        (p. 59).


        He quotes several people who failed to change, who felt like they had
        wasted time and money, and that the whole effort only prolonged an
        inevitable "coming out." These are unfortunate cases, but what do
        they prove? Only that that particular therapy or ministry was not
        helpful or appropriate for those particular individuals at the time.
        It doesn't prove that they are not helpful to or appropriate for
        anyone ever - any more than the grumblings of a few lapsed Catholics
        would "prove" that Catholicism is harmful to all. Especially when
        there is significant evidence of others who benefit.


        Dr. Robert Spitzer found no evidence of harm among the 200
        individuals he surveyed on their experience in reparative therapy and
        ex-gay ministries. He has stated, "To the contrary, they reported
        that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual
        orientation itself." #


        The NARTH survey of 882 men and women who had pursued change said the
        therapy was beneficial to their mental health and helped them cope
        with and reduce their homosexual attractions. They also
        overwhelmingly rated their experience as positive on a range of
        variables, including self-acceptance, trust of the opposite sex, self-
        esteem, emotional stability, relationship with God, and depression.
        Only 7% of survey respondents said they were doing worse than before
        the therapy on three or more of 17 measures of psychological well-
        being.#


        In fact, if there is one consistency in the scores of published
        testimonials by those who have succeeded at change, it is the
        universal claim those that their lives are better now:


        "Tremendous rewards followed - fulfilling friendships with other
        men, better health and greater confidence with my body and emotional
        freedom and power."#


        "The journey has been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was
        worth it. Today, I am a different man - stronger, healthier, happier,
        more loving, more confident, more mature. I am a better father, a
        better husband, a better friend, and a more devoted son of God. I
        would never trade the peace, growth and healing I have experienced
        for anything in the world."#


        "I am at the point in my life now where homosexuality is no longer a
        struggle. I'd have to go through a lot of barricades -
        psychologically, spiritually and emotionally - to get to the point of
        acting on any temptation. I am very fulfilled in my life. I no longer
        want homosexuality in my life. I no longer need it. Today, I identify
        with other heterosexual men as my peers, my brothers and my equals. I
        am in love with my wife. I love being a husband and a daddy."#


        "Finally, I am at peace with myself as a man. I am at peace in the
        world of men, grounded and connected. I have finally experienced
        unconditional love - from my wife, my mother, my therapist, my
        'adopted' father and brothers and family. These are men and women
        who know my secrets and love me more, not less. I no longer yearn for
        sexual experience in order to feel love."#


        "I now feel I have successfully transitioned from gay and bisexual to
        straight. The change is immensely satisfying and rewarding. I started
        dating women again because I wanted a healthy relationship that would
        last. I will settle down with one, eventually. I am a stronger man
        now,
        better prepared to be in a close relationship, with more to give as a
        whole man."#


        "More and more, I was coming in to therapy sessions reporting joy
        instead of hurt, anger or fear, sharing my increased sense of
        identity
        and power as a man, reporting on new friendships I was building and
        new risks I was taking to test my increased inner strength....Now I
        could
        be in honest relationships with others. I could make friends. I could
        ask for help. I could be real. And more than anything else, I could
        love. I had learned to give love and receive love from other men as
        my brothers, and trust them with my heart. In this, I truly had found
        what I had been looking for all my life."#


        These and countless other personal stories of change do not "prove"
        that reparative therapy and other change efforts are right for
        everyone or will work for everyone. But they do disprove Besen's
        thesis: that they work for no one and are harmful to everyone.
        Virtually everything he has to contribute to the debate on the value
        and efficacy of sexual orientation change is politically motivated
        propaganda in the service of that discredited and disproved thesis.


        # Source: New Direction Ministries, "Homosexuality and the
        Possibility of Change" project, Toronto, Canada.
        http://www.newdirection.ca/a_change.htm and
        http://www.newdirection.ca/research/index.html








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      • Thomas Morey
        Thanks for getting the name right, Laura. And, thanks for bringing to light to us all here by posting a well researched delineation of quotes from Wayne s
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 2, 2006
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          Thanks for getting the name right, Laura. And, thanks
          for bringing to light to us all here by posting a well
          researched delineation of quotes from Wayne's book,
          unveiling the lies, aspersions, and libelous remarks
          he shamefully makes about others.

          When I sent my last post, it was very early in the
          morning, and I just recently finished Gary Friesen's
          book on determining God's will for your life. I don't
          really know how I got Gary Riesen out of Wayne Besen!
          Maybe it was a mental block, a protective defense that
          God gave me against an unhealthy focus on those who
          are in alliance with the devil, rather than on Him.
          And, yes, as I was reading Wayne's misinformative work
          a year ago, and I use this term euphemistically, I
          couldn't believe what I was reading, being very
          familiar with the very people that he was criticizing,
          some for decades. All I could think of at the time is
          how so many people have a very good legal case against
          him. And, I suppose he's banking in on nobody doing
          so, or that at least he was considering that any
          ramifications from his shameful spurious work would be
          worth the while, with all the exposure he'd gain in
          the short-term. Don't worry, he will get his just
          desserts, at least some in this life, and the rest in
          the next, unless he repents and believes on the Lord
          Jesus Christ, of course! Wouldn't that be incredible!

          However, whether anyone does seek legal remediation or
          not, I am very confident that with continued mass
          media exposure, even with the spouting of a
          significant amount of the PC line of misinformation,
          the exposure of all the scandals, in along with the
          truth, the latest being from the Paula Zahn show,
          those who are spiritually hungry, searching for the
          truth will do their own investigation, and find the
          truth like a priceless pearl, as well as eventually
          learn how to sift out the wheat of truth amidst all
          the chaff of lies. I have witnessed it to always be
          this way with media coverage, ever since I joined the
          ex-gay movement in 1980.

          Concerning this issue, I get a picture of the devil
          trying to blow out a bonfire by these efforts
          exercised by those of the flesh and the world, to no
          avail. Better yet, they actually contribute
          unknowingly to its increase! This picture is confirmed
          by God's Word to me, where John chapter 1 states that
          the light came into the world, and the darkness was
          overcome, or overpowered by it. You know how the
          sparkle of a diamond is enhanced by a black crush
          velvet background. Of course, as you are already quite
          aware, we must continue to do our part by being
          available to God's leading, when He desires us to hold
          out His light, and this pearl of great prize, to the
          world, for His drawing others to it to continue.

          Blessings,

          Tom

          As for --- Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote:

          > Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
          > is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
          > giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay
          > minsitries.
          > Below are some rebuttals to him.
          >
          >
          > Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States.
          > He is a former
          > spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author
          > of the book
          > Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
          > Lies Behind the Ex-
          > Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda
          > Literary Awards in 2003
          >
          > A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
          > By Glenn Wyler,
          >
          > People Can Change
          >
          > Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking
          > the Scandals and
          > Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the
          > back cover as a
          > "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition
          > an attempt
          > to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus,
          > the reader should
          > keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by
          > design, anything
          > but straightforward. It is anything but fair,
          > complete or honest.
          > In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence
          > of balance,
          > fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that
          > is decidedly
          > yellow, and deliberately so.
          >
          > There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
          >
          > but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe
          > and surrounded
          > by such vicious vituperation that all that can be
          > determined for
          > certain is that the author holds a seething hatred
          > for anyone and
          > anything that argues for the possibility of altering
          > one's sexual
          > attractions.
          >
          >
          > In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen
          > repeatedly employs
          > name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm,
          > generalizations,
          > stereotypes and double standards as he introduces
          > one allegation and
          > false claim after another. His central claims are
          > that sexual
          > orientation change is a myth, that there are
          > absolutely no means of
          > effecting change, and that everyone who claims to
          > have experienced
          > change is either lying or deluded.
          >
          >
          > He repeatedly makes completely unsupported
          > allegations and uses
          > anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as
          > though they were
          > proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for
          > supposedly having
          > insufficient data or substandard studies to support
          > their claims. He
          > dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or
          > more often,
          > declines to mention that such evidence even exists)
          > but accepts
          > unquestionably any and all information that bolsters
          > his position.
          > He is the king of the double standard, liberally
          > applying methods
          > that he turns around and decries as the epitome of
          > hate and ignorance
          > whenever he is the recipient rather than the
          > purveyor of them.
          >
          >
          > NAME CALLING AND LABELING
          >
          >
          > To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a
          > small sample of the
          > name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout
          > the book in an
          > obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his
          > subjects:
          >
          >
          > "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative
          > reparative therapy
          > industry" (p. xviii)
          >
          >
          > "the zany characters who run these programs" (p.
          > xxi)
          >
          >
          > "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p.
          > 104)
          >
          >
          > "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized,
          > shockingly
          > unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors
          > and
          > fundamentalist
          > shamans who cause untold damage to the very people
          > they are supposed
          > to
          > be helping" (p. 59)
          >
          >
          > "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)
          >
          >
          > "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover"
          > (p. 137).
          >
          >
          > "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).
          >
          >
          > In some of his most egregious moments of name
          > calling, he actually
          > titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p.
          > 133) and
          > "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads
          > like "Inside
          > Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p.
          > 136) and
          > "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for
          > good measure. But
          > his single most bitter denunciation may be this:
          >
          >
          > "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry
          > con artists who
          > lure and bamboozle susceptible people with
          > misleading promises and
          > false hope. One reason these quacks practice their
          > chicanery is to
          > cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot
          > dismiss raw hatred
          > as the primary motive that drives these charlatans
          > to extreme lengths
          > to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).
          >
          >
          > Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight"
          > will make
          > perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that
          > us seething with
          > "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)
          >
          >
          > Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred"
          > for lesbians
          > and gays choose to spend his professional life, day
          > after day,
          > working with homosexuals? And if a professional
          > were actually
          > motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come
          > across to his
          > clients, and drive them away in droves?
          >
          > On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
          > part on a model in which the therapist is more
          > engaged with the
          > client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a
          > loving-parent role,
          > than is the case with standard therapy. This places
          > reparative
          > therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship
          > with their
          > clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.
          >
          >
          > But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his
          > disparagements. It
          > serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and
          > hope it
          > sufficiently
          > dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he
          > needn't
          > provide any actual evidence of misconduct or
          > malfeasance.
          >
          >
          > MOCKERY AND SARCASM
          >
          === message truncated ===
        • nfttm
          I like what you said about revisiting our past and re-evaluating it from a new perspective - really makes sense and seems like it almost has to be part of the
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 2, 2006
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            I like what you said about revisiting our past and re-evaluating it from a new perspective - really makes sense and seems like it almost has to be part of the healing process in one way or another.

            Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote: Yeah. It is unfortunate that he and others like him do this. I personally do not discuss this issue in public for the very reason that I do not want to be persued or ridiculed at my home. We who are healing can make mistakes in our growth and one step to the side and it blows everything up. Just like John, he was probably at a place in his growth that he needed to sort of revisit his past and re-evaluate it from a new perspective - honestly I don't know though. Anyhow, his book was malicious.

            Gay activists are very angry. And sometimes that goes very far.

            Laura Miers <exgaydates@...> wrote:
            I also read the book at barnes an Nobles,
            I refused to buy it.

            The book was horrible, and I was suprised he
            was not sued by John.

            I would have sued him likeno tommorow.
            He is stillcashing in on the book.
            I would have sued him.

            Also the next ex gay stalker who does
            this needs to be hit with a major law suit.


            Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote:
            I am so glad you posted this article. Wayne Besen is a mean man with malintent towards people "who don't see things his way" Reading his book was like being at a gay cocktail party where the game was who could insult people the most. That's what his book is filled with. What he did to John Paulk was almost criminal. Besen's book is slanderous. And he so left out the misconduct of Kinsey's research where homosexuality first recieved so much attention.

            Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote: Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
            is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
            giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay minsitries.
            Below are some rebuttals to him.


            Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States. He is a former
            spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the book
            Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-
            Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in 2003

            A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
            By Glenn Wyler,

            People Can Change

            Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
            Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the back cover as a
            "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition an attempt
            to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus, the reader should
            keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by design, anything
            but straightforward. It is anything but fair, complete or honest.
            In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence of balance,
            fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that is decidedly
            yellow, and deliberately so.

            There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
            but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe and surrounded
            by such vicious vituperation that all that can be determined for
            certain is that the author holds a seething hatred for anyone and
            anything that argues for the possibility of altering one's sexual
            attractions.


            In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen repeatedly employs
            name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm, generalizations,
            stereotypes and double standards as he introduces one allegation and
            false claim after another. His central claims are that sexual
            orientation change is a myth, that there are absolutely no means of
            effecting change, and that everyone who claims to have experienced
            change is either lying or deluded.


            He repeatedly makes completely unsupported allegations and uses
            anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as though they were
            proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for supposedly having
            insufficient data or substandard studies to support their claims. He
            dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or more often,
            declines to mention that such evidence even exists) but accepts
            unquestionably any and all information that bolsters his position.
            He is the king of the double standard, liberally applying methods
            that he turns around and decries as the epitome of hate and ignorance
            whenever he is the recipient rather than the purveyor of them.


            NAME CALLING AND LABELING


            To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a small sample of the
            name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout the book in an
            obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his subjects:


            "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative reparative therapy
            industry" (p. xviii)


            "the zany characters who run these programs" (p. xxi)


            "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p. 104)


            "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized, shockingly
            unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors and
            fundamentalist
            shamans who cause untold damage to the very people they are supposed
            to
            be helping" (p. 59)


            "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)


            "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover" (p. 137).


            "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).


            In some of his most egregious moments of name calling, he actually
            titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p. 133) and
            "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads like "Inside
            Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p. 136) and
            "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for good measure. But
            his single most bitter denunciation may be this:


            "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry con artists who
            lure and bamboozle susceptible people with misleading promises and
            false hope. One reason these quacks practice their chicanery is to
            cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot dismiss raw hatred
            as the primary motive that drives these charlatans to extreme lengths
            to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).


            Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight" will make
            perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that us seething with
            "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)


            Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred" for lesbians
            and gays choose to spend his professional life, day after day,
            working with homosexuals? And if a professional were actually
            motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come across to his
            clients, and drive them away in droves?

            On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
            part on a model in which the therapist is more engaged with the
            client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a loving-parent role,
            than is the case with standard therapy. This places reparative
            therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship with their
            clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.


            But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his disparagements. It
            serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and hope it
            sufficiently
            dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he needn't
            provide any actual evidence of misconduct or malfeasance.


            MOCKERY AND SARCASM


            Continuing in this spirit of verbal assault, the author delights in
            mockery and sarcasm, especially of all things religious. For a man
            who
            seems to think "diversity" and "tolerance" are the ultimate
            moral virtues, he certainly draws the line at religious diversity or
            respect for traditional Christianity, for which he clearly has a zero
            tolerance policy.


            Besen describes his visit to a church in Orlando, Florida, that had,
            in his words, "an authoritarian, hocus-pocus worship style" (p. 48).
            This, under a chapter subhead he calls "Ministry Mouse and
            Deuteronomy Duck." He refers to "convincing Jesus to wave his
            magic wand" as the means by which some people experience change, and
            claims "they have reduced God to no more than a rabbit's foot, a
            simple good luck charm that is used to stop them from masturbating or
            running to an adult bookstore" (p. 44).


            Besen, a self-described secular Jew, demonstrates his special
            contempt for the notion, widely held by people of many faiths, of
            listening to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. He slanderously
            equates such experiences as signs of mental illness.


            "Crazy stories are almost as ubiquitous in the ex-gay community as
            prayer" (p. 45)


            "Many of the ex-gay leaders appear to have untreated mental
            disorders...An alarmingly high number of ex-gays...report hearing
            voices and having visions, which may very well be hallucinations" (p.
            43).


            In one chapter subhead, he even coins the mocking moniker
            "Hallucinogenic Heterosexuals" (p. 43). But what kinds of
            hallucinations or divine acts (depending on one's point of view) is
            Besen referring to?


            Regarding the infamous visit to a Washington gay bar by Focus on the
            Family's John Paulk, a public spokesman for sexual orientation
            change, Besen quotes a repentant Paulk as saying in an interview on
            Focus's radio program, "I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, 'Turn
            around and run. Do not go in there.'" Besen's mocking response:
            "I don't know about you, but if I heard the Holy Spirit personally
            tell me not to go into a bar, this Jew would sprint to the nearest
            sink, dunk my head under the water faucet, and self-baptize" (p. 20).


            "Anne Paulk is one who seems to receive miracles from God as
            frequently as most people eat breakfast," Besen writes (p. 45). He
            then describes an answer to prayer Anne writes about in her book in
            which she called on God to help her find a lost contact lens, and
            another where she receives a spiritual impression while looking at
            cloud formations that she might be pregnant. While Anne may be
            quicker to see the hand of God in her life than some others, her
            experiences are hardly on the fringe of a spiritual life, as Besen
            likes to portray them.


            Besen quotes author Richard Cohen, who at a critical juncture in his
            life sat down near a lake and prayed to God, with both impatience and
            resolve, "OK, God, it's showdown time! I'm not moving from this
            spot until you tell me what to do and where to go." Besen mocks:
            "God, sufficiently alarmed that Cohen might expire lakeside,
            dutifully dropped whatever he was working on and instantly submitted
            to Cohen's demands." Then, after Cohen received a clear prompting,
            Besen adds: "Knowing God was at his beck and call, Cohen had the
            chutzpah to ask for verbal confirmation, as if God were a travel
            agent" (p. 168).


            Besen should know, but apparently does not, that this kind of
            spiritual seeking is hardly unique to ex-gay experience. By openly
            ridiculing these and similar experiences in his book, Besen proves
            his utter disdain for the spiritual life of Christians and other
            people of faith generally. By mocking these testimonies, he also
            mocks anyone who seeks to listen for and follow the whisperings of
            God's Spirit.


            Besen's mocking is not reserved for spirituality. Naturally, he
            takes delight in mocking such things as "lipstick application
            seminars to help some lesbians become more feminine and touch
            football games to butch up some of the more effeminate homosexual
            men" (p. xvi). And naturally, he mocks without explaining that the
            deeper psychological purpose of such activities is to help same-sex
            attracted women and men face their fears of traditional gender
            associations.


            GENERALIZATIONS, STEREOTYPES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS


            Given the vehemence with which Besen blasts any perceived slight
            against homosexuals or gay culture, the blatant and hostile
            stereotypes and generalizations that he directs at ex-gays and
            reparative therapists represent the worst kind of double standard:


            "Most (ex-gays) are suffering unbelievably dark, lonely, miserable
            lives" (p. 37).


            "Most (ex-gays) are chronically depressed" (p. 40)


            "The vast majority of the (ex-gay ministry) leadership and nearly all
            of the spokespeople ...(are) self-destructive, unstable individuals
            who
            lack self-control and have decimated their personal lives" (p. 42)


            "A significant number appear to have problems with mental illness"
            (p. 42).


            "Little evidence supports the existence of 'normal' ex-gays"
            (p. 56).


            "Most ex-gays are not looking for a religion, but a regimen. They
            are learning scripture because they seek structure. When they claim
            they are searching for God, they really mean they are searching for
            guidance" (p. 48). (Apparently, Besen is a mind reader who can divine
            what seekers are "really" seeking.)


            "They have left behind colorful, three-dimensional lives of
            uncertainty and despair for monochrome, one dimensional lives of
            relative stability and security" (p. 52). (This may be the most
            bizarre sentence in the entire book. Colorful, three-dimensional
            lives of uncertainty and despair? What kind of a color is that?)


            (Ex-gays) "are stuck in a lifestyle that demeans, diminishes and
            dehumanizes them for who they are" (p. xviii, emphasis added).


            Reparative therapy clients are "hapless victims" with "fragile
            minds" (p. 156).


            Imagine the howls of protest if these same aspersions were directed
            at gays instead of ex-gays!


            Besen charges reparative therapists with nothing short of malpractice
            for allegedly telling clients that there is no true happiness to be
            found in a homosexual life, or that promiscuity, disease, infidelity
            and broken relationships are rampant in the gay community. This is
            supposedly reckless and demeaning, driving reparative therapy clients
            to the brink of suicide. But Besen thinks it's perfectly acceptable
            to label thousands of people as mentally unstable, out-of-control,
            chronically depressed, unable to handle personal freedom, and on and
            on - simply for not wanting to be gay!


            In one glaring example of his double standards, Besen decries the use
            of the term "gay lifestyle" as small-minded and bigoted, because it
            supposedly indicates that there is one monolithic gay scene that
            defines all of homosexual life. But then he deliberately titles a
            chapter subhead "The Ex-Gay Lifestyle" (p. 55) and says ex-gays are
            "stuck in a lifestyle that demeans" them.


            An even more egregious example: Besen quotes NARTH as saying, "In
            reality, there is no evidence that homosexuality is simply genetic,"
            and then charges, "This phrase illustrates how slippery NARTH really
            is. The statement is technically true," Besen says, "because the
            research cannot show, at this point, that homosexuality is simply
            genetic, but NARTH's statement conveniently omits the
            incontrovertible fact that a growing body of research points to a
            possible biological component."


            That's on page 149. Now flip back just two pages. Besen summarizes
            the Pillard-Bailey twin study, which found that out of 56 gays who
            had an identical twin, 29 of the twin brothers were also gay/ Besen
            concludes, "This study clearly showed a biological/genetic component
            to sexual orientation..." Stop right there. No, it didn't. A
            biological component is only one possible explanation, since these
            twins shared a common upbringing. Besen continues his sentence: "but
            the fact that not all of the identical twins were gay suggested that
            there may be more than just a simple genetic explanation for
            homosexuality" (emphasis added).


            "May" be? Suggested? Now who is slippery? - and the sentence
            isn't even close to technically true. The study actually proved that
            there must be more than genetics at work, since identical twins, by
            definition, share identical genes.


            Understanding Besen's "slipperiness," spite and ill intent will
            help to put into perspective the allegations and false claims he
            presents throughout his book.


            ALLEGATION: NOBODY EVER SUCCEEDS AT CHANGE


            Wayne Besen's central claim is, of course, that sexual orientation
            change is a myth. He writes:


            "The extraordinary claims made by ex-gay groups are without merit,
            and the efficacy of their programs is dubious at best and harmful at
            worst" (p. xvi).


            "The most these deceptive entities can usually accomplish is teaching
            fearful people how to repress natural feelings, at the risk of grave
            psychological harm, which is really no accomplishment at all" (p.
            xvii).


            "Sexual orientation is a deep-seated, unalterable part of who people
            are; it runs as deep as the soul; it is the very core of being" (p.
            192).


            "In general, ex-gay groups have a near total failure rate" (p. 40).


            "Nobody has 'changed'" (p. 38)


            Supporting his viewpoint, Besen contends that everyone who claims to
            have experienced change is either lying or deluded: "For a time,
            through faith and mental repression, a person may even believe he or
            she has become the straight person being portrayed" (p. xvi, emphasis
            added). But he claims those who say they have experienced change
            will inevitably have to face the "truth" one day that they really
            haven't changed at all.


            Besen's greatest concession to the possibility of change comes in
            this qualifier-packed sentence: "I would not rule out the remote
            possibility that, in some very rare circumstances, a few people may
            be comfortable and honestly function as if they have changed their
            sexual orientation" (p. xvi, emphasis added). (Would it be possible
            to hedge this sentence any more without it collapsing under the
            weight of its own equivocation?)


            But Besen sets up a precarious predicament for himself by taking the
            extreme position that change is always impossible and in fact nobody
            has ever changed - precarious because it requires only a single
            success story to debunk his thesis. By contrast, the ex-gay
            ministries and reparative therapists are on much firmer ground by
            defending the position that some people have experienced some degree
            of change, and are happier for it, and if change is possible for some
            people, it is likely possible for some others as well. This position
            is not subject to the Achilles Heel of Besen's absolutist
            perspective. It is not subject to collapse from a single case, or
            any number of cases, countering its claims.


            So let's consider (since Besen certainly doesn't) the abundant
            evidence that some people have experienced at least some degree of
            change in their sexual attractions.


            In more than 50 years of research, including 48 studies referenced in
            this paper, there are data and published accounts documenting easily
            more than 3,000 cases of change from homosexual to heterosexual
            attraction and functioning. With one notable exception - a chapter
            dedicated to railing against Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's 2001 study of
            successful sexual reorientation clients - Besen disregards this
            entire body of psychological literature, preferring to pretend it
            doesn't even exist.


            But he is in good company. Besen approvingly quotes the American
            Psychiatric Association's medical director as saying, "There is no
            published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative
            therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation" (p.
            235). With that, Besen can safely skirt the debate, and avoid
            confusing the poor reader with the facts. After all, even the
            experts say there is "no published evidence."


            But is that true?


            "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change" Project


            New Direction Ministries in Toronto, Canada, has collected and
            critiqued 31 clinical research studies, individual case studies and
            surveys on homosexuality and the possibility of change published in
            books or academic journals between 1952 and 2003#. The reviewers
            looked for reported changes, and supporting evidence for changes, in
            behavior, attractions, fantasy and self-identification by the
            subjects of the various studies and surveys. On their Web page, they
            summarize the collective results of 28 of the studies, and discuss
            the other three separately.


            Collectively, the 28 studies present information on 2,252 subjects.
            The reviewers with the "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
            project selected for analysis only those subjects for whom enough
            data was available in the published reports to assign the subjects
            approximate before-and-after Kinsey sexual orientation scores of from
            0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). They
            eliminated from consideration those subjects whose "before" scores
            were lower than 5 (where 5 is "predominantly homosexual") or for
            whom insufficient information was available to assign any scores at
            all.


            The reviewers found that using even this conservative before-and-
            after analysis, the published research clearly supports at least:


            45 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
            (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a full shift in sexual
            orientation o a 0 on the Kinsey scale).


            287 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
            (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a partial shift in sexual
            orientation (to a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale).


            86 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
            who transitioned to satisfying heterosexual relationships. (This
            third group of studies measured change by external behavior and
            reports of satisfaction, rather than reports of levels of
            attraction.)


            Thus you have at least 418 cases in the published psychological
            literature of heterosexual orientation shift, according to the
            criteria used by the "Possibility of Change" project. However, the
            studies themselves actually report at least 563 subjects who
            experienced varying degrees of change toward increased
            heterosexuality. (The lower number is due to the project reviewers
            applying uniform criteria, years after the fact, to summarize more
            than 50 years of published studies, and thus excluding reports that
            didn't fit their criteria for analysis.)


            Besen would argue, of course, that many of these studies are old, and
            thus outdated. But old and outdated are not synonymous. Research
            doesn't "go bad" with time alone, like old bread. Older research
            can be confirmed, expanded, reinterpreted or contradicted by new,
            better designed or more thorough research. But age alone never
            invalidates a research study. And it is striking that these 31
            studies, conducted over 50-some years, consistently show at least
            some evidence for sexual orientation shift, every time.


            NARTH Survey of Reparative Therapy Clients#


            In addition to the 28 studies summarized above, the "Homosexuality
            and the Possibility of Change" project reports on three others. The
            first, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy
            of Homosexuality in 1997, is a survey of 882 individuals who had been
            in reparative therapy or other intervention programs in an effort to
            effect a sexual-orientation change.


            The anonymous survey found that, before counseling or therapy, 581
            men and women out of the 882, or 66%, considered themselves
            exclusively or almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). Another
            188 (21%) considered themselves more homosexual than heterosexual
            (Kinsey 4) before treatment.


            After treatment, only 111 (13%) considered themselves exclusively or
            almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). That's 470 fewer
            individuals who placed themselves in this category, post-treatment.
            And in fact, 282 individuals (32%) described themselves as either
            exclusively or almost entirely heterosexual after treatment (Kinsey 0
            or 1).


            Those surveyed also reported significant decreases in the frequency
            and intensity of their homosexual thoughts - from 63%
            indicating "very
            often" before treatment to 3% after treatment. The same was true of
            sexual behaviors with a partner: 30% had homosexual sex "very
            often" before treatment, while only 1% did so afterward.


            NARTH Survey of Therapists#


            The second survey was also conducted by the National Association for
            Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in 1997, but this one surveyed
            206 therapists and counselors who have counseled individuals who
            sought
            to change from a homosexual orientation. Collectively, these 206
            professionals had worked with a total of at least 9,702 homosexual
            clients seeking sexual reorientation.


            More than 40% of therapists said that the majority (61% or more) of
            their clients had either "adopted a primarily heterosexual
            orientation (not just behavior)" or "experienced a significant
            decrease in unwanted homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors" or
            both. At an average of 47 clients per therapist, that would
            represent
            more than 2,350 clients who experienced a significant
            homosexual-to-heterosexual shift, according to the therapists who
            counseled them.


            Spitzer Study#


            The last of the 31 studies summarized by the "Homosexuality and the
            Possibility of Change" project was conducted by Columbia University
            psychiatrist Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who studied "the self-reported
            experiences of individuals who claim to have achieved a change from
            homosexual to heterosexual attraction that has lasted at least five
            years." (This study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior
            in October 2003.) He located and interviewed 143 men and 57 women
            who had had a predominantly homosexual attraction for many years
            (defined
            as at least 60 on a 100-point scale of sexual attraction, where 0 is
            exclusively heterosexual and 100 is exclusively homosexual), and who,
            after therapy, had experienced a heterosexual shift of no less than
            10
            points, lasting at least 5 years.


            Spitzer found that the average level of reported homosexual
            attraction among the 200 interviewees dropped from 90 (on a 100 point
            scale) in the 12 months before the change effort began to 19 in the
            12 months just prior to the interview. Also:


            37 (19%) of the respondents reported "complete" change, with no
            lingering homosexual thoughts, fantasies or desires.


            119 (60%) met Spitzer's criteria for "good heterosexual
            functioning" (which included never or rarely having same-sex thoughts
            during heterosexual sex).


            Other Studies


            In their book, "Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the
            Church's Moral Debate," psychologists Dr. Stanton L. Jones and Dr.
            Mark A. Yarhouse present summary data on 30 research studies
            conducted between 1954 and 1994. Of these, 13 are also included in
            New Direction's "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
            summary, but 17 are not. These 17 additional studies#, conducted
            mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, present data on 327 subjects. Of
            these, 108 men and women made a successful shift from primarily
            homosexual to primarily heterosexual attractions and/or behaviors.


            One of the more recent publications on the topic is in the American
            Psychological Association's June 2002 issue of Professional
            Psychology: Research and Practice. An article by Dr. Warren
            Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the
            Change Process for Ex-Gays," summarizes 11 studies and concludes:
            "My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health
            organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once
            thought
            to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many
            people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others
            and spontaneously for still others."


            Personal Experience with Change Efforts


            What is Besen's response to all this published research by scores of
            professionals, published in dozens of books and journals, over
            several
            decades? Quite simply, to ignore it. To pretend it doesn't exist.
            And to present instead anecdotes of seven former ex-gay leaders who
            either relapsed into old patterns or left their ministries altogether
            and recanted their claims of change.


            These seven cases of failed (or in John Paulk's case, incomplete)
            change efforts are supposed to counterbalance all the data collected
            on
            3,000-plus individuals in 48 published studies over 50 years. This
            is
            the equivalent of saying that the experiences of millions of people
            who
            have found sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous throughout the world are
            invalid simply because some people who succeed for a time later fall
            back into drunkenness. This is a ridiculous leap. Remember, Besen's
            thesis is that nobody succeeds at change, not that some people fail.
            He has, at a bare minimum, hundreds more cases to attempt to
            discredit
            before he gets anywhere close to proving his thesis.


            And he can't have it both ways. He can't present the anecdotal
            accounts of failed change efforts as proof of universal failure while
            dubbing all personal accounts of success as fraudulent. Why should
            we
            believe these seven individuals are representative of everyone who
            seeks change while disregarding the personal experiences of so many
            others?


            Consider also the many men and women who have published
            autobiographical (or combined autobiographical and educational) books
            relating the authors' personal experiences with overcoming unwanted
            homosexuality: Scott Anderson, Richard Cohen, Andy Comiskey, Joe
            Dallas, Bob Davies, Erin Eldridge, D.L. Foster, Janelle Hallman,
            Jeanette Howard, Dennis Jernigan, Jeff Konrad, Alan Medinger, David
            Morrison, Jason Park, Anne Paulk, Sy Rogers, Barbara Swallow, and
            Frank
            Worthen, among others. In addition, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has
            written
            a book of eight case studies,# and Bob Davies has compiled a book of
            14
            personal testimonials.# In addition, scores of personal accounts of
            change can be found on the World Wide Web.#


            But never mind all that. In Besen's world, every last one of them is
            lying, faking or self-deluded.


            ALLEGATION: ONLY A 180 DEGREE SHIFT "COUNTS" AS CHANGE


            A linchpin of Besen's argument that no one ever changes is the
            self-created tenet that change must be a 180 degree shift from 100
            percent homosexual to 100 percent heterosexual in order to be
            considered (by him) to be legitimate. It makes for a convenient
            stipulation, one that neither reparative therapists, ex-gay
            ministries
            nor we who have experienced change have ever made ourselves.


            With this manufactured provision, Besen discounts claims of change by
            those who had any degree of heterosexual interest prior to pursuing
            change. Criticizing the Spitzer study, for instance, he claims that
            "many of the 'success' cases may have been bisexual or
            heterosexual prior to therapy" (p. 238) and wonders "whether a
            change in sexual orientation occurred or whether the subjects simply
            sublimated their homosexuality in favor of their heterosexual side"
            (p. 231).


            At the other end of the scale, Besen disregards the experience of
            anyone who still has any degree of homosexual feelings or
            susceptibility to homosexual "temptation." He takes advantage of
            the honest candor of certain ex-gays who admit to not being "totally
            healed" or who confess that in times of stress, they sometimes think
            about resorting to past homosexual behaviors. See, they haven't
            really changed, Besen gloats. But one wonders why people who are
            supposedly lying or self-deluded don't just go all the way and claim
            complete change. Why tell half a lie?


            Given Besen's harsh criteria for defining change, he would have to
            argue that no one has ever gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.
            After
            all, even after 20 years or more of sobriety, AA members always speak
            of themselves as "recovering," never fully recovered, to remind
            themselves that they may always be vulnerable to backsliding.


            So according to Besen, anyone who shifts from a Kinsey 5 (almost
            exclusively homosexual, but with some slight heterosexual interest)
            to
            a Kinsey 1 (almost exclusively heterosexual, but with some slight
            homosexual interest) hasn't really changed. The person wasn't
            "truly gay" before, and isn't really "straight" now, Besen
            maintains.


            At the same time that splits hairs over the definitions of "gay"
            and "straight," Besen is critical of therapists and ministry
            leaders who can't agree on a clear definition of "change," and
            thus describe or measure it in varying ways. But of course. Sexual
            orientation is an extremely amorphous concept. Warren Throckmorton
            writes, "There is no consensus of a direct, physical means of
            assessing sexual orientation...Self-report is the most common means
            of
            assessing sexual orientation, with all of the limitations known for
            this assessment method."# And Throckmorton quotes John Gonsiorek and
            James Weinrich: "Given such significant measurement problems, one
            could conclude there is serious doubt whether sexual orientation is a
            valid concept at all."#


            And to Besen, behavior change doesn't count, of course. "Remember,
            reparative therapy changes sexual behavior, not sexual orientation.
            People can learn to act straight and repress their sexual urges, but
            they rarely, if ever, change their fantasies, attractions or capacity
            to fall in love with members of the same sex" (p. 189). This claim
            once again ignores the psychological literature, which draws quite a
            different conclusion. But it also shows Besen's ignorance of the
            fact that, for many who seek change, sexual behavior is the real
            problem, not sexual attraction. They seek to bring their behavior in
            line with their values and beliefs, as a means of eliminating
            internal
            conflict. If they can accomplish that, living with an attraction to
            the same sex oftentimes is not particularly burdensome to them.


            What Besen doesn't realize is that for most people who seek change,
            heterosexuality is not actually the ultimate goal; happiness is. For
            them, happiness is not contingent on sexuality alone, but on living a
            life congruent with their values, beliefs and life goals. So, unlike
            Besen's unreasonable demand for a 180 degree turn or nothing, the men
            and women who actually seek change are often quite content with a
            much
            subtler shift. To be free from the constant pull of homosexual
            desires, to have a happy marriage, to have children, and to live a
            life
            they believe to be in line with God's will for them - many ask for
            nothing more. Never mind where they fall on anyone's Kinsey scale or
            what critics like Besen expect.


            ALLEGATION: THERE'S NO SANE REASON TO WANT TO CHANGE


            Besen's portrayal of those who seek to alter their sexual attractions
            shows a deep misunderstanding - or more accurately, a mocking
            misrepresentation - of this sincerely motivated population.
            According to Besen, only homosexuals who are emotionally unstable,
            homophobic and victims of societal oppression would want to change
            their sexual orientation, This is Besen at his most vicious.


            "Unlike many other communities, the GLBT community is blessed with
            unparalleled freedoms. One can comfortably choose from a plethora of
            lifestyles that span the ideological, theological and fashion
            continuum with minimal condemnation,...from conservative Log Cabin
            Republicans to flamboyant drag queens. For those who are centered,
            this unbridled lierty and diversity can make for an incredibly rich
            and fulfilling life.


            "However, for those who are weak-minded, mentally unstable, or
            lacking in self-esteem, the dearth of clearly defined rules in the
            GLBT community can be a nightmare... Without unambiguous strictures
            dictating every detail of their lives, they have to make choices for
            themselves, and, often, they make terrible choices that lead to
            addiction, misery and, in many cases, death.


            "When these people hit rock bottom, they often mistakenly blame the
            GLBT community for their own personal failings. When these
            individuals say they 'hate the so-called gay lifestyle,' they really
            mean they disdain a world with limitless options. To thrive, these
            individuals need clear guidance - a roadmap for life...


            "To join the ex-gay ministries, one has to accept a hard-core,
            right-wing fundamentalism that outlines every minute detail of one's
            life. This almost always means joining an authoritarian, right-wing
            church...(that appeals) to those who are mentally unstable" (p.
            47-48)


            Here again, Besen's duplicity is jaw-dropping. He praises the
            "unparalleled freedoms" and "limitless options" of the GLBT
            community, in which one can "comfortably choose from a plethora of
            lifestyles," but absolutely precludes from this plethora the choice
            of which sexual orientation to pursue or develop. This, apparently,
            is the one area of choice that should be prohibited and universally
            condemned. All else is open season, a celebration of wonderful
            diversity.


            Including gender. Notice the subtle inclusion of the "T," for
            transgender, in his use of the GLBT acronym. By slipping it in to
            his defense of limitless options, he is subtly arguing for the choice
            to determine one's own gender. Was anything ever more hardwired,
            more genetically encoded, then gender? And yet Besen and his ilk
            adamantly defend the rights of gender-benders and gender-switchers,
            including the right to undergo mutilating surgery and take chemical
            hormones to alter the body's natural hormone production. All this is
            celebrated as diversity and choice.


            And yet sexual attraction - something that is far less biologically
            based, that may only have a possible genetic component, yet to be
            discovered (as may just about any human inclination) - is not to be
            consciously channeled, according to Besen. This is where he abruptly
            slams the door on tolerance, diversity and choice. He clearly is no
            purist when it comes to these values. Rather, he merely uses them to
            bolster his only real value, which is homosexuality itself. If
            tolerance, diversity and choice collide with a pro-homosexual stance,
            they must fall by the wayside. Otherwise, he would have to tolerate
            the choice of some people to pursue a heterosexual shift, and respect
            their
            diversity. But there he draws the line.


            Now, according to Besen:


            "Most (ex-gays) are desperate, depressed people who have decimated
            their lives through irresponsible choices and now find it easier to
            blame their sexual orientation rather than themselves" (p. 30)


            "One of the major reasons people join the ex-gay ministries is
            because they believe gay life is bars, drugs, and sex. This has more
            to do with their personal moral failings than those of the (gay)
            community" (p. 268).


            "These individuals cannot handle freedom" (p. 52).


            Did Besen ever ask even one individual why he wanted to change his
            sexual orientation? When Robert Spitzer asked that question of 200
            men and women who said they had changed, the number one answer was
            that they did not find a homosexual life to be emotionally satisfying
            (81% of respondents), closely followed by 79% who said it conflicted
            with their religious beliefs. Fifty-eight percent said that gay life
            was an obstacle to their desire either to marry or remain married.#


            These responses are consistent with my own experience supporting men
            who seek change. When I asked the question (open-ended) on one of
            the People Can Change online support groups, the most frequent
            reasons given for seeking change were:


            Living as a homosexual felt wrong and conflicted with my moral
            beliefs
            (10 responses)


            It conflicted with my religious beliefs or my beliefs about God's
            will for my life (10 responses)


            I wanted to one day have a wife and children (8 responses)


            I felt emotionally unfulfilled in a gay life; it didn't meet my
            deeper needs (8 responses)


            I wanted to hold together an existing marriage and family (5
            responses).


            For me, homosexuality was addictive, obsessive or compulsive (5
            responses)


            I couldn't find "Mr. Right" and stopped believing he existed in
            the gay world (5 response)


            I feared disease and early death (5 responses).


            Seventeen additional responses were volunteered by one or two people
            each. Only two people responded that one reason they were pursuing
            change was that they feared societal rejection and wanted to fit into
            mainstream society.


            These are not the life goals of mentally unstable people who "can't
            handle freedom" or have "decimated their personal lives."
            Seeking emotionally satisfying relationships, working to live in
            congruence with one's moral belief system, seeking to do God's will
            as they understand it, desiring to get married and have children or
            hold an existing family together - these are hardly the desires of a
            mentally unstable fringe group. If Besen truly wants to welcome
            these men and women into the gay fold, he needs to consider what, if
            anything, the homosexual community has to people with this particular
            set of moral values and life goals.


            Despite Besen's insistence that gay life is not just bars, sex and
            drugs, the research indicates that, in fact, much of it is. No
            wonder that Spitzer's respondents - an unusually spiritually oriented
            group - said they found homosexual life to be so emotionally
            unsatisfying. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer
            of gay culture that the homosexual community emphasizes sex and
            promotes promiscuity, which in turn leads to notoriously short-lived
            relationships, casual and risky sex, drug use, and untold health
            problems.


            Speaking among themselves, gays are generally quick to acknowledge
            their culture's celebration of unrestrained sexual expression. (As
            one man described it to me, he was once scolded for his abstinence,
            "Quit screaming gay if you're not going to put out." Then there
            is the gay advocacy group "Sex Panic," which considers anonymous
            sex with multiple partners to be a defining value of gay culture.#)
            It is only when they attempt to propagandize conservative
            heterosexuals that gay apologists sometimes profess that homosexuals
            are no more promiscuous as a group than heterosexuals. (At other
            times, they take a completely different tack, freely admitting to gay
            promiscuity but insisting that it is the non-promiscuous who are
            sexually repressed and thus mentally or emotionally unhealthy.)


            So let's look at the facts. A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, in a 1978
            study#, found that:


            74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 partners during
            their lifetime, 43% more than 500 partners, and 28% more than 1,000.


            75% reported that more than half their partners were strangers.


            65 percent reported that they had sex with more than half their
            partners only once.


            A study of several hundred A study of several hundred male couples
            published in 1984# found that:


            87% of those who had been together less than a year were non-
            monogamous


            91% of those who had been together more than five years were
            non-monogamous.


            A Kinsey Institute study# published in 1990 found that:


            79% of homosexual male couples reported at least one instance of
            non-monogamy in the previous year, compared to 10% among married
            heterosexuals and 23% among cohabitating heterosexuals.


            In 1984, gay researchers McWhirter and Mattison published a study of
            156 male couples in relationships that had lasted between one and 37
            years. Only seven of those couples (4%) were monogamous, and all
            seven had been together less than five years.# More recently,
            surveys published in 2001 of more than 13,000 gay men in Seattle
            showed the number reporting six or more partners in the previous 12
            months increased from 45 percent in 1994 to 58 percent in 2000.#


            Drug abuse in the homosexual community is likewise well documented.
            A
            study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in
            1989# found that:


            89% of gays used marijuana (compared to 25% of heterosexuals)


            72% used poppers, an illicit nitrate inhalant used as a sexual
            stimulant (compared to 2% of heterosexuals)


            50% used cocaine (compared to 6% of heterosexuals)


            50% used LSD (compared to 3% of heterosexuals)


            and 33% used barbiturates (compared to 9% of heterosexuals).


            A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1992#
            found that, between 1985 and 1988:


            80% of 481 homosexual men studied had used marijuana


            70% had used poppers


            60% had used cocaine


            30% had used amphetamines


            and 20% had used LSD


            And a study published in the British Journal of Addiction in 1992#
            found:


            58 times as much use of poppers among gays as among the general
            population


            4 times as much tranquilizer use


            3.6 times as much marijuana use


            2.3 times the cocaine use


            and 1.5 times the alcohol use.


            The health consequences of all this indiscriminate sex and illicit
            drug use are all too predictable. Surveys published in 2001 of gay
            men in Miami found 16% of 23 to 29 years olds and 34% of those over
            29 were HIV positive.# Meanwhile, a six-city study by the Center for
            Disease Control and Prevention in 2001 found 30% of gay black men in
            the 23-to-29 age group were HIV positive, as were 12% of 23-to-29
            year-olds overall.#


            But the health risks go well beyond HIV and AIDS to include all forms
            of sexually transmitted diseases as well as intestinal diseases,
            Hepatitis, anal cancer and rectal trauma. Rowan and Gillette's Gay
            Health Guide devotes eight chapters to common diseases among male
            homosexuals. Studies have found:


            an estimated 75% of gay men have a history of at least one sexually
            transmitted disease#, compared to 17% of the general population#


            65% have a history of Hepatitis B#


            25% or more report a history of syphilis or gonorrhea#


            Putting all these numbers into perspective, Thomas Schmidt
            summarizes, in his book Straight & Narrow? (p. 127):


            "Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a
            group of 10 randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties.
            According to the most recent research from scientific sources, whose
            authors are without exception either neutral or positive in their
            assessment of homosexual behavior, and with the use of lower numbers
            where statistics differ, the relational and physical health of the
            group would look like this.


            "Four of the 10 men are currently in relationships, but only one of
            those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year.
            Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and
            only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years.
            Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages
            almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally
            take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to
            men.


            "Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have a history of
            alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three
            currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal
            drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of
            acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two
            have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted
            diseases... At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS."


            All of this has led one health professional to ask: "Can anyone
            refute that increased morbidity and mortality is an unavoidable
            result of male-with-male sex - not to mention the increased rates of
            alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide and other maladies that
            so often accompany a homosexual lifestyle? ...My primary question
            is: why isn't homosexuality considered a disorder on the basis of its
            medical consequences alone?"#


            When we look at what all this "unparalleled freedom" and
            "unbridled liberty and diversity" have brought the GLBT community,
            we have to ask Wayne Besen: Just who is it really who has decimated
            their lives through irresponsible choices? Who is it really who
            can't handle freedom?


            And how can the desire to avoid a culture of promiscuity, infidelity,
            drugs and health problems be considered anything but sane?


            ALLEGATION: THEY'RE FORCING CHANGE THERAPIES ON THE UNWILLING


            But Besen thinks he knows better what truly motivates people to seek
            change.


            "People go to these 'doctors' only because they are made to feel
            terrible about themselves," he writes. "They are convinced that
            they will go to hell if they do not change, and many believe that
            suicide may be the only alternative. They are lied to - told that
            there are no happy, productive gay people and that the so-called gay
            lifestyle leads to only 'death and destruction.' These dejected
            individuals also fear that coming out will mean a loss of status,
            family, friends, and church. Under such duress, how can one argue
            that
            these people are freely making the choice to change?" (p. 142,
            emphasis added).


            Since Besen has proven that he believes "these people" are weak
            minded and mentally unstable, it should be no surprise that he also
            thinks they are not capable of freely making the choice to change.
            In fact, he sees "Nicolosi and his cohorts (using) deceit and guile
            to bully desperate people into reparative therapy" (p. 141). (One
            imagines Nicolosi donning a motorcycle jacket and beating up gays in
            West Hollywood until they beg for mercy by agreeing to pay for
            unwanted
            therapy.)


            This may be one of Besen's most ridiculous claims in the entire book:
            that people are somehow being forced to pursue change against their
            will. One wonders: How would that even be possible, short of cult
            kidnapping and brainwashing? But Besen insists:


            "My opinion on reparative therapy ... (calls for) the discontinuation
            of forced medical 'treatments' designed to 'cure'
            homosexuality" (p. 142).


            "There is also the matter of coercion and forced participation.
            Although I have found no evidence of adults being forced to attend
            therapy, adolescents - and even toddlers - are often dragged into
            Nicolosi's clutches against their will" (p. 142, emphasis added).


            "Unfortunately, bad science has not stopped Nicolosi from convincing
            parents to force kids into his programs" (p. 142).


            Surely, if he knew of any such cases of forced therapy, Besen
            wouldn't hesitate to document them. The best he can offer is
            anecdotes of teenagers being escorted by their parents to a
            reparative therapy conference, or asked to read ex-gay literature -
            hardly cause for court intervention in family life. But yes,
            Nicolosi does offer counseling on issues related to gender identity
            disorder in children and youth# - a diagnosis that has long been
            recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (although it is
            under heavy attack by the gay lobby).


            The fact is that the large majority of people pursuing change are in
            their twenties and thirties at the time they begin the change effort.
            (In the Spitzer study, the average age of interviewees - who had
            maintained a heterosexual shift for at least five years - was 43.)
            Relatively few are teenagers or living under their parents' roof. A
            significant number are married, with children. (Twenty percent of
            Spitzer's subjects were married before beginning therapy.) They have
            matured enough and struggled, often silently, long enough to know
            what they want in life and what they don't want. (Three-quarters of
            Spitzer's subjects were college graduates.)


            In fact, in the People Can Change online support groups, members
            often express frustration at the lack of support for their change
            efforts - from the psychological community, certainly, but also at
            times from family members, peers, fellow church or synagogue members
            and even pastors and rabbis. They tire of people telling them
            to "just accept and enjoy" something they consider to be a cancer in
            their lives. Recognizing that "gay" is not who they truly "are," that
            these unwanted desires, in their case, largely come from unmet
            emotional needs, they diligently search the country for the too-rare
            professional who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to help them
            in the way they want to be helped.


            As morally aghast as Besen is at the fantasy that some people are
            forced into reparative therapy against their will, he sees nothing at
            all immoral with outlawing reparative therapy for those who freely
            seek
            it. In fact, that is what Besen argues for - an outright ban. Never
            mind what the client wants. Never mind that reparative therapy is
            often successful. Never mind that many say they have benefited from
            it. If it isn't pro-gay, it should go away.


            Besen asks rhetorically, "Would these people want to change if they
            were not subject to religious persecution, legally sanctioned
            discrimination, and social condemnation - if not outright physical
            danger?" (p. 142).


            The answer, inevitably, is an emphatic yes - as a matter free will by
            those who are strong-minded enough, mentally stable enough, and
            determined to create for themselves constructive, moral and
            fulfilling lives that are congruent with their own, deeply held
            values.


            ALLEGATION: REPARATIVE THERAPY THEORIES HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED AND
            DISPROVED


            For as many times as Besen beats this drum throughout his book, you
            would think he would provide some evidence. He repeatedly labels
            reparative therapy principles and research as "old, outdated ideas"
            (p. 136), "outlandish, unproven therapies (p. 171), with
            "anachronistic data" (p. 131), "outdated notions" (p. 132) and
            "outdated psychoanalytic techniques" (p. 172). He claims
            "reparative therapy is rooted in outdated and disproved
            psychoanalytic thought" (p. 183) and the so-called "discredited
            works of Bieber, Socarides, Moberly and Nicolosi" (p. 172).


            Yet Besen offers virtually nothing in the way of evidence that the
            research and principles supporting reparative therapy have actually
            been disproved or discredited.


            He claims that findings from Dr. Irving Bieber's 1962 study of 106
            homosexual clients (which found, for instance, that all 106 men
            experienced profound disturbance in their relationship with their
            fathers) "could not be replicated and were disproved by more diligent
            researchers" (p. 127). But Besen doesn't offer so much as a
            footnote to support this claim.


            He writes that "Dr. Charles Silverstein released an exhaustive survey
            (in the early 1970s) that showed that previous research on
            homosexuality was either skewed or biased" (p. 130). Again, he
            offers not so much as a footnote to reference this supposedly
            exhaustive survey. And he certainly doesn't bother to mention, lest
            it should bias the reader, that this is the same Charles Silverstein
            who wrote the illustrated, erotic handbook, "The Joy of Gay Sex: An
            Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle."


            That's it. That is all Besen can do to back up his repeated claims
            of "outdated ideas" and "discredited works." In contrast, in
            his seminal work, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New
            Clinical Approach (1991), Dr. Joseph Nicolosi references no fewer
            than 300 books, academic studies and journal articles as he lays out
            the core principles of reparative therapy. These principles, and the
            basic profile of the "typical" reparative therapy client, have been
            borne out in the clinical experience of hundreds of therapists and
            counselors working with thousands of clients over the years. And as
            we've seen in the surveys and clinical studies of thousands who have
            participated in these therapies, they work. Not always, and not
            perfectly, but much of the time they produce the desired outcome.


            Reparative therapy has not been discredited. It has simply fallen
            out
            of favor since the 1973 vote by the board of the American Psychiatric
            Association to remove homosexuality from its official encyclopedia of
            mental disorders. What Besen sees as outdated is simply out of
            fashion. The research hasn't been disproved; it has simply been
            disenfranchised by the political correctness of the times.


            ALLEGATION: CHANGE EFFORTS CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM


            "The ex-gay ministries can be a soul-shattering experience that leads
            to low self-esteem, depression and sometimes suicide," Besen claims
            (p. 59).


            He quotes several people who failed to change, who felt like they had
            wasted time and money, and that the whole effort only prolonged an
            inevitable "coming out." These are unfortunate cases, but what do
            they prove? Only that that particular therapy or ministry was not
            helpful or appropriate for those particular individuals at the time.
            It doesn't prove that they are not helpful to or appropriate for
            anyone ever - any more than the grumblings of a few lapsed Catholics
            would "prove" that Catholicism is harmful to all. Especially when
            there is significant evidence of others who benefit.


            Dr. Robert Spitzer found no evidence of harm among the 200
            individuals he surveyed on their experience in reparative therapy and
            ex-gay ministries. He has stated, "To the contrary, they reported
            that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual
            orientation itself." #


            The NARTH survey of 882 men and women who had pursued change said the
            therapy was beneficial to their mental health and helped them cope
            with and reduce their homosexual attractions. They also
            overwhelmingly rated their experience as positive on a range of
            variables, including self-acceptance, trust of the opposite sex, self-
            esteem, emotional stability, relationship with God, and depression.
            Only 7% of survey respondents said they were doing worse than before
            the therapy on three or more of 17 measures of psychological well-
            being.#


            In fact, if there is one consistency in the scores of published
            testimonials by those who have succeeded at change, it is the
            universal claim those that their lives are better now:


            "Tremendous rewards followed - fulfilling friendships with other
            men, better health and greater confidence with my body and emotional
            freedom and power."#


            "The journey has been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was
            worth it. Today, I am a different man - stronger, healthier, happier,
            more loving, more confident, more mature. I am a better father, a
            better husband, a better friend, and a more devoted son of God. I
            would never trade the peace, growth and healing I have experienced
            for anything in the world."#


            "I am at the point in my life now where homosexuality is no longer a
            struggle. I'd have to go through a lot of barricades -
            psychologically, spiritually and emotionally - to get to the point of
            acting on any temptation. I am very fulfilled in my life. I no longer
            want homosexuality in my life. I no longer need it. Today, I identify
            with other heterosexual men as my peers, my brothers and my equals. I
            am in love with my wife. I love being a husband and a daddy."#


            "Finally, I am at peace with myself as a man. I am at peace in the
            world of men, grounded and connected. I have finally experienced
            unconditional love - from my wife, my mother, my therapist, my
            'adopted' father and brothers and family. These are men and women
            who know my secrets and love me more, not less. I no longer yearn for
            sexual experience in order to feel love."#


            "I now feel I have successfully transitioned from gay and bisexual to
            straight. The change is immensely satisfying and rewarding. I started
            dating women again because I wanted a healthy relationship that would
            last. I will settle down with one, eventually. I am a stronger man
            now,
            better prepared to be in a close relationship, with more to give as a
            whole man."#


            "More and more, I was coming in to therapy sessions reporting joy
            instead of hurt, anger or fear, sharing my increased sense of
            identity
            and power as a man, reporting on new friendships I was building and
            new risks I was taking to test my increased inner strength....Now I
            could
            be in honest relationships with others. I could make friends. I could
            ask for help. I could be real. And more than anything else, I could
            love. I had learned to give love and receive love from other men as
            my brothers, and trust them with my heart. In this, I truly had found
            what I had been looking for all my life."#


            These and countless other personal stories of change do not "prove"
            that reparative therapy and other change efforts are right for
            everyone or will work for everyone. But they do disprove Besen's
            thesis: that they work for no one and are harmful to everyone.
            Virtually everything he has to contribute to the debate on the value
            and efficacy of sexual orientation change is politically motivated
            propaganda in the service of that discredited and disproved thesis.


            # Source: New Direction Ministries, "Homosexuality and the
            Possibility of Change" project, Toronto, Canada.
            http://www.newdirection.ca/a_change.htm and
            http://www.newdirection.ca/research/index.html








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          • Elizabeth Reese
            Well, I m speaking from the personal stories I have heard. My observation is not scientific. nfttm wrote: I like what you said about
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 2, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Well, I'm speaking from the personal stories I have heard. My observation is not scientific.

              nfttm <nfttm@...> wrote: I like what you said about revisiting our past and re-evaluating it from a new perspective - really makes sense and seems like it almost has to be part of the healing process in one way or another.

              Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote: Yeah. It is unfortunate that he and others like him do this. I personally do not discuss this issue in public for the very reason that I do not want to be persued or ridiculed at my home. We who are healing can make mistakes in our growth and one step to the side and it blows everything up. Just like John, he was probably at a place in his growth that he needed to sort of revisit his past and re-evaluate it from a new perspective - honestly I don't know though. Anyhow, his book was malicious.

              Gay activists are very angry. And sometimes that goes very far.

              Laura Miers <exgaydates@...> wrote:
              I also read the book at barnes an Nobles,
              I refused to buy it.

              The book was horrible, and I was suprised he
              was not sued by John.

              I would have sued him likeno tommorow.
              He is stillcashing in on the book.
              I would have sued him.

              Also the next ex gay stalker who does
              this needs to be hit with a major law suit.


              Elizabeth Reese <bethreese316@...> wrote:
              I am so glad you posted this article. Wayne Besen is a mean man with malintent towards people "who don't see things his way" Reading his book was like being at a gay cocktail party where the game was who could insult people the most. That's what his book is filled with. What he did to John Paulk was almost criminal. Besen's book is slanderous. And he so left out the misconduct of Kinsey's research where homosexuality first recieved so much attention.

              Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote: Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
              is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
              giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay minsitries.
              Below are some rebuttals to him.


              Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States. He is a former
              spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the book
              Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-
              Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in 2003

              A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
              By Glenn Wyler,

              People Can Change

              Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
              Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the back cover as a
              "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition an attempt
              to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus, the reader should
              keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by design, anything
              but straightforward. It is anything but fair, complete or honest.
              In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence of balance,
              fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that is decidedly
              yellow, and deliberately so.

              There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
              but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe and surrounded
              by such vicious vituperation that all that can be determined for
              certain is that the author holds a seething hatred for anyone and
              anything that argues for the possibility of altering one's sexual
              attractions.


              In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen repeatedly employs
              name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm, generalizations,
              stereotypes and double standards as he introduces one allegation and
              false claim after another. His central claims are that sexual
              orientation change is a myth, that there are absolutely no means of
              effecting change, and that everyone who claims to have experienced
              change is either lying or deluded.


              He repeatedly makes completely unsupported allegations and uses
              anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as though they were
              proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for supposedly having
              insufficient data or substandard studies to support their claims. He
              dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or more often,
              declines to mention that such evidence even exists) but accepts
              unquestionably any and all information that bolsters his position.
              He is the king of the double standard, liberally applying methods
              that he turns around and decries as the epitome of hate and ignorance
              whenever he is the recipient rather than the purveyor of them.


              NAME CALLING AND LABELING


              To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a small sample of the
              name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout the book in an
              obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his subjects:


              "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative reparative therapy
              industry" (p. xviii)


              "the zany characters who run these programs" (p. xxi)


              "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p. 104)


              "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized, shockingly
              unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors and
              fundamentalist
              shamans who cause untold damage to the very people they are supposed
              to
              be helping" (p. 59)


              "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)


              "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover" (p. 137).


              "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).


              In some of his most egregious moments of name calling, he actually
              titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p. 133) and
              "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads like "Inside
              Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p. 136) and
              "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for good measure. But
              his single most bitter denunciation may be this:


              "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry con artists who
              lure and bamboozle susceptible people with misleading promises and
              false hope. One reason these quacks practice their chicanery is to
              cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot dismiss raw hatred
              as the primary motive that drives these charlatans to extreme lengths
              to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).


              Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight" will make
              perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that us seething with
              "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)


              Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred" for lesbians
              and gays choose to spend his professional life, day after day,
              working with homosexuals? And if a professional were actually
              motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come across to his
              clients, and drive them away in droves?

              On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
              part on a model in which the therapist is more engaged with the
              client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a loving-parent role,
              than is the case with standard therapy. This places reparative
              therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship with their
              clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.


              But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his disparagements. It
              serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and hope it
              sufficiently
              dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he needn't
              provide any actual evidence of misconduct or malfeasance.


              MOCKERY AND SARCASM


              Continuing in this spirit of verbal assault, the author delights in
              mockery and sarcasm, especially of all things religious. For a man
              who
              seems to think "diversity" and "tolerance" are the ultimate
              moral virtues, he certainly draws the line at religious diversity or
              respect for traditional Christianity, for which he clearly has a zero
              tolerance policy.


              Besen describes his visit to a church in Orlando, Florida, that had,
              in his words, "an authoritarian, hocus-pocus worship style" (p. 48).
              This, under a chapter subhead he calls "Ministry Mouse and
              Deuteronomy Duck." He refers to "convincing Jesus to wave his
              magic wand" as the means by which some people experience change, and
              claims "they have reduced God to no more than a rabbit's foot, a
              simple good luck charm that is used to stop them from masturbating or
              running to an adult bookstore" (p. 44).


              Besen, a self-described secular Jew, demonstrates his special
              contempt for the notion, widely held by people of many faiths, of
              listening to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. He slanderously
              equates such experiences as signs of mental illness.


              "Crazy stories are almost as ubiquitous in the ex-gay community as
              prayer" (p. 45)


              "Many of the ex-gay leaders appear to have untreated mental
              disorders...An alarmingly high number of ex-gays...report hearing
              voices and having visions, which may very well be hallucinations" (p.
              43).


              In one chapter subhead, he even coins the mocking moniker
              "Hallucinogenic Heterosexuals" (p. 43). But what kinds of
              hallucinations or divine acts (depending on one's point of view) is
              Besen referring to?


              Regarding the infamous visit to a Washington gay bar by Focus on the
              Family's John Paulk, a public spokesman for sexual orientation
              change, Besen quotes a repentant Paulk as saying in an interview on
              Focus's radio program, "I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, 'Turn
              around and run. Do not go in there.'" Besen's mocking response:
              "I don't know about you, but if I heard the Holy Spirit personally
              tell me not to go into a bar, this Jew would sprint to the nearest
              sink, dunk my head under the water faucet, and self-baptize" (p. 20).


              "Anne Paulk is one who seems to receive miracles from God as
              frequently as most people eat breakfast," Besen writes (p. 45). He
              then describes an answer to prayer Anne writes about in her book in
              which she called on God to help her find a lost contact lens, and
              another where she receives a spiritual impression while looking at
              cloud formations that she might be pregnant. While Anne may be
              quicker to see the hand of God in her life than some others, her
              experiences are hardly on the fringe of a spiritual life, as Besen
              likes to portray them.


              Besen quotes author Richard Cohen, who at a critical juncture in his
              life sat down near a lake and prayed to God, with both impatience and
              resolve, "OK, God, it's showdown time! I'm not moving from this
              spot until you tell me what to do and where to go." Besen mocks:
              "God, sufficiently alarmed that Cohen might expire lakeside,
              dutifully dropped whatever he was working on and instantly submitted
              to Cohen's demands." Then, after Cohen received a clear prompting,
              Besen adds: "Knowing God was at his beck and call, Cohen had the
              chutzpah to ask for verbal confirmation, as if God were a travel
              agent" (p. 168).


              Besen should know, but apparently does not, that this kind of
              spiritual seeking is hardly unique to ex-gay experience. By openly
              ridiculing these and similar experiences in his book, Besen proves
              his utter disdain for the spiritual life of Christians and other
              people of faith generally. By mocking these testimonies, he also
              mocks anyone who seeks to listen for and follow the whisperings of
              God's Spirit.


              Besen's mocking is not reserved for spirituality. Naturally, he
              takes delight in mocking such things as "lipstick application
              seminars to help some lesbians become more feminine and touch
              football games to butch up some of the more effeminate homosexual
              men" (p. xvi). And naturally, he mocks without explaining that the
              deeper psychological purpose of such activities is to help same-sex
              attracted women and men face their fears of traditional gender
              associations.


              GENERALIZATIONS, STEREOTYPES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS


              Given the vehemence with which Besen blasts any perceived slight
              against homosexuals or gay culture, the blatant and hostile
              stereotypes and generalizations that he directs at ex-gays and
              reparative therapists represent the worst kind of double standard:


              "Most (ex-gays) are suffering unbelievably dark, lonely, miserable
              lives" (p. 37).


              "Most (ex-gays) are chronically depressed" (p. 40)


              "The vast majority of the (ex-gay ministry) leadership and nearly all
              of the spokespeople ...(are) self-destructive, unstable individuals
              who
              lack self-control and have decimated their personal lives" (p. 42)


              "A significant number appear to have problems with mental illness"
              (p. 42).


              "Little evidence supports the existence of 'normal' ex-gays"
              (p. 56).


              "Most ex-gays are not looking for a religion, but a regimen. They
              are learning scripture because they seek structure. When they claim
              they are searching for God, they really mean they are searching for
              guidance" (p. 48). (Apparently, Besen is a mind reader who can divine
              what seekers are "really" seeking.)


              "They have left behind colorful, three-dimensional lives of
              uncertainty and despair for monochrome, one dimensional lives of
              relative stability and security" (p. 52). (This may be the most
              bizarre sentence in the entire book. Colorful, three-dimensional
              lives of uncertainty and despair? What kind of a color is that?)


              (Ex-gays) "are stuck in a lifestyle that demeans, diminishes and
              dehumanizes them for who they are" (p. xviii, emphasis added).


              Reparative therapy clients are "hapless victims" with "fragile
              minds" (p. 156).


              Imagine the howls of protest if these same aspersions were directed
              at gays instead of ex-gays!


              Besen charges reparative therapists with nothing short of malpractice
              for allegedly telling clients that there is no true happiness to be
              found in a homosexual life, or that promiscuity, disease, infidelity
              and broken relationships are rampant in the gay community. This is
              supposedly reckless and demeaning, driving reparative therapy clients
              to the brink of suicide. But Besen thinks it's perfectly acceptable
              to label thousands of people as mentally unstable, out-of-control,
              chronically depressed, unable to handle personal freedom, and on and
              on - simply for not wanting to be gay!


              In one glaring example of his double standards, Besen decries the use
              of the term "gay lifestyle" as small-minded and bigoted, because it
              supposedly indicates that there is one monolithic gay scene that
              defines all of homosexual life. But then he deliberately titles a
              chapter subhead "The Ex-Gay Lifestyle" (p. 55) and says ex-gays are
              "stuck in a lifestyle that demeans" them.


              An even more egregious example: Besen quotes NARTH as saying, "In
              reality, there is no evidence that homosexuality is simply genetic,"
              and then charges, "This phrase illustrates how slippery NARTH really
              is. The statement is technically true," Besen says, "because the
              research cannot show, at this point, that homosexuality is simply
              genetic, but NARTH's statement conveniently omits the
              incontrovertible fact that a growing body of research points to a
              possible biological component."


              That's on page 149. Now flip back just two pages. Besen summarizes
              the Pillard-Bailey twin study, which found that out of 56 gays who
              had an identical twin, 29 of the twin brothers were also gay/ Besen
              concludes, "This study clearly showed a biological/genetic component
              to sexual orientation..." Stop right there. No, it didn't. A
              biological component is only one possible explanation, since these
              twins shared a common upbringing. Besen continues his sentence: "but
              the fact that not all of the identical twins were gay suggested that
              there may be more than just a simple genetic explanation for
              homosexuality" (emphasis added).


              "May" be? Suggested? Now who is slippery? - and the sentence
              isn't even close to technically true. The study actually proved that
              there must be more than genetics at work, since identical twins, by
              definition, share identical genes.


              Understanding Besen's "slipperiness," spite and ill intent will
              help to put into perspective the allegations and false claims he
              presents throughout his book.


              ALLEGATION: NOBODY EVER SUCCEEDS AT CHANGE


              Wayne Besen's central claim is, of course, that sexual orientation
              change is a myth. He writes:


              "The extraordinary claims made by ex-gay groups are without merit,
              and the efficacy of their programs is dubious at best and harmful at
              worst" (p. xvi).


              "The most these deceptive entities can usually accomplish is teaching
              fearful people how to repress natural feelings, at the risk of grave
              psychological harm, which is really no accomplishment at all" (p.
              xvii).


              "Sexual orientation is a deep-seated, unalterable part of who people
              are; it runs as deep as the soul; it is the very core of being" (p.
              192).


              "In general, ex-gay groups have a near total failure rate" (p. 40).


              "Nobody has 'changed'" (p. 38)


              Supporting his viewpoint, Besen contends that everyone who claims to
              have experienced change is either lying or deluded: "For a time,
              through faith and mental repression, a person may even believe he or
              she has become the straight person being portrayed" (p. xvi, emphasis
              added). But he claims those who say they have experienced change
              will inevitably have to face the "truth" one day that they really
              haven't changed at all.


              Besen's greatest concession to the possibility of change comes in
              this qualifier-packed sentence: "I would not rule out the remote
              possibility that, in some very rare circumstances, a few people may
              be comfortable and honestly function as if they have changed their
              sexual orientation" (p. xvi, emphasis added). (Would it be possible
              to hedge this sentence any more without it collapsing under the
              weight of its own equivocation?)


              But Besen sets up a precarious predicament for himself by taking the
              extreme position that change is always impossible and in fact nobody
              has ever changed - precarious because it requires only a single
              success story to debunk his thesis. By contrast, the ex-gay
              ministries and reparative therapists are on much firmer ground by
              defending the position that some people have experienced some degree
              of change, and are happier for it, and if change is possible for some
              people, it is likely possible for some others as well. This position
              is not subject to the Achilles Heel of Besen's absolutist
              perspective. It is not subject to collapse from a single case, or
              any number of cases, countering its claims.


              So let's consider (since Besen certainly doesn't) the abundant
              evidence that some people have experienced at least some degree of
              change in their sexual attractions.


              In more than 50 years of research, including 48 studies referenced in
              this paper, there are data and published accounts documenting easily
              more than 3,000 cases of change from homosexual to heterosexual
              attraction and functioning. With one notable exception - a chapter
              dedicated to railing against Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's 2001 study of
              successful sexual reorientation clients - Besen disregards this
              entire body of psychological literature, preferring to pretend it
              doesn't even exist.


              But he is in good company. Besen approvingly quotes the American
              Psychiatric Association's medical director as saying, "There is no
              published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative
              therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation" (p.
              235). With that, Besen can safely skirt the debate, and avoid
              confusing the poor reader with the facts. After all, even the
              experts say there is "no published evidence."


              But is that true?


              "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change" Project


              New Direction Ministries in Toronto, Canada, has collected and
              critiqued 31 clinical research studies, individual case studies and
              surveys on homosexuality and the possibility of change published in
              books or academic journals between 1952 and 2003#. The reviewers
              looked for reported changes, and supporting evidence for changes, in
              behavior, attractions, fantasy and self-identification by the
              subjects of the various studies and surveys. On their Web page, they
              summarize the collective results of 28 of the studies, and discuss
              the other three separately.


              Collectively, the 28 studies present information on 2,252 subjects.
              The reviewers with the "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
              project selected for analysis only those subjects for whom enough
              data was available in the published reports to assign the subjects
              approximate before-and-after Kinsey sexual orientation scores of from
              0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). They
              eliminated from consideration those subjects whose "before" scores
              were lower than 5 (where 5 is "predominantly homosexual") or for
              whom insufficient information was available to assign any scores at
              all.


              The reviewers found that using even this conservative before-and-
              after analysis, the published research clearly supports at least:


              45 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
              (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a full shift in sexual
              orientation o a 0 on the Kinsey scale).


              287 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
              (a 6 or 5 on the Kinsey scale) making a partial shift in sexual
              orientation (to a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale).


              86 cases of people who were exclusively or predominantly homosexual
              who transitioned to satisfying heterosexual relationships. (This
              third group of studies measured change by external behavior and
              reports of satisfaction, rather than reports of levels of
              attraction.)


              Thus you have at least 418 cases in the published psychological
              literature of heterosexual orientation shift, according to the
              criteria used by the "Possibility of Change" project. However, the
              studies themselves actually report at least 563 subjects who
              experienced varying degrees of change toward increased
              heterosexuality. (The lower number is due to the project reviewers
              applying uniform criteria, years after the fact, to summarize more
              than 50 years of published studies, and thus excluding reports that
              didn't fit their criteria for analysis.)


              Besen would argue, of course, that many of these studies are old, and
              thus outdated. But old and outdated are not synonymous. Research
              doesn't "go bad" with time alone, like old bread. Older research
              can be confirmed, expanded, reinterpreted or contradicted by new,
              better designed or more thorough research. But age alone never
              invalidates a research study. And it is striking that these 31
              studies, conducted over 50-some years, consistently show at least
              some evidence for sexual orientation shift, every time.


              NARTH Survey of Reparative Therapy Clients#


              In addition to the 28 studies summarized above, the "Homosexuality
              and the Possibility of Change" project reports on three others. The
              first, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy
              of Homosexuality in 1997, is a survey of 882 individuals who had been
              in reparative therapy or other intervention programs in an effort to
              effect a sexual-orientation change.


              The anonymous survey found that, before counseling or therapy, 581
              men and women out of the 882, or 66%, considered themselves
              exclusively or almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). Another
              188 (21%) considered themselves more homosexual than heterosexual
              (Kinsey 4) before treatment.


              After treatment, only 111 (13%) considered themselves exclusively or
              almost entirely homosexual (Kinsey 6 or 5). That's 470 fewer
              individuals who placed themselves in this category, post-treatment.
              And in fact, 282 individuals (32%) described themselves as either
              exclusively or almost entirely heterosexual after treatment (Kinsey 0
              or 1).


              Those surveyed also reported significant decreases in the frequency
              and intensity of their homosexual thoughts - from 63%
              indicating "very
              often" before treatment to 3% after treatment. The same was true of
              sexual behaviors with a partner: 30% had homosexual sex "very
              often" before treatment, while only 1% did so afterward.


              NARTH Survey of Therapists#


              The second survey was also conducted by the National Association for
              Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in 1997, but this one surveyed
              206 therapists and counselors who have counseled individuals who
              sought
              to change from a homosexual orientation. Collectively, these 206
              professionals had worked with a total of at least 9,702 homosexual
              clients seeking sexual reorientation.


              More than 40% of therapists said that the majority (61% or more) of
              their clients had either "adopted a primarily heterosexual
              orientation (not just behavior)" or "experienced a significant
              decrease in unwanted homosexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors" or
              both. At an average of 47 clients per therapist, that would
              represent
              more than 2,350 clients who experienced a significant
              homosexual-to-heterosexual shift, according to the therapists who
              counseled them.


              Spitzer Study#


              The last of the 31 studies summarized by the "Homosexuality and the
              Possibility of Change" project was conducted by Columbia University
              psychiatrist Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who studied "the self-reported
              experiences of individuals who claim to have achieved a change from
              homosexual to heterosexual attraction that has lasted at least five
              years." (This study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior
              in October 2003.) He located and interviewed 143 men and 57 women
              who had had a predominantly homosexual attraction for many years
              (defined
              as at least 60 on a 100-point scale of sexual attraction, where 0 is
              exclusively heterosexual and 100 is exclusively homosexual), and who,
              after therapy, had experienced a heterosexual shift of no less than
              10
              points, lasting at least 5 years.


              Spitzer found that the average level of reported homosexual
              attraction among the 200 interviewees dropped from 90 (on a 100 point
              scale) in the 12 months before the change effort began to 19 in the
              12 months just prior to the interview. Also:


              37 (19%) of the respondents reported "complete" change, with no
              lingering homosexual thoughts, fantasies or desires.


              119 (60%) met Spitzer's criteria for "good heterosexual
              functioning" (which included never or rarely having same-sex thoughts
              during heterosexual sex).


              Other Studies


              In their book, "Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the
              Church's Moral Debate," psychologists Dr. Stanton L. Jones and Dr.
              Mark A. Yarhouse present summary data on 30 research studies
              conducted between 1954 and 1994. Of these, 13 are also included in
              New Direction's "Homosexuality and the Possibility of Change"
              summary, but 17 are not. These 17 additional studies#, conducted
              mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, present data on 327 subjects. Of
              these, 108 men and women made a successful shift from primarily
              homosexual to primarily heterosexual attractions and/or behaviors.


              One of the more recent publications on the topic is in the American
              Psychological Association's June 2002 issue of Professional
              Psychology: Research and Practice. An article by Dr. Warren
              Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the
              Change Process for Ex-Gays," summarizes 11 studies and concludes:
              "My literature review contradicts the policies of major mental health
              organizations because it suggests that sexual orientation, once
              thought
              to be an unchanging sexual trait, is actually quite flexible for many
              people, changing as a result of therapy for some, ministry for others
              and spontaneously for still others."


              Personal Experience with Change Efforts


              What is Besen's response to all this published research by scores of
              professionals, published in dozens of books and journals, over
              several
              decades? Quite simply, to ignore it. To pretend it doesn't exist.
              And to present instead anecdotes of seven former ex-gay leaders who
              either relapsed into old patterns or left their ministries altogether
              and recanted their claims of change.


              These seven cases of failed (or in John Paulk's case, incomplete)
              change efforts are supposed to counterbalance all the data collected
              on
              3,000-plus individuals in 48 published studies over 50 years. This
              is
              the equivalent of saying that the experiences of millions of people
              who
              have found sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous throughout the world are
              invalid simply because some people who succeed for a time later fall
              back into drunkenness. This is a ridiculous leap. Remember, Besen's
              thesis is that nobody succeeds at change, not that some people fail.
              He has, at a bare minimum, hundreds more cases to attempt to
              discredit
              before he gets anywhere close to proving his thesis.


              And he can't have it both ways. He can't present the anecdotal
              accounts of failed change efforts as proof of universal failure while
              dubbing all personal accounts of success as fraudulent. Why should
              we
              believe these seven individuals are representative of everyone who
              seeks change while disregarding the personal experiences of so many
              others?


              Consider also the many men and women who have published
              autobiographical (or combined autobiographical and educational) books
              relating the authors' personal experiences with overcoming unwanted
              homosexuality: Scott Anderson, Richard Cohen, Andy Comiskey, Joe
              Dallas, Bob Davies, Erin Eldridge, D.L. Foster, Janelle Hallman,
              Jeanette Howard, Dennis Jernigan, Jeff Konrad, Alan Medinger, David
              Morrison, Jason Park, Anne Paulk, Sy Rogers, Barbara Swallow, and
              Frank
              Worthen, among others. In addition, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has
              written
              a book of eight case studies,# and Bob Davies has compiled a book of
              14
              personal testimonials.# In addition, scores of personal accounts of
              change can be found on the World Wide Web.#


              But never mind all that. In Besen's world, every last one of them is
              lying, faking or self-deluded.


              ALLEGATION: ONLY A 180 DEGREE SHIFT "COUNTS" AS CHANGE


              A linchpin of Besen's argument that no one ever changes is the
              self-created tenet that change must be a 180 degree shift from 100
              percent homosexual to 100 percent heterosexual in order to be
              considered (by him) to be legitimate. It makes for a convenient
              stipulation, one that neither reparative therapists, ex-gay
              ministries
              nor we who have experienced change have ever made ourselves.


              With this manufactured provision, Besen discounts claims of change by
              those who had any degree of heterosexual interest prior to pursuing
              change. Criticizing the Spitzer study, for instance, he claims that
              "many of the 'success' cases may have been bisexual or
              heterosexual prior to therapy" (p. 238) and wonders "whether a
              change in sexual orientation occurred or whether the subjects simply
              sublimated their homosexuality in favor of their heterosexual side"
              (p. 231).


              At the other end of the scale, Besen disregards the experience of
              anyone who still has any degree of homosexual feelings or
              susceptibility to homosexual "temptation." He takes advantage of
              the honest candor of certain ex-gays who admit to not being "totally
              healed" or who confess that in times of stress, they sometimes think
              about resorting to past homosexual behaviors. See, they haven't
              really changed, Besen gloats. But one wonders why people who are
              supposedly lying or self-deluded don't just go all the way and claim
              complete change. Why tell half a lie?


              Given Besen's harsh criteria for defining change, he would have to
              argue that no one has ever gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous.
              After
              all, even after 20 years or more of sobriety, AA members always speak
              of themselves as "recovering," never fully recovered, to remind
              themselves that they may always be vulnerable to backsliding.


              So according to Besen, anyone who shifts from a Kinsey 5 (almost
              exclusively homosexual, but with some slight heterosexual interest)
              to
              a Kinsey 1 (almost exclusively heterosexual, but with some slight
              homosexual interest) hasn't really changed. The person wasn't
              "truly gay" before, and isn't really "straight" now, Besen
              maintains.


              At the same time that splits hairs over the definitions of "gay"
              and "straight," Besen is critical of therapists and ministry
              leaders who can't agree on a clear definition of "change," and
              thus describe or measure it in varying ways. But of course. Sexual
              orientation is an extremely amorphous concept. Warren Throckmorton
              writes, "There is no consensus of a direct, physical means of
              assessing sexual orientation...Self-report is the most common means
              of
              assessing sexual orientation, with all of the limitations known for
              this assessment method."# And Throckmorton quotes John Gonsiorek and
              James Weinrich: "Given such significant measurement problems, one
              could conclude there is serious doubt whether sexual orientation is a
              valid concept at all."#


              And to Besen, behavior change doesn't count, of course. "Remember,
              reparative therapy changes sexual behavior, not sexual orientation.
              People can learn to act straight and repress their sexual urges, but
              they rarely, if ever, change their fantasies, attractions or capacity
              to fall in love with members of the same sex" (p. 189). This claim
              once again ignores the psychological literature, which draws quite a
              different conclusion. But it also shows Besen's ignorance of the
              fact that, for many who seek change, sexual behavior is the real
              problem, not sexual attraction. They seek to bring their behavior in
              line with their values and beliefs, as a means of eliminating
              internal
              conflict. If they can accomplish that, living with an attraction to
              the same sex oftentimes is not particularly burdensome to them.


              What Besen doesn't realize is that for most people who seek change,
              heterosexuality is not actually the ultimate goal; happiness is. For
              them, happiness is not contingent on sexuality alone, but on living a
              life congruent with their values, beliefs and life goals. So, unlike
              Besen's unreasonable demand for a 180 degree turn or nothing, the men
              and women who actually seek change are often quite content with a
              much
              subtler shift. To be free from the constant pull of homosexual
              desires, to have a happy marriage, to have children, and to live a
              life
              they believe to be in line with God's will for them - many ask for
              nothing more. Never mind where they fall on anyone's Kinsey scale or
              what critics like Besen expect.


              ALLEGATION: THERE'S NO SANE REASON TO WANT TO CHANGE


              Besen's portrayal of those who seek to alter their sexual attractions
              shows a deep misunderstanding - or more accurately, a mocking
              misrepresentation - of this sincerely motivated population.
              According to Besen, only homosexuals who are emotionally unstable,
              homophobic and victims of societal oppression would want to change
              their sexual orientation, This is Besen at his most vicious.


              "Unlike many other communities, the GLBT community is blessed with
              unparalleled freedoms. One can comfortably choose from a plethora of
              lifestyles that span the ideological, theological and fashion
              continuum with minimal condemnation,...from conservative Log Cabin
              Republicans to flamboyant drag queens. For those who are centered,
              this unbridled lierty and diversity can make for an incredibly rich
              and fulfilling life.


              "However, for those who are weak-minded, mentally unstable, or
              lacking in self-esteem, the dearth of clearly defined rules in the
              GLBT community can be a nightmare... Without unambiguous strictures
              dictating every detail of their lives, they have to make choices for
              themselves, and, often, they make terrible choices that lead to
              addiction, misery and, in many cases, death.


              "When these people hit rock bottom, they often mistakenly blame the
              GLBT community for their own personal failings. When these
              individuals say they 'hate the so-called gay lifestyle,' they really
              mean they disdain a world with limitless options. To thrive, these
              individuals need clear guidance - a roadmap for life...


              "To join the ex-gay ministries, one has to accept a hard-core,
              right-wing fundamentalism that outlines every minute detail of one's
              life. This almost always means joining an authoritarian, right-wing
              church...(that appeals) to those who are mentally unstable" (p.
              47-48)


              Here again, Besen's duplicity is jaw-dropping. He praises the
              "unparalleled freedoms" and "limitless options" of the GLBT
              community, in which one can "comfortably choose from a plethora of
              lifestyles," but absolutely precludes from this plethora the choice
              of which sexual orientation to pursue or develop. This, apparently,
              is the one area of choice that should be prohibited and universally
              condemned. All else is open season, a celebration of wonderful
              diversity.


              Including gender. Notice the subtle inclusion of the "T," for
              transgender, in his use of the GLBT acronym. By slipping it in to
              his defense of limitless options, he is subtly arguing for the choice
              to determine one's own gender. Was anything ever more hardwired,
              more genetically encoded, then gender? And yet Besen and his ilk
              adamantly defend the rights of gender-benders and gender-switchers,
              including the right to undergo mutilating surgery and take chemical
              hormones to alter the body's natural hormone production. All this is
              celebrated as diversity and choice.


              And yet sexual attraction - something that is far less biologically
              based, that may only have a possible genetic component, yet to be
              discovered (as may just about any human inclination) - is not to be
              consciously channeled, according to Besen. This is where he abruptly
              slams the door on tolerance, diversity and choice. He clearly is no
              purist when it comes to these values. Rather, he merely uses them to
              bolster his only real value, which is homosexuality itself. If
              tolerance, diversity and choice collide with a pro-homosexual stance,
              they must fall by the wayside. Otherwise, he would have to tolerate
              the choice of some people to pursue a heterosexual shift, and respect
              their
              diversity. But there he draws the line.


              Now, according to Besen:


              "Most (ex-gays) are desperate, depressed people who have decimated
              their lives through irresponsible choices and now find it easier to
              blame their sexual orientation rather than themselves" (p. 30)


              "One of the major reasons people join the ex-gay ministries is
              because they believe gay life is bars, drugs, and sex. This has more
              to do with their personal moral failings than those of the (gay)
              community" (p. 268).


              "These individuals cannot handle freedom" (p. 52).


              Did Besen ever ask even one individual why he wanted to change his
              sexual orientation? When Robert Spitzer asked that question of 200
              men and women who said they had changed, the number one answer was
              that they did not find a homosexual life to be emotionally satisfying
              (81% of respondents), closely followed by 79% who said it conflicted
              with their religious beliefs. Fifty-eight percent said that gay life
              was an obstacle to their desire either to marry or remain married.#


              These responses are consistent with my own experience supporting men
              who seek change. When I asked the question (open-ended) on one of
              the People Can Change online support groups, the most frequent
              reasons given for seeking change were:


              Living as a homosexual felt wrong and conflicted with my moral
              beliefs
              (10 responses)


              It conflicted with my religious beliefs or my beliefs about God's
              will for my life (10 responses)


              I wanted to one day have a wife and children (8 responses)


              I felt emotionally unfulfilled in a gay life; it didn't meet my
              deeper needs (8 responses)


              I wanted to hold together an existing marriage and family (5
              responses).


              For me, homosexuality was addictive, obsessive or compulsive (5
              responses)


              I couldn't find "Mr. Right" and stopped believing he existed in
              the gay world (5 response)


              I feared disease and early death (5 responses).


              Seventeen additional responses were volunteered by one or two people
              each. Only two people responded that one reason they were pursuing
              change was that they feared societal rejection and wanted to fit into
              mainstream society.


              These are not the life goals of mentally unstable people who "can't
              handle freedom" or have "decimated their personal lives."
              Seeking emotionally satisfying relationships, working to live in
              congruence with one's moral belief system, seeking to do God's will
              as they understand it, desiring to get married and have children or
              hold an existing family together - these are hardly the desires of a
              mentally unstable fringe group. If Besen truly wants to welcome
              these men and women into the gay fold, he needs to consider what, if
              anything, the homosexual community has to people with this particular
              set of moral values and life goals.


              Despite Besen's insistence that gay life is not just bars, sex and
              drugs, the research indicates that, in fact, much of it is. No
              wonder that Spitzer's respondents - an unusually spiritually oriented
              group - said they found homosexual life to be so emotionally
              unsatisfying. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer
              of gay culture that the homosexual community emphasizes sex and
              promotes promiscuity, which in turn leads to notoriously short-lived
              relationships, casual and risky sex, drug use, and untold health
              problems.


              Speaking among themselves, gays are generally quick to acknowledge
              their culture's celebration of unrestrained sexual expression. (As
              one man described it to me, he was once scolded for his abstinence,
              "Quit screaming gay if you're not going to put out." Then there
              is the gay advocacy group "Sex Panic," which considers anonymous
              sex with multiple partners to be a defining value of gay culture.#)
              It is only when they attempt to propagandize conservative
              heterosexuals that gay apologists sometimes profess that homosexuals
              are no more promiscuous as a group than heterosexuals. (At other
              times, they take a completely different tack, freely admitting to gay
              promiscuity but insisting that it is the non-promiscuous who are
              sexually repressed and thus mentally or emotionally unhealthy.)


              So let's look at the facts. A.P. Bell and M.S. Weinberg, in a 1978
              study#, found that:


              74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 partners during
              their lifetime, 43% more than 500 partners, and 28% more than 1,000.


              75% reported that more than half their partners were strangers.


              65 percent reported that they had sex with more than half their
              partners only once.


              A study of several hundred A study of several hundred male couples
              published in 1984# found that:


              87% of those who had been together less than a year were non-
              monogamous


              91% of those who had been together more than five years were
              non-monogamous.


              A Kinsey Institute study# published in 1990 found that:


              79% of homosexual male couples reported at least one instance of
              non-monogamy in the previous year, compared to 10% among married
              heterosexuals and 23% among cohabitating heterosexuals.


              In 1984, gay researchers McWhirter and Mattison published a study of
              156 male couples in relationships that had lasted between one and 37
              years. Only seven of those couples (4%) were monogamous, and all
              seven had been together less than five years.# More recently,
              surveys published in 2001 of more than 13,000 gay men in Seattle
              showed the number reporting six or more partners in the previous 12
              months increased from 45 percent in 1994 to 58 percent in 2000.#


              Drug abuse in the homosexual community is likewise well documented.
              A
              study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in
              1989# found that:


              89% of gays used marijuana (compared to 25% of heterosexuals)


              72% used poppers, an illicit nitrate inhalant used as a sexual
              stimulant (compared to 2% of heterosexuals)


              50% used cocaine (compared to 6% of heterosexuals)


              50% used LSD (compared to 3% of heterosexuals)


              and 33% used barbiturates (compared to 9% of heterosexuals).


              A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1992#
              found that, between 1985 and 1988:


              80% of 481 homosexual men studied had used marijuana


              70% had used poppers


              60% had used cocaine


              30% had used amphetamines


              and 20% had used LSD


              And a study published in the British Journal of Addiction in 1992#
              found:


              58 times as much use of poppers among gays as among the general
              population


              4 times as much tranquilizer use


              3.6 times as much marijuana use


              2.3 times the cocaine use


              and 1.5 times the alcohol use.


              The health consequences of all this indiscriminate sex and illicit
              drug use are all too predictable. Surveys published in 2001 of gay
              men in Miami found 16% of 23 to 29 years olds and 34% of those over
              29 were HIV positive.# Meanwhile, a six-city study by the Center for
              Disease Control and Prevention in 2001 found 30% of gay black men in
              the 23-to-29 age group were HIV positive, as were 12% of 23-to-29
              year-olds overall.#


              But the health risks go well beyond HIV and AIDS to include all forms
              of sexually transmitted diseases as well as intestinal diseases,
              Hepatitis, anal cancer and rectal trauma. Rowan and Gillette's Gay
              Health Guide devotes eight chapters to common diseases among male
              homosexuals. Studies have found:


              an estimated 75% of gay men have a history of at least one sexually
              transmitted disease#, compared to 17% of the general population#


              65% have a history of Hepatitis B#


              25% or more report a history of syphilis or gonorrhea#


              Putting all these numbers into perspective, Thomas Schmidt
              summarizes, in his book Straight & Narrow? (p. 127):


              "Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a
              group of 10 randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties.
              According to the most recent research from scientific sources, whose
              authors are without exception either neutral or positive in their
              assessment of homosexual behavior, and with the use of lower numbers
              where statistics differ, the relational and physical health of the
              group would look like this.


              "Four of the 10 men are currently in relationships, but only one of
              those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year.
              Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and
              only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years.
              Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages
              almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally
              take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to
              men.


              "Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have a history of
              alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three
              currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal
              drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of
              acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two
              have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted
              diseases... At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS."


              All of this has led one health professional to ask: "Can anyone
              refute that increased morbidity and mortality is an unavoidable
              result of male-with-male sex - not to mention the increased rates of
              alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide and other maladies that
              so often accompany a homosexual lifestyle? ...My primary question
              is: why isn't homosexuality considered a disorder on the basis of its
              medical consequences alone?"#


              When we look at what all this "unparalleled freedom" and
              "unbridled liberty and diversity" have brought the GLBT community,
              we have to ask Wayne Besen: Just who is it really who has decimated
              their lives through irresponsible choices? Who is it really who
              can't handle freedom?


              And how can the desire to avoid a culture of promiscuity, infidelity,
              drugs and health problems be considered anything but sane?


              ALLEGATION: THEY'RE FORCING CHANGE THERAPIES ON THE UNWILLING


              But Besen thinks he knows better what truly motivates people to seek
              change.


              "People go to these 'doctors' only because they are made to feel
              terrible about themselves," he writes. "They are convinced that
              they will go to hell if they do not change, and many believe that
              suicide may be the only alternative. They are lied to - told that
              there are no happy, productive gay people and that the so-called gay
              lifestyle leads to only 'death and destruction.' These dejected
              individuals also fear that coming out will mean a loss of status,
              family, friends, and church. Under such duress, how can one argue
              that
              these people are freely making the choice to change?" (p. 142,
              emphasis added).


              Since Besen has proven that he believes "these people" are weak
              minded and mentally unstable, it should be no surprise that he also
              thinks they are not capable of freely making the choice to change.
              In fact, he sees "Nicolosi and his cohorts (using) deceit and guile
              to bully desperate people into reparative therapy" (p. 141). (One
              imagines Nicolosi donning a motorcycle jacket and beating up gays in
              West Hollywood until they beg for mercy by agreeing to pay for
              unwanted
              therapy.)


              This may be one of Besen's most ridiculous claims in the entire book:
              that people are somehow being forced to pursue change against their
              will. One wonders: How would that even be possible, short of cult
              kidnapping and brainwashing? But Besen insists:


              "My opinion on reparative therapy ... (calls for) the discontinuation
              of forced medical 'treatments' designed to 'cure'
              homosexuality" (p. 142).


              "There is also the matter of coercion and forced participation.
              Although I have found no evidence of adults being forced to attend
              therapy, adolescents - and even toddlers - are often dragged into
              Nicolosi's clutches against their will" (p. 142, emphasis added).


              "Unfortunately, bad science has not stopped Nicolosi from convincing
              parents to force kids into his programs" (p. 142).


              Surely, if he knew of any such cases of forced therapy, Besen
              wouldn't hesitate to document them. The best he can offer is
              anecdotes of teenagers being escorted by their parents to a
              reparative therapy conference, or asked to read ex-gay literature -
              hardly cause for court intervention in family life. But yes,
              Nicolosi does offer counseling on issues related to gender identity
              disorder in children and youth# - a diagnosis that has long been
              recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (although it is
              under heavy attack by the gay lobby).


              The fact is that the large majority of people pursuing change are in
              their twenties and thirties at the time they begin the change effort.
              (In the Spitzer study, the average age of interviewees - who had
              maintained a heterosexual shift for at least five years - was 43.)
              Relatively few are teenagers or living under their parents' roof. A
              significant number are married, with children. (Twenty percent of
              Spitzer's subjects were married before beginning therapy.) They have
              matured enough and struggled, often silently, long enough to know
              what they want in life and what they don't want. (Three-quarters of
              Spitzer's subjects were college graduates.)


              In fact, in the People Can Change online support groups, members
              often express frustration at the lack of support for their change
              efforts - from the psychological community, certainly, but also at
              times from family members, peers, fellow church or synagogue members
              and even pastors and rabbis. They tire of people telling them
              to "just accept and enjoy" something they consider to be a cancer in
              their lives. Recognizing that "gay" is not who they truly "are," that
              these unwanted desires, in their case, largely come from unmet
              emotional needs, they diligently search the country for the too-rare
              professional who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to help them
              in the way they want to be helped.


              As morally aghast as Besen is at the fantasy that some people are
              forced into reparative therapy against their will, he sees nothing at
              all immoral with outlawing reparative therapy for those who freely
              seek
              it. In fact, that is what Besen argues for - an outright ban. Never
              mind what the client wants. Never mind that reparative therapy is
              often successful. Never mind that many say they have benefited from
              it. If it isn't pro-gay, it should go away.


              Besen asks rhetorically, "Would these people want to change if they
              were not subject to religious persecution, legally sanctioned
              discrimination, and social condemnation - if not outright physical
              danger?" (p. 142).


              The answer, inevitably, is an emphatic yes - as a matter free will by
              those who are strong-minded enough, mentally stable enough, and
              determined to create for themselves constructive, moral and
              fulfilling lives that are congruent with their own, deeply held
              values.


              ALLEGATION: REPARATIVE THERAPY THEORIES HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED AND
              DISPROVED


              For as many times as Besen beats this drum throughout his book, you
              would think he would provide some evidence. He repeatedly labels
              reparative therapy principles and research as "old, outdated ideas"
              (p. 136), "outlandish, unproven therapies (p. 171), with
              "anachronistic data" (p. 131), "outdated notions" (p. 132) and
              "outdated psychoanalytic techniques" (p. 172). He claims
              "reparative therapy is rooted in outdated and disproved
              psychoanalytic thought" (p. 183) and the so-called "discredited
              works of Bieber, Socarides, Moberly and Nicolosi" (p. 172).


              Yet Besen offers virtually nothing in the way of evidence that the
              research and principles supporting reparative therapy have actually
              been disproved or discredited.


              He claims that findings from Dr. Irving Bieber's 1962 study of 106
              homosexual clients (which found, for instance, that all 106 men
              experienced profound disturbance in their relationship with their
              fathers) "could not be replicated and were disproved by more diligent
              researchers" (p. 127). But Besen doesn't offer so much as a
              footnote to support this claim.


              He writes that "Dr. Charles Silverstein released an exhaustive survey
              (in the early 1970s) that showed that previous research on
              homosexuality was either skewed or biased" (p. 130). Again, he
              offers not so much as a footnote to reference this supposedly
              exhaustive survey. And he certainly doesn't bother to mention, lest
              it should bias the reader, that this is the same Charles Silverstein
              who wrote the illustrated, erotic handbook, "The Joy of Gay Sex: An
              Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle."


              That's it. That is all Besen can do to back up his repeated claims
              of "outdated ideas" and "discredited works." In contrast, in
              his seminal work, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New
              Clinical Approach (1991), Dr. Joseph Nicolosi references no fewer
              than 300 books, academic studies and journal articles as he lays out
              the core principles of reparative therapy. These principles, and the
              basic profile of the "typical" reparative therapy client, have been
              borne out in the clinical experience of hundreds of therapists and
              counselors working with thousands of clients over the years. And as
              we've seen in the surveys and clinical studies of thousands who have
              participated in these therapies, they work. Not always, and not
              perfectly, but much of the time they produce the desired outcome.


              Reparative therapy has not been discredited. It has simply fallen
              out
              of favor since the 1973 vote by the board of the American Psychiatric
              Association to remove homosexuality from its official encyclopedia of
              mental disorders. What Besen sees as outdated is simply out of
              fashion. The research hasn't been disproved; it has simply been
              disenfranchised by the political correctness of the times.


              ALLEGATION: CHANGE EFFORTS CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM


              "The ex-gay ministries can be a soul-shattering experience that leads
              to low self-esteem, depression and sometimes suicide," Besen claims
              (p. 59).


              He quotes several people who failed to change, who felt like they had
              wasted time and money, and that the whole effort only prolonged an
              inevitable "coming out." These are unfortunate cases, but what do
              they prove? Only that that particular therapy or ministry was not
              helpful or appropriate for those particular individuals at the time.
              It doesn't prove that they are not helpful to or appropriate for
              anyone ever - any more than the grumblings of a few lapsed Catholics
              would "prove" that Catholicism is harmful to all. Especially when
              there is significant evidence of others who benefit.


              Dr. Robert Spitzer found no evidence of harm among the 200
              individuals he surveyed on their experience in reparative therapy and
              ex-gay ministries. He has stated, "To the contrary, they reported
              that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual
              orientation itself." #


              The NARTH survey of 882 men and women who had pursued change said the
              therapy was beneficial to their mental health and helped them cope
              with and reduce their homosexual attractions. They also
              overwhelmingly rated their experience as positive on a range of
              variables, including self-acceptance, trust of the opposite sex, self-
              esteem, emotional stability, relationship with God, and depression.
              Only 7% of survey respondents said they were doing worse than before
              the therapy on three or more of 17 measures of psychological well-
              being.#


              In fact, if there is one consistency in the scores of published
              testimonials by those who have succeeded at change, it is the
              universal claim those that their lives are better now:


              "Tremendous rewards followed - fulfilling friendships with other
              men, better health and greater confidence with my body and emotional
              freedom and power."#


              "The journey has been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was
              worth it. Today, I am a different man - stronger, healthier, happier,
              more loving, more confident, more mature. I am a better father, a
              better husband, a better friend, and a more devoted son of God. I
              would never trade the peace, growth and healing I have experienced
              for anything in the world."#


              "I am at the point in my life now where homosexuality is no longer a
              struggle. I'd have to go through a lot of barricades -
              psychologically, spiritually and emotionally - to get to the point of
              acting on any temptation. I am very fulfilled in my life. I no longer
              want homosexuality in my life. I no longer need it. Today, I identify
              with other heterosexual men as my peers, my brothers and my equals. I
              am in love with my wife. I love being a husband and a daddy."#


              "Finally, I am at peace with myself as a man. I am at peace in the
              world of men, grounded and connected. I have finally experienced
              unconditional love - from my wife, my mother, my therapist, my
              'adopted' father and brothers and family. These are men and women
              who know my secrets and love me more, not less. I no longer yearn for
              sexual experience in order to feel love."#


              "I now feel I have successfully transitioned from gay and bisexual to
              straight. The change is immensely satisfying and rewarding. I started
              dating women again because I wanted a healthy relationship that would
              last. I will settle down with one, eventually. I am a stronger man
              now,
              better prepared to be in a close relationship, with more to give as a
              whole man."#


              "More and more, I was coming in to therapy sessions reporting joy
              instead of hurt, anger or fear, sharing my increased sense of
              identity
              and power as a man, reporting on new friendships I was building and
              new risks I was taking to test my increased inner strength....Now I
              could
              be in honest relationships with others. I could make friends. I could
              ask for help. I could be real. And more than anything else, I could
              love. I had learned to give love and receive love from other men as
              my brothers, and trust them with my heart. In this, I truly had found
              what I had been looking for all my life."#


              These and countless other personal stories of change do not "prove"
              that reparative therapy and other change efforts are right for
              everyone or will work for everyone. But they do disprove Besen's
              thesis: that they work for no one and are harmful to everyone.
              Virtually everything he has to contribute to the debate on the value
              and efficacy of sexual orientation change is politically motivated
              propaganda in the service of that discredited and disproved thesis.


              # Source: New Direction Ministries, "Homosexuality and the
              Possibility of Change" project, Toronto, Canada.
              http://www.newdirection.ca/a_change.htm and
              http://www.newdirection.ca/research/index.html








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              How low wil<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
            • Laura Miers
              What did you read in the book that suggest he could be sued? I think that law firm Liberty Counsel or Alliance Defence Fund could be of help the next time Ex
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 3, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                What did you read in the book that suggest he could be
                sued?

                I think that law firm Liberty Counsel or Alliance Defence Fund
                could be of help the next time Ex Gay Watch,

                Wayne or any other group lashes out.
                I think a law suit will make them a little
                more careful.

                First they would have to prove in court
                the things they have said.
                Also ex gay minstries should file suit
                if they are lied about also.

                If this new group that Wayne Besen starts
                spreads lies then maybe it to should
                be sued.

                Below is some info incase any ex person needs
                to sue.

                Defamation is written or spoken injury to a person or organization's reputation. Libel is the written act of defamation, vs. slander, the oral act of defamation.

                You often hear "Truth is the perfect defense against libel." A curious notion, not entirely supported by what goes on in the courts. Truth is a very good defense. It may prove an unshakable defense if you have $50,000 for lawyers to defend it. If you don't feel like being on the frontier of legal theory, you should build a somewhat better defense.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander_and_libel

                Christian Law Firms
                http://www.lc.org/

                http://www.alliancedefensefund.org

                Thomas Morey <moreytom@...> wrote:
                Thanks for getting the name right, Laura. And, thanks
                for bringing to light to us all here by posting a well
                researched delineation of quotes from Wayne's book,
                unveiling the lies, aspersions, and libelous remarks
                he shamefully makes about others.

                When I sent my last post, it was very early in the
                morning, and I just recently finished Gary Friesen's
                book on determining God's will for your life. I don't
                really know how I got Gary Riesen out of Wayne Besen!
                Maybe it was a mental block, a protective defense that
                God gave me against an unhealthy focus on those who
                are in alliance with the devil, rather than on Him.
                And, yes, as I was reading Wayne's misinformative work
                a year ago, and I use this term euphemistically, I
                couldn't believe what I was reading, being very
                familiar with the very people that he was criticizing,
                some for decades. All I could think of at the time is
                how so many people have a very good legal case against
                him. And, I suppose he's banking in on nobody doing
                so, or that at least he was considering that any
                ramifications from his shameful spurious work would be
                worth the while, with all the exposure he'd gain in
                the short-term. Don't worry, he will get his just
                desserts, at least some in this life, and the rest in
                the next, unless he repents and believes on the Lord
                Jesus Christ, of course! Wouldn't that be incredible!

                However, whether anyone does seek legal remediation or
                not, I am very confident that with continued mass
                media exposure, even with the spouting of a
                significant amount of the PC line of misinformation,
                the exposure of all the scandals, in along with the
                truth, the latest being from the Paula Zahn show,
                those who are spiritually hungry, searching for the
                truth will do their own investigation, and find the
                truth like a priceless pearl, as well as eventually
                learn how to sift out the wheat of truth amidst all
                the chaff of lies. I have witnessed it to always be
                this way with media coverage, ever since I joined the
                ex-gay movement in 1980.

                Concerning this issue, I get a picture of the devil
                trying to blow out a bonfire by these efforts
                exercised by those of the flesh and the world, to no
                avail. Better yet, they actually contribute
                unknowingly to its increase! This picture is confirmed
                by God's Word to me, where John chapter 1 states that
                the light came into the world, and the darkness was
                overcome, or overpowered by it. You know how the
                sparkle of a diamond is enhanced by a black crush
                velvet background. Of course, as you are already quite
                aware, we must continue to do our part by being
                available to God's leading, when He desires us to hold
                out His light, and this pearl of great prize, to the
                world, for His drawing others to it to continue.

                Blessings,

                Tom

                As for --- Laura <exgaydates@...> wrote:

                > Many of you may not know his name, but Wayne Besen
                > is a gay activist who hates ex gays. He makes money
                > giving speeches claiming to debunk ex gay
                > minsitries.
                > Below are some rebuttals to him.
                >
                >
                > Besen is a gay rights advocate in the United States.
                > He is a former
                > spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and author
                > of the book
                > Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and
                > Lies Behind the Ex-
                > Gay Myth, which was nominated for two Lambda
                > Literary Awards in 2003
                >
                > A Rebuttal to Wayne Besen
                > By Glenn Wyler,
                >
                > People Can Change
                >
                > Wayne Besen's book "Anything But Straight: Unmasking
                > the Scandals and
                > Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" is described on the
                > back cover as a
                > "groundbreaking exposé." An exposé is by definition
                > an attempt
                > to discredit, to expose alleged corruption. Thus,
                > the reader should
                > keep in mind that "Anything But Straight" is, by
                > design, anything
                > but straightforward. It is anything but fair,
                > complete or honest.
                > In its attempts to expose, it eschews all pretence
                > of balance,
                > fairness and honest inquiry. It is journalism that
                > is decidedly
                > yellow, and deliberately so.
                >
                > There may be nuggets of truth in the text, at times,
                >
                > but these are buried beneath such mounds of diatribe
                > and surrounded
                > by such vicious vituperation that all that can be
                > determined for
                > certain is that the author holds a seething hatred
                > for anyone and
                > anything that argues for the possibility of altering
                > one's sexual
                > attractions.
                >
                >
                > In presenting his nearly 300-page invective, Besen
                > repeatedly employs
                > name calling and labeling, mockery and sarcasm,
                > generalizations,
                > stereotypes and double standards as he introduces
                > one allegation and
                > false claim after another. His central claims are
                > that sexual
                > orientation change is a myth, that there are
                > absolutely no means of
                > effecting change, and that everyone who claims to
                > have experienced
                > change is either lying or deluded.
                >
                >
                > He repeatedly makes completely unsupported
                > allegations and uses
                > anecdotes and hearsay to support his claims as
                > though they were
                > proven fact, then criticizes his opponents for
                > supposedly having
                > insufficient data or substandard studies to support
                > their claims. He
                > dismisses all evidence that counters his views (or
                > more often,
                > declines to mention that such evidence even exists)
                > but accepts
                > unquestionably any and all information that bolsters
                > his position.
                > He is the king of the double standard, liberally
                > applying methods
                > that he turns around and decries as the epitome of
                > hate and ignorance
                > whenever he is the recipient rather than the
                > purveyor of them.
                >
                >
                > NAME CALLING AND LABELING
                >
                >
                > To get a sense of Besen's intent, consider just a
                > small sample of the
                > name-calling and labeling the author uses throughout
                > the book in an
                > obvious effort to discredit and embarrass his
                > subjects:
                >
                >
                > "the dangerous quack psychology of the lucrative
                > reparative therapy
                > industry" (p. xviii)
                >
                >
                > "the zany characters who run these programs" (p.
                > xxi)
                >
                >
                > "Moberly sends the quack-o-meter off the charts" (p.
                > 104)
                >
                >
                > "the leading ex-gay ministries are a disorganized,
                > shockingly
                > unprofessional collection of unqualified counselors
                > and
                > fundamentalist
                > shamans who cause untold damage to the very people
                > they are supposed
                > to
                > be helping" (p. 59)
                >
                >
                > "Moberly's pedestrian book" (p. 103)
                >
                >
                > "twisted antigay doctors such as Jeffrey Satinover"
                > (p. 137).
                >
                >
                > "the avaricious Cohen" (p. 121).
                >
                >
                > In some of his most egregious moments of name
                > calling, he actually
                > titles two of his chapters "Nicolosi's Nonsense" (p.
                > 133) and
                > "Radical Richard" (p. 161), and throws in subheads
                > like "Inside
                > Nicolosi's Lair" (p. 150), "The Quacks Organize" (p.
                > 136) and
                > "An Underachiever Finds His Niche" (p. 134), for
                > good measure. But
                > his single most bitter denunciation may be this:
                >
                >
                > "Reparative therapists are detestable, money-hungry
                > con artists who
                > lure and bamboozle susceptible people with
                > misleading promises and
                > false hope. One reason these quacks practice their
                > chicanery is to
                > cash in on this lucrative industry, but one cannot
                > dismiss raw hatred
                > as the primary motive that drives these charlatans
                > to extreme lengths
                > to denigrate lesbians and gay men" (p.158).
                >
                >
                > Reading the nonstop slurs in "Anything But Straight"
                > will make
                > perfectly clear to the reader who exactly it is that
                > us seething with
                > "raw hatred." (Hint: It isn't the therapists.)
                >
                >
                > Besides, why on earth would anyone with "raw hatred"
                > for lesbians
                > and gays choose to spend his professional life, day
                > after day,
                > working with homosexuals? And if a professional
                > were actually
                > motivated by raw hatred, wouldn't that tend to come
                > across to his
                > clients, and drive them away in droves?
                >
                > On the contrary, reparative therapy is based in
                > part on a model in which the therapist is more
                > engaged with the
                > client, more of a mentor, and plays more of a
                > loving-parent role,
                > than is the case with standard therapy. This places
                > reparative
                > therapists in an emotionally intimate relationship
                > with their
                > clients.Clearly, homophobes need not apply.
                >
                >
                > But Besen rarely attempts to actually defend his
                > disparagements. It
                > serves his purposes simply to sling verbal mud and
                > hope it
                > sufficiently
                > dirties his subjects in the reader's mind so that he
                > needn't
                > provide any actual evidence of misconduct or
                > malfeasance.
                >
                >
                > MOCKERY AND SARCASM
                >
                === message truncated ===



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