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On Marcus Bachmann and “conversion therapy”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:33 am - July 17, 2011.
Filed under: Gays / Homosexuality (general),Random Thoughts

Before I post on the accusations leveled against the “Christian counseling business” of Michelle Bachmann’s husband Marcus, an outfit that (allegedly) uses “a controversial therapy that encourages homosexual patients to change their sexual orientation,” let me reiterate my views on such outfits.

First, Christian groups have every right to set up such companies, provided they do not coerce anyone to enter treatment.

Second, critics of such outfits continue to have the freedom to question the methods of said companies and should continue to exercise that freedom.

While many programs do claim some success in “converting” their charges, they are dealing with a self-selected group; those who have “succeeded” in changing their orientation may have already been disposed to such change, that is, their sexuality is more fluid that it is for most of us.  Whereas in their youth, they found themselves drawn to their own sex, as they age, they find themselves drawn to the other sex.

Could it be that they didn’t so much convert them as they helped them accept the change that has already taken place?

The only objective studies I have read of such programs show they have a “success” rate (as defined by them) no greater than 33% (and even that number is likely inflated).  And that, let me stress, is not 33% of all gay people, but 33% of those who seek counseling in such facilities. Some who seek out such treatment may feel uncomfortable describing themselves as “gay” because the label which once worked for them no longer does so, that is, their feelings have changed.

All that said, that doesn’t diminish my skepticism of the “ex-gay” movement.  Those who parade about telling about how they were “saved” from their homosexuality seem to be trying not so much to convince the world about the merits of their ministry, but to convince themselves of the effectiveness of its therapy.

If it had been so effective, why would they need to talk about it so much?

RELATED: Alexander’s Erotic Impulses & Human Sexuality

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42 Comments

  1. [...] On Marcus Bachmann and “conversion therapy” [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » CNN: Scrutinizing a Republican candidate’s husband, ignoring a Democratic president’s conflicts of interest and scandals — July 17, 2011 @ 5:04 am - July 17, 2011

  2. If that wasn’t enough, now the left us going to be hammering about Bachmann’s church’s strange beliefs. The Pope being the anti-christ for starters!

    Comment by Dave_62 — July 17, 2011 @ 5:05 am - July 17, 2011

  3. I do agree with your premise. I would add that they are probably bisexual, which is a category the gay community doesn’t exactly respect despite their naming convention (GLBT).

    I don’t know if these conversion therapies really work, but I don’t get the distain for them. People go for counseling all the time for personal reasons that I think do absolutely nothing for them. They are really spinning their wheels. Should we outlaw all therapies? I hope the CNN mainstream media will understand what they are asking, but its unlikely they will.

    Comment by anon34253213 — July 17, 2011 @ 8:48 am - July 17, 2011

  4. The MSM are afraid of Rep. Michele Bachmann; therefore, they will try to destroy her by any means necessary. The MSM does not want to explore he past when she voted for Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976; she became disillusioned with President Carter & eventually voted for Governor Ronald Reagan in 1980. She didn’t look back since. Her journey is quite fascinating & it’s covered in The National Review. I think most people relate to Bachmann; hence, her strong numbers to date.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — July 17, 2011 @ 9:11 am - July 17, 2011

  5. I would agree with much of what you wrote. As the former Executive Vice President of Exodus International I was never coerced to make the decisions I made. Never tried to force anyone into thinking they had to agree with me.

    I have experienced orientation shift but it is not 100%. That said, I was once 100% gay 20 years ago. But that isn’t the point and that is something we have been saying all along… our faith comes first and if we don’t want to identify as “gay” or with the gay community… we don’t have too. We are a sub-culture that exists regardless of others accepting or tolerating us. Our beliefs, or most of us that I know of, are not based in reaction to anything the gay community is or does.

    Your logic about us parading about to convince ourselves of our own experience is quite condescending. Didn’t the gay community have a whole month (summer’s) worth of literal pride parades? I would never accuse you of having those just to prove something to yourself about yourself.

    Or are you? Rhetorically asked of course.

    The truth is, my life and experience is not a myth. Exodus has been around for 36 years for a reason and the people involved in that ministry and movement are not deluded haters using religion as a crutch to perpetuate self-loathing. We have a legitimate life and system of belief that brings peace and contentment to many (regardless of orientation shift.) We are Americans who also share the same civil liberties as the gay community here and it isn’t “Parading” to speak into public discourse (culture, policy) from our perspective.

    I was never in the closet as a gay man, I won’t be shoved into a different closet of silence now.

    You are right to say that not everyone who identifies as gay is a Democrat. Here’s another truth, not everybody who has or had same sex attractions has to identify as gay in order to be healthy and well adjusted.

    Comment by Randy — July 17, 2011 @ 9:59 am - July 17, 2011

  6. I can’t imagine how “conversion therapy” could be any worse for a person than having a baby slaughtered before it’s born.

    Comment by TGC — July 17, 2011 @ 10:51 am - July 17, 2011

  7. I can’t imagine how “reparative therapy” could be worse than having your body pumped full of artificial hormones and having your genital organs mutilated so you can pretend to be a member of the opposite sex; and yet supporting such body mutilation is supposed to be the height of compassion.

    Comment by V the K — July 17, 2011 @ 1:20 pm - July 17, 2011

  8. From which college did they graduate, Jerry Falwell´s Liberty Coñlege? Michelle is to the right of Sarah Palin on this issue. Sarah is opposed to gay marriage but I never heard her make outrageous remarks like Michelle. If she should become the party´s nominee; there is no way I can support her, even holding my nose.

    Comment by Roberto — July 17, 2011 @ 4:21 pm - July 17, 2011

  9. TGC and V: were either of you forced to go through reparative therapy? I was and it was fairly awful. BTW, the topic of this thread is conversion therapy. Not abortion (which I am against) or gender identity issues, about which I know very little.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 17, 2011 @ 5:37 pm - July 17, 2011

  10. Anyone who as overcome unwanted sexual feelings, any unwanted temptations which goes against their own moral principles, against their own belief system is not going to proclaim about it. That person is happy to be free and moves on with their life.

    The people who are attacking Marcus Bachmann are projecting on him their own insecurities. If their were happy with their personal life situation, they would leave him alone and those who want to be free from the homosexual life too.

    What we see in the liberal press today is equivalent to a modern day lynching of this man. They are doing exactly the opposite of what they have complained about. It is so hypocritical and phony.

    Comment by Peter Martin — July 17, 2011 @ 11:44 pm - July 17, 2011

  11. BTW, the topic of this thread is conversion therapy.

    And neither of us strayed from it. Our point being that liberals advocate far more risky and more damaging things one can do to one’s person whilst pissing and moaning about conversion therapy.

    Comment by TGC — July 18, 2011 @ 5:20 am - July 18, 2011

  12. So TGC, did you ever go trough reparative therapy?

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 7:50 am - July 18, 2011

  13. #9. I tried dieting, it was awful and traumatizing. I don’t think anyone should be allowed to diet.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 7:58 am - July 18, 2011

  14. [...] Daniel Blatt, otherwise known as GayPatriotWest, responded to the Marcus Bachmann exposé with his thoughts on ex-gay therapy. He didn’t exactly defend ex-gay therapy per se, [...]

    Pingback by Box Turtle Bulletin » Where Did The Ex-Gay One-Third “Success Rate” Come From? — July 18, 2011 @ 8:01 am - July 18, 2011

  15. LW, did you voluntarily sign up for a program, or were you forced as a teenager. Were you assigned counselors who suggested you would better for you to be “taken home by god”, than to become a fat adult. And that you doomed to hell as well if you did not conform? I’ve written here at about some of my experiences at such a facility.

    LW This was a cheap shot and frankly beneath you.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 8:23 am - July 18, 2011

  16. Sorry for the typos, ….it would be better…
    …..you were doomed……

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 8:24 am - July 18, 2011

  17. I have been hearing stories of ‘reparative therapy’ and attempts to pray the gay away since the mid 80′s. David, I am so sorry that there have been dismissive comments about this so called therapy and it’s ‘productive’ outcomes. I have very close friends who were ‘abducted’, shipped off, and forced into sessions of isolation, aversion procedures (including electroshock therapy) and even had constant observation ( a precautionary followup after treatment) and forced companionship.

    and it still is going on for many folk.

    If someone chooses to seek professional help, that is one thing.

    But being coerced, even physically forced to participate. . .
    and the practices, the threats, and the resulting harm of reparative therapy.

    Comment by rusty — July 18, 2011 @ 8:52 am - July 18, 2011

  18. David,

    No, but several chidlren are ‘forced’ to maintain Kosher, or Halal or other lifestyle restrictions. Are you saying that they shouldn’t? Should Children’s Services remove Amish children from their homes?

    My point is, that because it was horrible for you, does not mean that it is ‘horrible’ for everyone, as Randy so elequently posted above you.

    I personally find having a ‘lopitoffofme’ or an adadictome’ horrible, and insane, mutulating a perfectly functional body to ‘balance’ the mind in it. Yet those are recognized (and paid for) medical operations.

    That you found it horrible doesn’t automatically make it something to be banned. Should someone with OCD not seek out therapy? I control my ADHD and actually turn it into a plus. Do I argue that anyone who tries to ‘treat’ the condition with medication is horrible?

    Shorter Livewire: It sucked to be you, you survived. Get off the cross, we need the wood.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 9:07 am - July 18, 2011

  19. David, I agree with you that there are “reparative therapy” practitioners who end up causing more harm than good, and I am truly sorry that you had to endure that.

    Personally, I was fortunate enough to have been spared such experiences. My parents, both self-described Goldwater Conservatives, believed that my brother and I deserved the right to become our own men, and were deeply respectful of the notion that while they were always there to guide us, to teach us right from wrong, and to be there when our choices didn’t always result in the most pleasant of outcomes, ultimately, we would be responsible for making our own lives.

    This has always been the rock upon which my conservatism has been built, and inasmuch as I am constantly perplexed by the intolerance many progressives have whilst purporting to be the most tolerant, I find myself horrified by the moral absolutism found among many on the Christian far-right.

    Comment by Eric Olsen — July 18, 2011 @ 9:18 am - July 18, 2011

  20. Yeah, but the difference was, when you finish with reparative therapy, if it didn’t work, you’re still free to return to buggering with no harm done. What do you do if you change your mind after your wang’s been surgically inverted?

    Comment by V the K — July 18, 2011 @ 10:55 am - July 18, 2011

  21. As a Conservative, I believe parents should raise their kids in the manner that they wish especially where religion plays a part. The state has already gotten in the mix with their school systems. If the schools did their jobs, there wouldn’t be so much academic failures and dropout rates (and I’m not referring to the gay population). In general, the state has failed our youth. And they are trying very hard to separate the parent from the child, and religion from society.

    Comment by anon23532 — July 18, 2011 @ 10:58 am - July 18, 2011

  22. Shorter David: Kiss my ass Livewire. You do not know what the f*ck you are talking about in this instance.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 10:59 am - July 18, 2011

  23. Thank you Rusty and Eric!

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:01 am - July 18, 2011

  24. V,who the hell is talking about sex change here?

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:03 am - July 18, 2011

  25. Shorter David: Kiss my ass, Livewire. You know know what you’re talking about here.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:04 am - July 18, 2011

  26. Live wire, you don’t know what your talking about here. Sorry for the mistype.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:05 am - July 18, 2011

  27. You’re. Auto correct is killing me……..

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:06 am - July 18, 2011

  28. You’re. Auto correct is killing me……..

    David, you should check out this site. LOL!!!!

    Comment by Eric Olsen — July 18, 2011 @ 11:08 am - July 18, 2011

  29. And by the way LW, it’s my cross and my wood. And I will get down when I am good and damned ready.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:08 am - July 18, 2011

  30. LOL Eric. Sorry if I grumpy or beligerent, just got home last knight after being in Greece since May.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:11 am - July 18, 2011

  31. Sorry if I grumpy or beligerent, just got home last knight after being in Greece since May.

    First of all, I’m glad you’re back, judging from what is going on over there right now.

    Secondly, GET OFF YOUR PHONE AND START USING A KEYBOARD, for cryin’ out loud!!!! :-D

    Comment by Eric Olsen — July 18, 2011 @ 11:16 am - July 18, 2011

  32. Auto-correct is not our friend (as my own experience well says). And David, you haven’t answered my questions except to attempt profanity.

    So may I take it that you *do* believe that the Amish ‘forcing’ their kids into a lifestyle is abusive and should be prevented? I take it you *do* beleive that forcing kids to observe kosher is traumatic?

    Your parents may not have done right by you, I’m sorry to hear that. No parent is perfect, some frak up more than others. But to condemn a method of treatment that *does* work for some, because it didn’t work for you, is short sighted at best.

    And haven’t you heard? Under the current adminsitration we need to seize your wood (gods that sounds wrong) to keep you from burning it for the good of the environment.

    (Glad you’re back stateside, in your experiene is Greece as dire as the news makes it out to be?)

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 11:46 am - July 18, 2011

  33. I hear you. And it is an ipad, (just as bad)! I need to get busy with re-opening here anyway. Also, our house there is in Mykonos and what goes on in Athens hardly makes the news there. I heard far more from friends and relatives here in the U.S. about Athens.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 11:48 am - July 18, 2011

  34. Good to know. The way it’s reported here, it makes it sound like the entire country’s rioting at times.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 11:57 am - July 18, 2011

  35. LW, I posted about this very thing a while back which I guess you did not read. Please go back and try to find if you can. I tried, but I am unsure how to work the search function. Suffice it to say I am very reluctant to advocate against parents raising their children their way and teaching them their values.

    As for Randy, I would like to remind you he entered the program as an adult exercising his own free will.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 12:00 pm - July 18, 2011

  36. this is what I wrote a few months ago:

    230.Pat, I am really going to miss this thread when it moves to page two and becomes forgotten. As to your basic question, my belief is yes. There are plenty of people who won’t agree with me, but that really doesn’t matter. What anyone else believes doesn’t really impact my own spirital journey or my relationship with God. As for the parameters and moral codes, I just try do the best I can. I will always fall short, but I never stop trying. I do know I feel the presence of God in my life.

    As for your other questions:

    1. I don’t believe so, but I have several friends who do and I support their choice. As I have said before, I have been in a monogamous relationship for nearly 26 years. We are now near 50 years old and are as much in love as ever. He is my rock and the source of all my happiness. We have had a very blessed life together. Which brings me to…..

    2. I believe it is important for same sex couple in stable committed monogamous relationships to be examples for younger gays and to our hetero friends and neighbors. By presenting a different face of gays other than images of pride parades, etc. can only be a positive in my estimation.

    3. This is a tough one and I don’t have a clue as to what should or should not be done. Ideally I believe all parents should be completely accepting of their gay children, but we both know that is not going to be the case. I am going to give you a very abbreviated account of what happened to me as a teenager. I was outed to my parents by the headmaster of my school. I was sent away to a very expensive “conversion center” ran by a religious group. It was physically and mentally (mostly) abusive. Someone there actually tried to kill themself and my grandmother found out and she and my mother had me removed and brought home. I was there about 3 weeks. I hope the bastards that ran that place are in hell. Here’s the kicker – my parents, at that time anyway, were not particularly religious (Episcopal), so it was not so much worry for my soul, but concern that I could not possibly be happy as a homosexual. My parents wanted me to be happy because they loved me. Unfortunately they took some bad advice (the headmaster again) and off I went. It took some years, but we worked through it. By the time I met Doc, (oddly enough, they met him at the same time) our relationship was close and he was accepted into my family with no reservations or hesitancy.

    The point to all that is I believe most parents desire happiness for their children because they love them and this is just my opinion, but I fear that because of things such as AIDS, negative images seen in the media etc, cause parents to worry. As far as the parents who disown, treat like pariahs etc because of religious beliefs, I don’t know what the answer is. I cringe when I think about it because of my experience with the fanatics at the conversion camp, but ultimately I can’t advocate against parental control of their children.

    We are now living in a time where it is impossible not to know someone who is openly gay. I am thinking of all our nieces and nephews who love their FABULOUS uncles and causes me to have hope that the things rightfully concern in your 3rd question will resolve themselves. Maybe that is simplistic of me, but there you are.

    I always enjoy in reading your comments.

    David

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 12:01 pm - July 18, 2011

  37. 33.Good to know. The way it’s reported here, it makes it sound like the entire country’s rioting at times.

    So far as I could tell all the riots took place in front of the parliament building on Syntagma Square, a one block area. We were in Athens for a few days and as our driver was taking us to the airport, we asked him if any more protests were planned and he said no, it was too hot!

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 12:05 pm - July 18, 2011

  38. Oh, and to answer you other question about the direness is situation in Greece, yes it is. Horribly so. The problem is, that it doesn’t seem to worry the average Greek. They would just as soon go back to the Drachma.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 12:06 pm - July 18, 2011

  39. Livewire, I just want to add this. When you uesed Jewish and Amish family traditions, you are comparing apples and oranges. Being sent away to a brainwashing facility is not the same thing. That is why I reacted the way I did. Surely you must see this.

    And as for the current administration and their position re: wood and environment, they can kiss my ass too.

    Comment by David in N.O. — July 18, 2011 @ 12:17 pm - July 18, 2011

  40. David,

    I am glad you and your parents have worked past any damage their decision made. It took my dad and I a long time to work through our issues, and it took terminal cancer for my aunt and her daughter to work through theirs.

    I do apologize for striking a nerve. I just felt that your (admittedly negative) experience taints the perception of the entire process.

    Some one needs to tell Greece that, in an amazing coincidence, Germany would like to go back to the Deutchmark too.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 12:22 pm - July 18, 2011

  41. Forgot to add (need edit button) Congratulations on staying together 26+ years.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 18, 2011 @ 12:23 pm - July 18, 2011

  42. [...] On Marcus Bachmann and “conversion therapy” [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » On “Reparative Therapy” and the Fluidity of (Some People’s) Sexuality — July 18, 2011 @ 6:01 pm - July 18, 2011

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