Chinese activist wants WHO to condemn ‘gay cures’

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Xiao Chen

Officially in China, homosexuality stopped being considered a “mental disease” in 2001. But there are still thousands of clinics there that offer “gay cures,” according to All Out, an international LGBT rights organization. Xiao Chen —that’s not his real name; it’s a pseudonym being used to protect him — was one of the gay men forced to undergo such a “cure.”

In a video about his ordeal (see below) Xiao Chen, 30, tells how one such clinic used electroshock therapy to “shock the gay out” of him.

He said: “In families like mine, being gay is still seen as something that can be cured, and scam clinics prey on that fear. Now, I want my friends, my family and everyone in China to understand that being gay is normal. If we get the World Health Organization to join in and speak out against gay ‘cures’, it could create a perfect storm.It could help convince officials to finally ban these dangerous gay ‘cures.’”

He has sued the clinic and a ruling in his lawsuit is expected soon.

Xiao Chen and All Out have gotten officials at the World Health Organization to agree to meet with them. They also have a petition circulating online urging WHO Director-General Margaret Chan to denounce so-called “gay cures.”

Watch the video below. Go here to sign the petition.

—  Tammye Nash

Democratic platform calls reparative therapy quackery and calls for Texas marriage equality

Narey

Stonewall Dallas President Jay Narey, center, at the Texas Democratic Convention

The platform that emerged from the Democratic Convention held in Dallas last week stands in stark contrast to that of the Texas Republican platform that encouraged reparative therapy to “cure” gays.

“For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation,” the Democratic platform says. “Similarly, it is clear that a person’s gender identity — one’s inner sense of being male or female — is deep-seated and cannot be changed.”

Jeff Strater, a gay delegate, was elected to serve on the state Democratic Executive Committee from Senate District 23. He said he was overwhelmed by Democrats’ response to the Republican platform.

“LGBTQ mentions are peppered throughout the platform,” Strater said, adding that each plank in the platform was passed by the entire convention.

“There were no holdouts,” he said. “No cranky ‘no’s’ from East Texas.”

Strater is not the first gay man elected to the executive committee from District 23. Gary Fitzsimmons and Buck Massey held that seat in the past.

Former state Rep. Glen Maxey said he was impressed by the planks submitted by the trans community that passed just as easily as the others. Those planks would make it easier for a person to change information on their state identification.

While LGBT is mentioned elsewhere in the platform, one whole section is devoted to “personal security and equal protection for LGBTQ Texans.”

Had Texas Republicans not made so-called “reparative therapy” an issue by calling for it in their state party platform, Strater said, most Democrats would likely not have given the concept a second thought. But with the GOP platform making headlines on the subject, reparative therapy ended up being included in the first section in the Dems’ platform relating to the LGBT community. Democrats want to ban the practice — referred to as “quackery” in their platform.

Strater said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro reflected the sentiment of the convention when he addressed delegates on Saturday: “Gov. Perry, if you believe gay people need repairing, then I would suggest your soul needs repairing,” Castro said.

Jay Narey, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said, “Democrats stand in stark contrast to Republicans — like day and night.” He said the reparative therapy issue was just the obvious contrast, but positive platform planks on issues affecting everyday life in the LGBT community’ were passed overwhelmingly.

Other planks Democrats adopted dealt with marriage equality, trans-inclusive employment nondiscrimination and personal security that call on “social, health care and public service professionals to seek out and adopt best practices in the delivery of services to all Texans.”

Narey also pointed out that while Log Cabin Republicans were not allowed even a small table at the GOP convention, the Stonewall Caucus was so large, it met on the main convention floor while other caucuses were assigned meeting rooms.

Narey said he had no idea how many people attended the Stonewall Caucus because there was no controlled access to the convention floor. Hundreds of people — and all but one statewide candidate — attended the caucus. He estimated at least 300 LGBT delegates participated, but hundreds more allies also participated in Stonewall events.

“There’s been a dramatic shift on our issues over the last four election cycles,” Narey said. “State Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa is extremely supportive of the LGBT community. He’s largely responsible.”

Strater said he was energized and motivated as a result of the convention and made quite a few new contacts that he’ll call on through the campaign. His only negative comment about the weekend concerned the Ladybird Johnson breakfast: “When [anti-gay Dallas City Councilwoman] Vonceil Jones Hill was introduced to give the prayer, there were gasps from the audience,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Stonewall Caucus at the Texas Democratic Convention

The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus met on the main convention floor of the Texas Democratic Convention on June 27. Major candidates for statewide office and current officeholders addressed the caucus.

—  David Taffet

Finally, a reparative therapy program offered by the gays that guarantees no results

Reparative

This certificate is all it takes to go into the reparative therapy business. There’s no certification. No training. No oversight. Why? Because reparative therapy isn’t therapy.

Metroplex Republicans Vice President Rudy Oeftering attended the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth last week, testified before the platform committee and was as horrified as anyone when they endorsed reparative therapy.

To show just how qualified you have to be to offer reparative therapy, Oeftering went to the Dallas County Clerk’s office and registered his new business — Nomo Homo Reparative Therapy. It’s official — with County Clerk John Warren’s signature and everything.

Reparative therapy is unregulated. No medical, psychological or social work organization endorses it. In fact, all of them condemn it. The state of Texas doesn’t regulate it. So now Oeftering is happy to offer it.

He promises no results. He expects any gay “patients,” as the Republican platform refers to the community, to finish his program just as gay as they started, maybe more so. And he plans to charge just what other programs charge — $10,000 cash up front.

Oeftering said at least in his program, his promise of no results is guaranteed. He suggests victims of other programs, which don’t deliver the promised results of changing a person’s sexual orientation, should sue for breach of contract.

He said the person registering the business in the County Clerk’s office looked horrified when he turned in the application for the business certificate, until he assured them he was just trying to make the point that this was all you needed to open a reparative therapy business. No training or qualification is required.

—  David Taffet

Texas GOP presses reparative therapy for gays

mus41289The Associated Press and NBC are reporting this morning that the Texas Republican Party — which is holding its convention this weekend in Fort Worth, with 10,000 delegates in attendance — has introduced a platform to endorse reparative therapy for gays. The full delegation is expected to vote on the issue Saturday.

The platform would “recognize the legitimacy and  efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” The language is peculiar, since reparative therapy has been rejected by psychology professionals and even dismissed by former therapists. The process seeks to “train” gay people to “become” straight. It tacitly embraces the concept that sexual orientation is a “choice.”

This follows recent word this week that the Texas GOP had abandoned anti-gay rhetoric in the party platform, as well as a controversy over the role of gay Republicans at the convention.

Read more about the resolution here.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

California Senate wants to make it more difficult to use “reparative” therapy

California state capitol

Members of the California legislature want to make it more difficult for therapists to use junk science in their practices when it comes to treating gays and lesbians.

California Senate Bill 1172 or the “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts” bill would prohibit physicians and surgeons, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors “from performing sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, in the absence of informed consent of the patient.”

Reparative or conversion therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientation of gay people to straight would be prohibited for minors.

Adults would have to sign a consent form acknowledging that this “therapy” is not recognized by any licensing body and could lead to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.

The bill is out of committee.

Truth Wins Out is a nationwide organization based in Vermont that works to expose “ex-gay” ministries and therapists as fraudulent.

—  David Taffet

WHAT’S BREWING: Morning Edition offers gay cure, Perry too centrist, Miami Beach settles

1. Yesterday morning, NPR did one of their most irresponsible stories in their history. Trying to present a balanced picture, they found a gay man who claimed he was cured. Their conclusion is “the jury is still out.” Here’s the link. Comments can be directed to KERA, the local NPR affiliate. Morning Edition is supported locally by Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas.

2. The Amarillo Globe News weighed in on the comment Gov. Rick Perry made about same-sex marriage being a states rights issue. Their conclusion is that Perry is going for votes from centrists. Interestingly, they point out that in figuring out how to allow a gay couple in Dallas to divorce, the state had to recognize their marriage existed and that, they conclude, is totally unacceptable.

3. The Rainbow Lounge victims weren’t the only ones paid a settlement over the last week. In Miami Beach, a gay tourist who was falsely arrested and roughed up by police in 2009 was paid a $75,000 settlement. The two officers involved were also fired last week, according to the Miami Herald.

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Michele and Marcus save marriage

Chuck Smith with Equality Texas posted this video on Facebook, and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it here.

—  admin

A look at what the newly famous gay couple from our cover story is doing for Valentine’s

KC, left, and Larry Jansson

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I seem to be the only romantic in the Dallas Voice office. Valentine’s Day was my anniversary.

To counter the lack of Valentine’s Day cheer around here today — senior editor Tammy Nash and wife Sandra will be going to the gym together, advertising director Leo Cusimano did Valentine’s things with his kids over the weekend, classifieds manager Greg Hoover thinks a poker game tonight might be fun — I spoke to Larry and KC Jansson. Fast becoming Dallas’ most popular romantic couple, we featured them in the cover story of Friday’s Dallas Voice.

“So of course you know we are romantics,” Larry said.

Duh.

Yesterday they checked into the W-Dallas hotel, where they held their wedding reception in December 2009.

“It was so cool to be here again,” he said. “This place will always be special to us.”

But of course that wasn’t all of the romance.

—  David Taffet

This JONAH has one whale of a story to tell

Jewish ‘ex-gay’ group is just another attempt to get money from conflicted gay men for ‘therapies’ that do nothing but let closeted gays get their jollies through others’ fears

Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

JonahWith all the hubbub of the Fred Phelps Cult making a visit here and the oil spill continuing in the Gulf, one story seems to have dropped through the cracks. Luckily, Wayne Besen at the blog Truth Wins Out (TruthWinsOut.org)  has been on it like a dog on a bone. It involves a group called JONAH.

Aside from the biblical acronym, the group’s full name is Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, and it is part of the ex-gay industry.

Now before anyone corrects me and notes that it should be called the “ex-gay movement,” let me explain.

Not only has the whole “ex-gay” or “reparative therapy” thing been debunked by the scientific community, no major scientific group actually approves “treatment” to change sexual orientation. No one, from the American Psychiatric Association to the American Psychological Association, even considers homosexuality something to be cured.

So what you have with the ex-gay industry is a bogus cure in search of a disease, and more to the point, several organizations who have found that the whole useless endeavor can generate a lot of cash.

So, far from being a grassroots movement, the ex-gay scam is a business, albeit “non-profit.”

Meanwhile, back to JONAH.

The group was co-founded by a fellow named Arthur Abba Goldberg. Seems he was known 20 years ago in the financial community as “Abba Cadabra” for his apparent wizardry with money. That wizardry turned out to be a scam, and Goldberg was convicted of federal mail and wire fraud as well as a conspiracy to sell worthless bonds.

The guy is a real peach, and now he has reinvented himself as the leader of an “ex-gay” therapy group.

One of his “life coaches,” Alan Downing, recently has been implicated in something a bit more touchy-feely than you would expect from an ex-gay. According to men who went to Downing, part of his treatment involves having clients strip naked in front of a mirror while touching parts of their bodies, including their genitals.

The activity is observed by the “therapist” while he encourages the subject to “internalize his masculinity.” If this sounds like a voyeurs’ delight, you haven’t heard anything yet.

Downing and Goldberg are part of another bunch called “People Can Change.” A big part of their “therapy” is participating in a retreat near Phoenix, called “Journey into Manhood.” According to a writer, Ted Cox, who secretly attended one of the sessions, for $650 a pop you get to participate in a group grope for the weekend.

Now if this sounds homoerotic, what goes on there seems even less like therapy and more like just plain sex. Participants make the journey to manhood by hugging, touching and lying on each other in a “cuddle room.” Manly stuff!

If this were a Body Electric retreat I could understand it, but for something that is supposed to “cure” homosexuality, it seems to be far off the mark.

My whole point is that the “ex-gay” industry is rife with scandal. From George Rekers, the anti- gay activist who hired a “rent boy” for a European vacation, to John Paulk, former chairman of Exodus International who was photographed coming out of a gay bar in Washington D.C., the ex-gays just can’t seem to keep their gay from coming out.

I fully expect to hear about even more surprises from the reparative therapy scam in the future. But I shouldn’t be surprised.

It all stems from the greed of folks who see in gay men a vulnerability, especially if those gay men have not fully accepted their own sexuality. It is the worst kind of deceit, to prey on the psychologically vulnerable and manipulate them for cash.

It is unfortunate that they hide behind pseudo-religious organizations that protect their questionable programs as “free speech.” Maybe as more and more of these groups are exposed and debunked, their victims will see the futility of trying to change and embrace their sexuality.

That will also take society to change as well, but luckily it is already happening. Public opinion surveys show more and more Americans affirm the idea of equal rights including marriage for LGBT people.

It is my hope that some day those unhappy people who turned to groups like JONAH will emerge like the biblical Jonah from the whale into the sunlight. Then they can work on frying the bigger fish, accepting their sexuality and enjoying their lives.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens