PW BLOGS: PhillyNow  |  PW Style  |  Make Major Moves  |  The Trouble with Spikol

« Home
Category » GLBT

You’re Gay, and You Can Stay That Way

Aug 19 2009 | Comments 0

This morning WHYY’s Radio Times featured a segment on the American Psychological Association’s recent resolution regarding sexual orientation. (Listen to the show here if you missed it.) In the category of Better Late Than Never, I Guess, the APA declared that mental health professionals can’t do the douchebag move of telling their clients that they can therapize the gay away. From the New York Times:

In a resolution adopted by the association’s governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of so-called reparative therapy, a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain that gay men and lesbians can change.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-to-4 vote. The association said some research suggested that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Below is the full press release from the APA, which I would make into a jump, but I forget how.

TORONTO—The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The “Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts” also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

The approval, by APA’s governing Council of Representatives, came at APA’s annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called “reparative therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

“Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. “Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.” Glassgold added: “At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex.”

Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others’ sexual orientation.

APA appointed the six-member Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2007 to review and update APA’s 1997 resolution, “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation,” and to generate a report. APA was concerned about ongoing efforts to promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed through psychotherapy or approaches that mischaracterize homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The task force examined the peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 1960 to 2007, which included 83 studies. Most of the studies were conducted before 1978, and only a few had been conducted in the last 10 years. The group also reviewed the recent literature on the psychology of sexual orientation.

“Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws,” Glassgold said. “Few studies could be considered methodologically sound and none systematically evaluated potential harms.”

As to the issue of possible harm, the task force was unable to reach any conclusion regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the recent studies of SOCE: “There are no methodologically sound studies of recent SOCE that would enable the task force to make a definitive statement about whether or not recent SOCE is safe or harmful and for whom,” according to the report.

“Without such information, psychologists cannot predict the impact of these treatments and need to be very cautious, given that some qualitative research suggests the potential for harm,” Glassgold said. “Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome.”

As part of its report, the task force identified that some clients seeking to change their sexual orientation may be in distress because of a conflict between their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The task force recommended that licensed mental health care providers treating such clients help them “explore possible life paths that address the reality of their sexual orientation, reduce the stigma associated with homosexuality, respect the client’s religious beliefs, and consider possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life.”

“In other words,” Glassgold said, “we recommend that psychologists be completely honest about the likelihood of sexual orientation change, and that they help clients explore their assumptions and goals with respect to both religion and sexuality.”


liz | 2:31 PM | GLBT

Goodbye, Anti-Sacred and Profane Writing Machine

Jun 25 2009 | Comments 2

After a long battle with cancer, PW staff writer, Guardian columnist, punk-rock novelist, NME gadfly, gender-twisting rebel comedian and poet Steven Wells has gone on to other things. Well, not really. According to Steven, there’s no such thing as the afterlife, and if there is, I guarantee he’s really, really pissed off right now. I can just picture him at St. Peter’s Gates, saying, “Fuck me! This shit actually exists?”

We’ll all miss Steven so much, and I’ll say more about that later. For now, I’m wishing the best to all family and friends who are hurting. That’s what Steven really cared about in the end, though he was very passionately annoyed by knitting, as well.

Steven was often told he was anti-American. I loved his passion, and he cracked us the fuck up every day. This video was part of a series he did for PW called Steven Wells’ America, in which he took sacred cows and basically grilled them for dinner. Below, he reflects on the religiosity of an America that voted for Bush a second time (Steven was a staunch atheist). Toward the end he smiles a bit, so you know that he knows he’s being ridiculous. And that’s part of what was so cute about Steven — he’d rant, but then laugh at himself.


liz | 10:41 AM | BIG PHARMA, Funny or Offensive?, GLBT, Song of the Day, alternative treatments, anxiety, celebrities, children, cute fix, depression, hospitals / hospitalization, media, meds, military, philadelphia, phobias, politics, random, religion, suicide, violence

Match.com Haunts My Dreams

Jan 15 2009 | Comments 9

It’s a long story, but some time ago I joined Match.com to see if there were any ladies in the world who might want to date me. This was quite a while ago yet I’m still getting “winks” and matches and I have no idea how to stop the madness.

For instance, “Namaste06901″ from Connecticut just winked at me. I can tell you right now, from her user name, that we have nothing in common; I only use the word “namaste” when I have a particularly violent sneezing attack. She’s very pretty, but talks in her profile about global warming. Now that’s hot. Heh.

Sometimes I get winks from men, which is sort of counterintuitive. But I know what they’re thinking. They’re thinking, If I can just get two of these women to hook up with me … Here’s one of those guys, describing himself:

Inexplicably complex with exceptional skills in lazerium light painting shows on my bedroom ceiling … a closet conductor of symphony orchestras … a lover of winding trails that open into magic landscapes or meandering thru art museums spying on vibrating planes of color.

How much do I want to smack him? I said “women,” not “schmucks.”

I do know people who have had great luck with Match.com and eHarmony. There are also services called Dating4Disabled and NoLongerLonely, which are for People Like Us. The latter caters specifically to people with mental illness. I think that’s such a great idea; imagine not having the painful first date where you feel you have to hide your true self or your past. Fantastic.

One time I went on a date with a girl, though, who told me, over pasta at Applebee’s (her choice) that she’d just gotten out of a psych hospital and still wasn’t sure she wasn’t having hallucinations. I’ll admit that was one time I did feel someone’s mental illness was a little alienating. What if she was only deluding herself about my attractiveness?

Musings. Fun.


liz | 1:56 PM | GLBT