Dispatches from the Creation Wars

CNN Story on “Ex-Gay” Therapy

AmericaBlog has a post about a CNN story on therapists trying to convert gays to being ex-gay. I can’t get the video to work, but the description is hilarious:

1. Where the gay guy in “therapy” says that the reason he turned gay is that he had “emotional incest” with his mom. Uh huh.

2. The wacky “ex-gay ‘therapist’” showing that one way to cure yourself is to take a tennis racket and beat the crap out of a pillow while screaming your mother’s name (it’s totally freaky). This will help you release “hidden memories in your muscles.” Yes, your muscles store memories that make you gay. And don’t forget, this “therapist” is pretty much the top guy in this “field.” He’s one of their “best.”…

If you read the ex-gay literature, their OWN literature, and I’ve read most of it doing research, they tell you outright that you will NOT become heterosexual from these treatments. You very likely won’t even be really sexually attracted to women, and you most certainly won’t stop being attracted to men 100%. The goal isn’t to become heterosexual, it’s to become closer to Jesus. Seriously, that’s what they say.

But if being gay is just a “choice”, why don’t these guys just “choose” not to be gay? I don’t see why hitting a pillow should be required.

Comments

  1. #1 DOF
    May 26, 2006

    The thought of encouraging someone to beat a pillow while screaming anyone’s name is just creepy. Symbolic violence against women will bring you closer to Jesus?

  2. #2 JeremySN
    May 26, 2006

    Is it just me, or does this whole “hidden memories in your muscles” stuff sound pretty New Age?
    I recall a teacher of mine in theatre school (quit laughing) talking about this when we were doing yoga (alright seriously, cut it out).
    I always thought that New Age-ism was simply Satanism in disguise.

  3. #3 Pushpak
    May 26, 2006

    If you’ve ever seen the film “Splendor in the Grass” then you know that taking out your anger on an object and screaming in anger was stolen from this film. Except the instituted patient bangs the table with a hammer and imagines it’s his father.

    Signs you know you’re gay (still), you remember details from “Splendor in the Grass”. Cohen you can have Warren Beatty, I’ll take Natalie Wood.

  4. #4 Jonathan Dursi
    May 26, 2006

    If you sprain one of your gay memory muscles, do you temporarily become bisexual?

  5. #5 Zeno
    May 26, 2006

    The ex-gay ministries turn my stomach. Such idiots! And why do so many leaders in the anti-gay ranks have gay children, huh? Dr. Charles Socarides was a leading light of the “reparative therapy” movement and his son Richard Socarides is still gay.

  6. #6 Raging Bee
    May 26, 2006

    They’re actually admitting their “treatment” won’t make you straight? That’s an improvement, for that lot…

  7. #7 ck
    May 26, 2006

    Not to nitpick, but the quote is inaccurate in claiming Cohen is the “top guy.” Exodus International, one of the big ex-gay umbrella groups has distanced themself from him after complaints. There are many, many other approaches that are popular in the ‘field.’

    As an ex-ex-gay myself (or wanna be ex-gay, I never quite got to ex-gay…), I think that most of what’s going on is quackery. But Cohen isn’t necessarily the leader in ex-gay techniques. He is, however, president of PFOX, a knockoff of PFLAG, which has been lobbying for inhibiting the progress schools have been making in sex education an Gay Straight Alliances.

    Also, there are psychologists who are licensed and who work towards integrating people’s religious beliefs with their sexual identity. I don’t think they are successful in “change”, but if people believe they ought to be celibate, therapy can help some of the emotional/mental torment they endure.

    Exgaywatch.com has good coverage of the politics and theology of the ex-gay movement, and detailed coverage of Cohen.

  8. #8 SharonB
    May 26, 2006

    oh, and Ed, you left out the freakiest part, and I do mean freakiest !

    The “cuddle therapy” mano-a-mano.

  9. #9 DOF
    May 26, 2006

    If you’ve ever seen the film “Splendor in the Grass” then you know that taking out your anger on an object and screaming in anger was stolen from this film.

    Wait… you forgot the copier-smashing scene in “Office Space” ;-)

  10. #10 schencka
    May 26, 2006

    I happened to be watching CNN for the segment, and was disappointed at CNN’s post-Fox News backformative willingness to “leave it at that!”: “Well, scientists are STILL arguing whether being gay is a choice or not!” Ho hum, smiley face, thanks for the report, Jan! Let’s send it to the great-looking Anderson Cooper!

    I’d like to think of myself as pre-gay, but sadly, there’s no counseling infrastructure to get me closer to Steve, not Jesus.

  11. #11 Jim Lippard
    May 26, 2006

    “The “cuddle therapy” mano-a-mano.”

    Mano a mano means hand-to-hand.

  12. #12 Jim Lippard
    May 26, 2006

    “The “cuddle therapy” mano-a-mano.”

    Mano a mano means hand-to-hand.

  13. #13 Jim Lippard
    May 26, 2006

    “The “cuddle therapy” mano-a-mano.”

    Mano a mano means hand-to-hand.

  14. #14 Jim Lippard
    May 26, 2006

    Sorry for the duplications, I was getting failures including a 500 Server configuration error from the scienceblogs.com server.

  15. #15 Leni
    May 26, 2006

    JeremySN wrote:

    Is it just me, or does this whole “hidden memories in your muscles” stuff sound pretty New Age?

    The way some people use it, it is. But it is an actual thing. I don’t know all that much about it, but it has to do with motor skills. It’s why, barring injury, you don’t forget how to ride a bike or write or type or swing a baseball bat etc etc. It’s not that your muscles remember anything- your brain and nervous system still do the work, but it is a good descriptive name for it.

    The idea that there are special muscle memories like this that make you gay (like from the years spent jacking off Father O’Reilly??) is beyond stupid, even if it makes great fuel for jokes. Gay muscles? Come ooonnn!. Could they have possibly picked anything dumber than that?

  16. #16 Matthew
    May 26, 2006

    I don’t know whether I should be offended or humored.

  17. #17 stacheman
    May 30, 2006

    First of all I believe “Mr Huggy beat my pillow with a tennis racket” therapist is quite the kook. Besides just looking at his decorating taste in that office confirms that he was never “one of us”, very happy to let him stay on his side of the fence.