Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Good job boys: Chris Doyle hands off to Michael Brown who cites a study that he has provably not read

“Conversion therapy does not work and it is harmful. Were it not part of an agenda of discrimination it would cease to exist.”
Dr. Michael Brown
via YouTube
Once again, religious fanatic, Michael Brown, is claiming that conversion therapy works and is not harmful. The source of Brown's wisdom is a book by conversion therapy crackpot Christopher Doyle. Somewhere in Brown's makeup there remains — perhaps — a particle of inquisitiveness and critical thinking. After all, Brown does have a legitimate Ph.D. Those few remaining brain cells should inform Brown that a self-serving book is not the equal of peer-reviewed research published to a respectable academic journal.

Those remaining cells are in grave peril which is evidenced by the fact that Brown cites, as authoritative, a study so flawed that even the Catholic Medical Association journal, Linacre, required its retraction. Bear with me. I'll get there.

The mythical effectiveness of conversion therapy is essential to Michael Brown
Indeed, it is indispensable to most conservative Christians. If conversion therapy works, without causing too much damage, then they can argue that sexual orientation is not immutable which makes it a choice. As such it should not be a protected class. It is an interesting argument from someone who made a deliberate and conscious choice to convert from Judaism to Christianity and enjoys protection from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Accordingly, Brown notes (citation shortened by me):
As expressed in California's SB 1172, which was signed into law in 2012 and criminalized SOCE for minors:
Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, …
The full text of the measure is here and it goes considerably beyond anything that Brown cited. It includes statement from many professional organizations asserting that SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) are ineffective and harmful. Moreover, the bill does not “criminalize” anything. It subjects offenders to professional discipline which makes sanctions civil rather than criminal. Brown goes on:
Is this true? Certainly not.

According to Christopher Doyle, himself a former homosexual and today, a licensed therapist, "Despite the claims of harm cited in SB 1172, the American Psychological Association task force did not actually provide evidence to back up the 28 health risks listed above. In fact, none of these health risks have been documented in the scientific peer-reviewed literature outside of a few published and unpublished anecdotal reports from adults. But there is not one single outcome-based study in the scientific literature of minors undergoing SOCE therapy to back up these claims."

In short, while there is no doubt that some people have been hurt by SOCE, there is also no doubt that the harm has been exaggerated.
Don't you love the certitude? Doyle being Doyle he has this ass backwards. It is up to practitioners and their supporters to prove that SOCE is effective and not harmful. In point of fact, the APA task force was unable to find evidence that conversion therapy worked and was safe. Returning to the text of SB-1172:
The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts, and issued a report in 2009. The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people…

The American Psychological Association issued a resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts in 2009, which states: “[T]he [American Psychological Association] advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder …”
Brown should take a moment to read what he cites:
… many people have been helped through SOCE.

As noted by Brandon Showalter, "A new study is challenging the American Psychological Association's contention that therapies for unwanted same-sex attraction are harmful.

"The study, 'Effects of Therapy on Religious Men Who Have Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction,' which was first published July 23 in The Linacre Quarterly, finds that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), often derisively called 'conversion therapy,' improves the mental health of participants. Researchers surveyed 125 male residents of the United States."
Brandon Showalter is just a writer for the Christian Post. As for the “study” that Brown links to, it was originally “published” to Linacre, the journal of the Catholic Medical Association. It ain't JAMA. Nevertheless, had Brown taken a moment to see for himself, rather than rely on a Christian Post staffer:
Michael Brown is not just negligent but terribly confused:
As to the alleged harm of SOCE, while it's true that there have been examples of abusive practices in the past, similar abuses have been documented in other types of psychotherapy as well. (In other words, shock treatment was formerly used to treat a wide variety of mental disorders.)

More importantly, professionals involved in SOCE engage in talk therapy, speaking with their clients and helping them get to the root of their inner-conflicts and struggles.
It is hard to tell whether Brown is just confused or intentionally confusing others. It is not just coercive therapy that is deemed harmful. Yes, coercive therapy is harmful. In addition, what the major health organizations have determined is that conversion therapy is harmful per se. The so called “root of their inner conflicts” doesn't exist as a determinant of sexual orientation. Homosexuality is not a mental illness. Psychiatrists began to appreciate that as early as the 1950s.

What Brown presents as harmless talk therapy informs healthy people that they are ill. People are shamed into the belief that they have the power to become straight or cisgender. If they fail to work hard enough to get at “the root” of their problems then they are not working hard enough or sufficiently motivated. Guilt, guilt, guilt!

Imagine the plight of a child whose parents are forcing him into unprofessional “therapy.” Mom and dad have an expectation that their kid will become straight. Conversion therapy is a very good way of making vulnerable young people neurotic. If that is the intent then congratulations.
Whataboutism and banned books:
I could also point to a book like Twelve-Step Horror Stories which "tells tales of unmitigated horror. And all of them occur either in 12-step support groups or in treatment based on the 12 step of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Should all twelve-step programs be banned? Should books promoting them be removed from Amazon?

And what of various diet fads, leading to many horror stories? Should diet books be banned? Should weight-loss programs be criminalized?
I don't want to get off on a tangent here but the success rate of the pseudo-scientific AA is about 7%. 12-step programs based on AA presumably have the same failure rate (93%). But that is besides the point. Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is a serious problem. One that needs correction. People who are overweight have a problem as well as they are compromising cardiac health.

Being L, G, B or T is not a problem that requires correction. We do not need to get fixed. We all know what happens when people attempt to fix something that isn't broken.

Sexual orientation and gender are continua. Combined, they define our sexuality. Every point in those spectrums is a natural variant of human sexuality. The only problem that LGBTQ people have is religious schmucks who claim that LGBTQ people are evil perverts who need to a) repent and; b) obtain psychiatric help when there is nothing wrong with them.
The obligatory reference to Lisa Diamond:
In fact, Dr. Lisa Diamond, a lesbian activist and respected researcher in the American Psychological Association, said this in one of her lectures: "I feel as a community, the queers have to stop saying, 'Please help us. We're born this way, and we can't change' as an argument for legal standing...and that argument is going to bite us in the a**, because now we know that there's enough data out there, that the other side is aware of as much as we are aware of it."
Brown's source is the Orthodox Institute. I wrote about this at greater length from actual source material. The short answer is that born this way is not scientifically accurate. Most of us form sexual orientation by about age two. Some people much later in life.
Suppressed data:
Yes, the data is out there, but LGBT activists and their allies want to suppress it. Let the truth be told.
Noticeably missing is any link to peer-reviewed research. Furthermore, don't blame those legendary activists for outing conversion therapy as religious crackpottery.
Apparently this has something to do with Amazon:
This was nothing less than gay activism at its totalitarian worst. There is nothing enlightened, inclusive, or tolerant about it.

Let the truth be told.

If people don't like books on SOCE, they don't have to buy them. And if they don't want to participate in SOCE, they don't have to.

Why can't we live with that?
This has absolutely nothing to do with the original subject of Brown's essay which was a defense of conversion therapy. Books are not therapy. Nicolosi is dead. The problem with the books that were removed is that they were informing parents how they could prevent having gay children. Aside from the fact that there is no way to influence a child's sexual orientation, if one wanted a manual on how to fuck up kids, Nicolosi happily provided it.

Brown is also incorrect with respect to conversion therapy being a choice. For many of the child victims of the process it has not been a choice. Their parents required their participation. Conversion therapy does not work and it is harmful. Were it not part of an agenda of discrimination it would cease to exist.

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