from Social Issues
In a reversal of their previous policy, psychiatrists in China no longer classify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
This represents a major change for the country of 1.3 billion people. In 1994, the Chinese psychiatric association's handbook stated its opposition to the position of the World Health Organization, which urges the normalization of homosexuality.
The new policy is similar to the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 policy, which no longer classified the condition as a disorder but did recognize ego-dystonic homosexuality as disordered for those who were dissatisfied with their homosexuality. Officials for the Chinese association explained that this caveat was necessary in order to respect Chinese cultural traditions.
Chinese television has also begun to feature gays on talk shows discussing their experiences.
The American Psychological Association recently filed a legal brief in Boy Scouts vs. Dale, offering extensive evidence in favor of gay scoutmaster James Dale. The A.P.A. opposed the Boy Scouts, who were defending their right to define the concept of "morally straight" for their own membership.
Among the A.P.A.'s reasons for opposing the Boy Scouts was that a homosexual orientation is "unchosen." The Association did not explain, however, how the fact that a person did not choose a psychological condition could imply that it was mentally healthy, inborn, morally good, "natural," socially desirable, or even unchangeable.
The American Psychological Association's Div. 44 (Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns) recently issued new guidelines concerning treatment of gay and lesbian clients.
Guidelines are not mandatory, like the APA's "standards," which can be enforced against a therapist and accompanied by penalties.
However NARTH's President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. expressed concern about their potential influence.
"The uninformed psychologist will read, in these guidelines, that he is ethically required to make an accurate presentation of the current research to his clients--and that the only correct understanding of this research is as follows: gay parents are just as good for children as the child's natural family; change of sexual orientation is never possible; and there is no difference between gays and straights in terms of psychological health."
The Guidelines reiterated the APA's position that homosexuality should not be represented as a mental illness.
Ironically, the Guidelines also called for "respect for diversity" -- while failing to recognize that some value systems hold homosexual attractions to be unhealthy and unnatural.
In a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for public schools around the country, a Pennsylvania court ruled that students do, in fact, have a right to share their religious convictions about homosexual behavior.
David Warren Saxe, a Pennsylvania State University professor, sued the State College Area School District on behalf of his children, who had been prevented from expressing their beliefs about homosexuality due to the school district's anti-harrassment policy.
But in trying to prevent harassment of gay students, the school district ran afoul of the First Amendment, the court ruled, violating the First Amendment free speech rights of the students. The court said that the District's anti-harasment policy was "overly broad," banning much speech that is not considered harassment under federal or state law.
Philosophy professor J. Budziszewski makes an interesting point in a recent essay: several years after gay conservative Andrew Sullivan first made his plea for gay marriage, he explained how he envisioned the transformation.
In Virtually Normal, Sullivan revealed that gay men would not likely conform to the expectations of marriage as we know it, but would in fact likely transform the institution. Gays, Sullivan wrote, have a "need for extramarital outlets."
Then in a later book, Love Undetectable, Sullivan spoke of the "beauty and mystery and spirituality of sex, even anonymous sex."
In an article entitled, "Breast is Best--for Adoptive Moms and Dads, too!" the magazine Alternative Family tells gay parents how they can imitate biological parents.
"A lactation supplementer is a bottle or plastic bag hung around the breat-feeding parent's neck. Tubes lead from the bottom of the bottle to the parent's nipple. The baby then sucks the tube and the nipple, and gets milk."
"Physically sucking on breasts," the article explains, "is a different action than bottle feeding...As we build families, we increase choices for everyone. We deserve to know what choices exist for our adoptive children's health and for our emotional growth as adoptive parents."
--Alternative Family, March/April 2000, p. 11.
One defining characteristic of the gay movement is the drive to destabilize the categories of sex and gender. Psychologist Daryl Bem, himself a gay activist, identifies this attitude as an "indifference to gender."
But reparative therapists would disagree: they consider this approach to represent not an indifference to gender, but a profound denial of gender differences.
In the public sphere, we see this played out in the preference for entertainment that involves cross-dressing; in the insistence that a man who feels like a woman should be addressed as "she"; in the idea that gay men can "mother" their children as well as a woman; and in the drive to purge all language of gender-explicit terminology.
This perspective also plays a prominent role in gay theology. The Rev. Mel White--pastor of a large gay church and the leader of Soulforce, a group that pickets religious denominational conventions to push for gay marriage--recently was interviewed by the magazine Alternative Family. In that article, the Rev. White repeatedly referred to God as "She" (1).
--("Family Values with Soul," Alternative Family, March-April 2000, pp. 20-24)
Exodus International and The Portland Fellowship now offer a high-quality, comprehensive website (www.reachtruth.com) with a section for youth called "Free To Be Me." With its attractive graphics and well-written, informative articles, this site is a "must see" for Christian youth and youth leaders seeking information and support.
A Colorado organization called Family First has produced a low-cost, "how-to" manual advising parents how to defend traditional values and promote a common-sense approach in the public schools. "A Parent's Manual to the Homosexual Agenda in Public Education" describes ways to work with educators when they are dealing with gay issues.
The pamhlet describes the early sexualization of children through school sex-education and what it calls "The Trojan Horse" of safe-sex programs; the promotion of homosexuality and sexual experimentation; the misuse of the terms "tolerance" and "diversity" to mandate approval; and the criminalization of attempts to resist gay activism.
The pamphlet then describes what parents and schools can do to discourage gay programs--how to organize as a coalition and how to approach educators; working with the media; and holding a press conference. Sample conversations with educators are provided, with suggested responses to their most common arguments. There is a lengthy section on "How to Work with Your School Committee."
For a copy of this pamphlet, write Family First at P.O. Box 260131, Littleton, Colo. 80163 or call (303) 471-8067.
The American Psychiatric Association, which led the revolution to normalise homosexuality in 1973 by deleting thepractice from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has once again adopted a radical activist position - this time by sanctioning homosexual unions.
"The American Psychiatric Association supports the legal recognition of same-sex unions and their associated legal rights, benefits and responsibilities," says a Dec. 10, 2000 press release issued by Dr. Jack Drescher, of the APA's committee on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues.
He told New Mass Media in an interview that "children in same-sex marriages do just as well as children in heterosexual marriages."
Drescher's history on the issue shows him to be a homosexual activist who has successfully worked his campaign within professional associations. The APA last year issued a position paper condemning reparative therapy (which often can free homosexuals of their disordered inclinations) recommending "that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation."
The position paper lists in its references two pro-homosexual books by Drescher. Moreover, Drescher was involved in the 1998 decision by the American Psychoanalytic Association to endorse a resolution in favor of same-sex marriages.
Yet another autobiographical story by a gay man tells the story of early father-son estrangment, offering the revealing observation by the author that this estrangement is typical for gay men.
In "Not Crying for Dad," a story published in the Spring 2000 version of the James White Review, author Philip Gambone admits, "I did not have much of a relationship with my father...Gay friends tell me that this is simply the way it is with gay sons and their dads..."
Gambone goes on to describe gay psychiatrist Richard Isay's explanation for the estrangement, which relies on the "born that way" assumption: "A father intuitively senses his son is homosexual and distances himself, rather than directly confronting the discomfort and shame he feels about this queer presence in the family."
Gambone admits his father was a good man, and he seems puzzled that he could never feel love for him, or even cry at his funeral.
"In his own quiet way," Gambone says, "he never gave up on me. Through all the years that I remained silent about my homosexuaity, he never wavered in the willing affability with which he greeted the guys--'my roommates'--whom I brought home."
"I have scoured the memories of our relationship, looking for clues as to why I never totally felt at ease with my father," he says. Sometimes he thinks the problem was his father's unconscious homophobia (following Isay's theory), while at other time Gambone blames his mother's and grandmother's deliberate efforts to cause an estrangement--"They were telling me to stay away from him."
Still, Gambone admits, "none of these generalizations feels adequate." Looking back, he realizes that his father was a kind and caring man who reached out to him and wanted the best for him, challenging his son to take more risks and to tackle the problems of life more aggressively.
"In retrospect," Gambone laments, "I wonder if I just wasn't ready for the kind of intimacy my father had always been willing to have with me."
The website of the Episcopal Church recently posted an essay, "Homosexuality in the Light of Reason," by Dr. J. Budziszewski, author of Written on the Heart and The Revenge of Conscience. Dr. Budziszewski explains why the Episcopal Church should not bless same-sex unions:
Some people argue that if only homosexuals were allowed to "marry" people of the same sex, they would become more like heterosexuals. In the final chapter of his book Virtually Normal, the most well-known proponent of this view, homosexual activist Andrew Sullivan, lets the cat out of the bag: it turns out that what he envisions from homosexual "marriage" is not a change in homosexual behavior, but a change in the meaning of marriage itself.
Recognition of homosexual liaisons would be good for the broader society, he says, because there is "more likely to be a greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman." What this means is plain: By virtue of the homosexual example, heterosexual wives and husbands will lose their silly hang-up about faithfulness.
In another book, Love Undetectable, Sullivan releases still more cats from the bag, defending "the beauty and mystery and spirituality of sex, even anonymous sex."
Are there happy homosexuals? There are certainly homosexuals who consider themselves happy; Sullivan says that even anonymous sex is happy. The laws of Nature force us to ask whether there is something wrong with such "happiness."
"...human nature is not an accident but an Order, not a chaos but a Creation -- not a canvas for our own designs, but a Design."
Philosopher Bertrand Russell once said that science starts, "not from large assumptions, but from particular facts discovered by observation or experiment."
Not so, says Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Scientific progress comes not so much from slow and gradual change, but from large, intuitive leaps. These leaps provide a new insight or "paradigm" through which reason, observation and experiment can then do their slow and meticulous work.
When evidence is first discovered which suggests that the reigning paradigm is false, it will usually be a very long time--even generations--before scientists give up the old paradigm and make an intuitive leap to accept the new one.
In the meantime, many years pass during which disconfirming evidence is either ignored, or reinterpreted in a way that makes it seem to "fit" the reigning model.
Reorientation therapists may find a familiar theme here. When psychiatry decided in 1973 that human sexuality need not function in accordance with design--rejecting the old view of sexuality--the disconfirming evidence (that homosexually oriented people showed higher levels of emotional dysfunction and relational stability) was systematically denied or "explained away" through the assumption that it could all be attributed to internalized homophobia.
Meanwhile, new evidence slowly begins to build which links homosexuality to emotional dyfunction. Those researchers finding higher levels of emotional dysfunction have begun to postulate that (among other theories) homosexuality might constitute a developmental error.
When a scientific revolution is brewing, advocates of the new, emerging model struggle with the advocates of the old one as to how new evidence should be interpreted.
In his article "Fathers and Brothers," ex-gay ministry leader Alan Medinger warns about the homosexual man's need to be "reparented" by an older male so that he can complete his journey into heterosexual manhood.
"The needy one," Mr. Medinger explains, "like a little boy, often demands a father who will be his all-in-all. This Dad must offer security, guidance, comfort, authority, direction...all the things a small child needs."
However, in reality, "it is a rare man who can fill such a role."
"Furthermore," he adds, "as adults, to look to a man to fulfill all this is to risk drifting into idolatry. Men who seek such a relationship are likely setting themselves up for disappointment."
"In our ministry, I have had a number of men and women seek to put me in such a father role. Almost always, I failed them. I could not be to them what a father is to a little child...Typically, they could not stand to see my flaws and weaknesses...Often, this led to anger on their part. Another man, just like their father, had let them down."
A better solution for the struggler, Mr. Medinger explains, is for to look for men with whom there is mutuality--"brothers" who will one day be supportive mentors and guides, but perhaps on another day, or in another way, require mentoring themselves. The older brother should first be manly--strong, encouraging, accepting and affirming--and secondly he should share with the struggler a genuine friendship (and not be his "project").
This older brother will not be a "daddy," which would cast the struggler in a little-boy role, but a manly friend who will help to fill in some of the struggler's "empty places." When the struggler comes to know this friend well, most likely that any counter-productive sexual tension will eventually diminish.
--"Fathers and Brothers," Regeneration News, December 2000, p. 1.