from About NARTH
--Richard E. Redding, "Grappling With Diverse Conceptions of Diversity,"
American Psychologist, April 2002, p. 301.
In April 2001, the American Psychologist--the journal of the American Psychological Association--published a lead article entitled, "Sociopolitical Diversity in Psychology: The Case for Pluralism." The author, Richard Redding, argued that the psychological profession lacks political diversity.
The April 2002 issue of the American Psychologist followed up with published commentaries to the Redding article. Here are some of those clinicians' comments:
"Those charged with guiding students during [the clinical training] process have a responsibility to ensure that they do not impose their own worldview on students...It is critical that students be able to honestly express their feelings and concerns without fear of ridicule, sanction, or retribution by those in power."Since its 1992 founding, NARTH has been calling for just what those clinicians agree is absolutely essential within the profession: an openness to differing worldviews, values and philosophies.
"...although many in the field of multicultural supervision and training write about the need to 'provide trainees with a highly supportive environment,' trainees' differing ideas about such sensitive issues as gay rights...could unfortunately lead those directly responsible for their therapy training to label them as problematic or otherwise clinically 'impaired'..."
"...psychology needs to court a greater diversity of voices..."
"What justification has psychology to identify moral principles or social policies that are right for society?"
"Supporters (such as me) of psychology's efforts to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and multi-cultural approaches to research and practice should embrace an expanded definition of diversity that includes socio-political values."
The American Psychological Association has assumed an authority it cannot rightly claim. The group claims that science has somehow "proven" that homosexuality and heterosexuality are qualitatively indistinguishable. Thus A.P.A. advocates in the political arena for a broad array of social policies--telling our lawmakers that science supports, if not in fact mandates, gay marriage and adoption--as if any particular social policy could flow directly from the facts (from an "is" to an "ought") without an intervening philosophical judgment.
NARTH has responded to the mental-health professions' refusal to open itself up to socio-political diversity by advocating here for another view of sexuality and gender. No philosophical position--ours or the A.P.A.'s--is, or can be, scientifically "neutral."
NARTH's function is to provide psychological understanding of the cause, treatment and behavior patterns associated with homosexuality, within the boundaries of a civil public dialogue.
We respect others' right to differ with us. We do not support coercive therapy--indeed, the basic human rights of dignity, autonomy and free agency require that it be the client who chooses whether to embrace life as gay or lesbian, or to work toward change.
But the fact that we respect and welcome intellectual diversity does not mean that we have no opinions--or that we consider all conflicting viewpoints to be equally valid. Toleration of difference does not require intellectual apathy. A respect for pluralism does not mandate relativism.
And so on these pages, we will make our case for what we believe to be the truth--as indeed, gay advocates also do, with equal intensity and conviction--in the public forum.
During the last 25 years, powerful political pressures have done much to erode scientific study of homosexuality. As a result, there is now great misunderstanding surrounding this issue. Because of the angry tenor of the debate, many researchers have been intimidated, we believe, into trading the truth for silence.
Fifty years ago, researcher C.D. King offered a very useful definition of "normal." The practical wisdom of that definition is still apparent. Normality, he said, is "that which functions according to its design."
As clinicians, we have witnessed the intense suffering caused by homosexuality, which many of our members see as a "failure to function according to design." Homosexuality distorts the natural bond of friendship that would naturally unite persons of the same sex. It threatens the continuity of traditional male-female marriage--a bond which is naturally anchored by the complementarity of the sexes, and has long been considered essential for the protection of children.
In males, homosexuality it is associated with poor relationship with father; difficulty individuating from mother; a sense of masculine deficit; and a persistent belief of having been different from, and misunderstood by, same-sex childhood peers. In adulthood we also see a persistent pattern of maladaptive behaviors and a documented higher level of psychiatric complaints.
Professionals who belong to NARTH comprise a wide variety of men and women who defend the right to pursue change of sexual orientation. This right-to-change is currently under threat by all of the leading mental-health professional organizations. Students writing doctoral dissertations on sexual reorientation are being discouraged from pursuing their projects; researchers are silenced and cannot find funding; and clinicians are concerned about harrassment from their professional associations.
Most NARTH members consider homosexuality to be developmental in origin. Others simply defend the right to psychological care regardless of the genesis of homosexuality. They have joined NARTH because they know the client's right to choose his own direction of treatment must be protected.
There is also a wide range of religious and life philosophies represented among our members, including Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Bah'ai, Protestant, Muslim, and secular humanist/atheist.
Today, children from kindergarten through college are being taught that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle option with no disadvantages other than society's disapproval. Sexually confused teenagers are encouraged to investigate homosexual relationships when they are too young to make critical lifestyle decisions. If they seek counseling, they are told that change from homosexuality is impossible.
Gender-disturbed children are no longer helped to become more comfortable with their own biological sex, or with the same-sex peers they have been avoiding. Instead, counselors tell their parents, "Your child is fine--the only problem is with society."
It is NARTH's aim to provide a different perspective. Particularly, we want to clarify that homosexuality is not "inborn," and that gays are not "a people," in the same sense that an ethnic group is "a people"--but instead, they are (like all of us) simply individuals who exhibit particular patterns of feelings and behavior.
When gay advocates reframed the public debate as a discussion about "who one is" rather than "what one does," they successfully intimidated dissenters by casting them as personally bigoted and hateful. As a result, most people who defend the reality of male-female design have been embarrassed into public silence.
NARTH stands ready to advise government, educational, and mental-health agencies as well as the media and religious groups on issues pertaining to homosexuality.
Sympathetic individuals are asked to join our organization as a "Friend of NARTH." (See the membership page on this website.) With your help, we will deepen and expand the level of public debate.