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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yo California : Stop With The NARTH Thing

  California has certainly been a state that, as a whole, is considered one of the more socially liberal states in the Union. Millions of folks flock to the Golden State from all corners of the Earth to enjoy sun and sand to be sure, but also a climate in which they can be themselves without being arrested or murdered by law enforcement. Knowing numerous people who reside in the state and being a fan of it myself, I was shocked when I opened my browser this morning.

  The folks over at Towleroad received an email from a member of the medical community who is disturbed that the state that allows kids to have gay heroes in class projects has National Association For Research and Therapy of Homosexuality as an accredited organization from which members can gain credits toward license renewal.

 I was wondering if you could help me raise awareness about in issue. I am a Licensed Educational Psychologist here in Los Angeles. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences is responsible for licensing LEPs, MFTs, and LCSWs here in California. I was recently looking at BBS website in order to determine which organizations I could obtain my continuing education credits from in order to renew my license. Much to my shock and sadness, the BBS accepts CEUs from NARTH. I am absolutely appalled. No therapist in California should be able to renew their license by obtaining CEUs from this hateful organization. "Homosexual conversion therapy" is not supported by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, or the American Counselors Association. I have written the the BBS with my concerns, but I have not heard back. 

  If you're unaware, NARTH is not what in any way could be considered a legitimate therapeutic network. Yes, they do indeed have doctors on their board, but their mission statement leaves no doubt as to their actual motives: "The National Association For Research And Therapy Of Homosexuality is a self-described non-profit, educational organisation dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality". 

  NARTH itself is not a religious organization, but does partner with numerous religious 'ex-gay' groups like JONAH and Exodus, pretending to conduct studies about how dreadful The Gay is and why it must be cured. It's an interesting fact that one of the founding fathers of NARTH was Dr. Charles Socarides, a man who dedicated 50 years of his life to attempting to cure gays and in his book, stated that we're all secretly Jeffrey Dahmers. It should be noted that Dr. Socarides' obsession was with male homosexuality exclusively and that his son, Richard, is an emotionally balanced,  successful attorney and the president of Equality Matters, a gay rights organisation. Cofounders Benjamin Kaufman and Joseph Nicolisi also seem to be preoccupied with male homosexuality, simply dismissing the female as the result of some molestation or what-have-you that can be fixed with marriage. 

  These folks may be guys you haven't heard of, but there's one NARTH honcho you probably have seen on the news before. Former NARTH board member and scientific advisor George Rekers is a psychologist and Baptist minister (!) who was one of the founding members of the Christian hate group Family Research Council. Dr. Rekers' invented research has been used to defend Boy Scouts of America's ban on gays, and attempts to ban gay adoption in Arkansas as well as trying to ban gays and Native Americans from being foster parents in Florida. He also sells anti-gay and Abstinence-related materials to schools and has become a wealthy man offering up his 'expertise' to bigots all over North America. The fact that Dr. Rekers has had so-called 'cured' patients kill themselves wasn't a deterrent, but something that happened recently is. 

  Okay, so you still don't know who he is, right? I'll give you one word- Rentboy. Dr. Rekers was caught on tape on vacation with a young male masseur he met on Rekers claimed that he'd hired the kid to carry his luggage because of an old injury, but George is on the security video doing it himself. He then got on Christianity Today that his "travel assistant was more than a person raised in a Christian home". In reality, the kid was hired to provide nude massages that involved happy endings. Jovanni Roman, the young fellow, was convinced that the person talking to him about Jesus whilst getting a rubdown was certainly far from heterosexual.

  If the tale of George Rekers proves anything, it's that gay repairative therapy does not work. 18, 000 members of the American Medical Association petitioned for the removal of homosexuality from the DSM-II manual of psychological diseases. Over 65% of AMA members voted to stop curing a nonexistent disease in the early 1970's. Think about that for a second. 

  NARTH and its associated religious groups primarily use shame and guilt in order to convince their patients that being gay is a moral or natural wrong. The treatments which usually include mentoring by someone that claims to have been cured have been known to involve shouting in anger at one's mother for causing the gay, electric shocks, and administering of drugs that are designed to make one feel ill while flashing repeated gay images in front of the person. Individuals subjected to sexual orientation conversion therapy are often presented to hospitals with severe anxiety, depression, drug overdoses,  and suicide attempts. So damaging is conversion therapy that the AMA, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Association For Marriage and Family Therapy, National Association of Social Workers, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counselling Association, and many others have issued statements critical of the practice.

This all leads me to wonder exactly why the California Board of Behavioral Sciences allows mental health professionals to obtain credit by working for an organisation whose entire basis for existence is something that has been completely discredited. Why is NARTH listed as an accredited group when their members have been referred to as quacks and pseudoscientists many times by judges in cases that they've testified?

If Californians want to fly that freedom flag, they need to address the accreditation of people who earn their living by teaching young people to hate themselves. No longer endorsing a group which openly violates the APA code of ethics is something that will affect change across America because NARTH is headquartered in California and their reports are the primary source of 'science' that all of the anti-gay hate groups rely upon to justify their ridiculous claims. It is an insult to the dedicated people who counsel abused kids to allow their license to also be given to those who are dedicated to abusing kids. 

To tell the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to take NARTH off of their list, you can contact them vial mail, email, or online letter petition. 

For the Petition, click HERE

To send a comment to Continuing Education Cooridinator Patricia Fay, click

To express your concerns via snail mail:
Board of Behavioral Sciences
1625 N. Market Blvd. , Suite S-200
Sacramento, CA 95834

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