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if it looks like a duck...

I had Sean Hannity on the radio on the way home and he was interviewing Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, author of Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach.

Dr. Nicolosi was giving tips on how to change a child's course from that of homesexuality to heterosexuality. His tips included making sure the father of the child bonds with him while the mother stays "backs off."

His guidelines for determining if your child may be gay: if your son shows a preferences for dolls or if your daughter does "boy things."

He offers courses and studies and how to use therapy to make sure your kid doesn't grow up to be gay.

Personally, I think he offers courses and studies designed to rip people off and cause sever emotional damage to kids who already may be feeling confused about their lives.

No, there is no definitive proof that people are born gay. Nor is their proof that once someone realizes they are gay, that they can change. To take money from worried parents and stick a child in a therapy session where he is told their feelings are wrong and he needs to change seems like a very, very bad idea.

To me, this is clearly a case of someone taking his own personal agenda and trying to make it stick on everyone else. Why do people insist that everyone who doesn't live like they do must be doing it wrong?

I honestly don't think there is any such thing as a "recovery" from homesexuality, nor do I think there should be. Just as some people are tall or short or blonde or can run fast or jump high, some people are gay. It's just a part of who a person is and to condemn that part of a person and try to force him to change is to make that person deny who he is.

I really have nothing definitive to say about this. It just pissed me off enough to vent about it.

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Comments

Grrrr. I'm with you, Michele. The whole thing presupposes that "being gay" is something you need to be "cured of" in the first place. Huh? Is being queer like getting the flu? [puts hand to forehead] Funny, I don't seem to have a fever.

No one ever told me I needed to be "cured" of being tall (genetic) or right-handed (genetic, but technically possible to change) or speaking with a nasal New York accent (environmental, possible to change). Why then should I be "cured" of being bisexual, whether its cause is genetic, environmental, or some combination thereof?

And all reports and research seem to say that you really can't change your sexual orientation, whatever it may be. In other words, the vaunted "cure" doesn't even work. For example, the two men who founded Exodus International, the religious "be set free from homosexuality" cult, both eventually realized that they couldn't change their orientation, and ran off together and have lived happily ever after. (Their ex-wives, meanwhile, now run the group.)

Thousands of people go through that and similiar programs all in an effort to change their orientation (helloooooo internalized homophobia!). If all that motivation, time, and effort can't change a person's wiring--and we're talking up to and including electroshock aversion therapy here to condition people like Pavlov's dogs--then gee, maybe the reason the "cure" doesn't work, is because being non-hetero isn't some disease or disorder?

It's true that a small number of very religious, very motivated gay people have managed to have heterosexual marriages and all that, but they themselves still report that they primarily like thinking about same-sex sex...they just don't act on it. In other words, they're still just as queer, but now they're also repressed and bitter and trapped in sexually unfulfilling marriages. Gee. How fun.

Aren't there better things out there for doctors to "cure"--like, say, cancer or stupidity?

Dr. Nicolosi is full of crap.

That is so dumb...
What will he do for an encore, make me prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla?

See, that's the nice thing about being bi. You can eat all the ice cream you like, any flavor you want. :-)

People like this "doctor" infuriate me. I could care less who my children grow up to love and be loved by, just as long as they're loved.

Unless it's a Frenchman/woman, then they're disowned.

Not only is the idea of "curing" homosexuality really freakin' dumb, this sounds even dumber. Just because you don't necessarily conform to all of the preconceived gender roles in society doesn't mean you are gay, and this will just lead to more confusion when boys are told they're going to turn gay because they like to cook or something...

My boyfriend and I, for example, have a pretty average heterosexual sex life, yet in a lot of other personality aspects, I'm the masculine one and he's the feminine one. It's a lot more complicated than people think.

Thank you, Michele, for bringing this neophrenologist's Burgessian methodology back into my mind. I'll be writing more about this soon, rest assured.

For now, you might be interested in hearing what a real professional in the field has to say about this man's work, rather than what I, as an amateur journalist -- at best -- am in the process of compiling.

Hey!

As a gay man I remember this stuff. Except I wanted to have some fun with the really cute fishing guide.

Gee - by that scary ass logic, my 2 daughters (2 and 6) are destined to be gay. They build with Legos and play with Tonka trucks.
That doc needs a life. Perhaps he can research and cure some real diseases like cancer.

well damn. I must be gay, too...considering I had the biggest, baddest collection of Tonka toys on my block. This is really gonna piss off my husband.

Ok... so I am a Christian, and I strongly disagree with homosexuality. Having said that, a few things:
This doctor is a quack. He is, indeed, preying upon fundamentalists who are afraid that their child is gonna grow up and be a "heathen fag satan worshipper, omigod!"
Being gay doesn't make one less of a person, and isn't something that requires curing. Cancer requires curing. Killing children on a bus? THAT requires curing.
I happen to live near CSU. Earlier this year, the Rams played the UWyo Cowboys. This year some crackpots from a Kansas church came out to the stadium to celebrate Matthew Shepard's fourth year of torment in Hell. It was disgusting, and probably this doctor holds a similar viewpoint. Assheads like these make levelheaded types like me look bad. I'm going to borrow Misha's Clue Bat for a minute...

bisexual and proud of it.

nothing new..people are weird. pah

What's the beef? You may disagree with his tone, but Nicolosi makes more sense than the wankers screaming about -- but not finding -- a "gay" gene. Gimme a break...

"the wankers screaming about -- but not finding -- a "gay" gene"

Er, no. A number of possible genetic markers have been found, including one promising one on the X chromosome (which might explain why there are many more gay men than lesbian women- women would need two copies, since they have two X chromosomes, whereas men only have one). There's nothing absolutely definitive yet, but they've only been searching for what, ~10 years?

This all presupposes that it's a wholly 100% genetic thing, though, and I don't think that's true for all people.

"This year some crackpots from a Kansas church came out to the stadium to celebrate Matthew Shepard's fourth year of torment in Hell."

That's pretty damn sick.
If there actually WAS a Hell... I thank God it's not up to humans to decide who goes there... and it's sure as hell not a cause to celebrate someone's torment. But yeah, I went to fundaMENTAList churches like that. EVERYONE was going to hell (except them of course).

what a crock.

if your daughter does "boy things."

sweet! i'm gay, now. i wish somebody had told me sooner. i'm all out of oats.

at least my grandmother will stop pestering me to get married...

King's Kid's spew notwithstanding, one of the better theories of gay origins I've heard is the one which attributes gay and lesbian inclinations to the prenatal environment. It doesn't take a huge variation in level or timing of (for example) testosterone to modify the developmental path of an embryo... and don't forget, without certain developmental triggers a genotypic male will develop into something closely resembling a phenotypic female -- that's the "default configuration". To suggest that this can't extend to behavior is a bit shortsighted.

And why, I might ask King's Kid, can't these hormone levels be subject to heritable influence? It would completely astonish me if they weren't genetic to some very significant degree.

But I suspect I'm arguing with an idiot...

Michele, don't you realize that as a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy you are not allowed to allow gays to be gay?

Dammit, woman, turn over your card!

I'm going to be kicked out, aren't i?

Damn, Meryl, has the Religious Right completed the takeover of the VRWC?

I still had my hopes up, down here in the trenches...

Let's see.... my son had a dollhouse(ran his pet mouse around in it) and had a stuffed critter. He also now tears things apart & rebuilds them, and like girls.

My daughter has a pile of stuffed critters, and likes cooking. She also likes knives & swords, and is a better pistol shot than most adults I know.

The doc is full of crap

Spew? Arguing with an idiot? Okay, so why does Troy presume that one who disagrees is necessarily an idiot? (Possibly, but not necessarily.) I'd expect that from the lefties, but not here.

As to why hormone levels can't be subject to heritable influence, I will reserve judgement until I've seen any concrete evidence thereof.

Justifying behavior choices -- who you choose to sleep with -- by "blaming" heredity doesn't pass the logic test. Yes, some folks may be predisposed to homosexual behaviour much as others are predisposed to alcoholism, but in both cases there are choices -- hard choices -- involved in choosing to follow through with the behaviour. I can choose to take that third drink or to chase my neighbor's wife/husband, or not. That's the thing that in my mind raises us above the animals.

"Justifying behavior choices..."

But that's the thing--it's not the behavior that makes people queer, it's the orientation, or the wiring, or the inclination, or however you want to say it.

A heterosexual who has never had sex--or kissed, for that matter--someone of the opposite sex is still heterosexual, even if they're a virgin. You're not a "blank slate" wholly molded by your sexual encounters, or lack thereof; what about instinctive sexual/erotic responses? A fourteen-year-old boy who gets a hard-on for Britney Spears and Anna Kournikova is probably straight, even if he's never kissed a real live girl. A gay man who chooses not to sleep with men is still a gay man...just probably a whole lot crankier. :-)

"...some folks may be predisposed to homosexual behaviour much as others are predisposed to alcoholism, but in both cases there are choices..."

I've heard the alcoholism analogy a number of times and I think it's flawed on a lot of levels. For one thing, it's insulting. Alcoholism is a disease, and an intrinsically detrimental and destructive one at that. It affects the alcoholic primarily, but also spirals outwards and affects his/her children and co-workers and other areas of his/her life in a very negative fashion. It is also often fatal.

Homosexuality (or bisexuality) is not a disease, and need not be inherently destructive. (And please don't mention AIDS--that's a result of promiscuity, not homosexuality. While the two do often go together, that's usually in gay men, because, well, they're men. It also ignores that lesbians have far lower rates of AIDS and other STD's than even most heterosexual women, because lesbians are usually highly monagamous, even moreso than the straight chicks.)

Also, in comparing that John Doe may be genetically predisposed to want to get drunk all the time (and thereby wreck his life) and that Jane Doe is predisposed to like dating women is to imply that Jane's predisposition is just as "wrong" and destructive and should therefore be resisted just as much as John's. That has no basis in fact; it's just a value judgement that lesbianism is somehow as damaging as getting drunk all the time, and so therefore Jane should do her darnedest to resist dating women. It's a value judgement that I find to be utterly false. Compare the lives of your average hardcore alcoholic and your average middle-aged lesbian. Whose life (and health) is probably more screwed up? Compare the effects of alcoholism in a family and the effects of a child or parent being gay on a family. Which family will probably be more stable?

"I can choose to take that third drink or to chase my neighbor's wife/husband, or not. That's the thing that in my mind raises us above the animals."

Sure thing--but that still presupposes that homosexuality, whatever its cause, is intrinsically wrong, in any form, by any person, akin to socially-harmful acts like stealing or being an alcoholic. To which I reply: Huh? Who's getting hurt if Jane Doe finds her happiness with Jessica Smith? Where's the crime against humanity or society?

(I would suspect your answer would be something along the lines of "but it's a crime against God!" In which case, the whole argument grinds to complete stop, since we're not all the same religion.)

That all being said, I'm gonna go have a drink in a few minutes.

"it's not the behavior that makes people queer, it's the orientation, or the wiring"

- I would disagree, sort of. Again, given a predisposition toward homosexuality for whatever reason, the key element is the action taken on the inclination. I'm not an alcoholic if I never drink, though I may strongly crave it. (I know, I know, the alcoholic vs. homosexual thing again. Bear with me.) Inclination is not the same thing as genetic predisposition.

"Compare the lives of your average hardcore alcoholic and your average middle-aged lesbian. Whose life (and health) is probably more screwed up?"

- Granted, but not so for male homosexuals.

"I would suspect your answer would be something along the lines of "but it's a crime against God!"

- Did I mention God? Actually my reply would be more along the lines of "But it tain't natural!" Men and women's bodies were built to compliment each other. AIDS aside, some things are not meant to be put some places.

Love your stuff by the way. ;)

The point you are overlooking - or avoiding -, King's Kid, is that there is more to homosexuality than sex. There are relationships and love.

I seriously take to task anyone who would deny someone a loving relationship because of the genders of the couple involved.

King's Kid sez "As to why hormone levels can't be subject to heritable influence, I will reserve judgement until I've seen any concrete evidence thereof.

Okay, this one's pathetically easy. Kiddo, WTF do you suppose tells people's bodies to be male or female, if it's not heritable hormone levels? And just because you've neglected to research the scientific literature doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This student paper lists a dozen relevant peer-reviewed scientific studies, and it was only the first of several hundred referenced links in the google search. If you can't find them, you're not trying...

And as for the "it ain't natural" stretch, check out this scholarly book by biologist Bruce Bagemihl; the text from a Time review of it is here. Just a sample quote:

"For a love that long dared not speak its name, animal homosexuality is astonishingly common. Scouring zoological journals and conducting extensive interviews with scientists, Bagemihl found same-sex pairings documented in more than 450 different species. In a world teeming with more than 1 million species, that may not seem like much. Animals, however, can be surprisingly prim about when and under whose prying eye they engage in sexual activity; as few as 2,000 species have thus been observed closely enough to reveal their full range of coupling behavior. Within such a small sampling, 450 represents more than 20%.

That 20% may spend its time lustily or quite tenderly. Among bonobos, a chimplike ape, homosexual pairings account for as much as 50% of all sexual activity. Females especially engage in repeated acts of same-sex sex, spending far more than the 12 or so seconds the whole transaction can take when a randy male is involved. Male giraffes practice necking--literally--in a very big way, entwining their long bodies until both partners become sexually aroused. Heterosexual and homosexual dolphin pairs engage in face-to-face sexual encounters that look altogether human.
Animals as diverse as elephants and rodents practice same-sex mounting, and macaques raise that affection ante further, often kissing while assuming a coital position. Same-gender sexual activity, says Bagemihl, "encompasses a wide range of forms."

What struck Bagemihl most is those forms that go beyond mere sexual gratification. Humboldt penguins may have homosexual unions that last six years; male greylag geese may stay paired for 15 years--a lifetime commitment when you've got the lifespan of a goose. Bears and some other mammals may bring their young into homosexual unions, raising them with their same-sex partner just as they would with a member of the opposite sex."

And finally, just in case you want to insist that somehow humans are different, recent results from a study of "gay" sheep say differently:

"Gay sheep that mate only with other rams have different brain structures from 'straight' sheep, a finding that may shed light on human sexuality, U.S. researchers said Monday.

"The differences are similar to those seen in some homosexual humans, but probably only go a small way to explaining the causes of different sexual preferences, the team at Oregon Health & Science University said."

Enlighten yourself; it's so much better than ignorance.

Actually my reply would be more along the lines of "But it tain't natural!" Men and women's bodies were built to compliment each other.

I don't know how people can claim to know what men's and women's bodies were built for. They aren't built primarily for making babies, since it's become a choice of whether or not to have children in the world and not an expectation. Regardless, I know that my body compliments other girls' bodies, for a fact. Much better than it ever did a man's, so unless you have some concrete information that I'm missing, I think your idea is a bit faulty.

purely from being a "fag hag" since i was twelve (which is certainly not empirical evidence) i'm convinced that sexuality is hardwired. for the main point, which i've heard over and over again, especially in trying to convince parents that it's inborn, what boy would choose to be gay? hooray, eighteen years of being mocked and beaten up and shunned by my family and my church. where do i sign up?

there are certainly cases where individuals are "driven away" from their heterosexuality by abuse or rebellion, but that's rare.

anyway, here's my thing. if sexuality were genetic or developed by hormones in utero, wouldn't all twins have the same sexual orientation?

shit, love and sex are confusing enough without worrying about gender.

Yeah. I do know (from college) one pair of totally identical twins where one brother is straight and one brother is gay. The straight brother, though not homophobic and a very nice guy, was kind of freaked out when his brother came out to him. Same genes, same hormones in the womb, so what gives? [shrug]

Same genes, but different placentas...

Identical twins rarely have exactly the same birth weight, and there are always small physical differences between them. The genetic program might be the same, but the implementation of that program is accomplished via feedback between dozens if not hundreds of hormones, largely between the fetus and its placenta; mom's contribution, while significant, isn't overwhelming.

But there's still a large (IIRC >50%) probability that both identical twins will be gay if one is; don't have the link, though.

One of my sisters is a lesbian, and always was; I don't know how someone can watch that happen over a child's life and think it's not inate.

really?! i didn't know there was more than one placenta with identical twins. but, then, i don't even know when the placenta forms. gads, you'd never know i started out as a biopsych major. blush

The real question, I suppose, is a moral one. Take away any discussion of morality and any behaviour is acceptable.

Okay, KK, now we're getting down to the brass tacks, after a few rounds of obfuscation.

Now, tell me why, exactly, do you think that homosexuality is immoral?

And while you're at it, please clarify: are you accusing me, Asparagirl and Tanya of lacking morals, or did it just accidently sound that way?

Doh! That's too good to pass up! Were you obfuscating?

I will say that I am not a relativist. What's wrong is wrong and what's right is right. My question to you is this -- upon what standard do you base your life/actions/beliefs? That's the moral I compass referred to previously. On what basis do you decry radical Islam as wrong? Because some/many of it's adherents do bad things? What right do you have to say that blowing up people is a bad thing? Is it because you have a framework of beliefs that you base your life on?
I do the same thing. My beliefs are based on (gasp!) conservative Chrisitianity. I have no right to condemn individuals -- that's thankfully not in my job jar. We are called to call people to account for their actions and bring them into a relationship with God. Dat's what it's about. A spade is a spade and not a damn shovel.

quote me an actual passage if i'm wrong, but doesn't the bible only say that priests are sinful if they're homosexual?

and for someone who professes to not have the right to condemn individuals, you sound awfully judgmental. you have no idea what anyone's relationship with god is. one's sexual preference does not determine one's faith.

Scripture is pretty unequivocal regarding homosexuality or any sin for that matter. I've never seen anything that only priests are sinful if homosexual.

Your are spot on -- I have no idea what anyone's relationship with God is like except my own. And I do have friends who are homosexual. Who they -- or you or anyone -- sleeps with is strictly between that person and God. He's the one you need to convince, not me. (But don't forget that he wrote the rules!)

One of the often-quoted passages that references homosexuality that I particularly is in Romans, I think. Paul lists a litany of things the Romans did including homosexuality, rape, murder, etc, etc, and they were disrespectful to their parents. The point is that homosexuality is no more (or less) ugly than any other sin in God's eyes. It's all the same. My laziness or anger or lustful thoughts are on the same level as rape, murder or anything else. The ultimate cool thing is that it all gets washed away if you just ask. That blows my mind.

KK asks "Were you obfuscating? "

Uh, no; you were. You began by making claims about homosexuality which weren't true, and when shown their falsehood you substituted new ones, which were also shot down. Now you've managed to finally come 'round to admitting your real reasons for those beliefs -- you've heard that some god or another claimed that homosex was bad. My, my -- a dear friend of mine devoutly believes that God created homosexuality in humans for a reason: it allows them to partake of the very-human joys of companionship without contributing to the population problem. I happen to disagree with both of you -- I'm an atheist -- but that's the way it is with religion, isn't it... overall, it's lacking in consistency.

You also apparently think that morals and ethics are necessarily derived from religious doctrines, which happens to be far from the reality. While it's certainly possible to do it that way, Steven Den Beste has written at great length about alternatives -- alternatives which in his opinion (and in mine) are far better than relying on some dominant religion to set the laws. If your religion provides the only reason that homosexuality is bad, then I'm sorry to tell you that using it to set the law happens to be unconstitutional in our great country.

And finally, I'm in complete agreement with Tanya: you sound thoroughly judgmental to me (and in fact you were the one who started the ad hominem attacks, contrary to the impression you manage to give on your own blog; I guess the morality and ethics of truth-telling are relative, huh?). Your views appear startlingly similar to those of the supporters of Sharia... they also believe they are "called to call people to account for their actions and bring them into a relationship with God". One would sincerely hope you aren't inclined to blow people up in the course of your endeavor, nor to kill the transgressors of your religious laws.

Nice try, Troy. I'll be out of town for the week and will touch base on return.

Tanya, I re-read my earlier statment and wanted to clarify it. In some cases, but not all, identical twins have separate placentas, and they usually have separate amnios. It depends on when the split occurs (same-placenta/same-amnio can lead to Siamese twinning, after a very late split).

Even if they share a placenta, though, the choreography of development isn't identical between the two fetuses: it's stochastic to a degree, like everything in biological systems, and the details of the interaction are internal to the developing fetus in all cases.

I didn't want to leave you with bad info, even though the thrust of my argument was unchanged... sorry for the confusion.