Former ex-gays study

Page:   1 2

Joined in 2008
October 18, 2008, 16:16


I’m an undergraduate student studying social inquiry at UTS in Sydney. As part of my coursework, I am engaging in a small-scale research project that aims to examine the perspectives of former members of what I call “ex-gay institutions” – organisations dedicated to trying to stop a person being homosexual – and am looking for people in the Sydney area who have attended an ex-gay institution, and since left, who would be interested in participating in my research.

Participation in the research will consist of sitting down with me for an in-depth, recorded interview that will last approximately 30-45 minutes, and which will touch on issues of sexuality, religion and on ex-gay institutions and ex-gay therapy. Participation in the study will be kept confidential, and participants will be free to stop participating at any time without needing to state a reason.

My understanding is that ex-gay therapy can be a traumatic experience, which is why, for ethical reasons, I would prefer participants who have stopped attending an ex-gay institution for long enough to gain some emotional distance from their experiences. I’m working on the assumption that being out for at least 1 year should be sufficient, although I would welcome any correction from other people on that score.

If you are interested and live in or near Sydney, please contact me on either [email protected] or on my university e-mail address of [email protected] to organise an initial meeting where I can explain the research process in more detail. Please feel free to contact either myself or my course supervisor Kyunja Jung (e-mail: [email protected]) should you have any further questions.

Neil H

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 18, 2008, 20:41

this kind of research is very important. Similar research has been done overseas but not in Australia as far as i’m aware.

i would encourage anyone who has been or knows of someone who has been through any ex-gay program to contact Neil. I did my interview today.

Joined in 2005
October 21, 2008, 20:43

Hi Neil,

do you really think your research will make any difference ?

Joined in 2008
October 21, 2008, 21:52

Hi Neil,

do you really think your research will make any difference ?

I would hope that it would make a difference to the participants. The type of social research I’m training in adopts a standpoint that those who participate in social research stand to benefit from an academic examination, as it can provide them with insights into their situation that might not otherwise be available. Something I didn’t mention in my initial solicitation: a copy of my final report will be made available to participants (all participants will of course be anonymised in the report). It is considered an essential part of ethical research at UTS to do that.

As to whether it will make a difference to the broader society….I wish I was further along in my study so that I could answer with an unequivocal “yes”. As it is, I am only an undergraduate, and my research is necessarily small-scale for that reason. I am not yet ready to submit anything to scholarly journals for publication. I can hopefully influence further study in this area, or even do it myself further down the track in post-graduate work, though. I would very much like to see that happen.

I want it to happen because, although I’ve never engaged in any “ex-gay” treatment myself, the issue is one I think is very important to those who struggled to resolve issues with their own sexuality (although admittedly my struggles with my own bisexuality were not related to any religious beliefs I had). And there’s a paucity of existing study of the issue in academic literature: I’ve found an ethnographic study of current ex-gays, I’ve found interviews done with gay Christian men and women that touched briefly (far too briefly) and tangentially on issues faced by former participants of ex-gay therapy, and I’ve recently found the personal biography of Anthony Venn-Brown, but there’s nothing specifically targeted at studying the common personal experiences of former participants of ex-gay ministries more broadly. I would like to at least try to fill that gap.

One difference that has come about recently in response to my asking about this: Anthony has created a website specifically dedicated to former ex-gays from Australia and New Zealand: It’s a small thing, but I think it’s important.

Joined in 2005
October 22, 2008, 09:41

I guess only time will tell.

Wishing you all the best with the research!


Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 22, 2008, 10:35

this is not about self promotion.….but I do often wonder how many people are living very different lives today because I told my story. I’m not sure but possibly boyjuice you are one of them. If the emails are any indication it would be in the 1000’s.

so now I’ve done my job……its up to others to tell their stories …..remember….its not my story its our stories that will make a difference.

Was it painful to tell my story…..of course it was….to go back and visit the things I’d blocked out and wished never to remember again took an enormous toll. Writing the second edition over two months put me in bed for 3 days…but it had to be done for a greater cause…….and in the end I know it has brought me to the place of healing and resolution.

hope that helps

Joined in 2006
October 25, 2008, 08:07

Thought this might be interesting to put in here:

Survivor Recalls Leading Ex-Gay Therapist’s HIV/AIDS Superstitions and Research Fraud

Posted May 3rd, 2008 by Michael Airhart

Ex-gay survivor Daniel Gonzales remembers being forced to sit with his father as a leading ex-gay therapist tried to make them falsely believe that Gonzales had been abused as a child. The same therapist later urged Gonzales to help him rig the results of a flawed 2001 study by Dr. Robert Spitzer.

Former ex-gay Peterson Toscano was horrified to discover that the same therapist — the longtime president of a supposedly secular organization that promotes ex-gay therapy — has been using his phony claim to be secular to spread blatant religion-based bigotry having nothing to do with science or mental health.

Now, from 2006 Yale University graduate Gabriel Arana, comes word that the therapist — Joseph Nicolosi of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality — mis-counseled him for three years, teaching him superstitions instead of truth. Among the myths:

homosexuality is a sublimated desire to reconnect with one’s lost masculinity (the homos-are-pansies theory)

under-attentive fathers and over-attentive mothers create gay children (the parent-bashing quackery promoted by Exodus and Focus on the Family)

More alarming: Arana confirms Gonzales’ accusation — denied by Spitzer — that Nicolosi actively sought to rig Spitzer’s survey of alleged success stories among ex-gay counselees. In other words, Nicolosi allegedly fostered research fraud:

In fact, I know Dr. Robert Spitzer’s study well. Dr. Nicolosi asked me to participate in it, but instructed me not to reveal that he had referred me; while he wanted his organization’s views represented, he did not want to bring into question the study’s integrity. Wacker must not have read Dr. Spitzer’s study, or perhaps he has a naïve understanding of scientific inquiry. Otherwise he would know that the study consisted of informal interviews with ex-gays and those still in therapy; it was merely a report of what they had said. The APA and the psychological community have criticized the ex-gay movement for not providing controlled, long-term studies — to date, none exist.

If you had asked me at the time whether I thought therapy was working, I would have said yes.

Spitzer’s study was rejected by the mainstream mental-health community because of numerous methodological flaws, among them it’s failure to track its ex-gay activist participants beyond a single, subjective, 45-minute telephone interview and its failure to survey the majority of ex-gay counselees who considered their programs to have been misguided failures.

Like Toscano, Arana observes that Nicolosi and NARTH are not true professional organizations:

While NARTH pegs itself as a purely professional organization, it is telling that Dr. Nicolosi’s office is named the St. Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic.

Unlike most ex-gay counselees, who are counseled by unlicensed amateurs, Arana was able to obtain records of his ex-gay counseling.

Most alarming of all: Nicolosi’s reckless and lewd misinformation about HIV/AIDS:

Years after I stopped therapy, I requested the case notes, knowing they would be destroyed after seven years. They provided an annotated collection of long-forgotten events. Next to the description of an argument with a male friend, Dr. Nicolosi scribbled “needs to look at the real source.” This was code: whatever the problem, it would be traced back to my lost masculine sense of self; I was angry because my friend had not paid attention to me as my father had not. Much of therapy also involved uncovering the numerous ways in which my parents had cheated me (as a teenager, I was more than happy to blame things on them).

Disgust with what was termed the “gay lifestyle” was implicit in therapy. I remember Dr. Nicolosi telling me, in response to the question of whether one could easily contract HIV from semen, that if this were the case then gays would be “jerking off in hamburgers all over” to infect people.

Nicolosi’s suggestion that HIV could not be spread by semen — and that gay people deliberately try to infect the public — should shock any public official who considers granting NARTH and its adherents access to public schools and “faith-based” public funding.

While ex-gay therapy wasn’t all bad — Arana learned to be a bit more athletic — the end result was that Arana felt cheated out of years of productive living by a therapist who undermines patients’ self-confidence, fosters fear, and conditions patients to believe they will be unhappy unless they conform to ex-gay ideology and stereotyping.

Truth Wins Out encourages current and former ex-gay counselees who are concerned about therapists fostering flawed advice or research fraud among future patients to contact us — confidentiality guaranteed upon request — with your experiences.

Counselees who need support in their recovery from the confusion, depression, self-denial, and self-defeating behaviors that result from ex-gay therapy may contact fellow survivors at Beyond Ex-Gay.

Joined in 2007
October 25, 2008, 09:21

The APA and the psychological community have criticized the ex-gay movement for not providing controlled, long-term studies — to date, none exist.

So my question is, how on earth do you study something in a cotrolled environment for the long term when the only “evidence” for being ex-gay or for being previously gay at all is the participants testimony? Add to that the Christian pressure to become ex-gay or the hatred of Christianity amoung many ex-ex-gays and you have a recipie for disaster! Everybody has an adgenda.

Comments like this anoy me, as if somehow the validity of the movement is compromised because the results can only be measured in personal testimony, which is what Spitzer did. Just because the results you garner from people are never going to be 100% accurate doesn’t mean it works or it doesnt work. It just means that people lie. The very existance of ex-ex gay support groups is evidence of this.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 26, 2008, 17:26

Anecdotal evidence can be useful but as we have seen with some ‘ex-gay’ studies it doesn’t actually prove anything…..except that you can deceive yourself and others in order to create a place of security where you dont have to face the real issue…..that is…..I am still attracted to men….10, 15 20 years later.

had I done the Spitzer interview….I too would have given the impression that I had changed….there would have been too much at stake for me to be honest with myself about what was reallly going on.

So in essence I would have lied.

I think Niels research is more about the experience of trying to turn from gay to straight and its impact rather that than the quantitative data of lets prove it did or didn’t work.

Joined in 2007
October 26, 2008, 21:31

I think Niels research is more about the experience of trying to turn from gay to straight and its impact rather that than the quantitative data of lets prove it did or didn’t work.

Sorry I didn’t mean to give the impression I was talking about Neil, I was referring to the article that cited the Spitzer study only.

Maybe someone should try telling the Australian Psychology Association and the phychological community that NONE of Frued’s theorys have been scientifically validated despite a whole stream of Freudian psychology being devoted to them or that Darwin, their hero, became a Christian once again before he died and stated that God created everything. Sorry, its my research monster comimg out, its just ridiclous to try and discredit a study for the reasons stated when its completly impossible to do what they are asking. Ok sorry, time to let it go…

I have never tried to be ex-gay so I really have nothing to add at a personal level… except philosophical museings on why a conservative Christian like myself has never tried to be ex-gay… hmmmm

Maybe I’ve just read A Life of Unlearning too many times. Written by a marvlous chap by the way, Anthony Venn-Brown in case you want to look him up I have it on good authority he is on a number of websites, he gets around that man. 😆 😆 😆

Page:   1 2
WP Forum Server by ForumPress | LucidCrew
Version: 99.9; Page loaded in: 0.091 seconds.