Perverts at Play: Sublimation, Rape Culture, and the Gay Fray

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Tiassa, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Abnormal, Wrong, Unnatural and Perverse

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    Try not to laugh, because this really is serious:

    JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives For Healing, is a counseling center that offers a controversial service. Through a variety of "scientific" techniques referred to by the vaguely Orwellian name of "Psycho-Educational Model for Healing Homosexuality," JONAH claims to help gay men become straight. For the next several weeks, a jury in New Jersey, where JONAH is based, will hear―at times in excruciating detail―about the practices that constitute this ostensible treatment. "Many of these processes involve nudity," David Dinielli, a lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center who is representing the plaintiffs, said at the outset of the trial. "Some involve cuddling between older counselors and young men, and some involve various props such as oranges, baby powder, handcuffs and duct tape."

    No, this is not a gay spin-off of Fifty Shades of Grey. Welcome to the bizarro world of conversion therapy―and to a case that is shaping up to be its death knell.

    The case, Ferguson v. JONAH, stems from a 2012 lawsuit filed by Unger, three other young men and two of their mothers. The plaintiffs have accused JONAH of fraudulently claiming its services could "cure" a person's sexual orientation. Although the mainstream mental health establishment firmly supports the plaintiffs' view that sexuality can't be changed through therapy, the defense argues that the plaintiffs left too soon to achieve the promised results. Unger was told his treatment would take two to four years. After a year, more depressed and anxious than when he started, and just as attracted to men, he dropped out. Charles LiMandri, the defense attorney, compared him and the other plaintiffs to unsuccessful dieters who drop out of Weight Watchers.


    And it only gets worse.

    No, really. Benjamin Unger testified about ... well ... right.

    For the first two days of the trial, Unger sat in the witness box and recounted the details of his experience. He recalled beating an effigy of his mother with a tennis racquet until his hands were bleeding. He recalled his therapist, Alan Downing, a named defendant in the suit, asking him to undress during a therapy session. (Unger said he took his shirt off, but fled when Downing asked him to remove his pants.) And he recalled Downing asking him in detail about his erections. According to Unger, Downing asserted that Unger's erections were caused not by an ongoing attraction to men but by a sort of unconscious memory of past attractions. Eliciting an audible gasp from the courtroom, Unger testified that Downing likened these erections to what happens when "your nephew sits on your lap."

    The classic examples of sublimation as ego defense are pretty straightforward; becoming a boxer because one likes to fight, and prizefighting makes that behavior acceptable; Freud went even further to suggest some surgeons of his day undertook that profession because they enjoyed cutting other people open.

    This, however, is the twenty-first century, and as conversion therapies for homosexuality draw more and more attention, we see that it is really nothing more than a massive, sublimated sex fantasy.

    In what Universe is sexual molestation considered therapeutic?

    Four states have already banned licensed therapists from offering the service to minors, and many more are considering similar laws. Last month, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced legislation known as the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which is based in part on the lawsuit against JONAH. If passed, the law would classify conversion therapy as a fraudulent practice that would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The law would also ban all advertising that claims the therapy can successfully change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Before the trial even began, the judge for the case, Peter Bariso Jr. of the Hudson County Superior Court, issued a damning ruling: Five out of six of JONAH's proposed expert witnesses are barred from testifying at the trial because their opinions are based on the belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder. "The theory that homosexuality is a disorder," Bariso wrote, "is not novel but―like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it―instead is outdated and refuted."

    When the Gay Fray arrived at my doorstep over twenty years ago, we were asked to declare that homosexuality was abnormal, wrong, unnatural and perverse.

    And where are we now, in 2015? Oranges, baby powder, handcuffs and duct tape.

    Because, you know, these are essential elements of molesting homosexuals for their own therapeutic benefit.

    We've known about rape culture for a long time, but look how far people are willing to take it in the name of religious freedom.

    Or, you know, why is it that the most damaging anti-gay bigots so often turn out to be closet cases?


    Shapiro, Lila. "'Oranges, Baby Powder, Handcuffs And Duct Tape': Inside The Trial That May End The Gay 'Cure'". The Huffington Post. 12 June 2015. 12 June 2015.
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    The same universe that had the medical profession sexually molesting women as treatment for "hysteria".
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Part the First

    Yeah ... (sigh) ... I decided to skip the Claudius Galen punch line.

    The thing is that as this all comes to the forefront, it's not like we didn't already know. In 2007, The Daily Show swiped at Richard Cohen↱, one of the leading proponents of this sort of conversion therapy, and it's true I can remember people doubling over in horrified laughter as we learned about beating pillows, and cuddling with one's same-sex therapist as anti-gay therapy. In 2009, Rachel Maddow hosted Mr. Cohen for a segment; it went about as poorly as you might imagine↱.

    Nor were these the first times some of us heard about these therapies.

    The difference between then and now, of course, is that the queer community is much more empowered to fight back.

    This, of course, terrifies homophobes; it is so unfair to them that the LGBTQ+ community is even allowed to fight back―Oh! the injustice!

    Here, Right Wing Watch↱ recently highlighted an episode in which Pat Robertson suggested re-education summer camps:

    When a “700 Club” viewer asked Pat Robertson today how she can convince her daughter, who recently introduced her to her girlfriend, to “give up the LGBT lifestyle,” the televangelist told the viewer to “pray that God will straighten her out” because “it may be a phase she’s going through.”

    “A little teenage girl doesn’t know what dress she’s supposed to wear much less what kind of sex she’s supposed to be,” he said, seemingly confusing sexual orientation with gender identity.

    Robertson then lamented the purported “pressure” to be gay: “There’s so much lesbian stuff, I mean, lesbian this, lesbian the other, so much homosexual — the media is pushing this as hard as they can possibly push it. I don’t know what to do, maybe get her in a camp, a Christian camp in the summer where they are really on fire for the Lord and maybe she will straighten things out.”

    And I will take the moment to wonder. The idea is called the sufficiently invisible lesbian, and refers to how so much of the anti-gay push focuses on penetrating people's consciences in order to play aesthetics, as if making people think about two men having anal sex will harden them against homosexuals. When the sufficiently invisible lesbian does come into view, though, this is always the outcome: What a female is "supposed to" do and be.

    There was an episode of Criminal Minds dealing with a killer whose etiology included having survived reparative therapy; the episode climax left me with two main questions, both of which are, in truth, answered quite easily. The first was, "What song is that?" And the answer is that this episode compelled me to finally notice the band Muse↱, despite the number of times I'd been told to check them out. The second was to wonder what the hell kind of dystopian point they were trying to make with their strange, inaccurate depiction of reparative therapy. The JONAH lawsuit reminds that I already knew the answer: Truth is stranger than fiction. And from an artistic standpoint the outcome makes sense because there is a cultural-symbolic value in having people strapped in and medicated; the audience should be able to recognize some downstream shreds of A Clockwork Orange. But that only explains the style they went with. The change was somewhat necessary, because, you know, if you stuck the bits about screeching at and beating effigies of your mother with a tennis racket in there, or the bit about same-sex molestation of clients by (ahem!) "therapists", such scenes would have confused the audience about why they would make a farce out of such an issue.

    And then, of course, there is Texas. Last month I had occasion to write some strange paragraphs:

    Consider the strange panic throughout the Gay Fray in which conservatives insisted on believing that the homosexuals were coming after their children. Part of this relied on one of the greatest sleights you might imagine, a satirical article read into the Congressional Record under the deliberate pretense of being real. After all, it is so naked a maneuver that we really should be surprised to still hear about it even today.

    But, you know ... They’re comin’ for your children!

    Thus, we should not be surprised at the news coming up from Texas ....

    .... And part of this is simply the times, but is there really any context by which they’re not taking it out on children with this sort of stunt?

    It’s a fair question. We’re talking religious re-education. Programming. Cult induction. Of children experiencing elevated need.

    Or, at least, that is what they are aiming to protect in Texas.

    This is also the bill―I cannot simply let this fact pass, full stop―that would protect those who force children to carry pregnancies↱, because, you know, Jesus and religious freedom↗. I mean, how often do I have occasion to look at something like inflicting conversion therapy on children and remind myself, "That's actually not the big issue, here ..."? This is a "Holy shit!" among rape culture horrors. And the one thing I have never accomplished in this context is connecting the pieces in a way that makes the obvious interconnection of these issues, through gendertyping, to the naked, inflamed expressions of rape culture that they are. I also admit it's very difficult to map such seemingly obvious subtleties amid a hissy-fit↱. But, come on. How? How is this happening in the twenty-first century?

    It was creepy↗ enough↱ when we grappled with the depths of depravity surrounding a Christian school in Virginia that basically reminded us how much of this obsession with gendertype really was about ownership culture and grooming.

    And, you know, for all I talk about ego defense, I should make clear: Ego defense is human. Like, in recent days I've been bugging a friend with online messages because I'm having way too much fun learning to wear a skirt. Indeed, this paragraph is sort of an example of how my neuroses and ego defense manifest on this count. It doesn't really matter; it shouldn't be any big deal. Who the fuck actually cares, you know? Yet this little moment or that is absolutely fascinating, and for other reasons yet a week away, I'm not discussing this with certain people I see face to face who probably haven't organized a betting pool, but generally wonder when I'm going to finally show up in a dress. That is to say, I know at least one person who gets to say, "I knew it." But it's true, like right now I'm fascinated with this little moment I had while smoking a cigarette, I caught a reflection, and the thing was hanging on me just right to create this bizarre illusion that I actually have a little bit of hip. Understand, please, I have no "feminine" figure, and in that context am virtually hipless. The sight of myself was absurdly amusing. Hopefully this phase will be over in a week, and I can just get on with this being a normal part of life. In the meantime, however, I'm bubbling over; this is the sort of feeling that isn't meant to be kept corked up, so my fascination finds all sorts of petty reasons to share it with others. As neuroses and ego defense go, this one is a can of corn. The discord between the idea that it shouldn't be a big deal and the significance of how the behavior is affecting my perceptions, feelings, and outward attitudes, is considerable, so I end up doing this stupid thing by I make a big deal out of insisting it isn't a big deal.

    End Part I
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Part the Second

    And this is exactly normal. Well, sort of. To each their own. But this is one of the most benign examples I can find of how it works. The only reason I remotely disdain being a neurotic mess in this case is that it can be a little embarassing because I really should be a bit more dignified about it. After all, this is apparently still a very big deal to some people, and I am not above taking pleasure in giving a damn by consciously and wilfully not giving a damn. So I get a little reward that way, too, which is either childish or exactly human, depending on how we choose to look at it.

    But neurotic conflicts can get really complicated; the manifestations of ownership culture we see in this sort of gendertyping are unsettling enough. The deeper postulations starting with basic perceptions of what feels good or not, and yes, starting in infancy, that is eventually winnowed down to a genital focus. Myriad conflicts, paradoxes, and questions arise along the way. A certain range of what society generally regards as sexual kinkiness is clearly rooted in these conflicts and this winnowing of a certain manner of good feeling to genital focus. Others are, of course, more deeply masked, and insofar as we might try to explain ownership culture and gendertyping in these terms, it is a horrifying, messy postulation.

    Freudian analyses invest much value in the notion of the slow return of the repressed, and we have seen somewhat superficial examples in the legion of social conservatives who have fallen from grace.

    This therapeutic pretense of sexual predation evident in the JONAH allegations is only surprising insofar as people generally seem to disdain considering such projections; nor is that an indictment of how people generally seem to think. That is to say, just how much time do I want to spend parsing out the difference between getting a client shirtless, and whether it would have been so bad to take off his pants, or maybe it was, you know, just touching and cuddling, and all of that desperate equivocation? How much time do I want to spend imagining what else goes on? We can't blame people for not wanting to wallow in such sickening speculation.

    But in the end, it is still neurotic discord and ego defense.

    That otherwise seemingly disparate issues are all coming to crisis at the same time is only surprising because the tacit implication is that these sexually-fraught clusters are all feeling increased stress over an apparent loss of empowerment.

    Yet this part of the analysis doesn't even begin to address empowerment in general. More specifically, even setting aside for the moment a question of specific sexual neuroses, there are also specific empowerment neuroses taking place. Traditional political power, and therefore societal empowerment, is eroding. It's like that jab I use about how equality is a horror to the privileged. But it's also something much more fundamental, a sudden increase in perception of unknown factors, influences, and circumstances. These intertwined valences of neurotic distress really are complicated, and riddled with detritus of remembrance that would only bring further shame and self-indictment.

    But quite suddenly the slow return of the repressed is in open rupture, and we see it for what it is. Somehow, this really has managed to factor down, behaviorally speaking, to sexual privilege, the inability to reconcile the impropriety with sexually belligerent impulses that, if acted upon, would equal some manner of sexual violation.

    And these really are the issues driving other, seemingly mundane and more conventional political disputes. The abortion dispute in these United States has long been the front line. But the neurotic pressure, the repressed instincts, push back to the fore, so we now find ourselves arguing about birth control, or whether statutory rape is (ahem!) "real" rape.

    There is a morbid joke in there, of course, about fucking children any way they can, but it's not specifically about the children. The repressed instinct pushing to the fore is about dominance and empowerment, and as each day passes it becomes more and more apparent that this manifestation really is a raping instinct.

    To connect all of these issues might seem absurd to some, but they really are interrelated, and there is a reason we are down to a former vice presidential candidate explaining that there's nothing wrong with child molestation between siblings.

    And it really is like that joke from five years ago↗:

    Bill Maher, in 2010, took aim at senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and right-wing gadfly Sarah Palin by denouncing them as "the lovely milfs of the new right". They enjoyed popular support among white men, and Maher proposed that this is because they remind those men of "the traditional, idiot housewife". You know, cute, moronic, and willing to justify whatever their men want.​

    These were the conservative icons of ownership and rape cultures. They have others.

    But the pretense has been eroding for decades, and then collapsing for several years now. The structure may have just suffered a catastrophic failure. Right now it is impossible to hide what all of these issues are about. And what we're seeing through the gaps? Holy shit! I mean, I knew it was grim, but there is some part of me that is still surprised that this raping spectre that prowls our endeavor is suddenly so clearly visible. And it's not just the Duggars and these predatory fake therapists.

    That gendertyping itself is rawly exposed is no surprise. But this is so purely distilled a spirit of rape menacing American society as I never expected to encounter.

    Part of me is awestruck; it is genuinely difficult to believe I am actually witness to this time.

    And part of me is terrified because its heart is exposed and I have no fucking clue how to drive the stake.

    It will slink away from us again.

    It will survive to haunt us another day.

    This is not nearly over; Goddess grant, it might not yet have actually begun. But that roaring, hideous beast looming over the field is so ... rarely ... seen.

    Still, though, it would seem there is a reason this ghoulish visage emerges into such plain view. Ownership and rape cultures are running out of places to hide.

    End Part II


    SilentPatriot. "Daily Show: Can You Cure 'The Gay'?" Crooks and Liars. 19 March 2007. 13 June 2015.

    AlterNet. "Rachel Maddow Demolishes Therapist Who Claims He Can Make Her Straight". 9 December 2009. 13 June 2015.

    Tashman, Brian. "Pat Robertson: God Can 'Straighten Out' Your Gay Daughter At Summer Camp". Right Wing Watch. 27 April 2015. 13 June 2015.
  8. Bells Staff Member

    I don't know if I would say it is running out of places to hide.

    I think it is more a case of people are happy to spout it in public, without fear of reproach, as though this is a new normal.

    Certainly, we might be aghast to hear of JONAH and sexually molesting young people to convert them into being straight, but are we really surprised? They've been pulling this sort of shit for decades. And they believe this is defensible. That what they are doing can be defended. For example, from the article you linked in the OP:

    Charles LiMandri, the defense attorney, compared him and the other plaintiffs to unsuccessful dieters who drop out of Weight Watchers.

    “They lose five pounds and then they are going to do, what, sue Weight Watchers?” he said at the outset of the trial. Continuing in the voice of this failed dieter, LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, a legal advocacy group whose stated mission is to “defend religious freedom,” chalked up the lawsuit to bitterness. "Hey, I didn't lose all the weight I wanted because I left early! And, by the way, I want to stop everybody else from joining 'cause I don't like all these skinny people making me feel bad about myself! So I'm going to stop this program so nobody can go!”

    I'm sorry, this is the defense to accusations of sexual molestation under the guise of conversion therapy?

    'You didn't stick to it long enough!'?

    Notice there is no argument against what they were doing. No conciliatory tone, to try to numb down what they do. No 'this might look bad' tone. None of that. Instead, they berate the victims for not having stuck to it long enough and accuse them of whining because they left too early to be turned straight. Like a yoyo dieter who stops the diet too early. Usually, lawyers would be afraid to make this kind of argument. Because really, what the hell kind of person would buy it? Why would they take such a risk in even making such arguments? Because such arguments are now so normal, that kind of belief is now so normal, that it stands to reason that they would actually come out and say it.

    This is where we are now.

    The tragedy of this case is that these people went to JONAH, believing that they were sick and needed to be cured. Remember, the premise of this case is that they were not cured of their homosexuality. Sure, we may recoil from the knowledge that groups like JONAH exist and we may praise banning such organisations from existing, let's not forget that men and women actually went to them to try to change their sexuality. What of them? Unger dropped out, not because the therapy was wrong or homophobic. He left because after a year of it, he still had an attraction to men. What of the horror that these young men go through, to believe that it is something that can be cured and actually sought to try to cure it through conversion therapy? And that is why the defense lawyers for JONAH used that defense...

    As I said, it isn't a case of their running out of places to hide. It's more a matter of their not caring who knows what they think.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Matters of Scale?

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    I've been dwelling on this point in the meantime, and it's not so much that I would object; rather I think we're simply applying different contexts.

    Yes, really. That's what I came up with.

    But the White House is in. Texas wants a go at that. Meanwhile, consider that Judge Barsio struck five of six "expert" witnesses JONAH intended to call: "The theory that homosexuality is a disorder," Bariso wrote, "is not novel but―like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it―instead is outdated and refuted."

    California, DC, New Jersey, and Oregon have all banned conversion therapy. In Maryland, when Democratic delegate Jon Cardin pulled his bill banning conversion therapy from consideration, his explanation was that it was unnecessary; minors have the right to complain on their own behalf already, and such complaints trigger investigations. (Hartmann↱) We'll see how that one goes.

    As with much of ownership culture, what is shifting so quickly is the ground in which its ideological foundations are set. I find it significant that society is turning; what was once presupposed is now questioned.

    Thus your question of the new normal: In the new normal, they are saying it because they must. What was presupposed is now questioned. Part of the point of giving the Duggars a television show was to reiterate the moral awesomeness of purity culture; part of the point of fathers driving across states to hole up in a hotel room with their daughters before reading pledges to exercise authority over the children's sex lives; part of the reason why all the lawyers have is a Weight Watchers comparison, is quite simply because they never really had to articulate all this before.

    And what makes the ownership and rape aspects of purity culture so attractive is that one need not actually believe any of it; rather, it's a comfortable paradigm for the empowered. That is to say, it is and always has been a good ol' boys club, and the rascals will hang on to their he-man woman-raping club as long as possible.

    But now they have to say it. Instead of treating their families as such and knowing securely that they would not be questioned in the community, ownership culture participants and advocates now find their privilege eroding.

    This all would have been beyond description when I entered the Gay Fray nigh on a quarter-century ago. Consider that somewhere in this country we've seen even into the twenty-first century such religious supremacy that an atheist lost in local courts on the question of whether or not he had to acknowledge and submit to God in order to complete alcohol rehabilitation as part of a substance sentence. Now the White House is in? The judge is giving the conversion therapists flak from the bench? Ownership culture itself is so desperate to distract attention that people are starting to argue over whether it's all that bad to molest children?

    The new normal portends the end of their reign. These people are panicking.

    But it's also true, as I said, that I believe this beast will slink away and survive to haunt us again. This isn't the final battle. And as my side thrashes the hell out of ownership culture in the Gay Fray, I do wonder where this goes on other fronts. At a time when gay rights are making tremendous strides, and people are putting their collective foot down against historical American racism, I do wonder how long conservatives will get away with their misogynistic recycling of losing arguments. After all, we're back to arguing about oral contraception, just so they can feel they're not obsolete.

    Still, though, traditional shelters for these interrelated, abusive ideologies are collapsing. True, they have plenty, and even if they only have one left, that's like saying Osama bin Laden had only one place to hide―Pakistan.

    But as an American, I can promise you that something is different. We won't win the whole thing, but our society is poised to make tremendous progress with ownership culture suffering repeated, overlapping, and often nearly simultaneous wounds.

    Over the next months, this stuff is going to erupt into the GOP presidential contest. And then it will drag out all the way through November 2016 as the nominee tries to pivot and save face; since that means not abandoning base voters altogether, that means months of trying to salvage some decent wheat from among the chaff. How much damage, for instance, will Jeb Bush inflict on himself pandering to the right wing? And how much damage will he inflict on himself trying to pivot after he secures the nomination? And, you know, just for the sake of nostalgia, we might recall Mitt Romney's Etch-A-Sketch pivot, which probably would have been just fine and forgotten except as a mildly humorous moment except that he couldn't even pull that off.

    It's going to be ugly. But there is also a phenomenon taking place in which resistance against traditional inequity is quite suddenly and forcefully empowered. And it's broader than just sex and gender. It's war and peace. Rich and poor. And even as the antivax have pushed hard enough to suffer a backlash many of the same postmodern rationalists are mounting an ill-conceived campaign against GMO labeling, because, you know, consumers don't need to know when the nutritional value they expect in a potato has been traded out for something else. In that case, I get it, but yeah, they're still pretty inchoate.

    Many in these United States are just tired of taking shit from above. It would be one thing if it all went toward something other than a pyramid scheme, but there you go.

    We can't underestimate this aspect, which is admittedly hard to quantify. But something is changing. Empowerment is shifting. Part of the reason they talk about it all as if this is the new normal is that it is the new normal. This is terrifying to them; they speak of it because they must, in such a manner as they have never really had to before.

    They're going to kick and scream, though. This is going to be rough.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    One Down

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    This happened last week:

    A nonprofit organization that claimed it could turn gay men straight violated New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, a jury concluded Thursday in a civil trial that an attorney for the plaintiffs called "a momentous event" for LGBT rights.

    The jury said that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, co-founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing made misrepresentations and engaged in unconscionable business practices.

    Three men and two parents were awarded about $72,000 in damages. The judge will rule later on their request to revoke the company's license, plaintiffs' attorneys said.

    "This is a momentous event in the history of LGBT rights," attorney David Dinielli said. "The same lies that motivate gay conversion therapy motivate homophobia — that gay people are broken and need to be fixed. The strength of our plaintiffs brought that to light."

    Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued during the trial that the group, known by the acronym JONAH, claimed a success rate that wasn't backed up by actual statistics and used therapy methods that had no scientific basis, including having one client beat a pillow, meant to represent his mother, with a tennis racket.

    In an emailed statement, defense attorney Charles LiMandri called the verdict "a sad day, not just for my clients, but for America."

    "All of us can control our sexual behavior and each of us has not only the right but the obligation to decide what is right and wrong about our behavior," the statement added.

    LiMandri said he would "seek justice on appeal."


    Then again, that's what happens when you bring six expert witnesses, see five of them disqualified, and the one who remains admits you're making shit up as you go.


    Porter, David. "Jury Finds Promise of 'Gay Conversion' Therapy Was a Fraud". ABC News. 25 June 2015. 2 July 2015.
  11. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    I wonder if they can cure heterosexuality...?
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    On Curing Heterosexuality

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    Well, there was a weird story out of Afghanistan several years back. Apparently the British took some town from the Taliban, and when the people came out to celebrate, all the queers dressed up in drag. Couldn't tell you the specific significance other than the spectacle itself being a memory for a lifetime.

    However, somewhere in there I came across a quote that boiled down to, "Men for fun, women for babies."

    And to try to translate that idea into something American, sure, I can see a version of that; gay for fun, straight for when you want kids. Not that it would be exact or rigid. Boys and girls are gonna get together and fuck, end of story. But I think it would probably do people some good to get over the specifically genital-sexual obsession. There are ... so ... many ... things people can do for intimate communion that aren't actually fucking, so, you know ... er ... ah ... it's not like I'm gonna make a list or anything, but most of us are capable of using our imaginations.

    Speaking of lists: There's an old joke out of Oregon, from the 1992 election. With the anti-gay Measure 9 on the ballot, the Voter's Guide was some ridiculous size. Two hundred pages or something like that. The leading homophobic group was called Oregon Citizens' Alliance; their leaders eventually got busted for some routine financial mismanagement. Indeed, they were closely allied with the infamous Scott Lively. But one of their ranking people, a guy wonderfully named Phillip Ramsdell, put an argument in favor of the Measure in the Voter's Guide that was one of the most blatant displays of a classic neurotic behavior. It was a rant about the perversity of gay people, including a glossary describing any number of perverse pleasures. And it's true, even I didn't know shit play was called coprophilia; thank you, Mr. Ramsdell. And while I understood the concept of licking ass, it is also true I didn't know it was called a rimjob. Again, thank you, Phillip Ramsdell. This list was insane. Watersports, infantilism, even fisting.

    And, yes, there was the obvious punch line: You know, heterosexuals can do this, too.

    But there was also the Puritan Pornography Punchline: You probably just gave many of your fellow Christians a bunch of ideas to spice up their marital romance.

    And, you know? Why not? These people probably need a good, mindblowing, dimension-wrecking orgasm. Or six. And, frankly, think of the difference about performance anxiety. When you're no longer worried about lasting long enough before seeding the next unplanned pregnancy? When being less anal retentive about your sex life means actually putting on a diaper? Hell's bells, 'tis a better thing that getting your rocks off perpetually fretting about hot, hairy, man-on-man sodomy. Even, you know, if that's what you're into (Ted Haggard, I'm looking in your direction).

    You remember last year or so, that couple that got busted playing doggie when she took him out for a walk, starkers?

    Arizona, or someplace like that, as I recall.

    To the one, I'm surprised they didn't recognize the problem. To the other, perhaps I should be more surprised that they weren't charged. Either way, though, a more appropriately conducted version of that might be among the sights you'll find when we cure heterosexuality, as such.

    And, you know? Why the fuck not?↱


    Baume, Matt. "What Is Puppy Play and Why Is It So Popular?". The Stranger. 24 June 2015. 3 July 2015.
  13. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    Puritans have the dirtiest minds of us all, it seems.
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Because It's Texas

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    Last year, Texas Republicans decided to line their party up in favor of inflicting reparative therapy against homosexuals.

    Counselors, therapists and pastors across Texas who believe people can change their sexual orientation through therapy have found themselves in the spotlight after state Republicans endorsed such therapies in their state platform.

    Medical groups firmly denounce the activity, known as reparative therapy or conversion therapy, saying it can be psychologically harmful. And even the chairman of the Texas GOP criticized the party’s new stance on the issue. But licensed therapists who practice it say it can help heal long-standing emotional problems.

    Licensed marriage and family therapist David Pickup in Dallas said that homosexuality is an attachment issue “based on severe emotional wounds.” He believes unfulfilled needs become sexualized as children grow up.

    “What reparative therapy does is it uses psychodynamic processes to access those deeper wounds that are hidden underneath the homoerotic impulses,” Pickup said. “It resolves the male identity wounds and helps the guy get those needs met.”

    The American Psychological Association said in a 2009 report that therapy based on acceptance and support of homosexuality could yield the same benefits.

    “There’s no data to support that you can change someone’s sexual orientation,” said Colleen Logan, former president of the American Counseling Association. Reparative therapy “further exacerbates any kind of depression or anxiety that goes along with the stress of having a different orientation in a homo-prejudice society.”


    Of course his name is David Pickup. And, you know, given that heterosupremacism is actually part of gendertyping and gendertyping a fundamental element of rape culture, it would seem worth noting that Mr. Pickup is fretting about how unfulfilled needs of children become sexualized while taking part in an influential cultural phenomenon that focuses on sexuality and sexual behavior. Male-dominated heterosexuality is the framework for conversion therapy, at least on paper. As we learn from the JONAH lawsuit, the methodology appears to be sexual deviance derived from denial of one's own sexuality. And, you know, if it wasn't already apparent, what with the obsessed homophobes falling gracelessly out of their closets, and all, the JONAH method―

    (1) Blame the client's mother.

    (2) Molest the client.

    (3) Denigrate the client when he doesn't want to be molested by his same-sex therapist.​

    ―doesn't really leave any room for question.

    Dallas resident Jeremy Schwab, who founded an organization to facilitate free peer support groups for those seeking to quell same-sex attraction, drafted the GOP platform resolution in response to laws in California and New Jersey that ban conversion therapy for minors, citing health risks. In the last year, lawmakers in 14 other states proposed similar legislation.

    Schwab said he wanted to start a discussion about reparative therapy so legislators could make informed decisions. The platform plank says that Texas Republicans “recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” The party opposes any effort to restrict access to the therapy.

    Of course he does. And of course they do.

    So here's a discussion point: If you're worried about kids and sexualizing their problems, what would be the point of sending your daughter to "summmer camp"↱ in order to harass her into being heterosexual?

    I mean, really, talk about rape culture.

    This year, Texas legislature is preparing to protect state agents who force children into conversion therapy↱.

    Then again, they're also preparing to protect state agents who withhold medical services from sexually abused minors.

    Seriously, talk about rape culture.

    No wonder the Texas GOP is behind this fraudulent practice. Male-dominated heterosexuality. I mean, really, the only alternative is that they are so warped by their closeteering that they think being molested by their same-sex therapist is the only way to get some.

    I suppose it's better than the Hastert method↗, but that isn't really any comfort.

    Think of it this way: All Texas Republicans want is to own other people's intimacy.

    Even compared to other "Texas sized" bullshit, that's a really big ask.


    Martin, Brittney. "Texas Republicans' backing puts spotlight on therapy for gays". Dallas Morning News. 20 June 2014. 7 July 2015.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Fantasy and Narrative

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    The Washington Blade reported last month on a bill before the Massachusetts legislature that would ban conversion therapy against minors. Reproduced in its entirety:

    BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers on July 28 held a hearing on a bill that would ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors in the state.

    Bennett Klein, senior attorney for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, is among those who testified in support of state Rep. Kay Khan's (D-Newton) bill during a hearing before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

    “Massachusetts can take a huge step to creating a better world for LGBT youth with this bill,” said Klein.

    D.C., New Jersey and California ban “conversion therapy” to minors.

    Lawmakers in Virginia and other states over the last year have also debated similar proposals. California Congressman Ted Lieu in May introduced a measure to ban “conversion therapy” throughout the country.

    It's a straightforward news article, a staff report for (ahem!) "America's leading gay news source". That is to say, it's an interesting lack of editorial content. Then again, if you want to be the news source ....

    Two days later, the Lowell Sun told its readers, "'Conversion therapy' bill produces conflicting testimony"↱.

    The Anti-Defamation League preceded the Blade article with a news release↱ of its own, which basically stated the organization's position and noted that they submitted testimony in regard to HB 97.

    The Human Rights Campaign yesterday posted its own account of the Committee Hearing↱, including the fact of the organization's Senior Legislative Counsel testifying in favor of the bill.

    And something here stands out. Of those several accounts, the most politicized is, in fact, Andy Metzger's ostensible news report for the Lowell Sun, in which the author went out of his way to equivocate between fact and opinion. To wit, is a known fact that "reparative" or "conversion" therapy harassing people to change their sexual orientation is harmful, but in the name of journalistic fairness, Metzger has reduced that to a mere opinion, that he might give equal column space to David Pickup, whose name is familiar to us↑, and whose basic argument is that gay people are emotionally crippled.

    And as you read through Metzger's article, the disparity is apparent. The Shirka family recalls their mistakes in trying to change their son through reparative therapy: "The therapist told my husband, 'There's no such thing as being gay'," Jane Shirka explained. "That's all we needed to hear." "I could only think how disabled I am," explained the son, Matthew Shirka. Five years out of treatment, he's just fine with his nonexistent homosexuality:

    Matthew Shirka said he saw four therapists in four different states, and was advised to avoid his mother and sister so as not to pick up their feminine traits. He said he was told to have sex with women, and swallowed the pharmaceutical Viagra to become aroused for those occasions.

    "I could only think how disabled I am," Matthew Shirka recalled. Now five years after he quit the treatment, he said, "I'm a proud gay man."

    Naturally, as a proper journalist, one needs to balance that with a guy whose whole platform is that gay people are emotionally crippled, and he can only treat people who want to change. We might note that, psychologically speaking, that isn't therapy; it's conditioning.

    Another survivor of conversion therapy, Samuel Brinton, testified about being physically tortured in order to condition him against homosexuality: "By the end," he told the committee, "even hugging my father brought on flashbacks."

    And Samantha Ames, an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the committee, as Metzger explains, "although it is difficult to obtain data on the subject, youth who undergo conversion therapy are more likely to commit suicide". It's an interesting way to phrase it; Allsion Gill of HRC explained to the committee that studies reveal youth conversion therapy survivors are over eight times more likely to attempt suicide. Andy Metzger of the Lowell Sun apparently wants you to think there's some sort of mystery here, but the numbers are pretty damn clear.

    Which, of course, is why Metzger's article ends so strangely:

    The White House in April came out in support of efforts to ban conversion therapy, and the Boston City Council has endorsed Khan's bill.

    Therapists can legally encourage patients to forgive those who victimized them and prod patients to lessen consumption of alcohol or to evaluate the behavior of a patient's parent. Khan's bill would specifically prohibit any therapy that tries to steer a patient to a different sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Opponents of the bill said sexuality can be fluid.

    Gregory Quinlan, 57, of New Jersey Family First, said he had been a "homosexual activist" into his 40s, and said Khan's bill is "a political statement that does nothing more than outlaw heterosexual therapy for minors."

    "Only homosexual-affirming therapy is legal to a minor in New Jersey," Quinlan said.

    Carol Trust, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said conversion therapy seeks to treat a condition that should not need treating.

    Now, it's true that Metzger gives primacy and recency alike, as well as a slight balance advantage, to the argument against conversion therapy. But pretending the "conflicting testimony" is remotely comparable? A more accurate headline would have been "Conversion Therapy Bill Produces Conflict Between Fact and Faith".

    Because that's all it is.

    And in the end, we might return to Mr. Pickup:

    Treating patients ages 15 to 28, Pickup told the News Service he does not seek to change the sexuality of patients "who believe that actually homosexuality is inborn." He said his "authentic reparative therapy" seeks to rid other patients of "any and all shame for having homosexual feelings."

    This is what reveals conversion therapy as a sexcrafting fantasy game.

    So try this and fill in the blank: I'm not ashamed of being gay. I'm proudly gay. But the truth is that I really, really, really want to be heterosexual because _____.

    That's the therapeutic basis.

    The rest is just apparently people who want to be harassed into a sex life. Which is a sexual fantasy. Which is the aptly-named Mr. Pickup's speciality.

    And what sort of headline do you write about defending torture for the sake of a sex fantasy?


    Staff Report. "Mass. lawmakers consider 'conversion therapy' ban". The Washington Blade. 29 July 2015. 6 August 2015.

    Metzger, Andy. "'Conversion therapy' bill produces conflicting testimony". The Lowell Sun. 31 July 2015. 6 August 2015.

    The Rainbow Times Editor. "ADL Testifies in Support of Banning Youth Conversion Therapy". The Rainbow Times. 28 July 2015. 6 August 2015.

    Guare, Katie. "HRC Testifies at Massachusetts Hearing for Bill to Protect Youth From 'Conversion Therapy'". Human Rights Campain. 5 August 2015. 6 August 2015.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Stand the Line, Then Step Forward

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    Four Congressional Democrats, Sens. Patty Murray (WA) and Cory Booker (NJ), along with Reps. Jackie Speier (CA14) and Ted Lieu (CA33) have signed a letter addressed to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, urging the regulatory agency to deploy its authority against conversion therapy:

    Dear Chairwoman Ramirez:

    We write to you to express our deep concern with the continued practice of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), commonly referred to as "conversion therapy." This practice falsely promises to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge the Federal Trade Commission to take all actions possible to stop the unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy under the authority provided to your agency in the Federal Trade Commission Act.

    Conversion therapy, also known as "reparative" or "sexual orientation" therapy, is a practice that has been widely discredited by nearly all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological, professional counseling, educational, and social work professional organizations. In 2009, the nation's largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology, the American Psychological Association, conducted a systematic review of the evidence on SOCE. The report concluded that "efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates."

    Perhaps most concerning are the effects of this harmful therapy on children and youth. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children and youth are at increased risk of suicide, substance use disorder, and engaging in other high risk behaviors compared to their peers. Therapeutic support can be useful for children and youth who are LGBT or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, resulting in more confidence and acceptance, which are important elements of healthy child development. However, conversion therapy provokes guilt, anxiety, and social rejection that negatively impacts healthy development of children and youth, contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners.

    We urge the Federal Trade Commission to take decisive action to stop the unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practice of "conversion therapy" under the authority provided to your agency in the Federal Trade Commission Act. We thank you for your attention to this pressing matter.


    Patty Murray, United States Senator
    Cory A. Booker, United States Senator
    Jackie Speier, Member of Congress
    Ted W. Lieu, Member of Congress

    That's our Democratic Party. That's my U.S. Senator. In recent years, the "mom in tennis shoes" has come through for constituents again and again. She's ready to have this fight, and her friends are willing to stand the line in hopes of taking a step forward.

    The end of conversion therapy is inevitable; this letter is something of a milepost. The Obama administration is already in, and now Congress will dip its toe to test the waters.

    We in the Evergreen State are both proud and admiring of the quiet power Sen. Murray has accrued during her tenure, much according to our political tradition including Sen. Slade Gorton, Rep. Jim McGovern, and my childhood congressman, Rep. Norm Dicks.

    And this is a calculated gamble.

    In an electoral cycle widely described as anti-establishment, the Establishment strikes back.

    Think of it this way: As we fret over whether nominating Sen. Bernie Sanders could cost Democrats the White House, these Democrats are ready to pick this fight, thinking they can win.

    To the one, the question of whether or not they're right remains open. To the other, they're ready to have this fight, they think they can win, and that counts for something.

    Voter frustration in the Democratic Party has much to do with our tradition of simply holding the line. And now progressives think they can actually win progress on this issue, which will, indeed, mobilize conservatives. Not only does this make for an interesting political fight, but the proposition that Democrats think they can win this fight in this cycle ought to be an encouraging symbol for the LGBTQ+ community.

    We're not exactly accustomed to politicians picking fights on our behalf; this letter is important.

    Thank you, Sen. Murray. Thank you, Sen. Booker. Thank you, Congresswoman Speier. Thank you, Congressman Lieu.


    Murray, Patty, et al. "Letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez". Congress of the United States. 10 February 2016. 10 February 2016.
  17. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    The same universe in which George W. Bush seems a fucking genius and an actual human being compared with today's alternatives.
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    It occurs to me that, technically speaking, President Bush was elected in the twentieth century.

    Actually, I got nothin' on that one, because when I looked back up at the former post↑ you quoted, I realized I failed to give the Distinguished Gentleman from California Thirty-Three proper credit. That is to say, Senator Murray might have seniority, power, and top billing on the letter, but Rep. Lieu is actually the vanguard, having already introduced legislation against conversion therapy.

    Still, though, I do think this letter is the Democrats' effort to pick a fight; the legislation is going nowhere in any Republican-controlled House, and if I had to flip a coin whether Republicans would pass on an opportunity to bawl about regulation and executive power because it's the FTC, I still wouldn't bother reaching into my pocket for the two bits; 'twixt now and November, they will take the bait.
  19. wellwisher Banned Banned

    One consideration is the high rate of addiction and suicide in the alternate sexuality community. This shows that what many consciously assume is natural to their ego, due to cultural programming, is unnatural to their instincts. Humans have will and choice, but some choices are not natural for all herd. If conversion saves lives, doesn't that justify it?

    Another consideration is medicine is big business and like any business they need to find ways to create new markets. People are dumb and seem to want to believe in sickness and the promises of cures. They seem to want others to think for them and take care of them like they are children. Such people who go to conversion therapy, may have previously allowed politicians and activists to think for them, so they became what they were not. Now they want someone new to think for them, to become something new, they also may not be.

    Also part of this is fear. If conversion works, it can create a wild card from which inferences may appear which show that the party line was a fraud. It would like if you believe the world was flat and someone had an experiment to show it was round, but it will take time to collect data. One may need to undermine the data collection, less the truth be known. Those who make money off the status quo don't want another status quo, where they can't shear the sheep.
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


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    "I'm not dumb": Genma is embarrassed and disgusted after mistaking Suō for a boy.

    See, the thing is, Wellwisher, you can't possibly be that ignorant.

    Seriously, how long, and apparently you haven't learned a damn thing?
  21. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    I don't know anything about aversion therapy, yet I don't believe politicians are qualified to make the call on its value either. I would go further with my personal opinions on the subject, but anything I might say about the subject runs the risk of being labeled "hate speech." So I offer nothing more than silence.
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Two questions:

    (1) Why does anyone under the sun―or, in this case, why do you―think professing ignorance at the front end helps one's expression of opinion?

    (2) Maybe you don't think politicians are qualified, but why do you omit the opinions of mental health professionals?​
  23. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    Molestation IS a cure for hysteria!

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