organization Truth Wins Out held a press conference on
Friday outside the American Psychological Association's
annual convention in New Orleans to counter a
coalition of antigay protesters seeking to have
homosexuality relabeled a mental disorder. Although the
APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders
in 1973, proponents of the "ex-gay" notion claim that
gay people can somehow be "cured"--and they want
the psychological establishment to recognize that.
"This is the subversion of science and a
religious racket designed to con Americans into
believing that homosexuality is a mental illness,"
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, whose
mission is to debunk the ex-gay myth, said in a
statement. "This coalition is trying to kill the APA
messenger because they don't like their science-based
message. These ex-gay groups keep no statistics, they
produce no peer-reviewed studies, most of their top leaders
have reverted back to homosexuality, and they
conveniently disregard scientific evidence that does
not conform to their political agenda."
Although the APA's official position is that
there is no psychological difference between gay and
straight people, many ex-gay followers use thoroughly
unscientific techniques to "change" from gay to
straight, such as holding exorcisms or drinking Gatorade to
supposedly make men more masculine.
"If the quack science is examined, it is clear
that conversion therapy is a cruel hoax that is
destroying lives and shattering families," said Besen.
"The goal of this right-wing coalition is to fool
voters into thinking homosexuality is mutable, because polls
show that when Americans believe people are born gay,
they are more likely to vote in favor of equality."
antigay protest, which was led by the National
Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, the
APA released the following statement:
"For over three
decades the consensus of the mental health community
has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore
not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the
positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion
therapy is that they are not supported by the science.
There is simply no sufficient scientifically sound evidence
that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further
concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and
Focus on the Family create an environment in which
prejudice and discrimination can flourish." (The