Category Archives: +VoV Articles

NCLR exploits tragedy with guilt by association tactic

confused manTragedy affects us all.  Whether it was the nearly 3,000 Americans who perished on 9/11 or a child whose sexual innocence is damaged by an abuser, ultimately as a human family, tragedy affects us all.

Unfortunately, almost every time there is a tragedy there are those who take advantage of it to manipulate public opinion or to capitalize on it for political and personal reasons. That’s why it was deeply troubling to read of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) using the sexual abuse of a confused young man as a jump off attempt to discredit sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

According to an August 27th press release, the NCLR announced that it was “filing a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department on behalf of a former student of Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Mississippi who says he was sexually abused for three years by a teacher attempting to “cure” his sexual orientation.”

First, any feeling American can agree with the NCLR in that no child, no person should ever be put through the horror of sexual abuse, molestation or violence of any kind. Likewise, no person, whether gay or nongay should ever be the perpetrator of such vile injustice.  If the facts of this case bear out against the defendant, the penalty of the law should be applied justly.

Its also important to remember that at this point, this case has not been adjudicated in a court of law, thus the claims are simply that: claims.

God only knows how many men and women who have been scarred by childhood sexual violence –including Ellen Degeneres, Corey Feldman and Cindy Lauper— understand and believe that its a tragedy no one should exploit for personal gain.

But that’s exactly what the NCLR is doing when it claims, without evidence, that there is a connection between the heinous crime committed by the defendant and voluntary sexual orientation change efforts shepherded by trained and caring professionals.

“The former student, Jeff White, now 32, alleges that, shortly after coming out in 1996, his parents turned to the local church, which ran a school it promised could “cure” their son and stop him from being gay. Beginning his freshman year, according to White, teacher Steven Barnes began subjecting White to weekly “counseling” sessions in which he regularly raped and sexually assaulted the teenager to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation.”

If this is indeed what happened to Mr. White, it has no relationship to the scenario of what happens between an adult therapist and his or her adult client. With no evidence to support its theory, NCLR simply made an incredulous assumption of guilt by association. Guilt by association is the attempt to discredit an idea based upon disfavored people or groups associated with it.  Because NCLR dislikes the work of credible SOCE practicioners, it seeks to dishonestly make the case that any instance of sexual orientation change gone awry is the fault of credible SOCE representatives. Such accusations have little value except for self-serving rhetorical effect.

Here are the facts:

  • There has been no concerted effort or practice among SOCE practitioners to use sexual abuse or rape as a means of facilitating the process of change. I challenge the NCLR to put up or shut up.
  • There is no documented evidence conclusively proving that voluntarily changing how one chooses to sexually express themselves is dangerous to the individual’s mental health or spiritual well being. Thousands of people who have done so are perfectly normal, mentally healthy and stable members of society. That’s not to say that no one has been dissatisfied with either the results of their attempts or the process itself.  Perspective remains the key arbitrator of success.
  • White’s alleged abuser Steven Barnes never made any claim to be a representative of any SOCE organization. The comparison is about as ludicrous as saying Jeffrey Dahmer was a representative of the Human Rights Campaign. Steven Barnes was the employee of the church who took advantage of a broken and sexually confused young man. Those are the actions of a sexual predator. The church believed (like millions of other orthodox Christians) that homosexuality (like many other spiritual maladies) could be changed by faith and prayer to God and Steven Barnes betrayed that belief by his alleged actions.

Americans are still largely divided as to whether  homosexuality is not some fixed, hard wired genetic condition. Rather it is fluid, changeable and subject to the individual’s level of determination to do so.

A 13 page statement  entitled Legal and Ethical Concerns About Change in Sexual Orientations authors Tia Powell and Edward Stein, representing the American Association of Law Schools, said in part:

“[…] we question what seem to be presumptions undergirding laws banning sexual orientation change efforts,namely that sexual orientations are always innate and immutable and do not reflect choices. We suggest that such presumptions about sexual orientations are not only weak starting points for laws like California’s and New Jersey’s, but, more generally, that immutability, innateness, and lack of choice are poor arguments for the rights of LGB people. In sum, such claims about the nature and origins of sexual orientations are neither good science nor good politics and are not an appropriate foundation for prohibiting sexual orientation change efforts or for LGB rights generally. Instead , support for LGB rights should be grounded in an intellectually rigorous and appropriately humble approach to science and the limits of scientific knowledge .”

Its sad that homosexual activist organizations want to take away the power of choice given to every man by God. What if Mr. White were told he had no choice but to continue submitting to his alleged abuser? What if he were told there was no way he could ever be anything other than a victim?  If the choice to change undesirable factors of one’s life isn’t valid for all, its not valid for any.  Such a universal truth made rich with diversity cannot be refashioned into some monolithic edict because of the biased  perspectives of groups like the NCLR.

The NCLR is right to stand up and fight against sexual abuse of any kind. But we have to call this what it is.  Its a shallow, attention-getting stunt which exploits Mr. White’s horrific past and cheapens the suffering of many Americans who have been similarly damaged.

 

Pastor Darryl L. (DL) Foster is the Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless and an ordained minister, husband, father, and self-described abolitionist pastor. In 1990, he left homosexuality to follow Christ and subsequently founded Witness Ministries, Inc. a prominent Christian outreach focused on helping people of color gain their freedom in Christ. In 2010, he also founded and organized the Overcomers Network, an Atlanta based EXGLBT empowerment organization with chapters in 18 US cities.

 

#TherapyEquality Comes to Massachusetts, Gay Activists Getting Desperate

In a February 16, 2014 article titled: “More States Likely to Ban Sexual Orientation Change Therapy,” Washington Times reporter Cheryl Wetzstein quoted anti-ex-gay extremist Wayne Besen as saying the following:

“The bans on sexual-orientation change efforts are likely to follow the path of marriage equality, with Maryland and Massachusetts the most likely states to approve bills this year.”

But that ban in Maryland didn’t happen, and on July 31, 2014 the legislative session in Massachusetts ended for the year, and with it died another bill that would ban therapy for minors with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) who seek help from licensed mental health practitioners to reduce and eliminate unwanted homosexual feelings.

H3907, titled “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors” was authored and sponsored by openly gay Rep. Carl Sciortino, who this year announced that he had contracted HIV and subsequently left his seat in the legislature.

After legislation to ban therapy for minors in California and New Jersey became law in 2013, gay activists just assumed other states would follow. But thanks to the hard work of ex-gays and their allies, both locally and nationally, the #TherapyEquality campaign by Voice of the Voiceless, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and Equality And Justice For All, has been working!

While “marriage equality” is becoming a reality in more states, “therapy equality” for individuals with unwanted SSA is also gaining traction, even in the most liberal of states like Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Why? Because lawmakers are hearing, and listening, to the stories of many who testified that therapy saved their lives. But you won’t hear their stories in Time Magazine, who gives free publicity to anti-ex-gay activists.

Stories like Charles Peters, who was molested by his gay boy scoutmaster when he was a child and struggled with sexual confusion and the effects of trauma for many years. But with the assistance of licensed therapists who helped him heal those wounds, he has resolved that trauma is now free to pursue his dream of family and marriage to a woman.

Robin Goodspeed also has an amazing story, but you won’t hear it on CNN, and Oprah won’t give her a sit down interview. She was told year after year by gay-affirming therapists that she was “born gay” and should just accept it. She struggled for years with the underlying issues, depression, and anguish that was causing her homosexuality, unable to find a therapist who could really help her. She lived for many years as a lesbian with a partner until she could no longer deal with the incongruence of who she really was – a daughter of God, born a female, not born a lesbian.

But now, gay activists are getting desperate. They can’t seem to convince legislators that states should promote “marriage equality” for gay-identified individuals, while at the same time deny #TherapyEquality for those who do not believe they are born gay and seek to resolve the issues that lead to their unwanted homosexual feelings. That’s because it doesn’t make sense. You can’t demand equality for some homosexuals while denying the rights of other same-sex attracted individuals to leave a lifestyle they find unfulfilling.

Their latest campaign, #BornPerfect is an effort to recycle the defunct, archaic theory that people are born gay in order to end what they call “conversion therapy” for youth. The spokespeople for their cause, to end licensed therapy, are a small group of former religious ex-gay leaders, who never went through therapy and instead tried to “pray away the gay,” which surprisingly didn’t work!

Because of their own failed efforts, these individuals, like former Exodus International President Alan Chambers, are projecting their failure onto everyone else. After all, if they didn’t change, how could anyone else possible do it?

So they’re teaming up with the National Center for Lesbian Rights in their crusade against licensed mental health therapy, which they never received themselves, nor did any of them ever practice! They got some free publicity from BuzzFeed today:

“At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these ‘ex-gay’ programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters,” they said in the letter. “Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.”

Again, it’s important to reiterate who these people are. They are not licensed therapists or scientists. Among others, they are Michael Bussee (Co-Founder of Exodus International), John Smid (Executive Director of Love in Action), and Yvette Cantu Schneider, who once made behavioral decisions to leave homosexuality, but never went through therapy.

Schneider recently partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Defamation (GLAAD) to say she no longer supports the ex-gay movement, although she is, ironically, still faithfully married to her husband, who she claims is her soul mate, despite her same-sex attractions. She was a long-time poster girl for ex-lesbians at some prominent pro-family organizations, struggled with untreated anxiety, the roots of which are often trauma-related, for years. She labored on campaigns such as Proposition 8 to deny gay marriage in California, but never dealt with the underlying trauma that was causing her anxiety.

Just this week, she revealed that years later she received some new age therapy that reawakened some of the “feminine goddesses” she was repressing, and wham, she’s back to her authentic self and completely happy, and still married to her husband, yet she claims she hasn’t “changed.” Now she joins the ranks of ex-ex-gays like John Paulk, who appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the late 90s as a success story for change, but now is recanting. Like Schneider, Paulk never went through therapy and did his work.

When a same-sex attracted person fails to resolve the underlying issues that cause homosexual feelings, the desires often remain and fester for years. In my personal and professional experience, real, transforming change occurs when one heals the wounds at the core, through good therapy, the support of committed friendships, and the love of God.

You see, when one looks a little deeper into stories like Yvette Schneider, John Paulk, Alan Chambers, and others who say they changed, then later recant and say they didn’t really didn’t change, you find a typical character flaw. Narcissism.

I know this well, because I too once struggled with same-sex attractions, and by the grace of God and thanks to some good therapy, I have resolved the issues that caused me to feel homosexual attractions.

Narcissism is a personality disorder and character defect that all of these individuals, and many of my same-sex attracted clients (including myself, at one point) struggle with at some point in their lives. The roots of this disorder are usually deep wounding, sometimes from an insufficient emotional connection with a parent(s), other times with peers, growing up. It has nothing to do with homosexual feelings, and everything to do with unresolved hurt.

When a child doesn’t get the praise and affirmation of those closest around him/her, they grow up with a deep hole in their soul, and the only way to fill that hole is through attention, affection, and affirmation. One can achieve this in a healthy way, by healing the wounds, forming loving attachments in present day, and asking God to remove these character defects.

But too many public ex-gays fail to do this, and end up settling for imitation love while at the same time, suffering with addictions and emotional disorders, all the while experiencing the notoriety of the spot light, without the intimacy of loving relationships. This occurs in many of the ex-gay marriages that do not work out – they mean well, but they are often too wounded and end in divorce. Then, they recant and say, “my homosexuality never changed” – as if the same-sex attraction was the result of their failed marriage.

Any good therapist knows this is a cop out, because sex is not about sex. It’s about intimacy, attachment, and bonding. That’s what really makes a relationship successful and committed.

So what drives these nine former ex-gay poster boys and girls to come out and say, “we never really changed?” Unfortunately, the same thing that drove them to say they did change years ago. Being in the public spot light and doing something “good for God” is a great way to deflect from one’s personal, unresolved issues. But one can only maintain it for so long until the house crumbles. If you don’t do your work, resolve the issues that lead to same-sex attractions, and remain faithful to what God has called you to do, you will eventually collapse.

Psychologically speaking, it’s too painful for these nine individuals to admit “they didn’t do their work,” so it’s easier for them to point the finger at those who have while projecting their own failures onto everyone else.

Do not be fooled. God uses people to achieve His plans. Licensed therapists, unlicensed religious counselors, and everyday people, to help us heal. Hundreds of these religious leaders, such as Anne Paulk, Steven Black, DL Foster, and Tom Cole, to name just a few, have done their work and continue to walk in freedom. That is the power of God. He uses everyone for His plan, and he doesn’t favor one specific type of therapy or ministry over another. Our God is much bigger than that.

The truth is, we’re all born perfect, perfectly in the eyes of our Creator, who loves and wants the best for us. But it doesn’t mean that anyone is born gay. We don’t need a fancy hash tag on Twitter to realize that. What we do need is a good old-fashioned reality check. He created them male and female. This article was originally published on August 2, 2014 at: http://barbwire.com/2014/08/02/0900-therapyequality-comes-massachusetts-gay-activists-getting-desperate/

 

New Jersey Senate Committee Advances ‘Conversion’ Therapy Ban Based on False Testimony

On Monday, March 18, 2013, the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee held a three-hour hearing on a bill that would take away the rights of minors who experience unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) to receive therapy from licensed mental health professionals.

Representatives from gay rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, Equality New Jersey, and the Trevor Project, as well as several mental health associations, testified at length about the so-called dangers of “conversion therapy” (this is a pejorative term coined by activists to demean therapies that assist individuals who experience unwanted SSA).

When Brielle Goldani, a transgendered woman from Toms River, New Jersey, stated she was tortured at an Ohio-based conversion therapy camp in 1997, the hearing turned very serious.

“Twice a week I was hooked up to electrodes on my hands,” she said. “I, a child, was shocked repeatedly by people who had my parent’s permission to torture me.” Goldani, now 29, claims that she had no rights when her parents sent her away as a teenager. She claims that the torture occurred at conversion camp called True Directions. “This is nothing more than legalized child abuse,” claimed Goldani at the hearing.

Having attended and testified at the hearing myself, I was shocked and horrified to hear about such abuse. As a former homosexual and practitioner of Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy, I had never heard of such inhumane treatment, except from anti-ex-gay activists who often claim that SOCE employs such barbaric methods. So I tracked down Goldani and talked to her on the phone to find out more information.

Goldani claims that an Assemblies of God Church in Columbus, Ohio ran the True Directions conversion therapy camp:

“There were 12 boys, and 12 girls. The first Sunday I was there, I was forced to sit in their church service, which was nothing but hate speech. Then, on Monday, the heavier therapy began. We were forced to masturbate to heterosexual images and soft-core pornography, such as Sport Illustrated swimsuit models. Twice a week, my hands were hooked up to electrodes for two hours at a time while we were shown positive images such as a nuclear family, a female with children, a male construction worker, and a female receptionist. I was also subjected to forced IV injections twice a week for two hours each while being made to watch negative images of what they didn’t approve of…the injections made me vomit uncontrollably. Every Friday and Saturday evening, we were forced to go on ‘flirting dates’ where a camp counselor coached us on how to talk to the opposite sex romantically…we were also given uniforms to wear, black pants and white shirts for boys, black skirts and white blouses for girls.”

Sounds pretty horrible, right? What ‘Christian’ church or therapist would use such barbaric, violent treatments? In a phone interview, Rev. John Wooton, Superintendent of the Ohio Council of Assembly of God Churches, denied that any such program exists or has ever existed in their church, as Goldani claimed. But if such an abusive camp did exist, surely a participant or parent would have filed ethics complaints long ago. Surely, the Ohio legal authorities would have put an end to this abuse!

According to the office of the Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General, no such camp called True Directions has ever existed. In fact, the only trace of this camp is from a 1999 film titled But I’m a Cheerleader, starring RuPaul. In the film, the main character is suspected of being a lesbian by her family, who then proceeds to send her to a “conversion therapy” camp called True Directions. Throughout the course of the film, two disgruntled gay men encourage the campers to rebel against the program and discover their true identities as gays and lesbians. The final scene of the film shows the main character’s parents attending a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meeting to accept their daughter’s homosexuality.

Dr. Elton Moose, a licensed counselor who has been working in Springfield, Ohio said in a written statement: “I have been in this business for 24 years and have not heard of this camp . . . these types of shock therapy accusations have been around for many years, but I have not actually known a practice that has used this therapy.”

Goldani, who works as a peer specialist and mental health counselor, claims that the church she attended as a teenager in New Jersey, The Church in Brielle, paid for her to attend the camp, which lasted a month and-a-half. Goldani also claims to have been counseled by the pastor of the church on staff at the time, which included talking, reading Bible verses, and listening to statistics about HIV/AIDS.

Their current leader, Pastor Lou LaFauzia, whose church is affiliated with the Reformed Church of America said in a phone interview, “We love everyone regardless of sexual orientation . . . I can say that this would have never happened at this church, and I can’t imagine any church members in 1997 who would do this. It’s outlandish!”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated this week that he wasn’t sure if he would sign such a bill should it pass the legislature. “I’m of two minds just on this stuff in general. Number one, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. I don’t — this is a general philosophy, not to his bill — generally philosophically, on bills that restrict parents’ ability to make decisions on how to care for their children, I’m generally a skeptic of those bills. Now, there can always be exceptions to those rules and this bill may be one of them,” commented Governor Christie.

But what if the governor heard witnesses such as Goldani, who claimed to be tortured at the hands of SOCE? Wouldn’t that tend to sway his decision? When I informed the office of Sen. Joseph Vitale, who chaired Monday’s committee, of this fabricated testimony, they gave no immediate comment but said they would investigate the matter. The office of New Jersey Republican Senator Diane Allen, who also sits on the committee, appeared more concerned, but explained that the Senator was out of the office today and no official comment would be given on her behalf.

While it’s not immediately clear whether the proposed bill, which passed out of committee with a vote of 7-1 (with two abstentions), will be held up due to this fabricated testimony, the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Christie should be very cautious about the testimony of every witness that testified in support of the proposed ban.

A version of this article was originally published at: http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/transgendered-woman-lies-about-therapy-torture/

Christopher Doyle, M.A., is the director of the International Healing Foundation and founder of Voice of the Voiceless, which defends the rights of clients with unwanted SSA, former homosexuals and their families. For more information, visit: www.voiceofthevoiceless.info