Ex-homosexuals protest APA's position on homosexuality

by Michael Foust, posted Monday, August 14, 2006 (12 years ago)

NEW ORLEANS (BP)--Approximately 50 people from various pro-family groups protested the American Psychological Association's convention Aug. 11, opposing the organization's position that says homosexuality cannot be changed.

"The fact of the matter is that there are tens of thousands of men and women just like me who have overcome homosexuality. ... We're living proof," Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a ministry to homosexuals and ex-homosexuals, told Baptist Press. He took part in the protest in New Orleans.

APA has been one of the leading organizations to back the claims of homosexual activists. A statement on its website says that homosexuality "does not require treatment and is not changeable." In addition, the statement says that "close scrutiny" of conversion therapies "cast doubt on their claims" that people have been freed from homosexuality. APA even has a Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Concerns office.

"The American Psychological Association is concerned about such therapies and their potential harm to patients," the statement says.

But that statement also says clients have a "right to unbiased treatment and self-determination" -- something that Chambers and others say is not the case when it comes to APA's stance on homosexuality.

Caleb Price, research analyst at Focus on the Family, called APA's position "hypocritical." Price says he identified himself as a homosexual for about 14 years but now is a Christian and heterosexual.

"If they are about science and not about politics, then they should be willing to look at issues involving homosexuality … in an intellectually honest way," Price, who also took part in the protest, told BP.

APA's position on homosexuality has given homosexual activists a significant boost in the national debate over such issues as homosexuality and "gay marriage." The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual activist organization, lists APA's position statements on its website, along with similar statements from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association.

"I think the most harm that the APA is doing is they're using their position to steer the debate in the media and in the public to cast doubt on the tens of thousands of men and women who have changed," Chambers said. "That's unfortunate and it's unfair. But what the governing board of the APA is doing doesn't resonate with the members of the APA."

Chambers said the majority of the psychologists they came in contact with were "very supportive and very interested in what we were saying."

"But as far at the governing board of the APA, they are the ones who don't talk about a client's right to self-determination," Chambers said. "They basically say homosexuals can't change and that's the end of the story. That's very different from what the psychologists within the movement say."

Clinton Anderson, director of the APA's Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual office, told the Associated Press that there "is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed."

Price, though, strongly disagreed.

"The reality is that people's lives are changed," Price said. "We are living testimonies of the fact that people can and do change."

Exodus International, Focus on the Family and other likeminded groups will protest APA's meetings in the future, Chambers said.

"We hope to do these every single year until we reach our goal, which is to help the APA understand that they need to respect every client's rights," he said.


For information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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