Monday, May 05, 2008
Washington DC television station revisits whether homosexuality is a "choice" or is immutable; APA cancels symposium out of fear of protests
WJLA Channel 7 in Washington DC (actually Arlington) ran a controversial story tonight (May 5, at 5:45 PM EDT), “Can Someone’s Sexual Preference Be Changed?” with reporter Greta Kruez. A symposium at the Washington DC Convention Center sponsored by the American Psychiatric Association was cancelled, partly out of fear of protests. The symposium was to be “balanced.” In 1973, the APA, recall, removed homosexuality from the list of “mental illnesses.” That was too late for me, as I was cajoled into undergoing treatment in 1962 (some of it at NIH) after my William and Mary expulsion in November 1961.
The WJLA link is here. The video link is here.
The report maintains that there is no reliable explanation for homosexuality. There is some evidence of genetic and birth order influences, but it is far from conclusive. The watershed book on this issue was published by Hyperion in 1996, "A Separate Creation," by Chandler Burr (also author of the 1993 Atlantic article "Homosexuality and Biology"), and the book stimulated religious protests against the publisher's owning company, Disney. Scientific American has published some studies that suggest but don't prove biological influences. A biological cause of something does not by itself end moral debate if there is "harm" from the behavior at issue; it's touchier when what is at issue is that other people (like families) simply feel collectively slighted (as to loss of "loyalty") or socially undermined without actual harm to the individuals involved. (That's more how it is.) Some anthropologists believe that homosexuality may serve an "altruistic" purpose by supporting society in a broader cultural way without the specific responsibilities of reproduction (sort of a "Da Vinci" or "Renaissance" effect), or it may play a "monitoring" role in encouraging those who do have children (still the majority) to be more selective with mates. Even in many other animals species, not all members reproduce.
The report showed protests at Brown University (oddly enough, subject of “Seth ‘s” college search on the Fox series The O.C.) over such a debate, against author Ryan Sorba and his upcoming book “The Born Gay Hoax,” which does not yet show up on Amazon (at least when I look for it). I recall that John Stossel has chastised Brown for its "speech codes", and it seems that in many areas activists do not want to allow debate on personally emotional issues, when the debate could expose them to personal criticism.
The report mentioned the ex-gay movement, but presented the right wing as spinning this more as a matter of “personal freedom” rather than “morality.” The report did mention the famous passage from Leviticus. But, when people are so concerned with changing homosexuality (there was a book in the 50s titled something like “Changing Homosexuality in the Male” and another book in 1968 called “Growing Up Straight”), there has to be something they “want” or “need.” I’ve always thought that some parents believe that they need to have their kids continue their family marriage in order to ratify their own marriages. I’ve discussed the “reasoning” in some detail on earlier postings on this blog.
I could not get the reported website trustwinsout.org to come up. REV: The URL is this, according to a comment I received (below). It's "truthwinsout."
Arlington resident Scott Mendelez was interviewed, and he supported the idea that one is the way one is.
In February, I reviewed a book “studying” the ex-gay conversion issue by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, here.