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CNN Anchor Grills NARTH Spokesman Over “Ex-Gay” Therapy Ban

October 01, 2012 5:05 pm ET by Carlos Maza

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin challenged a member of the most widely discredited “ex-gay” organization in America while discussing a California law banning the use of “ex-gay” therapy for minors.

During the October 1 edition of CNN Newsroom, Baldwin invited senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and “ex-gay” therapist Dan Pickup to discuss a recently enacted California law prohibiting the use of so-called “reparative” therapy on minors.

Pickup – who represents the widely discredited National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and believes that homosexuality interferes with man’s natural masculinity – criticized the law, claiming that homosexuality can indeed be treated through therapy, especially when used on children who have been sexually abused:

PICKUP: Reparative therapy helped save my life. My depression, clinically depressed twice, went down. My anxiety went down. My self-esteem went up. My confidence in my own gender identity went up and was more secured in me over a period of years with this therapy. I was sexually abused as a child and emotionally abused. And so if I was still a minor and not allowed to undergo treatment for something that for me did not represent who I was, then that would be an egregious abuse in my opinion.

Both Baldwin and Cohen challenged Pickup during the heated segment, citing the American Psychological Association’s (APA) conclusion that “ex-gay” therapy is ineffective and can do real damage to patients.

 “Ex-gay” therapy has been rejected by nearly every major professional medical organization in the country, including the American Medical AssociationNational Association of Social WorkersAmerican Counseling AssociationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association.

Even leaders within the “ex-gay” movement – as well as former members – have admitted that the practice can’t actually alter a person’s sexual orientation.

Baldwin and Cohen should be commended for the way they handled Pickup. When interviewing crackpot anti-gay pseudoscientists, news anchors should be prepared to push back and play hardball. In the case of “ex-gay” therapy, the well-being of countless LGBT minors (and adults) might depend on it.


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