WND: Virginia Universities Should Offer Psychologically Destructive And Discredited "Ex-Gay" Therapy
September 26, 2013 12:59 pm ET by Luke Brinker
Seeking once again to depict "ex-gays" as the new targets of discrimination, WND touted an ex-gay organization's bid to force Virginia's public universities to offer discredited therapy programs that shame LGBT people and exacerbate social stigma.
In a September 25 "WND Exclusive," the right-wing website reported that as part of "Ex-Gay Awareness Month,"ex-gay group Voice of the Voiceless had dispatched undercover investigators to seven public universities in Virginia, where they pretended to be students seeking therapy to address "unwanted homosexual feelings." Such "therapy" wasn't available, and Voice of the Voiceless President Christopher Doyle charged that Virginia universities were therefore suppressing "potentially life-saving information" for certain students:
An undercover investigation conducted by a group promoting "Ex-Gay Awareness Month" charges that many of Virginia's state universities are promoting homosexuality even though they are required to deliver accurate information that represents both sides of the issue.
The investigation by Voice of the Voiceless, conducted over several weeks this month, had two former homosexuals pose as graduate students seeking "anonymous counseling for unwanted homosexual feelings at university resource centers."
Visited by the investigators were centers at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion, Christopher Newport and the College of William and Mary.
"State-funded universities are required to provide value-neutral, medically accurate information to all students in need of guidance," said Christopher Doyle, president of the group. "What we uncovered was a deliberate withholding of potentially life-saving information for students who may desire counseling to overcome unwanted homosexual feelings."
While WND and Voice of the Voiceless are outraged that universities offer support through LGBTQ resource centers while not offering sham therapy that degrades and humiliates LGBT people, ThinkProgress pointed out that the resource centers aim to "enhance the health and wellbeing" of LGBT students and foster a climate of acceptance - goals that "ex-gay" therapy programs undermine.
Programs that affirm LGBT students' identities are the real "life-saving" resources, while shaming people for being dramatically increases the risk of mental illness and suicide. As the Suicide Prevention Research Center notes:
It would be difficult to overstate the impact of stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals in the United States. Stigma and discrimination are directly tied to risk factors for suicide. For example, discrimination has a strong association with mental illness, and heterosexism may lead to isolation, family rejection, and lack of access to culturally competent care.
Not only does the American Psychological Association (APA) find "ex-gay" therapy counterproductive and scientifically unsound, but former proponents of the practice like Dr. Robert Spitzer and Alan Chambers concede it's ineffective. Chambers, who long held himself up as an ex-gay success story, admitted in August that he still experiences same-sex attractions.
Given that "ex-gay" therapy is both ineffective and potentially harmful to patients, asking why state-funded universities don't provide it is like wondering why their health departments don't hire witch doctors. As painful as it is for WND and Voice of the Voiceless to admit, sham therapy programs aren't excluded from campuses because of vicious anti-heterosexual bigotry. They're excluded because they don't work.