‘Ex-Gay’ Activists Work to Corrupt Virginia’s University System

October 16, 2013 7:27 PM18 comments

Voice of the Voiceless founder Christopher Doyle thought he conducted an “undercover” investigation in September when he infiltrated LGBT resource centers at Virginia’s public universities. His goal was to see if they were disseminating information on “ex-gay” programs. However, this foolish effort was akin to going “undercover” in a supermarket to find out if food was on the shelves.

It is preposterous to expect any responsible university to distribute literature that aggressively demonizes and depicts LGBT students as mentally ill. The American Psychiatric Associations says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to, “anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior.” How would an institution of higher learning justify placing at-risk students in harms way?

Doyle and his cohorts at Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) claim that not promoting ex-gay programs represents a viewpoint bias. I will happily concede this point, and add that universities should actually do more to thwart junk science from corrupting the educational system.

Washington Post reporter Tom Jackman addressed this issue by asking: “When is it appropriate for a public university to offer information about a thoroughly discredited belief?”

The answer is never – unless it is in a debate class that teaches students how to debunk false theories and unreasonable rhetoric. The appropriate response for university officials, in the case of Doyle, is to admit they are strongly biased against unadulterated BS. This is precisely what separates education from indoctrination, history from histrionics, information from disinformation, and actual science from science fiction. If an institution is not allowed to show bias in favor of fact over fantasy, they might as well begin showing King Kong and Godzilla movies in zoology classes.

It is important to understand the breathtaking insincerity of these charlatans. They are claiming to be victims of discrimination, yet have long opposed equal rights for LGBT people. Doyle, for example, works for the International Healing Foundation, a group that advocated for harsh penalties against homosexuality in countries such as Uganda and Russia.

The latest undercover operation (aka publicity stunt) is part of a cynical strategy that was recently revealed on Voice of the Voiceless’ website:

“If we are to change the way our society is going, we need to adapt to our current social environment and use the legalization of tolerance and non-discrimination to our advantage,” wrote VoV’s Nathan Ruark.

These activists want to exploit liberalism’s desire for open-minded discussion, to justify their closed-minded derision. They believe that if a counselor tells a conflicted student that “gay is good,” the school must then sanction extremists tell that same student that “gay is gross.” In their delusional minds, such divisiveness represents true diversity. I hope Virginia’s university leaders aren’t gullible enough to fall for Doyle’s artificial outrage and will not be bullied by his “skewpoint” disguised as a legitimate viewpoint.

Moreover, Doyle is incredibly dishonest. He told the Washington Post, “You take the client’s goals, and you work with their goals and you don’t impose your own values. It’s supposed to be value neutral.”

Yet, Doyle’s boss at the International Healing Foundation, Richard Cohen, shows that the group’s view on counseling at universities is far from neutral. According to Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight:

“…universities throughout the world are teaching our children on the platform of human rights and social equality, that homosexual people are born this way and cannot change. The promotion of these myths is another factor that may influence someone to become homosexual, or pull him over the line. This is cultural indoctrination for impressionable youths who are still confused with their sexual identities.”

Interestingly, at the conservative Values Voter Summit this past weekend, a PFOX spokesperson, Rev. Grace Harley, attended an anti-gay seminar. The moderator, Houston pastor Rick Scarborough said, “You are not gay. You are recruited.” Harley, while sitting near the front row, certainly didn’t object to this calumny. I guess this is what Doyle means by “value neutral.”

It is clear that Doyle and PFOX don’t like LGBT-affirming resources. Their answer is for universities to provide information from the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). Here is the advice NARTH board member Gerard van den Aardweg suggests that counselors impart to students:

“…a preferable reaction to young people who disclose their secret feelings something like this: ‘You may indeed feel that interest in your own sex, but it is still a question of immaturity. By nature, you are not that way. Your heterosexual nature has not yet awakened. What we have to discuss is a personality problem, your inferiority complex.”

Should leading universities really be in the business of telling students that they are “inferior?” If anti-gay activists get their way, this is precisely what will happen in Virginia.


Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”




  • No dissent allowed.

    • Norman Dostal

      dissent, yes! junk, harmful religious kookey? NO

      • AugustineThomas

        Right.. You can’t subject them to mental illness.. Unless it’s homosexual activities which are proven to raise depression and suicide rates of those who engage in them.

        • all thanks to people like you who create the climate that leads to the problems

          Welcome to right wing xtianity the same religion that justified slavery as per the bible and now murders gay children with theirr words – about half of the CDC 8000 t 9000 kids who commit suicide for all reasons

          Augustine – are you calling yourself the guy in the bible? The same bible re slavery

        • Actually, no they haven’t been proven to raise depression and suicide rates. They’ve been proven to be correlated, yes, but there isn’t a single study to date that demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that it is homosexuality in itself and not another correlated factor (like negative social stigma, stress from hiding a large secret all the time, etc.) that lead to these observations. Correlation is not causation. If that were the case, then African-Americans would also be mentally ill, for they too have higher rates of suicide and death than the Caucasian population of the United States, yet there is no logical reason to think that race is at all related to one’s sanity.

    • Free speech doesn’t apply to medical malpractice.

    • If that were truly the case, then I wouldn’t be able to read your comment.

  • AugustineThomas

    No dissent allowed. You will be terminated if you disagree with leftist dogma!

  • Bottom line on fixing – virtually every med and psych group says gay is as inborn as str8

    what the fixers do is by mental abuse eg 32 hours of continuous sermons demonizing the victims for being gay, they drive them futrher into the closet of self hate and shame

    the other trick is to turn the self hatred into the subconscious so the emotions of these victims dont understand what is happening. They simply deny their own orientation but if challenged sometimes spit out he worst of the worst of horror things about eg mathew sheppard, blaming his parents for not “fixing him”

    these “fixers’ should be tossed in the jail ust like we woulld do if someone not a doctor claimed to be one and people died for his medical ignorance

  • Daniel Lee Fee

    The ‘junk science’ of NARTH and SOCE = Sexual Orientation Change Efforts fails
    almost complete to hew to common professional/ethical standards of conduct.

    Informed Consent ethics is flawed at best and full of Swiss Cheese Holes at worst. One big ethical gap is that practitioners regularly avoid/omit telling prospective
    SOCE target people the known statistical estimates about degree of change, plus
    trending likelihood of change.

    So far, our best evidence suggests that change will occur, ranging from mild to
    moderately high. Nobody can yet accurately predict who will exactly get
    what degree of SOCE outcome. It is a known statistical trend that SOCE
    participants rarely get the change they seek and are told to expect. A
    small percentage get some degree of SOCE positive outcome insofar as they
    become attracted to opposite sex people, but even this small percentage of
    people do not all get the same degree of change. As one of the APA study
    committee members said in a media interview: ‘Getting the SOCE outcome you want
    is about as possible as winning a lottery. It could happen, but should
    you organize your whole life around that one thing happening?’

    Informed Consent requires practitioners to tell prospective consumers about the best known evidence of how well the treatment/procedure works. We have little
    to no evidence people are told the real outcome information. Informed
    Consent also requires practitioners to disclose any negative treatment effects,
    no matter how unlikely to likely those effects might be. So far we have little
    to no reliable record that consumers are told about any of the negative effects
    from SOCE. Not a word seems to be spoken about increased mood swings, depression, anxiety, or subtle yet gathering self-hatred (same sex attractions = immaturity, being broken, or some other negative) with risk of growing to large enough intensities that people become suicidal, mildly to greatly.

    Another ethical area which regularly is neglected is treatment and treatment effects
    monitoring. Particularly for experimental treatments which, despite theories, are not well understood in empirical detail, the minimal quality of the treatment is required to be monitored. So, too, are we obliged to monitor for any sign of early negative effects.

    Two double binds are innate to many or most SOCE services. A first double-blind is the unquestioned theoretical definition which simply defines all same sex attractions as indicators of some vague but important kind of ‘immaturity’ or ‘insecurity’, often proceeding as if same sex attractions are indicators of some major human mental health problem or deficit. It is not at all clear how SOCE practitioners who regularly claim their work is ‘successful’ manage to engage with the innate negative definitions while not covertly fostering any of the ‘negative’ views/feelings which common sense tells us, go along with the ‘negative’ definitions.

    A second double bind is that the patterns of covert sensitization/demand which we have studied in research on design bias, experimenter bias and similar realities that can occur in poor research work, also seem possible as built into SOCE work itself. How can your SOCE practice or procedure remain ‘neutral’ while the interaction proceeds on an unquestioned basis that same sex attractions are signs of the SOCE procedutre not working very well? Once sufficient covert expectation and hidden but powerful demand pressures are built up in the SOCE interactions, how is a participant not, less and less free to explore a positive view or definition of same sex attractions?

    For that matter, how can a person come back to an SOCE therapist who is supposedly ‘famous’ for changing peoples’ sexual orientation, with repeat news that no change is happening, or that life is getting worse and worse? Those bits are just the kind of thing that is getting covertly loaded with difficult, negative judgments and definitions. So far no SOCE worker has documented how the ethical and evidence based monitoring recommendations are carried out during such therapy.

    Finally, a third large set of ethical care protocols comes into play when SOCE is
    ending. If a participant is among the predictable larger percentage of people who have gotten no change to getting worse, then the ethics of care require minimum helpful efforts. An SOCE practitioner ought to do very careful and accurate end point psychological assessments, do referrals to after care for any harm or damage that an SOCE procedure has occasioned, and do other types of ending support with follow ups.

    One issue left unspoken is: Who pays for any additional services needed to moderate or undo the harms that a given SOCE trial has detected?

    An ideal ethic would strongly caution us that the practitioner of an experimental
    treatment that happens to do harm, is responsible for the cost of the follow up
    helps. I know of no single instance where any SOCE provider has done a
    careful, exacting end point psych assessment, let alone made sure that a
    hurting person who has “failed’ the experimental SOCE procedures is linked
    up with suitable high quality aftercare, let alone paid the bills for such


    It is not the person who ‘fails’ an SOCE procedure or treatment! It is the unreliable, experimental SOCE procedures which have ‘failed’ to change the person. Let me say that again: People who get SOCE do NOT fail that SOCE. Rather it is that particular SOCE which has failed the person who got involved in it.

    Remarkable, isn’t it?

    All the talk so far about freedom of religion, freedom of thought or speech or conscience just happens to step very carefully, so that these three glaring areas of consistent ethical non-compliance need never be mentioned. drdanfee

  • but, there are ex-gay people getting hammer by gay people because they decided to change and even feel better seeking for that change. So what is the problem? it is like people who likes to watch pornography but at some point they feel isn’t good for them ot their life. So What is the difference for those people who doesn’t feel ok being gay and want to seek help? don’t they deserved the same right? Moreover, dont you think the new psychiatrist law made by homosexual are getting biased due to their sexual orientation? isn’t the same thing happen to gays years back when this law were made by straight people? It is kind of hypocritical from a homosexual believer condemn other seeking to change.

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