The Ex-Gay Myth, by John StosselVia Randy's blog, I just read that Bill O'Reilly had John Stossel as a guest on his show promoting his new book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity : Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong. And, wouldn't you know it, one of the myths he mentions in the book is that gay people can change.
Randy rightfully questions the personal research Stossel mentions on the show, which consisted of interviewing one ex-gay that he found to be rather unconvincing. However, I'm not sure what sort of research Stossel's book uses (perhaps policy statements from any of the major medical organizations in the country stating that they see no evidence that reparative therapy works, or the lack of any tracking by ex-gay groups to see if their clients do actually change, or even the vague definition of change given by ex-gay groups), but I hope he at least addressed some of the issues about ex-gay therapy.
While I agree with Randy on his first point, I found other parts of Randy's criticism to be a bit lacking. If Exodus is upset that people claim their efforts are ineffective, why not prove them wrong with a longitudinal study of some sort? We really could put this whole issue to rest with some sort of peer-reviewed study that follows clients before during and several years after therapy.
Randy went on to address Stossel's citation of the John Paulk incident by claiming that Paulk is not gay, and that he had one slip up several years ago that he has since repented for. Stossel could have just as easily brought up Michael Johnston (who very surely was gay when he was claiming publicly to have changed), and there are certainly many other former ex-gays out there, even if Stossel didn't use the absolute best example (but I feel his example was adequate to make his point).
It may be true to say that Paulk is not gay, if by gay Randy means he is no longer having sexual contact with men. There hasn't been any indication to the contrary on that. But it'd be a hard leap to say that Paulk was not still attracted to males when he went into Mr. P's (a gay bar), and to discount that any attraction existed after decades as ex-gay is unfair to those wanting to know what "change" really means.
So yes, Stossel could have made his argument better, and he certainly could have gone further into the issue (but then again, this was just one myth of many in the book). But, the irony is that Stossel was going off of anecdotal evidence, just like Exodus and other ex-gay groups use (although Stossel was also going off of policy statements from every major medical group in the nation, I'd assume). So while I am sure it is personally offensive for Randy to hear someone dismiss the change he has found in his life, Stossel is using the same anectdotal evidence that Exodus uses, which aims to tell the public that gays can change (meaning my dad thinks I can change), in spite of a serious lack of evidence that it actually happens.
Stossel may be being dismissive, but Exodus' PR activities cause the public (and especially conservatives) to be equally dismissive of gays like me.