crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I read the following from One News Now:

Researchers at Fordham University have released a study showing that homosexual men can change their “orientation” by developing healthy, non-sexual relationships with other men.

The study was published in the Journal of Men's Studies (March 2010). Greg Quinlan, president Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX,) tells OneNewsNow it serves as confirmation to “everything that we've been saying all along.”

The One News Now article did not go into detail about the study so I looked elsewhere to find more information.

Lifesite News said the following:

Researchers at Fordham University in New York have published a study in the March edition of the Journal of Men's Studies, showing that positive results can be gained by homosexual men seeking to change their “orientation” by developing healthy non-sexual relationships with other men.
According to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homoseuxality (NARTH), the study rovides “valuable empirical evidence” from the mainstream of psychological research supporting environmental factors as the cause of homosexuality.
The study, by Dr. Elan Y. Karten and Dr. Jay C. Wade, examined the “social and psychological characteristics” of men who experience unwanted homosexual attractions and who seek “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE).
Investigating these characteristics in cases of “self-reported change,” Karten and Wade found that clients reported that they experienced “a decrease in homosexual feelings and behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in psychological functioning” with SOCE.

Don't be fooled by the link that supposedly leads to the study. It actually leads to a NARTH (National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) summary of the study.

And as many of us know, based on NARTH's history of embracing inaccurate theories about the gay community, it's not a good idea to trust the organization's summary of anything.So where is the study and why won't these folks lauding it go into detail about it? Are they omitting something?

Dr. Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College, there is some serious misrepresentations going on.

Now I should break in and say that in many cases, Throckmorton and the lgbt community has not seen eye-to-eye on several issues.

But there are times in which Throckmorton calls out the religious right on their lies. He does such a good job at it that “our friend” Peter LaBarbera has directed barbs at him.

And the way I see it, anyone who upsets LaBarbera can't be all bad.

In this particular case, Throckmorton calls out One News Now and NARTH for distorting this study. I bolded the most important part of Throckmorton's statement:

Here is the OneNewsNow title:

‘Orientation’ change efforts effective.

Here is a statement from Karten and Wade (p. 86):

The purpose of the study was not to replicate findings from prior research or establish the efficacy of this treatment.

Now the way NARTH discusses the study, one might think replication of prior change research was the intent, but it was not a study that was designed to “establish the efficacy” of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). Rather, the authors surveyed 117 men who were trying to change and asked them what seemed to be working in their quest. It was not an outcome study and there were no follow up interviews with any of the subjects.

OneNewsNow says this:

Researchers at Fordham University have released a study showing that homosexual men can change their “orientation” by developing healthy, non-sexual relationships with other men.

As noted by the article, the study did not demonstrate change via any mechanism nor was the stated intent of the study to establish this finding. The study was not designed in such a way that change could be verified. Karten recruited participants from Journey Into Manhood participants and from therapists who conducted change therapy. The subjects were only required to have some same-sex attraction, meaning that we do not know how many, if any, exclusively homosexual men were in the study. There was only one measurement of sexual attraction via the survey with no follow up measures. Thus, change was not really measured, in that there was no pre-treatment or post-treatment assessments. Participants were asked to rate how helpful various interventions had been and various characteristics relating to masculinity.  Nothing causative can be inferred from any of the reported correlations.

One News Now and NARTH distorting a study on sexual orientation? It must be a normal day.

Alvin McEwen

Alvin McEwen