Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Conversion Therapy - Harmful & Unethical

Let me summarize the professional consensus on conversion (reparative) therapy (CT):

The American Psychological Association as well as other associations of professional social workers and educators warn that any attempt to change a person's sexual orientation can be harmful, even fatal. The dissonance that is created by any attempt to change an essential part of one's being can lead to depression, suicide and other forms of self-destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.

We see that the best outcome that CT claims in a few cases is to place a person into an ex-Governor McGreevey type situation. The person has needs which go unmet, the spouse has no person to emotionally bond with and children have no role models of what romantic love and affection are all about. Without models of how love and affection are connected to sex, these children may become promiscuous or engage in other inappropriate behaviors. The harm CT does is not just to the person who is gay, but to the faux spouse, the children and to society as a whole.

The American Psychiatric Association and other associations of physicians condemn CT as unethical.

CT attempts to cure a disease that does not exist. Homosexually was dropped from the DSM over thirty years ago when no relationship between being gay and mental disfunction could be found. Being gay is just the natural way some people are and has no detrimental effect on psychological functioning. This position is supported by all other major health and mental health organizations.

CT attempts to separate these persons' needs from their behavior, a harmful form of psychological dis-integration. This leaves the person less able to function satisfactorily. This is the antithesis of legitimate psychotherapies, which work toward personality integration which produces a person who is more able to function successfully in society.

The idea that being gay is a sin or some mental disorder and CT is a viable treatment, is based on religious belief, not science. As such the idea that being gay is other than the natural way some people are, or that there is something wrong with being gay, or that sexual orientation is something that a person can and should change, cannot be presented in our public school system or promoted by other government agencies where the intrusion of religious beliefs is not permitted. As the Dept. of Education has stated, gays are students too, and deserve a safe environment where learning is possible.

Since CT leads to mental disorganization and can result in great harm, including suicide, it should not be recommended by anyone serving in a professional capacity for liability reasons as well.

The best way to treat those who realize they are gay, both in school and otherwise, is to follow the guidelines set forth by the major health, mental health and education organizations as endorsed by their
nearly half million members, by the AFT, the NEA, mainstream religious groups and others.

Treating gays as second class citizens is not an option.

Monday, November 21, 2005


School Suicide Prevention Programs for Gay Students

July 18, 1994

To the Editor:

We find that the number of teen suicides has doubled since 1981. These deaths have a tragic effect on the families involved and the community in general. They also effect teachers and students at the schools these youngsters attended. Schools are trying to do something to reduce these numbers. Teachers and administrators work to identify students who may be having problems and direct them to places where they can get help.

About a third of these suicides involve students who discover they are gay. Many school districts across the nation have programs which provide counseling and support to help their gay students adjust to their life situation.

Governor William Weld recently signed into law a bill that would require all schools is Massachusetts to provide these services for their gay students. Other states are considering similar proposals.

These programs are run according to the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. As we recall, in 1974 the APA dropped homosexuality from its list of disorders. The scientific and clinical evidence to that time and since indicates that sexual orientation is an inborn characteristic. Being attracted to persons of the same gender is just the way some people are.

That this is the case for these teens should be obvious. Why would a teen choose to be gay and commit suicide if he or she could simply choose to be straight and live happily ever after? To suggest that these youngsters had a choice defies all reason.

Since homosexuality is not a disorder, it cannot be cured. In fact, trying to do so can be quite harmful. The false hope that one can change one's orientation can prove devastating later when one realizes that this is impossible.

So schools which provide counseling for their gay students provide them with a better understanding of their homosexuality and help then develop the skills they need to cope with their circumstances.

It may be some time before schools here in Rhea County have counseling programs which appropriately address the needs of our gay youngsters. In the meantime, let us not be among those whose rantings and ravings against gays do great emotional harm and push the teen suicide rate even higher.

Instead, let us be like the Good Shepherd who looks after every one of His flock and provide understanding and support for our children who discover they are gay.

William J. Ware

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The Human Need to Parent

There is a natural parenting or child rearing instinct to one degree or another in all of us.

If we mistakenly assume there is an urge to have sex only, and that having children is merely the inevitable outcome that we must deal with when it happens, then we are neglecting an important factor in human motivation. With the availability of effective contraception, we could satisfy sexual urges while avoiding the consequences if becoming a parent were not a motivating factor on its own.

When we have poor urban teenagers having children, it is not that contraceptives are not available or knowledge of their use lacking, it's that becoming a mother is desirable on its own despite their disadvantaged situation.

Women who have focused on a career who find that even the marginally acceptable men have already been taken, none-the-less find a way to have children, on their own, if necessary, when they are ready.

People who are asexual may marry due to their desire to have children in the socially prescribed manner. Some asexual women may not be aware of the sexual attraction that other women have for men. They may accept having sex as a duty rather than a pleasure and would rather avoid sex with their spouse if they could. This displeasure may reach the point where they refuse to have sex any longer. Their partner will either have to live with that fact or find someone new.

More in the past than today, gays have married someone of the opposite sex to fit in by having a spouse and as a means of having children. Sex with their spouse is no more a pleasure to them than it is to an asexual person.

Neither a fatherless home nor a loveless marriage can prevent some from being a parent. Now that gays have more choices, it's not surprising that they would want have children as before, but to love the person they marry as well.