Thursday, August 27, 2009

John Cornyn: Idiot, Liar, or Both?

Earlier this Month I wrote to my US Senators asking them to support S 1584, the Senate version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). It was introduced into the Senate on August 5, 2009.

Today (August 27, 2009) I received a response from John Cornyn that included the following statement claiming that no such legislation has been introduced into the Senate.

As you may know, the H.R. 3017 was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 24, 2009. This legislation would create a comprehensive federal prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity as well as attempt to provide remedies for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would invoke congressional powers to regulate interstate commerce in an effort to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Although similar legislation has not been introduced in the Senate, you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should H.R. 3017 or other relevant legislation be considered during the 111th Congress.

So ... is he a true idiot, a liar, or both?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


After a rather amazing experience last night I'm flooded with memories this morning.

We went to a birthday party for a friend. Their new next-door neighbors came to the party. They have been down here for about 1-1/2 years after retiring and moving from Pennsylvania. I had met them at another party there, but the conversation never took the turn it took last night.

We discovered last night that the husband and I had attended the same parochial grade and high schools at the same time, but 2 years apart, in suburban Pittsburgh. We moved there when I was in 7th grade, so I was only at the grade school, St. Bernard's in Mt. Lebanon, for 2 years, and then went on to what was then a boys high school named South Hills Catholic. It later merged with a girl's high school and is not called Seton-LaSalle High School.

Although we did not recall knowing one another at the time, there are many other people we do know in common.

To the right is a picture of St. Bernard' church with a little bit of the school showing at the bottom right. The church is an interesting building with two completely separate churches inside. It is built on sloping land. From the front you enter the "upper church" at ground level. From the back you enter the "lower church" at ground level. This view is from the back of the church

And here's a picture of Seton-LaSalle. Oddly, the first memory that hit when I saw this picture was of an evening at the school at a rehearsal for the spring musical during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember a group of us sitting on the stairs in that entry looking up at the sky and wondering if missles would be coming to strike us at any moment. (At that time there was still a huge steel industry in the Pittsburgh, and for that reason the city was high on the list of nuclear attack targets.)

I love it when life brings us one of these amazing moments.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our Friend in Newcastle

Although he won't admit it, I think our friend in Newcastle, the Mad One, is up to something.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New APA Study Repudiates So-Called "Ex-Gay" Therapy


August 5, 2009
Contact: Kim Mills
(202) 336-6048 until Aug. 5
(416) 585-3800 – Aug. 5-9


Practitioners Should Avoid Telling Clients They Can Change from Gay to Straight


TORONTO—The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts" also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."

The approval, by APA's governing Council of Representatives, came at APA's annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapy," or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex."

Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others' sexual orientation.

APA appointed the six-member Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2007 to review and update APA's 1997 resolution, "Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation," and to generate a report. APA was concerned about ongoing efforts to promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed through psychotherapy or approaches that mischaracterize homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The task force examined the peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 1960 to 2007, which included 83 studies. Most of the studies were conducted before 1978, and only a few had been conducted in the last 10 years. The group also reviewed the recent literature on the psychology of sexual orientation.

"Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws," Glassgold said. "Few studies could be considered methodologically sound and none systematically evaluated potential harms."

As to the issue of possible harm, the task force was unable to reach any conclusion regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the recent studies of SOCE: "There are no methodologically sound studies of recent SOCE that would enable the task force to make a definitive statement about whether or not recent SOCE is safe or harmful and for whom," according to the report.

"Without such information, psychologists cannot predict the impact of these treatments and need to be very cautious, given that some qualitative research suggests the potential for harm," Glassgold said. "Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome."

As part of its report, the task force identified that some clients seeking to change their sexual orientation may be in distress because of a conflict between their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The task force recommended that licensed mental health care providers treating such clients help them "explore possible life paths that address the reality of their sexual orientation, reduce the stigma associated with homosexuality, respect the client's religious beliefs, and consider possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life."

"In other words," Glassgold said, "we recommend that psychologists be completely honest about the likelihood of sexual orientation change, and that they help clients explore their assumptions and goals with respect to both religion and sexuality."

A copy of the task force report may be obtained from APA's Public Affairs Office or at

Members of the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation:

Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, Rutgers University – Chair
Lee Beckstead, PhD
Jack Drescher, MD
Beverly Greene, PhD, St. John's University
Robin Lin Miller, PhD, Michigan State University
Roger L. Worthington, PhD, University of Missouri

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

HT/Wayne Besen