Monday, August 10, 2009

WBC4SL a Danger to Children!

While Maziarka and WBC4SL claim there is something in the West Bend library that is dangerous to children, the simple fact is that the real dangers are Maziarka and the WBC4SL themselves.

In her February letters, Maziarka calls homosexuality a "condition," and makes the unsupported and unsupportable claim that "people leave homosexuality every day." Further, she insists that the library is practicing censorship by not having enough books that promote "reparative" therapy, psychological practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of homosexuals (also called SOCE, for Sexual Orientation Change Efforts).

There are many reasons why a library might include or exclude books on SOCE, and I want to be clear that I'm not trying here to tell the library what to do. One of the factors the library might consider is that the American Psychological Association has thoroughly rejected reparative therapy as ineffective and not infrequetly causing harm. While recently reconfirmed, the rejection of SOCE by professional organizations is decades old, although some groups and individuals have been a bit slow on the uptake. I agree with Sleepless In West Bend, who wrote, "That's not censorship; it is called responsible and professional librarianship."

Let's be clear about the harm these books can do:

  • They enable anti-gay bigotry by promoting the idea that sexual orientations other than exclusive heterosexuality are a disorder, an idea rejected decades ago by the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the Amerian Psychological Association.

  • They give false hopes to parents concerned about a child's possible homosexuality, delaying, perhaps even terminating, the parents' process of coming to a position of acceptance.

  • They confuse children and teens who are struggling with their sexual orientation by painting a counter-scientific picture of human sexuality and offering false hopes of change.

  • They encourage parents and children to waste time and money in forms of psychotherapy that are unlikely to work.

  • They mis-represent the risks of such therapy, encouraging parents and children to engage in a process that may cause psychological harm, including low self-esteem, depression, and suicide.

That's enough from me on the point. I'd like to let the recent report on SOCE by the American Psychological Association to speak for itself. Quotes below are verbatim, but reformatted slightly to fit this blog.
"We see this multiculturally competent and affirmative approach as grounded in an acceptance of the following scientific facts: Same-sex sexual attractions, behavior, and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality—in other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders." (p.2)

"These studies show that enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon. The participants in this body of research continued to experience same-sex attractions following SOCE and did not report significant change to othersex attractions that could be empirically validated, though some showed lessened physiological arousal to all sexual stimuli. Compelling evidence of decreased same-sex sexual behavior and of engagement in sexual behavior with the other sex was rare. Few studies provided strong evidence that any changes produced in laboratory conditions translated to daily life. Thus, the results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce samesex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE." (pp. 2-3).

"We found that there was some evidence to indicate that individuals experienced harm from SOCE. Early studies documented iatrogenic effects of aversive forms of SOCE. These negative side effects included loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality, and anxiety. High drop rates characterized early aversive treatment studies and may be an indicator that research participants experienced these treatments as harmful. Recent research reports on religious and nonaversive efforts indicate that there are individuals who perceive they have been harmed. Across studies, it is unclear what specific individual characteristics and diagnostic criteria would prospectively distinguish those individuals who will later perceive that they been harmed by SOCE." (p. 3)

The following is a resolution recommended in the report, but not yet finalized by the APA:
"The American Psychological Association advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to 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." (p. 121).

[*Page numbers above refer to the The APA report on SOCE, which can be download from:

I would like to thank Sleepless in West Bend for bringing attention to this issue in a post on the APA Report and on a Press Release by PFOX, an organization that pushes "reparative" therapy.]


  1. Slippery Slipper SlipMonday, August 10, 2009

    I strongly disagree with you.

    Homosexuality carries with it an enormous stigma, like it or not, and this can be burdensome or downright dangerous.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I think the lack of desire for the opposite sex is a symptom/mechanism of a repressed childhood.
    This makes it a neurotic disorder, as Sigmund Freud pointed out, and therefore it is curable.

    C'mon.The fear of change is how the theocratic enemy operates!

  2. It isn't me you're disagreeing with, but with the American Psychological Association. They acknoweledge that the stigma you mention does real harm, but that's the result of being a minority in an unaccepting society. They specifically state that homosexuality, per se, is NOT a neurotic disorder, or any other kind of disorder.

    As to Sigmund Freud, he himself, 100 years ago, expressed strong doubts that sexual orientation could be changed.

  3. I don't know, I'm confused.

    Isn't Freud the guy known for his championing of the idea of polymorphous perversity?

    I'm in favor, of the right to "morph" into any sexuality you want. Well, there is some you don't want,and there is also some you do want.

    I knew a guy who had to disappear. He was in a constant struggle with this homosexuality he felt. "Blade Runner." lets flip the script. if he is straight and only full of self-doubt, then he could be seen as falling prey to the homosexual zeitgeist.

    Anyways, that is how the theocratic right-wing will see it, so be prepared.
    Inevitably, they will resort to "Political
    Correctness", that evil of the left.

    What I think is that I'd rather have P.C. any day then live with Puritanical, Calvinist notions of God and morality.

    It is true that Freud was not a prophet of change. I simply referenced his diagnosis and symptoms. I inferred from this knowledge the idea that a person can be changed, and that persons will change., including sexually.

  4. Freud was also a heroin addicted crack-pot...

  5. Freud used cocaine, not heroin.

    Slipping: I'm not sure what you mean by "homosexual zeitgeist," but I agree that self-doubts lead to problems for heterosexuals and homosexuals both.

    And you're quite right that people change sexually. Part of the the modern-day (non-Freudian) view is that the straight-gay dichotomy is just an idea our culture holds; it isn't real. Individuals can experience many shades of gray and can shift positions on a hetero-homo scale at different times in their lives.

    But the question at hand is not whether that can shift, but whether psychotherapy can direct that shift. What the APA is saying is that it can't.

  6. "the straight-gay dichotomy is just an idea our culture holds" (Freud does indeed suggest this, in his theory of polymorphous sexuality).

    But what of this scale you speak of;I am confused at your argument. If the "dichotomy...isn't real" how can their be a "hetero-homo scale"? Did you not just say the not real?!?! We are never going to get anywhere so long as we think in binary, dualistic oppositions, where homosexuality only exists in opposition to heterosexuality.

    This all stems, of course, from the master binary-male/female.

    Individuals can shift on your scale, but no matter how fine the "shades of gray", you are missing countless different sexualities that are not on that scale, but rather elude that scale.

    Seriously, you should read up on polymorphous sexuality in Freud to think how he thinks of sexuality as truly POLY-i.e. many, plural, multiple.

  7. I agree that sexuality can be quite polymorphous. My comments above were not a general description of sexuality theory, but a narrow response to someone else's comments. The hetero-homo scale is not "my" scale, but the scale commonly understood (rightly or wrongly) in North American culture (if it admits of a scale at all). Our cultural understanding of these matters has a long way to go to catch up with science.

    I don't agree that this relates in any way to the male/female dichotomy, since sexual orientation can vary independently of maleness/femaleness, and also independently of masculinity/femininity.

    But I digress.....the main point of this post and related thread is that an APA study calls into question the idea that therapy can direct changes in people's sexual orientations. This casts strong doubt over the scientific worth of so-called "reparative" therapy.

    And the whole topic is on this blog because of claims that a library "ought" to stock such books, even though there are no reasons to believe these books can do any good for anyone, but there are reasons to believe they can cause harm in at least some individuals.

  8. "I don't agree that this relates in any way to the male/female dichotomy." Neither do I. That is why I said "We are never going to get anywhere so long as we think in binary, dualistic oppositions." Furthermore, I did not say their was a "relationship" between the one false dichotomy and the other.
    I used the word stem because the dichotomy I oppose (homo-hetero) derives from another false dichotomy(male-female.) I oppose those because they are ALL polarizing illusions and dangers.

    You are twisting my concepts-it is interesting because you yourself is perpetuating a dichotomy in which I am opposed to the me that you invent.
    You say "sexual orientation can vary independently of maleness/femaleness, and also independently of masculinity/femininity".
    I already pointed that out when I said "you are missing countless different sexualities that are not on that scale, but rather elude that scale." Do you care to comment at all that the binaries are the problem?Apparently not.

    Maybe it is because you need those binaries for the sake of your argument, so you can try to pin me down with them (culture/science,hetero/homo,male/female.)

    Basically what I am saying is you did not understand my argument because you don't engage it really, although you borrow my concepts so as to put words in my mouth that I do not believe to be true.

    Also,you are relying on one report from an organization plagued by the scandal of decades of infiltration by pharmaceutical company researchers who were paid off, researchers who molded their DSM-IV criteria for psychiatric illness based on drug company profits. This organization also has been implicated in the use of government psychologists to torture detainees through zeroing in one their fears (dogs,cold,sleep deprivation,sexual humiliation.)

    Yeah, you are right-that kind of torture is enough for science to leave culture behind.

    But not only is that bad science, it is also not the basis for any kind of emancipatory theory of an individuals sexuality to be recognized in all of it's difference, because the AMA simply IS the establishment. It's dreary and it is the same old-same old.

  9. I'm not sure what is motivating your vitriol, nor am I sure what point you are ultimately trying to make. If you want to discuss psychology at length, you might want to take that to a blog that focuses on that topic, which this one does not.

    I have no intent to twist your words... I can only deal with what you leave on the page here.

    And as I said above, I agree that the binaries can be misleading --- even if people tend to think in terms of them.

    You are certainly entitled to your own opinion of the APA and their work. But if you want to convince others, you need to do more than make unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing that, even if true, don't alter the validity of the one particular study in question here.

  10. I am sorry if you thought I sounded vitriolic.

    I appreciate that you are willing to post and discuss about an old-topic.

    I think we are in agreement that any community library is ill-served by the kind of damaging books that negate a persons sexuality.

    Anyway, I love and read your website at least once a week, and I admire you for it.

    thank you

  11. Thank you for your kind words. I do agree.

  12. The one point I want to make is that psychiatry is not this innocuous and accurate science you presume it to be.
    For starter's, I suggest reading the works of Michel Foucault or R.D. Lainge.
    And a I do not need to post a link about how the APA condones the torture of detainee's at Gitmo.
    just google APA and Torture and see what you come up with.
    You might, in the process, find out how cool google is!;>

    If you are not sure of the thrust of my argument, let me make it clear:

    1.the APA represents psychiatry seen as an establishment method to make people who are sick well.

    2.This establishment method calls itself a science, but is and has always been a product of cultural discourse.

    3.That discourse is often based on "correcting" people seen as politically or sociologically "deviant." This whole entire Western discourse of the past several hundred years(at least) has resulted in incredibly horrific treatment of patients, particularly in this century, esp. when things were supposed to be "advancing" in that field.

    4.To this day this establishment field implicitly(and explicitly) condones torture, among other things, as well as the use of powerful medications with horrible side-effects, often used on young,very young children.

    Do you really want to base your questionable assumption that homosexuality is not a condition that can be changed without harmful consequences;do you want to base this view on the majority, establishment view, esp., when we are,after all, talking about a (proud) minority?

    I am vitriolic,yes, but only when I encounter people who pose as friends of the homo-sexual community, all the while endorsing the establishment.

    So, that is my point.

    BTW, I do believe you are the one who brought up psychiatry and psychology,right?

    Is the anti-censorship blogger trying to censor me by suggesting I go elsewhere. Is'nt that doubly ironic?!?!

    Why bring something up, if you don't want to talk about it?
    You should think your arguments through better.

    Also, when I said the library should not carry books that "negate sexuality", that was just a joke for you(a joke you did not apparently get). I think a library is best served by carrying all kinds of books-isn't that the point of your website against censoring libraries? Or are you one of those people who poses as anti-censorship,but actually favors it if you get the final say?

    So, what if the library carried a book about the psychology of a sexual sadist or a rapist. This "hypothetical" book could certainly be negating a form of sexuality?Or what if it was a book for rape victims,a book negating the sexuality of his/her attacker?So you, the non-censor, thinks these negative books have no place in a community library,huh??

    I am afraid your arguments are wading into some very dark and logically convoluted waters.

  13. Based on the above comments, I think you might find the Psychological Association's report (that started this thread) quite acceptable. It stresses that variation in sexual and affectional orientation is a normal part of human experience and does NOT represent a condition or disease state. And I agree.

    I am not trying in any way to censor you or a library that carries books about a variety of perspectives on this or any other issue. In fact, the library in question here does carry books on reparative therapy (not that one could discern that from the rhetoric of the censors).

    What I am trying to counter here is the claim of West Bend's censors that the library should or even must carry books on reparative therapy because these books offer a way out of what the censors see as a disease state (homosexuality). There is, of course, no science to back up that claim, at several levels.

    While there is no evidence that the reparative therapy supported by the censors can accomplish anything or even makes sense, there IS evidence that reparative therapy can be harmful to at least some individuals, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and suicide.

    It is not at all clear what "dark and logically convoluted waters" you think I'm wading into. As far as I can tell, we're saying much the same things. You seem to think I say a number of bizarre things that I do not, in fact, say, nor can you infer such positions from what I've written.

    I AGREE with you that a binary view of sexuality is unscientific. I THINK you are also saying that varying sexual orientations are normal and therefore not a condition or disease state. I AGREE with that as well.

    If those are true, then the censors' claim that reparative therapy can "cure" homosexuality makes no sense.

    There is no logical convolution there. Just 1+1 =2.

  14. Maybe these are the nut of the matter:

    "I am vitriolic,yes, but only when I encounter people who pose as friends of the homo-sexual community, all the while endorsing the establishment."

    I'm not sure what "posing" you are accusing me of here. I'm not necessarily endorsing the establishment, but if it happens that my opinion matches that of the establishment then so be it. It is not logical to disagree with the establishment just because it is established. Each point must stand on it's own scientific feet.

    And then:

    "o you really want to base your questionable assumption that homosexuality is not a condition that can be changed without harmful consequences;do you want to base this view on the majority, establishment view, esp., when we are,after all, talking about a (proud) minority?"

    There are enough negatives in those sentences to make it difficult for me to tell exactly what you mean. What I think is that sexual orientation is not a condition of any kind, and varies just as many other aspects of human characteristics vary from individual to individual. Attempting to change sexual "orientation," is based in a disease model of homosexuality and makes zero sense once that model is discarded. It has nothing to do with majorities or minorities, proud or otherwise.

  15. If you go back and actually read my post, you will see that my points 2,3 and 4 are the factual reasons I am against the establishment.
    Then I gave you a lead on two writers whose entire corpus is a deconstruction and genealogy of the origins of the establishment.
    I did not say I "disagreed with the establishment because it is established."

    Do want me to provide some more reasons the psychiatric establishment is untrustworthy and despicable, or are 3 enough (with 2 references, to boot.)?

    When you paint me as someone who is aginst the establishment just for the sake of it, you appear to esouse the points I made about the establishment, which in turn makes me wonder if you yourself condone the vile actions of the mainstream psychiatric community that I metioned in points 2,3,and 4.

    Either that, or you did not actually read my post. I wonder which one it is(of course, their is a 3rd possibility-that you read my post with blinders on because you simply disagree with me, but can't prove why.)

  16. I'm not trying to paint you as anything, and I'm not sure whether I agree with you or disagree with you, because you have yet to make a comprehensible point beyond your clear dislike for the psychiatric establishment (about which I do not care in the least, since it isn't relevant to the point at hand).

    What are you trying to say that is relevant to the point of this blog?!

    Are you saying that "reparative" therapy works or doesn't work, that it is helpful, neutral, or harmful? Do you think a public library should or should not shelve them and why? Do you think the censors' demand to "balance" gay-affirming library books with "ex-gay" books is valid? Why or why not?

    If you have something to contribute to this theme, please feel free. Arguing about irrelevancies just for the sake of arguing is wasting your own time as well as mine.

  17. Look i can see your point.

    Your argument only works in one direction;it is not reversible.

    To try and convert homosexuals is unthinkable, but to convert heterosexuals is okay (presumably because it is their *innate* quality) and they are struggling to keep the heterosexual illusion. But you don't believe the reverse. And this is all about majority/minority status- are you kidding?
    Do you really believe this issue is not about majority/minority?

    You're whole argumentative thrust is not fair.

    Quite frankly, it is dogmatic.

  18. I am NOT wasting you're time...

    If anything I am sharpening up you're argumentative/reasoning skills, so that when a REAL bully(hint,hint not me) comes along you can make you're point more clearly. I know that probably sounds absolutely condescending, but please remember my kind words from above.

    I think 2 smart people teasing each other is a great way to waste time.


  19. I wouldn't mind your condescension if it lead to making a point about the topic at hand, or at least didn't jump to groundless conclusions about what I've read or haven't read, or can or cannot find on the internet, or for that matter, if you correctly characterized what I'm saying, or didn't dance so meaninglessly yourself.

    I haven't said there was any directionality to converting sexual orientations. You've made that up and put words in my mouth (again), with no reasonable way to draw such an inference from my prior words.

    When did we talk about minorities and majorities? You've switched the topic(again) from "establishment" to minorities/majorities without explanation.

    While I do find the general topic of psychology interesting, simple sophistry is NOT a sharpening of wits.

    This IS a waste of my time, if for no other reason, because it isn't about the topic of this blog.

  20. how am i supposed to know what you mean by "sophistry" when you can not even recognize or engage in a Socratic dialouge?(you never answered one question that I asked of you.)

    This leads me to believe that you do not know what the meaning of the word is.

  21. Your dialog here, sir or madam, has been anything BUT Socratic. You have made many baseless assertions, have wandered badly off topic, and asked few questions. Socratic method seeks to reach some kind of understanding. Your style is to argue for the sake of argument. THAT is Sophistry.

  22. all i am saying is that you when you wield around big words like sophistry as insults, you demonstrate that your knowledge does not extend that far beyond Philosophy 101.

    Back on track;these are the truths I have gleaned:

    1.You are against censorship in general(I guess) but for censorship(of books you don't like.)I guess it's a personal thing.

    2.You will post up an opinion, and back it up with one, and only one, source, which in this case is very questionable because of their stance on torture.

    3.You have a very limited view of human sexuality.

    4.You don't know as much as you think you do about Freud, psychoanalysis, Sophistry, or Socrates.

    5.(and this is the most important) when someone decides to engage you on this website they are attacked and ridiculed, unless that person agrees with you. This place is an echo-chamber, a little grade-school clique.

  23. I accept as true, since it cannot be otherwise, that I could know more about Freud, psychoanalysis, Sophistry, and Socrates. I claim no unusual expertise in these areas.

    Your other criticisms are quite unfair to me, however. You have deliberately, knowingly misstated my position on a number of things.

    You are correct that I am opposed to censorship in general. You claim that I favor censorship of books I don't like, but offer no specifics of what books or how I am supposed to have censored them.

    Yes, I backed up one part of my argument with one source. I can produce many more; I was being brief for the sake of the reader.

    Your objection that that the psychological association supports torture is a meaningless ad hominem against that organization: you are attacking their reputation, not dealing with the scientific contents of the study I quote.

    It is impossible to respond to a statement like " you have a very limited view of human sexuality," since it says nothing measurable or definable. You have no idea what my view on human sexuality is, since you've drawn extensive inference from very little data and have asked me no questions for clarification. You merely cast aspersions.

    I have not attacked you or ridiculed you AT ALL. You, on the other hand, have been snide and insulting from the beginning, insinuating my lack of understanding, inability to find data on Google, failure to read Foucault, etc. etc.

    Even though not a philosopher and not trained in debate, I know enough about Socratic method to say that your claim you were following that here is bogus. You have asked few questions and answered fewer, and both of those are processes basic to that method.

    Sophistry is not just a big word, and I agree I don't know as much about it as I would like. But again, I know enough to apply the label accurately here. Failing to make yourself clear, changing subjects, redefining terms, casting unfounded aspersions, and other fallacious argument methods designed at obfuscation rather than enlightenment are sophistry.

    It is not fair of you to claim your arguments have been Socratic rather than Sophistic. It is not fair of you to insult my understanding of subjects when you don't know what my understanding is and haven't bothered to find out. It also unfair of you to claim you are being attacked and ridiculed when I have, in fact, been quite patient with your refusal to stick to the point.

  24. ...oh, and one other thing we established, you don't know how to use the google search engine...

    all right, you got me, I plead to being an a@@hole.

    now I AM the bully.

    don't worry, my revenge has already been served, over and OVER again.

    it's not your fault.