A group supporting the practice of ex-gay therapy has put up a billboard above the interstate running through Richmond between the BLVD and Belvidere exits on 95/64.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) is the group behind the billboard. A national group who has supported ‘reparative therapy’ in states around the country, PFOX claims it hopes “to educate, support, and advocate for individuals and parents on the issue of same-sex attraction, and to increase others’ understanding and acceptance of the ex-gay community.”
The billboard uses science from a 2000 Northwestern University Department of Psychology study dealing with identical twins in which one was gay and one was straight. To PFOX, this states there is no “gay gene“:
20 percent of homosexual men had a twin brother who was also gay, while 24 percent of lesbian women had a twin who was also gay. Thus 80 percent of gay men and 76 percent of lesbian women had an identical twin that was heterosexual, suggesting an environmental component in the development of sexual feelings and identity.
PFOX’s use of the study has been deemed inaccurate by the study’s author, J. Michael Bailey.
So-called “ex-gay” activists like to claim that homosexuality is a learned behavior that can be fixed. What is your view?
People will often get confused in their terminology. They ask for example is homosexuality genetic or learned? Well, genetic is not the opposite of learned. I think inborn is the opposite of learned. A trait can be completely inborn without being completely genetic. And I think male sexual orientation is a case in hand.
I think that we can reject immediately the idea that male homosexuality is caused by having a distant father or an overbearing mother. We have lots of evidence to the contrary.
So, in your view, is sexual orientation inborn?
In men sexual orientation is completely inborn. The reason why I believe that comes from cases of boys who, due to some accident or medical condition, are turned into girls early in life and followed into adulthood. These cases are very rare. When these cases are followed into adulthood you want to know who are they attracted to?
If it’s nurture, then because they are raised as girls they should be attracted to men. If it is nature because they were born males, they should be attracted to women. And it is to women they are attracted in every single published case. There are about five cases in the literature like this. I think that if you can’t make a male attracted to other males by cutting off his penis and rearing him as a girl, then its impossible that sexual orientation is learned in men.
This is not the first time PFOX has come into the Richmond area. In October 2013, The group asked the state legislature to stop funding “gay-transvestite centers at Virginia’s public universities,” claiming state funds are being used to “indoctrinate” youth into changing their faith.
PFOX went undercover to a number of state universities, including GMU, seeking on-campus resources for ex-gay therapy. In all cases they were denied the service.
“There is no on and off switch for sexual orientation,” said said Del Patrick Hope, who authored the bill. ” And within the medical community, there is… alarming evidence that [sexual conversion therapy] is psychologically harmful.”
In 2007, the American Physiatric Association created the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation to produce an updated report on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). It’s results were released in 2009.
Judith Glassgold, Psy.D., was chair on the task force and explained that there is no evidence proving this type of therapy is successful.
“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,” Glassgold said in a press release APA put out after their findings. “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.”
“The message is not a reflection of our company’s views,” said Allie McAlpin, Communications Director & Web Manager for Lamar Advertising Company, the group who owns the billboard space.
McAlpin said the company is firmly committed to supporting people’s first amendment rights.
“It is in the best interest of our company and the communities we serve to accept advertising copy openly,” she said via email. “We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented.”
She said Lamar has run pro-LGBTQ campaigns in the past; however, examples were not immediately available.
Those who wish to send comments to Lamar are free to contact them via this link.
The ad was a one-month buy, running from 12/4-1/4
PFOX was unavailable for comment by press time. via – gayrva