It is possible for people with unwanted same-sex attractions to change, say three psychiatrists in London for a two-day Judaeo-Christian conference on sexual issues.
The Sex and the City Conference, hosted by Care and Anglican Mainstream, aims to help clergy, rabbis and psychologists among others to address issues like therapeutic approaches to same-sex attractions, mentoring the sexually broken, the sexualisation of culture, and sex and the Bible.
“We want to convey the message that change is possible,” said Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the US-based therapeutic organisation NARTH, ahead of the conference.
“Many people who have same-sex attractions are told you can’t change, it’s biologically predetermined, it’s genetically based, and that’s not true.
“After 30 or 40 years of trying to find the gay gene it has not been discovered and many people, especially young people, are being told that they don’t have a choice and that’s really tragic.
“Basically they are resigning themselves to a gay lifestyle not knowing that there are options for them.”
Nicolosi said young people were at risk of developing “self-defeating, self-destructive, maladaptive behaviours” because they were not being told of the emotional dangers of entering into homosexual relationships. He said research, including studies from within the gay community, had found that people in homosexual relationships suffer more from depression, anxiety and failed relationships than people in heterosexual relationships.
Psychiatrist and fellow conference speaker Arthur Goldberg said the school systems in the US and UK had excluded the message of choice.
“Part of the problem is the abominable message that is now being taught in the school systems,” he said. “You now have in kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools a total agenda of viewpoint discrimination.
“And England of all places is supposed to be a country that believes in civil rights and civil liberties – we got our Bill of Rights from you guys – and yet there seems to be a totalitarianism of the left here.”
Nicolosi said he wanted others in the psychotherapy community to acknowledge that clients distressed about their same-sex attractions should be told that there is a choice.
He added that the conference was important in helping the church face up to a difficult issue.
“Unfortunately many of the church leaders want to avoid this topic and they are doing it at the cost of the lives of many young people because they don’t want to really address a serious problem. If they can avoid it they will. And that’s why we think this conference today is very important, because it is finally recognising it,” he said.
Although Nicolosi is a practising Catholic, he takes a non-biblical approach to helping men overcome their unwanted same-sex attractions.
“It’s not a biblical approach, it is a scientific approach. But it is consistent with the laws God handed down to us thousands of years ago,” he contends. “The Christian view is to overcome your sin and if a believer believes that his homosexuality is a sin to overcome we are providing the ways with which he can overcome it.”
The psychiatrists, who have written and researched extensively on the subject of homosexuality and unwanted same-sex attractions, reject the claims of gay activists that they are homophobic.
“It’s unfair [to be branded homophobic] because it’s not about being against anything. It is about being for something the something we are for is the option of change,” said Nicolosi.
Goldberg added, “There is a total misuse of the term homophobic. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. If you have a principled disagreement with something, that is not an irrational fear and therefore is not a phobia.”
Jeffrey Satinover, a UN speaker and psychiatrist who will also address the conference, believes there is a much larger percentage of professional therapists who quietly believed same-sex attractions are treatable than are willing to say so publicly.
“It has become in some respects even a dangerous position, certainly for an isolated therapist who gets attacked by a cadre of activists and colleagues,” he said.
The three psychiatrists hope to reach young people with the message of change through conferences like Sex and the City as well as through the media.
“If we have true civil liberties, true equal protection, equal access, an end to viewpoint discrimination, then the truth will prevail because we are convinced that we speak the truth,” said Goldberg. “But if they don’t hear that point of view then they have only one choice to make.”
Nicolosi added: “One choice to make is no choice.”