This editorial made me laugh. It’s entitled "Groundbreaking study affirms "gays" can change". It’s written by Matt Barber, who serves as the Policy Director for the social conservative group Concerned Women For America.[You would be right to ask, "What is Matt Barber — a guy — doing as policy director for Concerned Women For America?" We don’t know the answer. We just the love the irony that he’s writing an article about succesful sexual re-orientation].
Anyway, Matt’s all excited because a new "comprehensive study" shows that "men and women suffering from unwanted same-sex attractions can re-‘orient’ themselves through Christian counseling and/or reparative therapy to their natural and God-given heterosexual state."
The Christian counseling and reparative therapy is the kind offered by Exodus International, a group which not-so-ironically commissioned the "comprehensive study".
Let’s look at the details of this "comprehensive study".
Jones and Yarhouse emphasize the imperfections of their research, carefully noting points at which their method could be criticized. For example, they had hoped for 300 or more participants, but found many Exodus ministries mysteriously uncooperative. In the end, they settled for 98 people in their initial sample. (To boost the sample size, Jones and Yarhouse added a less-than-ideal cohort who had already been involved in the program for one to three years.) They also chose not to use physiological measures of sexual attraction, primarily because Exodus ministries would have found the use of pornography in research ethically abhorrent. Though humble in their presentation, Jones and Yarhouse conclude that their research is the most rigorous ever conducted on this subject.
Okay, so the study initially had 98 subjects. They were interviewed several times over the course of a three-to-four year period.
Except, 25 of them dropped out of the study and the "un-gaying" program. So now we’re down to a sample size of 73. This is looking less and less "comprehensive".
Now, on to the results. Of the remaining 73 study participants:
"15 percent reported their conversion was successful and that they had had ‘substantial reduction’ in homosexual attraction and ‘substantial conversion’ to heterosexual attraction. They were categorized as ‘success: conversion.’
"23 percent said their conversion was successful and that homosexual attraction was either missing or ‘present only incidentally or in a way that does not seem to bring about distress.’ They were labeled ‘success: chastity.’
"29 percent had experienced ‘modest decreases’ in homosexual attraction and were not satisfied with their change, but pledged to continue trying. This category was labeled ‘continuing.’
"15 percent had not changed and were conflicted about what to do next.
"4 percent had not changed and had quit the change process, but had not embraced the gay identity;’" and,
"8 percent had not changed, had quit the process and had embraced the ‘gay identity.’"
What of the remaining 6%? Their results weren’t tabulated because of "microphone problems".
Now, what I find interesting is that 38% of the 78 participants were labeled a "success". But what was defined as "success"? Apparently, "success" was a very low bar, as Christianity Today admits:
Most of the individuals who reported that they were heterosexual at Time 3 [the last interview] did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated.
In other words, an individual who reported homosexual arousal (to a lesser degree and/or as part of a bisexuality) . . . could be defined as a "successful" re-orientation.
So let’s cut to the chase then. Basically, the results of the study (which doesn’t include the individuals who dropped out of the program) show this:
15 percent believe they are now bisexual, which is to say that they are no longer homosexual.
23 percent believe they might be slightly less gay, and/or possibly bisexual, and/or possibly asexual; it’s hard for them to tell because they’re not getting any.
29 percent believe the program hasn’t worked for them, but — gosh darnit — they still hope it will.
27 percent believe the program didn’t work at all and they remain totally gay.
And what percentage of patricipants are actually "cured" of the gaydom that supposedly plagued them? What percent has completed the transition from gay to straight? Zero, nada, nyet.
But somehow, this causes Mr. Barber to write "Groundbreaking study affirms "gays" can change". No, Matt. If anything, it disaffirms that premise.