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Former Ex-Gay Therapist Nicholas Cummings Defends Ex-Gay Group JONAH

Protesting Ex-Gay Therapy

Protesting Ex-Gay Therapy

USA Today recently published an op-ed by Nicholas Cummings in defense of ex-gay therapy. He was specifically defending the Jewish ex-gay group JONAH. For it’s part, JONAH is being sued by survivors of ex-gay therapy for consumer fraud.

Cummings offered up his perspective despite not being an active therapist, as far as ThinkProgress or anyone else can tell, since 1979. He offered the therapy for twenty years prior to that, and then was the head of the American Psychological Association for a year following that date.

Cummings offers up the usual vagueness in his defense of JONAH saying that sexual orientation is not immutable and that he had ‘hundreds’ of patients who successfully changed their sexual orientation. He never referenced any of them or offered up any hard proof. Instead, he said:

Of the patients I oversaw who sought to change their orientation, hundreds were successful. I believe that our rate of success with reorientation was relatively high because we were selective in recommending therapeutic change efforts only to those who identified themselves as highly motivated and were clinically assessed as having a high probability of success. [...]

Whatever the situation at an individual clinic, accusing professionals from across the country who provide treatment for fully informed persons seeking to change their sexual orientation of perpetrating a fraud serves only to stigmatize the professional and shame the patient.

Part of the problem with ex-gay therapy is that a person often learns to hide their sexuality. It is not that they stop being interested in the same-sex in a sexual and/or romantic manner, but rather, they just hide it better. In a way, it comes down to the “lay back, spread your legs, and think of England” mentality.

Recently, the ex-gay therapy umbrella group Exodus International collapsed after many of their top members finally admitted that the therapy not only doesn’t work, but does more harm than good. The APA has also said this.

Of course, given that Cummings has been a keynote speaker at NARTH conferences, and his claims that LGBT groups use the term homophobia as a form of intimidation, it is unclear why he would say anything other than this.

The kinds of therapy offered up by ex-gay groups is often rather silly if not abusive. Many of them are downright homoerotic including cuddling with other men (most of those who seek ex-gay therapy are men), getting naked with other men, and even showering with other men.

It should be noted that, during about half the time that Cummings was active as a therapist, homosexuality was seen as a psychological disorder that could result in someone being locked in an insane asylum. In some cases, the ex-gay therapies that were involved included ‘corrective’ rapes of lesbians and chemical castrations of gay men.

So, undoubtably, Cummings did oversee hundreds of people who were ‘cured’ of homosexuality because they wanted the torture to stop.

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