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Note: Liberated Christians is a primarily about heterosexual relationships. While we are supportive of all sexual orientations, the leaders do not have the resources to assist them in their special issues. Thus, our Fellowship groups are not appropriate for gays/lesbians. However, individually Dave (an extreme heterosexual - Kinsey Scale= 0) has done extensive biblical research and has been active supporting biblical homosexuality for many years. However, there is no "official" stand as an organization on homosexuality other than general support.
Update August, 2002
Gay 'disease' has no cure, so stop trying
Paulk represents Exodus International, an association of "ex-gay" ministries and agencies that purport to "change" gay people into straight. Yet the ads don't mention that two Exodus co-founders, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, not only failed to "change" but fell in love and exited Exodus to start a family they consecrated with a marriage ceremony.
Exodus' unscientific boasts of "success" in general must be taken on faith, and even Paulk's status as a "former lesbian" has been questioned by Margaret Carlson in this week's Time magazine.
But of Applewhite's "change," at least, there can be no doubt: With castration and suicide, he did successfully rid himself and some of his co-religionists of homosexuality.
Short of Applewhite's final solution, there is no sound research to suggest that a homosexual can be transformed into a heterosexual, were that even a desired goal, any more than a heterosexual can be turned gay.
What really happens is a suppression process," said Doug Upchurch, 3O, a computer trade-association executive who spent 12 years being "cured" by ex- gay ministries and now proselytizes against them on the Web .
Though Upchurch had girlfriends and "had experiences with the girlfriends physically," he couldn't change his sexual orientation and eventually realized he didn't want to. He now lives happily with a male partner.
Homosexuality is not a disease and needs no "cure." For all the tough-love sentiments, the real' agenda of this $200,000 Christian Coalition-Family Research Council media blitz is not to heal but to divide Americans for political advantage. By pushing the, false premise that homosexuality is not an innate human condition but a sinful choice that can be reversed through prayer and counseling, the ad's sponsors are putting it in the same category as kleptomania and alcoholism, much as did Lott (whose name is invoked in the ads).
From there, it's only a small step to the argument that gay Americans who refuse to change are no more entitled to civil rights protections than thieves are. "The false premise that homosexuality is a choice also facilitates the ads', promotion of such gay bashing canards as "homosexual recruitment in, public schools."
If Lott and the other congressional leaders, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, who share his views really want to prove that all gay people should and can turn straight, why don't they begin the experiment at home, by "healing" their own party?
They could enlist high-profile gay Republicans such as Rep Jim Kolbe and D'Amato-Pataki political strategist Arthur Finkelstein in ex-gay ministries, along with gay Capitol Hill staffers, then publicize the results.
By Steve Smith Denver Colo. July 1998
I am a former "ex=gay" who spent the better part of a decade trying to change my sexual orientation. I spent several years involved in a "change" ministry that teaches gays can "reclaim" their heterosexuality through prayer, Bible study, self-denial, and faith in God.
I committed my life to God, as they advocate, adhered strictly to the scriptural principles they endorsed and waited patiently. Although I was successful at changing my sexual behavior for several years, my same-sex attraction did not change in the least, and I became increasingly anxious, depressed and hopeless.
I have had contact with many of the individuals who participated with me in the program. The vast majority have shared similar experiences. Many former participants with whom I've talked now identify their experiences in these programs as spiritually and psychologically abusive.
The Absurdity Of Curing Gays
Change Them Ministries: Makes Life Hell For Gays
But Doesn't Change Their God Given Orientation
It's not possible to change someone's sexual orientation, but it is possible to make them miserable over it. Fundamentalists play on the spiritually and emotionally wounded. Using the tenets of born-again fundamentalism, they try auto convince dissatisfied homosexuals - usually young gay men just coming out who are stressed out by family pressure and society's intolerance -that they can change by suppressing their orientation.
The Fundamentalists prey on people who are unhappy. what they can't see or won't admit is that they themselves are the sources of this very unhappiness they claim to be treating.
Aug. 14, 1997 -- The governing body of the 151,000-member American Psychological Association today passed a resolution affirming that homosexuality is not a mental illness and opposing so-called ``conversion'' therapies. At the APA annual meeting in Chicago, members say such therapies have not been proven effective and prey on prejudice and ignorance of sexual orientation.
Supporters of the resolution, approved by the APA's Council of Representatives by an overwhelming margin, argued that it was critical for the APA to make such a statement due to questions of the ethics, efficacy and benefits of conversion therapy.
Countless people have been misled by ex-gay ministries into believing that sexual orientation can be changed, only to find, even years later, that they had found only temporary happiness in the delusion that they had changed. These "ex-gays" no longer call themselves gay but continue to have same-sex feelings, dreams and arousal. Add to that the pain of many spouses of these individuals who thought they had married a heterosexual.
Anyone can suppress one's feelings and live a lie, for a time, but it doesn't work in the long run. Besides, living a lies doesn't seem like much of a Christian ethic. I've known dozens of gay men who at one time or another were pressured or lured into the fundamentalist-run ex-gay movement and all it caused them was more pain. No one I know ever changed. Not only that, no gay person I've ever met has known anyone who changed.
When you look at someone trying to be an "ex-gay" what you find are rather sad, desperate people playing mind games and semantics, no "cures" or lasting changes. The whole motivation behind the movement to change gays is political - fundamentalist and conservative politics dressed up in a lab coat.
The American Psychological Association (750 1st Street NE, Washington DC 20002-4242, Telephone 202-336-5700) has published a free booklet "Answers To Your Questions About Sexual Orientation And Homosexuality" I recommend it highly to anyone who wants unbiased information on this to
The above from: THE DAILY DISPATCH, Moline, Ill. August 3,1995, Guest column by William Stosine
Many Realize the Absurdity Of Curing Gays
Changing Homosexuality - Atlantic Monthly March 1993
After many terrible attempts at "curing" homosexuals Kinsey showed homosexuality to be surprisingly common across lines of family, class and education. Kinsey for many years tried to find patients who had been converted by therapy and was surprised they could not find one whose sexual orientation had been changed. When they interviewed persons who claimed they have been changed they found that all were simply suppressing homosexual behavior...and they used homosexual fantasies to maintain potency when they attempted intercourse. One man claimed that, although he had once actively homosexual, he had now "cut out all of that and don't even think of men - except when I masturbate."
In 1956 in Chicago a psychologist Evelyn Hooker was puzzled about her training of gayness as a emotional problem when she had a gay friend who seemed quite healthy and well adjusted. She received a grant from the Natl Inst of Health to study a group of gay men who had never had emotional therapy and a similar heterosexual control group. She was prepared to conclude the gay men were not as well adjusted as they appeared. Hooker did extensive psychological tests on both groups in a blind study and gave the unidentified results to three eminent psychologists. One, Bruno Klopfer was convinced he would find the gay men by the tests. As it turned out, none of the three could tell from all the tests which were gay. They were indistinguishable, demonstrating an equal distribution of pathology and mental health. Her study was the first of many that followed which led to the ending of the APAs treating gayness as a disease in the 1970s.
The article discusses the brain studies including the critical statements of Anne Fausto a Brown University geneticist. The article was written before the latest gene marker finding which Ms Fausto has been quoted as being sound science. The articles discusses genital adrenal hyperplasia examining the effects of prenatal sex hormones and luteinizing-hormone feedback. Studies seem to support that this can cause especially lesbianism. The article is a comprehensive study of recognized scientific biological and psychological studies before the latest gene study which provides more confirming evidence.
CONCLUSION - Five
decades of psychiatric evidence demonstrates that homosexuality is immutable, and non
pathological, and growing evidence is implicating biology as the primary cause of
homosexuality. How can one justify discrimination against people on the basis of such a
characteristic? Science can show the whys of homosexuality, but not answer the more
important questions involving human rights, human freedom, human tolerance and love. It is
such a pity that sincere homosexuals, many of them Christian have to go through the
terrible pains of a society that still thinks homosexuality is more like Epilepsy which
was regarded in Biblical times as demon possession - but not a disease, a natural
orientation. Soon it will be clear homosexuality is a natural God given orientation that
should be uplifted as Gods creation not judged based on scriptures falsely interpreted
that have absolutely nothing to do with condemning homosexual orientation or behavior.
Trying to Change Natural Sexual Orientation WSJ Article 4/21/93
A gay man is agonizing over his inability to overcome his so called "homosexual sin". He cries saying he has begged God to free him by surrounding himself with Christians and spending time in a in-patient treatments program but nothing has worked. The Christians suggest its a matter of choice and controlling the flesh, or maybe he is demonic possession. "I just want God to accept me," he finally says.
Many mental-health professionals and former members of "change" groups warn that almost nobody's sexual orientation truly changes and that the road from homosexuality to attempted heterosexuality is littered with failure and suffering. Instead of God's love they find self-hate, failed attempted "normal" marriages, and suicide after they become so distraught over not being able to "cure" themselves. The change movement is destroying peoples lives trying to make homosexuals become something they aren't.
The articles tells of many who have tried to live a lie as to their true sexual orientation and failed. "I think it's the greatest abuse of psychiatry in America today," says Dr Isay, who is a Cornell Medical College professor and chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's gay, lesbian and bisexual issues committee. "The attempt to change is extremely harmful." he says.
Sadly many who turn to conversion ministries get a life of continued guilt and despair. It's no wonder that 30% of gay teenagers attempt suicide when faced with this kind of guilt- instilling and self-loathing education. May God save His suffering gay children from the abuse and despair brought on by the well-intentioned, albeit ignorant and destructive, efforts of uninformed Christians and groups like Quest and Exodus.
Here is sample of material that de-bunks the "ex-gay" claims of groups like Exodus. "Ex- Gays? There Are None" by Sylvia Pennington who worked for a "deliverance" ministry, but became convinced that it doesn't work nor does God demand it. The book is documented in great detail and discusses the Colin Cook/Homosexuals Anonymous scandal. PBS also has shown the absurdity of curing gays and the Psychobabble gone psycho trying to falsely try and make it a emotional problem. It discusses former ex-gays such as the Founders of Exodus preaching the change myth, until they fell in love with each other. This might be funny, except we find little humor in the brainwashing tactics Exodus uses.
"The REAL Changes Taking Place" by Ralph Blair article in "Open Hands" the journal of the Reconciling Congregations Program of the United Methodist Church documents the failure of the ex-gay movement. The few that do change probably were never naturally homosexual to start. The biggest abuse is that of twisting scripture to make natural homosexuality appear to be a sin, confusing it with pederasty, which is what the Bible speaks against, which has nothing to do with today's loving, homosexual relationships.
Some so called "ex-gays" claim they have gone straight. However, the research seems clear that trying to change a natural sexual orientation on of fear of God and guilt seldom works. Perhaps it works for the few that weren't really sure or were there orientation was influenced more by emotional issues that biology. It seems clear however, most gays were born that way and trying to change them is forcing them to live a lie.
Some may leave the "gay lifestyle" by altering behavior, but that does not make them heterosexual. They simply become non-practicing gays, that's all. Despite "testimonies" to the contrary, there is not one documented, authenticated case of a actual change in sexual orientation. There has only been change in behavior. Healthy skepticism needs to be exercised of those claiming a heterosexual conversion.
One of may highly documented books on the failure of conversions is One Nation Under God which chronicles 40 years of people trying to find a cure for being gay. One example is Gary Busse and Michael Cooper the gay couple who founded Exodus, a ministry aimed at turning gays into ex-gays. After a few years of teaching this dubious gospel - spread in pamphlets with titles such as Unhappy and gay? Join the Exodus -- they admitted to each other that they had fallen in love, quit their movement and started preaching tolerance and self-acceptance instead. They thus became former ex-gays. One Nation exposes many other such attempts of how change groups appropriate terminology of other fashionable therapies - calling themselves a recovery movement , while actually peddling Victorian values and using fear of God and intimidation to scare people straight, which often leads to suicide, not change. At their most absurd, some suggest that what gay men supposedly ought to do is play football; and for lesbians, what they supposedly need is a makeover and a good manicure. This would be hilarious if it weren't so destructive to so many whose only sin is being just who God made them. Sadly those that turn to Exodus International or the now defunct Quest are only asking for more turmoil and inner-hatred. There are asking for a life of continued guilt and despair. That is all such groups can offer gays who are struggling to come to terms with themselves in a hostile and rejecting world (including, sadly, a church that often joins in the condemnation based on mistranslation and application of the Bible.
An personal example a gay shared with me. For a year I was caught up in Regeneration in MD and it left me with such painful scars that it has been difficult for me to really connect with God...I entered Christianity through study at LAbri and the writings of Francis Schaeffer... I have been a Christian since 1974... I am hungry for human contact but have stopped attending a large evangelical Church...because I felt like an alien having to be closeted to worship; yet I'm not much interested in going to a Gay Church. The people I trusted in my early walk with Christianity in many ways have betrayed me.
Another example is Kent Philpott's book, The Third Sex, in which he gives the testimonies of six homosexuals who supposedly became heterosexual. Within a year after the book was published, all six of the people written about sent notarized affidavits to the publisher, stating that the book was untrue and that they were all still homosexuals. Nevertheless, the book continued to be printed and sold to an unwary public for eight years afterwards. To this day, people are "praising God" for changes that never took place. The continued publication of that book, along with its promulgation for eight years after having received written denials from the subjects themselves, highlight the extent of deception fundamentalists are willing to go to foster belief in a goal based on illusion rather than reality. With fundamentalism it appears that honesty and truth are expendable items.
The Kinsey Institute has had an open offer for nearly 40 years to report on a SINGLE case of a true change in sexual orientation, not just behavior. In 40 years there has not been a single scientifically documented case of changed sexual orientation.
On Prodigy Richard Kennedy Jr : I worked on a national syndicated TV show. We contacted numerous groups to find individuals who were former homosexuals and were "cured." Getting lists of names, we called each one. One of our first questions was "did you consider yourself homosexual or bi-sexual before going in for treatment?" EVERYONE of the hundred-plus people we contacted (and remember our names came from the clinics) told us they were bi-sexual. We never found one who (out of 120 people) was "formerly gay" and "now is straight". We also asked the bi-sexual "cured" if they still have a sexual desire toward same sex contacts. Almost everyone who had been "cured" claimed to still have such desires. The handful of those "totally cured" were asked when they finished their treatment not one had their "cure" last more than 2 months. We never found a candidate for the "cured" homosexual program, so we had bisexuals instead.
Thousands of gay and lesbian Christians who previously sought any means to change have now found healing from the self loathing society and the church has taught them to feel. They have gone on to develop Gay Christian organizations such as SDA s Kinship, Catholics Grace, also Dignity, Integrity, Affirmation, Evangelicals United, Reconciling Congregations, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches where they can truly share the Good News of God's love for all his people. They have further helped Gays and Lesbians learn to life lives of honesty and integrity, something which Exodus and the other "lie about who you are for the sake of acceptance: organizations can never do.
Yet another result of the Change Ministries lies about homosexuality: Rev. T.V. Moreland, pastor of Suburban Baptist Church of Glendale Calf, was convicted 6/22/94 of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Michael Larkin, who died of a self- inflicted gunshot wound. Larkin had been under pastoral counseling from Rev. Moreland for several months prior to his suicide. Notes and diaries found in Larkin's home and testimony from his friends and family revealed that Rev. Moreland had attempted unsuccessfully to change Larkin's homosexual orientation. According to Reinzi Page, Los Angeles Country Assistant District Attorney, this counseling caused Larkin to fall into a deep depression and was the direct, material cause of his taking his own life.
And more research: After more than 40 years of research on gender identity and sexual orientation, John Money, director of the Psychohormonal Research Unit of the John Hopkins School of Medicine, has observed that "it is no more possible to change a homosexual orientation into a heterosexual one than it is to change a heterosexual orientation into a homosexual one." He reports that claims of change in orientations when carefully examined turn out to be those of "persons who are bisexual to some degree, but are not 100% homosexual, nor 100% heterosexual."
MORE TERRIBLE LIES OF CHANGE MINISTRIES:
COLIN COOK AND OTHERS
THE DENVER POST
Friday, October 27, 1995
PAGE ONE STORY
SESSIONS WITH GAYS CRITICIZED - FORMER MINISTER'S
COUNSELING METHODS BROUGHT REPRIMANDS
By Virginia Culver, Denver Post Religion Writer
Colin Cook believes gays can be changed to straights.
Cook, a former Seventh-day Adventist minister who says he himself has overcome homosexuality, counseled gay men for years despite having been disciplined twice by his church for inappropriate sexual activity. He was removed from his ministry in 1974 after he was discovered having sex with a man in the church where Cook preached. In 1986, his Quest Learning Center in Reading, Pa., a "change ministry," came crashing down with his admissions he had sexual encounters with several counselees who had come to him for help in changing their sexual orientation.
Now Cook is in Colorado, again counseling gay men to change their orientation, and, according to two recent clients, again practicing inappropriate sexual behavior as part of that counseling. Cook has been endorsed by Colorado For Family Values of Colorado Springs and spoke at several of their "Time to Stand Seminars" in Colorado last summer. Cook has continued speaking at seminars, one of which started yesterday in Colorado Springs and continues into tomorrow.
Cook says he hasn't been involved in any homosexual activities since 1986. But two young men counseled by Cook in the past two years told The Denver Post that he had hours of "phone sex" with them instead of counseling them to become heterosexuals. The Post interviewed seven other men counseled by Cook in the 1980s and the mothers of two others, all of whom reported inappropriate sexual behavior by Cook in counseling sessions. The Post also listened to hours of tape recordings one man made of Cook's phone counseling sessions.
Tape after tape from Eddy (not his real name) and story after story from other men show a pattern of counseling sessions filled with discussions of sex. Phone counselees reported Cook described his own body and asked theclient to do the same, gave advice on how to masturbate for more enjoyment, had prolonged discussions about genitalia and discussions about each other's sexual liaisons, current and past.
"He's emotionally raping people," said David, a man in his 30s who had phone counseling sessions with Cook in 1993. "He thinks if he's having erotic phone conversations it's OK because he's not having sex." David, who had "three of four" phone counseling sessions with Cook said he ended the sessions after another therapist he was seeing told him Cook's conversations were totally inappropriate for a counselor.
Men who met in person with Cook reported similar discussions in addition to mutual masturbations, removal of clothing, naked and near naked full-body messages and "grinding" hugs that lasted several minutes. Kevin Tebedo, director of Colorado For Family Values, stoutly defended Cook, saying "we believe Colin's message is valuable and the response to Colin (at last summer's seminars) has been tremendous. All the people though he was top-notch." Colorado For Family Values is the conservative Christian organization based in Colorado Springs that backed Amendment 2, which sought to bar local laws offering anti-discrimination protection for gays. The law is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Tebedo, the group's spokesman, said he knew about Colin's past. "He's very open about that. We have every confidence in him. I don't know the intricacies of counseling. I just know the homosexual lobby is trying to rip open Colin."
Cook's views are disputed by those who argue that scientific evidence is mounting that sexual orientation of many gay people is rooted in genetic and biological factors determined before birth and therefore cannot be changed by counseling.
Rick Cendo, a local gay activist, has protested Cook's Colorado appearances and in May wrote to Colorado For Family Valuescriticizing the group's support of Cook. In a stinging reply, Tebedo wrote back that Cook "has been totally free of homosexual activity" after undergoing "rigorous counseling. He has been set free; Colin is a changed man" by the love of Christ. "CFV has chosen to stand with Colin. . .I want the entire state to hear him," Tebedo wrote.
Cook has also been associated with the group Focus on the Family, a multimillion-dollar information clearinghouse for families and groups that largely agree on a philosophy of "Christian values." It produces magazines, book, videos and radio programs that are circulated worldwide.
An article in the August 1995 Colorado Christian News said that Cook's FaithQuest Colorado Inc., "shares its expertise through leaders like the counseling department at Focus on the Family and church and seminary leaders." But a Focus on the Family official said the organization has no connection with Cook or FaithQuest and has never endorsed him. Cook was a speaker this year at a meeting of the Christian Counselors of Colorado Springs, which sometimes meets on the Focus campus, said Paul Hetrick, a Focus vice president. "But that doesn't mean we endorse him."
Cook declined to discuss his "counseling techniques" with The Post. The Post read to Cook parts of the transcribed tapes of explicit sex discussions with Eddy. His response was: "what are the allegations?" Other counselors say any kind of sexual contact between counselorsand counselees is inappropriate. "Sex is sex," said Dr. Marjories Leidig, a Boulder psychiatrist. "It doesn't matter if it's in person or on the phone. Therapists aren't to have a dual relationship with patients. You can't be counseling someone and screwing them at the same time."
Colorado does not require counselors to have licenses. An independent operator such as Cook isn't bound to "follow the generally accepted guidelines if he doesn't belong to a professional organization," said Dr. Tom Roessler, staff psychologist at National Jewish Hospital. Therapists who belong to professional organizations would be removed from the organization for inappropriate behavior, he said.
A director of a sex change ministry in New York City, Ron Highley, said any counselor who has sexual contact with counselees "is totally unprofessional. It is a gross abuse of his position." None of those who say they were inappropriately treated by Cook ever went to law enforcement authorities and The Denver Post hasn't found any record of arrests or charges against him. Most said they didn't report Cook because they were embarrassed about their homosexuality, about being "taken in" by Cook and because of their conservative religious backgrounds.
Craig Scott, a client from Cook's Reading, Pa., says he filed a written report with the Pennsylvania attorney general in 1990, but officials in that office did not take any action, saying it as a church issue and the state didn't want to get involved, Scott said. Scott was part of a lawsuit filed against Cook in June 1988 in Barks County, Pa., on behalf of six men who had been Cook clients in Reading, but it was never pursued, partly because of lack of money. The case "was terminated by inactivity" in 1991, according to court records. In the lawsuit, all of the men said Cook wanted to hear about sexual fantasies or were asked to masturbate in front of Cook. In each case, Cook told the men the activities were to help them "feel comfortable with their bodies in the sight of God," and as a way of "desensitizing" the men.
Some men said they were taken in by Cook's attention, hisseductive voice and sharp intelligence and felt relieved they had finally found someone with whom they could discuss their homosexual feelings. The effects of the sessions with Cook last to this day, said John Eric Culp, who now lives in Winston-Salem, N.C. "I have a lot of anger about this. I can't trust anybody."
Cook's troubles became public in 1974 when he was kicked out of the Seventh-day Adventist ministry for allegedly having sex with a man in the church where he was pastor in New York. After that he said he got two years of counseling to change his sexual orientation. He later married and, having convinced the Adventist Church he was a heterosexual, set up the Quest Learning Center in Reading in 1979. He also founded Homosexuals Anonymous, which at one time claimed more than 60 chapters inthe U.S. and Canada.
But the Quest ministry collapsed after details of Cook's activities were told in a research paper written by Ron Lawson, sociology professor at Queen's College in New York City. Cook continued private counseling after a six-month leave, he said, and in 1993 moved to Colorado. He founded FaithQuest Colorado, Inc. and began doing "Lifting the Fog" seminars on changing orientation as well as private counseling. Most counselees past and present learned about Cook through church magazines, from ministers, parents or from hearing Cook speak in their churches. Cook was also on a church television program and twice appeared on the "Phil Donahoe" show, along with other reparative therapists. "Everyone in the church knew Colin was the 'guru' if you had this problem," said former client Scott. FaithQuest was the only sex-orientation change ministry funded by a denomination.
The mother of one former client who has AIDS said she sent her son to Cook on the advice of church leaders. Her son came home and reported Cook had "made a pass" athim. "I bought this line," Glenda said in a recent interview with The Denver Post. "Cook seemed like a nice person, very disarming, and seemed to have great Christian faith." Her son never elaborated on the Cook sessions. "It's not the kind of thing a son and mum talk about," she said. Still an Adventist, Glenda is "angry" at her church, because officialsnever made it clear to the membership the extent of Cook's behavior in Reading. "I still hear his name among church people and his books are still for sale." A national Adventist official said this week the church has no connection with Cook. But Cook has his supporters among clients.
Five of Cook's current clients said Cook had helped them and never acted or talked inappropriately in counseling sessions. One man said he feels totally free from homosexuality now, but he knows that men often fail as they try to change orientation. "Failure is part of recovery," said David Abood, of Manchester, N.H. "One of Colin's main points is to show us how to explore our bodies with God's presence so we have a healthy view of sex," said another.
But former clients from the 1980s say remembering Cook's counseling is still painful. There was never any feeling Colin wanted me to change (orientation) but only that he wanted to have sex with me," said Kulp. Kulp is still angry over what happened to him. "It's like your Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor giving you a drink."
Medical Study Shows Can't Change Sexuality Given At Birth
This is more related to sex reassignment but implications for not being able to change orientation are similar.
CHICAGO (Reuter) - A boy surgically altered and raised as a girl after his penis was burned off as an infant rebelled and became a man, researchers said Thursday, casting doubt on long-held medical theories that gender can be ``reassigned'' after birth.
The unidentified man, now in his 20s, was the basis in the past two decades for most theories of ``sex reassignment'' -- the approach surgeons take when male genitals are badly mutilated at birth.
But in a lengthy report in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, researchers reported the man called ``John'' was now married and that those theories were questionable.
The case first appeared in medical literature in 1972 after the boy, at eight months, lost his penis during an attempted cauterizing repair. It was ``accidentally burned to ablation,'' the report said.
He was studied at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where, according to accepted theory, it was decided to surgically alter him and raise him as ``Joan,'' a girl, alongside his twin brother, a normal boy.
He had been castrated and preliminary surgery followed. At first it seemed to work. In 1973 Time Magazine said the oft-cited case ``provides strong support ... that conventional patterns of masculine and feminine behavior can be altered. It also casts doubt on the theory that major sex differences, psychological as well as anatomical, are immutably set by the genes at conception.''
But the newly published report said: ``The evidence seems overwhelming that normal humans are not psychosexually neutral at birth but are, in keeping with their mammalian heritage, predisposed and biased to interact with environmental, familial, and social forces in either a male or female mode.'' The new report was written by Milton Diamond of the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu and H. Keith Sigmundson of the Ministry of Health, Victoria, B.C. Sigmundson once headed a psychiatric team that handled the case, and Diamond at one point was a consultant for the British Broadcasting Corporation which investigated the case several years ago.
Their study said the boy had trouble from the start. His mother reported ``Joan'' rebelled at wearing dresses, preferred his brother's toys to dolls, tried to urinate standing up, liked to play soldier and went for rough and tumble games. Between the ages of nine and 11, the study said, ``Joan'' realized she was male. At age 12 ``Joan'' rejected estrogen therapy designed for feminization. At the age of 14 ``Joan'' decided to become ``John,'' undergoing a mastectomy and phallus construction in the next two years. At 16 he obtained a windowless van with a bed and bar.
Girls had crushes on him and at 25 he married a woman several years his senior, adopting her children. ``Coitus is occasional with his wife ... sufficient for his needs but is less than his wife would desire,'' the study said. ''John can have coital orgasm and ejaculation'' but resents that castration deprived him of fatherhood.
The researchers said they believe the case shows that any male child with a normal nervous system ``should be raised as a male'' and that genital surgery, however difficult, should be conducted to assure that is possible.
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