Gabriel Arana spent three years as a patient of Joseph Nicolosi, former president of the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality. Gabriel, a Cornell University 2006 PhD graduate in linguistics, recently chose to tell his story in the Cornell Daily Sun.
For three years I had weekly sessions with Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Dr. Nicolosi thought that homosexuality was a pathology, a sublimated desire to reconnect with one’s lost masculinity. The theory: under-attentive fathers and over-attentive mothers create gay children. The purpose of therapy was to put me in touch with my masculine identity and thereby change my sexual orientation.
I would like to say that I resisted therapy throughout, but the truth is that I liked and respected Dr. Nicolosi. And the theory sounded plausible (I was too young to know that plausible does not mean true). It is a period in my life that I do not think about often, not because it hurts especially but because it has become increasingly irrelevant.
He goes on to talk about the now infamous Spitzer study and how he was asked by Nicolosi to take part in it. Dr.
Nicolosi asked me to participate in it, but instructed me not to reveal that he had referred me; while he wanted his organization’s views represented, he did not want to bring into question the study’s integrity.
The other day I received an e-mail from Chris Tyler, a man who grew up in a Mormon family and tried for the longest time to go ex-gay. He put up 13 audio podcasts on YouTube in which he shares his story. It is amazing the time and care he put into these recordings.
The list grows almost daily of men and women who are choosing to come forward to share their stories with thoughtfulness and vulnerability. Many of these ex-gay survivors explore what they were looking for and why. You can read more narratives of people who tried to go ex-gay and found it was not possible or necessary and in many cases actually caused more harm than good.