Thursday, July 28, 2005

Zach's pending release from LIA/R gets coverage on GMA

I missed it, but Towleroad didn't. Hopefully, as the issue of "reparative therapy" gets the attention of main stream media, objective journalists will ask some hard hitting questions, not only about the long-term effects and recidivism rate but about the short term effects as well.

In order to avoid requirements related to licensing, organizations lay claim to their programs being spiritual/religious programs or retreats (at least in advertising that could easily be obtained by those not sympathetic to the fundagelical movement; I'm sure in context with a church/religious referral and during the intake process they do a great deal of time chatting up the benefits of the "treatment" they provide). John Smid recently told the NY Times that he was removing references to therapy from the LIA/R web-site because Refuge is a "spiritual", not counseling, program (how they can assist families in obtaining reimbursement from a medical/mental health insurance program for a religious program is beyond me, unless, of course, they claimed they did provide treatment and had those families commit insurance fraud).

Another issue of great concern is operating a program in which the very way a person thinks, feels and acts is scrutinized with an attempt at changing those things, when there is no sort of oversight or monitoring of the program and/or the "client's" emotional well being. It's one thing for an adult to willingly engage in such a program, it's another thing for an adolescent to do so as the latter is usually placed in the program at his/her parents behest. The rules at Refuge do not allow discussion of what's happened during sessions outside of the sessionsl this leaves the children enrolled in the program even more vulnerable, and it's quite possible that certain pressures and feelings will not be dealt with in an emotionally healthy way (if at all). This could leave those in a population already at high risk for depression and suicidal ideation in an untenable position since there is no safety net of objective, impartial monitoring by a counselor trained to notice and handle these situations. In the realm of risk assessment, these programs do not have an acceptable risk:benefit ratio that warrants operation without oversight, I hope the state of Tennessee agrees.

click here to search all DF posts related to Zach/LIA

Today in weird gay news (the stuff I usually read at Pam's): The AFA & FOF are targeting Johnson & Johnson, parent company of McNeil Pharmaceuticals that manufactures Tylenol brand products. This time they have a beef with an ad for Tylenol PM that ran in the 19 July issue of The Advocate that features 2 men in bed together with captions: The text over one reads: "His backache is keeping him up." Over the other: "His boyfriend's backache is keeping him up."

"A lot of corporate America has bought into the idea that they can secretly promote homosexuality without their consumers noticing out there," he said.

Mike Haley, director of the gender issues department at Focus on the Family, said the gay and lesbian community has a lot of expendable income, so they are targeting big corporations who are caving to their pressure.

"I think it's a critical issue," he said, "because it's one more way that the issue of homosexuality is being normalized and sent out as though it's not harmful—as though it's not against what God originally intended."

So what, exactly, were the folks at FOF & AFA doing reading a gay magazine? BlogACTIVE has a link so you can thank McNeil for letting the 'mos know that the safety & efficacy of Tylenol is not impacted by sexual orientation.

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