On Saturday, the New York Post inexplicably published an op-ed defending ex-gay therapy, written by the founder of a Mormon ex-gay and ex-trans support group. Defending Jewish ex-gay therapists currently being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for consumer fraud, Jeff Bennion of North Star International argues that “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) helped him deal with his shame about being gay:
SOCE was a revelation to me. It helped me confront my shame, around not only my homosexual feelings but also many other experiences. It taught me that my feelings were innately good, and a natural response to the circumstances I faced. It motivated me to try to repair important family relationships, and helped me learn how to better relate to other men, whom I’d previously ignored or disdained. It’s made me much more accepting of myself and of others.
Of course, as Equality Matters aptly pointed out, he would not have felt he needed SOCE to deal with shame if the Mormon Church didn’t shame homosexuality in the first place. That’s why the consensus of mental health professionals recommend affirmation for same-sex orientations. North Star International promotes some of the same myths about sexuality as other Mormon ex-gay sites:
- Suggests homosexuality and child abuse may be connected.
- Compares being gay to having a genetic inclination to being an alcoholic.
- Recommends participating in “masculine activities” that help “build a camaraderie with other men.”
- Describes being gay (“experiencing same-sex attraction”) as a “very difficult and heart-wrenching struggle.”
- Encourages celibacy, because there is only “potential, temporary comfort to be found in a same-sex relationship,” and “emotional fulfillment should not be confused with unhealthy emotional codependency.”
Bennion claimed that ex-gay therapy “helps people with unwanted same-sex attraction,” but all it really helps them do is live a life of shame, self-denial, and dishonesty to others. The New York Post is endangering LGBT young people and adults of all faiths by providing a platform for such fraudulent ideas.
Watch Jeff and his wife talk about his ex-gay therapy: