The Ex-Gay Way

Heels: Buzz doesn't discriminate. Sometimes Buzz is black, sometimes Asian, sometimes white. Buzz can be tall or short, or, um, Republican. (Well, maybe not that last one. We have our limits) This week, Buzz wears the gay hat.

See, last Saturday, Irving hosted the annual convention of NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. The basic premise of NARTH is that homosexuality is not a natural, inborn thing but rather a learned behavior deriving from childhood incidents and relationships.

To which we say: If everyone who had a fucked-up childhood turned homo, we'd all be gay.

We agreed to attend a protest at the DFW Airport Marriott, where the NARTH-ers were holed up talkin' 'bout how if we could just buckle down and work real hard and stop listening to the "false science" of misguided doctors (you know, like the American Psychological Association), we could be free of those unnatural gay and lesbo yearnings that set our loins afire every time we watch The L Word or go to The Gap. In other words, these NARTH Vaders think you can become an "ex-gay."

Attending the protest seemed like a good idea in theory, but as Buzz groggily gave the snooze button another smack early last Saturday morning, we wondered, why would any self-respecting queer person schedule a protest for 11 a.m. on a weekend? We just got home from Sue Ellen's an hour ago!

Turns out, the organizers of a group of local folks gathered to protest against NARTH were mainly of the churchgoing gay variety, the wholesome PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) types and respectable folk such as Dr. Elaine Traylor, a licensed psychologist. "I'm here as a Catholic, a psychologist and a person," Traylor said. "Homosexuality is certainly not a disease. My main concern as a psychologist is the therapists at this conference make it into something that needs to be fixed. Psychology is not to be used as a weapon."

Wayne Beson, a New York activist who wrote Anything but Straight: Exposing the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, organized the event. Although NARTH is nonprofit, Beson claims "the religious right has millions of dollars invested in this," primarily as a tool to motivate voters against what they call "special interests." NARTH's therapists, Beson said, "are quacks. They hold lipstick seminars for lesbians to make them more feminine," he said, "which produces lipstick lesbians, but not straight women."

Buzz called NARTH President Dr. Joseph J. Nicolosi to hear his side of the story, but the receptionist at his Thomas Aquinas Psychology Clinic informed us he was "on vacation" and unavailable. That's cool—happy hour's about to start at JR's anyway.