Voice of the Voiceless founder Christopher Doyle thought he conducted an “undercover” investigation in September when he infiltrated LGBT resource centers at Virginia’s public universities. His goal was to see if they were disseminating information on “ex-gay” programs. However, this foolish effort was akin to going “undercover” in a supermarket to find out if food was on the shelves.
It is preposterous to expect any responsible university to distribute literature that aggressively demonizes and depicts LGBT students as mentally ill. The American Psychiatric Associations says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to, “anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior.” How would an institution of higher learning justify placing at-risk students in harms way?
Doyle and his cohorts at Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) claim that not promoting ex-gay programs represents a viewpoint bias. I will happily concede this point, and add that universities should actually do more to thwart junk science from corrupting the educational system.
Washington Post reporter Tom Jackman addressed this issue by asking: “When is it appropriate for a public university to offer information about a thoroughly discredited belief?”
The answer is never – unless it is in a debate class that teaches students how to debunk false theories and unreasonable rhetoric. The appropriate response for university officials, in the case of Doyle, is to admit they are strongly biased against unadulterated BS. This is precisely what separates education from indoctrination, history from histrionics, information from disinformation, and actual science from science fiction. If an institution is not allowed to show bias in favor of fact over fantasy, they might as well begin showing King Kong and Godzilla movies in zoology classes.
It is important to understand the breathtaking insincerity of these charlatans. They are claiming to be victims of discrimination, yet have long opposed equal rights for LGBT people. Doyle, for example, works for the International Healing Foundation, a group that advocated for harsh penalties against homosexuality in countries such as Uganda and Russia.
The latest undercover operation (aka publicity stunt) is part of a cynical strategy that was recently revealed on Voice of the Voiceless’ website:
“If we are to change the way our society is going, we need to adapt to our current social environment and use the legalization of tolerance and non-discrimination to our advantage,” wrote VoV’s Nathan Ruark.
These activists want to exploit liberalism’s desire for open-minded discussion, to justify their closed-minded derision. They believe that if a counselor tells a conflicted student that “gay is good,” the school must then sanction extremists tell that same student that “gay is gross.” In their delusional minds, such divisiveness represents true diversity. I hope Virginia’s university leaders aren’t gullible enough to fall for Doyle’s artificial outrage and will not be bullied by his “skewpoint” disguised as a legitimate viewpoint.
Moreover, Doyle is incredibly dishonest. He told the Washington Post, “You take the client’s goals, and you work with their goals and you don’t impose your own values. It’s supposed to be value neutral.”
Yet, Doyle’s boss at the International Healing Foundation, Richard Cohen, shows that the group’s view on counseling at universities is far from neutral. According to Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight:
“…universities throughout the world are teaching our children on the platform of human rights and social equality, that homosexual people are born this way and cannot change. The promotion of these myths is another factor that may influence someone to become homosexual, or pull him over the line. This is cultural indoctrination for impressionable youths who are still confused with their sexual identities.”
Interestingly, at the conservative Values Voter Summit this past weekend, a PFOX spokesperson, Rev. Grace Harley, attended an anti-gay seminar. The moderator, Houston pastor Rick Scarborough said, “You are not gay. You are recruited.” Harley, while sitting near the front row, certainly didn’t object to this calumny. I guess this is what Doyle means by “value neutral.”
It is clear that Doyle and PFOX don’t like LGBT-affirming resources. Their answer is for universities to provide information from the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). Here is the advice NARTH board member Gerard van den Aardweg suggests that counselors impart to students:
“…a preferable reaction to young people who disclose their secret feelings something like this: ‘You may indeed feel that interest in your own sex, but it is still a question of immaturity. By nature, you are not that way. Your heterosexual nature has not yet awakened. What we have to discuss is a personality problem, your inferiority complex.”
Should leading universities really be in the business of telling students that they are “inferior?” If anti-gay activists get their way, this is precisely what will happen in Virginia.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”