If you read a commentary wherein the writer, who is a professional activist for the so-called "ex-gay" movement, bemoands attempts to "normalize and equate [homosexuality] with heterosexuality" and claims that the LGBT rights movement learned "how to indoctrinate the public into the innate-immutability myth of homosexuality – that people are born this way and cannot change," would you describe that article as "shockingly accurate"?
Or what about this: if you read that very same opinion piece and learn that its "ex-gay" author believes there are reams of research out there showing that gay people can "change," but that the LGBT rights community either keeps it hidden or defames it away...
"In the last one hundred years, there have been literally hundreds of studies published in scientific peer-reviewed journals that document change from SSA to heterosexuality. However, activists in the psychological and counseling communities have formed powerful committees within trade organizations to wield influence. Essentially, these committees ignore, defame, or disqualify the research for some reason (e.g., methodological concerns are a favorite) while exalting any theory that proposes an inherent biological cause to homosexuality. If that doesn't work, a common tactic is to attack the researcher, or organization funding the research, as homophobic, biased, or fatally flawed for whatever reason."
...or you see this writer claiming that LGBT rights organizations are somehow concocting the illusion that "ex-gay" so-called "therapy" is, in fact, harmful in a great number of cases...
"Organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and other anti-ex-gay activists devote millions of dollars each year to try and convince persons who are unhappy with their SSA that change is not possible, and in fact, that it is downright harmful. They are now recruiting clients who are unable to achieve sexual orientation change to sue their former therapists in the name of consumer fraud, and attempting to make any type of sexual orientation change effort therapy by licensed mental health practitioners, illegal. In an especially brazen attempt to indoctrinate society, CBS's primetime show Criminal Minds devoted an entire episode last week to portray ex-gays as repressed, violent criminals who are brainwashed by Christian conversion-camps that use electroshock therapy and torture to turn gays straight."
...would you say this writer's article "cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies”? Especially if you saw that this same author also cited Mark Regnerus, a man whose research a federal court judge recently described as "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration," as if he were a credible voice?
Hopefully, your answer to all of these questions culiminates is a clear and resounding no. After all, we live in a world where credible scientists speak in practically one voice on the subject of "changing" LGBT people. These same scientists also have studied and documented the clear and tangible harms that come from telling people they are innately broken and therefore in need of "change," which is why all medical organizations oppose the practice. It's also why a two states (CA and NJ) have already banned this kind of "therapy" being directed at minors, with a growing list of states sure to do so in the years to come.
But you know who did use the phrases "shockingly accurate" and "cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies" to describe the article that I quote above? One of the two owners of a prominent American newsmagazine!
Yup, that's right—According to The Guardian, Johnathan Davis, who along with business partner Etienne Uzac now owns Newsweek magazine, took to his Facebook page back in February of last year and leant his staunch support to a Christian Post article in which professional "ex-gay" activist Christopher Doyle basically acted as if all of the propaganda is on our side, not his. Doyle's commentary (which you can read in full here) was not just support for the idea that people like him actually do "change" (rather than suppress or explore other facets of) their sexual orientations, but it was a piece where he actively worked to convince readers that everything we know about the modern LGBT rights movement and our scientific support is actually built upon a house of lies. From the removal of homosexuality from the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which Doyle clearly regards as a political act, to framing self-described "ex-gays" who move on from that lifestyle as "relapsing" back into homosexuality, Doyle's article is nothing but an attack piece meant to make LGBT people look like the aggressors and people like himself, who spend their days trying to build a hostile culture toward LGBT rights, as somehow the victims. But to one of the heads of one of America's prominent news mag's? Why this kind of advocacy a breath of fresh air, apparently.
And it's not like it was a surprise to see Doyle writing the way he did—it's his game. As director of the International Healing Foundation, the organization that Richard "beat a pillow to cure your gayness" Cohen founded, and as head of his own organization, Voice of the Voiceless, Doyle works with all of the usual anti-LGBT extremists to grant political cover to that movement. Doyle regularly goes on hostile outlets to claim that LGBT people are oppressing straights, that those who oppose "ex-gay" therapy are letting future Jerry Sanduskys run free, and that American LGBT rights activists are to blame for global laws against homosexuality. Doyle recently gave an award to Mat Staver, one of the most anti-LGBT attorneys in America, lauding him as a hero of the "ex-gay" movement. The Family Research Council was even set to sponsor a 2013 Voice of the Voiceless event, featuring actual members of the Unites States Congress (the event was later cancelled). So let's be clear: this guy has a decided agenda that extends well beyond his or anyone else's right to live as a self-identified "ex-gay" person. This is what Johnathan Davis, Newsweek co-owner, publicly supported.
But does he still publicly support it, now that he presumably knows more about Doyle and his work? Well check out what Davis said, per The Guardian:
When asked if he believed that gay people could be cured, Davis said: “Whether I do or not, I’m not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it’s unrelated.” The post was then removed from his Facebook page.
Unrelated? Um, really? It's not pertinent to know whether Davis, who is named as the chief content officer of IBT Media (the company he controls that now controls Newsweek), goes against the whole of creible science, the widely prevailing feeling of actual LGBT people, and the general tide of the information stream (to say nothing of history) in order to support an "ex-gay" political activist with a clear agenda? I have to say that I beg to differ.
One has to wonder how much space in the Newsweek platform is going to be dedicated to promoting the debunked and dangerous notion that someone can (and should) force a change in their sexual orientation. Will any future coverage of LGBT people now be tainted by the fact that the owner of the magazine believes that LGBT equality isn't necessary? Will the magazine listen to doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists who have overwhelmingly stated that efforts to change sexual orientation is both ineffective and often harmful?
Of course it's relevant. It's relevant to the LGBT and allied readers of Newsweek who want to know if they are going to get the news with a side of anti-LGBT animosity. It's relevant to those who are underinformed about the lives of LGBT people and will turn to the magazine for credible reporting.
Unlike Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO, who is downplaying his 2008 contribution to Prop 8 and reiterating his commitment to LGBT inclusion, the flippant response by Doyle implies that he doesn't care. He doesn't care that his statements have caused harm to LGBT employees of Newsweek. He doesn't care that he has tarnished the reputation of the publication. And that is worrisome.
If he's going to be anti-LGBT, then do it boldly, so that we can know whether Newsweek is a publication we can trust to provide journalism about LGBT people. If he's committed to telling the stories of LGBT people, then say that boldly as well.
Just don’t tell us that it's not relevant.