Miriam Grossman MD 21 February 2013
I discovered a support group for men in reparative therapy that met monthly in a Los Angeles home.
The “Circle of Men” welcomed me as a guest one evening. There were about twenty guys, young and not so young, seated comfortably in the living room.
I had one question: what is their message to the mental health profession? They were eager to be heard.
Adam started off: “I am angry that I didn’t know about this therapy for seventeen years. When I discovered it, it was such a liberating sense of relief. In six years I have changed beyond my wildest dreams.”
“Therapists told me for years that this is my identity, and I should embrace it,” a middle-aged man with a wedding band said, “but that never felt right to me. Now I consider it just one part of me — a part I don’t have to accept.
“I have chosen the long, hard way instead of the short, easy way,” a young man named Greg told me, “and that choice is right for me.”
And there was this from Hector: “The old warrior went out and fought battles for land or power. The new warrior fights a bigger battle — the battle within. This is our choice. What gives you the right to take it away?”
I was captivated by their strength and integrity. If only Malik could meet these remarkable individuals!
I had an idea: Invite these men to come and speak to my colleagues at the counseling center. Have them describe their journeys to therapists who are convinced that therapy for unwanted same sex attraction is a dangerous scam.
Here’s a chance for open discussion of an urgent topic, I thought. Here’s a chance for students like Malik to find hope and support. And the men were all for it; “Just tell us when and where — we’ll be there,” they promised. What a great plan!
Boy, was I naive. “Sounds fascinating,” the director told me. “But the University wouldn’t go for it.”
And that was it. So much for intellectual debate. So much for diversity, multiculturalism, and tolerance. And so much for a patient’s right to self-determination.