Every now and again, a snake will show its fangs. Case in point is Dr. Warren Throckmorton, one of America’s leading “ex-gay” therapists. Last week, a Nebraska-based website so obscure it was inaccessible by popular search engines such as Google, was discovered by right wing activists. What the website had to say was quite disturbing.
“Without GSA [gay straight alliance] access, students are forced to simply kill classmates who taunt & bully – shooting, stabbing and poisoning are the common forms of retribution.”
Immediately, anti-gay groups rightfully criticized the site. However, they were disingenuous in their conjured anger, as their real target was not the ugly message, but the Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network (GLSEN) that helps students form GSA’s. The GSA clubs protect students from bullying and create safe space where they can find support.
Throckmorton wasted no time implicitly tying the website to official GSA’s – the only problem was, GLSEN, had nothing to do with the website. Ex-Gay Watch uncovered that a country activist, Brian Wyant, who no one outside of Omaha had ever heard of, ran the offending site. The next day, Throckmorton ran a hollow apology, but the damage was done.
As usual, Throckmorton, who masquerades as a moderate, takes every opportunity he can to bash the GLBT community. He is so zealous, that he hardly has time to fact check, which is an embarrassment for a doctor who fancies himself an expert on ex-gay issues.
For the first time in ten years, the American Psychological Association is reviewing its policy on counseling GLBT people and will address the explosive issue of ex-gay therapy. Throckmorton is spearheading the opposition with sophistic arguments about patient self-determination. Although, he has yet to show how his very determined gay clients have changed themselves into heterosexuals. His goal is to pressure the APA into carving out a religious exception to ethical therapy, where ex-gay therapists can torment religious clients without repercussions.
What is amazing is how anti-gay groups are so desperate to find doctors to promote ex-gay therapy that they turn to underachievers like Throckmorton, an unlicensed psychologist who has never been a member of the APA. Throckmorton works at Grove City College, a small Christian school in a town with a population of 8,000.
According to the school’s website, its goal is to ensure, “inspired Scripture be presented to all” and it boasts of, “rejecting relativism and secularism.” In this vain, Throckmorton is working with religious right groups to impose these narrow, sectarian values on the APA.
For a self-proclaimed leader and one elevated by the press, Throckmorton is relatively unaccomplished. He has not written a book, nor has he conducted any major studies. He does claim to have counseled 250 patients, but he is unable to bring any success cases forward.
Indeed, on June 11 2007, Throckmorton finally brought forth a client to show success – but the man was a relatively new patient, would not be identified by his last name and had not changed his sexual attractions. If this was Throckmorton’s best example of success, his work is rather disappointing.
Throckmorton also produced a defamatory ex-gay video entitled, “I Do Exist.” The movie’s opening scene was a wide shot of the 8th Avenue New York porn palaces that supposedly represent gay life. His film featured Joanne Highley, a known exorcist, who in a previous video that appeared on PBS (One Nation Under God) discussed how she extracted the demon of homosexuality from the orifices of gay men. Is this the kind of “therapy” that Throckmorton wants the APA to endorse? If not, why did he feature this woman in his video?
Throckmorton has also shown callousness towards ex-gay survivors. In 2003, Michael Johnston stepped down after it was discovered the HIV+ ex-gay leader was having unsafe sex with multiple partners he met on the Internet. Instead of having sympathy for his victims, Throckmorton blamed gay activists for revealing Johnston’s behavior.
In response to Johnston’s demise, Throckmorton wrote an op-ed in American Daily on August 7, 2003 that said, “These gentlemen (activists) wanted to make sure the world knew about the private pain of Mr. Johnston and those touched by his failings.”
To Thockmorton, the health and well being of GLBT Americans are a mere afterthought. The only principle he seems to covet is ensuring religious practitioners have a right to “treat” gay clients, no matter how much damage may be occurring.
Sadly, Throckmorton’s main “scientific” achievement is a vanity blog that criticizes the work of genuine scientists, but provides little original work of his own. Unfortunately, the modern media will give this “researcher,” who is seemingly allergic to the lab, a platform. In the old days, web surfing was no substitute for conducing real studies. But such due diligence might cut into “Dr. Blog” bloviating on the Internet.
Isn’t it is time for Throckmorton to stop protesting the APA and start producing landmark studies that might turn him into the expert he now imagines himself to be?