Monday, August 23, 2010

Homophobia- American Psychoanalytic Foundation Public Forum - Ralph Roughton, M.D. 1999

...Dr. Chodorow has given us a very clear psychoanalytic understanding of the dynamics of homophobia placed in the context of cultural factors and of gender identity issues. I agree with her. I see homophobia as essentially an attempt to cope with threats to masculinity by splitting and projecting outward onto external objects which are then denigrated and attacked, in short an insistence that "I am not like that." When we speak of internalized homophobia, we refer to the shame, denigration and anger turned inward onto the self of the homosexual individual either as a re-internalization or from the absorption of homophobic attitudes in the environment and then identifying with the hated and feared object. The primary emotion is shame, but a whole gamut of inhibitions, loss of self esteem, depression and self-destructive behavior often follow.

My focus in this presentation moves from the individual internal dynamics to institutionalized homophobia and its effects, specifically the history of anti-homosexual prejudice in the theory, policies and practice of the American Psychoanalytic Association and to a brief description of the remarkable changes in this organization in the 1990’s. Although I will be discussing organized psychoanalysis, I will also be speaking from a more personal perspective, …

...Homophobia, both my own internalized homophobia and that of our culture, kept me confused about my own sexuality for much of my life and kept me hiding in the closet for most of my life. It is a mark of the astonishing changes occurring in our culture and within psychoanalysis and concurrently in my own internal resolution of conflicts that last week I voluntarily allowed my coming out story to be told in Erica Goode’s excellent article in the New York Times and today here I stand in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf along with Paul because I am a gay psychoanalyst. Some might call this a manic defense or a counter-homophobic maneuver. I think it represents serious progress in the resolution of whatever it was that went on in this organization and in psychoanalysis that made it not only unsafe, but unthinkable, that made the words homosexual psychoanalyst virtually an oxymoron.

…Now to this meeting. I assume that our audience today comes largely from two groups: One group of mostly straight analysts and one group of mostly gay and lesbian mental health professionals. I belong to both groups, as do an increasing number of us, but I make this separation because I want to speak as a psychoanalyst to our gay and lesbian colleagues about where psychoanalysis went wrong on homosexuality and how it is changing. And I want to speak to my straight analytic colleagues about how we analysts misunderstood and -- however well meaning we may have been -- we nevertheless caused harm. My aim is the further resolution of the wide gulf and profound anger that developed between these two groups. Resolution requires acknowledging the past. As Bishop TuTu says of his work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, healing requires that we admit past wrongs. In the American, we took an important step when Marvin Margolis as President of the American in 1997 acknowledged in a letter to the New York Times that old psychoanalytic assumptions about homosexuality were mistaken and that this had undoubtedly kept many qualified individuals from becoming psychoanalysts themselves…

…I would like, however, to list briefly some factors that I think contributed to the problems in this organization.

…A second factor I believe is our reliance on a development theory, in fact, our wedding to a developmental theory that had no provision in it for an individual to be both homosexual and emotionally mature. A third factor that I consider is the psychoanalytic reliance on the case study method as data for theorizing and the disdain for comparison studies of non-patient populations that almost universally show no greater degree of pathology in homosexuals then in heterosexuals. The result of this was a conflation of the psychopathology observed in some homosexual patients with the sexual orientation itself. More and more we are coming to accept the idea that sexual orientation and mental health should be regarded as independent dimensions of an individual’s life.

A fourth factor is, I think, what was at one time the general conservative position of psychoanalysis and the tendency in this country toward a moralizing tone that many analysts had. A fifth factor is the interest that came from certain individuals who were particularly involved in studying homosexuality and also from the Association’s and the profession’s uncritical acceptance of their reporting of what, from today’s perspective, we would see as seriously flawed methodology and misinterpreted conclusions. So I wonder what effect this kind of reporting of such methodologically flawed studies would have, i.e., what is the effect of homophobia in individuals who do this kind of work and gain a reputation in our organization? A sixth factor is much larger than recognized until recently. Unlike the important initiative from some women analysts in challenging psychoanalytic theories about female development and psychology, there were no openly gay and lesbian analysts who could serve this same function on this issue. A similar point can be made about the social and professional relationships of analysts. In general, analysts in our organization led a rather sheltered existence until recently, and many analysts did not know, or did not know that they knew, any gay or lesbian people as individuals but only knew them as patients.

Now, what happened to begin the process of change? Richard Isay deserves credit for his persistent efforts in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to get the leaders of the American to address the issue of anti-homosexual bias and specifically the effect of having virtually no gay or lesbian candidates in training or openly gay faculty. Eventually, against the strong opposition from a few members and reluctant action by the leadership, in 1991, a non-discrimination statement on homosexuality was adopted and amended in 1992 to include training and supervising analysts. In 1992, the Committee on Issues of Homosexuality was formed to identify areas of anti-homosexual bias and to work with institutes and the American toward opening up its institutes, changing attitudes, policies and curriculum.

What are the results?
Read complete address:

The Psychology of the Closeted Individual and Coming Out – 2007 - by Jack Drescher, M.D.
The Pope Is Not Gay - Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Dish – The Atlantic
Vatican Asking For Male Prostitutes - “Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.”
Though you drive Nature out with a pitchfork, she will still find her way back.
Prop 8 judgment - August 3, 2010, Gay marriage
“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” Judge Vaughn Walker
California decision pulls mask off fears, prejudice
by Ron Eachus – August 10, 2010 - Statesman
Prop 8 trial witness: Being gay not a choice - Psychologist testifies in case challenging California’s gay marriage ban – AP - January 22, 2010 – - and related links:
Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional as lacking rational basis
Nan Hunter - Professor, Georgetown Law, Washington, DC - hunter of justice
Gay Marriage Ruling A Matter of Simple Justice
by Geoffrey R. Stone - law professor at the University of Chicago - Chicago Tribune,0,2223308.story
On Prop 8, it's the evidence, stupid - By Lisa Bloom – - and related links:
Gay Marriage -> Restores “Hope of Love” To Children In Early Childhood
Gay marriage - Sexual orientation is less about sex and more about love,
being one with another human being - Attachment Theory - LOVE & RELIGION
Gay Marriage - Galileo Condemned As A Heretic - Misinterpretations of The Bible
Homosexuality? Natural Law? Benedict XVI? ->Kids Are Being Hurt!!!
Gramick: Equality is a Catholic value - by David Taffet – Dallas Voice
The Quality Of Lasting Homosexual Relationships - Deserve Respect
Roman Catholic -->Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Vienna
"No sensible person can imagine that the sexes differ in matters of love as they do in matters of clothing. The intelligent lover of beauty will be attracted to beauty in whichever gender he finds it." Plutarch

“Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.”
Erik Erikson

…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Important note: No disrespect meant to Pope Benedict XVI or the hierarchy, the one and only concern is the safety and well-being of children.
Kids Are Being Hurt !!!

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