National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality
The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), also known as the NARTH Institute, is a US organization that promotes conversion therapy, a series of discredited, dangerous and unethical regimens that purport to change the sexual orientation of people with same-sex attraction. NARTH was founded in 1992 by Joseph Nicolosi, Benjamin Kaufman, and Charles Socarides. Its headquarters are in Encino, California, at its Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic and has operated under the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) since 2014.
The consensus of the world's major mental health organizations is that homosexuality is not a disorder and that conversion therapy is pseudoscience. Critics have described the methods used by NARTH to attempt to change sexual orientation as abusive.
NARTH was founded in 1992 by Benjamin Kaufman, Charles Socarides, and Joseph Nicolosi. In an article titled "In Defense of the Need for Honest Dialogue", Kaufman wrote that the three of them founded NARTH because the American Psychiatric Association and similar professional organizations "had totally stifled the scientific inquiry that would be necessary to stimulate a discussion" about homosexuality. NARTH's leaders argue that the political atmosphere had changed, making it politically incorrect even to suggest the need for a dialogue that considers the question of the normality of homosexuality. Kaufman states that NARTH was formed in response to censorship of scientific investigation of politically unpopular views.
NARTH claims to be a secular organization, differentiating it from other ex-gay groups that are primarily religious in nature. Nevertheless, NARTH often partners with religious groups, such as Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, Joel 2:25 International, and Evergreen International in Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality. The NARTH website contains a resource list of theological articles.
In July 2011, NARTH failed to pay its dues to the California Board for Behavioral Sciences and was removed from the list of groups that provide continuing education credits to therapists in California. NARTH had been an approved continuing education provider since 1998.
Notable members of the Scientific Advisory Committee include Hillel Goldberg, Nathaniel S. Lehrman and Jeffrey Satinover. Robert Perloff, former president of the American Psychological Association, was a notable supporter of NARTH.
NARTH had several connections to Evergreen International and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Evergreen website referenced the therapeutic methods of NARTH founder Joseph Nicolosi as "beneficial". Nicolosi worked with A. Dean Byrd (an Evergreen Board member, Director of Clinical Training for LDS Social Services, and Brigham Young University professor) to author several papers on reparative therapy. Byrd also served as president of NARTH and also published an article in the LDS church's September 1999 Ensign. Additionally, David C. Pruden served as director of Evergreen and as an officer for NARTH. Likewise, Director of LDS Family Services Jerry Harris served in NARTH leadership.
In 2003, the leaders of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH) made NARTH a member.
Stances on the etiology and mutability of homosexuality
The founders held that homosexuality is a treatable mental illness and that a person's sexual orientation can be changed through therapy. Socarides in particular said in the mid-1990s that he had treated about a thousand homosexual patients, and "cured" over a third by dealing with the parental causes of an absent father and overbearing mother. On their current website NARTH states that changes in sexual orientation through therapy are possible for individuals who report unwanted same-sex attractions and pursue psychological care, reporting that "many [are] able to achieve sustained shifts in the direction and intensity of their sexual attractions, fantasy, and arousal that they consider to be satisfying and meaningful."
Claims that pathologize homosexuality and state that it can be changed through therapy have been denounced by almost every major US medical association, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. In 2006 the American Psychological Association declared that NARTH created "an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish". The Southern Poverty Law Center has singled the group out as a main source of anti-gay junk science used by hate groups to justify anti-gay rhetoric. NARTH has been accused of employing abusive methods to attempt to change sexual orientation by the Human Rights Campaign and Truth Wins Out.
In 2010 it was revealed that NARTH’s executive secretary, Abba Goldberg, was a con man who had served 18 months in prison.
NARTH received criticism from the Southern Poverty Law Center for an essay titled "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History", written by Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee. SPLC called it an angry polemic that made outrageous historical claims. The article had drawn a letter of protest from the National Black Justice Coalition a year after its publication. A month later, NARTH removed the article from its website and posted a statement of apology.
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- "The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity". The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
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- "An Instant Cure", Time; April 1, 1974.
- "The A.P.A. Normalization of Homosexuality, and the Research Study of Irving Bieber". narth.com.
- "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts". www.apa.org.
- "In Defense of the Need for Honest Dialogue". NARTH.
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- Ariel Shidlo; Michael Schroeder; Jack Drescher (2001). Sexual Conversion Therapy: Ethical, Clinical, and Research Perspectives. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7890-1911-0.
- Theological Issues. NARTH. Accessed July 27, 2011.
- NARTH No Longer Providing Continuing Education to California Therapists. San Francisco Chronicle, July 2011
- "NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee". narth.com.
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- Airhart, Mike (2004-12-01). "Former APA Chief Defends Exgay Therapy". Ex-Gay Watch. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Park, Jason. "Therapy". Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 15 April 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- Nicolosi, Joseph; Byrd, A. Dean; Potts, Richard W. (June 2000). "Retrospective self-reports of changes in homosexual orientation: A consumer survey of conversion therapy clients". Psychological Reports. 86: 1071–1088. doi:10.2466/pr0.2000.86.3c.1071.
- Byrd, A. Dean. "When a Loved One Struggles with Same-Sex Attraction". lds.org. LDS Church. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
- "Controversial Leader of 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Group Steps Down as Criticism Mounts". NBC29 News WVIR Charlottesville, VA. 7 Dec 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Narth Officers". narth.com. NARTH. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Charles Socarides Dies; Said He 'Cured' Gays". Washington Post. Los Angeles Times. 2 January 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "NARTH Institute Statement on Sexual Orientation Change". narth.com. NARTH. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- Lenz, Ryan. "NARTH Becomes Main Source for Anti-Gay 'Junk Science'". splcenter.org. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Butterworth, Benjamin (10 March 2017). "The man behind the lie of 'gay cure' therapy has died". Pink News. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Gass-Poore, Jordan (10 March 2017). "The father of gay conversion therapy dies aged 70 after decades of condemnation for trying to 'cure' homosexual men". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- "False & Abusive Practices Aimed at "Changing" Sexual Orientation take Another Discrediting Blow". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "TWO Report: Gerard van den Aardweg, NARTH's Nastiest Reparative Therapist". Truth Wins Out. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "Evangelical Professor Warns Christians Not To Blindly Support NARTH's Reparative Therapy". Truth Wins Out. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- Gabriel Arana. "My So-Called Ex-Gay Life". American Prospect.
- "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History". NARTH. April 4, 2005. Archived from the original on 19 June 2006. Retrieved 24 Feb 2017.
- "Intelligence Report". splcenter.org.
- National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, Official Website
- The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, Official Website
- COPP Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)
- NARTH position statements