National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality

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The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), also known as the NARTH Institute, is a US organization that promotes conversion therapy, a harmful and pseudoscientific practice used in attempts to change or reduce the sexual orientation of people with same-sex attraction.[1][2] 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. It has operated under the name Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI) since 2014.[3][4][5]

The policy manual of the American Psychological Association states that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation, and is not a mental disorder.[6] The APA's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation affirms the tension between some religious values and other organizations, as well as the existence of a subset of individuals who are distressed about their same-sex attractions. Nevertheless, it says it has not found adequately rigorous studies that suggest sexual orientation change efforts are successful. The APA Task Force has also found that some individuals reported being harmed by change efforts.[6]

The consensus of the world's major mental health organizations is that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.[7]


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.[8] 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.[9][10]

The organization had 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, which was revoked by the Internal Revenue Service in September 2012 due to ongoing failure to file required paperwork.[11]


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,[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]


Notable members of the Scientific Advisory Committee include Hillel Goldberg, Nathaniel S. Lehrman and Jeffrey Satinover.[15] Robert Perloff, former president of the American Psychological Association, was a notable supporter of NARTH.[16][17][18]

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".[19] 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.[20] Byrd also served as president of NARTH and also published an article[21] in the LDS church's September 1999 Ensign.[22] 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.[23]

In 2003, the leaders of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH) made NARTH a member.


Stances on the etiology and mutability of homosexuality[edit]

The founders held that homosexuality is a treatable mental illness and that a person's sexual orientation can be changed through therapy. Such conversion therapy is pseudoscientific[2] and unethical according to major medical and psychological organisations in the United States[6][24][25] and elsewhere.[26][27] 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.[28] 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."[29]

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.[25][30] In 2006 the American Psychological Association declared that NARTH created "an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish".[31] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has singled the group out as a main source of anti-gay junk science used by hate groups to justify anti-gay rhetoric.[25] NARTH has been accused of employing abusive methods to attempt to change sexual orientation by the Human Rights Campaign and Truth Wins Out.[32][33][34]

Abba Goldberg[edit]

In 2010, NARTH’s executive secretary Abba Goldberg disclosed a 1991 criminal conviction[35] for conspiracy and fraud, for which he served 18 months in prison.

Gerald Schoenewolf[edit]

In April 2005, NARTH published on its website an essay titled "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History",[36] written by Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee. The essay made several controversial claims, including that the civil rights and gay rights movements are "destructive", that the American Psychological Association "has been taken over by extremist gays", and that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery.[36][37] The SPLC called it an angry polemic that made outrageous historical claims and criticised both NARTH and Schoenewolf. The essay drew little attention until a letter of protest was presented to NARTH by the National Black Justice Coalition in mid-September 2006. Truth Wins Out then called on Focus on the Family to cancel a planned appearance by Nicolosi at their conference. Nicolosi appeared as planned but the Schoenewolf essay was removed from the NARTH website the same day. On October 6, 2006, NARTH published a statement: "NARTH regrets the comments made by Dr. Schoenewolf about slavery which have been misconstrued by some of our readers."[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity | Frequently Asked Questions (information about homosexuality)". Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI). Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  2. ^ a b Haldeman, Douglas C. (December 1999). "The Pseudo-science of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy" (PDF). Angles: The Policy Journal of the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies. 4 (1): 1–4. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity". The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ Sutton, Philip M. (Nov 2015). "Professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction: What does the research say?". The Linacre Quarterly. 82 (4): 351–363. doi:10.1179/0024363915Z.000000000147. PMC 4771007. PMID 26997676. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ Quandt, Katie Rose (8 August 2014). ""Ex-Gay" Conversion Therapy Group Rebrands, Stresses "Rights of Clients"". Mother Jones. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b c American Psychological Association Council of Representatives (August 5, 2009). "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts". APA Policy Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender concerns (PDF). American Psychological Association.
    Also included within: Anton, Barry S. (2010). "Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the legislative year 2009: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives and minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors". American Psychologist. 65 (5): 385–475. doi:10.1037/a0019553.
  7. ^ Spitzer, R. L. (1981). "The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues". American Journal of Psychiatry. 138: 210–15. doi:10.1176/ajp.138.2.210. PMID 7457641.
  8. ^ "In Defense of the Need for Honest Dialogue". NARTH.
  9. ^ "narth" (PDF). narth. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  10. ^ "narth". narth. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  11. ^ "Exempt Organizations Select Check".
  12. ^ Ariel Shidlo; Michael Schroeder; Jack Drescher (2001). Sexual Conversion Therapy: Ethical, Clinical, and Research Perspectives. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7890-1911-0.
  13. ^ Theological Issues. NARTH. Accessed July 27, 2011.
  14. ^ NARTH No Longer Providing Continuing Education to California Therapists. San Francisco Chronicle, July 2011
  15. ^ "NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee".
  16. ^ "narth". narth. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  17. ^ "narth". narth. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  18. ^ Airhart, Mike (2004-12-01). "Former APA Chief Defends Exgay Therapy". Ex-Gay Watch. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  19. ^ Park, Jason. "Therapy". Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 15 April 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Byrd, A. Dean. "When a Loved One Struggles with Same-Sex Attraction". LDS Church. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Controversial Leader of 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Group Steps Down as Criticism Mounts". NBC29 News WVIR Charlottesville, VA. 7 Dec 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Narth Officers". NARTH. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  24. ^ American Psychiatric Association (May 2000). "Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)". American Psychiatric Association. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  25. ^ a b c Lenz, Ryan. "NARTH Becomes Main Source for Anti-Gay 'Junk Science'". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  26. ^ Committee for Therapeutic Interventions and Evidence-Based Practice, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (June 2015). "Position Statement 60 – Sexual orientation change efforts". Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018. The harm such therapies can cause to individuals, the contribution they make to the misrepresentation of homosexuality as a mental disorder, and the prejudice and discrimination that can flourish through the use of such therapies has led all major medical organisations to oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts.
    * The RANZCP does not support the use of sexual orientation change efforts of any kind
    * Mental health workers must avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed by their own or others' sexual orientation
    * Mental health workers should assist people distressed by their sexual orientation by care and treatment approaches that involve acceptance, support, and identity exploration. These should aim to reduce the stigma associated with homosexuality and respect the person’s religious beliefs.
  27. ^ Board, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (March 2016). "Position Statement 83 – Recognising and addressing the mental health needs of people identifying as LGBTI". Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2018. [S]exual orientation change efforts, or often non-consensual therapies intended to change the sexual orientation of a person, are now broadly understood to be harmful and unethical
  28. ^ "Charles Socarides Dies; Said He 'Cured' Gays". Washington Post. Los Angeles Times. 2 January 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  29. ^ "NARTH Institute Statement on Sexual Orientation Change". NARTH. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  30. ^ Butterworth, Benjamin (10 March 2017). "The man behind the lie of 'gay cure' therapy has died". Pink News. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "False & Abusive Practices Aimed at "Changing" Sexual Orientation take Another Discrediting Blow". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  33. ^ "TWO Report: Gerard van den Aardweg, NARTH's Nastiest Reparative Therapist". Truth Wins Out. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Evangelical Professor Warns Christians Not To Blindly Support NARTH's Reparative Therapy". Truth Wins Out. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Scandal Yields Windfall for an Impoverished City". New York Times. 1991-02-04. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  36. ^ a b "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History". NARTH. April 4, 2005. Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  37. ^ a b Mock, Brentin (January 16, 2007). "Anti-Gay Organization NARTH Publishes Essay on Gay Rights and Political Correctness". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (124). Archived from the original on July 26, 2015.

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