Homosexuals, like heterosexuals, seek counseling for all kinds of reasons, and some gays have earnestly sought help at Marcus Bachmann's clinic and its faith-based approaches to psychotherapy. He is accused of trying to "cure" them with a controversial method using "prayer for repair." His irreligious critics mock the idea that a suffering gay can ever "pray away the gay," but it's hardly a sin (or even a shortcoming) to help a troubled soul seeking Christian counseling.
Like most mental health issues, cure rates for complaints from gays, like those from heterosexuals, are difficult to calculate. Whatever works as treatment is usually permissible as long it does no harm and is not exploitive. Psychoanalysts have a long record of treating homosexuality as pathology with very little verifiable data of what they've accomplished.
Before 1974, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disease, and voted to erase it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Later, they called it an "ego-dystonic" problem, which included distress over homosexual feelings or lack of heterosexual ones.
Soon the shrinks moved the diagnosis away from personal affliction altogether to an affliction imposed by prejudice, and blamed society for a new illness called "homophobia." Many now insist such prejudice comes under the rubric of civil rights. Lots of gays continue to seek help for all kinds of psychological problems, many stemming specifically from their sexual orientation.
Supporters of gay rights, who loathe the satirical stereotyping of homosexuals, nevertheless take special delight in stereotyping heterosexuals they see as having "gay mannerisms." When Jerry Seinfeld joined Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," they watched a video of the Bachmanns dancing together and joked about Dr. Bachmann's "effeminate manner." They wondered with more nastiness than wit whether someone teaching people not to be gay had absorbed the gay style himself.
Since the congresswoman has been outspoken in identifying religious bigotry in the attacks against her, the viciousness toward her husband is likely to backfire, and only fire up her friends and supporters. They'll learn that playing with matches is a dangerous game.
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