Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Italian reparative therapy, and exorcising homosexuality out.

Via Vecchifroci I came to know about Davide Vari, an Italian journalist who posed as homosexual in order to enter religious "reparative" therapy circles. Though affiliated somehow with NARTH, the people involved in ex gay movements in Italy are also affiliated with the Catholic Church (Roman, that is), and Vari dissects the process and procedures of diagnosis and therapy in an article published in Liberatione, but also in his own blog. For those of you understanding Italian, this is the full text of its report. In brief, as I'm not really fluent in Italian, Davide posed as a gay man having had "full sexual relationships" with other men "both active and passive", and conducted a series of interviews with priests and psychologists, undergoing what he clearly describes as the Minnesota Test for purposes of measuring his degree of homosexuality, perceived in such circles as a deviation from natural law, perversion, or neurosis, depending on the interviewer.

Prompted by this article, Arcigay's president, Aurelio Mancuso, issued an statement asking to the proper Health institutions in Italy to watch carefully those reparative "therapies" and reminding that as of May 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as disease and filed it into a natural variant of sexuality.

Of course, Catholics will not stay quiet about this statement, perceived as a direct attack to the Church: Catholic World News affirms that such WHO declassification of homosexuality was a success of The Homosexual Lobby — whenever I read "Homosexual Lobby" I can't help figuring out some sort of obscure and evil council of leather daddies, smoking cigars, plotting the conversion of all the world's children into gays and lesbians over a huge plasma round screen in the middle of an oval table. It might sound funny but it's the 21st century and you can't bring up again the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, can you? — plus defending their psychologists in the worst way they could to the eyes of a former Catholic: building their academic authority in their militancy with the Legionaries of Christ.

But on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, AlterNet offers an interesting interview with Scott Harrison, who

"desperately tried to change his sexual orientation in various "ex-gay" ministries for eight years, three of them as a ministry leader in Southern California. Most of his experience with ex-gay groups — Christian organizations that see homosexuality as a choice that can be changed with proper therapy — was with Living Waters and Desert Stream, two curricula of a national ex-gay network that has more than 80 branches today. When Harrison joined in 1982, he felt ex-gay ministers were then a band of compassionate outsiders attending to the first AIDS victims. But by the end of that decade, Harrison had taken note of the movement's increasing radicalism, symbolized for him by the minister at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in San Pedro, Calif., who performed an exorcism on him in an attempt to cast out the "demons" said to be the cause of his homosexuality. Harrison finally quit the movement in 1990 after deciding he could, after all, reconcile his sexuality with his Christian faith."

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