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Saturday, January 21, 2006
 
It's not just about gays

Note: This is here because the story which was going to appear in yesterday’s newspaper was stopped “by a ministry” minutes before it went out. Since the official press suppressed it (or allowed it to be suppressed, which amounts to the same thing, really), let's propagate it on the unofficial press. I'm not doing this for gay rights, but for freedom. Freedom to speak and freedom to love. Rights formerly thought to be inalienable. Anyway, the original post is from Popagandhi.


Media Release

From People Like Us

19 Jan 2006, 20.30h

Singapore govt gives $100,000 to Christian anti-gay group

By giving $100,000 to Liberty League, as reported by ChannelNewsAsia (CNA), the Singapore government is helping to promote a religious cause founded on unscientific and psychologically damaging methods.

Liberty League intends to “promote gender and sexual health” through “conduct[ing] sexuality talks in schools” – CNA report.

However, Liberty League’s website promotes a book ‘Freedom of Choice’. The book’s subjects were almost totally from the Christian group, Choices, which runs programmes teaching that homosexuality is a psychological dysfunction. The book thus promotes this kind of pseudo-therapy propagated by fundamentalist Christian groups.

Mr Leslie Lung, the founder of Liberty League has long been known to be associated with “ex-gay” ministries. The “ex-gay” or “reparative therapy” movement is strongly associated with the more extreme churches in the United States. Liberty League’s website itself uses terms such as “sexual brokenness”, “addiction and abuse”.

In a seminar organised by the Graduates Christian Fellowship on 13 October 2005, which described homosexuality as a psychological problem, Liberty League was touted as resource for counseling. It was recommended by Mr Tan Thuan Seng, the President of Focus on the Family, Singapore (FOTF-Sg) who is known to regularly give anti-gay talks in Christian circles.

FOTF-Sg is an affiliate of Christian- and US-based Focus on the Family as can be seen from the latter’s website. The anti-gay, proselytising stance of Focus on the Family is well known. One may therefore infer that since it was recommended by FOTF-Sg, Liberty League shares a similar position regarding faith and homosexuality.

Liberty League is also lauded on the website of Exodus Singapore, the Christian ex-gay group, http://www.exodusasiapacific.org/singapore.htm. It too speaks of “sexual brokenness” and teaches “God’s plan for sexuality”. On its Policy page, it says, “Exodus Asia Pacific cites homosexual tendencies as one of many disorders that beset fallen humanity. Christ offers a healing alternative to those with sexual and relational problems.”

An 18-year-old student who had attended one of Mr Lung’s earlier talks in her school wrote in her report (deposited with People Like Us) that she had to “sit through a one-hour treatise on why homosexuality was wrong, and if we had any same-sex attractions, we should immediately seek help and ‘turn straight’.

“He made several references to God and the Bible during the talk,” she wrote, and that “it was pretty insensitive to everyone non-Christian.”

It should be noted that in his statement to CNA, Mr Lung spoke of “coming out of [homosexuality]”. At first glance, this phrase appears similar to “coming out” – the well-accepted process of healthy psychological development for gay and lesbian persons – but it is in fact a trojan horse for the opposite: destructive self-denial of a person’s own sexuality.

PLU finds it reprehensible that while the World Health Organization1 and reputable psychological associations2 no longer treat homosexuality as a disorder, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) would still fund an organization that has been founded on this unscientific and damaging premise. (More information on this in Annex.)

The government needs to explain why the NVPC thinks $100,000 is money well spent when given to a disguised religious cause based on unscientific psychotherapeutic approaches that seek to deform young people’s sense of self-worth and psychological health.

PLU also notes that the published guidelines for eligibility for funding from the NVPC include the stipulation that all programmes must be secular, and believes the government needs to explain its grant to Liberty League when even 18 year-old students can so clearly spot its religious agenda.

The government also needs to explain how this grant is consistent with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s claim that the government is not homophobic, made in a comment to the Foreign Correspondents Association on 6 October 2005.

For more information, please contact:

People Like Us

======================================================

ANNEX

The matter becomes more ludicrous when one realizes that even other Asian nations like Japan3, the People’s Republic of China4 and Thailand5 no longer consider homosexuality a mental disorder.

In relation to therapies to correct homosexual orientation, the American Psychiatric Association, reaffirmed its stand in 2000, that attempts to “repair homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable.”[6] A study by Shidlo and Schroeder of 202 individuals who attempted sexual orientation therapy found less than 4 percent were able to rid themselves of same-sex attractions while 78 percent of respondents

experienced long-term psychological distress as a result of the attempt.[7]

REFERENCES

1 The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in its International Classification of Disorders-10 in 1992.
(http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html)

2 American Psychological Association:
http://www.psych.org/pnews/99-01-15/therapy.html

British Psychological Society:
http://www.bps.org.uk/lesgay/lesgay_home.cfm

Australian Psychological Society:
http://www.psychology.org.au/units/interest_groups/gay_lesbian/news.asp

Canadian Psychological Association:
http://www.cpa.ca/documents/policy.html

3 http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=5&detail=313

4 Chinese Classification and Diagnostic Criteria of Mental Disorders removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on April 20, 2001 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_China

5 http://www.studentbmj.com/issues/03/02/news/7.php
http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=1933

6 American Psychiatric Association’s Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)
http://www.psych.org/psych_pract/copptherapyaddendum83100.cfm

7 Shidlo, A., and Schroeder, M., (2002) Changing Sexual
Orientation: A Consumers’ Report. Professional Psychology: Research
and Practice, 33(3), 249. Refer also:

Schroeder, M., (2001) Ethical Issues in Sexual Orientation
Conversion Therapies: An Empirical Study of Consumers. Journal of
Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy 5(3/4), 131.

Bright, C., (2004) Deconstructing Reparative Therapy: An Examination
of the Processes Involved When Attempting to Change Sexual
Orientation. Clinical Social Work Journal, 32(4), p. 471.
 
Comments:
urghh...reading abt those fundamentalist groups left me with a really bad taste in the mouth...puuiii!
Kudos to Propagandhi for such a well-researched article.
 
I don't know what disgusts me more. The idea that fundies are pushing their shit onto our secular society or that the government is making use of these whackjobs to do their anti-gay dirty work.

Well, at least one of them does not pretend to be moral.
 
daniel: Well, the article was actually from PLU, but hey, I'm always for kudos to popagandhi.

dr. fletcher: Yeah, man. Fundies should stop being so preoccupied with our dicks and start using theirs. That would make us happier and it would also make them happier.
 
aye, the original article is from PLU.
 
oops, I assumed Popagandhi wrote it for PLU. haha, nevermind.
 
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