Hetracil & Narth: Curing Homosexuality

More than 80 million Americans suffer from some type of Homosexuality, and one in eight persons need treatment for Homosexuality during his or her lifetime. Homosexuality is not a character flaw; it is neither a "mood" nor a personal weakness that you can change at will or by "pulling yourself together."

While doing research for a project, I came upon Hetracil, an anti-effeminate medication that claims to cure homosexuality. Yes, I know it's a spoof, but other organizations like Narth (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality), tout reparative therapy and actually have a small but influential group of psychotherapists that are trying to do just that. And they actually take themselves seriously. Sadly, Narth is another group of quack therapists who graduated from fifth-tier schools but wear the guise of science in order to "remove our sin" by trying to force preconceived gender roles onto the vulnerable and confused. They continually publish papers disputing science (such as the APA) and claim that homosexuality is caused by emotionally unavailable fathers, sexual abuse, or not getting involved enough with sports – they dispute that homosexuality is biological.

Yes, this is laughable. But people actually believe it - just like some believe man used to ride dinosaurs on saddles and that the earth is still flat.

What interests me are the underlying questions of the search for therapies that are rooted in cultural discomfort rather than medical discomfort. There is this illusion that somehow "curing" oneself of this is a way to remove sin, of reversing the "abnormality" in order to restore a sense of order and "right" - who created that illusion and what is that party's agenda?

Does being hetrosexual guarantee a happy, normal life? Does being straight somehow increase one's morality or ability to create value in society? Let me frame this another way: Does being fat mean that a person will never be successful or beautiful ? Does having a learning disability mean that a person will never be able to achieve anything "worthwhile"? Does being colored mean that one's character is morally suspect? No. It doesn't. There are so many people that can prove every one of these preconceptions wrong. Can one gather alot of circumstancial evidence to build a case trying to prove the faults of each one? Yes, but at the same time it would be just as easy to build a case touting its glory too. My question is, why are we letting a small group of people decide for us what is normal or abnormal? How can we as consumers, patients, minorities exercise our power in the cultural debate?

I think the only "sin" worth removing is the intolerance, the act of denying the fact that each human being has infinite potential to build creative, happy lives just as they are. The discomfort is caused by a set of stale, tired definitions that are obsolete - this "him" and "her" society, the need for simplistic black and white rules that keep people from thinking too hard. Today's complex society is comprised of hybrids, of transient identities, nomadic selves that visit one identity after another in a given moment or a lifetime. To use medical science as a way to manipulate others and enforce so-called cultural standards is not just underhanded but evidence of institutional self-preservation. (In this case, I suspect that the support of religious organizations is not a coincidence).

There are power structures here where authority is preying on the vulnerable's fears in order to exercise a kind of control and obedience. Just think about it, if a man in an official uniform doctor's robe tells you that if you do not follow his advice, you will suffer life-threatening consequences, how do you feel? When you ask questions, they give you very complex, confusing answers, but you nod anyway, because they have a title in their name (like PhD or MD). Hey, they studied this for years (even if it was at some crappy pseudo-med school that you've never even heard of), so they must know what they are talking about, right? "Trust me, I'm a doctor." Wink.

Well, I'm interested in your thoughts. If there was a magic pill that could "cure" you, would you take it? Why?