Not About Ferguson

« August 2014 »

Memo to the ex-gay movement: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

It is often said that rebranding is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Wait, what do you mean, it's not often said? Well, why the fuck not? It's pithy, and more importantly, it's true.

It is, in modern society, very, very difficult for a person, a group, or an idea to truly be discredited. Not only will there always be a group of faithful believers that will hold fast to said person, group, or idea no matter how much evidence is put in front of them telling them they shouldn't, more often than not, that group of faithful is someone's constituency, and thus that constutency cannot be crossed by prosecuting the person, cutting off the group, or legislating against the idea.

But it happens every once in a while. Todd Akin. Blackwater. Creationism. All examples of their respective nouns-non-grata at one time or another. So, what was their solution? Go away for a few years, and then rebrand! Present yourself as something different, even though nothing's changed. Intelligent Design! Xe! Todd "I Was Right All Along" Akin!

The latest group and idea to be publicly discredited is the ex-gay movement and their gay conversion therapy. It's suffered severe public relations blows in the past couple of years, from the recanting and public apologies of Love In Action's John Smid and Exodus International's John Paulk to the laws in California and New Jersey banning the practice for minors. So, guess what they're doing?

Meet the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity! Sounds like a great bunch of folks. I mean, things that are therapeutic are good. Everyone loves choice. And who could argue with scientific integrity! Clearly, whatever this group has to say, we should take very seriously, thanks to their carefully test-marketed name.

I mean, sure, the fact that these people used to call themselves the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality might give you pause, but they've thought of that, too. NARTH no longer stands for anything. It's just a name of an institute. The NARTH Institute for the Study of Sexual Behavior, Identity, and Attraction, part of the abovementioned Alliance.

See? They're not beating you with a tennis racket while you shout at your mother into a pillow because that will totally make you up for vagina again. They're just studying your sexual behavior, checking out your sexual identity, and trying to figure out attraction while maintaining therapeutic choice. And all, of course, with the utmost scientific integrity.

And you know they have the strictest standards of intellectual honesty and integrity, because they paid a freelance video producer for a fake news video to promote their rebranding and didn't actually tell her what they were rebranding from. And she didn't Google it. And found out after the fact. And was pissed. And NARTH, I mean, sorry, "The Narth Institute", has since pulled the video. Or rather, cured the video of its sick, perverted attraction to being seen by people on the Internet.

It took decades for the frauds, charlatans, and bigoted snake-oil-salesmen of the ex-gay movement to finally get the public shunning they so richly deserve. Let's hope this incompetently transparent attempt to look legitimate doesn't buy them another ten years.