Commentary on social and moral issues of the day

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Homosexual Advocacy

Charles W. Socarides, M.D.

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Written in 1995, Dr. Socarides' warnings proved to be accurate.

Source: Collected Papers from the NARTH Annual Conference, Saturday, 29 July 1995.

I thought it would be a good idea today to begin with some brief comments on the eventful year of progress which has happened to our organization. From a small group of only three people--Dr. Benjamin Kaufman, Dr. Joe Nicolosi, and myself--in March 1992 an organization was born with a spirit to light its way. We have now become an organization of over five hundred members, representing the best of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, psychology, and social work.

The activities of our organization have been well reported in the NARTH Bulletin over the last two years, and I feel I can report that we are growing healthier and stronger every day, and that the Bulletin is thriving under the guidance of Linda Nicolosi who has done so much for us, especially in the last year, as editor along with Dr. Nicolosi. These are perilous times we have passed through, and the incidents and events that we have successfully overcome have all been documented in the NARTH Bulletin in quite a lot of detail. All the struggles with gay movement within The American Psychoanalytic Association, the notable battle with the Gay Caucus in the American Psychiatric Association (1994), which had so willfully and dishonestly attempted to declare us unethical for treating homosexuals, have all but ended (it should be noted that a similar effort is being launched by activists within the American Psychological Association as we go to press). In large measure this was a victory for NARTH for it is our strong belief that our humanitarian treatment of homosexual patients who desire to be rid of the yoke of homosexuality should not only be allowed but applauded. It is, as well, against all humanistic concepts embodied in our profession, as well as against the first-amendment rights of any individual seeking help, and the first-amendment rights of any therapist to attempt to outlaw or discriminate against such treatment. Our position was strengthened by an earlier Resolution of the Social Issues Committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association (May 1993) to the effect that treatment must not be interfered with. The attempt to stop treatment for homosexuality in the American Psychiatric Association--a proposal by gay activists--was defeated at the May 1994 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. I trust you are all aware of these events and give much credit to our organization for its leadership in these matters.

In my 1994 report I noted that a revolutionary change in sexual mores and customs had been ushered in by that singular act of considerable consequence--the removal of homosexuality from the category of aberrancy by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. It was a fateful consequence of, and disregard of established psychoanalytic and psychological knowledge of human sexual behavior. At that time I presented an account of the social and political forces within and without the American Psychiatric Association responsible for this act, and critically examined the spurious and pseudoscientific reasons put forth for the removal of a diagnosis from the diagnostic and statistical manual. This removal amounted to a full approval of homosexuality and an encouragement to aberrancy by those who should have known better, both in a scientific sense, and in the sense of the social consequences of such removal. Those who wished to retain homosexuality as a valid diagnosis had been essentially silenced at meetings, lectures, and publications--a silencing that originates both from within our organizations and from other sources. Political parties and religious leaders have been utilized to reinforce this silence. The press was thoroughly influenced; the electronic media, television, and movies began to promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and censored all information that might show homosexuality as a disorder. Movies have been routinely censored by a gay Hollywood review board for the last 7 to 8 years; other films critical of homosexuality have been boycotted at the box-office; books which portray homosexuality in any unfavorable way have not been published, and many books have been removed from library shelves in universities and public libraries. Of over 500 titles found in a major bookstore in New York City, only 2 or 3 were found to be at all critical of homosexuality or the homosexual movement. Homosexual sex education entered our schools and colleges, and pro-gay activists--homosexual and otherwise--portrayed their way of life as normal and as "American as apple pie," intimidating others with different views. In essence, this movement has accomplished what every other society, with rare exceptions, would have trembled to tamper with: a revision of the basic code and concept of life that men and women normally mate with those of the opposite sex and not with each other.

This psychiatric nonsense and social recklessness has brought with it many individual tragedies which you've all heard in your consultation rooms. Men and women who no longer care for their appropriate gender roles have created confusion in the very young for generations to come. Homosexuals in therapy have tended to develop tremendous resistances. Medical specialists such as pediatricians are terribly confused. For example, one of our pediatric journals, influenced by gay activism, has recently announced (Spring 1995) that parents should not be encouraged to seek therapy for children with gender-defined self disorders, which are actually the nuclear problem in obligatory homosexuality! Thus the removal of homosexuality from the DSM--a political not a scientific decision--was simply the opening phase of a war with normality. It was part of a two-phase sexual radicalization, the second phase being the raising of homosexuality to the level of alternative lifestyle. This removal of a diagnosis was a Trojan Horse which, once admitted into the gates of the heterosexual world, has led to a sexual and social dementia.

Today I would like to address the question of how this has happened before the very eyes of psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers--and the public--most of whom, it would seem, have not apprehended the full meaning of what they have been subjected to. Surely it says much as to the status of objective clinical judgment when even experienced clinicians are not aware of what they have been exposed to.

While preparing for my talk I was asked by a learned colleague what the subject would be. I said that I was of two minds: to talk about clinical material representing advances in treatment, or to speak about how it all happened--the programming of America and the acceptance of the homosexual advocacy. What was her choice? She replied energetically, "Of course you must speak about what has happened to the nation because my kids go to Horace Mann High school in New York City and they're told now that they must come to Assembly for two days in a row to talk about how 'normal' homosexuality is, and how 'indecent,' and how 'undemocratic,' and 'homophobic' it is to have any negative views of such physiological and sexual functioning." She said, "I simply don't know what to do. I never raised my kids to be homosexual."

I shall therefore speak of how it has come about that we currently suffer, and how many stand mute, under the threat of being called "undemocratic" or "prejudiced" if we do not accept certain assumptions thrust upon us, as if deprived of all intellectual capacity to judge and reason.

Two further incidents are a spur to my resolve to comment, as time will permit, on some of the psychological mechanisms employed in the reprogramming of America. I propose to tell you how it is that a young woman returning from a college in Maine, influenced by the gay propaganda, college-funded gay groups, and those in her community--which was about to vote on pro-gay measures in support of the approval of the homosexual agenda--a nonhomosexual young woman with a background of culture and classical learning--makes the startling announcement during a discussion of the issue with her parents: "But Dad and Mom--We are on the high moral ground, and you are not!"

A third incident which epitomizes our situation is a story that ran in the New York Post a few days ago: "The Case of Rubin Diaz," which I feel illustrates homosexual totalitarianism in action. On Wednesday, July 19, 1995 New York was witness to an attack of "shaming" by gay activism in the city council of New York City. Reverend Rubin Diaz was not renewed in his role as panelist-member to the Civilian Complaint Review Board to the Police Department of New York City. Diaz had apparently infuriated gays by suggesting that the 1994 Gay Games here would spread AIDS, and for that was roundly abused by gay activists. His name was to have been submitted to council vote for re-appointment. Diaz, an outspoken critic of last summer's Gay Games 1994 in New York, saw his name suddenly withdrawn and laid over for consideration at a later date--a parliamentary maneuver that shielded the minister from a vote. It was said by one of his closest supporters that he didn't have enough votes for re-appointment.

This tactic will permit Diaz to continue on the board, but there is no escaping the terrible reality that if his name had been submitted (according to Ray Kerrison, a columnist for the New York Post) the council would have voted him out because he preached and upheld the biblical strictures against homosexuality. Diaz headed the Bronx Hispanic Clergy Organization and served thousands of poor, elderly, and ailing in the city of New York. He himself conceded that the pressure of this ordeal was just becoming too great: "People have been mean." he said, "They're lying about me, trying to ruin me; it never ends. No matter what I do or say, they will never be satisfied. That's why I would like it to be all over." So finally even Mr. Diaz is breaking down.

A reporter asked Diaz why he did not apologize for asserting that the Gay Games would spread AIDS in New York (which they would) and "teach young adults that homosexuality is okay." Here was his opportunity.

He said, "America was founded on biblical principles and I cannot deny them. Does that make me a racist, or a hate-monger, or homophobic? No, the bible teaches me to love everyone, to be fair and just. If I hated anyone, it would disqualify me from Heaven. If I hate gays, I'm spiritually dead."

Diaz believes homosexuality is morally wrong--a belief propounded in the Old and New Testaments and upheld by many of the population. For that, a council majority was ready to run him off the Complaint Review Board. The campaign against him has been orchestrated by Tom Duane, the openly gay democratic council member. Duane had part of the chamber stacked yesterday with a radical gay clique yelling, "Shame, shame, shame!"

Pointing to Duane's noisy crowd, another council member said, "They're nothing more than purveyors of self-righteousness. They go around desecrating the cathedral, reviling the host, and attacking the Cardinal, and claim that it is moral. But they cannot respect a difference of opinion from anybody else."

Diaz finally said, "If the council votes on my record, I'll be reappointed; if it votes on my religion, I will not be reappointed."

This is a "foul day's work" according to Ray Kerrison. But it is more than that, Mr. Kerrison; these gay activists are not voting against Mr. Diaz's religion; religion stands in the way--and in backing our position on this issue, religion becomes a stalwart friend of science, morality, and a healthy sexual life. But the main thrust is not against religion but against our scientific findings. His religious beliefs are used against Mr. Diaz in order to induce him to conform to the ideology of the homosexual movement. This is an example of the shaming and the thought reform which has swept the country. It is one of the techniques of thought reform that has been widely applied and tremendously successful. It's purpose is to coerce, intimidate, and promote pain and suffering in those who oppose the views of those who have assumed authority over the personal lives of our nation.

In reviewing these events, my wife, who has an unerring aptitude for getting to the heart of the matter, casually mentioned, "You know, it seems to me that what's happened to everybody is that they have been brainwashed." Now "brainwashing" is a common term that's been used and abused in many ways. It can mean anything from a secretary being "brainwashed" by a boss to work late hours without pay, to the influence exerted by a cult-leader, to the brainwashing of U.N. soldiers brought from South Korea to North Korea asprisoners in 1953-4. Is this too strong and dramatic a term to apply to the homosexual movement in America? It is not the physical torture of forced isolation or other physiological techniques, but if one looks carefully at what has happened to the nation, one comes up with the alarming conclusion that, indeed, a form of national "brainwashing" has been employed by the propagandists of the homosexual movement.

The original work on thought control was done by Robert J. Lifton, an intrepid American army psychiatrist in 1961, later on the faculty of Yale, who described the communist takeover of China, how it led to a dramatic change in the beliefs of a population, with severe mental and physical punishment meted out to anyone who held a different point of view. The techniques used to radically change the intellectual and emotional climate of the Chinese people bears, in my opinion, an amazing similarity to the "brainwashing" of a nation as regards homosexuality (see Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China by Robert J. Lifton, M.D., W.W. Norton and Company, 1961). The techniques of thought reform and persuasion described by him appear to have been successfully adapted in this country by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in a book entitled After the Ball: How America Will conquer its Fear and hatred of Gays in the 1990s (published by Plume Press, Penguin Group, 1989). Lifton's work itself, quite understandably, is not cited by the authors. The closest they came to such an acknowledgement is their comment: "...the principles are known, and the methods work." Marshall Kirk is a researcher in neuropsychiatry of enormous intelligence who works almost exclusively with aptitude tests for adults with IQs of over 200. Hunter Madsen received his doctorate in politics from Harvard, and is an expert in public persuasion tactics and social marketing. He designs commercial advertising for Madison Avenue and has served as consultant to gay media campaigns across the country. Together they became a formidable pair as advocates for "gay rights" and the upsetting the heterosexual applecart".

Beginning in 1989, After the Ball became the guiding manifesto for a new brand of pragmatic gay activism across the nation. According to its authors, who laid it all out, it outlined a bold plan for conquering what was termed "bigotry" by exploiting the mass media. At no loss for candor, Kirk and Madsen assert the issue would be "MONEY" for the dissemination of our propaganda. "Success depends as always our flooding the media." (p. 157) It laid the groundwork for the new gay revolution, and has been responsible for the reprogramming--the thought reform--of America itself on the issue of homosexuality. Kirk and Madsen insisted that earlier attempts to increase public acceptance of homosexuality had all but failed, and that they would continue to fail without the implementation of: (1) complete control of the media; (2) a "desensitization" of the public as regards homosexuality; and (3) a polarization of thought through the promotion of an emotional dissonance in every thinking individual. The basic features of thought reform and the psychological currents upon which it depends are as follows: (1) The control of all human communication on the subject; (2) An extensive personal manipulation of the public. (3) "Jamming" (a technique to promote emotional dissonance involving insertion into the heterosexual individual of a incompatible emotional response as regards homosexuality). To quote After the Ball:

Jamming (heterosexuals) is more active and aggressive than desensitization: by the same token it is also more enjoyable and heartening (to homosexuals). Jamming makes use of the rule of associative conditioning (according to the authors)--the psychological process whereby when two things are repeatedly juxtaposed--one's feelings about one are transferred to the other. An incompatible emotional response is directed to make people feel shame when they perceive that they are not feeling, thinking, or acting like one of the pack [the homosexual pack]. The trick is to get the average heterosexual into the position of feeling a twinge of shame so that, via repeated exposure to pictorial images or verbal statements, any thinking or expression as regards the abnormality of homosexuality--will come to be incompatible with his inner image as a well-liked person--one who fits in with the rest of the crowd. Thus propagandistic advertising can depict all opponents of the gay movement as homophobic bigots who are "not Christian" and the propaganda can further show them as being criticized, hated, and shunned (Kirk and Madsen, p. 150-153).

And further:

..."Our effect is achieved without reference to facts, logic, or proof...through repeated infralogical emotional conditioning, the person's beliefs can be altered whether he is conscious of the attack or not. Indeed, the more he is distracted by even specious, surface arguments, the less conscious he will be of the true nature of the process. In short, jamming succeeds insofar as it inserts even the slightest frisson of doubt and shame into the previously held unalloyed beliefs regarding heterosexuality and homosexuality" (Kirk and Madsen, p, 152-153).

It should be noted that an unplanned emotional dissonance was tragically introduced by the unfortunate and catastrophic reality of AIDS reaching epidemic proportions in the homosexual community. Throughout the nation, homosexuals were thus legitimately viewed as needy individuals to whom all of us are merciful and compassionate, while at the same time a disturbance was produced in the nation's psyche as regards to the disapproval of homosexuality itself.

(4) Conversion: By conversion is meant a planned psychological attack in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media, "making Americans hold us in warm regard, whether they like it or not." (Kirk and Madsen, p. 154).

In conversion the heterosexual is repeatedly exposed to literal pictures/labeled pairs of homosexual people who look like classic heterosexuals. The image must be that of an icon of normality. The ads will have their effect on them whether they believe them or not. The heterosexual will feel two incompatible emotions--a good response to the picture, and a bad response to the label (homosexual)...At worst the two will have canceled one another and we will have successfully jammed; at best associative conditioning will, to however small extent, transfer the positive emotion associated with the picture to the label. ...In conversion, the target is shown his own crowd associating with gays in good fellowship with total approval of their homosexuality (Kirk and Madsen p. 154-155).

Let us first address the "control of human communication" effected by the homosexual movement. For this purpose I shall borrow freely from Dr. Lifton's observations and point out what is strikingly similar in the propaganda of both movements: communistic totalism and homosexual totalism. The gay movement has established almost complete domain not only over the individual communication with the outside world--that is, all one sees and hears, reads and writes, experiences and expresses on the subject of homosexuality (a censorship of which you all are aware)--but it has also penetrated one's inner life, that is, one's communications with oneself. As Lifton suggested, such an atmosphere is uncomfortably reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984. This type of communication has the assumption of an air of omniscience, a conviction that reality is the exclusive possession of the gay movement, for these gay social planners consider it their duty to create an environment containing no more and no less than the "truth" as they see it. The average individual is thus deprived, as Lifton puts it, "of the combination of external information and inner reflection" which anyone requires to test the realities of the environment and to maintain a measure of identity separate from it. Look at the fact that the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations can be so blind to the facts of life, to the scientific evidence of over a hundred years supplied by psychoanalytic research, to the fact that children, boys and girls, differ anatomically and psychologically and are designed anatomically and psychologically for complementariness, and to the erosion of family structure, family cohesion so implicit in the total approval of homosexuality. In such an environment one undergoes a "personal closure" which frees one from the incessant struggle with the elusive subtleties of truth and, therefore, in a sense, one is programmed. No one dares speak out. If an individual's intellect and honesty make him resist, he feels estranged. Just look at Mr. Diaz; it took a lot to estrange him but he apparently is breaking down.

Another feature of thought control is "extensive personal manipulation. This psychological technique, according to Kirk and Madsen, seeks to provoke specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that they will appear to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment. This is what has happened gradually with the acceptance of homosexuality as normal by a large segment of the public. It seems spontaneous; it seems as if it's directly perceived as being some law of social development, or of being in the vanguard of a mission, a new way thinking and development. The average individual is made to feel: "Gayness is truth; gayness is the absence of prejudice; gayness is the absence of discrimination; gayness is the will of the people--because all people wish to be free--gay is free, gay is freedom.

Except that gayness, in my opinion and in yours, is a "freedom to far," (explored in my book, A Freedom Too Far, 1995, Adam Margrave Books, Phoenix, AZ) a fictive freedom, a freedom that does not really exist, for it is a freedom that flies in the face of the reality of the male/female design, in the face of evolution itself--it is a freedom that cannot be given. If one questions the correctness of the gay view, however, this questioning is considered to be stimulated by lower purposes--to be backward, selfish, and petty. The average individual feels unable to escape. And that's why important and ordinary people--everyone from the mayor of a large city to baseball players, priests, the average housewife, and so forth--can join the march on Gay Pride Day and chant the call of the homosexual agenda on television as representing democracy, nondiscrimination, and liberation. It is why the young woman returns from Maine and announces with absolute conviction: "But we are on the high moral ground." It explains how school-board members in Cloverdale, CA can vote with an easy conscience to include homosexual sex education in school curriculums on a par with that of heterosexuality with the rationalization that they are simply showing "compassion."

Another feature of thought reform is to divide us into the "pure" and the "impure'--into the absolutely good and the absolutely evil. The good and pure, of course, are those who swallow the homosexual ideology. Relegated to the "bad and impure" are the protestations of "dissident' heterosexuals. The institution of heterosexuality is to be made impure, and this existing state of impurity is to be dramatized by public displays of outrage, designed by homosexual activists, against public figures, speakers, writers, or psychiatric clinicians with opposing views. Mr. Diaz is made "impure" and "bad" when he has to endure indictment, conviction, and is attacked with epithets of "Shame, shame, shame!" when he dares to say, "I do not believe that homosexual behavior is normal, and I believe in the fact that introducing thousands of gay athletes into the city of New York will increase the number of AIDS cases"--which it would. Such a turning about--a turning of the world upside-down--is what is happening.

When an individual fails to meet the prevailing standards of casting out these "impurities within himself," he is expected to feel humiliation and ostracism, and ultimately he may recant in order to regain his "lost pride." This is undoubtedly what has happened to large segments of the nation as a whole who have been taken in by this psychological totalism of the gay agenda, and who have lost the capacity for discernment, objectivity, and truth.

I have explained to you at least some of the intricate techniques of psychological mindbending, as first reported by Robert J. Lifton, in order to inform and protect individuals and nations from the insidious and terrifying effect of thought-reform. I furthermore believe that such techniques were effectively and convincingly utilized by the gay movement in order to convert legislators, behavioral scientists, religious leaders, and the public at large to the belief that homosexuality should not only be tolerated but encouraged, thereby, raising it to the level of a normal psychosexual institution to be wholeheartedly embraced in the name of nondiscrimination.

After the Ball is chilling indeed: chilling in its diabolism, chilling in its hatred of straight America, chilling in its advocacy of lack of conscience, chilling in its brutal and naked lust not for sex but for power.

There are notable politicians as well as private individuals--leading democrats and republicans alike--who would accommodate the gay movement for the 1996 presidential election, thinking that a line need not be drawn, failing to perceive that this is a war for the minds, hearts, and souls of our youth. When we appease the homosexual agenda we appease not them but ourselves. Those high-ranking politicians who travel in the same circles as high-ranking homosexuals consider it declasse to take a moral stand. They will not speak out on this issue, nor will they take to task those who refuse to publish or review books that dare to question the gay mythology. "Why would they not speak out?", we ask. Because the techniques of communication control, desensitization, jamming, shaming, and coercion have worked on both republican and democratic leadership alike, as they have on the public at large. This is dangerous for Nature will not tolerate a vacuum. But as leaders they have a responsibility to us all. These so-called "leaders" seek to survive in an empty territory between tolerance of homosexuality--which we totally endorse--and promotion and celebration of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. But this is a no-man's land, for he or she who will not publicly resist the promotion of homosexuality as normal has, in fact, endorsed it.

There is no in-between ground here, for, like it or not, this is a battle, and one is on one side of the line or one is on the other--there is no such thing as being neutral on this issue. Unpleasant as it is--we must face this reality. There is too much at stake. And so the purpose of NARTH is augmented to remind us all that we are American, that our nation's legacy is that we are a people who have always been able to think for ourselves. That this current battle is not being fought on the fields of Normandy or in the Persian Gulf, but that it is a battle for our minds--and that our minds must be strong--strong enough and aware enough to resist being taken over by the minds of others who would then destroy our hearts and tear apart our souls.

Gay friends of heterosexuals will not long remain friends should that heterosexual say to them "I love you, you have always been my friend. I would defend to the death your right to be gay and that you be free of persecution by anyone, but I also defend my right to say that I don't believe that homosexuality is normal and I don't want that falsehood taught to my child in school." All human discourse between friends would thereafter cease when addressing a gay activist. This is a case of loyalties, and the heterosexual would from that moment on be called "bigot," "unintelligent," "opinionated," or "homophobic."

There is no in-between ground. This is ultimately about the protection of America's youth from such groups as NAMBLA and militant homosexuals who seek to lower the age of consensual sexual intercourse between homosexual men and young boys to the age of fourteen (as in Hawaii, 1993) or sixteen (as in England, 1994). They have told us, "We're here. We're Queer. And we are coming after your children." How much more do we need to know?

Finally, I wish to end on a positive note. This has been a critical time and we have fought well in several battles. Lying corruption, misinformation, and thought control, in my opinion, will have their day and will pass on. History tells us that you cannot control the minds of people for too long for, in time, they will rise up and cast off itotalistic indoctrination. By 1996 there may be a major change. We must spend every effort increase our membership, to publish books and papers, and to resist being silenced. We must cling to our friends and advance our scientific ideas freely, and thus, I believe, through truth, sincerity, and perseverance, we will be victorious in protecting family life and furthering the mental health of the nation.

Charles W. Socarides, M.D. is a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

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