10-21-2007, 01:27 PM
From ExGayWatch (http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/10/ny-premiere-for-abomination-documentary/):
A documentary short in which a psychiatrist lays out the case against ex-gay therapy will have its New York premiere next week. Montel Williams Show regular Dr Alicia Salzer produced the film, which according to the latest press release has already “struck a nerve” with critics at festivals across the US and Canada.The New York premiere will be at 6pm on Wednesday, October 24th (http://www.newfilmmakers.com/calendar/071024.htm), in the Courthouse at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave at 4th St. Tickets are $5.
Other screenings are:
Friday, October 26th, 7.30pm (Reception 6.30pm, Salzer Q&A after screening, $10)
LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th St, New York
Saturday, October 27th, 9.45am
National Organization of Women - New York State, Inc. Convention
Holiday Inn, 3845 Veterans Memorial Highway, Ronkonkoma, Long Island, NY
Q&A with film’s director/producer, Dr. Alicia Salzer, and and Anthony M. Brown, Esq., Non-Traditional Family and Estates Attorney and Executive Director of The Wedding Party after the screening. $45 for NOW members (does not include lunch), $65 for non-members (does not include lunch), $30 for students (includes lunch). See www.nownys.org (http://www.nownys.org/).
Actually it seems like it's only about a half an hour long,
Presented by: The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)
26min 46 sec version also available
but I thought I'd mention it. She seems to pack a punch.
Also from the press kit (http://www.aglp.org/images/AbominationPressKit.pdf):
Despite having come out myself, I did not comprehend, until I made this film, the hurdles faced by conservative Christians. They are not simply forced to change by their community, they are encourged to hate themselves and to believe that God hates them. They are bombarded with false statistics and propaganda, sheltered from mainstream and scientific thought, and then they are asked to undertake bizarre and unethical “treatments” that rarely works.
From another thread:
But it's not just "an example of the effectiveness of pointedness," it's the essence of it drawn out.
She's easy to watch, and interesting to listen to. She gracefully yet intensely conveys every aspect of the ex-gay politico-sphere without exuding any sense of "selling" it.
It's the quintessentially perfect link/hyperlink to convey the truth of the Entire ex-gay political message in a nutshell, yet without being at all aggressive about it.
Dr. Alicia Salzer, Psychiatrist and Director, [of the movie] 'Abomination.'
The Hour: Ex Gay
11-01-2007, 10:35 AM
[video clip] FROM THE JOURNAL OF JEFF FORD: I went through forty or more sessions, twice a week. The psychologist strapped electrodes to my arms, and hooked me up to a penile plethysmograph. I can still remember the horror I felt as I sat in that chair. The psychologist would give me an electric shock that would catapult my arm several inches in the air. When leaving his office I always felt embarrassed, and I tried to hide the burn marks the electrodes left on my arm. [end clip]
HOST: GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS: The film is called Abomination, and the person who made that film, right there. Dr. Alicia Salzer joins us. Nice to see ya.
So, this film is, I mean the way this film sort of came to be, in that the association of gay and lesbian psychiatrists made this film?
DR. ALICIA SALZER: You got it–bunch a shrinks, ‘ched into their pockets, and said we’ve got to do something to counter all this media that’s going on about this ex-gay movement, that makes it seem like it’s going to be easy and makes it seem like it’s likely to work.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: So, it’s a propaganda film to counteract propaganda essentially?...Is that what it is?
SALZER: I guess you could say that but you know I don’t feel that it’s propaganda because, ya know, as a physician, I try really hard to have integrity about this. I could have smeared mud, I could have really scandalized, and I really reeled myself in. Because I wanted to include factual data, I wanted to not throw around junk science. I wanted this to be a film that the mother of that evangelical kid who was struggling could watch, and maybe be swayed by.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Well this is–it’s such an interesting story when–I was watching the documentary–these organizations you talk about, the ex-gay movement, and you’re right, they, they get almost equal media coverage, when it is a small group of them, but tell me about–these organizations.
SALZER: Well you know, you just have to Google homosexuality and cure and you’re going to get tons of them. People keep saying this doesn’t happen in Canada, and it does.
You know, we just showed our film at the Inside Out Festival here in Toronto, and so many people came up to me afterwards and they said, I was that guy with the shock therapy, I went through this. So, it really happens, and in America you know, you’re just seeing billboards, you’re seeing commercials on tv, and it’s a real presence, and if you’re a kid who’s questioning and you grow up in a religious community, you’re going to find your way into one of these treatments.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And these centers–who runs these organizations? Is it–like you get the impression, and you hear the word help, you hear the word caring and all that, but then you kind of get the sense that, it’s slightly more political and religious than that.
SALZER: Well you know I think that most of the people who are doing it, are quite religious. I think that some of the organizations that may be funding it may be more political, but my big concern with them honestly is that, as a physician–there’s this do no harm thing, and I believe in informed consent. So, for example, if you want to take–if you want to do some kind of “treatment,” you want to come and get total body liposuction, I have to tell you, look, I’ll take your thirty thousand bucks, but you might die, and all the fat might reaccumulate, no one’s telling these guys this. And the research that we were aware of showed that like 4% of people are able to make a lasting change, in the sense that, now they’re functioning as heterosexuals, it’s just not something that people tell you. And they also don’t tell you about the depression, the suicides, the self loathing, the shaming that goes on, and how messed up you can really be by being indoctrinated in this kind of program that teaches you to hate yourself.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yeah well tell me about the people who go in. Like the kinds of people–because there’s a large gay and lesbian community, and they don’t all choose this. But there’s a certain type of person, or–is there a certain type of person who goes in?
SALZER: I think that if you come from a really religious background and you’ve been told your whole life,–you can’t be–God can’t love you and you can’t be gay, you really have to choose. You’re indoctrinated in this belief that to be gay means a life of no relationships, no kids, no family, no long term relationship, you’re going to burn in hell, you’re going to become a drug addict, you’re going to be promiscuous, and that’s just your fate, is that you’re ultimately die of this disease. That’s what they’re told. So, growing up in that kind of environment, being told you’re an abomination from birth, you–chances are you’re going to want to try and change. And you’re going to seek out one of these groups.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: And they’re adults right, who go into these things?
SALZER: Sometimes, and sometimes they’re not. And in fact we’ve um, talked to a few people. One person I did an American TV show with, he was a kid, he was 16, he was basically forced by his family to go, and don’t really have a choice, and when he came out and was like, ha ha– it didn’t work–wasted your ten thousand bucks, his mom said, no, I didn’t waste my ten thousand bucks, because I learned what the program has taught me, which is that I’m going to continue to perpetuate these lessons. And ultimately he had to leave home. It was just–it became violent and intolerable.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: In this movie–there’s a really–one of the really sad stories is a woman who rejected her lesbian daughter, to the point where her lesbian daughter killed herself. And then this woman–it forced her to change her own view of it.
SALZER: Yeah, you know I–one of the things that she says I think is really remarkable--is she says, in retrospect, that Jesus Christ himself wouldn’t have treated her the way that I did. Like we’re all taught that God’s love is unconditional, but I judged her. I really did judge her, and they say, don’t judge lest you be judged. And look at what I did in the name of thinking that I was going to help.
And this is also a point that I want to make, is that, as I’ve met these people, um, it’d be easy to say that–to be cynical–it’s a big money making industry. A lot of these folks feel like they really are trying to help. And I think that they’re misguided. Because they don’t see the damage that’s done. Because, this is um, this period where people undergo ex-gay therapy / reparative therapy, and then fail, and then go on to, a gay life. It becomes such a shameful dirty secret that they don’t talk about it. It’s like in medical school they teach us, you know no one’s going to tell you they were raped, or they’re an incest survivor, or there’s domestic violence, you’ve got to ask. But if you start asking, you find so many people who’ve been through this. And they’ve just buried–it’s just a painful, sad, dark, period of their history, that they’ve buried it away. So, it’s rare that you find a survivor of ex-gay therapy who’s ready to go out there and be an activist and talk about why it was bad.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Tell me what they do. Like tell us what–‘cause the idea is, we’re going to cure you. How do you do that–like what’s the process?
SALZER: Well part of the theory of how some of these groups work, is that the reason you’re gay is that you had a fractured same sex relationship with your same sex parent, and you longed–for example, your dad’s love, and you never got it. So now you’re looking for it in other men, and you’re misguided because the line get’s crossed and it becomes erotic. But what you really want is intimacy with men. So they try to teach you how to connect with other men. And they do this by hugging, and embracing, and there’s a lot of touching that goes on, which of course is erotic for these guys.
And another approach that they take is, you know maybe you didn’t feel like you fit in as a guy, ‘cause you know, you weren’t like sporty. So they teach you to be more of a guy, and they teach you how to sit, and they teach you how to talk–call each other dude, and they take away your Calvin’s and your Abercrombie–‘cause that’s–worshiping false idols, and um..
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: [rhetorically]-Those ads are pretty gay though aren’t they?
SALZER: I just think it’s amazing that they’re really going to help change your sexual orientation by changing the underwear that you’re wearing.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It’s interesting you talk about the fractured families and all those things. I’m that’s kind of like..
SALZER: It’s family values stuff..
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yeah, well, it’s more and more people are going through that. I mean, that used to be the reason, why, you know–you’re commitaphobic, ‘cause you’ve never seen a healthy relationship. It’s like it’s–obviously your childhood is going to have that kind of impact on you, but when a kid goes through this, at a certain point, can the message reach them, can it be effective?
SALZER: This type of therapy?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Yeah, I mean, there’s no one hundred percent’s at anything, right?
SALZER: Well, but you know there’s been some research, and rather than spew opinion I’d like to actually like to refer to some fact.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: I would prefer that, that would be nice
SALZER: ‘Cause I can get pretty hot tempered about it. But you know I really–I feel like we really need some real information on this. And what a–one study that I really respect shows, is that 13% of people say that they’ve changed. But a third of those are celibate, so they’re not really in any kind of relationship. A third of those might be like the guy that I know, that I worked with through the film, who says well, I was able to marry and be with a woman but I was thinking about a man. I don’t really consider that a cure. Another third of that 13%, we’re talking about 4%, actually says, now I’m straight.
Now interestingly, almost all 4% of that group, they’re now working in the ex-gay ministries. So you know, they don’t tell you, if you want to get straight, you pretty much got to quit your day job, join the ex ministries and make a lifestyle out of it — plus, if you follow the people who wok in the ex-gay ministries long term–if you ask, where’s the person that was there before you, they scandalize themselves again and again by “relapsing.” They turn up in men’s bars, they are found in a gay bar with an escort, or..
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Or Pastor Ted Haggard..
SALZER: Who I feel badly for. I mean look at all he had at stake. And if he couldn’t follow the teachings of these ex-gay ministries, then how’s the little guy supposed to do it?
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: It’s such an interesting thing because you talk of–you know, as we go more and more on this show and in life, that people’s relationship with their own spirituality, and the sacrifices they feel they need to make, and I wondered if this is just a group of people who–you know there’s lot’s of people who just want to have sex with lots of people in their life, but their religion–their choice of faith says, don’t do it–you know, you want to sleep with lots of women, don’t do that–and I wonder if this is just part of that, and I don’t know. I don’t know if this–if they’re happier this way, are they–can they be happier this way, even if they’re still thinking of men and they’re just very...this is just they’re way of living their life where they’ll feel better about it in their community.
SALZER: Well I think that as long as you subscribe to a belief system, and you really own that and you believe in and love, and want to respect a God who tells you, you can have those thoughts, but you can’t act on them or you will burn in hell. As long as you subscribe to that belief system then you will want to change. But, a lot of the people in the film really had to renegotiate their relationship with God. They had to look closely at the word of the Bible, and renegotiate what the Bible says they can and can’t be. And like one guy in the film who’s in his thirties, he says, you know, I’m just, I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I’m good, and I can contribute to the world, and I can love God, and that’s heartbreaking.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Well there’s a lot of sex in Christian religion, where you can be gay. And you can attend these churches. And I wondered why they wouldn’t choose that.
SALZER: I think because they’re raised, fundamentalist, conservative Christian, evangelical, and when you are raised that way, you don’t really have access to those communities. You’re not watching TV, and you’re not listening to radio. You aren’t necessarily on the internet finding them, but also because you have been raised–that anything that questions the Bible that you’ve been taught, is the voice of Satan. I mean I’ve said to the people in the film, had a psychiatrist who was gay affirming–come across in your life, and tried to offer a different opinion, what would you have thought? And they say, I would have thought it was Satan. They would have ignored you.
I think it’s a process of growth, with your religion, with yourself and with your God, that you have to come to on your own.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: Interesting. Nice to see you, thanks for coming on the program.
SALZER: So great to talk about it, thank you so much.
STROUMBOULOPOULOS: [to audience] Alicia Salzer..
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