Thursday, December 13, 2007

REPORT FROM THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PSYCHIATRISTS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

My friend, Bishop Leland Somers just sent out this email containing a report that deserves to be read by every thinking person, by every Gay person, and by everyone who claims to be a Christian.
December 12, 2007

Dear Friends,

From time to time a report comes across my desk that is so important
that I want to share it with my readers. That is the case with this
report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom.
It is not that their thought is new, it is that they have undertaken
to report it systematically and with the full scholarship and
authority of their offices. They have also included a bibliography,
which is attached.

When a prejudice is being debated there is a necessity for both sides
of the debate to possess facts not just opinions. That is what is so
often missing when religious people debate homosexuality. This report
was issued because of the raging argument and dislocation going on in
my church and in many others about homosexuality. The time has come
for people to realize that pious homophobia is not a substitute for
truth. The time has also come for Church leaders at every level to be
confronted by competent scholarship, and for weak and fearful
bishops, who believe that unity in ignorance is a legitimate goal for
the Christian Church, to be told that it is not.

I commend this report to your study and hope that you will help to
distribute it widely. For any part of the Christian Church to break
apart over the use of outdated and thoroughly discredited ideas about
homosexuality is a tragedy. For any part of the Christian Church to
be as woefully uninformed on this subject as so many ecclesiastical
leaders seem to be is a sign of incompetent leadership.

John Shelby Spong


Royal College of Psychiatrists
Submission to the Church of England's Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality

This report is prepared by a Special Interest Group in the Royal
College of Psychiatrists. We have limited our comments to areas that
pertain to the origins of sexuality and the psychological and social
well being of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGB), which we
believe will inform the Church of England's listening exercise.

Introduction

The Royal College of Psychiatrists holds the view that LGB people
should be regarded as valued members of society who have exactly
similar rights and responsibilities as all other citizens. This
includes equal access to health care, the rights and responsibilities
involved in a civil partnership, the rights and responsibilities
involved in procreating and bringing up children, freedom to practice
a religion as a lay person or religious leader, freedom from
harassment or discrimination in any sphere and a right to protection
from therapies that are potentially damaging, particularly those that
purport to change sexual orientation.

We shall address a number of issues that arise from our expertise in
this area with the aim of informing the debate within the Church of
England about homosexual people. These concern the history of the
relationship between psychiatry and LGB people, determinants of
sexual orientation, the mental health and well being of LGB people,
their access to psychotherapy and the kinds of psychotherapy that can
be harmful.

"This report is prepared by a Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychiatrists. We have limited our comments to areas that pertain to the origins of sexuality and the psychological and social well being of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGB), which we believe will inform the Church of England's listening exercise.

Introduction

"The Royal College of Psychiatrists holds the view that LGB people should be regarded as valued members of society who have exactly similar rights and responsibilities as all other citizens. This includes equal access to health care, the rights and responsibilities involved in a civil partnership, the rights and responsibilities involved in procreating and bringing up children, freedom to practice a religion as a lay person or religious leader, freedom from harassment or discrimination in any sphere and a right to protection from therapies that are potentially damaging, particularly those that purport to change sexual orientation.

"We shall address a number of issues that arise from our expertise in this area with the aim of informing the debate within the Church of England about homosexual people. These concern the history of the relationship between psychiatry and LGB people, determinants of sexual orientation, the mental health and well being of LGB people, their access to psychotherapy and the kinds of psychotherapy that can be harmful."

[Submission to the Church of England's Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality. For the full report, see here.]

[After reading the above email and report, please read this interview regarding the destructiveness of the "ex-gay" industry."]
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2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

For many years, the British and other Western Europeans have had their heads on straight regarding the issue of Gay identity. Unlike what happens here in the USA, they do not allow organized religion to terrorize LGBT citizens and influence laws that impact on their lives. It certainly makes one consider packing up and moving across the pond, but we mustn't do that . . . this is the best country in the world to live in, and we must do all we can to make it live up to its constitutional principles. Besides that, many LGBT people (including myself) would never, ever consider severing their deep American roots. We'd rather fight than switch! But we'd better learn how to fight effectively.

Jerry Maneker said...

I agree, Don Charles, but I don't see much desire to "fight" at all, let alone to "fight effectively." There is far too much desire for "otherness" and apolitical stances on the part of many LGBT people; an antipathy to coordinated grassroots and organizational activism, so that there is little or no incentive for politicians and clergy to assert full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people, as it's perceived that LGBT people aren't particularly interested in having those full and equal rights themselves.

Added to that is the Puritan ethic that has taken root in this country, along with Social Darwinism that extols "the survival of the fittest," so that LGBT people are not considered "fit" enough for those rights, given their lack of aggressively and continuously demanding being treated with dignity and respect, and not settling for incrementalism, as seen in DP's and Civil Unions, when it comes to basic rights that are to be accorded to all citizens of the U.S. The most recent examples are the lack of outrage when Transgender people were summarily removed from ENDA, and the lack of expressed outrage and revulsion when the Ryan White Act was removed from the bill for funding the war in Iraq.

Beyond a few items on the internet, I don't see a groundswell of anger and the planning of tactics and strategies to acquire full and equal rights and, absent such planning and its expression, LGBT people will continue to be treated as political footballs, and as fodder for the acquisition of votes, as well as targets of further persecution, as no one gives civil rights to another without "that other" fighting for those rights, and right now there doesn't seem to be much, if any, fire in the belly to acquire those full and equal civil and sacramental rights.