Monday, June 16, 2008


UPDATE 6/16 9:10 AM: I just received materials in reference to this blog post from Dr. Jack Drescher with whose excellent reputation I am familiar, and in all fairness I want to post two excerpts from the attachments he sent me, plus a video of him (that he did not send to me) that will somewhat familiarize you with him and his views about "Reparative Therapy." I am not sufficiently familiar with Dr. Zucker's recent work or current ideology that informs that work to intelligently comment on it, so I'm going to merely present this excerpted updated information.

"The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual) in 1973, and the Association has taken strong positions at every opportunity against discrimination and stigmas related to homosexuality. There is no action within the APA to reclassify homosexuality or to change these positions."

"The philosophy of Dr. Zucker’s team is to provide client-centered care that maximizes benefit and minimizes harm to each child or youth. The goal of treatment is a well-adjusted youth, regardless of ultimate gender identity or sexual orientation, who feels she or he has been genuinely helped by her or his healthcare providers. Dr. Zucker has offered a variety of treatment options, understanding that options may vary greatly with the age of the client. For younger clients, therapy options include helping the child to overcome discomfort with his or her body, i.e., helping clients learn to live comfortably in their natal sex. Diagnosis and treatment of other problems that may be present, such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse are also available, as are services for family members.

"For adolescent patients (including those who first came to the clinic as young children), Dr. Zucker follows the Standards of Care Guidelines of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. The treatment options include helping patients make a satisfactory transition to the opposite sex, including the institution of hormonal treatment to facilitate transition. In some cases, treatment may include helping an interested adolescent obtain sex-reassignment surgery.

"For all patients, regardless of age, the focus of therapy is the patient’s gender identity, not the patient’s sexual orientation. Dr. Zucker’s therapeutic approach has no relationship to so-called reparative or sexual conversion therapies that attempt to change homosexual orientations to heterosexual ones. The goal of his therapy is the opposite of conversion therapy in that he considers well-adjusted transsexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual youth to be therapy successes, not failures."

I just received the following email from and ask that you please write an email and/or phone the American Psychiatric Association to help prevent what might well be a disaster for LGBT people. ( It is unfortunate that this urgency is also not directed to the very existence of the diagnostic category of the DSM called, "Gender Identity Disorder," as I feel that being transgender is in no way a "disorder." (But that is an issue to be addressed at another time.)

A few days ago the American Psychiatric Association announced who would write the new revision of the DSM-V, the manual of mental disorders that controls the diagnosis and treatment of gender and sexual difference. The "expert" just named to chair the revisions on sexuality and gender is Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is the major remaining proponent of "reparative therapy" to "cure" kids they think are LGBT.

If the APA doesn't change the committee, the next edition of the DSMV will probably prescribe reparative therapies as recommended "treatment" for LGBT people.

Zucker's named Ray Blanchard to the work group that will rewrite Gender Identity Disorder. Blanchard is connected with ex-gay organizations; his core theory is that transpeople are "really" sex offenders or homosexuals, and homosexuals are mentally ill.

Zucker's stated purpose for reparative therapy is that, without it, gay kids will grow up into transsexuals. So any version of Gender Identity Disorder the two of them write will not only put transpeople out of medical help and into conversion therapy, but also redefine GID from an independent diagnosis to a kind of homosexuality.

In other words, their goal is to put homosexuality back in the DSMV as a mental illness. We'd be back where we were before 1973. We have to get the word out.

If the community protests loudly and fast, the APA will probably have to remove Zucker and Blanchard. Please help. Spread the word to everyone you know.

Any contacts you have with LGBT political advocacy and media organizations, please light a fire with them to pressure the APA to remove Zucker and Blanchard from the DSM-V committee. It matters for all of us.

Contact the:

American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209

Contact APA Answer Center Call Toll-Free: 1-888-35-PSYCH

From outside the U.S. and Canada call: 1-703-907-7300

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Anthony Venn-Brown said...

HI Jerry.....I wonder if you are aware of the work i'm doing 'down under' and my autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning: A Journey to Find the Truth'

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Anthony: No, I didn't hear about your book, and I'm delighted you told me and the readers about it. It got excellent reviews, and from what I read I urge people to buy it and learn about your journey toward authenticity amidst dogmatic religious forces that would break, and have broken, so many people.

I want to quote a review by R. Patrick of your book that I got from the Amazon website where your book is sold, to give the readers a sense of what your very well received book is about:

"This is an extremely moving account of an ex-minister's journey to find his total purpose in life during the midst of a high profile ministry and at the expense of losing everything he had. But arising from the ashes of despair, he awakens to a new self-discovery of who he really is and has a new sense of self worth and importance.

"Mr. Venn-Brown speaks from the heart of his painful journey of battling and coming to terms with his same-sex orientation while becoming one of Australia's leading pastor/evangelists within the Assemblies of God. His journey is identified by many who have been isolated/rejected by the conservative mainstream church because they were gay.

"Mr. Venn-Brown's story has made it to the United States and other countries. It is a must read for anyone who needs to discover and be reacquainted with who they are within themselves. I am truly blessed and honored to have read his story."

Thanks for writing me about your book, and I hope that many people buy and read it, as it shows how the power of God can deliver all of us from the clutches of dogmatic and abusive religion to living truly authentic lives for Christ, of which you are a remarkable example.

God bless you. My very best wishes, Jerry.

Anthony Venn-Brown said...

thanks Jerry. I feel quite humbled that my story has had such a profound impact on so many people......but as so many emails from readers say....."your story is my story"

This review here might also be helpful for people considering if my autobiography will be relevant.

"In ‘A Life of Unlearning’ Anthony shares his life with us with all the colour that a story-telling evangelist can capture. The honesty of his story is compelling. Many Christians love to argue, gaining a sense of safety out of “being right”. Anthony doesn’t do that, he simply tells his story. You can’t argue with it. It is neither right nor wrong, it simply is.

You can feel the genuineness in trying to build a relationship with God and the internal tensions of sexual guilt and self-rejection. The tension between his truth and his sense of value and worth is the key battle. We see Anthony rising to success as a popular preacher only to fall with scandal when his truth comes out. His pain deepened as others got hurt, including his wife and daughters.

Even as he left the “safety” of religion and ventured into the homosexual world, he learned the spirituality of honesty and the caring of each other beyond what he had experienced in his denomination. Anthony deals with Fundamentalism by reverting to the fundamental of LOVE. His story faces the hard issues, HIV/AIDS, Suicide, Sexual Assault, Relationships, Marriage, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Loneliness, Guilt, Shame, Rejection, Love and Sex. He has nothing to hide and it is refreshing.

I recommend this book as a non-threatening way to understand and process the issues of sexuality and spirituality; however, I can’t say you may not experience discomfort as the honesty in these pages invites you to be honest in your own life. Read it if you dare."

Dr Wendell Rosevear - Psychologist O.A.M., M.B.,B.S., Dip. RACOG., FRACGP.,
1998 Order of Australia Medal
1996 Brisbane Citizen of the Year
1996 A.M.A. National Award for "Best Individual Contribution to Health Care in Australia"

Jerry Maneker said...

Thank you so much Anthony. From what I've read in the reviews of your book, your story will impact and empower many people, and be of great therapeutic value to those who are struggling in the way you experienced, and they can and will learn many valuable lessons as they navigate their way through their struggles in reconciling their Christianity with their sexuality. I like what Rev. Troy Perry once said: "Jesus came to take away our sins, not our sexuality!" Amen! My very best wishes, Jerry.

Anthony Venn-Brown said...

I like that quote of Troys.

Here is one I'm well known for.

"My morality is a choice. My sexual orientation however isn't."

thanks for your help in getting the word out there.

Jerry Maneker said...

It's my pleasure!