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Leader of ‘ex-gay’ group resigns
Joseph Nicolosi steps down after racist ideology discovered on net

by Mark Smith

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has resigned from NARTH amid racist allegations.
ENCINO, Calif. — Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), has stepped down amid a cloud of controversy stemming from a polemic justifying slavery found on the group’s website. NARTH had also taken heat in recent months for advocating child abuse against gender variant children.

“NARTH was a sinking ship and they had no choice but to throw their captain overboard,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out (TWO), a non-profit think tank and educational organization that counters right-wing disinformation campaigns.

Trouble began mounting for Nicolosi after Canadian doctor Joseph Berger, who serves on NARTH’s Scientific Advisory Board, wrote on the organization’s website that gender variant children should be sent to school in opposite-sex clothing so they can be “ridiculed” into conforming. 

But criticism of NARTH reached a crescendo after Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Gerald Schoenewolf posted writings on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery and said that African-Americans taken away in chains on slave ships “were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa.”

The National Black Justice Coalition quickly called on NARTH to apologize and The Southern Poverty Law Center also turned up the heat by writing an illuminating article on the brouhaha. As a result, some NARTH members and supporters defected to protect their professional reputations. Dr. Warren Throckmorton canceled his appearance at NARTH’s annual conference in November and former committee member David Blakeslee resigned.

Meanwhile, NARTH tried to dodge the controversy by remaining silent. When the organization finally addressed the situation, it blamed gay activists by calling the self-inflicted mess “political correctness gone amok.”

When this strategy didn’t fly, NARTH attempted a strained apology that only made matters worse as they seemed to shift the blame for the incident to readers by saying, the comments made by Dr. Gerald Schoenewolf about slavery “have been misconstrued by some of our readers.”

“Nicolosi showed a stunning incompetence in the realm of public relations and for this he paid dearly,” said Besen. “He kept digging a hole and failed to see that this mushrooming catastrophe would soon reach the national stage.”

The crisis for NARTH continued to advance after the Los Angeles Times published an article under the headline: “Ex-Gay Group Draws Fire From Allies.” The sub headline screamed: “Backers raise concerns about online postings. One advocated ridicule of nonconforming children; the other seemed to justify slavery.”

“NARTH had always operated on the fringes of the mental health community,” Besen continued. “But now the facade of respectability had completely crumbled and the entire nation saw NARTH as a radical group with peculiar theories on race and homosexuality.” 

Following Nicolosi’s departure, Dr. A. Dean Byrd, who is affiliated with the Mormon LDS church and the Thrasher Research Fund, will take on the role of president. Reportedly David Pruden, executive director of Evergreen International, an ex-gay program for Mormans, was appointed to take over as executive director of NARTH.

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