In defense of peudoscience.

Peter LaBarbera is simply outraged over the Netflix documentary "Pray Away."

I'll get back to Porno Pete in a moment but since I first wrote about this film I have watched it twice.

The documentary's participants are all former leaders of the ex-gay movement. What I find most impressive is how honest and contrite they all are. They take full responsibility for the harm they have done. The clips of their ex-gay performances must have been excruciating for them to watch. Incidentally, they admit that they lied.

Returning to Pete and his loathing of LGBTQ people. LaBarbera has authored: Netflix documentary ‘Pray Away’ selectively edits to demonize ex-gay change .

That begs the question: How the hell does LaBarbera know where content was edited and what, presumably, was edited out? He cannot possibly answer that question without first viewing the raw footage.

It's not so much that LaBarbera is dishonest. He is simply as stupid as a tricycle with added training wheels. But let's get to the kvetch:

LGBT documentary uses editing tricks, bias, and one-sided interviews to preserve the Sexual Left's narrative that so-called 'conversion therapy' is cruel, dangerous, and deserves to be banned.

That is dishonest in many ways. The American Psychological Association studied conversion thoroughly more than a decade ago. It concluded that the best outcome was people who were trained how to pretend that they are straight.

Since then, every professional medical and counseling organization has determined that conversion therapy is futile and harmful. The AMA is probably mostly comprised of Republicans (most doctors are, I think) and about 95% of the membership is cisgender and heterosexual. Who, exactly, comprises the "Sexual Left?"

"There is no evidence to support the pseudoscience. It serves as a pretext for prejudice and discrimination."

In the complete absence of peer-reviewed research in favor of conversion therapy, LaBarbera requires a conspiracy. The standard conservative Christian meme is that dissenters don't exist because they are silenced. There is no evidence of that either.

God has ordained that there must be a Christian victim in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric:

A new Netflix documentary, Pray Away, is Hollywood’s and the LGBTQ lobby’s latest manipulative assault on the most politically incorrect group on the planet: men and women who have left active homosexuality or transgenderism behind to live lives consistent with their Christian faith.

The film is certainly not manipulative. Anne Paulk declined an offer to be interviewed. Her ex-husband, John Paulk, is one of those ex-ex-gay leaders who offer their perspective in the film. Moreover, ex-whatever Jeffrey McCall gets more on-screen time than the dipshit deserves.

McCall has his say several times without direct counterpoint. The documentary does not make McCall look stupid. Jeffrey McCall makes himself look stupid.

Furthermore, the LGBTQ community couldn't care less about people who supposedly convert their sexuality. What gets our concern are ex-gay advocates who essentially say (quite noisily) that being gay or transgender is a choice; a choice that can be reversed. There is no evidence to support the pseudoscience. It serves as a pretext for prejudice and discrimination.

One of the most important aspects of the documentary is the explanation that praying away the gay is predicated on manufacturing an underlying reason why someone is gay or transgender. I cannot seem to find peer-reviewed research to substantiate that theory.

"'Culture warrior' is an attempt to lend some credibility and dignity to what is clearly dedicated bigotry."

I am being sparing in my quotes of LaBarbera's masterpiece. Nevertheless:

There simply is no greater threat to religious freedom in America today, with fewer defenders, than the lie-driven gay/transgender activist campaign to ban what is essentially talk therapy and biblical counseling that they don’t like—but which they and their media sycophants have effectively demonized as “Conversion Therapy.” Pray Away will be a major tool in their arsenal.

It is not a lie to assert that conversion therapy is ineffective and harmful. It is deemed safe and effective only when research published to reputable academic journals offers evidence of safety and effectiveness. The onus to provide evidence is on them.

Meanwhile there is evidence that the practice is harmful. There is ample evidence that the practice is futile:


Where is LaBarbera's evidence? The expertise that LaBarbera claims to have is irrelevant:

I saw some of it up close

As a veteran conservative Culture Warrior who has fought Big LGBTQ activists for decades, and who worked alongside several of Pray Away’s interview subjects before they jumped to the dark side, this documentary was very hard to watch but of special interest to me.

"Culture warrior" is an attempt to lend some credibility and dignity to what is clearly dedicated bigotry.

"Ah, but Porno Pete is not done. At least not until his next idiotic diatribe."

The set-up:

… I and my colleagues were stunned when Yvette [Cantu] not only turned her back on biblical truth and her own salvation story, but declared war on the Christian gospel and its promise of changed lives (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sadly, Yvette was just one of many “ex-gay” defectors, including the head of LWO itself, John Paulk, who is also featured in Pray Away. …

Allow me to paraphrase the unhinged rhetoric: Christopher Doyle is an expert. Netflix is evil, evil, evil. "Pray away the gay" is a "bigoted smear." The executive producer of the doc is an evil homosexual. Jeffrey McCall is a hero. LaBarbera claims deceptive editing and then describes what he doesn't like about what the people say. That's not editing. This goes on for 19 bloated paragraphs. Be satisfied with the "Cliff Notes" version.

What really outrages Peter LaBarber is more convincing testimony from people who know a thing or two about conversion that it doesn't work. Ah, but Porno Pete is not done. At least not until his next idiotic diatribe:

Next: Part Two: “Who are Pray Away’s Traitors to the Truth, and why do we listen to them?”

I am speechless in anticipation of more brilliance from Mr. LaBarbera.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.