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Gay Community Had Duty to Protest Talk

In response to last week's letter from Jennifer N. Mosier '96 ["Robicheau Has Right to Hold Seminar," Jan. 24], I am compelled to introduce a few points of fact.

First, I thoroughly agree Peter N. Robicheau had every right to offer his event, and have its description published in the IAP guide. In a way, he has done the queer community a favor: He has opened himself and his misconceptions to public scrutiny.

However, just as Robicheau had a right to offer his event, the MIT gay community had a right to protest it -- more than a right, I feel they had a moral obligation. The ex-gay therapy Robicheau championed is not condoned by the American Psychiatric Association. It is usually administered by unlicensed lay people with no psychiatric or psychological credentials. It is based on theories which the majority of the psychiatric/psychological community have not believed since the 1960s. And it has been shown not to work. These religiously motivated "therapists" prey on people who, due to the incredible, insidious, and pervasive antipathy toward homosexuals in our culture, are unable to accept themselves and their same-sex feelings.

Did you know that a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study estimates lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers? Such people are drawn into ex-gay organizations, which through techniques comparable to occult brainwashing further their belief that they are not good, worthwhile people if they're gay. They're told they must spend as many as seven years at these institutions in order to be "cured" of their homosexuality, time during which they will be unable see a qualified, licensed, therapist who can help them overcome their negative self-conceptions.

Robicheau's lecture was full of misinformation and terrible prejudice. He opened his speech claiming that he had no objections to people who "chose" to be, and were happy being gay. Then, throughout the rest of his lecture, he contradicted this opening, repeatedly making statements to the effect that people "fall" into the "unhealthy" same-sex relationships of "the Lifestyle," a lifestyle he at one point equated with prostitution.

Justin C. Miller '97