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By Bob Roehr
The ex-gay movement has quietly purged all references to what had been one of its leaders, the self-described “psychotherapist and educator” Richard Cohen. Ex-Gay Watch member David Roberts posted a detailed documentation of the expurgation on the group’s website on March 31.
As recently as last year Cohen had been president of Parents and Friends of Gays and ExGays (PFOX), whose slogan is “supporting the right of homosexuals to choose change.” The groups supports the position that individuals can change their sexual orientation and has paid for a series of controversial billboards promoting that idea.
The name of the antigay group was chosen as a twisted alternative to the pro-gay group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Cohen had been expelled from the American Counseling Association in 2003 for violating its code of ethics. He continues to offer counseling in Maryland without a license.
One of the most recent of his frequent media appearances was a “Diagnosis Mystery” segment on The Daily Show, on March 20. Cohen called The Daily Show experience, “the most degrading experience I’ve ever had in the media. I unknowingly allowed myself to be manipulated and coerced by the producer and the host. I take full responsibility for this mistake.” He accused the program of taking comments of out context and making him look like a fool.
The Daily Show segment appears to have been too much for Cohen’s ex-gay allies. “Over the past couple of days, the National Association for the Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) [a small group of psychologist who believe in reparative therapy], and PFOX have quietly removed all traces of any affirmation of Richard Cohen,” Roberts wrote on his website. Some articles were removed entirely, while others were selectively edited to remove references to Cohen.
Wayne Besen recounted a string of recent television appearances by Cohen, “that confirmed everybody’s worst fears in America about how weird these things are [reparative therapy]. You just can’t do justice to it by explaining it. He has made the complete transition to buffoon.” Besen monitors and debunks ex-gay programs and appeared on The Daily Show segment.
The Daily Show segment can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q64iBzsKls