Above is a classic interview conducted by Rachel Maddow with Richard Cohen. Cohen believes that homosexuality can be “cured” if you follow his methods. Rachel does a fantastic job of destroying his logic. My only criticism is that I wish Rachel had asked Cohen why homosexuality should be cured. Why should what amounts to a variation of desire, normal desire, be subject to “treatment” thus defined as an illness? That gay people should be subject to the kinds of stigma that convinces them that their love and desires should be subject to treatment is an abuse of the very concept of “therapy.”
To be an illness, a phenomenon must inhibit an individual’s ability, or those who share their lives with said individuals, to live a long and satisfying life. Many homosexuals, including Maddow, demonstrate that whom one desires and how one expresses that desire in no way impacts one’s health as defined above. Nor does it impact the health of others who share their lives with homosexuals. The truth is that there’s nothing pathological about being gay. Social stigma is the only motivation for defining homosexuality as pathological. And it must be remembered that the pathologization of sexuality is…profitable. It’s especially profitable for folks like Cohen who have a line of products for sale by which to “cure” what is, in essence, everybody else’s problem.
By playing against a socially constructed stigma, playing against a socialized sense of inadequacy by convincing people that they are flawed, in need of help, people like Cohen do nothing more than contribute to hatred and prejudice. This is true regardless of their so called prescriptions of love and understanding. By virtue of the fact that they define a variation of sexual/emotional desire as something that needs treatment they are defining those who desire and feel in a certain way as being sick, pathological–inferior.