Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries, formerly Coral Ridge Ministries, appeared on Truth That Transforms last week and told hosts Carmen Pate and John Rabe that “about 75 percent of those who struggle with homosexual or lesbian feelings were molested as children.” Such claims are nothing new from the Religious Right, but the statistic they use seems to keep going up: last month Jeff Myers and Ryan Dobson asserted that “60 percent” of gay males were “abused as children.”
The American Psychiatric Association has consistently dismissed such assertions as baseless, maintaining that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, than in children who identify as heterosexual.”
But who are we to try to compare the evidence from the country’s leading psychiatric organization to something “one of the ex-gays” told Newcombe?
Newcombe: Maybe this sounds like a stereotype but so often the young men did not bond with their fathers or the father was absent all the time. In the case with women becoming lesbians, they had a very bad relationship sometimes with their mothers. Again that’s not always the case but that’s often the situation. I’ve found that at least anecdotally that about 75 percent, and I did not make this statistic up one of the ex-gays told me this statistic, that about 75 percent of those who struggle with homosexual or lesbian feelings were molested as children. They were introduced to this whole subject of sexuality by somebody, sometimes a relative, and it was not their choice and so forth. As long as they can remember they’ve had these kinds of feelings but it’s not nature, it’s nurture.