Stephen Fry tells quack who “cures” gays: “You could easily pass as a gay man” (video)

British actor and human rights advocate Stephen Fry decided to go to California and interview young men who claim to have been “cured” of their homosexuality. Sadly, the “doctors” who claim they can “cure” gay people refused to permit Fry to meet with any of their patients. But Fry found one young man who went through the therapy, and of course failed to cure himself of anything other than self-loathing.

The whole notion of curing homosexuality has long been discredited by the the lead psychiatric and psychological associations, but sadly, in most states, it’s still legal to practice this quackery, though that’s starting to change. The faux therapy, which experts warn can actually cause harm, was recently outlawed in California and New Jersey – and other states are now looking at doing the same.

Fry then went and interviewed Joseph Nicolosi, who is probably the top religious right “expert” who claims he can cure gays. Nicolosi wouldn’t let Fry talk to any of his patients. This part of the interview was particularly delicious:

“I’m also interested in the phenomenon that’s become known in the last 20 years or so as ‘metrosexual.’ And without it being the least bit offensive, I would say you fit that rather well. You’re very well groomed. You could easily pass as a gay man, I could say [Fry chuckles].”

Nicolosi’s face was priceless as Fry said this:

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Yeah, nothing gay about those gestures.


(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Richard Pozzuto

    Well, I do think sexual orientation is a choice… for everyone… for most it’s an unconscious choice which doesn’t amount to a strong definition of choice ultimately… But I think it’s a very very good choice to in fact “resolve” and “sexualize” a burgeoning need for same sex love. The need develops because of feelings that are part of one’s life experience… not dictated by a gene in my opinion. Our genes allow us endless variations as they are now to get our needs met and they evolve in ways to make sure our “choices” can be attained. I agree the only reason it’s a problem is that there are social constructs (mainly religion and governments) that have exploited the vulnerability one feels when needing this kind of love. I wish people would stop looking for “the gene.” If they ever did find such a thing there would be a whole new level of “cures” being attempted. And that would be an abject disaster for us as a species. I stand with DEVO. Everyone deserves freedom of choice! The Kinsey studies show very clearly that people experience same sex love more than they don’t. In fact few are exclusively one way or another their entire lives. Most people dabble and we all eventually settle into what feels right for us. Stop the hate so we can all get a chance to feel what we feel and learn, grow and evolve in every way possible.

  • RudigerVT

    Tough. And fierce. When I was in college in Arkansas in the late 80′s, another member of the gay and lesbian student group was exuberantly effeminate. It was so natural, though. Utterly devoid of calculation. And fearless. I really respected him, as he seemed to be saying, look, this is who I am, which, for me, is easy, and natural. I envied his integrity.

  • Butch1

    ;-)

  • Whitewitch

    It is in the mail! <|;o)

  • Butch1

    No. To which club are you referring? I haven’t received my card yet. ;-)

  • Butch1

    No, I did as well. Marcus is a bit more feminine in his mannerisms that this fellow. They are both cut from the same mold.

  • Butch1

    If looks could only kill . . . the “good doctor” gave him a good one when Fry mentioned how he looked. ;-)

  • Butch1

    Speaking about child abuse.

  • Butch1

    He has come to his own conclusion of what homosexuality is because he is going against what the majority of his colleagues and the APA says about what being gay is. I would bet he doesn’t dispense all of the information about this to his patients either and just sticks to his own little prejudice unproven therapy program with the rest of the minority of bigots who think the same way he does about homosexuality. He deserves to have his program made against the law and NARTH needs to be shown for the pseudo-scientific organization that they really are. They are only a cover for these bigoted homophobes who dispense disinformation about us.

  • BillFromDover

    In which chair?

  • BillFromDover

    Sugar and spice?

  • pappyvet

    yes he does have nice drag ;]

  • FUFatherEisenman

    For some reason, I can picture Nicolosi doing a session with a teenager. Starts by talking, then grabbing a crotch saying something like, “how does this make you feel?” Then it goes on from there.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    But M, the gnostics were cracked-pots.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Perhaps they can hide their cedillas behind ecclesiastical Latin.

  • Marcus Hicks

    Oh yeah, there is a man so deep in the closet that he’s practically in NARNIA!!!

  • MyrddinWilt

    It probably does not mean what you think there.

    A symposium was in ancient Greek times a feast followed by an orgy. The ‘flute girls’ who are turned away are prostitutes hired to amuse the guests.

    Socrates, Plato et. al. have agreed to attend the symposium on the understanding that it is going to be a piss up followed by sex. They are hardly prudes or ‘sex-haters’.

    It almost certainly never happened of course, it is an allegorical fiction to present the arguments. But Plato would never put Socrates at an orgy if he was actively opposed to them. In fact we know from elsewhere that he was a legendary drinker.

    The sex on offer is with a prostitute-slave, it is pure sex with no higher purpose, no emotional connection. The point that is being made is that there are higher intellectual achievements that men can aspire to beyond participating in an orgy with a bunch of slaves.

    That does not seem to me to be an endorsement of the later Christian sex-hate thing which has its origins in the ascetic movement and naked hermits living in deserts. The Greeks were really not into self-denial for the sake of it.

  • DooMm

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  • OtterQueen

    I got a shiver down my spine when he said they were getting more and more teenagers. Poor kids.

    When will doctors start offering to turn hard-core straight people gay? Or will they argue that can’t be done?

  • Paul

    I admire those who have no choice but to be out, or make the choice to be out anyway. I was a coward until 25, and then I was really pissed off at my past self when I didn’t lose any relationships because of it haha. It required quite a few bigot conversions though, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as effortless in school. Kids are just pricks.

    I’ve also wondered what my personality would be like if I didn’t grow up where I did. I was a bookish, nerdy mama’s boy in elementary and middle school and I knew from an early age I was gay. Would I have affected different mannerisms if I wasn’t scared shitless, and learned to act as straight as I could? I have no regrets, I think I turned out mostly fine, a mix of mom’s compassion and dad’s aggressive “don’t let anyone fuck with you” attitude (not that they both don’t have qualities of the other as well). I do wonder though.

  • lookyloo

    It’s so odd that these male ‘not gay’ therapists seem fixated on gay men so much more than gay women… and by ‘odd’ I mean ‘unsurprising’.
    It’s disappointing, though, that Fry didn’t ask the ‘Dr’ about gay girls – since the ‘Dr’ only spoke of how gay boys are created.

  • Max_1

    Nicolosi is a menace to society…
    … He goes around breaking people.

  • Max_1

    Christ never shuts me out…
    … But the Roman Catholic Church does.
    (in violation of Christ, none the less)

  • Max_1

    @#2…
    … Not to mention it also encourages pedophilia.

    @#4…
    … He said he goes with a 30-30-30 model after being asked for a rough estimate of success rate, leaving out 10%. Where did they go to? It’s very convenient for him to be wishy-washy with his facts, it seems. More varnish in the image, I guess…

    Nice and very agreed response overall…
    … Yes, Nicolosi hurts way more than he ever has helped or produced as evidence of being “REPAIRED” (as if gay people are broken and can be ‘FIXED’).

    I was 23 when I came out. Grew up with two older brothers and one older sister. We always did stuff together as a family when I was young and it wasn’t until my high school years where I wanted to do my own stuff that I saw lees of the entire family. i.e. I had rehearsal and they went golfing, etc. What family doesn’t go in those cycles? Sister went to a concert and the rest of us went to the movies… And it was when both of my parents suggesting I get repaired, that I walked away from them. That was over 25 years ago and it wasn’t until this last summer that I finally heard him say, “It doesn’t matter who you marry.”

    People like Nicolosi are a menace to society because they go around breaking people…

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    I’ve always said that effeminate gay guys are really, deep down, very tough guys. They take all the crap because they are closer to the stereotype and therefore, easier for others to dislike (or even hate). Being tough, like “Real Men”, comes in many forms that a lot of people don’t expect, or understand.

    I’m sure your husband was one of those guys who had to be tough. The world needs more of them, but doesn’t need homophobia to produce them.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    If only we were capable of upvoting that about a million times :)

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    One would need to have a heart of stone to not be charmed by that man :)

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Fry, being his usual self, shoots an arrow into reparative therapy and it’s biggest proponent in his usual charming manner. Too bad more people won’t be seeing this, or appreciating it.

    There were several things that stood out to me about this video and the things that were said in it:

    1) The “therapeutic technique” of comparing the good qualities of someone to whom you may be attracted to your own shortcomings is pretty much malpractice, in my book. Therapists are supposed to build up a person’s self-esteem, not wreck it.

    2) It was alarming to hear this therapist say that a grown man should hold an image of a 13 year-old girl from adolescence in memory while masturbating. That seems to me to be inhibiting sexual maturity. Again, this is certainly uncomfortable to hear.

    3) Saying that homosexuality is the result of parenting errors is an old canard that deserves to die. Even casual observation will not reveal that to be the case. I can speak from personal experience that although my parents were divorced, my dad had a presence in our lives and there was no conflict there. My 3 brothers and one sister all turned out straight – same father. Oh, and he always knew that I was gay, and had no problem with it (it was my mother, oddly, who did).

    4) He claims at best a 2/3 “success” rate (highly variable results among that 2/3). Yet he cannot produce one person willing to be interviewed? Maybe because anyone who can claim to be cured knows that it didn’t take and didn’t want to go on camera?

    5) It bothers me that he has been seeing more teenagers. I understand what Fry is saying when he says he doesn’t want to ‘recruit” (poor choice of words), and that young people need to develop their own natural sexuality and understand it. Nicolosi is not allowing that to happen, of course. Which makes him a very poor excuse for a therapist.

    6) I don’t know what the rate paid by the guy (and likely his mother) was, but let’s take Fry’s figure of $140 per hour. This poor guy saw Nicolosi for approximately 18 months. That puts the cost at $2520. Not bad jing for a fraud, and I’m sure he has a bunch of other patients.

    And keep in mind that he was able to produce no tangible results, and more likely, harmed a lot of people in the process. While I’m sure that there are some who feel that they got their money’s worth, there are quite a few more who would like it back.

    This guy is horrible, and so is NARTH.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I simply adore Stephen Fry.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True, but he is wearing an Iris-colored dress shirt with a matching printed-silk necktie.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Not by a longshot.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Now why wouldn’t he allow Fry to interview some of the thousands of patients who have gone through the Aquinas Clinic in the nearly 30 years that it has been in operation?

    Cos I think it’d be very hard to speak for even a minute with Stephen Fry and, at the very least, not want to at least invite out to a nice dinner. ;)

  • Dave

    Now why wouldn’t he allow Fry to interview some of the thousands of patients who have gone through the Aquinas Clinic in the nearly 30 years that it has been in operation? I mean, what an opportunity to showcase your best results to a national audience in the UK. Fry would ask tough questions, but so what? Let him. They have genuinely changed and thus should have nothing to hide. And if not one of the recent patients were up for it, why not get a success story from the 80s or 90s? They couldn’t find one person who repaired himself 25 years ago and is willing to help others by talking about it?

    Alas, once again the ex-gays play hide-the-ball. They only have the dozen or so professional ex-gays to use over and over again as display models. But as for those thousands and thousands of people who supposedly have walked away from “the lifestyle”? They are as rare as the white lobster.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    There are gay man who have ideas about being a “real man.” They really hate on effeminate gay man. My husband was very effeminate, and I respect how he had to stand up to homophobia. He couldn’t hide behind the ability to throw a football or a tendency to come across as butch. That’s what I did until I was twenty two, but he was out there fighting in the trenches. He was a wonderful, powerful man who I loved very much.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Am I the only one to read the headline and think of Marcus Bachman?

  • cole3244

    why work for a living when you can pull a scam on those in a weakened position psychologically, not unlike the charlatans that represent all religions (cults) worldwide, tell them what they want to hear and they will come and bring money.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I know the story well. I should mention that an acquaintance of mine once told me of this “two halves” idea that it was an insidious and noxious one, not because of anything to do with sexuality per se but because it encouraged people to think that if their current lover was dissatisfying in any way then that must mean that there was some other ideal lover, the hypothetical other half, who would be totally perfect.

    You know, I’m inclined to agree. Heaven knows I’m not anyone’s idea of a perfect half (or third or any other fraction)–at least, I hope I’m not.

  • Anonymous

    Or just Republicans in general.

  • Paul

    I love Fry’s observation. I scoff when effeminate men condemn us. If someone like my father (who grew up tough in the projects of SF) saw Nicolosi he’d just think he was a pansy, and in the past would have called him a “faggot” regardless of sexuality. He got his homophobia not from reading his Bible or attending his church, but from his culture growing up, and changed immediately when I came out and he had to think about it. It seems to me that the ones who hold to their views and Bibles and get caught up in church are the least likely to be of an “Average Joe” or “Real Man” stereotype. Perhaps they do so because they know how they’re perceived and hate it. It might serve their cause better to change people’s minds about what it is to be a “Real Man”.

  • FLL

    Actually, I always liked the story of creation in the “Symposium,” the one where humans originally were double people attached at the back: two females, two males and a male-female couple. In Plato’s version, the gods split us in two, which is why we’re looking for our original other half. Not a bad showing, as creation stories go.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Er…you do realize that a lot of sex-hating crap came from the Greeks? I mean, jeez, just look at Plato’s “Symposium” and its denigration of mere sex as the lowest form of love. Look also at the “Hippolytus”. That’s just fiction but it reflects a real facet of classical paganism that turned its back on physical love. The Gnostics, too, regarded sex as a corruption of spiritual purity with desires of the flesh.

    There’s nothing particularly Christian about hating sex.

  • Mighty

    I watched this. Excellent show. The part where he interviews the Russian Duma rep Vitaly Milonov, who is the mastermind behind the anti gay propaganda laws there, is frightening. Fry interviews a young lesbian woman who was raped in an attempt to “correct” her. Her story made me cringe. Fry then goes to talk with Vitaly and he just says its a lie. He says all gay people lie and make up stories. Its absolutely frightening because of the power he wields. Remember the religious right in the US praises him and holds him up on a high pedestal. That should scare us all about them in our country.

  • Whitewitch

    You guys don’t really want him in your club do you? I mean – yuck!

  • FLL

    At the 7:55 mark:

    Stephen Fry: “Did that mean also that you had to abandon your faith?”
    Dan Gonzales: “I had to abandon my faith.”

    As I understand, straight, bisexual and gay people throughout the population are currently undergoing their own impomptu self-help reparative therapy to rid themselves of unwanted Bible-based religious superstition. The success rate is virtually 100% and relapses are almost unheard of. At this rate, populations in Western countries may rediscover their classical Greco-Roman heritage yet. Go Western civilization!

  • UncleBucky

    Oh, hah. And frame that Nicolosi “look” and put it on a flinking billboard. Daylight Nicolosi, that SOB.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Nonsense. He’s not wearing an ascot!

  • UncleBucky

    Yay Stephen Fry!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Yeah, nothing gay about those gestures.” Yep, the invisible fan speaketh all.

  • Michael David Barber Moghul

    Charlatans scamming men and women who cannot seem to shake off their religious indoctrination and abuse as children.

  • Kayless

    Brilliant!

  • jomicur

    The entire series OUT THERE (two one-hour episodes) is available on YouTube, and it’s very well worth watching.

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