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Dr. Margarita Holmes, noted credible psychologist
Nothing wrong with homosexuality

in PHILIPPINES, 14/03/2013

There are so many things one can write about regarding the Bersola-Garcia Homosexual fiasco but I am limiting myself to TinTin’s tweets which were included in Rappler’s very own: “Tintin Babao gets flak for 'Being Gay' article." In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I know Tin Tin, Dra Camille, and Amy Perez and have always felt warmly towards all 3 of them. And still do. In fact, when I read Tintin’s first article which quoted Dra Camille extensively, I PM-ed the following to Dra Camille and Amy Perez (with typos already corrected).

“…there is a big furor about what you (purportedly) said, Camille,....as quoted by the PhilStar. Is there anything you want to correct? Maybe you weren’t quoted correctly (and if so, you MUST speak up since this is the simplest way to damage control this.)”

Dra Camille didn’t respond, which I guessed meant she was quoted accurately, as our Rappler article confirmed. Amy and I, however, had an interesting conversation about what it means to have a credible show with credible experts. I will interweave our conversation and my views regarding Tintin’s tweets.

Tweet 1:

To the People I've HURT with the article quoting DR.CAMILLE Garcia's pov, I APOLOGIZE from the bottom of my heart.
— Christine Babao (@ChristineBBabao) March 12, 2013
Dr Camille apologizes if her point of view hurt and angered the LGBT community. But she says those are her own opinions as a clinical psychologist.

Dr Camille apologizes if her pov hurt & angered the LGBT community. But she says those r her own opinions as a clinical psych.
— Christine Babao (@ChristineBBabao) March 12, 2013

If Tintin’s tweet above was an attempt to mollify experts in psychology and LGBT issues, it sure did the opposite.

First of all, to apologize for hurting or angering someone does not mean I feel I made a mistake. In fact, it is almost a bit of an insult, implying what I said was correct, but I am sorry if you were too sensitive (and thus angry and/or hurt) to take it as it should’ve been taken. Unless one recognizes and accepts one’s culpability, an apology is meaningless. Secondly, it is a contradiction to say: “those are her (my) own opinions” on the one hand and immediately follow it with “as a clinical psychologist.”

To say things “as a clinical psychologist” is to use one’s training, discipline, knowledge about human relationships and scientific rigor when one speaks. Granted, a clinical psychologist is not expected to know everything. And when she realizes this, the only ethical response is to admit that the topic is not in one’s remit and suggest they interview someone else.

One cannot say these are my “own opinions” in the same breath as “as a clinical psychologist.” It would be an oxymoron and thus one must choose to be one or the other when making statements about parenting or any other important issue.

If it is a personal opinion, so be it. Then it carries as much weight as statements made by Jackie Enrile, Tintin Babao and Joe Blow down the street when writing a column. However, if one’s statements are uttered “as a clinical psychologist,” stating one’s opinion is not enough, what one says should be backed up by research or, at least, clinical experience.

Otherwise, a TV show might as well interview Jackie Enrile, Tintin, and Joe Blow as parenting experts.

Tweet 2:

I may hv limited knowledge of d politically correct language of the LGBT community but in God's name, I hv PROFOUND LOVE & RESPECT for gays
— Christine Babao (@ChristineBBabao) March 12, 2013

Two comments:

Tintin’s “disclaimer” that she has limited knowledge of the politically correct language of the LGBT community misses the point entirely. Can anyone really think that the LGBT community and the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) are up in arms simply because of a term or phrase wrongly used? If the LGBT community and the PAP are really that mababaw or shallow, then by all means, claiming one’s “profound love and respect for gays” will probably be enough to mollify the superficial.

However, a wrong choice of terms is not what this is about. This is about coming across as an expert in parenting and mouthing statements (advice even!!) with no research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and family therapy to back it up; simply one’s own, private sense of “morality.”

Some people have misrepresented this issue as those LGBT activists insisting once more on “their way or the highway” when it comes to parenting. They have put Dra Camille and Mrs Babao in the conservative “God fearing” corner, with LGBT advocates, other psychologists and psychiatrists in the supposedly hedonistic, “God hating” corner.

But the furor about Tintin’s statements, tweets and quotes from Dra Camille is not merely about the how two people, Tintin and Dra Camille, believe they should bring up kids. It is about far more than that.

I hope to write another column on the deeper issues Tintin’s columns have brought up, but for right here and for right now, let me state unequivocally and ahem, as a clinical psychologist that:

1. There is nothing wrong about having a gay child or, indeed, being a gay adult (I cannot believe I am still having to say this at this day and age).

2. The best thing a parent can do is encourage the child to be who he truly is: don’t frighten him into being what he’s not, don’t make him afraid to disappoint you for something as trivial as wanting to play with a toy that is not traditionally suited for him.

3. A parent more concerned about how others will judge him should he have a gay child is thinking more about himself than anything else.

4. Yes, as Dra Camille says, “Moral issues are always part of the issues” but as clinical psychologists, we are not expected simply to enforce the status quo, but rather to help parents and children love and accept each other more honestly and more joyfully whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight. What can be more moral than a love unfettered by artificially-imposed constraints (whether they be mislabeled as sinful or not)? - Rappler.com

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