APA avoids science to support gay advocacy, says former president

By Michelle Bauman

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The former president of the American Psychological Association believes that the organization he once led has abandoned sound scientific practices in order to promote the homosexual lifestyle as healthy and normal.

“What we need to do is have an open dialogue, no holds barred, and see where the research takes us,” said Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings in a recent video interview with a homosexuality research group.

Unfortunately, this research is not taking place because gay activists have “captured” the organization, he said. 

In addition to serving as president of the APA from 1979-1980, Cummings also served on the group’s Council of Representatives and Board of Directors in the early and mid-1970s. 

Cummings himself is supportive of gay individuals and introduced a resolution in 1975 to declare that being gay was not a mental illness, but was characterological.

This resolution, which passed the Council of Representatives “by a wide margin,” also called for the APA to continue “unbiased, open research” on the subject, he said, but this “was never done” due to changes in the organization.

He explained that when he was president, the American Psychological Association abided by the Leona Tyler principle, which held that the group would never publically take a position if it wasn’t supported by scientific evidence.

But things began changing “pretty drastically” by the late 1980s, he said, and by the mid-1990s, this fundamental principle “was absolutely forgotten.”

“All of a sudden, things began to change as things became more political than scientific,” he said, noting that although the Leona Tyler principle was never formally withdrawn, it “disappeared” and can no longer be found even in the annals of the organization.

“Political stances seemed to override any scientific results,” he said. “Cherry-picking results became the mode, and the gay rights movement sort of captured the APA.”

Cummings explained that for years, a “very select” group of 200-250 members was “running the APA,” rotating through the offices of the organization in order to bypass rules prohibiting individuals from serving more than a certain number of sessions in a position.

This select group would not accept any questioning of statements about the normalcy of homosexuality, he said.

“It became a civil rights issue rather than a scientific issue,” he observed.

Cummings said that he is not opposed to “gay marriage” and was in fact “very active in helping gays be accepted in the APA.”

“But I also respect the right to disagree,” he added. “And that’s not allowed. You only hear one side of the issue.”

He explained that the APA had made heightened efforts “to be understanding and open,” and in doing so, it “left an open door for people to rush in and use it” for political purposes.

The process also became tied up in the “diversity” movement, seeking to bring all under-represented groups of people into psychology, he noted.

While this is “a very lofty idea on the surface of it,” it eventually became “a bias” within the association, he said, adding that “if I had to choose now, I would see a need to form an organization that would recruit straight, white males, which are under-represented today in the APA.”

Cummings said that the future of the American Psychological Association is uncertain. He explained that the group has lost some of its funding and “is going through some real changes at this point.”

Clinicians are increasingly disappointed that the organization has not been using its funds to conduct the research that it was expected to, he said, and so “people are dropping their membership.”

Cummings urged honest research on homosexuality that is open to embracing scientific results, whatever they may be.

“If we have an open dialogue, we’ll be much closer in the next five years to a resolution to all of this,” he stressed. “But right now, we’re in turmoil.”

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