I don’t think my coming out to my dad was harder or easier than anyone else’s. I didn’t come out to the founder of conversion therapy. I came out to my father. Adult child of a therapist Richard Socarides
Richard Socarides is an adult child of a therapist—he’s the son of Charles Socarides, the now deceased psychiatrist who famously advocated that homosexuality is a mental illness long after others concluded it isn’t.
One of the founders of conversion therapy, he laid claim to hundreds of successful “cures” via psychoanalysis. What was the so-called cause of homosexuality in these patients? An overbearing mother and an absent father.
Nathan Manske, the Director of I’m From Driftwood, a site where the LGBTQ community can read inspirational true tales, states, “While everyone’s coming out story is different, Richard Socarides’s might be one of the most unique.” It’s Manske who encouraged Socarides to reveal on video how he came out to his father:
Dr. Socarides died in 2005, never having backed down from conducting so-called reparative therapy. Below is an excerpt from an obituary written by his colleague Dr. Sander J. Breiner: “As it became more and more difficult socially and professionally to explore homosexuality as an expression of unresolved conflicts, he stood even taller and more forthright in communicating his understanding. In the later years of his life when other psychoanalysts would reduce their activity, he increased his in this important therapeutic activity…”
Thus, long past his son’s coming out and involvement in activism, including serving as advisor to President Bill Clinton on gay issues, Socarides had maintained his contrarian position.
How sad that Socarides Sr. never was able to affirm his son’s choice publicly and that father and son privately never regained the intimacy it sounded like they had had in the son’s childhood. And how brave of the son to hold on to both his own authenticity and his love for his father. It does make one want to psychoanalyze Dad’s issues though…