“The Treatment” is the name of a document as well as a process. The document is attached to this web site. The Treatment was originally referred to as “The Clockwork Orange Treatment” by homophobic work colleagues of mine in Canberra in the mid 1970s. It refers to a process of workplace abuse involving harassment, discrimination and vilification in which I was stigmatised as “a vicious, backstabbing queer”. “The Treatment” describes how this process unfolded and the consequences of that for me in my life. However, had the process remained an episode in a particular workplace, then I would have moved on in my life and “The Treatment” would never have been written. I would have carried the memories with me but that is all.
It is precisely because The Treatment expanded out of the workplace to affect all areas of my life, and indeed is something that pursues me to this day, that “The Treatment” came to be written and this web-site has been created. It is very clear to me that homophobia and transphobia are the psychological underpinnings of this process.
I am certainly not alone as a non-heterosexual Australian to have experienced vilification, verbal abuse or workplace discrimination. Although I have not experienced physical assault, all these forms of homophobic and transphobic abuse are daily issues for many lesbians, transexuals, bisexuals and gays. This is well documented in academic and official surveys which are referenced in “The Treatment”.
A gay male friend of mine confessed to me once that his secret for happiness in life was “having low expectations”. Another said that his secret for a “hassle-free” working life was “to keep my head down and to be un-ambitious”. The patent injustice in being forced to “lower one’s expectations” either in our personal lives or in employment is an indictment of our self-professed cultural values of equity and “a fair go”. It proves the lie to the frequent assertion, “Who cares whether anyone’s gay these days?” The answer is lots of people do, not only in a competitive working environment, but especially if one chooses to live outside metropolitan inner-city “ghetto” suburbs in Australia. And even in those very same gay “ghettos”, physical violence is an increasing reality of life. Certainly there are high profile gays and lesbians in the professions such as medicine and law, in business, finance, the media, politics and the diplomatic service. These exceptions however do not change the reality for everyone. They are part of the “contradictory environment” referred to by one researcher (Wilton, T., 2000), where acceptance coexists in our society with extremes of prejudice.
Attached to “The Treatment” are four short papers which discuss topics that are relevant for people experiencing workplace abuse because of gender identity or sexual orientation. Targets of these forms of abuse often experience great difficulty in convincing family, friends and professionals that workplace bullying and discrimination has really occurred. “Delusions – from the Inside” describes the very real difficulties facing psychotherapists in accurately diagnosing delusional states, especially for the so-called “non-bizarre” beliefs. Delusions of persecution constitute one group of “non-bizarre” delusions. The difficulty here for victims is that people are stigmatised, bullied, mobbed, harassed and vilified in the workplace. The psychotherapist is usually in no position in the consulting room, to be able to test whether that belief is rational and well founded. It depends on the “real-world” experience of the clinician, especially in the case of workplace bullying, as to whether he or she believes the client. Depending on the answer, the treatment options proposed or pursued, will be influenced by that judgement. In many cases, people in such workplace situations usually need strategic and practical advice in dealing with abuse as well as therapeutic solutions to anxiety or depression. On this question of the “believability” of certain types of claims made by people, see the reference to the “Martha Mitchell Effect” in that paper.Appendix 4 on the other hand examines the Biblical foundations for “The Judeo-Christian Ethic”. Contrary to the apparent uniform condemnation by the churches of all homoerotic behaviour as well as medical interventions to improve the lives of transexuals, there exists a wider range of views in the scholarly communities than most people would suspect, as to what the texts are actually saying about these subjects. This is especially the case for the translation of the New Testament texts, which present real technical difficulties for the experts. These difficulties cast doubt on the accuracy and raise the question of the bias inherent in many modern translations of two letters of the Apostle Paul. These academic debates may seem far removed from the everyday world. Yet many people rely on ethical absolutes allegedly derived from Biblical texts to justify the condemnation of behaviour regarded as “perverted” and “un-natural” and regarded as immoral in all circumstances. Many reputable Biblical scholars believe that deriving such simplistic ethical absolutes from these texts is not warranted.