Gay Dad Sound Off in an Open Letter to Dr. Robi Ludwig: Why the Words You Spoke are Dangerous, and the One Word You Forgot to Say

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As a dad, when I see news stories of young people and children being killed, my heart breaks wide open.  If such an event were to happen to either of my sons, I in all honesty, do not think I have what it would take to recover from such a loss.

This week in Santa Barbara California, six sets of parents faced that situation in their lives.  A seventh set, the parents of Elliot Rodger, 22, who allegedly killed the other six before killing himself, have a whole other layer of horror in front of them.

One of the strangest cornerstones of life in new millennium media is not the question on whether someone will blame a current tragedy on the LGBT community, it is how quickly they will run to do it.  From 9/11, to earthquakes, to floods and British rain, it is LGBT caused, according to these factions.

The Isla Vista killings were no different.  Within days, Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Counsel presented the through-line that held LGBT couples and their marriages accountable:  gay marriage had destroyed society, it had confused the sexuality of the deranged, and it had inspired them to kill.  It is a very warped hypothesis considering it requires a complete lapse of logic, a detachment from reality and a good deal of psychic ability to reach any level of outside plausibility.  In short, it does not really give explanation to the tragedy, but more gives deep insight to the depths of Blackwell’s anti-gay obsession.

Anti-gay obsession does not explain the commentary by pop psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig, however.  On Fox News, the doctor was asked to “hypothesize several factors which could have triggered #elliotrogers spree killing.”  Her stated hypothesis was:

“When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him.  And then I started to have a different idea: Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses? Was he angry with women because they were taking away men from him?  But this is a kid who couldn’t connect, and felt enraged, and wanted to obliterate anyone that made him feel like a nothing.  That’s what this guy felt like, a nothing.  A nothing on the one hand, and then there was a grandiosity, on the other hand where he is talking about how beautiful he is, how sophisticated he is, but clearly a very problematic guy… and I think too, was he angry at the men for not choosing him?  This was a kid who was just angry in general and probably felt rejected, he could not connect, he couldn’t feel loved, he could not feel successful, maybe he could not even feel like a real man.”

Ludwig’s opinion does not seem to be reflected in Elliot Roger’s own statements of the killings.  In those, he is very specific about his sexual attraction towards women and his jealousy towards the men he sees as his rivals.  “On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house at UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see inside there. All those girls I’ve desired so much. They have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance toward them, while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.  I take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you…After I have annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure while I’ve had to rot in loneliness all these years. They all look down upon me every time I tried to join them, they’ve all treated me like a mouse.”

I am not a psychologist, but the attitude I see in the demented Rogers was not one of suppressed homosexuality, but of the rape culture and sexual entitlement expectation that I have observed in a few heterosexual men.  One such man remarked to me in the past about a woman who had turned down his advances in a bar, “She was sitting there rejecting me and all I could think of was, crap bitch, don’t you realize that I am strong enough to reach up and squash your head like a grape?  How dare you say no to me…”

For those in the LGBT community, the Ludwig’s words did not sound like psych analysis. They rang instead of “blame the gays”.  Popular lgbt columnist and editor John Becker described the commentary as “appalling and shameful” and Ludwig’s thought process as “mental gymnastics”.

Ludwig offered up a social media apology and asserted that she was “misunderstood”.  She stated,  “I in NO way meant to indicate being homosexual or having homosexual impulses is a cause for spree killing. My job@judgejeanine was to asses several POSSIBLE triggers for #ElliotRogers behavior. #peace #forequalrights.”

As a dad, I see Dr. Ludwig’s comments not only as mis-spoken, unfortunate and misguided.  I see them as dangerous.   Here is why, in my open letter to her:

Dear Dr. Ludwig,

On May 25th, you posted a statement by Karen Salamansohn on your website as the “quote of the day”.  That quote read, “Your words have great power.  Use them to support and inspire.”   It is good advice, and a shame that you did not heed it yourself on the Judge Jeanine show.

For me, I know your comments were bogus and ridiculous because I in fact, was your version of Elliott Rogers.

I did not have the psychopathic compulsion of Elliott Rogers, and I was and am anti-violence, but I was a twenty-something year old virgin with an obsessive compulsion to repress my homosexual feelings.  I dated sorority girls and longed deeply for a serious relationship with them.  I wanted the dream—the wife, the family, the prestige.  I wanted the pretty girl on my arm and for people like you to think of me as “a real man”.

What I did not want from those pretty girls was sex, as the real Elliott Rogers did.  I was a-ok with the “sex after marriage only” concept.  What I did not fear was pretty women getting men that I fantasized about, or of men rejecting me.  There was no way on earth that I would have approached a man for sex, or allowed myself to do so.  That would have shattered my thin veil of denial about who I really was.

No, I was not angry inside that women had rejected me, I was secretly relieved.

That is not what the real Elliott Rogers was last week.  In my opinion and experience, your hypothesis was wrong.  Your delivery of it was even worse.  It was horrific.  While psychologists speculating on motivations based on hidden repressed sexual desires is nothing new, your application of the concept was both insulting to intelligence and potentially harmful to many people, particularly teens, in our society today.

Furthermore, even if one was to follow your stated point of view, your commentary was irresponsibly incomplete.  Supposing that some sort of repressed homosexual feelings were in play, you failed to mention a word that would have described the trigger towards destructive behavior.

The word you forgot to say is “homophobia”.

Homosexual feelings would not have triggered Elliott Rogers’s behavior if he had them, the loathing and fear of them might have.  Your warning around this situation could have been for a greater acceptance and support of teens and their sexual orientation development so internalized homophobia would not occur, but that was not your message.  Your message was about how “homosexual feelings” could trigger a disturbed mind, and how they detracted from the person being “a real man”.  Especially given the target audience of Fox News, your words can now inspire homophobic parents and school kids to ostracize teens they perceive as gay or not “real men”.  Your words inspire those Fox News parents to drive their teens towards detrimental junk “reparative” therapy even more than before.  For good reason, based on your input, those teens might be triggered to commit atrocities.

Seven sets of parents, including Elliott’s, had hearts shattered with unthinkable pain.  I hold my two sons tightly and pray, selfishly, that I will never ever have to know what those poor people are going through.  We are all scrambling to understand the unfathomable.

The real Elliott Rogers is dead.  In the burnt ashes of his legacy, I pray that hope, healing, mutual respect, honoring women and many other things rise.

Homophobia cannot be and must not be, one of them.

About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: http://www.imagaysingleparent.com/2013/02/02/rob/ and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/rob-watson-gay-family_n_4689661.html
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14 Responses to Gay Dad Sound Off in an Open Letter to Dr. Robi Ludwig: Why the Words You Spoke are Dangerous, and the One Word You Forgot to Say

  1. Joanna says:

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  2. Dr Robi
    Is a great humanbeing calling her homophobic , anti gay is an insult to her..and all also to her friends well wishers supporters who know her well..neither is she a bigot or a gender racist..
    I think painting her out as a devil is not in good taste ,, I am an urban brown Indian her Facebook friend and she has been very kind to me and my family ,, I salute this kind American lady ,,,

    • robw77 says:

      Hi photographernoi, thanks for sharing your opinion. I would agree calling Dr. Robi homophobic, anti-gay and the devil would be insulting. None of that appears in this article. Please feel free to post a comment on this article specifically after you have actually read it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ben in Oakalnd says:

      Perhaps you could explain precisely what WAS her point In alluding to this screwed-up boy’s completely mythical, and otherwise-unsupported-by-his-own-quite-heterosexua ravings aboutwomen, homosexual impulses.

      Impulses which resulted in the ravings a screwed up, quite heterosexual boy with issues about women, being labeled as a possible homosexual? I mean why would the obvious explain his behavior?

      We gay people are very well used to being labeled as a threat to heterosexuality, family, children, morality, faith, freedom, and goddam western civilization, such as it is. I’ve been hearing this crap my whole life, and I’m 63 now. I’ve had homophobes and good Christians who are homophobes tell me to my face about how much they love me, but in the next sentence say that homosexuals are sex craved murderous perverts, handily providing a LIST of homosexual sex killers. The corresponding list of hetero killers, sexual and otherwise, doesn’t interest them. Currently, we hear the rhetoric of the Christian Right, with their constant whines about their cheesy, wholly imaginary persecution at the hands of these queers. Tony Perkins just the other day that gay people are waiting to start the boxcars rolling for Cgristians of his ilk– and there is plenty of ilk there. More piggishness than you’ll find in the whole of Iowa.

      We’re that dangerous, you know. Our designer jack boots will soon be at the necks of Christians everywhere.

      so, when your friend starts speculating on the basis of NOTHING whatsoever that perhaps just maybe, in a vague! general sort of a way, some completely mythical homosexual tendencies on the part of a screwed up heterosexual boy just maybe are responsible for his murderous rampage against the women that scorned him and his BMW…

      Well, we just might look a bit askance at that.

      This article, certainly, did not label her homophobic. That has yet actually to be shown. She may just be someone whose totally unconscious that she brought a completely irrelevant speculation into a dark, twisted story. It could well have been an accident. But we have enough experience with people who intentionally do the very same thing in their efforts to exploit and demonize to question it.

      Perhaps your friend could comment here.

  3. I know Dr Robi for 22 years as a co-worker/colleague. i myself have practiced psychiatry for 32 years. Dr. Robi is the farthest thing from HOMOPHOBIC, ANTI GAY, or someone who is harboring any hatred or ill feeling for the Homosexual community. Many of her dearest friends are gay and believe that this entire ” blown out of proportion” story has nothing to do with her but with a general feeling of anger and frustration amongst the gay community. They all have been very supportive of her and all ask the same question: why punish her? She was asked to give a professional opinion. To speculate why a man murdered other people. She didn’t know the reason and still doesn’t because no one does. You don’t she doesn’t I don’t and no one will ever know. We do know that he was a man who by his own remarks was extremely sexually conflicted and more importantly psychiatrically ill.

    Psychologists and psychiatrists in clinical practice see many very disturbed individuals where a person has similar conflicts about their own sexuality or sexual problems and can i repeat can….. let me repeat myself here again CAN repress sexual impulses either hetero or homo sexual impulses and develop psychotic distortions, lets call them delusions ,which lead them down the road to extreme self hatred and unfortunately exacerbate an underlying PARANOID ( psychotic) or NARCISSISTIC condition leading to the horrible events that took place. It is a possibility, maybe not probable and maybe not the rule but the exception but still a clinical possibility. In other words, she was asked to give an opinion and not the answer! She wasn’t asked to draw a conclusion either. You have so wrongfully drawn your own conclusions about her in this forum and in others but never did Dr Robi draw a direct conclusion that being gay lead to murder. She did use the word “maybe”, she did her job to make an opinion based on what she knew about this disturbed man. Her stance was not dominated by the theme “homosexuality” either, she mentioned other reasons. You and many others are putting words in her mouth. Wrong words! Words she didn’t say. TV commentators are not diagnosing cases. They are giving their opinions which can very well stem from real cases they have treated behind closed doors and not usually discussed by laymen at the coffee counter at work. Mental illness is a profound and very grey area of MEDICINE. Opinions and hypothesis usually are the rule rather than the exception. Making false statements about Dr Robi is not helping the HOMOSEXUAL cause. I found absolutely nothing wrong with what she said because it was based solely on speculation. She did her job/ what she was asked to do. Because you don’t agree with her opinions doesn’t give you the right to make her out to be a monster, a homophobe a person who doesn’t know what she is talking about. Its an opinion based on her clinical skills and experience not on a political campaign against the LGBT community. Shame on you all ! Use critical thinking and not your own prejudicially based emotions!
    G LOSACK MD
    diplomat of the ABPN
    Manhattan NYC

    • robw77 says:

      Thanks for your comments Dr. Losack. Like the other poster here, you do not seem to have actually read this article since she was not called “HOMOPHOBIC, ANTI GAY, or someone who is harboring any hatred or ill feeling for the Homosexual community” in it. Your gross generalization of the “gay community” does not help your credibility either.

      Lastly, while it is fine for you to defend her for having an opinion, you may want to extend your “right to an opinion” to those of us who disagree with her, and feel her opinion is irresponsible. While she was described as neither a monster or homophobe (going back to the “how about actually reading the article” thing), her own comments signal that she doesn’t know what she is talking about. If you would like to support her points, please feel free, but nothing in your post was truly on topic of this article.

      Thanks for sharing, though.

    • Ben in Oakalnd says:

      I love it when people pull up the “I have many dear gay friends” right before they “speculate” about how dangerous and perverted gay people are.

      “Speculation” about the mental condition of people whom the “therapist” hasn’t met are highly suspect from the get go, especially when the “conclusions” speculated fly directly in the face of all known information. I suspect that such “speculation” also flies right in the face of APA ethics.

      I suppose I could “speculate” about dr. losack based upon the sole reviewer who accuses Dr. Losack of killing the family dog, and being a drug addict, and harming the reviewer’s mother. after all, it’s just “speculation”.

      After all there might be “something” to it, even if that “something” has not the slightest shred of connection to facts, logic, or experience.

  4. Ben in oakland says:

    I posted this a week ago. You’ree 100% bang on.

    ““For those thinking, “Sure, why not? It’s an idea that may have validity.”

    No, actually. Unless you believe that someone on Fox News was just posing a reasonable question…you know, for the sake of argument.

    Or for the sake of, one more time, emphasizing the bigots belief that gay people are sick and twisted and dangerous, and that normal society must be protected from their violent impulses. While they’re telling themselves and everyone in earshot a these outrageous liesand slanders, if they’re Christians, they’ll also tell themselves how much they love us, as perverted and dangerous and sick as we are.

    There is not a shred of fact. Logic, or experience in her suggestion that his homosexual impulses were to blame, or even his self directed homohatred. I suspect that the obvious answer is just too likely to be true to actually BE true: that he was a severely messed up boy who, like so many heterosexual men, has a thing about the power that women hold over them. He, being heterosexual, wanted women. They, being women with sufficient perception to see he was seriously messed up, probably had little interest in an autistic boy with social issues and a lot of unresolved anger. So they rejected him, and any sane person would.

    That’s the true agenda here. It was not a reasonable question or supposition. And it was highly unethical for her to throw that rhetorical spaghetti against the gay wall.”

  5. Tony Trotter says:

    Robi has since gone over her facebook profile and scrubbed about 99% of the negative and dissenting comments…. she has also blocked MANY people for making such comments. I hope she sees this letter as it is brilliant. Thank you for this.

  6. swo8 says:

    I think that was a very good analysis of the situation.
    Leslie

  7. Well done, Rob. You’ve articulated the problem perfectly. The good doctor’s perspective is laced with the classic default: “When in doubt, blame the gays.”

  8. madgesw says:

    I agree. I read the entire manifesto and he was clearly angry at women, his mother, his stepmother throughout his life as he couldn’t understand why they just didn’t do things in his best interest. He was a narcissist of the highest order. It was all about him. If they didn’t follow is dictate or wishes he just couldn’t believe it because he thought he was the greatest. He was mentally ill from early, early on and the handwriting was on the wall. His parents indulged all his fantasies about himself and never said he needed hospitalization early on. They changed his schools every time he cried and wanted out. He cried more than any child I have ever known in my lifetime or read about, So mentally ill, at times so scary. They sadly lived in denial about how ill he really was and showed through his constant odd behavior. Sad all the way around but “gay” not at all in my reading. Never even mentioned that it was even a passing thought. He was short, biracial and if anything these two characteristics bothered him and coupled with his inability to look anyone in the eyes and relate to anyone especially with women, was at his core. I don’t like healthcare professionals who spout off when they know nothing about the case. I would bet Dr. Ludwig didn’t read the manifesto.

  9. Vernon Porter says:

    Excellent .. simply excellent – right on the money.

    Vernon / Lady Di

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work!

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