Thursday, August 06, 2009

"straightening" can cause harm

"The American Psychological Association concluded Wednesday that there is little evidence that efforts to change a person's sexual orientation from gay or lesbian to heterosexual are effective," according to a 138-page report mentioned on

"The group's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation reached its conclusion after its review of 87 studies conducted between 1960 and 2007 and finding 'serious methodological problems' in the vast majority of them. Those few studies that did have 'high-quality' evidence 'show that enduring change to an individual's sexual orientation is uncommon,' it said."

"The report cited evidence that efforts to switch a person's sexual orientation through aversive treatments might cause harm, including loss of sexual feeling, suicidality, depression and anxiety."

Unfortunately, we know that mere facts are rarely able to overcome emotional prejudices. Still, this is important for people who *do* pay attention to peer-reviewed scientific studies.

I wish a sense of peace and wholeness to all those who undertook, thought about, or had inflicted on them, such interventions to change their orientation.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following analogy is from my own blogpost on the same subject as your post:

Al was an old-timer in my Lutheran congregation in Lake Woebegone country of central Minnesota who had been raised Catholic but became Lutheran when he married Lois. He had received his elementary education in a Stearns County parochial school taught by nuns in full habit way back in the dust bowl days of the thirties.

“Whack”, he said as he jerked the ruler in his left hand. “Whack”, he said again, demonstrating how the nuns would slap him on his left hand when they would catch him scribing his abc’s with the wrong hand. “I would do my best with my right hand,” he said, “but I couldn’t help it, I always went back to my natural left hand.” With a laugh, Al wrote his name in chunky block letters with his right hand before signing in flowing strokes with his left hand.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Chip said...

Debra Haffner has more on this story, especially that progressive clergy can help reconcile sexuality and religion.


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