The American Psychological Association has stated what most of us have known for quite some time: your sexuality doesn’t change and gay-to-straight therapies are useless at best and harmful at worst.
The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others’ sexual orientation.
The task force examined the peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 1960 to 2007, which included 83 studies. Most of the studies were conducted before 1978, and only a few had been conducted in the last 10 years. The group also reviewed the recent literature on the psychology of sexual orientation.
“Unfortunately, much of the research in the area of sexual orientation change contains serious design flaws,” Glassgold said. “Few studies could be considered methodologically sound and none systematically evaluated potential harms.”
Glassgold went on to talk about the implications of the APA resolution:
“Both sides have to educate themselves better,” Ms. Glassgold said. “The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality.”
Sounds about right. Gay people are born that way and some are deluded into thinking that can change. As Andrew Sullivan notes, “The point of the gay rights movement is not to encourage people to be gay. It is to enlarge the scope of freedom so that more people, gay and straight and bi and trans, can be themselves. With dignity and respect.”
So how are conservative Christians reacting to it?
They’re not about to change anything, of course:
“The APA is really failing to not only represent science, which is its primary responsibility,” [Dr. Joe Nicolosi, founder and director of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic,] said, “but it’s also failing to inform people.”
The guidelines do allow for difference in religious beliefs, but Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, said they don’t go far enough. He said the APA is starting with the false assumption that homosexuality is normal and positive.
The longer Christians allow this charade to go on within their own churches, the faster they will drive people away from their faith.
In that sense, this is bittersweet. They’re digging their own grave, which is not a bad thing, and yet I’d rather see them face the facts and reach out positively to gay people. They have the potential to do a lot of good despite their irrational beliefs. Yet, they have no desire to — if I may say it — be “Christian” about it.
(Thanks to everyone for the link!)