statements about homosexual orientation
Statements by professional associations.
Statements by professional associations
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. The American Psychological
Association declared that it was not a disorder in 1975.
Recent statements by professional organizations include:
The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of
mental illnesses in 1973.
The American Law Institute continually updates its Model Penal Code,
which is a group of laws that they suggest be implemented at the state level.
During the 1970s, they
recommended to legislators: "that
private sexual behavior between consenting adults should be removed from the list of
crimes and thereby legalized."
The American Bar Association in 1974 expressed its approval of the
Model Penal Code, including its decriminalization of consensual adult homosexual acts.
The World Health Organization
removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1981.
The American Psychological Association has published many
statements on sexual orientation:
1994-JUL: They released a Statement on Homosexuality.
Its first two paragraphs state:
"The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness
nor moral depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human
love and sexuality. Study after study documents the mental health of gay men and lesbians.
Studies of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all
show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals."
"Nor is homosexuality a matter of individual choice. Research suggests that the
homosexual orientation is in place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before
birth. It is found in about ten percent of the population, a figure which is surprisingly
constant across cultures, irrespective of the different moral values and standards of a
particular culture. Contrary to what some imply, the incidence of homosexuality in a
population does not appear to change with new moral codes or social mores. Research
findings suggest that efforts to repair homosexuals are nothing more than social prejudice
garbed in psychological accouterments."
1994-AUG: The APA sent a proposal to one of its committees that would declare as
Attempts by a psychologist to change a person's sexual orientation through therapy, or
Referral of a patient to a therapist or organization who attempts to change people's
The APA published an undated brochure titled "Answers to Your Questions About
Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality." It states:
"...many scientists share the view that sexual orientation is shaped for most
people at an early age through complex interactions of biological, psychological and
"...psychologists do not consider sexual orientation for most people to be a
conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed."
"...homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem."
"There is no evidence indicating that homosexuals are more likely than
heterosexuals to molest children." 1
1997_AUG: The APA published a news release about a recently passed resolution
"on so-called reparative therapy." The resolution "raises
ethical concerns about attempts to change sexual orientation, reaffirms psychology's
opposition to homophobia and client's rights to unbiased treatment." 2
2007: The APA appointed a six member Task Force on
Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation to review
their 1997 statement.
2009-AUG: The Task Force issued their 130 page report. They
based their report on their analysis of 83 reports from past studies.
4 An APA press
" 'Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change
advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support
the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,'
said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. 'Scientifically
rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was
unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to
the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies
do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research
methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these
interventions.' Glassgold added: 'At most, certain studies suggested
that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their
homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom
this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health
effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people
who started out only attracted to people of the same sex'."
"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'."
"As to the issue of possible harm, the task force was unable to reach
any conclusion regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the recent
studies of SOCE: 'There are no methodologically sound studies of recent
SOCE that would enable the task force to make a definitive statement
about whether or not recent SOCE is safe or harmful and for whom,'
according to the report."
" 'Without such information, psychologists cannot predict the impact
of these treatments and need to be very cautious, given that some
qualitative research suggests the potential for harm,' Glassgold said.
'Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt
to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and
identity exploration and development without imposing a specific
"As part of its report, the task force identified that some clients
seeking to change their sexual orientation may be in distress because of
a conflict between their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The
task force recommended that licensed mental health care providers
treating such clients help them 'explore possible life paths that
address the reality of their sexual orientation, reduce the stigma
associated with homosexuality, respect the client's religious beliefs,
and consider possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful
and rewarding life'."
" 'In other words,' Glassgold said, 'we recommend that psychologists
be completely honest about the likelihood of sexual orientation change,
and that they help clients explore their assumptions and goals with
respect to both religion and sexuality'." 5
On 2009-AUG-05, based on the task force report, the APA adopted a "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual
Orientation Distress and Change Efforts." The resolution states that:
"... mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that
they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other
"The [resolution ...] also advises that parents, guardians, young
people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that
portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and
instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services
'that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality,
increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual
minority youth'." 5
The American Medical Association (AMA) released a report in 1994-DEC which calls
for "nonjudgmental recognition of sexual orientation by physicians." They
suggest that psychotherapy be directed help homosexuals "become comfortable with
their sexual orientation."
The Academy of Pediatrics and the Council on Child and Adolescent Health
have also stated that homosexuality is not a choice and cannot be changed.
NARTH, the National Association for Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality is a professional organization for
psychiatrists, psychologists, other therapists, social workers, and
behavioral scientists. They, alone, among professional mental health
promote reparative therapy for gays and lesbians. Their Statement of Policy and Right
to Treatment completely contradicts statements by all other professional mental health
organizations, and mirrors the beliefs of fundamentalist and other
religious conservatives. Their total membership is somewhat
over 1,000 which compares to the over 132,000
members of the American Psychological Association. Non-therapists
can join as a "Friend of
NARTH." Many conservative Christian ministries have done this. NARTH
teaches that homosexuality is a sexual disorder -- a sexual deviancy --
which can be readily cured. More details.
Just the Facts Coalition -- a group of 13 professional
associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling
Association, American Association of School Administrators, American
Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American
School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National
Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social
Workers and National Education Association jointly issued a
document in 1999 titled: "Just the facts about sexual orientation."
The document was originally published in 1999, and was updated in 2008 "... in the wake of a renewed effort that targeted schools for 'equal time' for 'reparative therapy' and 'ex-gay ministries."3They:
expressed concern about harassment of gay and lesbian youth.
describe transformational ministries
as representing only one part of Christianity -- those faith
groups which view homosexuality as outside God's will, and
incompatible with Christianity. They cite other denominations as
supporting equal rights, and protection against discrimination,
for gays and lesbians.
Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate
Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation," American Psychological
Association, 2009-AUG, at:
http://www.apa.org/ This is a PDF file.
"INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS WORK, SAYS
APA. Practitioners Should Avoid Telling Clients They Can Change from Gay to
Straight," American Psychological Association press release, 2009-AUG-05, at: