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Beliefs and statements about homosexual orientation

Statements by professional associations.
Research data.

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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:

bullet The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1973.
bullet 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."
bullet The American Bar Association in 1974 expressed its approval of the Model Penal Code, including its decriminalization of consensual adult homosexual acts.
bullet The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1981.
bullet The American Psychological Association has published many statements on sexual orientation:
bullet 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."

bullet 1994-AUG: The APA sent a proposal to one of its committees that would declare as unethical, either:
bullet Attempts by a psychologist to change a person's sexual orientation through therapy, or
bullet Referral of a patient to a therapist or organization who attempts to change people's sexual orientation.
bullet The APA published an undated brochure titled "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality."  It states:
bullet "...many scientists share the view that sexual orientation is shaped for most people at an early age through complex interactions of biological, psychological and social factors."
bullet "...psychologists do not consider sexual orientation for most people to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed."
bullet "...homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem."
bullet "There is no evidence indicating that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children." 1
bullet 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
bullet 2007: The APA appointed a six member Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation to review their 1997 statement.
bullet 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 release states:
" '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 identity outcome'."

"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 treatments."

"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

bullet 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."
bullet 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.
bullet 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 organizations, 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.
bulletJust 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."3 They:
bullet expressed concern about harassment of gay and lesbian youth.
bullet condemned reparative therapy as potentially harmful and of little or no effectiveness
bullet 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.

Research Data

An excellent resource which summarizes research into various areas of sexual orientation can be seen at: It gives:

"Clear, accurate explanations of scientific research on homophobia and hate crimes, HIV/AIDS stigma, and other concerns to lesbians and gay men."

Actually, the site is extremely valuable for all persons who are concerned about discrimination and hatred.

Related menu on this web site:

bullet Reparative Therapy - all sides


  1. "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality," APA brochure. See:
  2. "APA Council of Representatives Passes Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy," APA news release. See:
  3. The "Just the facts about sexual orientation & youth," primer can be read at: The main report can be read at: This is an Acrobat PDF file. You can obtain a free software to read these files from Adobe Acrobat reader.
  4. Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation," American Psychological Association, 2009-AUG, at: This is a PDF file.
  5. "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:

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Copyright 1998 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1998-FEB-5
Latest update: 2013-JAN-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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