Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pscyhologists: You can't "cure" gay

A recent resolution passed by the American Psychological Association states that "reparative therapy" -- the so-called practice of "curing" or "converting" homosexuals to heterosexuality to satisfy their (or oftentimes someone else's) religious preferences -- is detrimental to the psyche of the patient in question, citing research that has proven such "treatment" can cause severe depression and suicidal tendencies.

The resolution passed with near unanimity, by a vote of 125-4.

The APA suggests to psychologists who are "treating" patients hoping to remedy their "ailment" seek other alternatives in dealing with their homosexuality, if it conflicts with their religion in a way they find unappealing. The suggestions include seeking a spiritual life of celibacy or finding a church that will accept their sexuality.

"Both sides have to educate themselves better," says Judith Glassgold, who chaired a task force on reparative therapy that much of the resolution is based on. "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."

The APA should be commended for issuing such a proclamation. That conservative Christians continue to insist that homosexuality can be "cured" is nonsense, inconsistent with the research done by the esteemed group of psychologists.

This resolution should give added weight to the same-sex marriage debate, a movement that has had some setbacks in recent months (most notably in the California Supreme Court). As part of the overall argument against same-sex marriages, conservative opponents who are ignorant of the facts often state that homosexuality is a condition or phase that can be eradicated from a person, something they can rid themselves of it they just tried a little harder.

The resolution passed by the APA, however, and the research that preceded it, shows that is simply not the case.

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