Report reviews 600 studies and refutes claims by the American Psychological Association concerning homosexuality.
Homosexual activists and their allies – including those in the mental health professions – have asserted for years that men and women who self-identify as gay or lesbian are unable to change and that they are no different from the general population in terms of psychological, medical, physiological or relational problems. But a new report by the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) directly refutes these claims.
What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the American Psychological Association’s Claims on Homosexuality, is an historical review of more than 600 reports, studies and surveys which arrives at the following conclusions:
Homosexual to Heterosexual is Possible
The authors acknowledge the many difficulties involved in the reports of reorientation, including:
They also acknowledge that some individual studies and reports have limitations or weaknesses and that some older studies and reports may be “less methodologically sophisticated.”
[S]o much historically state-of-the-art clinical evidence and empirical research documenting that sexual reorientation is possible, and without a preponderance of quality research evidence demonstrating definitively that such change is not possible, we cannot deny a client’s right to self-determination and professionally assisted reorientation.
Science? Or Political Correctness?
All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.
In essence, the principle states that when psychologists are speaking as members of their profession, any advocacy in which they engage should be based on scientific data and demonstrable professional experience.
Significantly, What Research Shows states that in many cases the reports criticizing reorientation therapy – and the statements used to support gay activism – often consist of opinions, personal attacks or purely anecdotal evidence. Thus, these reports do not meet the strong scientific standards that the APA claims to adhere to. The authors write:
Changing Sexual Orientation Not Harmful
While client dissatisfaction is a possible and unfortunate consequence of any therapy, efforts to help persons change unwanted homosexual orientation have not been shown to be generally harmful, nor to usually lead to psychological harm.
Mental health professional organizations call on their members to respect a person’s (client’s) right to selfdetermination [sic]; be sensitive to the client’s race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, language, and disability status when working with that client; and eliminate biases based on these factors.
Here, the APA should follow its own guidelines and recognize that client self-determination and respect for religious beliefs mean that some men and women will want help in addressing same-sex attractions in a way that aligns with their deeply held faith. Therapists unable or unwilling to provide reorientation therapy should refer to those who are able and willing to offer such assistance.
A corollary issue for many is a sense of religious or spiritual identity that is sometimes as deeply felt as is sexual orientation. For some it is easier, and less emotionally disruptive, to contemplate changing sexual orientation, than to disengage from a religious way of life that is seen as completely central to the individual’s sense of self and purpose…
The Pink Elephant in the Room
There is a general consensus in the scientific literature that greater pathology exists among homosexually-oriented people than among heterosexuals. In fact, it is difficult to find another group in society with such high risks for experiencing such a wide range of medical, psychological, and relational dysfunctions.
Recent research using methodologically current quantitative survey criteria confirms the results of less rigorous studies from several decades ago. The pathology is not of a single kind; rather, it has many individual manifestations. It consists of a strikingly greater incidence of a wide range of mental health disorders – specifically substance abuse, depression, and suicidality; but also extending to pathological risk-taking, high breakup rates of relationships, and sexual addiction. No empirical study has ever documented that these higher rates of pathology may be explained solely (or even primarily) by society’s disapproval of homosexuality.
What Research Shows reviews numerous studies that show significantly higher levels for gay- and lesbian-identified men and women for a host of problems. The report offers a “synthesis of the literature derived from hundreds of sources”:
- Despite knowing the AIDS risk, homosexuals repeatedly and pathologically continue to indulge in unsafe sex practices.
- Homosexuals represent the highest number of STD cases.
- Many homosexual sex practices are medically dangerous, with or without protection.
- More than one-third of homosexual men and women are substance abusers.
- Forty percent of homosexual adolescents report suicidal histories.
- Homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to have mental health concerns, such as eating disorders, personality disorders, paranoia, depression, and anxiety.
- Societal bias and discrimination do not, in and of themselves, contribute to the majority of homosexual maladaptivity.
This last point is especially important, since many gay apologists claim that these prevalent problems that are solely the result of so-called “heterosexist bias” or “homophobia.” The report demonstrates, however, that cities and countries which are very accepting and approving of homosexuality show similarly high levels of pathology. And the authors cite the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which came to the conclusion that:
…while factors such as social stigma and discrimination are widely believed to place homosexual men and women at higher risk for developing substance abuse and other difficulties, existing research fails to document this belief.
For those who claim to have the best interests of the gay community at heart, true social justice, compassion, concern and intellectual honesty dictate that men and women who want to pursue freedom from homosexuality – whether because of their faith or because of the health risks associated with homosexuality – should be afforded that opportunity by the mental health industry, including its associations and educational institutions.