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Can homosexuality and bisexuality be cured?

A sexual orientation is not a disease. Attempting to cure homosexuality and bisexuality is like trying to cure having red hair. One can mask having red hair with dye and one can mask homosexuality and bisexuality by acting straight, but one does not cure homosexuality, bisexuality or red hair.

Unlike diseases that need to be treated or cured, one's sexual orientation does not need treatment. A homosexual and a bisexual does not need to be cured any more than a heterosexual needs to be cured of being straight. As early as 1935, Sigmund Freud wrote the mother of a homosexual man saying, "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness." The American Psychological Association's position is that gay and bisexual people are not mentally ill because of their sexual orientation and do not need treatment for their sexual orientation.

Gay and bisexual people are good parents and do not need to change their sexual orientation to be parents. The American Psychiatric Association indicates studies show that the children of gay and lesbian parents are not qualitatively different than the children of straight parents. One can read about that on the American Psychiatric Association web site.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, no "rigorous" scientific studies show the benefits of therapy aimed at changing a gay person's sexual orientation. Rodrigo Munoz, a president of the American Psychiatric Association, is quoted as saying "There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive." Some risks of therapy that attempts to change a gay person's sexual orientation include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-destructive behavior

More information about the American Psychatric Association position can be read on the web sites of the American Psychiatric Association and the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. One can read about the American Psychological Association's position on Reparative Therapy, a therapy aimed at changing gay people's sexual orientation, on the University of California - Davis web site.

Organizations representing over 470,000 United States mental health care professionals take a stand against trying to use therapy to change the sexual orientation of gay people. Those organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of Social Workers. There appears to be agreement among the professional associations representing social workers, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists that counselling should not have the goal to change an individual from gay to straight. Anybody considering therapy to attempt to change either themselves or a loved one's sexual orientation should exercise extreme caution!

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