APA Task Force Chair Discusses ‘Ex Gay’ Resolution
The American Psychological Association officially adopted a resolution Wednesday afternoon, calling on mental health professionals to reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed.
An APA task force presented a report summarizing two years of research on so-called “reparative therapy” at APA’s annual convention. The task force determined that there was not enough evidence to prove that sexual orientation can be changed – and that trying to do so can have harmful results.
Judith Glassgold was chair of the task force. She says she hopes she hopes religious advocates of the “ex gay” movement will consider the science – just as therapists consider their patient’s faith.
Glassgold: “Psychology is not going to try to dictate to any religion what kind of beliefs they should have. We also feel that religion shouldn’t dictate to science what kind of conclusions we find.”
Glassgold says her research found that sexual orientation was very unlikely to change as a result of ex-gay programs. She says at best, some individuals can learn to repress or ignore their attractions – which can be very psychologically damaging.
Glassgold: “People make choices about how they behave. But who they’re attracted to and who they fall in love with .. you don’t have any choice over that. And sometimes it’s a very hard struggle to deny those feelings or to not act on them. It’s a very lonely life to not have a partner whom one loves, and one can be intimate with.”
The APA is now advising psychologists to tell patients who wish to change their sexual orientation that it is unlikely they’ll be able to, but that they can learn to balance their sexuality with their religious beliefs.