Letters To the Editor
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Homosexuality as Choice? Medical Experts Say No
Your Nov. 16 article "Ex-Gay, Sex Ed Debate" [Montgomery Extra], which suggested that the debate over whether homosexuality is a choice is between "some spiritual conservatives" and the "gay-lesbian community," may have left some readers with the impression that the debate is simply between interest groups.
In fact, the mainstream American medical and mental health professional associations have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice. And they all oppose the so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapies touted by groups like Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (PFOX), which are based on the assumption that homosexuality is an illness and that people should change their orientation.
For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that most experts have concluded that "one's sexual orientation is not a choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual."
Moreover, according to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is not a "conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed."
Similarly, the American Medical Association "opposes the use of 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation."
So the reality is that the disagreement is between some organizations such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family on the one hand, and groups like the American Medical Association on the other.
David S. Fishback
Fishback is a board member of the Metro DC Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).