Homosexuality and the Truth
by Sy Rogers & Alan Medinger

Can homosexuals change?

A surprising number of leading psychiatrists and researchers say 'yes'!

For many years the politically-active segment of the gay community has effectively used the media as a mean to change society's attitudes about homosexuality. In some ways, this has been helpful in curbing mistreatment of homosexuals.

However, for the purpose of social 'legitimization' of homosexuality (attained through political and religious systems), the gay community has also disseminated much questionable information. They have attempted to convince society that homosexuality is innate, unchangeable and a normal variable in the spectrum of human sexuality. If this is true, then homosexuals would be deserving of minority status, entitled to the rights and protection of other legitimate minority groups.

Rather than speculate on what that could mean, let's instead ask if the pro-homosexual message is based on truth. Are their rights legitimate? The following is a compilation of responses to the most common pro-gay arguments.


1) Some people are meant to be gay - they are born gay.

Nothing has been published and gained wide acceptance in the scientific and medical community to indicate that homosexuality is primarily genetic or otherwise prenatally determined.

One of the most widely recognized authorities on the subject is John W. Money. Ph.D., a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Director of the Psychohormonal Research Institute. In an article in 'Perspectives in Human Sexuality', he states "Whatever may be the possible unlearned assistance from constitutional sources, the child's psychosexual identity is not written, unlearned, in the genetic code, the hormonal system or the nervous system at birth."

A psychiatrist who has written and spoken widely on the subject of homosexuality, Dr. Charles W. Socarides, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, says this: "Homosexuality, the choice of a partner of the same sex for orgastic satisfaction, is not innate. There is no connection between sexual instinct and the choice of sexual object. Such an object choice is learned, acquired behaviour; there is no inevitable genetically inborn propensity toward the choice of a partner of either the same or opposite sex."

Finally, we have the opinions of Masters and Johnson, the most widely known authorities in the field of human sexual behaviour. In one of their books they write: "The genetic theory of the homosexual has been generally discarded today. Despite the interest in possible hormone mechanisms in the origin of homosexuality, no serious scientist today suggests that a simple cause-effect relationship applies."


2) Homosexuals can't change- and to suggest they try is unrealistic, even harmful.

Again some of the most prominent specialists in this field disagree. Dr. John Money, from his 1988 book 'Gay, Straight and In Between', states " Some people do change their sexual orientation. There is absolutely no harm in trying."

Dr, Reuben Fine, Director for the New York Centre for Psychoanalytic Training, says in his 1987 publication 'Psychoanalytic Theory, Male and Female Homosexuality: Psychological Approaches': "I have recently had occasion to review the result of psychotherapy with homosexuals, and been surprised by the findings. It is paradoxical that even though politically active homosexual groups deny the possibility of change, all studies from Schrenck-Notzing on have found positive effects, virtually regardless of the kind of treatment used...a considerable percentage of overt homosexuals became heterosexual...If the patients were motivated, whatever procedure is adopted, a large percentage will give up their homosexuality. In this connection, public information is of the greatest importance. The misinformation spread by certain circles that 'homosexuality is untreatable by psychotherapy' does incalculable harm to thousands of men and women." (pp.84-86)

Dr. Robert Kronemeyer, in his 1980 book, 'Overcoming Homosexuality' says: "For those homosexuals who are unhappy with their life and find effective therapy, it is 'curable'."

"The homosexual's real enemy is... his ignorance of the possibility that he can be helped." says Dr. Edmund Bergler, in his book, 'Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life?"

"The major challenge in treating homosexuality from the point of view of the patient's resistance has, of course, been the misconception that the disorder is innate or inborn," writes Dr. Charles Socarides, in his text, 'Homosexuality', in the American Handbook of Psychiatry.

Here is what Dr. Irving Bieber and his colleagues conclude: "The therapeutic results of our study provide reason for an optimistic outlook. Many homosexuals become exclusively heterosexual in psychoanalytic treatment. Although this change may be more easily accomplished by some than others, in our judgement, a heterosexual shift is a possibility for all homosexuals who are strongly motivated to change. Bieber states seventeen years later: "We have followed some patients for as long as ten years who have remained exclusively heterosexual."

Dr. Lawrence J. Hatterer says in 'Changing Homosexuality in the Male': "I've heard of hundreds of other men who have went from a homosexual to a heterosexual adjustment on their own."(p.138)

Even Masters and Johnson report on their 1979 book, 'Homosexuality in Perspective', that the success rate in 81 gays desiring reorientation (after a six year follow-up), is 71.6% (p.402)

"No longer should the qualified psychotherapist avoid the responsibility of either accepting the homosexual client treatment or referring him or her to an acceptable treatment source." (p.251)


3) Homosexuality is no longer considered a mental disorder

The gay community claimed a great victory when they prevailed upon the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from the DSM-II listing of psychological disorders. This highly controversial action seems to fly in the face of the evidence of any common-sense definition of psychological well-being. Consider the following:

  1. Homosexual men are six times more likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual men.
  2. Studies indicate that between 25 and 33% of homosexual men and women are alcoholics, compared to a 7% figure for the general population.
  3. Statistics give evidence of widespread sexual compulsion among homosexual men.
  4. A major Kinsey study revealed that 43% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated that they had had sex with 500 or more sexual partners; 28% with 1000 or more partners.

Either the APA is ignorant of what homosexuality entails for vast numbers of men, or their view of healthy sexuality indicates a serious disorder among members of the APA.

The same Kinsey study revealed that homosexual men have to a great extent separated sexuality from relationship. The survey showed 79% of the respondents saying that over half of their sexual partners were strangers. Seventy percent said that over half of their sexual partners were people with whom they had sex only once. Surely this is an indication of either deep dissatisfaction, or else terribly destructive hedonism.

Societal Prejudice

We do need to address the statement that the difficulties suffered by homosexuals are all a result of society's prejudice and unwillingness to support stable gay relationships. We can address this on several points:

In areas where there is the greatest acceptance of homosexuality (San Francisco, West Hollywood, New York City), the detrimental effects don't decrease; they increase.

Over the past twenty years there has been a great increase in the acceptance of homosexuality, but during the same period, there has been a huge increase in homosexual suffering due to disease and other factors.

For many years society did not condone heterosexual sexual involvement outside of marriage. As far as we know, this did not force the people so inclined into greater sexual promiscuity, higher rates of alcoholism, suicide and disease.

Disagreement with APA

Additionally, many therapists disagree with the 1973 APA ruling. Why?

Over seventy-five years of psychoanalytic knowledge underscoring homosexuality as a disorder was disregarded. Militant homosexual groups began disrupting numerous scientific programs and conferences in the early to mid seventies, including the APA and it's meetings. Gay political groups especially targeted and disrupted national and local meetings in which the psychopathology and treatment of homosexuality were being debated. For a full discussion of these events, including documentation and sources, read 'Hope for Homosexuality', published by the Free Congress Foundation, 1988 (especially pp.46-55)

243 practitioners and members of the APA petitioned for a referendum to vote on a reversal of the ruling. That vote occurred in April 1974 in which 40% of the voters disagreed with the ruling, asserting that there were no legitimate scientific reasons for the APA's change in fundamental psychiatric therapy. (Ibid., p.53)

In late 1977, 68% of American Medical Association psychiatrists responding to a poll still viewed homosexuality as a pathological adaptation as opposed to a normal variation. (Ibid.,p.53,footnotes)

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, in the February 1989 issue of 'The California Psychiatrist', said, "Many members of our profession still privately express the opinion that homosexual development is not normal. The 1973 APA ruling did not resolve the issue- it simply silenced 80 years of psychoanalytic observation."


4) I did not choose to be gay

"The homosexual has no choice as regards to his or her sexual object," says Dr. Charles Socarides. "The condition is unconsciously determined, is differentiated from the behaviour of a person who deliberately engages in same-sex sexual contact due to situational factors or a desire for variational experiences. As noted above these constitute non-clinical forms of homosexual behaviour. The nuclear core of true homosexuality is never a conscious choice, an act of the will; but rather it is determined from the earliest period of childhood, in terms of origin of course, not in practice.

Same-sex Deficit

Dr. Elizabeth Moberly of Cambridge, England, author of two clinical books regarding origins and treatment of homosexuality, believes that it is important to see the homosexual condition as involving a same-sex deficit, resulting in a insecure identity which cripples same-sex relationships.

Due to some early difficulty, especially with the same-sex parent-such as separation or emotional unavailability- there remains an unmet need for love and identification, together with a half-hidden sense of hurt of grievance, towards members of the same sex. Dr. Moberly believes the path toward growth and change requires a same-sex therapist, who will help the homosexual to build a more secure identity through fulfilling legitimate relational needs in healthy non-sexual ways, and through resolving same-sex hurts and conflicts from the past. Dr. Moberly concludes that realistic heterosexual relating becomes possible when same-sex issues have been addressed.


Conclusion

We recognize that many are content to pursue their homosexual orientation and the related lifestyle. However, many other homosexually-oriented persons do not wish to have their lives defined or determined by this inclination.

We live in a nation famous for our premise of self-determination. Those who are unhappy with their homosexuality have the right to explore their clinically-valid option of impulse control and orientational change.