Little evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work

Case closed. There’s no evidence that therapy can transform a homosexual into a straight person. So says the American Psychological Association, which approved two years of research on a 125-to-4 vote at its annual convention.

“There’s no evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people are tempted to try them, and when they don’t work, they feel doubly terrified,” said Judith Glassgold, who chaired a task force. “You should be honest with people and say, ‘This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help explore what options you have.'”

At issue is how therapists should handle gay clients who are caught between their sexual identity and a religion that disapproves of them. One of the solutions, the report said, is suggesting they change churches.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who writes a blog at, sees elements of the report differently from its bottom line, and suggests there’s a solution to gays in crisis with their faith:

There are different assumptions about what best constitutes the answer to the question: ‘who am I?’ This paper nicely addresses these assumptions and acknowledges that people who are deeply committed to a non-gay-affirming religious position may stay same-sex attracted but not identify as gay. As the paper notes, this is an acceptable alternative.

… which sounds somewhat like a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy to oneself. But the report makes clear that — at least in terms of therapy — the issue isn’t necessarily only about how one lives out one’s sexual orientation, but also about how one identifies his or her sexual orientation, suggesting the two are not always the same.

Here’s the full report.

  • MNguy


    so if my church sez I can’t be gay and be saved, then I must be non gay and saved even if my same sex partner and I are in love…

    or something

    maybe we should see a therapist!