For nearly 40 years, the world’s leading “ex-gay” group, Exodus International claimed it could cure people of homosexuality. This week, the group admitted defeat, apologized for the harm it caused by spurring homophobia globally (including through its Jamaican affiliates, WIRED and the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS)) and closed down. This is hardly surprising.
In 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. Reputable Psychological and Psychiatric Associations around the world have also condemned ‘gay cures’ as harmful. Yet Exodus went on collecting money, deceiving people and ruining lives for nearly four decades. Two of the gay co-founders of Exodus even left the organization because they fell in love with each other.
What the organization and its leadership did is criminal. And they should be made to pay. A lame apology is simply not enough.
Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are methods used to get rid of a person’s same-sex attraction. The longstanding consensus of major professional health and mental health organisations is that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.
There are no peer-reviewed studies of any academic scientific rigour which show that changing a person’s sexual orientation is possible. There are many studies which show that many people who try to change their sexual orientation are harmed by such efforts. Major mental health organisations discourage the use of SOCE, as clinical observations and self-reports indicate that many individuals who unsuccessfully attempt to change their sexual orientation experience considerable psychological distress. For this reason, all of them have adopted policy statements cautioning the profession and the public about treatments that purport to change sexual orientation.
N.B. As the “ex-gay” movement is mainly an American import many of the organisations cited will by be from the United States. However, because of our thorough research at AGFC , we were able to find many position statements from other countries.
See excerpts from the following organizations’ position statements against “conversion therapy” in the list entitled “‘Ex-gay therapy’: What reputable experts have to say”:
- American Psychological Association
- American Psychiatric Association
- Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK)
- Indian Psychiatric Society
- American Medical Association
- Pan-American Health Organisation(World Health Organisation)
- Psychological Society of South Africa
- Chinese Psychological Association
- Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists
- Australian Psychological Society
- American Counselling Association
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- National Association of Social Workers
- American School Counsellor Association
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- American Psychoanalytic Association
As these statements make clear, health and mental health professional organizations do not support efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation through “reparative therapy” and have raised serious concerns about its potential to do harm. Many of the professional associations are able to provide helpful information and local contacts to assist school administrators, health and mental health professionals, educators, teachers, and parents in dealing with school controversies in their communities.
- Ex-gay group Exodus International shuts down, president apologizes (religionnews.com)
- ‘Gay-cure’ group apologizes, quits, but will it repair damage? (76crimes.com)
- “We’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.” (vineoflife.net)
- ‘Ex-gay therapy’: What reputable experts have to say (76crimes.com)