OF THE CATHOLIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
born that way
sex attraction as a symptom
attraction is preventable
to individuals experiencing same-sex attraction
role of the priest
in Catholic institutions
The Catholic Medical Association is dedicated to upholding
the principles of the Catholic Faith as related to the practice of
medicine and to promoting Catholic medical ethics to the medical
profession, including mental health professionals, the clergy, and
the general public.
No issue has raised more concern in the past decade than that
of homosexuality and therefore the CMA offers the following summary
and review of the status of the question.
This summary relies extensively on the conclusions of various
studies and points out the consistency of the teachings of the
Church with these studies. It
is hoped that this review will also serve as an educational and
reference tool for Catholic clergy, physicians, mental health
professionals, educators, parents and the general public.
CMA supports the teachings of the Catholic Church as laid out
in the revised version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
in particular the teachings on sexuality: "All the baptized are
called to chastity" (CCC, n.2348); "Married people
are called to live conjugal chastity; others practice chastity in
continence" (CCC, n.2349); "... tradition has
always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered...
Under no circumstance can they be approved" (CCC,
It is possible, with God's grace, for everyone to live a
chaste life including persons experiencing same-sex attraction, as
Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, so powerfully stated in his
address to the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian
& Gay Ministries: "To deny that the power of God's grace
enables those with homosexual attractions to live chastely is to
deny, effectively, that Jesus has risen from the dead." (George
There are certainly circumstances, such as psychological
disorders and traumatic experiences, which can, at times, render
this chastity more difficult and there are conditions which can
seriously diminish an individual's responsibility for lapses in
circumstances and conditions, however, do not negate free will or
eliminate the power of grace. While
many men and women who experience same-sex attractions say that
their sexual desire for those of their own sex was experienced as a
"given" (Chapman 1987) this in no way implies a genetic
predetermination or an unchangeable condition.
Some surrendered to same-sex attractions because they were
told that they were born with this inclination and that it was
impossible to change the pattern of one's sexual attraction.
Such persons may feel it is futile and hopeless to resist
same-sex desires and embrace a "gay identity".
These same persons may then feel oppressed by the fact that
society and religion, in particular the Catholic Church, do not
accept the expression of these desires in homosexual acts. (Schreier
The research referenced in this report counters the myth that
same-sex attraction is genetically predetermined and unchangeable
and offers hope for prevention and treatment.
NOT BORN THAT WAY
A number of researchers have sought to find a biological
cause for same-sexual attraction. The media have promoted the idea
that a "gay gene" has already been discovered (Burr
1996), but in spite of several attempts, none of the much
publicized studies (Hamer 1993; LeVay 1991) has been
scientifically replicated. (Gadd 1998)
A number of authors have carefully reviewed these studies and
found that not only do the studies not prove a genetic basis for
same-sex attraction; the reports do not even contain such claims. (Byne
1963; Crewdson 1995; Goldberg1992; Horgan 1995; McGuire
1995; Porter 1996; Rice 1999)
If same-sex attraction were genetically determined, then one
would expect identical twins to be identical in their sexual
attractions. There are,
however, numerous reports of identical twins who are not identical
in their sexual attractions. (Bailey 1991; Eckert 1986; Friedman
1976; Green 1974; Heston 1968; McConaghy 1980; Rainer 1960; Zuger
1976) Case histories
frequently reveal environmental factors which account for the
development of different sexual attraction patterns in genetically
identical children, supporting the theory that same-sex attraction
is a product of the interplay of a variety of environmental factors.
There are, however, ongoing attempts to convince the public
that same-sex attraction is genetically based. (Marmor 1975)
Such attempts may be politically motivated because people are
more likely to respond positively to demands for changes in laws and
religious teaching when they believe sexual attraction to be
genetically determined and unchangeable. (Ernulf 1989; Piskur
1992) Others have
sought to prove a genetic basis for same-sex attraction so that they
could appeal to the courts for rights based on the
"immutability". (Green 1988)
Catholics believe that sexuality was designed by God as a
sign of the love of Christ, the bridegroom, for his Bride, the
Church, and therefore sexual activity is appropriate only in
teaching holds that: “Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of
man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses
becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion.” (CCC, n.2360)
Healthy psycho-sexual development leads naturally to attraction in
persons of each sex for the other sex.
Trauma, erroneous education, and sin can cause a deviation
from this pattern. Persons
should not be identified with their emotional or developmental
conflicts as though this were the essence of their identity.
In the debate between essentialism and social constructionism,
the believer in natural law would hold that human beings have an
essential nature -- either male or female -- and that sinful
inclinations (such as the desire to engage in homosexual acts) are
constructed and can, therefore, be deconstructed.
It is, therefore, probably wise to avoid wherever possible
using the words "homosexual" and "heterosexual"
as nouns since such usage implies a fixed state and an equivalence
between the natural state of man and woman as created by God and
persons experiencing same sex attractions or behaviors.
SAME-SEX ATTRACTION AS A SYMPTOM
Individuals experience same-sex attractions for different
reasons. While there are similarities in the patterns of
development, each individual has a unique, personal history.
In the histories of persons who experience same-sex
attraction, one frequently finds one or more of the following:
Alienation from the father in early childhood because the
father was perceived as hostile or distant, violent or alcoholic (Apperson
1968; Bene 1965; Bieber 1962; Fisher 1996; Pillard
1988; Sipova 1983)
Mother was overprotective (boys) (Bieber, T. 1971; Bieber
1962; Snortum 1969)
Mother was needy and demanding (boys)
Mother emotionally unavailable (girls) (Bradley 1997;
Parents failed to encourage same-sex identification
Lack of rough and tumble play (boys) (Friedman 1980;
Hadden 1967a )
Failure to identify with same/sex peers (Hockenberry
1987; Whitman 1977)
Dislike of team sports (boys) (Thompson 1973)
Lack of hand/eye coordination and resultant teasing by peers
(boys) (Bailey 1993; Fitzgibbons 1999; Newman 1976)
Sexual abuse or rape (Beitchman 1991; Bradley 1997;
Engel 1981; Finkelhor 1984; Gundlach 1967)
Social phobia or extreme shyness
Parental loss through death or divorce
Separation from parent during critical developmental stages
some cases, same-sex attraction or activity occurs in a patient with
other psychological diagnosis, such as:
major depression (Fergusson 1999)
suicidal ideation (Herrell 1999)
generalized anxiety disorder
conduct disorder in adolescents
borderline personality disorder (Parris 1993; Zubenko
schizophrenia (Gonsiorek 1982) 
pathological narcissism (Bychowski 1954; Kaplan 1967)
a few cases, homosexual behavior appears later in life as a response
to a trauma such as abortion, (Berger 1994; de Beauvoir 1953) or
profound loneliness (Fitzgibbons 1999).
SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IS PREVENTABLE
If the emotional and developmental needs of each child are
properly met by both family and peers, the development of same-sex
attraction is very unlikely. Children
need affection, praise and acceptance by each parent, by siblings
and by peers. Such
social and family situations, however, are not always easily
established and the needs of children are not always readily
parents may be struggling with their own trials and be unable to
provide the attention and support their children require.
Sometimes parents work very hard but the particular
personality of the child makes support and nurture more difficult.
Some parents see incipient signs, seek professional
assistance and advice, and are given inadequate, and in some cases,
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (APA
1994) of the American Psychiatric Association has defined Gender
Identity Disorder (GID) in children as a strong, persistent cross
gender identification, a discomfort with one's own sex, and a
preference for cross sex roles in play or in fantasies.
Some researchers (Friedman 1988, Phillips, 1992) have
identified another less pronounced syndrome in boys -- chronic
feelings of unmasculinity. These boys, while not engaging in any
cross sex play or fantasies, feel profoundly inadequate in their
masculinity and have an almost phobic reaction to rough and tumble
play in early childhood often accompanied by a strong dislike of
team sports. Several studies have shown that children with Gender
Identity Disorder and boys with chronic juvenile unmasculinity are
at-risk for same-sex attraction in adolescence. (Newman 1976; Zucker
1995; Harry 1989)
Early identification (Hadden 1967) and proper
professional intervention, if supported by parents, can often
overcome the gender identity disorder. (Rekers 1974; Newman
many parents who report these concerns to their pediatricians are
told not to worry about them. In
some cases the symptoms and parental concerns may appear to lessen
when the child enters the second or third grade, but unless
adequately dealt with, the symptoms may reappear at puberty as
intense, same-sex attraction. This attraction appears to be the
result of a failure to identify positively with one's own sex.
It is important that those involved in child care and
education become aware of the signs of gender identity disorder and
chronic juvenile unmasculinity and have access the resources
available to find appropriate help for these children. (Bradley
1998; Brown 1963; Acosta 1975)
Once convinced that same-sex attraction is not a genetically
determined disorder, one is able to hope for prevention and a
therapeutic model to greatly mitigate, if not eliminate, same-sex
AT-RISK, NOT PREDESTINED
While a number of studies have shown that children who have
been sexually abused, children exhibiting the symptoms of GID, and
boys with chronic juvenile unmasculinity are at risk for same-sex
attractions in adolescence and adulthood, it is important to note
that a significant percentage of these children do not become
homosexually active as adults. (Green 1985; Bradley 1998)
For some, negative childhood experiences are overcome by
later positive interactions. Some
make a conscious decision to turn away from temptation.
The presence and the power of God's grace, while not always
measurable, cannot be discounted as a factor in helping an at-risk
individual turn away from same-sex attraction.
The labeling of an adolescent, or worse a child, as
unchangeably "homosexual" does the individual a grave
adolescents or children can, with appropriate, positive
intervention, be given proper guidance to deal with early emotional
Those promoting the idea that sexual orientation is immutable
frequently quote from a published discussion between Dr. C.C. Tripp
and Dr. Lawrence Hatterer in which Dr. Tripp stated: "... there
is not a single recorded instance of a change in homosexual
orientation which has been validated by outside judges or testing.
Kinsey wasn't able to find one.
And neither Dr. Pomeroy nor I have been able to find such a
patient. We would be
happy to have one from Dr. Hatterer." (Tripp & Hatterer
1971) They fail to
reference Dr. Hatterer response:
"I have 'cured' many homosexuals, Dr. Tripp. Dr. Pomeroy
or any other researcher may examine my work because it is all
documented on 10 years of tape recordings.
Many of these 'cured' (I prefer to use the word 'changed')
patients have married, had families and live happy lives.
It is a destructive myth that 'once a homosexual, always a
homosexual." It has made and will make millions more committed
homosexuals. What is
more, not only have I but many other reputable psychiatrists (Dr.
Samuel B. Hadden, Dr. Lionel Ovesey, Dr. Charles Socarides, Dr.
Harold Lief, Dr. Irving Bieber, and others) have reported their
successful treatments of the treatable homosexual." (Tripp
& Hatterer 1971)
A number of therapists have written extensively on the
positive results of therapy for same-sex attraction. Tripp chose to
ignore the large body of literature on treatment and surveys of
therapists. Reviews of
treatment for unwanted same-sex attractions show that it is as
successful as treatment for similar psychological problems: about
30% experience a freedom from symptoms and another 30% experience
improvement. (Bieber 1962; Clippinger 1974; Fine 1987;
Kaye 1967; MacIntosh 1994; Marmor 1965; Nicolosi
1998; Rogers 1976; Satinover 1996; Throckmorton;
Reports from individual therapists have been equally
positive. (Barnhouse 1977; Bergler 1962; Bieber 1979;
Cappon 1960; Caprio 1954; Ellis 1956; Hadden 1958;
Hadden 1967b; Hadfield 1958; Hatterer 1970; Kronemeyer
1989) This is only
a representative sampling of the therapists who report successful
results in the treatment of persons experiencing same-sex
There are also numerous autobiographical reports from men and
women who once believed themselves to be unchangeably bound by
same-sex attractions and behaviors.
Many of these men and women (Exodus 1990-2000) now
describe themselves as free of same-sex attraction, fantasy, and
behavior. Most of these individuals found freedom through
participation in religion based support groups, although some also
had recourse to therapists. Unfortunately,
a number of influential persons and professional groups ignore this
evidence (APA 1997; Herek 1991) and there seems to be a
concerted effort on the part of "homosexual
apologists" to deny the effectiveness of treatment of same-sex
attraction or claim that such treatment is harmful.
Barnhouse expressed wonderment at these efforts: "The
distortion of reality inherent in the denials by homosexual
apologists that the condition is curable is so immense that one
wonders what motivates it." (Barnhouse 1977)
Robert Spitzer, M.D., the renowned Columbia University
psychiatric researcher, who was directly involved in the 1973
decision to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric
Association's list of mental disorders, has recently become involved
with research the possibility of change.
Dr. Spitzer stated in an interview: "I am convinced that
many people have made substantial changes toward becoming
heterosexual...I think that's news... I came to this study
skeptical. I now claim that these changes can be sustained." (NARTH
THE GOALS OF THERAPY
Those who claim that change of sexual orientation is
impossible usually define change as total and permanent freedom from
all homosexual behavior, fantasy, or attraction in a person who had
previously been homosexual in behavior and attraction. (Tripp
1971) Even when
change is defined in this extreme manner the claim is untrue.
Numerous studies report cases of total change. (Goetze
Those who deny the possibility of total change admit that
change of behavior is possible (Coleman 1978; Herron 1982)
and that persons who have been sexually involved with both sexes
appear more able to change. (Acosta 1975)
A careful reading of the articles opposing therapy for change
reveals that the authors who see therapy for change as unethical
(Davison 1982; Gittings 1973) do so because they view such
therapy as oppressive to those who do not want to change (Begelman
1975; 1977; Murphy 1992; Sleek 1997; Smith 1988)
and view those persons with same-sex attraction who express a desire
to change as victims of societal or religious oppression. (Begelman
1977; Silverstein 1972)
It should be noted that almost without exception, those who
regard therapy as unethical also reject abstinence from non-marital
sexual activity as a minimal goal (Barrett 1996), and among the
therapists who accept homosexual acts as normal many find nothing
wrong with infidelity in committed relationships (Nelson 1982),
anonymous sexual encounters, general promiscuity, auto-eroticism (Saghir
1973), sado-masochism, and various paraphilias.
Some even support a lessening of restrictions on sex between
adults and minors (Mirkin 1999) or deny the negative
psychological impact of sexual child abuse. (Rind 1998; Smith
Some of those who consider therapy unethical also challenge
established theories of child development. (Davison 1982;
Menvielle 1998) These
tend to place blame for the undeniable problems suffered by
homosexually active adolescents and adults on societal oppression.
All research conclusions must be evaluated in light of the biases
which the researchers bring to the project.
When research is infused with an acknowledged political
agenda, its value is seriously diminished.
It should be pointed out that Catholics cannot support forms
of therapy which encourage the patients to replace one form of
sexual sin with another. (Schwartz 1984)
Some therapists, for example, do not consider a patient
"cured" until he can comfortably engage in sexual activity
with the other sex, even if the patient is not married. (Masters
1979) Others encouraged
patients to masturbate using other-sex imagery. (Blitch 1972; Conrad
For a Catholic with same sex attraction, the goal of therapy
should be freedom to live chastely according to one's state in life.
Some of those who have struggled with same-sex attractions
believe that they are called to a celibate life.
They should not be made to feel that they have failed to
achieve freedom because they do not experience desires for the other
sex. Others wish to marry and have children.
There is every reason to hope that many will be able, in
time, to achieve this goal. They
should not, however, be encouraged to rush into marriage since there
is ample evidence that marriage is not a cure for same-sex
attractions. With the
power of grace, the sacraments, support from the community, and an
experienced therapist, a determined individual should be able to
achieve the inner freedom promised by Christ.
Experienced therapists can help individuals uncover and
understand the root causes of the emotional trauma which gave rise
to their same sex attractions and
then work in therapy to resolve this pain.
Men experiencing same-sex attractions often discover how
their masculine identify was negatively effected by feelings of
rejection from father or peers or from a poor body image which
result in sadness, anger and insecurity.
As this emotional pain is healed in therapy, the masculine
identity is strengthened and same sex attractions diminish.
Women with same sex attractions can come to see how conflicts
with fathers and/or other significant males led them to mistrust
male love, or how lack of maternal affection led to a deep longing
for female love. Insight
into causes of anger and sadness will hopefully lead to forgiveness
and freedom. All this
takes time. In this respect individuals suffering from same-sex
attraction are no different than the many other men and women who
have emotional pain and need to learn how to forgive.
Catholic therapists working with Catholic individuals should
feel free to use the wealth of Catholic spirituality in this healing
process. Those with
father wounds can be encouraged to develop their relationship with
God as a loving father. Those
who were rejected or ridiculed by peers as youngsters can meditate
upon the Jesus as brother, friend, and protector.
Those who feel unmothered can turn to Mary for comfort.
There is every reason for hope that with time those who seek
freedom will find it. However, while we can encourage hope, we must
recognize that, there are some who will not achieve their goals.
We may find ourselves in the same position as a pediatric
oncologist who spoke of how when he first began his practice there
was almost no hope for children stricken with cancer and the
physician's duty was to help the parents accept the inevitable and
not waste their resources chasing a "cure."
Today almost 70% of the children recover, but each death
leaves the medical team with a terrible feeling of failure.
As the prevention and treatment of same-sex attraction
improves, the individuals who still struggle will, more than ever,
need compassionate and sensitive support.
MINISTRY TO INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING SAME-SEX ATTRACTIONS
It is very important for every Catholic experiencing same sex
attractions to know that there is hope, and that there is help.
Unfortunately, this help is not always readily available in
all areas. Support
groups, therapists, and spiritual counselors who unequivocally
support the Church's teaching are essential components of the help
that is needed. Since
the notions of sexuality in our country are so varied, patients
seeking help must be cautious that the group or counselor supports
Catholic moral imperatives. One
of the better known Catholic support agencies is an organization
known as Courage (see Appendix) and its affiliated organization
Encourage. While any
attempt to teach the sinfulness of illicit homosexual behavior may
be greeted with accusations of 'homophobia', the reality is that
Christ calls all to chastity in keeping with their particular state
of life. The desire of
the Church to help all live chastely is not a blanket condemnation
of any who find chastity difficult, but rather the compassionate
response of a Church seeking to imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd.
It is essential that every Catholic experiencing same-sex
attractions have easy access to support groups, therapists, and
spiritual counselors who unequivocally support the Church's teaching
and are prepared to offer the highest quality help. In many areas
the only support groups available are run by Evangelical Christians
or by people who reject the Church's teaching. The failure of the
Catholic community to provide for the needs of this population is a
serious omission which must not be allowed to continue. It is
particularly tragic that Courage, which under the leadership of Fr.
John Harvey has developed an excellent and authentically Catholic
network of support groups, is not yet available in every diocese and
Anecdotal reports of individuals or organizations under
Catholic auspices or directly associated with the Catholic Church,
counseling persons with same-sex attractions to practice fidelity in
same-sex relationships rather than chastity according to their state
in life are quite distressing.
It is most important that Church-related counselors or
support groups be very clear about the nature and genesis of
same-sex attraction. This
condition is not genetically or biologically determined.
This condition is not unchangeable.
It is deceitful to counsel individuals experiencing same-sex
attractions that it is acceptable to engage in sexual acts provided
these occur within the context of a faithful relationship.
The teachings of the Catholic Church on sexual morality are
explicitly clear and do not allow exceptions.
Catholics have a right to know the truth and those working
with or for Catholic institutions have an obligation to clearly
enunciate that truth.
Some clerics, perhaps because they erroneously believe that
same-sex attraction is genetically determined and unchangeable, have
encouraged individuals experiencing same-sex attractions to identify
with the gay community, by publicly proclaiming themselves gay or
lesbian, but live chastity in their personal lives. There are
several reasons why this is a misguided course of action: 1) It is
based on the mistaken idea that same-sex attraction is an
unchangeable aspect of the individual and discourages persons from
seeking help; 2) The "gay" community promotes an ethic of
sexual behavior which is totally antithetical to the Catholic
teaching on sexuality and has made no secret of its desire to
eliminate "erotophobia" and "heterosexism."
(There is simply no way the position articulated by spokespersons
for the "gay" movement and the teachings of the Catholic
church can be reconciled); 3) It puts easily tempted persons into
places which must be considered the near occasion of sin.; 4) It
creates a false hope that the Church will eventually change its
teaching on sexual morality. Catholics must, of course, reach out to
individuals experiencing same-sex attraction, to those actively
involved in homosexual acts, and particularly to those suffering
from sexually transmitted diseases, with love, hope, and the
authentic, uncompromised message of freedom from sin through Jesus
THE ROLE OF THE PRIEST
It is of paramount importance that priests, when faced with
parishioners troubled by same-sex attraction, have access to solid
information and genuinely beneficial resources. The
priest, however, must do more than simply refer to other agencies
(see Courage and Encourage in the Appendix).
He is in a unique position to provide specific spiritual
assistance to those experiencing same-sex attraction.
He must, of course, be very sensitive to the intense feelings
of insecurity, guilt, shame, anger, frustration, sadness, and even
fear in these individuals. This
does not preclude him from speaking very clearly about the teachings
of the Church (see CCC, n.2357 - 2359), the need for
forgiveness and healing in Confession, the need to avoid occasions
of sin, and the need for a strong prayer life.
A number of therapists believe that religious faith plays a
crucial part in the recovery from same-sex attraction and sexual
When an individual confesses same-sex attractions, fantasies,
or homosexual acts, the priest should be aware that these are often
manifestations of childhood and adolescent traumas, sexual child
abuse, or unmet childhood needs for the love and affirmation from
the same-sex parent. Unless these underlying problems are addressed,
the individual may find the temptations returning and fall into
despair. Those who
reject the Church's teachings and encourage persons with same-sex
attractions to enter into so called "stable, loving homosexual
unions" fail to understand that such arrangements will not
resolve these underlying problems. While encouraging therapy and
support group membership, the priest should remember that through
the sacrament, he can help individual penitents deal not only with
the sin, but also with causes of same-sex attraction. The following
list, while not exhaustive, illustrates some of the ways in which a
priest may help the individuals with these problems who come to the
Sacrament of Reconciliation:
Persons, experiencing same-sex attraction or confessing sins
in this area, almost always carry a burden of deep emotional pain,
sadness, and resentment toward those who have rejected, neglected or
hurt them, including their parents, peers, and sexual molesters.
Helping them to forgive can be the first step in
Individuals experiencing same-sex attractions often report a
long history of early sexual experiences and sexual trauma. (Doll
1992) Homosexually active persons are more likely to have
engaged in sexual activity with another person at a young age.
(Stephan 1973; Bell 1981)
Many have never told any one about these experiences (Johnson
1985) and carry tremendous guilt and shame. In some cases,
those who were sexually abused feel guilty because they reacted to
their trauma by acting out sexually.
The priest can delicately inquire about early experiences,
assuring these persons that their sins are forgiven, and helping
them to find freedom through forgiving others.
Individuals involved in homosexual activity may also suffer
from sexual addiction. (Saghir 1973; Beitchman 1991; Goode
1977) Those who
engage in homosexual activity are also more likely to have engaged
in extreme forms of sexual behavior or to have exchanged sex for
money. (Saghir 1973) Addictions are not easy to overcome.
Frequent recourse to confession can be a first step to freedom. The
priest should remind the penitents that even the most extreme sins
in these areas can be forgiven, encouraging them to resist despair
and to persevere, while at the same time suggesting a support group
designed to deal with addiction.
Persons with same-sex attractions are often abuse alcohol,
prescription drugs and illegal drugs. (Fifield 1977; Saghir
1973) Such abuse
may weaken resistance to sexual temptation. The priest may recommend
membership in a support group which addresses these problems.
Despair and suicidal thoughts are also frequently a part of
the life of an individual troubled by same-sex attraction. (Beitchman
1991; Herrell 1999; Fergusson 1999) The priest can assure the
penitent that there is every reason to hope that the situation will
change and that God loves them and wants them to live a full and
happy life. Again, forgiving others can be extremely helpful.
Persons experiencing same-sex attraction may suffer from
spiritual problems such as envy (Hurst 1980) or self pity. (Van den
Aardweg 1969) It is
important that the individual experiencing same-sex attractions not
be treated as though sexual temptations were their only problem.
The overwhelming majority of men and women experiencing
same-sex attraction and women report a poor relationship with their
fathers (see footnotes 17 to 23).
The priest, as a loving and accepting father figure, can
through the sacrament begin the work of repairing that damage and
facilitating a healing relationship with God the Father. The priest
can also encourage devotion to St. Joseph.
The priest needs to be aware of the depth of healing needed
by these seriously conflicted persons.
He needs to be a source of hope for the despairing,
forgiveness for the erring, strength for the weak, encouragement for
the faint of heart, sometimes a loving father figure for the
wounded. In brief, he
must be Jesus for these beloved children of God who find themselves
in most difficult situations. He
must be pastorally sensitive but he must also be pastorally firm,
imitating, as always, the compassionate Jesus who healed and forgave
seventy times seven times, but always reminded, "Go and do not
commit this sin again".
CATHOLIC MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
Pediatricians need to know the symptoms of Gender Identity
Disorder (GID) and chronic juvenile unmasculinity. With early
identification and intervention, there is every reason to hope that
the problem can be successfully resolved. (Zucker 1995; Newman
1976) While the primary reason for treating children is to
alleviate their present unhappiness (Newman 1976;
1998; Bates 1974), treatment of GID and chronic juvenile
unmasculinity can prevent the development of same-sex attraction and
the problems associated with homosexual activity in adolescence and
Most parents do not want their child to become involved in
homosexual behavior, but parents of children at-risk are often
resistant to treatment. (Zucker 1995; Newman 1976) Informing
them of estimates that 75% of children exhibiting the symptoms of
GID and chronic juvenile unmasculinity will without intervention
experience same-sex attraction (Bradley 1998) and letting them know
the risks associated with homosexual activity (Garofalo 1998;
Osmond1994; Stall 1988b; Rotello 1997; Signorile
1997) may help to overcome their opposition to therapy.
Parental cooperation is extremely important if early intervention is
Pediatricians should familiarize themselves with the
literature on treatment. George Rekers has written a number of books
on the subject. (Rekers 1988) Zucker and Bradley provide a
comprehensive review of the literature in their book Gender
Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and
Adolescents (1995), as well as numerous cases histories and
Physicians encountering patients with sexually transmitted
diseases acquired through homosexual activity can inform the
patients that psychological therapy and support groups are
available, and that approximately 30% of motivated patients can
achieve a change in orientation. In terms of disease prevention, an
additional 30% are able to remain celibate or eliminate high risk
behavior. They should also question these patients about drug and
alcohol abuse, and recommend treatment when appropriate, since a
number of studies have linked infection with STDs to substance
abuse. (Mulry 1994)
Even before the AIDS epidemic a study of men who have sex
with men found that 63% had contracted a sexually transmitted
disease through homosexual activity. (Bell 1978)
In spite of all the AIDS education, epidemiologists predict
that for the foreseeable future 50% of men who have sex with men
will become HIV positive. (Hoover 1991; Morris 1994; Rotello
are also at risk for syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, B, C, HPV,
and a number of other illnesses.
Mental health professionals should familiarize themselves
with the works of therapists who have successfully treated persons
experiencing same-sex attraction. Because same-sex attraction does
not arise from a single cause, different individuals may require
different types of treatment. Combining therapy with support group
membership and spiritual healing is also an option that should be
TEACHERS IN CATHOLIC INSTITUTIONS
Teachers in Catholic institutions have a duty to defend the
teachings of the Church on sexual morality, to counter false
information on same-sex attraction, and to inform at-risk or
homosexually involved adolescents that help is available. They
should continue to resist pressure to include condom education in
the curriculum to accommodate homosexually active adolescents.
Numerous studies have found that such education is ineffective at
preventing disease transmission in the at-risk population. (Stall
1988a; Calabrese 1987; Hoover 1991)
"Gay" rights activists have insisted that at-risk
adolescents be turned over to support groups which will help them
"come out." There is no evidence that participation in
such groups prevents the long-term negative consequences associated
with homosexual activity. Such groups will definitely not encourage
the adolescent to refrain from sin and live chastely according to
his state in life. Symptoms of GID and chronic juvenile
unmasculinity in boys should be taken seriously. At-risk children
do, however, need special help, particularly those who have been
victims of sexual child abuse.
Educators also have a duty to prevent teasing and ridicule of
children who do not conform to gender norms. Resources to educate
teachers, lesson plans, and strategies for dealing with teasing need
to be created and provided to teachers in Catholic schools, CCD
programs, and other institutions.
When Catholic parents discover that their son or daughter is
experiencing same-sex attractions or engaging in homosexual
activity, they are often devastated. Afraid for the child's health,
happiness, and salvation, parents are usually relieved when informed
that same-sex attraction is treatable and preventable. They can find
support from other parents in Encourage.
They also need to be able to share their burden with loving
friends and families.
Parents should be informed about the symptoms of Gender
Identity Disorder and the prevention of gender identity problems,
encouraged to take such symptoms seriously and to refer children
with gender identity problems to qualified and morally appropriate
mental health professionals.
THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
There was a time in the not too distant past when pregnancy
outside of marriage and abortion were taboo topics and attitudes
toward the women involved were judgmental and harsh. The
legalization of abortion forced the Church to confront this issue
and provide an active ministry to women facing an
"unwanted" pregnancy and to women experiencing
post-abortion trauma. In a few short years the approach of dioceses,
individual parishes, and the Catholic faithful has been transformed
and today true Christian charity is the norm rather than the
exception. In the same way the attitudes toward same-sex attraction
can be transformed, provided each Catholic institution does its
Those experiencing same-sex attractions, those who are
engaging in homosexual behavior, and their families often feel that
they are excluded from the loving concern of the Catholic community.
Prayer for persons experiencing same-sex attractions and their
families offered as part of the intentions during mass is one way to
let them know that the community cares for them.
The members of Catholic media need to be informed about
same-sex attraction, the teachings of the Church, and resources for
prevention and treatment. Pamphlets and other materials, which
clearly articulate the Church's teaching and provide information on
resources for those with immediate needs in this area, should be
developed and distributed from racks already present in many
When a member of the Catholic media, a teacher in a Catholic
institution, or a pastor, misstates the Church's teaching or gives
the impression that same-sex attraction is genetically determined
and unchangeable, the laity can offer information designed to
correct these misunderstandings.
The Catholic Medical Association recognizes the responsibility that
a Diocesan Bishop has to oversee the orthodoxy of teaching within
his Diocese. This
certainly includes clear instruction in the nature and purpose of
intimate sexual relations between persons and the sinfulness of
inappropriate relations. The
CMA looks forward to working with Bishops and priests in assisting
in the establishment of appropriate support groups and therapeutic
models for those struggling with same-sex attractions.
While we see the Courage and Encourage programs as very
useful and valuable and actively promote them, we are certain that
there are other modes of support and are willing to work with any
psychologically, spiritually and morally appropriate program.
Jeffrey Satinover, MD and Ph.D., has written of his extensive
experience with patients experiencing same-sex attraction:
been extraordinarily fortunate to have met many people who have
emerged from the gay life. When I see the personal difficulties they
have squarely faced, the sheer courage they have displayed not only
in facing these difficulties but also in confronting a culture that
uses every possible means to deny the validity of their values,
goals, and experiences, I truly stand back in wonder... It is these
people -- former homosexuals and those who are still struggling, all
across America and abroad -- who stand for me as a model of
everything good and possible in a world that takes the human heart,
and the God of that heart, seriously. In my various explorations
within the worlds of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry,
I have simply never before seen such profound
Those who wish to be free from same-sex attractions
frequently turn first to the Church. CMA wants to be sure that they
find the help and hope they are seeking.
There is every reason to hope that every person experiencing
same-sex attraction who seeks help from the Church can find freedom
from homosexual behavior and many will find much more, but they will
come only if they see love in our words and deeds.
If Catholic medical professionals have in the past failed to
meet the needs of this patient population, failed to work diligently
to develop effective prevention and treatment therapies, or failed
to treat patients experiencing these problems with the respect due
every person, we ask forgiveness.
The Catholic Medical Association recognizes that healthcare
professionals have a special duty in this area and hopes that this
statement will help them to carry out that duty according to the
principles of the Catholic Faith.
The research referenced in this report is drawn from a wide
variety of sources. In most cases, numerous other sources could have
been cited. For those desiring to make an in- depth study of the
issues raised, a comprehensive bibliography can be obtained
(firstname.lastname@example.org) along with reviews of the relevant
It should also be pointed out that many of the authors cited
do not accept the Church's teaching on the intrinsically disordered
nature of homosexual acts. No effort has been made to distinguish
between those who do and those who don't, since those who favor
prevention and treatment and those who support gay-affirming therapy
present essentially consistent statistical evidence and case
material, differing on the interpretation and relevance of the
evidence. The endnotes contain numerous direct quotations from the
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John the Baptist Church and Friary
West 31st Street
York, NY 10001
Chapman and Brannock (1987) found than 63% of
the lesbians in their survey stated that they had chosen to
be lesbians, 28% felt they had no choice, and 11% did not know why
they were lesbians.
Schreier writes in support of a therapist (Wolpe 1969) who refused
to patient's request for therapy directed toward change of sexual
orientation from homosexuality to heterosexual: "Perhaps
instead of sexual reorientation, individuals could seek religious
reorientation to any number of major U.S. religions that are
affirming of people with same-sex orientations.... Not all religions
are judgmental and condemning. Advocating for sexual reorientation
while being critical of religious reorientation again demonstrates
nothing more than bias." (p.308)
Burr: Cover story of
The Weekly Standard, "Suppose there is a Gay Gene...What
Hamer claimed to have found a marker for homosexuality on the x
LeVay claimed to have found that a certain part of the brains of
homosexual men who died of AIDS differed from that of
heterosexual men and women.
Byne: "Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biologic
theory to be lacking. In an alternative model, temperamental and
personality traits interact with familial and social milieu as the
individual's sexuality emerges." (p.228) "Research into
the inheritability of personality variants suggests that some
personality dimensions my be heritable, including novelty seeking,
harm avoidance, and reward dependence. Applying these dimensions to
the above scenario, one might predict that a boy who was high in
novelty seeking, but low in harm avoidance and reward dependence,
would be likely to disregard his mother's discouragement of
baseball. On the other hand, a boy who was low in novelty seeking,
but high in harm avoidance and reward dependence, would be more
likely to need the rewards of maternal approval, would be less
likely to seek and encounter male role models outside the family,
and would be more likely to avoid baseball for fear of being hurt.
In the absence of encouragement from an accepting father or
alternative male role model, such a boy would be likely to feel
different from his male peers and as a consequence be subject to
non-erotic experiences in childhood that may contribute to the
subsequent emergence of homoerotic preferences. Such experiences
could include those described by Friedman as being common in
pre-homosexual boys, including low masculine self-regard, isolation,
scapegoating, and rejection by male peers and older males, including
the father. " (p.237)
Crewdson: ".... no other laboratory has confirmed Hamer's
Horgan: "LeVay's finding has yet to be fully replicated by
another researcher. As for Hamer, one study has contradicted his
McGuire: "... some people want homosexuality to be biological
or genetic because they then believe that because homosexuals are
'born that way' they will somehow be tolerated. Others advocate
environmental causes since this justifies their belief that
individuals 'chose a gay lifestyle'." (p.141)
"Even if we knew absolutely everything about genes and
absolutely everything about environment, we still could not predict
the final phenotype of any individual." (p.142)
Rice et al. attempted unsuccessfully to replicate the Hamer study.
Bailey: A study of the
male siblings of homosexually active males found that "52%
(29/56) of monozygotic co-twins, 22% (12/54) of dizogotic co-twins,
and 11% (6/57) of adoptive brothers were homosexual... rate of
homosexuality among non-twin biological siblings, as reported by
probands, 9.2% (13/142). (p.1089)
Case A: "Their mother, then 39 years old, learnt only a few
days before the confinement that she was having twins, as she
already had a 7-year-old son was anxious that one of them should be
a girl. Sensing her obvious disappointment following the normal
delivery of two 6 1/2 pound sons, the labour ward Sister consoled
her with the suggestion that the first-born, and one subsequently to
become a homosexual, was pretty enough to be a girl. Although they
were so alike that they could not be distinguished, the mother
seized on this idea and put a bracelet around the first twin to
ensure there would be no confusion of identity, and from then on he
was treated as if he were a girl." (p.490)
Marmor: "The myth that homosexuality is untreatable still has
wide currency among the public at large and among homosexuals
themselves. This view is often linked to the assumption that
homosexuality is constitutionally or genetically determined. This
conviction of untreatibility also serves an ego-defensive purpose
for many homosexuals. As the understanding of the adaptive nature of
most homosexual behavior has become more widespread, however, there
has evolved a greater therapeutic optimism about the possibilities
for change, and progressively more hopeful results are being
reported... There is little doubt that a genuine shift in
preferential sex object choice can and does take place in somewhere
between 20 and 50 per cent of patients with homosexual behavior who
seek psychotherapy with this end in mind." (p.1519)
Ernulf found that those who believed that homosexuals are "born
that way" held significantly more positive attitudes toward
homosexuals than subjects who believed that homosexuals "choose
to be that way" and/or "learn to be that way."
Piskur: "The major finding of this study was that exposure to a
written summary of research supporting biological determinants of
homosexual orientation can affect scores assessing attitudes toward
homosexuals when measured immediately after the reading."
Green: "The Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v Hardwick that there
is no fundamental right under a substantive due process analysis to
engage in homosexual behavior. Therefore, the remaining
constitutional route to protecting homosexuals against
discrimination is the equal protection clause of the fourteenth
amendment. For the highest level of protection there, a class of
persons must be declared 'suspect.' To so qualify, the class should
demonstrate, inter alia, that the trait for which it is stigmatized
is immutable." (p.537)
Apperson: "The importance of the relationship -- or lack of it
-- with the father is again emphasized, with the homosexual
S[ubject]s showing marked difference from the controls in perceiving
the father more as critical, impatient, and rejecting, and less as
the socializing agent." (p.206)
Bene: "Far fewer homosexual than married men thought that their
fathers had been cheerful, helpful, reliable, kind or understanding,
while far more felt that their fathers had no time for them, had not
loved them, and had made them feel unhappy." (p.805)
Bieber : "Profound interpersonal disturbance is unremitting
in the homosexual father-son relationship. Not one of the fathers
(of homosexual sons)... could be regarded as reasonably 'normal' parents."
(p.114) "We have come to the conclusion that a constructive,
supportive, warmly related father precludes the possibility of a
homosexual son; he acts as a neutralizing protective agent should
the mother make seductive or close-binding attempts." (p.311)
Fisher: "Fisher analyzed the 58 studies and reported that a
large majority supported the notion that homosexual sons perceive
their fathers as negative, distant, unfriendly figures." A
review of literature on childhood experiences of male homosexuals
found "With only a few exceptions, the male homosexual declares
that father has been a negative influence in his life. He refers to
him with such adjectives as cold, unfriendly punishing, brutal,
distant, detached. There is not a single even moderately well
controlled study that we have been able to locate in which male
homosexuals refer to father positively or affectionately."
Pillard: "Alcoholism occurs more frequently in fathers of
HS[homosexual] men (14 fathers of HS men versus five fathers of
HT[Heterosexual] men.)" (p.54)
Sipova: "It was found that the fathers of homosexuals and
transsexuals were more hostile and less dominant than the fathers of
the control group and hence less desirable identification
Bieber: "In about 75 per cent of the cases, the mothers had had
an inappropriately close, binding, and intimate bond with their
sons. More than half of these mothers were described as seductive.
They were possessive, dominating, overprotective, and
Bieber: "By the time the H[homosexual]-son has reached the
preadolescent period, he has suffered a diffuse personality
disorder. Maternal over-anxiety about health and injury, restriction
of activities normative for the son's age and potential,
interference with assertive behavior, demasculinizing attitudes, and
interference with sexuality -- interpenetrating with paternal
rejection, hostility, and lack of support -- produce an excessively
fearful child, pathologically dependent upon his mother and beset by
feelings of inadequacy, impotence, and self-contempt. He is
reluctant to participate in boyhood activities thought to be
physically injurious -- usually grossly overestimated. His peer
group responds with humiliating name-calling and often with physical
attack which timidity tends to invite among children... Thus he is
deprived of important empathic interaction which peer groups
Snortum studied 46 males separated from military service because of
homosexual behavior and concluded: "It appears that the
pathological interplay between a close-binding, controlling mothers
and a rejecting and detached father is not unique to the subculture
of sophisticated, upper-middle-class families who engage
Fitzgibbons: "The second most common cause of SSAD [same sex
attraction disorder] among males is mistrust of women's love... Male
children in fatherless homes often feel overly responsible for their
mothers. As they enter their adolescence, they may come to view
female love as draining and exhausting." (p.89)
Bradley: "Girls with GID ...have difficulty connecting with
their mothers, who are perceived as weak and ineffective. We see
this perception as arising from the high levels of psychopathology
observed in these mothers, especially severe depression and
borderline personality disorder." (p.877)
Eisenbud "Broken homes and alcoholic conditions in Lesbian
women's early backgrounds as well as inadequate mothering, afford no
further chance of warm inclusion. The death of a beloved mother
leaves cold isolation. Even when mother is present, the Lesbian girl
frequently experiences her withdrawal from her after 18
Zucker: "...we feel that parental tolerance of cross-gender
behavior at the time of its emergence is instrumental in allowing
the behavior to develop...What is unique in the situation with
children who develop a gender identity disorder is the co-occurrence
of a multitude of factors at a sensitive period in the child's
development -- that is, most typically in the first few years of
life, the period of gender identity formation and consolation.
There must be a sufficient numbers of factors to induce a
state of inner insecurity in the child, such that he or she requires
a defensive solution to deal with anxiety. This must occur in a
context in which the child perceives that the opposite-sex role
provides a sense of safety or security."(p.259) "... we
were unable to identify in any case reports a clinician who felt
that the parents unequivocally encouraged a masculine identity in
their sons." (p.277)
Friedman: "Thirteen of the 17 homosexual subjects (76%)
reported chronic, persistent terror of fighting with other boys
during the juvenile and early adolescent period. The intensity of
this fear approximated a panic reaction. To the best of their
recall, these boys never responded to challenge from a male peer
with counter-challenge, threat, or attack. the pervasive dread of
male-male peer aggression was a powerful organizing force in their
minds. Anticipatory anxiety resulted in phobic responses to social
activities; the fantasy that fighting might occur led to avoidance
of wide variety of social interactions, especially rough-and-tumble
activities (defined in our investigation as body-contact sports such
as football and soccer). "These subjects reported that painful
loss of self-esteem and loneliness resulted from their extreme
aversion to juvenile peer aggressive interactions. All but one (12
of 13) were chronically hungry for closeness with other boys. Unable
to overcome their dread of potential aggression in order to win
respect and acceptance, these boys were labeled "sissies"
by peers. These 12
subjects related that they had the lowest possible peer status
during juvenile and early adolescent years. Alternately ostracized
and scapegoated, they were the targets of continual humiliation. All
of these boys denied effeminacy..." (p.432-433) "No
pre-homosexual youngster had any degree of experience with fighting
or rough-and-tumble during the juvenile years. None engaged in even
the modest juvenile sex-typed interactions described by the least
aggressive heterosexual youngster." (p.434)
Hadden: "In analytical examination of the pre-school period of
life it is usually revealed that the boy who became homosexual never
felt accepted by and never felt comfortable in relationships with
his age peers. Quite often because of parental interference he was
prevented from participation in the play activities with other
children and had little opportunity of running, romping, rolling
around, tugging, wrestling, and scrambling with his peers from the
toddling stage to the kindergarten or school age." (p.78)
Hockenberry: "The conclusion was made that the five item
function (playing with boys, preferring boys' games, imagining self
as a sport figure, reading adventure and sports stories, considered
a "sissy") was the most potent and parsimonious
discriminator among adult males for sexual orientation. It was
similarly noted that the absence of masculine behaviors and traits
appeared to be a more powerful predictor of later homosexual
orientation than the traditionally feminine or cross-sexed traits
and behaviors." (p.475)
Whitam developed and administered a six item inventory to 206
homosexual and 78 heterosexual male respondents regarding their
childhood interests in cross-dressing, playing with dolls
preferences for affiliating with girls and older women, being
regarded as a "sissy" by peers, and the nature of one's
childhood sex play. Virtually all of the homosexuals (97%) reported
possessing one or more of these "childhood indicators,"
whereas 74% of the heterosexual subjects reported a complete absence
of any of the indicators in their childhood. (In Hockenberry, p.476)
Thompson compared 127 male homosexuals with 123 controls: "The
seven most discriminating items in order from the highest were: (a)
played baseball... with homosexuals concentrating on never or
sometimes...;(b) played competitive group games (homosexuals never
or sometimes...); (c) child spent time with father (homosexuals,
very little...); (d) physical makeup as a child (homosexuals, frail,
clumsy, or coordinated, heterosexuals, athletic); (e) felt accepted
by father (homosexuals, mildly
or no...); (f) played with boys before adolescence (homosexuals,
sometimes...); and (g) mother insisted on being center of child's
attention (homosexuals, often or always...)"(p.123)
Bailey: "Male homosexuals were remembered by their mothers as
less masculine and more non-athletic." (p.44)
Fitzgibbons: "Weak masculine identity is easily identified and,
in my clinical experience, is a major cause of SSAD in men.
Surprisingly, it can be an outgrowth of weak eye-hand coordination
which results in an inability to play sports well. This condition is
usually accompanied by severe peer rejection. .The 'sports wound'
will negatively affect the boy's image of himself, his relationship
with peers, his gender identity, and his body image." (p.88)
Newman: "Experiences of being ostracized and ridiculed may play
a more important role than has been recognized in the total
abandonment of the male role at a later time." (p.687)
Beitchman: "Among adolescents, commonly reported sequalae (of
child sexual abuse) include sexual dissatisfaction, promiscuity,
homosexuality, and an increased risk for re-victimization. (p.537)
Bradley: "In our female adolescents with GID, a history of
sexual abuse or fears of sexual aggression has appeared
Engel: "Some lesbian patients [victims of sexual abuse] go
through a time of confusion, not being sure whether they are with
women out of choice or whether it is just because they are afraid,
angry, and repulsed by men due to the sexual abuse." (p.193)
Gundlach reported that 39 of 217 lesbians versus 15 of 231
non-lesbians reported they were objects of rape or attempted rape at
age 15 or under. (p.62)
Golwyn: "We conclude that social phobia may be a hidden
contributing factor in some instances of homosexual behavior."
Fergusson et al found that in a birth cohort sample the gay,
lesbian, bisexual subjects has significantly higher rates of:
Suicidal Ideation (67.9%/29.0%), Suicide Attempt
(32.1%/7.1%), and psychiatric disorders age 14 -21 -- Major
depression (71.4%/38.2%), Generalized anxiety disorder
(28.5%/12.5%), conduct disorder (32.1%/11.0%), Nicotine dependence
(64.3%/26.7%), Other substance abuse/dependence (60.7%/44.3%),
Multiple disorders (78.6%/38.2%) than the heterosexual sample.
Parris in a study of consecutive admissions found that the rate of
homosexuality in the BPD [Borderline Personality Disorder] sample
was 16.7%, as compared with 1.7% in the non-BPD comparison group.
The homosexual BPD group had a rate of overall Childhood Sexual
Abuse rate of 100% as compared to 37.3% for the heterosexual BPD
group. "It is interesting that 3 out of 10 homosexual
borderline patients also reported father-son incest." (p.59)
Zubenko: "Homosexuality was 10 times more common among the men
and six times more common among the women with borderline
personality disorder than in the general population or in a
depressed control group." (p.748)
Gonsiorek discusses the treatment of homosexuals who are also
Bychowski: "... homosexuals, in whom the ego has remained
fixated in the stage of early narcissism, find it impossible to
substitute consistent and successful dealings with reality for
homosexual acts which they invest heavily with magic. The structure
of these individuals is in many respects close to
Kaplan: "In a sense, the homosexual has much in common with the
narcissist, who has a love affair with himself. The homosexual,
however, is unable to love himself as he is, since he is too
dissatisfied with himself; instead he loves his ego-ideal, as
represented by the homosexual partner whom he chooses. Thus for this
particular type of individual, homosexuality becomes an extension of
Berger: "A possible aetiological factor that has not been
mentioned before in the literature, the abortion of a pregnancy
conceived by the male patient that may have led to the patient
'coming out' or declaring homosexuality, is discussed." (p.251)
APA: "Gender Identity Disorder can be distinguished from simple
nonconformity to stereotypical sex role behavior by the extent and
persuasiveness of cross-gender wishes, interests, and
activities." (p. 536)
Phillips: "The 16-item discriminate-function ... yielded
correct classification of 94.4% of heterosexual men and 91.8% of the
homosexual men. These results indicate that heterosexual and
homosexual men are classified with equivalent accuracy on the basis
of recalling having had or not having had gender conforming
(masculine) experiences in childhood." (p.550)
Harry: "These data suggest that some history of childhood
femininity is almost always a precursor of adolescent homosexual
Hadden: "In my experience with male homosexuals, they almost
universally recognize that they were maladjusted at the time they
started school. Many were recognized by their parents as needing
psychiatric assistance much earlier." (p.78)
Rekers: "When we first saw him, the extent of his feminine
identification was so profound ... that it suggested irreversible
neurological and biochemical determinants. After 26 months
follow-up, he looked and acted like any other boy. People who viewed
the video taped recordings of him before and after treatment talk of
him as 'two different boys.'"
Brown: "In summary, then it would seem that the family pattern
involving a combination of a dominating, overly intimate mother plus
a detached, hostile or weak father is beyond doubt related to the
development of male homosexuality...It is surprising there has not
been greater recognition of this relationship among the various
disciplines that are concerned with children. A problem that arises
in this connection is how to inform and educate teachers and parents
relative to the decisive influence of the family in determining the
course and outcome of the child's psychosexual development. There
would seem no justification for waiting another 25 or 50 years to
bring this information to the attention of those who deal with
children. And there is no excuse for professional workers in the
behavioral sciences to continue avoiding their responsibility to
disseminate this knowledge and understanding as widely as
Acosta: "...better prospects for intervention in homosexuality
lie in its prevention through the early identification and treatment
of the potential homosexual child." (p.9)
Green: "This longitudinal study of two groups of boys
demonstrates that the association between extensive cross-gender
behavior in boyhood and homosexual behavior in adulthood, suggested
by previous retrospective reports, can be validated by a prospective
study of clinically or family-referred boys with behaviors
consistent with the gender identity disorder of childhood. However,
not all boys with extensive cross-gender behavior evolved as
bisexual or homosexual men. No boys in the comparison group evolved
as bisexual or homosexual." (p.340)
Bieber: "The therapeutic results of our study provide reason
for an optimistic outlook. Many homosexuals became exclusively
heterosexual in psychoanalytic treatment. Although this change may
be more easily accomplished by some than by others, in our judgment
a heterosexual shift is a possibility for all homosexuals who are
strongly motivated to change." (p.319)
Clippinger: "Of 785 patients treated, 307 - or approximately
38% -- were cured. Adding the percentage figures of the two other
studies, we can say that at least 40% of the homosexuals were cured,
and an additional 10 to
30% of the homosexuals were improved, depending on the particular
study for which statistics were available." (p.22)
with hypnosis..., psychoanalysis of any variety, educative
psychotherapy, behavior therapy, and/or simple educational
procedures, a considerable percentage of overt homosexuals
became heterosexual... If patients were motivated, whatever
procedure is adopted a large percentage will give up their
homosexuality... The misinformation that homosexuality is
untreatable by psychotherapy does incalculable harm to thousands of
men and women... All studies from Schrenk-Notzing on have found
positive effects virtually regardless of the kind of treatment
Kaye: "Finally, we have indications for therapeutic optimism in
the psychoanalytic treatment of homosexual women. We find, roughly,
at least a 50% probability of significant improvement in women with
this syndrome who present themselves for treatment and remain in
MacIntosh queried psychoanalysts who reported that of
824 male patients of 213 analysts - 197 (23.9%) changed to
heterosexuality, 703 received significant therapeutic benefit; and
of the 391 female patients of 153 analysts -- 79 (20.2%) changed to
heterosexuality, 318 received significant therapeutic benefit.
Marmor: "The clinicians represented in this volume present
convincing evidence that homosexuality is a potentially reversible
condition. There is little doubt that much of the recent success in
the treatment of homosexuals stems from the growing recognition
among psychoanalysts that homosexuality is a disorder of
adaptation." (p. 21)
Nicolosi surveyed 850 individuals and 200 therapists and counselors
-- specifically seeking out individuals who claim to have made a
degree of change in sexual orientation. Before counseling or
therapy, 68% of respondents perceived themselves as exclusively or
almost entirely homosexual, with another 22% stating they were more
homosexual than heterosexual. After treatment only 13% perceived
themselves as exclusively or almost entire homosexuality, while 33%
described themselves as either exclusively or almost entirely
heterosexual. 99% of respondents said they now believe treatment to
change homosexuality can be effective and valuable.
Rogers: "In general, reports on the group treatment of
homosexuals are optimistic; in almost all cases the therapists
report a favorable outcome of therapy whether the therapeutic goal
was one of achieving a change in sexual orientation or whether it
was a reduction in concomitant problems." (p.22)
Satinover reviewed literature in treatment and found that in the
eight years between 1966 and 1974 alone, the Medline database --
which excludes many psychotherapy journals -- listed over a thousand
articles on the treatment of homosexuality. According to Satinover,
these reports contradict claims that change is impossible. Indeed,
it would be more accurate to say that all the existing evidence
suggests strongly that homosexuality is quite changeable. Most
psychotherapists will allow that in the treatment of any condition,
a 30% rate may be anticipated. (p.169)
Throckmorton: "Narrowly, the question to be addressed is: Do
conversion therapy techniques work to change unwanted sexual
arousal? I submit that the case against conversion therapy requires
opponents to demonstrate that no patients have benefited from such
procedures or that any benefits are too costly in some objective way
to be pursued even if they work. The available evidence supports the
observation of many counselors -- that many individuals with
same-gender sexual orientation have been able to change through a
variety of counseling approaches." (p.287)
West summarizes the results of studies: behavioral techniques have
the best documented success (never less than 30%); psychoanalysis
claims a great deal of success (the average rate seemed to be about
25%, but 50% of the bisexuals achieved exclusive
heterosexuality.)"Every study ever performed on conversion from
homosexual to heterosexual orientation has produced some
Barnhouse. "These facts and statistics about cure are well
known and not difficult to verify. In addition, there are many
people to have experienced their homosexuality as a burden either
for moral or social reasons who have, without the aid of
psychotherapy, managed to give up this symptom; of these, a
significant number have been able to make the transition to
satisfying heterosexuality. Quite apart from published studies by
those who have specialized in the treatment of sexual disorders,
many psychiatrists and psychologists with a more general type of
practice (and I include myself in this group) have been successful
in helping homosexual patients to make a complete and permanent
transition to heterosexual." (p.109)
Bergler: "In nearly thirty years, I have successfully concluded
analyses of one hundred homosexuals... and have seen nearly five
hundred cases in consultation. On the basis of the experience thus
gathered, I make the positive statement that homosexuality has an
excellent prognosis in psychiatric-psychoanalytic treatment of one
to two years' duration, with a minimum of three appointments each
week -- provided the patient really wishes to change. A considerable
number of colleagues have achieved similar success." (p.176)
Bieber: "We have followed some patients for as long as 20 years
who have remained exclusively heterosexual. Reversal estimates now
range from 30% to an optimistic 50%" (p.416).
Cappon reported that of patients with bisexual problems 90% were
cured (i.e., no reversions to homosexual behavior, no consciousness
of homosexual desire and fantasy) in males who terminated treatment
by common consent. Male homosexual patients: 80% showed marked
improvement (i.e., occasional relapses, release of aggression,
increasingly dominant heterosexuality)... 50% changed."
(p.265-268) Of female
patients 30% changed.
Caprio: "Many patients of mine, who were formerly lesbians,
have communicated long after treatment was terminated, informing me
that they are happily married and are convinced that they will never
return to a homosexual way of life." (p.299)
Ellis: "... it is felt that there are some grounds for
believing that the majority of homosexuals who are seriously
concerned about their condition and willing to work to improve it
may, in the course of active psychoanalytically-oriented
psychotherapy, be distinctly helped to achieve a more satisfactory
heterosexual orientation." (p.194)
Hadden: "From my experience I have concluded that homosexuals
can be treated more effectively by group psychotherapy when they are
started in groups made up exclusively of homosexuals. In such groups
the rationalization that homosexuality is a
pattern of life they wish to follow is destroyed by their
fellow homosexuals." (p. 814)
Hadden: "As each patient is brought into the group, we make it
clear to him that we do not regard homosexuality as a particular
disease, but as a symptom of an overall pattern of maladjustment....
I anticipate that better than one-third of the patients who persist
in treatment will experience a reversal of their sexual pattern, but
it may be necessary to continue in treatment for two or more
Hadfield reported curing 8 homosexuals: "By cure I do not
mean... that the homosexual is merely able to control
his propensity ... Nor ..
do I mean that the patient is rendered capable of having sexual
relations and bearing children; for ... he might do this by the help
of homosexual fantasies. By 'cure' I mean that he loses his
propensity to his own sex has his sexual interests directed towards
those of the opposite sex, so that he becomes in all respects a
sexually normal person." (p.1323)
Hatterer reported: 49 patients changed (20 married, of these 10
remained married, 2 divorced, 18 achieved heterosexual adjustments);
18 partially recovered, remained single; 76 remained homosexual (28
palliated - 58 unchanged) "A large undisclosed population has
melted into heterosexual society, persons who behaved homosexually
in late adolescence and early adulthood, and who, on their own,
resolved their conflicts and abandoned such behavior to go on to
successful marriages or to bisexual patterns of adaptation."
Kroneymeyer: "From my 25 years'
experience as a clinical psychologist, I firmly believe that
homosexuality is a learned response
to early painful experiences and that it can be
unlearned, For those homosexuals who are unhappy with their
life and find effective therapy it is 'curable'" (p.7)
Exodus North America Update publishes a monthly newsletter
containing testimonies of men and women who have left homosexuality.
PO Box 77652, Seattle WA 98177, see issues from 1990 - 2000
"APA "Fact sheet: Homosexuality and Bisexuality: ... There
is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of
'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change one's sexual
Herek: "As recently as January of 1990, Dr. Bryant Welch,
Executive Director for Professional Practice of the American
Psychological Association, stated that 'no scientific evidence
exists to support the effectiveness of any of the conversion
therapies that try to change one's sexual orientation' and that
'research findings suggest that efforts to 'repair' homosexuals are
nothing more than social prejudice garbed in psychological
Tripp: "From my point of view, there is no indication that
fundamental changes in anybody's sex life are ever wrought by
therapy, nor would they be particularly desirable anyway. A person's
best sexual orientation is the one that helps him get the most out
of himself, spontaneously. Killing off his guilt and his childish
expectation that conformity is the road to heaven both tend to give
him confidence and the energy to make a much smoother social
integration... Since homosexuality is an alternate orientation and
not a disease, 'cure' is patently impossible. What passes for 'cure'
is surface symptom suppression or outright avoidance." (p.48)
Goetze reviewed 17 studies a found a total of 44 persons who were
exclusively or predominantly homosexual experienced a full shift of
Coleman: "... to offer a cure to homosexuals who request a
change in their sexual orientation is, in my opinion unethical.
There is evidence, as reviewed in this paper, that therapists can
help individuals change their behavior for a period of time. The
question remains whether it is beneficial for patients to change
their behavior to something that is inconsistent or incongruent with
their sexual orientation." (p.354)
Herron: ""Changing a person's sexual behavior from
homosexual to heterosexual might be accomplished by working with a
potential already present, but this would not really change the
person's preference. While
it may appear that psychoanalysis can change a person's sexual
orientation, in truth this is a limited accomplishment that happens
only occasionally and even then is of questionable duration."
Acosta: "Most therapeutic success seems to be with bisexuals
rather than exclusive homosexuals. The combined use of psychotherapy
and specific behavioral techniques is seen to offer some promise for
heterosexual adaptation with certain kinds of patients." (p.9)
Davison: "... even if one were to demonstrate that a particular
sexual preference could be modified by a negative learning
experience, there remains the question of how relevant these data
are to the ethical question of whether one should engage in such
behavior changes regimens. The simple truth is that data on efficacy
are quite irrelevant. Even if we could effect certain changes, there
is still the more important question of whether we should. I believe
we should not." (p.96) "Change
of orientation therapy programs should be eliminated. Their
availability only confirms professional and societal biases against
homosexuality, despite seemingly progressive rhetoric about its
normality... " (p.97)
Gittings: "The homosexual community looks upon efforts to
change homosexuals to heterosexuality, or to mold younger,
supposedly malleable homosexuals into heterosexuality... as an
assault upon our people comparable in its way to genocide."
Begelman: "The efforts of behavior therapists to reorient
homosexuals to heterosexuals by their very existence constitute a
significant causal element in reinforcing the social doctrine that
homosexuality is bad." (p.180)
Begelman: "My recommendation that behavior therapists consider
abandoning the administration of sexual reorientation techniques is
based on the following considerations. Administering these programs
means reinforcing the social belief system about homosexuality. The
meaning of the act of providing reorientation services is yet
another element in a causal nexus of oppression." (p.217)
Murphy: "There would be no reorientation techniques where there
no interpretation that homoeroticism is an inferior state, an
interpretation that in many ways continues to be medically defined,
criminally enforced, socially sanctioned, and religiously justified.
And it is in this moral interpretation, more than in the reigning
medical theory of the day, that all programs of sexual reorientation
have their common origins and justifications." (p.520)
Sleek quotes Linda Garnet, Chair of APA's Board for Advancement of
Psychology in the Public Interest who stated that reorientation
therapies "feed upon society's prejudice towards gays and may
exacerbate a patient's problems with poor self-esteem, shame, and
Smith: ""Naturally, all parents wish their children to be
happy and to resemble themselves, and if it were possible to prevent
homosexual adjustment (not to mention transsexualism) most parents
would welcome the intervention. On the other hand, this raises
ethical issues along the lines of other 'Final Solutions' to
minority problems." (p.67)
Begelman: "The recommendation is not based on any abstract
disagreement with the principle that patients have a right to seek
aid in reducing their anxiety or upset. But it does take cognizance
of the fact that the homosexual person who seeks treatment does so
most of the time because he has been forced into adopting a
conventional and prejudicial view of his behavior. On what ethical
basis, it may be asked, are we obliged to desert the patient in
favor of allegiance to an abstract set of considerations."
Silverstein: "To suggest that a person comes voluntarily to
change his sexual orientation is to ignore the powerful
environmental stress, oppression if you will, that has been telling
him for years that he should change... What brings them into
counseling is guilt, shame, and the loneliness that comes from their
secret. If you really wish to help them freely choose, I suggest you
first desensitize them to their guilt. Allow them to dissolve the
shame about their desires and actions and to feel comfortable with
their sexuality. After that, let them choose, but not before."
Barrett: "Assisting gays and lesbians to step away from
external religious authority may challenge the counselor's own
acceptance of religious teachings." (p.8)
Nelson, a professor of Christian ethics defends homosexual
infidelity: "... it is insensitive an unfair to judge gay men
and lesbians by a heterosexual ideal of the monogamous
relationship... Some such couples (as is true of some heterosexual
couples) have explored relationships that admit the possibility of
sexual intimacy with secondary partners." (p.173)
Mirkin: "This article will argue that, like homosexuality, the
concept of child molestation is a culture and class specific modern
creation. Though Americans consider intergenerational sex to be
evil, it has been permissible or obligatory in may cultures and
periods of history. Sex with male youths is especially
Smith: "Pedophilia may be a cultural label rather than anything
inherently medical or psychiatric; anthropological findings support
this view." (p.68)
Davison: "Bieber et al. found that what they called a
'close-binding intimate mother' was present much more often in the
life history of the analytic homosexual patients than among the
heterosexual controls. But what is wrong with such a mother unless
you happen to find her in the background of people whose current
behavior you judge beforehand to be pathological? Moreover, even
when an emotional disorder is identified in a homosexual, it could
be argued that the problem is due to the extreme duress under which
the person has to live in a society that asserts that homosexuals
are 'queer' and that actively oppresses them." (p.92)
Menvielle in letter criticizing an article on GID by Bradley and
Zucker (1997): "The ethical implications of whether childhood
GID is a psychiatric disorder versus a manifestation of normal
homosexual orientation are vital because labeling pre-homosexual
children as disordered would be incorrect." (p.243) Bradley and
Zucker responded: "Dr. Menvielle is naive in his assumption
that these children would be happy if they were simply allowed to
'grow up' pursing their cross-gender behavior and interests,
including the desire to change sex. They are unhappy children who
are using these behaviors defensively to deal with their
Fitzgibbons: "Experience has taught me that healing is a
difficult process, but through the mutual efforts of the therapist
and the patient, serious emotional wounds can be healed over a
period of time." (p.96)
Doll: 42% of a sample of 1,001 homosexual men reported childhood
experiences that meet the criteria for sexual abuse.
Stephan: "... homosexuals reported experiencing their first
orgasm at a younger age than the heterosexuals" 24% of
homosexuals first orgasms occurred during homosexual contacts versus
2% of heterosexuals.(p.511)
Bell: Homosexuals average age of first homosexual encounter 9.7
years. Heterosexuals' first sexual encounter 11.6 years.
Johnson: "The 40 adolescent males reporting sexual
victimization ranged in age from 15 to 21 years at the time of their
initial clinic visit... No adolescent under 15 years of age reported
having been sexually assaulted, and only six of the 40 were under
age 17...Only six of the 40 patients reported having revealed the
assault to anyone prior to the interview... All six patients
identified themselves as currently homosexual." (p.374)
"Even though nearly half of our adolescent male clinic
population is under 15 years of age, all the adolescents who
admitted sexual molestation were over 15 years of age. Since all the
reported molestations occurred during the preadolescent years, we
can only speculate that our young adolescent males did not report
earlier sexual abuse. " Of the 40 reporting sexual abuse 47.5%
self-identified as homosexual. (p.375)
Saghir and Robins found that while less than 6% of heterosexual men
under 19 and 0% of those over 19 masturbated 4 or more times per
week, 46% of homosexual men under 19, 31% of those 20 to 29, and 26%
of those over 30 did so. (p.49 - 50)
Beitchman:"...sexually abused school-age children of both
sexes, like their sexually abused pre-school counterparts, appeared
more likely to manifest inappropriate sexual behaviors (e.g.,
excessive masturbation, sexual preoccupation, and sexual aggression)
than did both normal and clinical controls." (p.544)
Goode: Never masturbated - 28% Homosexually inexperienced women
versus 0% homosexually experienced. Masturbated 6 or more times in
past month - 13% of HIW v. 50% of HEW.
Saghir and Robins' study found 40% of homosexual men paid or
received money for sex, verses 17% of controls (not homosexual) who
paid for sex, none received. (p.81)
Fifield:"... an alarming number of gay men and women (31.96%)
are trapped in an alcohol-centered lifestyle."
Saghir and Robins found that 30% of the homosexuals in their sample
reported excessive drinking or alcohol dependence verses 20% of the
Beitchman: "A review of studies reporting symptomology among
sexually abused adolescents revealed evidence for the presence of
depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation."(p.544)
Zucker: "...In general we concur with those (e.g. Green 1972;
Newman 1976; Stoller, 1978) who believe that the earlier treatment
begins, the better."(p.281) "It has been our experience
that a sizable number of children and their families can achieve a
great deal of change. In these cases, the gender identity disorder
resolves fully, and nothing in the children's behavior or fantasy
suggest that gender identity issues remain problematic.... All
things considered, however, we take the position that in such cases
a clinicians should be optimistic, not nihilistic, about the
possibility of helping the children to become more secure in their
Newman: "Feminine boys, unlike men with postpubertal gender
identity disorders seem remarkably responsive to treatment."
Newman: "Teasing and social rejection by male peers decreases
and is replaced by acceptance. During the initial 12 - 24 months of
treatment, these patients begin to enjoy being accepted as boys, and
their acceptance is a strong, continuing reinforcer." (p.684)
Bradley: "Our experience is that such suffering diminishes
radically, and self esteem improves when the parent are able to
value the child and to support and to encourage same-sex
Bates: "It seems likely that it is the combination of
effeminacy, fearfulness, social aversiveness; and immaturity that
together constitute sufficient conditions for parents, schools, and
others to seek clinical intervention for effeminacy." (p.14)
Newman: "Mothers generally fear losing the son's companionship
as he becomes more masculine and therefore reluctant to begin a
treatment program." (p.684)
Garofalo: "Gay and bisexual teenagers may take more risks, and
engage in risky behavior earlier in life, than teenagers who
describe themselves as heterosexual. GLB [gay, lesbian, bisexual]
teenagers were more likely to consider or attempt suicide, abuse
alcohol or drugs, participate in risky sexual activity, or be
victimized, and to initiate these behaviors earlier."
Osmond et al. conducted a household survey of unmarried men 18
through 29 years of age found that of 328 homosexual men 20.1%
tested positive tested for HIV.
Stall: "... the prevalence of use of particular drugs within
this sample of an urban gay community is quite high and significant
differences exist between the number of drugs used by the homosexual
and heterosexual respondents. The finding that a sizable proportion
of gay men use many different types of drugs raises the possibility
that concurrent drug use is relatively common among gay men."
Signorile, quoting Steve Troy: "It's the age of AIDS and I
think people's attitude is, 'I don't know how long I'm going to
live... The majority of people who go to the circuit parties are
HIV-positive, I really think so. Their attitude is, 'I'm going to
live for the moment.' The circuit parties are the one outlet we have
for total escapism. The unfortunate part of it is that when we do
the drugs, we become much less inhibited. Things that we might
normally not do when we have our wits about us, we actually do...
And, to be honest, I can't say I'm... I can't say that I haven't
done that myself. When people are on drugs, the chances of unsafe
sex are greater -- like ten times higher." (p. 116)
Rekers: "With major research grants from the National Institute
of Mental Health, I have experimentally demonstrated an affective
treatment for "gender identity disorder of childhood"
which appears to hold potential for preventing homosexual
orientation in males, if applied extensively in the
Mulry: "..men who never drank prior to sex were very unlikely
to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse, whereas 90% of men
who had at least one occasion of unprotected anal intercourse also
drank at least some of the time prior to sexual intercourse."
The report found: "a virtual
absence of individuals who did not drink but did engage unprotected
anal intercourse." (p.181)
Bell: 62% of 575 homosexual men in a study published in 1978 had
contracted a sexually transmitted disease from homosexual
contacts. Rotello: "Who wants to encourage their kids to
engage in a life that exposes them to a 50 percent chance of HIV
infection? Who even wants to be neutral about such a possibility? If
the rationale behind social tolerance of homosexuality is that it
allows gay kids an equal shot at the pursuit of happiness, that
rationale is hopelessly undermined by an endless epidemic that
negates happiness." (p.286)
Stall: "Even using cross-sectional designs, the efficacy of
health education interventions in reducing sexual risk for HIV
infection has not been consistently demonstrated... More education,
over long period time, cannot be assumed to be effective in inducing
behavior changes among chronically high-risk men." (p.883)
Calabrese, Harris, and Easley studying a sample of gay men living
outside of the large coastal gay communities, found that neither
attendance at a safe sex lecture, reading a safe sex brochure,
receiving advice from a physician about AIDS, testing for HIV
antibodies, nor counseling at an alternative test site was
associated with participation in safe sex.
Hoover: "The overall probability of seroconversion [from HIV -
to HIV+ ] prior to age 55 years is about 50%, with seroconversion
still continuing at and after age 55. Given that this cohort
consists of volunteers receiving extensive anti-HIV-1 transmission
education, the future seroconversion rates of the general
homosexual population may be even higher than those observed