At Odds with the Mental Health Profession
Today’s mass media convey the message that men ought to be encouraged to dicover a homosexual or bisexual identity. “Isn’t sexual diversity wonderful?” they ask. A number of TV and movie producers (some of them whom are gay themselves) try to persuade us with idealized coming-out-of-the-closet stories. We believe their efforts are misguided attempts to encourage what is actually the unfortunate situation in which too many of our young people find themselves.
Of course, in taking this view, I am often at odds with members of my own profession. Those who oppose me say the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has settled the issue: homosexuality is normal. But that 1973 decision was made (as even some gay activists have noted) under heavy political pressure from gay activism.
The removal of homosexuality from the DSM had the effect of discouraging treatment and research. When it became “common knowledge” that homosexuality was “not a problem,” clinicians were discouraged — and in many cases, prevented — from expressing opinions to the contrary or presenting papers at professional meetings. Soon scientific journals became largely silent on homosexuality as a developmental problem.
In fact, as of this writing, the American Psychological Association refuses to cooperate in any way with the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) because they disagree with NARTH’s view that the condition is a developmental disorder. Furthermore, they believe that a scientific position of this sort “contributes to the climate of prejudice and discrimination to which gay, lesbian and bisexual people are subject.” In effect, the APA has placed a moratorium on debate about this subject.
This silence among researchers was not brought about by scientific evidence showing homosexuality to be a healthy variant of human sexuality. Rather, it became fashionable simply not to discuss the condition anymore as a problem. Homosexuality was reported and discussed the way one reports the evening news — as something that “just is,” like the next day’s weather.
Ronald Bayer, a researcher from the Hastings Center for Ethics in New York, summarized the entire process. “The American Psychiatric Association,” wrote Bayer, “had fallen victim to the disorder of a tumultuous era, when disruptive elements threatened to politicize every aspect of American social life. A furious egalitarianism… compelled psychiatric experts to negotiate the pathological status of homosexuality with homosexuals themselves.”
The result — homosexuality’s removal from the psychiatric manual of disorderss — came about not through a rational process of scientific reasoning, “but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times.”
Nicolosi, J., Nicolosi, L. (2002). A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press