Does This Therapy Make Me Look Gay?

September 18, 2009

Photo by rhobinn from Flickr.comIf you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. If you have bad acne, you see the dermatologist. If you have back pain, you visit the chiropractor. If you’re gaylesbian or bisexual (GLB), you…. Wait a minute? When did being GLB become a sickness or a problem?

Believe it or not, there are some religious and socially conservative groups that tell people that being GLB is a sin or a sickness that must be cured. For years, counselors and centers, such as Exodus International and the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, have attempted to make GLB people heterosexual by having them undergo “reparative therapy”treatment to change their sexual orientation.

Some research suggests that these programs can have harmful effects on people, causing stress, depression and suicidal behavior. And when this therapy fails to change clients’ sexual orientation, the clients can become distraught. Yet despite these results, some counselors continue to tell GLB patients that they can be heterosexual through therapy.

Recently, however, the American Psychological Association (APA) has spoken out against reparative therapy, saying that treatment is unlikely to change a person’s sexual orientation. Now, therapists are urged not to recommend reparative therapy to GLB patients. Instead, the APA suggests therapy involving support, acceptance and identity exploration.

Some people are heterosexual; some people are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Why stress yourself out trying to be someone you’re not? Focus on accepting and appreciating yourself just the way you are.

-Cynthia Lam, 15, Staff Writer

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