Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another talking point against the Metro ordinance bites the dust

The American Psychological Association hammered another nail in the coffin of the Family Action Council's talking points on the Metro non-discrimination ordinance today. The press release dealt a blow to the idea that therapists can or should try to change the sexual orientation of their clients:

"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex."

One of the talking points used against the ordinance by advocacy groups and picked up by some Council Members is the idea that sexual orientation shouldn't be covered because it can change. For example, one Councilman made that argument in a NewsChannel 5 piece:

"How do we identify them? How do we know if they're telling the truth? What if they want to change in the middle? And it's something... you choose this way of life," said Metro Council Member Robert Duvall.

Unfortunately, such misinformation fed to our elected officials has negative policy consequences. But a thorough review of the literature and the studies makes it clear that there is no evidence for change in sexual orientation. Even if there had been evidence, it doesn't mean people wouldn't discriminate based on real or perceived sexual orientation. So the argument falls on two counts.


Rob said...

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” - John Adams

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Anonymous said...

"Another talking point against the Metro ordinance bites the dust"
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