Homosexuality involves people having romantic and/or physical attractions to people of the same sex. Females who are attracted to other females are often called “lesbian;” males who are attracted to other males are often called “gay.”  The term gay is sometimes used to describe homosexuals of either gender.

Clinical and scientific research suggests that the causes of homosexuality, or same-sex attraction, are multi-factorial with environment and temperament playing the strongest roles.

Different mental health practitioners view homosexuality quite differently. The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been the resource to diagnose mental health disorders since 1952. From 1952 until 1973 The DSM Manual classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1973, with the sixth printing of the second edition of the DSM, homosexuality was reclassified as normal behavior. However, in 2001 psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer, who in 1973 originally led the team to normalize homosexuality in the diagnostic manual, conceded that “reorientation therapy” (a patient/client’s efforts to diminish unwanted homosexual attractions and behaviors and/or develop one’s heterosexual potential through professional and/or religiously-mediated change efforts) can be effective.1 Numerous other studies support this conclusion.2

Understanding Same-Sex Attraction

For more in depth analysis of Homosexuality, consider the following articles and links:

[1] Historic Gay Advocate Now Believes Change is Possible, The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, 2001:May. http://media.wix.com/ugd/ec16e9_b8c1aa1f49f642c0bf97a5d679c805a5.pdf (accessed 9/1/16).

[2] National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) Scientific Advisory Committee (2009). What Research Shows: NARTH’s Response to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Claims on Homosexuality. Journal of Human Sexuality, 1, 1-128.

Additional Resources

Bailey, J., Miller, J., Willerman, L. (1993) Maternally rated childhood gender nonconformity in homosexuals and heterosexuals.  Archives of Sexual Behavior.  22, 5:  461-469.

Beitchman, J., Zucker, K., Hood, J., DaCosta, G., Akman, D. (1991) A review of the short-term effects of child sexual abuse.  Child Abuse & Neglect.  15:  537-556.

Bradley, S., Zucker, K. (1997) Gender identity disorder:  A review of the past 10 years.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  34, 7:  872-880.

Byne, W., Parsons, B. (1993)  Human sexual orientation:  The biologic theories reappraised.  Archives of General Psychiatry.  50:  228-239.

Finkelhor, D. (1984) Child sexual abuse:  New theory and research. NY:  The Free Press.

Fisher, S., Greenberg, R. (1996) Freud Scientifically Reappraised.  NY: Wiley & Sons.

Pillard, R. (1988) Sexual orientation and mental disorder.  Psychiatric Annals.  18, 1: 52-56.

Ross, M.W. (Ed), (1983) “Parental and interpersonal relationships of transsexual and masculine and feminine homosexual men,” Journal of Homosexuality, Special Issue, Homosexuality & Social Sex Roles, volume 9, No. 1: 75-85.

Satinover, J. (1996) Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Grand Rapids, MI:  Hamewith Books, pp. 87-88 and 221-228.

Steed, J.J. and Templer, D (2010) “Gay Men and Lesbian Women with Molestation History:  Impact on Sexual Orientation and Experience of Pleasure,” The Open Psychology Journal, Vol. 3, 36-41.

Templer, D et.al., (2001) “Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons,”  Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 5, 535 – 541.

Wolfe, C. (Ed), (1999) Homosexuality and American Public Life, Washington DC:  Spence Publishing Co., pp. 85-97.