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.1Numerous other studies support this conclusion.2

It is significant to note that the DSM currently recognizes that it is legitimate to diagnose a patient with sexual orientation disturbance and offer psycho-therapeutic intervention for that diagnosis. In addition, because the incidence of suicide is so high among youth experiencing sexual orientation issues, there is an urgent need to intervene with therapy while they are still young with the reasonable hope that the psycho-dynamics that lead to suicide can be prevented.3

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, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, 2001:May. http://www.narth.com/docs/spitzer3.html (accessed 3/18/10).

[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.: cf. http://www.narth.com/docs/journalsummary.html (accessed 3/18/10) for a summary of this peer-reviewed monograph.

[3] Rekers GA, Oram KB. Child and adolescent therapy for precursors to adulthood homosexual tendancies. Chapter 7 in Julie Harren Hamilton and Philip J. Henry (Eds.), Handbook of Therapy for Unwanted Homosexual Attractions: A Guide for Treatment. Palm Beach, FL: Xulon Press, 2009, pages 247-320.

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.

Rekers, G et.al. (1983) “Family Correlates of Male Childhood Gender Disturbance,” Journal of Genetics and Psychology 142, No. 1: 31-42.Rekers, G and Swihart J (1989) “The Association of Gender Identity Disorder with Parental Separation,” Psychological Reports 65, No. 3, Vol. 2: 1272-74.

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.