A study published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy that concludes some people can change their sexual orientation after undergoing years of a ministry program is (not surprisingly) being challenged by other researchers.
The study was designed by two psychologists working at religious universities who followed 65 participants between 6 to 7 years as they attended Exodus Ministries, a religious program for “individuals and families impacted by homosexuality."
The psychologists concluded that 23% of the people in the study were successful in changing their sexual orientation toward heterosexuality, while 30% turned toward chastity, 23% did not respond to treatment, and 20% just embraced their gay sexual orientation (any others were just left confused as a result of this "treatment").
Despite a 2005 declaration by the American Psychological Association that homosexuality was NOT changeable, the authors of the study wrote:
"The findings of this study appear to contradict the commonly expressed view that sexual orientation is not changeable."
These claims are not sitting well with other experts in the field of psychology.
Eli Coleman, professor and director of Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School, was quick to point out:
“We’ve been through this over and over. You can get behavioral changes, but that’s not orientation change. You can get short-term behavioral change. It’s not sustained.”
Can you convince a person to deny their sexual urges? Absolutely. Can you change their actual sexual orientation? According to the APA, NOPE!
Dr. Jack Drescher, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College, noted the study could be confusing sexual identity and sexual orientation.
A person CHOOSES their identity, but can't choose their orientation. Basically, they can deny their orientation throughout their entire life or choose to embrace it!
He also also wisely points out:
“I think the authors have a bias and I have a bias. Everybody has a bias. That’s why we have accumulation of data – and that doesn’t support their data."
Couldn't agree more!
However, we can still take one look at the minimal results of 23% "converting" to heterosexuality and say those people chose DENIAL! That is their freedom to choose a sexual identity and we respect that, but PLEASE don't chalk it up to scientific fact.
[Image via WENN.]