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Homosexual Orientation

Beliefs and professional associations'
statements about homosexual orientation

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Overview:

Until the 1950s, people were of a common opinion about sexual orientation:

bulletLesbians and gays stayed firmly in the closet.
bulletSame-sex behavior was considered a criminal act by many legislatures.
bulletSame-sex behavior was considered a very serious sin by almost all faith groups.
bulletMental health professionals considered gays and lesbians to be mentally ill.

Then, Evelyn Hooker, a research psychologist, decided to study gays and lesbians in their natural habitat. (Previous studies had been done among lesbians and gays who were either in prison or who were mentally ill and under the care of a therapist). She found that gays and lesbians exhibited a normal range of mental health. Two decades later, professional mental health associations agreed.

Today, there remains a difference of opinion between two solitudes:

bullet Most gays, lesbians, bisexuals, mental health professionals, religious liberals and progressives, consider the three sexual orientations -- heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexual -- to all be normal, natural, un chosen, fixed, and morally neutral.
 
bulletMost religious and social conservatives consider the three sexual orientations to be abnormal, unnatural, chosen, changeable, and immoral.

Whether any of the three sexual orientations is either moral or immoral under a given set of circumstances is determined by ones ethics and are often greatly influenced by each person's religious faith. However the other four properties of each sexual orientation -- whether it is normal or abnormal, natural or unnatural, chosen or un chosen, fixed or changeable can be determined by scientific study. Unfortunately, the two solitudes are poles apart in their thinking. They very rarely engage in meaningful dialogue. Both are probably quite unable to accept evidence that contradicts their opinions. And so the conflict is guaranteed to continue. Harmony may well extend into the late 21st century, if then.

Topics covered in this section:

bulletA brief history of homosexual orientation; Obstacles inhibiting study
 
bulletOne more obstacle preventing study. Implications from a lack of consensus.
 
bulletStatements by professional associations. Research data.

bullet American Psychological Association's 2007 resolution on religious prejudice

Related menu on this web site:

bulletReparative Therapy - all sides

Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > here

Copyright © 1998 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1998-FEB-5
Latest update: 2010-NOV-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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