American Psychological Association report says “stop converting gays”

OK, I’m paraphrasing here, but the APA concluded yesterday that there is no evidence therapies meant to change someone’s sexual orientation are effective or healthy. In fact, their findings showed lasting changes were unlikely, and asked mental health practitioners to stop suggesting this kind of therapy.

The article seems to tap dance around the real reason why these types of therapies exist: Religious conservatives feel homosexuality is a travesty, and a closer relationship with Jesus (feeling horny guys? just pray to this shirtless dude) will somehow make gay men straight. The ‘therapies’ they’ve devised aren’t based on any real scientific understanding, but rather on the spurious reasoning that sexual orientation is a choice rather than an orientation. The APA suggests that people remain ‘creative’ when dealing with this issue, but they seem to ignore the elephant in the room: so long as religious bigots continue to crusade against homosexuality, these types of bullshit therapies won’t go away.

Is this surprising to anyone with half a brain? If you’re heterosexual, how likely is it that a therapy session would convince you to start finding the same sex attractive? In a universe with no God, where human evolution is the product of mutation and change, why is it so surprising that some humans might be born feeling attraction to the same sex? We predictably see this type of behavior in nature (gay penguins anyone?). Hey Christians, stop trying to convert gays and let them get back to giving straight people makeovers or something. That’s what they all do, right?

Comments (8)

  • avatar


    I think you used the word “preference” when you meant to use the word “orientation.” Second sentence in paragraph two.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    thanks Chuck. I guess I missed that one. All fixed.

  • avatar


    You didn’t mention the other recommendation that says it is perfectly acceptable for these same psychiatrists to promote celibacy.

  • avatar

    Angela Grace

    You’d think the church would realize that if sexuality was really a “choice”, there would be no pedophilia in the church. Who would CHOOSE to be attracted to children? Moreover, if religion was a cure, then pedophile priests should not exist. It seems that even threats of hell aren’t enough to stop some proclivities.

    I think the it’s obvious that sexuality evolved to be stronger than attempts to control it. Bravo to the APA for pointing out what has been obvious to many for some time.

  • avatar


    I have seen so much of this type of garbage therapy, Nicely done Mr. Good Atheist for bringing this type of fraud to public attention.

  • avatar

    Mark Zamen

    This is an excellent post that asks the right questions and nicely summarizes the absurdity of aversion/conversion therapies. The mindset that suggests such “treatments” are effective or even morally acceptable really just serves as yet another reminder that a large segment of society still regards gay men and women as second-class citizens – or worse. This is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others, including fellow Mormons). There is a portion of the story that deals specifically with the Church’s effort to change the sexual orientation of the main character – and of course it failed miserably. More information on the book is available at

    Mark Zamen, author

  • avatar

    Shirl Mincey

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