Homosexuality is Not a Pathology

To even have to have a section with this title is entirely shaming for our country. However, there is the belief held by some people that homosexuality is itself a pathology (Trent Lott, et. al). I have four lines of evidence that homosexuality is not a pathology. The first is the opinion of professional psychiatric/psychological and medical societies affirming the mental health of homosexuals. Second is the empirical data affirming the mental/relational health of gay persons in relationships (as shown from 26 separate studies). Third is the evidence refuting the propaganda that most gays engage in highly promiscuous sexual activity and are more likely to sexually assault children. Finally is the scientific evidence supporting the mental health of homosexuals from 70 separate studies conducted since 1957.

Consensus of Scientific Opinion

  1. Professional Opinions
  2. Gay Relationships
  3. Allegations of Promiscuity
  4. Mental Health


  1. Appendix A is a critique of the Bell and Weinberg study.
  2. Appendix B is a series of criteria (under development) that should be used to establish the scientific credibility of ex-gay therapies.
  3. Appendix C is an essay on the problems with ex-gay therapy, but ultimately defends the need for their continued presence.
  4. Appendix D describes the data from the most rigorously created and best replicated studies on the percentage of gay and lesbian people in the general population.
  5. Appendix E describes the results of several population-based studies on the issue of gay-suicide, and school-related fears of violence of GLB students.
(see also Niclas Berggren's page at http://hem.passagen.se/nicb/change.htm)

1) Professional Opinions

Mental health and medical licensing agencies currently accept the good mental health of homosexuals as a given. Those are posted elsewhere on this site, and can be accessed directly by following this link:
Position Statements by Professional Societies. One of the primary turning points in the official acceptance of the healthy mental status of homosexuals came in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM-IV, the primary tool used by psychiatrists to diagnose patients with various mental illnesses.

a) Historically, psychoanalysts have been the primary opponents to the depathologization of homosexuality in the 1973 APA decision, Socarides and Bieber being by far the most vocal opponents of the decision. However, in a recent survey of psychoanalysts (n=82; Friedman) they found that "no respondents strongly endorsed the type of pathological model proposed by Socarides" (p. 84), and that "the responses of the group as a whole were more towards a health than illness model."

R Friedman-1996; Journal of Homosexuality 32: 79-89

b) In another recent study, it was reported that 47.3% of psychiatric training directors (n=198) view homosexuality as normal or somewhat normal, 51.2% view homosexuality as neutral, and 1.5% view it as somewhat pathological or pathological.

Townsend-1995, Academic Psychiatry 19:213-218

2) Gay Relationships

a) 40-60% of gay men, and 45-80% of lesbians are in a steady relationship

J Harry-1983 in Contemporary Families and Alternative Lifestyles, ed by Macklin, Sage Publ.
L Peplau-1981, in Journal of Homosexuality 6(3):1-19
J Spada-1979, The Spada Report, New American Library Publ

b) Studies of older homosexual people show that gay relationships lasting over 20 years are not uncommon

D McWhirter-1984, The Male Couple, Prentice-Hall
S Raphael-1980, Alternative Lifestyles 3:207-230, "The Older Lesbian"
C Silverstein-1981, Man to Man: Gay Couples in America, William Morrow Publ.

c) In a large sample of couples followed for 18 months the following "break up" statistics were observed: lesbians=22%, gay=16%, cohabiting heterosexuals=17%, married heterosexuals=4%

Blumstein and Schwartz (1983) American Couples: Money, Work, Sex; Morrow Publ.

d) Homosexual and heterosexual couples matched on age, etc, tend not to differ in levels of love and satisfaction, nor in their scores on other standardized scales

M Cardell-1981, Psychology of Women Quarterly 5:488-94
D Dailey-1979, Journal of Sex Research 15:143-57
S Duffy-1986, Journal of Homosexuality 12(2):1-24
L Kurdek-1986, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51:711-720
L Peplau-1982, Journal of Homosexuality 8(2):23-35 (see L Peplau-1991, Homosexuality: Research Implications for Public Policy, ed by J Gonsiorek).

e) gay/lesbian parents report no greater stress than heterosexuals, and children are not adversely affected by being raised by homosexual families

2005 Lambert S. Family Journal: Counseling & Therapy for Couples & Families 13(1): 43-51. "Gay and Lesbian Families: What We Know and Where to Go From Here"
2004 Wainright J. Child Development 75(6): 1886-1898. "Psychosocial Adjustment, School Outcomes, and Romantic Relationships of Adolescents With Same-Sex Parents"
2003 Golombok S. Developmental Psychology 39: 20-33. "Children with lesbian parents: A community study."
2003 Millbank J. Australian Journal of Social Issues 38: 541-600. "From here to maternity: A review of the research on lesbian and gay families."
2002 Vanfraussen K. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 20: 237-252. "What does it mean for youngsters to grow up in a lesbian family created by means of donor insemination."
2002 Golombok S. British Medical Journal 234: 1407-1408. "Adoption by lesbian couples."
2002 Anderssen N. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 43(4): 335-351. "Outcomes for children with lesbian or gay parents: A review of studies from 1978 to 2000"
2002 Perrin E. Pediatrics 109: 341-344. "Technical report: Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex partners."
2001 Stacey J. American Sociological Review 66: 159-183. "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?"
2000 Patterson C. Journal of Marriage and the Family 62: 1052-1069. "Family relationships of lesbians and gay men."
1999 Fitzgerald B. Marriage and Family Review 29(1): 57-75. "Children of lesbian and gay parents: A review of the literature"
1999 Tasker F. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 4(2): 153-166. "Children in lesbian-led families: A review"
1998 Binder R. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 26(2): 267-276. " American Psychiatric Association resource document on controversies in child custody: Gay and lesbian parenting, transracial adoptions, joint versus sole custody, and custody gender issues."
1998 McNeill K. Psychological Reports 82:59-62. " Families and parenting: A comparison of lesbian and heterosexual mothers"
1998 Parks C. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 68(3): 376-389. "Lesbian parenthood: A review of the literature"
1997 Brewaeys A. Human Reproduction 12:1349-59
1997 Brewaeys A. J of Psychosomatic Obs and Gyn 18:1-16
1997 Patterson C. Advances in Clinical Child Psychology 19:235-282. "Children of lesbian and gay parents"
1997 Tasker F. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 1997 28 (1-2) 183-202. "Young People's Attitudes toward Living in a Lesbian Family: A Longitudinal Study of Children Raised by Post-Divorce Lesbian Mothers"
1996 Allen M. J of Homosexuality 32(2):19-35. "Comparing the impact of homosexual and heterosexual parents on children: Meta-analysis of existing research"
1996 Golombok S. Developmental Psychology 32 (1) p3-11. "Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children? Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Lesbian Families."
1996 Patterson C. Journal of Social Issues 52(3): 29-50. "Lesbian and gay families with children: Implications of social science research for policy"
1995 Bailey J. Developmental Psychology 31(1): 124-129. "Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers."
1995 Flaks D. Developmental Psychology 31(1): 105-114. "Lesbians choosing motherhood: A comparative study of lesbian and heterosexual parents and their children."
1995 Fowler G. Family and Conciliation Courts Review 33(3): 361-376."Homosexual parents: Implications for custody cases"
1995 Tasker F. Am J of Orthopsychiatry 65:203-15. "Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families"
1995 van-Nijnatten C. Medicine and Law 14(5-6): 359-368. "Sexual orientation of parents and Dutch family law."
1995 Victor S. School Psychology Review 24(3): 456-479. " Lesbian mothers and the children: A review for school psychologists."
1994 McIntyre D. Mediation Quarterly 12(2), winter, 135-149. "Gay Parents and Child Custody: A Struggle under the Legal System"
1993 Patterson C. , Annual Progress in Child Psychiatry and Child Development 33-62 "Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents"
1992 Baggett C. Law and Psychology Review 16: 189-200. "Sexual orientation: Should it affect child custody rulings."
1987 Kirkpatrick M. J of Homosexuality 14:201-11. "Clinical Implications of Lesbian Mother Studies"
1986 Green R. Archives of Sexual Behavior 15:167-184. "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children"
1986 Kleber D. Bulletin of the Am Acad of Psychiatry and Law 14(1):81-87. "The impact of parental homosexuality in child custody cases: A review of the literature"
1983 Golombok S. J of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 24:551-572. "Children in lesbian and single-parent households: Psychosexual and psychiatric appraisal"
1982 Green R. Bulletin of the Am Acad of Psychiatry and Law 10:7-15. "The best interests of the child with a lesbian mother"
1981 Hoeffer B. Am J of Orthopsychiatry 51:536-44. "Children's acquisition of sex-role behavior in lesbian-mother families"
1981 Kirkpatrick M. Am J of Orthopsychiatry 51:545-551. "Lesbian mothers and their children: A comparative survey"
1981 Miller J. J of Homosexuality 7(1):49-56. "The child's home environment for lesbian vs. heterosexual mothers: A neglected area of research"
1980 Lewis K. Social Work 25:198-203. "Children of Lesbians: Their Point of View"

3) Homosexuals are no more promiscuous or predatory than heterosexuals

There is an extant myth, propagated by the Christian Right, that homosexuals engage in highly promiscuous behavior. Granted, there are some homosexuals that do engage in such behavior. But there are heterosexuals that do the same thing. What is important to recognize is the substantial heterosexist bias that causes people to ignore heterosexual flaws while highlighting homosexual flaws.

a) One study which appears to support the idea that homosexuals are highly promiscuous was published by Bell and Weinberg, and is often cited by the Christian Right, and even some secular sources. However, their data is highly suspicious, and cannot be generalized to the entire homosexual population. Because of their methodology, their data is valuable only as a case study for the sample they studied, but it is not by any means representative of the general gay population. See Appendix A for my specific critique of this study, and why their statistics on gay promiscuity are so bizarrely high.

b) In a study of sexual behavior in homosexuals and heterosexuals, the researchers found that of gay and bisexual men, 24% had one male partner in their lifetime, 45% had 2-4 male partners, 13% had 5-9 male partners, and 18% had 10 or more sexual partners, which produces a mean of less than 6 partners. (The statistics I did by myself using the data presented, which is presented as a percentage of total males interviewed, both gay and straight (p. 345)--they can be verified yourself by looking at the numbers given in the paper)(Fay; n=97 gay males of 1450 males total). In a parallel study, a random sample of primarily straight men (n=3111 males who had had vaginal intercourse; of the total sample of n=3224 males, only 2.3% had indicated having had sex with both men and women), the mean number of sexual partners was 7.3, with 28.2% having 1-3 partners, and 23.3% having greater than 19 partners (Billy). This data indicates that gay men may have fewer number of sexual partners than heterosexuals.

J Billy-1993: Family Planning Perspectives 25:52-60
R Fay-1989, Science 243:338-348

In another set of studies, the first (n=2664) showed that gay men had an average of 6.5 sexual partners in the past 5 years. In fact, the authors of this paper report that "homosexual and bisexual men are much more likely than heterosexual men to be celibate" given the data in the table below, which compares their data to a second, parallel study of only heterosexual men (n=1235, age=18-49 yrs). The table indicates the percentage of men having the given number of sexual partners in the previous year [top row: Binson; bottom row: Dolcini]:

orientation no partners 1 partner 2+ partners
gay 24 % 41 % 35 %
straight 8 % 80 % 12 %

D Binson-1995: Journal of Sex Research 32: 245-54.
M Dolcini-1993: Family Planning Perspectives 25: 208-14.

A third major study, by Laumann, appears on the surface to indicate that gay men do have many more sexual partners than heterosexual men. However, a more extensive analysis of the data gives a more balanced perspective. Laumann fails to explore the radically skewed nature of the data. Typically this indicates that the mean, the statistic presented by Laumann, may not be the best measure to report. A further analysis of the GSS data (on which Laumann based his results) indicates that the median (50th percentile) number of sexual partners for heterosexuals is five and for homosexuals is six (http://www.jeramyt.org/gss/partners.html). The discrepancy between the mean and median is indicative of a small sub-population of gay males who tend towards high rates of sexual partners, skewing the mean, while the majority of gay men tend to have rates about the same as heterosexual males.

Laumann, Edward, et al. The Social Organization of Sexuality : Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

c) Homosexuals are NOT more likely to be child molesters. In a random sample of 175 child sex offenders 76% report having exclusive adult heterosexual behavior, and 24% report having adult bisexual behavior. The sexual attraction towards children is a pathology unrelated to sexual orientation.

A Groth-1978, Archives of Sexual Behavior 7(3): 175-181

In a second study of 1206 convictions for child molesters in New Jersey, 80.7% were heterosexual acts and 19.3% were homosexual acts.

E Revitch-1962, Diseases of the Nervous System 23:73-78

In a third study, 47% of males convicted of sexual abuse against male children were in an heterosexual marriage.

P Gebhard-1965, Sex Offenders, New York: Harper and Row

In a fourth study in Great Britain, in a review of 200 sexual assaults on boys, only 32 of the perpetrators were homosexuals.

J McGeorge-1964, Medicine, Science and the Law 4:245-53

In a fifth study of 148 offenders who sexually assaulted under-age persons in Massachusetts, 71 (51%) selected only female children, 42 (28%) selected male children, and 31 (21%) assaulted both male and female children. Moreover, the authors report that "offenders attracted to boy victims typically report that they are uninterested in or revulsed by adult homosexual relationships and find the young boy's feminine characteristics ... appealing" (p. 20). They found that of those pedophiles that were attracted to both children and adults (51%), 83% were exclusively heterosexuals, and 17% were bisexual.

A Groth-1978, LAE Journal (Lambda Alpha Epsilon American Criminal Justice Association) 41 (1): 17-22

In a sixth study of 136 convicted sex offenders, over 80% had been involved in adult long-term heterosexual relationships.

Simon C--1992, J Interpersonal Violence. 7:211-225

In a seventh study at the Children's Hospital in San Diego, of the 140 boys presenting with sexual abuse, only 4% of the assaults were by homosexuals.

M Spencer-1986, Pediatrics 78 (1):133-138

In an eighth study, also at a children's hospital, of 269 children evaluated for sexual abuse by known adults, 0.7% of the children were abused by an indentified gay or lesbian adult and 88% were abused by identified heterosexuals. The rest of the children (of a total 352 children sample) were either abused by another child or teenager (21% of the total sample, all of whom were abused by opposite gender children/teens), or by strangers for whom no sexual orientation was known (11.6% of the total sample).

Jenny C--1994, Pediatrics. 94(1):41-4

Finally, the discussion of whether or not homosexuals versus heterosexuals are more likely to molest children completely ignores the current state of research on the psychopathology of the child molester. By definition, the pedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to children. Since children do not typically have the secondary gender-differentiated characteristics of adults, the typical heterosexual or homosexual are not sexually attracted to children. If an adult is attracted to a child, it is related to the child's vulnerability. Even if the child is a male being abused by an adult male the pedophile is not attracted to male characteristics, as found in the above study by Groth, which would be presumed if the abuser were "homosexual".

Murray JB.--2000 Journal of Psychology. 134(2):211-24 (Review article)

4) Psychological Testing Affirms the Mental Health of Homosexuals

This represents the evidence that homosexuality is not pathological, and comes from studies that were primarily done in the 60's, 70's and 80's. There were a flurry of studies done after the classical study by Evelyn Hooker in 1957, which produced the large body of studies from the 60's -70's. Then the studies dwindle down as the 80's progress, and very few studies can be found in the 90's. This is because all of the evidence is convergent, so no further studies were warranted, and the conclusion was that homosexuality evidenced no pathological characteristics that were significantly different from heterosexuals.

a) MMPI data:

L Braaten-1965, Genetic Psychology Monographs 71:269-310
R Dean-1964, J of Consulting Psychology 28 483-86
W Horstman-1972, Homosexuality and Psychopathology(dissertation)
Adelman-1977, Arch of Sex Beh 6(3):193-201
Oberstone-1976, Psychology of Women Quarterly 1(2):172-86

b) Other tests (Eysenck's Personality Inventory, Cattel's 16PF, California Personality Inventory, etc)

R Evans-1970, J of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 34:212-15
R Turner-1974, Br J of Psychiatry 125:447-49
M Siegelman-1972, Br J of Psychiatry 120:477-481
M Siegelman-1972, Archives of Sexual Behavior 2:9-25
M Freedman-1971, Homosexuality and Psychological Functioning, Brooks/Cole Publ.
J Hopkins-1969, Br J of Psychiatry 115:1433-1436
M Wilson-1971, Psychological Reports 28:407-412
N Thompson-1971, J of Abnormal Psychology 78:237-40
E Ohlson-1974, J of Sex Research 10:308-315
D Christie-1986, Psychological Reports 59:1279-1282
H Carlson-1984, Sex Roles 10:457-67
T Clark-1975, Am J of Psychoanalysis 35:163-68
R LaTorre-1983, J of Homosexuality 9:87-97
P Nurius-1983, J of Sex Research 19:119-36
C Rand-1982, J of Homosexuality 8(1):27-39 J Harry-1983, Archives of Sexual Behavior 12:1-19
E Hooker-1957, J of Projective Techniques 21:18-31

c) Reviews

B Harris-1977, Bulletin of the Am Acad of Psychiatry and Law 5:75-89
J Gonsiorek-1977, Psychological Adjustment and Homosexuality, Select Press.
W Paul-1982, Homosexuality: Social, Psychological and Biological Issues; Sage Publ.
M Hart-1978, J of Clinical Psychiatry 39:604-608
R Meredith-1980, Professional Psychology 11:174-93
B Reiss-1974, J of Homosexuality 1:71-85
B Reiss-1980, Homosexual Behavior a modern reappraisal, Basic Books
P Falk-1989, Am Psychologist 44(6):941-947
Kingdon-1979, Counseling Psychologist 8(1):44-45
V Armon-1960, Journal of Projective Techniques 24:292-309
N Thompson-1971, J of Abnormal Psychology 78:237-40

d) Psychiatric Interviews
R Pillard-1988, Psychiatric Annals 18:51-56
M Saghir-1970, Am J of Psychiatry 126:1079-86

Appendix A: Problems with the Bell and Weinberg study

I found 4 major problems with the methodology of Bell and Weinberg's study.

1) The sampling of the homosexuals in the study was not random, and they admit as much. The heterosexual sample was random, using census data and land tracts to ensure a random sample, and going to exhaustive lengths to make sure those samples were truly random. While they did go to great lengths to get a large sample group of homosexuals, and I don't doubt that their data is representative of the sample they were testing, their data is absolutely not generalizable due to the clear fact that their sample was not a random sample.

2) Another reason why their data is not generalizable is that they while they did a survey of heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, for some reason they didn't include the heterosexual data. For example, while they claim that one homosexual respondent claims to have had sex with over 10,000 people, and a large percentage of their sample claim to have had sex with over 500 people, they do not give correlative data on the heterosexual sample. For all we know the heterosexual sample may have had a greater number of sexual partners than the homosexual sample. Without this control group, we cannot generalize their sample to the population at large, because we do not know that their population represents national norms since we have no heterosexual control group. It is possible that the heterosexual statistics were equally high, and could have shown that the data does not represent promiscuity specifically among gays, but of the sexually active single person in San Francisco in the 1970's.

3) A third problem, still relating to the heterosexual sample, is that it did not represent a true control group. Apart from the fact that the homosexual sample was not random and the heterosexual sample was, the homosexual samples were taken from the following places: singles bars (22%), gay baths (9%), public places (=guys hanging out in parks to find sex partners; 6%), private bars (=sex clubs; 5%), personal contacts (people that the bar people, public place people, bath house people, etc, knew personally and referred; 23%), public advertising + organizations + mailing lists (29%).The heterosexual sample, on the other hand, were people in residential areas, admittedly including married people. These two samples are not parallel, and even if they had included the heterosexual data, they would not be comparable. In order for this data to have been generalizable, they would have had to go to heterosexual singles bars, sex clubs, bookstores, etc, to get their population.

4) They used Kinsey 2-6 for their inclusion of homosexual population. Their sample does not represent only homosexual persons, but also includes bisexual persons.

Appendix B: Ideas for constructing validity testing for ex-gay therapy

The following is a list of criteria that were primarily constructed by a British psychiatrist friend, partially modified and added to by me (Jeramy Townsley).

  1. Any ex-gay research should be done by those who are:
    • (a) completely unconnected with the ministry either as therapists or clients
    • (b) independent of religious and political bodies which either pay for or are committed to attacking, such ministries. This is because there are so many non-specific aspects to 'treatment' in psychotherapy of which therapist influence and client expectation are the most powerful. The same applies to investigator bias.
  2. The sample must be epidemiologically sound. Handing out questionnaires at an Exodus conference is possibly the worst way to go about it.
  3. There must be a control group. The control groups should contain both a waiting list control (placebo, no-treatment group), as well as a treatment by a secular therapist along normal gay-affirmative lines.
  4. Assessors of outcome must be, if at all possible, blind to the process. Outcome measures should include various measures of patient satisfaction, quality of life, and psychopathology etc.
  5. The therapists must attempt to practice in a standardized way. Sessions should be taped to allow for verification of standard practice.
  6. Follow-up must be long enough to allow for the known phenomenon of homosexual recidivism {i.e. sliding back into same hype and support from the group has faded away). A minimum of 2-year follow-up would be necessary.
  7. Samples should include lesbians as well as clients from non-homophobic conservative religious backgrounds.
  8. There should be a clear statement of methodology and aims. i.e. WHAT is it that the ex-gay therapist is trying to change, and whether this is tailored for each client or follows a blanket "you must have been abused by your brother format?"
  9. An independent research team should be utilized. .e.g. Elkin or Ueissman, with a proven track record in social and epidemiological research.

Appendix C: Ex-Gay Therapy--a Defense

See the entire paper. Below is a summary of the paper, which was a co-winner of the Robert Stine Medical Humanities Award for 1999.

Many gay and lesbian people experience ego-dystonia because of their homosexuality. Some studies have shown that most people who experience this phenomenon come from authoritarian backgrounds with religious fundamentalism as a backdrop. Whether this ego-dystonia is experienced for religious reasons, or cultural reasons, the phenomenon is very real. We see the most dramatic influence of this phenomenon played out in the fact that about a third of all gay/lesbian teens attempt suicide, a significantly larger percentage than heterosexual teenagers. This self-loathing about their sexual identity, combined with the fact that they have no community support group, unlike racial minorities, make this population especially vulnerable to psycho-social difficulties. Many people feel that one alternative to embracing their sexuality is to explore reparative, or similar therapies in an attempt to become heterosexual.

Several problematic issues appear in this debate. These issues center around consent. First, is a person who is experiencing ego-dystonic homosexuality aware of the issues involved with ex-gay therapies? If the person is experiencing a culturally or religiously-induced self-loathing and heterosexism, they may perceive that their dissonance is caused from moral beliefs about the sinfulness of homosexuality, whereas it is actually caused by a misinterpretation of their self-loathing and heterosexism. It is normal practice for a psychotherapist to examine issues like this when exploring treatment options for the client. On the one hand there is the need to alleviate the perceived distress of the client, in this case their homosexuality, while at the same time exploring the real cause of their distress, which may or may not be caused by homosexuality itself. For example, some psychiatric patients express a perception of paranoia, but aren't best served by hiring security guards to give them a sense of security. On the contrary, they are best served by exploring the cause of the paranoid feelings, and helping alleviate the cause of the problem, not simply the symptom. In the case of ex-gay therapy, self-loathing and internalized heterosexism/homophobia may be the causative agent that leads the client to believe that s/he would prefer not to be gay, and may lead them to believe that attempting to become heterosexual is the best treatment course, rather than addressing the deeper issues, and accepting their inherent sexuality. Another consent-related issues involve GID therapy, developed by George Rekers, in which effeminate male children, or masculine female children are placed into therapy with the purpose of preventing them from becoming homosexuals as adults. A final consent-related issue involves the fact that most ex-gay counselors are neither trained in psychological sciences, nor are the ministries themselves under any regulation. Consequently there is no way for a consumer-advocacy group to alert possible clients to which ex-gay ministries are abusive, and which are not abusive.

Despite all of this, I do in fact maintain that there is a need for ex-gay therapies. While I believe they should come under the jurisdiction of a national licensing agency, there are definitely people for whom ex-gay therapy should be explored, and ethically, no person should ultimately be denied treatment for a condition which causes mental anguish. There is little question that homosexuality, because of massive social stigma, causes mental anguish among many people who experience same-gender attraction. However there is a separate issue that must be addressed. That issue is the psychological make-up of the person for whom ex-gay therapy is sought.

Most of the ex-gays with whom I have experience, and have read about in the ex-gay and psychological literature refer to sexual lives of homosexual promiscuity and obsessive homosexual thoughts. These behaviors and thoughts are attributed by the ex-gay to a belief about the inherent nature of homosexuality--sinful and pathological. However, studies show that the vast majority of gays and lesbians are as psychologically and socially healthy as heterosexuals, and are no more prone to promiscuity than are heterosexuals. This points to a peculiarity in those gays (lesbians typically do not experience this phenomenon) who experience sexually obsessive homosexual thoughts, and who engage in high-risk, anonymous sexual behavior. Many of these gays end up searching for treatment for their homosexuality. While some studies indicate that self-loathing and internalized heterosexism leads to such behaviors, and in fact this may be the case with many such gays, it may also be the case that these gays have a pathological etiology for their homosexual feelings.

Regardless of the lack or presence of specific environmental influences, most people would regard high-risk, anonymous sexual behavior as maladaptive and psychologically unhealthy. Many of the ex-gays with whom I have experience and have read about in the ex-gay and psychological literature, who have described a true change in personal sexual orientation seem to come from backgrounds of such maladaptive behaviors. With the presence of many types of sexual dysfunction in Western society, ministries/therapies that deal with specific sexual dysfunctions are greatly needed. Because of this need, I support the continued presence ex-gay ministries, with the caveats described above. While some may argue that what these clients really need is to learn better relational skills, it may well be that there is some biological component to homosexuality that these people lack, and experience homosexuality because of trauma inflicted on them as young people and not as a naturally occurring process. If this is the case, that would help explain both the high rates of promiscuity and psychopathology of this small segment of the homosexual population, as well as the high association of successful sexual reorientation among this population.

Appendix D: Population of Gays and Lesbians

The following data are contrary to the popular conception of the number of gays and lesbians in the general population. Ever since Kinsey's classic studies on homosexuality several decades ago, the myth that 10% of the population is gay/lesbian has become rooted in our culture. However this data is far from supported in well-designed studies, and Kinsey's data has not been replicated by scientifically accepted studies. The following studies confirm that the G/L population tends to range from 2-5% of the general population.

1) Archives of Sexual Behavior, 24(3):235-48, June 1995

RL Sell--"The Prevalence of Homosexual Behavior and attraction in the United-States, the

United-Kingdom and France."

This author found the following sexual behavior, asking about same-sex sexual parters in the past five years

United States

United Kingdom


Total Sample Size




Male Bisexual




Male Same Sex




Female Bisexual




Female Same Sex




Attractions were also studied:

United States

United Kingdom


Males having same sex attraction




Females having same sex attraction




They also reviewed several studies which studied male same-sex behavior in the past 5 years:

Billy-1989: 2.3%

Johnson-1992: 1.4%

Spira-1992: 1.4% (females=0.4%)(also studied same-sex behavior "ever", with males claiming 4.1% and females 2.6%)

Then 2 studies of same-sex behavior in the past year:

Fay-1989: 1.8%

Smith-1991: 1.6%

2) Journal of Sex Research, 32(3):245-54, 1995

D Binson, "Prevalence and Social Distribution of men who have sex with men, Unites States and its urban centers."

Men reporting same-sex behavior in the past 5 years (does not exclude bisexuals; sample size=2664)

age 18-29





age 30-39





age 40-49



never married










Central cities of 12 largest SMSA's





Central cities of next 88 largest SMSA's





Suburbs of 12 largest SMSA's


less than high school education



Suburbs of next 88 largest SMSA's


high school



Other Urban Counties


more than high school



Other Rural Counties


3) Archives of Sexual Behavior, 22(4):291-310, 1993

M Diamond. "Homosexuality and bisexuality in different populations." (This is a review article, not a research article)

a) Dixon-1991, sample size=701 males, 745 females; "Any sex with another male 1978-1989?" =7.3%

b) Harris Poll-1988; sample size=739 male, 409 female

"Any same sex partner

previous five years"

4.4% male

3.6% female

"last year"

3.8% male

2.8% female

"last month"

1.8% male

2.1% female

c) Hart-1968 (Philipines; 729 persons=total population of tribe):

1.6% male, 0.0% female reported same-sex behavior

d) Asayama-1976 (Japan) sample size=2574 male, 2101 female

"Any homosexual conteact such as kissing, petting or mutual masturbation?"

7.1% male, 4.0% female

e) JASE (Japan) "Ever any homosexual body contact?"

Year of Survey

Male sample

Female sample


6.7 % of 2764

3.8% of 2236


5.8% of 2505

5.0% of 2485


3.7% of 4317


f) Michael-1988

"Any same sex experience last 12 months"

504 males=3.2%, 567 females=0.2%

g) Morens (Palau)-1991 "What type of same sex experience in last 12 months"

424 male

1.9% homosexual

2.8% bisexual

422 femels

2.8% homosexual

0.9% bisexual

h) Rogers-1991, "any same sex experience during adulthood"

Year of Study




3018 males under 21



1537 males under 18



1372 males under 18


i) Sittitrai-1992 (Thai), "Any same sex experience during adulthood"

983 males=3.7%, 1285 females=3.1%

j) Schover-1988 (Denmark) "Any same sex experience during adulthood"

625 females=0.2%

k) Wellings-1990; "Any same-sex Experience?"

1000 males and females combined=9.0% male, 4.0% female

Appendix E: Suicide among GLB Youth

See the full summaries of all of the relevant studies on my
Gay Youth Suicide page.

Studies are consistent in their findings of an increased risk of suicide among GLB-youth. The political Religious Right interprets this as an indicator that having homosexual feelings indicates an inherent pathology. However the studies presented above contradict that interpretation. A more salient interpretation, given the overwhelming evidence of the clear mental health of GLB's, is that increased rates of violence and assault, and a lack of parental and social support for GLB youth (all of which are supported by existing data) are part of the etiology of increased suicide attempts and ideation of GLB youth.
There have been nine studies since 1990, examining suicide among GLB youth (one of which is not presented below because the author, DuRant-1998, does not give raw data, only correlation data--see the page referenced above). Of these, only one (Shaffer, 1995) shows no significant difference of suicide rates between GLB and non-GLB youth, and this was done post-mortem on youth who had committed suicide, with sexual-orientation of these youth determined by interviews of parents, teachers and friends.

The GLB-sample populations present the following statistics:

Author, Year N GLB-youth reporting suicide attempts
Hershberger, 1997 194 40% males, 43% females
Jordan, 1997 34 35.3%
Proctor, 1994 221 40.3%
Rotheram, 1994 138 39%

The population-based populations present the following statistics:

Author, Year N GLB-youth reporting suicide attempts non-GLB-youth reporting suicide attempts
Faulkner, 1998 3054 41.7% (represents only sexually-active youth) 28.6% (represents only sexually-active youth)
Garofalo, 1998 4159 35.3% 9.9%
Remafedi, 1998 36,254 28.1% male, 20.5% female 4.2% male, 14.5% female
Schaffer, 1995 120 2.5% of the 120 youth were allegedly GLB 97.% of the 120 youth were allegedly non-GLB

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Jeramy Townsley;