Michelle A. Cretella

Shouldn’t same-sex oriented teens be given a chance to change?

Michelle A. Cretella
By Michelle Cretella
Image

February 14, 2014 (MercatorNet) - In 2013 California and New Jersey passed laws that ban licensed mental health providers from offering sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) to minors. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Minnesota and Maryland are considering similar legislation. Recently, however, this legislation died in the Virginia House, and a stay was imposed in California pending review by the Supreme Court of the United States.

To be clear, the present debate concerns banning voluntary (not coerced) SOCE by professionals for minors who are distressed by their unwanted homosexual feelings. Support for this ban is based upon four claims. First, that sexual orientation is a fixed, inborn trait. Secondly, that homosexual attractions experienced during adolescence are enduring. Thirdly, that homosexual behavior carries no increased health risks as compared to heterosexual behavior, and finally, that scientific research proves SOCE is universally harmful. None of these claims, however, is based in science.

Homosexuality is not innate

Identical twins share exactly the same genetic makeup and are exposed to the same pre-natal hormones. If homosexuality were genetic like race or determined by pre-natal hormones alone, then identical twins would have the same sexual orientation 100 percent of the time. Instead, at most, identical twins are both homosexual only 20 percent of the time.[1] Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project, summed it up best when he wrote sexual orientation "is not hardwired by DNA, and whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predetermination."[2]

The American Psychological Association acknowledges that "[s]ome people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime."[3] The psychodynamic and social learning theories of homosexuality have never been disproven. There is good evidence that parental and social influences, including childhood trauma, can contribute to SSA for some.[4],[5] These adolescents have the right to therapy for their trauma, they do not deserve the added trauma of being legislated into a false sexual identity.

During adolescence homosexual attractions are more fluid than fixed

Adolescence is well recognized for its sexual fluidity and instability of homosexual attractions. In 2007, Savin-Williams and Ream conducted a large longitudinal study that documented changes in attraction so great between the ages of 16 and 17 that they questioned whether the concept of sexual orientation had any meaning for adolescents with homosexual attractions. Seventy-five percent of adolescents who had some initial homosexual attraction between the ages of 17-21 changed to experience heterosexual attraction only.[6] This is in stark contrast to the stability they found among adolescents experiencing heterosexual attractions. Among these adolescents, fully 98 percent retained their heterosexual-only attractions into adulthood.[7] Another study demonstrating significant change away from homosexual attractions in adolescence involved 13,840 youth. Of those initially "unsure" of their sexual orientation, 66 percent became exclusively heterosexual.[8]

No studies have examined the success rates of SOCE among adolescents. Logically, however, if such high rates of change in homosexual attraction occur adventitiously, many adolescents who desire therapeutic assistance should succeed.

Homo/bi-sexual behavior carries grave health risks

There are many reasons for adolescents, especially males, who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions to seek therapy. According to the CDC, from 2006-2009, young men who have sex with men aged 13-24 years had the greatest percentage increase in diagnosed HIV infections of all age groups.[9] Among all adolescent males aged 13-24 years, approximately 91 percent of all diagnosed HIV infections were from male-to-male sexual contact.[10] This is because receptive anal intercourse is 20 times more risky than receptive vaginal intercourse.[11]

Moreover, compared with heterosexual youth, non-heterosexual youth are at increased risk (by a median of 76 percent if bisexual; 63.8 percent if homosexual) for contracting other sexually transmitted infections, using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and engaging in behaviors that contribute to violence, depression and suicide.[12]

No scientific proof of harm from therapeutically assisted SOCE

No therapy is free from harm. Regarding all forms of psychotherapy for any given condition a surprisingly high 14-24 percent of children deteriorate during psychotherapy.[13] There is not one study demonstrating that SOCE causes harm greater than or even equal to this baseline level.[14] The research cited as "proving" universal harm from SOCE is a 2002 study by Shidlo and Schroeder even though the authors themselves never made such a claim. Instead, they stated: "[This study does] not provide information on the incidence and prevalence of failure, success, harm, help or ethical violations in conversion therapy [i.e., SOCE]."[15] However, there are a number of surveys of individuals who have experienced positive outcomes from SOCE.[16],[17],[18],[19]

Conclusion

Anti-SOCE claims have no basis in science. Therefore, the American College of Pediatricians and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality insist that adolescents retain their right to choose SOCE with full informed consent under the care of experts in the field.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Michelle Cretella MD is the Vice-President of the American College of Pediatricians and chairs the College’s Committee on Adolescent Sexuality. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. For a fully referenced version of this article visit the American College of Pediatricians website.

Notes

[1] Collins, F. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York. Free Press. 2007 (p.260).

[2] Ibid. p.263.

[3] American Psychological Association fact sheet available from:  http://www.psychiatry.org/mental-health/people/lgbt-sexual-orientation [accessed February 13, 2014].

[4] Roberts AL., Glymour MM., Koenen KC. "Does maltreatment in childhood affect sexual orientation in adulthood?"  Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Feb;42(2):161-71. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-0021-9. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

[5] Alanko, K., Santitila, P., Sato, B., Jem, P., Johansson, A., et al. (2011). Testing causal models of the relationship betwen childhood gender atypical behavior and parent-child relationship. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 214-233. doi: 10.1348/2044-835X.002004

[6] Savin-Williams, RC and Ream, GL (2007), "Prevalence and Stability of Sexual Orientation Components During Adolescence and Young Adulthood," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 385-394.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ott, MQ, Corliss, HL, et. al. (2011), "Stability and Change in Self-Reported Sexual Orientation Identity in Young People: Application of Mobility Metrics," Archives of Sexual Behavior, June; 40(30): 519-532. Published online 2010 December 2. doi:  10.1007/s10508-010-9691-3

[9] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/pdf/hiv_factsheet_ymsm.pdf [accessed February 12, 2014].

[10] Ibid.

[11] Grossman, M. (2009) You're Teaching My Child What? Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washington, DC , p. 87.

[12] Kann, L., Olsen, E., et.al. "Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12 -- Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009." MMWR/June 6, 2011/Vol. 60

[13] Lambert (2011). "Psychotherapy research and its achievements." In J.C. Norcross, G.R. VandenBos, & D.K. Freedheim (eds.), History of psychotherapy: Continuity and change (2nd ed., pp. 299-332).

[14] Rosik, C. "The (Complete) Lack of a Scientific Basis for Banning Sexual-Orientation Change Efforts with Minors" available from:  http://www.narth.com/#!narth-analysis-of-soce-ban/c1q8f [accessed February 13, 2014].

[15] Shidlo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). "Changing sexual orientation: A consumers' report." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(3), 249-259.

[16] Santero, P., Whitehead N., Ballasteros, (2014) "Change Effects in U.S. Men with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction after Therapy". Psychological Reports (in process; personal communication w/ Dr. Whitehead February 3, 2014).

[17] Karten, EY and Wade, JC (2010). "Sexual Orientation Change Efforts in Men: A Client Perspective." Journal of Men's Studies. 18, 84-102.

[18] Spitzer, R.L. (2003). Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Oct;32(5):403-17; discussion 419-72.

[19] Nicolosi, J., Byrd, A.D., Potts, R.W. (2000). "Retrospective Self-reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation: A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients." Psychological Reports, 86, 1071-1088.

Reprinted with permission from MercatorNet

Red alert! Only 4 days left.

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

, ,

Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

Advertisement
Featured Image
Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Red Alert!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook