Visions of Daniel

Workshop on Changing Sexual Orientation


Papers link



Can People Change from Gay to Straight?

The presentation is substantive and up-to-date and reviews the supposed bases of sexual orientation, the theory behind "reorientation" (or "reparative" or "conversion" or "change") therapy, a number of recent studies that show the effects of the therapy, both positive and negative, and the theoretical questions at stake in this discussion. The bottom line on change depends on how you define change. Some few people (4% in one study) who have homosexual inclinations can move to the point of being able to comfortably sustain a heterosexual relationship. None reports ever being totally free of homosexual feelings or desires, but these “ex-gays” learn to deal with such feelings as part of their life's path and challenge. On the other hand, the vast majority who participate in this therapy (77% in that same study) report not only failure but also long-term negative consequences such as loss of religious faith, depression, self-loathing, social isolation, and even attempted suicide. The presentation would be useful for any professionals—such as counselors, therapists, social workers, clergy, educators, community leaders—who have a concern about this topic.

Daniel presented this material on the following occasions: Lambda at UWG, University of West Georgia, March 3, 2004. Conference: Psychology, religion, and homosexuality: Critical response to reparative therapy, Vanderbilt University, Feb. 6, 2004