Official Statement Concerning Homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association

In an excerpt from their policy concerning homosexuality, the American Psychiatric Association states:

"What is Sexual Orientation?"

"Sexual orientation" is a term frequently used to describe a person"s romantic, emotional or sexual attraction to another person. A person attracted to another person of the same sex is said to have a homosexual orientation and may be called gay (both men and women) or lesbian. Individuals attracted to persons of the other sex are said to have a heterosexual orientation. Sexual orientation falls along a continuum and individuals who are attracted to
both men and women are said to be bisexual. Sexual orientation is different from gender identity, which refers to the internal sense of whether one is male or female. Sexual orientation is a relatively new concept. In fact, although same sex behavior has always existed, the idea of a homosexual identity or a homosexual person is only about 100 years old.

The concept of sexual orientation refers to more than sexual behavior. It includes feelings as well as identity. Some individuals may identify themselves as gay lesbian or bisexual without engaging in any sexual activity. Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime. Individuals maybe become aware at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian,or bisexual.

Is Homosexuality A Mental Disorder?

No. All major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

From the Fact Sheet on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues (May 2000).

"Reparative Therapy"

The American Psychiatric Association in its position statement on Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation states: "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed." [Position Statement: Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation, American Psychiatric Association, 1998.]

Taken from The American Psychological Association Online Fact Sheet — Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel.