Shades of gay

In his Human Nature column in Slate, William Saleton offers some thoughts about the British study which found that “one in six [surveyed] admitted to having helped at least one patient attempt to alter homosexual feelings.”

The study’s authors find this disturbing. Treatment to change homosexuality has proved ineffective and often unsafe, they argue. Therefore, therapists shouldn’t try it.

If only life were that simple.

In the big picture, the authors are right. Homosexuality isn’t a sin or mental illness. It needs no cure. In most cases, it’s deeply ingrained and probably inborn. If you try to change your sexual orientation, you’re more likely to end up at war with yourself than at peace. For these reasons, any systematic program to turn gay people straight, such as “reparative therapy,” is futile and dangerous.

But therapy isn’t about the big picture. It’s about lots of little pictures: the worlds unique to each of us.

Read it all.

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