1. None Given None Given United States says:

    Consider the following statement made by a prominent member of the American Psychological Association and published by the Harvard University Press: "...it may be that for now, the safest way to advocate for lesbian/gay/bisexual rights is to keep propagating a deterministic model: sexual minorities are born that way and can never be otherwise. If this is an easier route to acceptance (which may in fact be the case), is it really so bad that it is inaccurate?"

    Where are the guardians of our professional ethics? Will they really allow such Machiavellian statements to go uncritically examined? Is there an ethical violation when a self-identified psychologist and a member of APA supports activism masqueraded as science, and states that it is not so bad?

    Political correctness would suggest that there will be no response from the APA.

    In his book, Destructive Trends in Mental Health, former APA president Nicholas Cummings notes that he and his co-author lived through the abominable McCarthy era and the Hollywood witch hunts; still he notes, there was "not the insidious sense of intellectual intimidation that currently exists under political correctness." He says, "Now, misguided political correctness tethers our intellects."

    Perhaps the British playwright, self-identified secularist atheist Pat Condell, is indeed correct: "Political correctness is like a drug that we just can't stop injecting, even though we know it's going to kill us."

    In summary, if one reduces the recent APA document to one based on scientific merit and ethicality, it might translate into something like the following:

    "We at APA acknowledge that there are probably many factors that lead to one to claim a gay identity, likely different for different folks. However, what is clear is that homosexuality is not simply a biological phenomenon. We are not sure about the effectiveness of reorientation therapy (or any other therapies for that matter!) but political correctness demands that APA take a position of extreme caution, even though there is no evidence to support such a position. And APA believes that though homosexuality may be fluid for some people, it is certainly not a matter of choice for anyone. However, having expressed these reservations (and fears), it is important that all mental health professionals respect client self-determination (including those who seek reorientation therapy)."

    The APA should be commended for its greater reliance on science and ethicality in this document. Perhaps now is the time for the association to abide by its commitment that accompanied then-APA President Nicholas Cummings' proposal to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1974: "a proscription that appropriate and needed research would be conducted to substantiate these decisions." None, however, was ever conducted.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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