by In Wales
Thu Mar 26th, 2009 at 10:02:01 AM EST
BBC Online reports that some mental health professionals still offer treatment for homosexuality.
A significant minority of mental health professionals had agreed to help at least one patient "reduce" their gay or lesbian feelings when asked to do so.
The survey, published in the journal BMC Psychiatry and conducted by London researchers, involved 1,400 therapists.
Many were acting with the "best of intentions", said the lead author.
Only 4% said they would attempt to change a client's sexual orientation, but when asked if they would help curb homosexual feelings some 17% - or one in six - said they had done so.
The incidence appeared to be as prevalent in recent years as decades earlier.
I find it staggering that some professionals still view being gay as a mental illness.
Promoted by Whataboutbob
I find religious and moral arguments against homosexuality fairly intolerable, even when approached in the charitable spirit of loving thy neighbour (even if they are henious sinners, it isn't their fault). But for professionals who should be giving treatments according to evidence that they actually might work, to continue to stigmatise and pathologise homosexuality under the banner of mental illness, is appalling.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists says all homosexuals have "a right to protection from therapies that are potentially damaging, particularly those that purport to change sexual orientation".
In the US, where there has been heated debate on the issue of "curing" homosexuality, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has urged all "ethical practitioners to refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation".
Now there is a need for mental health services for LGBT people, not to sodding well cure them but to enable them to deal with mental health problems that may already be pre existing and totally unrelated to sexuality, and to cope with the impact that homophobia can have on their health and well being.
Gay rights organisation Stonewall lists some of the effects of homophobia on LGB people:
Difficulty in accepting your sexual orientation - conflicts, denial, alcohol abuse, isolation
Trying to keep it secret - lying, pretending, leading a double life
Low self esteem
Increased risk of self harm and suicide attempts
Damaged relationships with families, lack of support from families
Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression from long term effects of bullying
People interviewed for PACE's 1997 research definitely felt that their mental health had been affected by homophobia
Yet many services stigmatise LGBT people and create barriers to accessing the services needed, through judgemental attitudes and discrimination, even in the UK where the religious right doesn't have such a stronghold as in the US.
I know that the States has various schemes for turning gay people straight, largely through finding God at camps (snigger) for curing gays as reported on by the Times a couple of years ago.
Exodus is one of the ministries of the so-called "ex-gay" movement, a controversial fundamentalist Christian campaign that encourages gay people to renounce their sexuality. This, its annual conference, promises "an amazing week of breakthroughs, transformations and healings".
The sincerity of some people who have been through these programmes and succumbed to the brainwashing to proclaim themselves now heterosexual is really quite alarming. Social attitudes and tolerance of homosexuality may have progressed quite a lot in recent years but this attitude that it is immoral and unnatural to be gay still prevails. I'm not sure why it is anybody's business or why it constitutes a social problem that needs policy makers to legislate on things that gay people can and cannot do... although of course the social problem of discrimination is a key one and protection from that is a crucial part of UK equalities legislation.
Then of course we have the Pope telling the world that being gay is as dangerous as climate change. And to quote a line from an interesting analysis on Monbiot.com,
Homosexuality is surely both natural and moral. Can the same be said of the Pope?
Izzy has discussed developments on votes in the states around issues such as gay marriage - What are attitudes like towards homosexuality elsewhere in Europe?