Letter to the Editor

Oct 172002

To the Editor:

In Thursday’s edition of the Collegian, I saw on the back page an advertisement for “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays.” Where I know the belief that it is possible to change one’s sexual orientation is out there, I would like to present another side to the issue.

First and foremost, it is important to know that the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Pediatrics Association and every major medical association that exists in this country absolutely condemns “aversion therapy” or the attempt to “change” one’s sexuality.

I understand that living openly as a homosexual can be difficult. I have lived much of my life in the closet. But it cannot be said enough that it is OK to be who you are, whoever that may be.

“Changing” your sexual orientation is comparable to “changing” your ethnicity or the color of your eyes. You can buy colored contacts to make your brown eyes look blue, but that doesn’t mean that your eyes are really blue. That is the way you were born.

Research also indicates that aversion therapy is successful in less than 10 percent of cases. One of the leaders of Exodus International, the largest national organization for “ex-gays,” was removed from his position just a year ago after he was caught in a gay bar in Washington DC. The two men who created Exodus themselves are leading advocates against aversion therapy. Not a very convincing case for a procedure called “experimental” by those who practice it.

I would recommend researching such practices before committing to them. The research presented and stories told by these “ex-gay” groups are shoddy and easily refuted by medical experts. Suicide and depression rates are higher amongst those who have gone through aversion therapy so there is a very real danger present for those who wish to pursue it.

I know this is a very real concern for those who are homosexual and heterosexual. However, according to those who know people best, that being our doctors, mental health professionals and researchers, homosexuality is simply the way we are. Remember that the next time you decide to pick up a pair of color contacts or a “different” sexual orientation.

Rod Rodriguez

Senior, Journalism and Technical Communications


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