Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Can homosexuals change their sexual orientation/identity?

On Hope 103.2's Open House, Stanton Jones discusses the efficacy of the Exodus Foundation program for changing people's sexual orientation. He presented research to the American Psychological Association recently that sought to demonstrate:
  • That at least some people can change sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.
  • That conversion programs are not necessarily psychologically damaging.
Jones claims that the beliefs to the contrary are based mostly on anectodal evidence. What research has been published is with very small sample size, short periods of time, and based on therapists input rather than the subjects themsleves. He carried out a longitudinal study of 98 homosexuals in the Exodus program over 6 years.

Setting aside the 33% drop-out rate, the study showed 25% reporting success in becoming heterosexual, 25% decided and succeeded in becoming chaste, 25% remained homosexual and 25% were still in the process and the outcome was unclear.

Although some participants experienced substantial distress during the program, others improved on standard stress scores. The study found no statistical correlation in either direction.

It's useful to read Anthony Venn-Brown's criticism on the Open House blog site.


Larry said...

Hi Matt,

Here are some interesting perspectives by a recently deceased friend, Barry Marshall, a Methodist minister in Port Elizabeth. They don't talk directly to your post but I think add a more human and tangible contribution.

Problems with objectivity

Feel the pain

Matt said...

Thanks Larry -- the first person to leave a comment on my blog! I'll have to organise a prize of some sort.

It was very sad to read about Barry. Rose and I remember him well.

The blog entry you point to is quite insightful.

Matt said...

Nicholas Cummings wrote a legal affidavit to support the evidence that sexual re-orientation therapy is both effective and ethical. It is accessible at

Cummings was President of the American Pyschological Association (1979-80).

In clinical work his organisation saw 18,000 patients with same-sex attraction, some of whom they helped within that oprientation while a "small minority" wanted to change their orientation. He claims that "hundreds" were successful in that reorientation.

"Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as "unethical" violates patient choice and makes a third party the de facto determiner of therapeutic goals."

Matt said...

View the full affidavit at