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Brockport / Counseling Center / GBLTQ

GBLTQ

The Counseling Center supports the position established by the American Psychological Association:

"Lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder."

Introduction

This section is not just intended for those who have questions about their sexual orientation, although that is a primary purpose.  Another goal is to provide accurate information about homosexuality to the Brockport community since attraction to a  same sex person can create anxiety and even hostility at times.

What is sexual orientation?

According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation can be defined in the following way:

"Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of  emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex."

Further information

The same web site from which the above definition was obtained gives a comprehensive overview of sexual orientation the includes:

What does sexual orientation mean? What is heterosexuality? Homosexuality? Lesbian/gay/bisexuality?

Sexual orientation means if someone is heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. A heterosexual person, or someone who is "straight," is attracted to people of the opposite sex. A homosexual person, or someone who is "gay or lesbian," is attracted to people of the same sex. A bisexual person is attracted to both men and women.

What makes someone gay?

Some people believe gay people are born gay, while others believe they choose to be gay. Most researchers believe sexual orientation is complex, and that biology plays an important role. This means that many people are born with their sexual orientation, or that it’s established at an early age.

Can parents make a child gay?

You can’t raise a child to be gay. Nor can parents or therapists change a young person’s sexual orientation, just as they can’t change their eye color, race, or height.

What about the "cures" for homosexuality I’ve read about?

No research has shown that "reparative therapy" (psychotherapy to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for their own sex) or "transformational ministry" (the use of religion to eliminate those desires) is successful. In fact, every mainstream mental health and medical organization says these methods may be harmful. They warn that attempts to "cure" lesbians and gay men may help change sexual behavior temporarily but will also create emotional trauma.

What is the difference between homosexual people and transgender people?

Homosexuality (and heterosexuality) refers to a person’s sexual orientation, or to whom a person feels attracted. Transgender refers to a person’s gender identity, or how a person expresses their femininity or masculinity. For people who are transgender, their gender identity is different from the sex they were born. This means that someone may be born a male but feel emotionally like a female or vice versa. Some transgender people use clothes, hormones, and/or surgery to fully express their gender in the world.

Is homosexuality unhealthy?

All sexual behaviors have health risks, and it’s important for teens to know this. But being gay does not make someone unhealthy or unhappy. What is unhealthy is prejudice against gays and lesbians. This prejudice can be especially damaging for young gay people who are often harassed and made to feel ashamed of who they are. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association recognized homosexuality as a normal human behavior, and since then all other major health professional organizations have supported this fact.

Is homosexuality immoral?

Some religions continue to teach that homosexuality is immoral, and other spiritual communities and faiths accept people of all ages who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual. No matter what your religious beliefs, a key value to share with your child is to treat all people with respect.

If I think my child is gay, what should I do?

Parents are likely to have a range of reactions. Some may hope their child is simply going through a phase, while others may wonder if they did something wrong. And some worry that their children will have harder lives because they are gay. Other parents are supportive and loving of their child’s sexuality. Whatever your reaction, try to provide a supportive, non-judgmental ear. Consider helping your child get more information by talking with other gay teens and contacting your local PFLAG, GLSEN, or gay youth center. Above all else, your child needs to feel that you will always love him or her no matter what.

Helpful Links

  • The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • The GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that is dedicated to meeting the needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and those questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families, and friends.
  • The nation’s largest collection of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender [GLBT] resources [including search capacity for resources in communities nationwide].
  • Provides links to GLBT friendly churches across the country and gives accurate information about religious teachings regarding homosexuality.
  • For the politically minded, the mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community [also a source for internships and fellowships].

Last Updated 10/26/10