Sexual orientation
1 min

News study: Gays can be cured

BY NOREEN FAGAN
Hallelujah! Gays can be cured. Two psychologists, Stanton Jones and Mark
Yarhouse, claim that some people can change their sexual orientation.

CNN reports that the professors, who happen to work at
religious universities — Jones at Wheaton College in Illinois, and
Yarhouse at Regent University (founded by televangelist Pat Robertson) in Virginia — say their study was aimed at people who are highly
religious and distressed by their homosexuality.

Whew. That should rule out those of us who love being queer.

The study followed 65 participants over six to
seven years while they attended Exodus Ministries, a religious program where
individuals seek to achieve “freedom from sexuality through the power of Jesus
Christ.”

Initially, the study enrolled 98 stressed-out gays, but 35
dropped out of the program, some were “healed” and one re-embraced his gay
identity.

Jones and Yarhouse’s hypothesis was that sexual orientation
is changeable.

They concluded that 23 percent of the remaining people in
the study were successful in changing their sexual orientation. And 30 percent turned to chastity, which in Yarhouse’s opinion is a “reduction from
homosexual attraction.”

So what happened to the rest? Well, 23 percent did not
respond to the “treatment,” 20 percent went back to being gay and the remainder ended up thoroughly confused.

The study has sparked some controversy, especially since
the American Psychological Association declared in 2005 that homosexuality is
not changeable.

Eli Coleman, director of the human sexuality program at
the University of Minnesota medical school, told CNN, “We’ve been through this
over and over. You can get behavioural changes, but that’s not orientation
change. You can get short-term behavioural change. It’s not sustained.”

Dr Jack Drescher, associate professor of psychiatry at New
York Medical College, said the study could be confusing sexual identity
with sexual orientation: “Sexual orientation refers to whom a person is attracted to,
and in most cases does not change. But sexual identity is how a person feels
about his or her orientation and sexual feelings.” 

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