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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MLive: Would psychiatrists, as Troy Mayor Janice Daniels claims, call 'the homosexual lifestyle' dangerous?

Wonderful Jeffrey Wattrick at MLive did his homework. So while Janice Daniels is running around telling us what Christian counselors posing as psychiatrists would say about people, here's what the experts say...
So, if Daniels showed up with psychiatrists, would they tell Troy’s young people that “the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous”?

To find out, I called the American Psychiatric Association this morning to ask for the scientific and medical consensus on these issues. They referred me to Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist based in New York City. He is also a member of the APA’s DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders.

“Your mayor is quite mistaken,” said Dr. Drescher. “The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973 and the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its international classification of diseases in 1990.”

But what about “the homosexual lifestyle?” Has medical science concluded that it is “dangerous?”

“She’s not really stating a medical issue,” Drescher said about Daniels’ comments. “She’s really stating something about the perception that everyone who is gay is leading a promiscuous sexual life and the promiscuous sexual life may lead to increased health risks.

“Religious social conservatives call that ‘the gay lifestyle,’ even though that’s as absurd a phrase as ‘the heterosexual lifestyle.’ There are sexually promiscuous heterosexuals and there are risk-taking heterosexuals. It’s not really a medical issue. It’s a culture wars issue.”

Drescher adds that the cause of one’s sexual orientation (be it biological or environmental, or some combination of the two) remains an unknown. He also says sexual orientation is considered a "fixed" trait that, with very few exceptions, is unlikely to change.

What’s more, he says, the medical and scientific consensus on these matters is solid.

“We have two parallel culture tracks going on,” Drescher said. “We have a strongly anti-scientific, religiously-based cultural belief that is based on ancient texts that believes homosexuality is immoral. Certain people are entitled to their religious beliefs, but they aren’t scientific beliefs at all. It’s unfortunate when people try to masquerade their religious beliefs in guise of science.”

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