Gay Ain't Broke; No Need to Fix It
Cornett, Carlton, Insight on the News
Hatred and fear are an inherent part of the human condition. As feelings they are benign, indeed healthy. However, when these feelings become actions directed at a specific group, they become harmful. When expressed through the political process they become oppressive. When expressed through the economic process they become discriminatory. And when hatred and fear are expressed toward a homosexual through the actions of a psychotherapist, they become "reparative" therapy
Because hatred and fear are ubiquitous to the human condition, it is important that they be seen in all their manifestations, and that enactment of these feelings not be legitimized.
The so-called reparative therapy movement focuses on a central premise: that homosexuals are psychologically sick and should be cured for the sake of both themselves and society. It is fascinating that psychotherapy, a process founded upon compassion and a desire to relieve human suffering, can be the vehicle by which much suffering is promulgated upon gay men and lesbians in America through attempts to change their sexual orientation.
The vehement belief that homosexuality is a form of emotional illness is predominantly an American phenomenon. Ronald Bayer, in Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis, cites a letter written by Sigmund Freud in 1935 to an American mother who wanted her son "cured" of his homosexuality: "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness." Freud believed that psychological functioning could be understood in all its rich complexities but did not believe that all development outside the cultural norms of Europe constituted psychopathology. Freud strongly supported the decriminalization of homosexuality and encouraged psychoanalytic institutes to accept homosexual students.
In the United States, psychoanalysis developed differently than in Europe. Here it was almost exclusively a medical specialty. Only recently have psychoanalytic institutes been fully opened to mental health practitioners who are not medically trained. With the emphasis on psychoanalysts being …
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Publication information: Article title: Gay Ain't Broke; No Need to Fix It. Contributors: Cornett, Carlton - Author. Magazine title: Insight on the News. Volume: 9. Issue: 49 Publication date: December 6, 1993. Page number: 25+. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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