Homophobia Causes Real Emotional Damage

(July 29, 2004) -- Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, sites the work of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and psychiatrist Robert Spitzer to back her claim that gays can be changed to heterosexuals ("Homosexuality needs change, not marriage," July 22). Anyone who believes her claim should read Wayne Besen's new book, "Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth." Besen's four years of well-documented research expose unscientific research, false statistics, and unsuccessful results of "ex-gay ministries" to discredit NARTH and Dr. Spitzer.

Real people are being harmed by the "ex-gay ministries" and the false belief that gays can change their sexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association says, "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior." The APA is joined by all the leading medical associations in condemning "ex-gay ministries" as harmful practices that can cause severe emotional damage. In despair some gays resort to suicide after unsuccessful attempts to change and adapt to an adverse society.

Keeping gays in the closet hurts everyone--not just gays. Many marriages end because a gay husband or wife can no longer live a lie. Spouses are devastated. Children are confused. Friends and relatives are enraged from the fallout. I wish that Regina Griggs and others who reinforce homophobia could feel the pain, alienation, and self-hatred that they have caused. Some day I hope they will be held accountable.

Gays have been around for as long as recorded history. Treating them with disdain and intolerance is not going to make them go away. Accept gay people as they are and grant them full human and civil rights. Allow them to live honestly and with dignity and respect. We all benefit when no one is excluded. "Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor moral depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sexuality"--American Psychological Association Statement on Homosexuality.

Cris Elkins


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, September 5). Homophobia Causes Real Emotional Damage, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Last Updated: April 12, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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