Spinning the truth

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

For more of your opinions, go to www.gazette.net/letters.

Michelle Turner, Silver Spring

The writer is president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum.

David Fishback is spinning what the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association says about changing one’s sexual orientation (‘‘Medical profession opposes premise of conversion therapy,” June 21 Open Forum).

He states that ‘‘groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association have concluded that homosexuality per se is not a disorder and that efforts to ‘change’ one’s sexual orientation cause enormous harm.”

I agree that the AMA and the AAP each states that homosexuality is not a mental disorder; however, neither says that efforts to change one’s sexual orientation causes harm.

The AAP in a clinical report, ‘‘Sexual Orientation and Adolescents,” and authored by a few pediatricians within the AAP, deals with the medical treatment of non-heterosexual youth. It states, ‘‘Health care professionals should provide factual, current, nonjudgmental information in a confidential manner ... Pediatricians are not responsible for labeling or even identifying non-heterosexual youth.”

This report acknowledges that non-heterosexual youth ‘‘in the United States have unique health risks.”

And finally the report ends with this statement: ‘‘The guidance in this report does not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.” There is nothing about changing one’s orientation or harm associated with it.

The statement from the AMA certainly doesn’t mean that if a person chooses to change his orientation, the medical professional should stop him from doing so. It would be unethical for the medical professional to impose ‘‘his views” on the client. Again, there is no mention of harm in this AMA statement associated with treating unwanted same-sex attraction.