Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am born gay, I didn’t choose to be gay

Every major election cycle focuses on interesting and controversial topics. The current GOP primary has zeroed in on homosexuality. The crux of the discussion is whether this is a treatable condition. Nearly 42 years ago, a 17 year old homosexual boy was admitted to our hospital in England to change his sexual orientation. I was a first year psychiatry resident at the time and this was my first encounter with a gay individual. His parents hoped that with professional help he would clean up his act. As a freshman in the field, I was curious to know more about homosexuality. We became good friends and I considered him to be a caring, compassionate, talented and bright individual. I honestly didn’t see anything wrong with him physically or mentally. However, neither of us could explain his attraction to men. He confessed that from a young age, he was attracted to boys not girls. He explained that he did not choose to be gay but that he was born that way. I believed him. Since then, I have treated many homosexual men in my office for addictions, phobias and stress management and all of them are sane, sanguine and sensible individuals. They lead productive lives. True homosexuality is determined by genes not by choice. It is not a mental aberration and therefore does not need to be treated. Don’t treat homosexuals as pariahs, instead homosexuality should be understood and respected by priests, politicians and the public.