Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse’s book Ex-Gays? discusses the controversy about a very specific issue and we want today to begin our series today by looking at chp 1:
The consensus of the social-scientific community is that homosexuality (more nuance later) is the norm for some and that advocating or working for change in one’s orientation disorders the homosexual person and is harmful to that person. The social-scientific community believes the one who is distressed about his or her sexual orientation is disordered (sometimes for social pressure reasons). J-Y’s study, the Exodus Project, examines a good number of religious persons who through religious means seek to change their sexual orientation. Overall they will conclude that there is some success, measured over a five-year period, of shifting one’s orientation. Their contention is that the scientific community too easily eliminates by presupposition elements important to some humans — religious faith — that need to be studied if one is concerned whether or not it is possible for sexual orientation to change.
About four decades ago homosexuality was seen as a disorder; today the shift leads to the conclusion that anyone who wants to change a homosexual person creates a disorder in the homosexual. The American Psychological Association argues that homosexuality is not changeable (16). J-Y contend that the APA has misspoken — some can change and some do change and some change as a result of religious means.
J-Y discuss the relationship of science and religion at length, arguing for instance that all of our data are theory-laden (at least when they are interpreted or explained).
On sexual orientation — extensive discussion again leading to three basic categories — and they are sensitive (so it seems to me) to the various terms used today:
1. Same-sex/homosexual attraction: those who find sexual attraction to those of the same sex.
2. Same-sex/homosexual orientation: those who are not only attracted to those of the same sex but how are persistently attracted to the same sex.
3. Gay identity: those whose orientation forms into a more overt identity with the gay community.
They cite a study by Laumann that 6.2% males and 4.4% of females are #1; that 2.0/0.9% have the orientation while less develop gay identity.
J-Y’s conclusions are a self-confessed “anomaly” in the scientific community.