The changing attitudes towards homosexuality

By Gabrielle Pickard
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 17, 2010
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Striving to "cure" people of being gay is a practice applied by many contemporary therapists in Britain, revealing that many attitudes towards homosexuality in the UK, instead of progressing, are actually regressing. Whilst in China, which held its first gay pageant this year and was shortly followed by the announcement that HIV entry restrictions into the country are to be lifted, shows a new chapter of "openness" towards the homosexuality is emerging.

Trying to "cure" somebody of their sexual orientation is surely as archaic and obsolete as believing a spinster living in the village is a witch who deserves to hang. But not according to a study undertaken by researchers from the University of London, whose findings revealed that a significant proportion of councilors are still trying to "heal" patients of their homosexuality.

Out of the 1,400 mental health professionals interviewed, almost 17 percent admitted that they had tried to "alleviate" patients of their attraction to the same sex, and a fewer number divulged that if requested they would be willing to try and turn someone heterosexual. Shockingly a minority of the respondents even admitted to being motivated by feelings that homosexuality is both dangerous and perverse.

Unsurprisingly there has never been any actual evidence that homosexuality could be "treated" and a patient turned "straight" by means of therapy and counseling. According to Professor Michael King, the lead researcher in the study, "It is surprising that a significant number of practitioners still offer this help to their clients. The best approach is to help people to adjust to their situation, to value them as people and show them that there is nothing whatever pathological about their sexual orientation."

For decades the Church and some Christian organizations have perceived homosexuality as some kind of disease and been convinced that those inflicted with the ailment could be cured. 57-year-old Celia Cooper, whose father was a vicar, remembers in the 1960s her parents referring to a gay neighbor as "ill".

"I first realized people could love members of the same sex when I was about ten years old when I asked my mother why Mr Brentford did not have a wife. I'll always remember her face falling ashen as she hastily mumbled that the man was poorly and needed help," Ms Cooper recalled.

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