Confusion about sexual orientation is not unusual during adolescence. Counseling may be helpful but should not be used as an attempt to change how a young person feels and thinks. Homosexuality is not a mental disorder according to the majority of mental health professionals. Therefore, there is no need for a “cure.”
Some groups think that conversion therapy is a method to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This has been rejected by every medical and mental health organization. Such practices have proven harmful and without an effect. Some states have laws or regulations against conversion therapy.
Some ministries are strongly against lesbians and gay men which in turn pressures some people to seek change in their sexual orientation. No data demonstrates that conversion therapies are effective. In fact, they may be harmful. The overwhelming evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it’s practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. Negative effects include loss of sexual feeling, depression, thoughts of suicide, and anxiety.
Groups that promote conversion therapy often point to a single study by Robert Spitzer, which he later reported was fatally flawed and apologized to the gay community. The American Psychiatric Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.
Societal ignorance and prejudice are the real danger to gay people’s mental health. So parents, try to support your children in whatever lifestyle they choose. It’s part of who they are and they need your support and acceptance.