WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign is calling on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to better educate himself on LGBT Americans following remarks he made in which he called being gay a choice.
Cain made his remarks while appearing on “The View” this morning, saying: “You show me the science that says that it's not. Could be persuaded. Right now it's my opinion against the opinion of others who feel differently. That's just a difference of opinion.”
“Herman Cain’s remarks that homosexuality is a choice are, frankly, jaw-dropping and certainly unbecoming of a presidential hopeful,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said.
“Leading medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, all speak with a loud and clear voice – implying that someone’s sexual orientation can be chosen or changed is dangerous. HRC is eager to connect Herman Cain with medical professionals who can walk him through the very basic science that he says he is seeking out.”
Dr. Jack Drescher, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, is willing to meet with Cain to discuss the medical aspects of the matter.
Cain’s remarks are dangerous because implying that homosexuality is a choice gives unwarranted credence to roundly disproven practices such as "conversion" or "reparative" therapy. The risks associated with attempts to consciously change one’s sexual orientation include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.
The American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association and the American Psychiatric Association are clear on the dangers of promoting and carrying out reparative therapy.
The American Psychological Association says of homosexuality: “The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects…most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
The American Medical Association says in its official statement: “[The AMA] opposes, the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.”
The American Counseling Association says it "opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation; and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation, mental health, and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based on ignorance or unfounded beliefs about same-gender sexual orientation."
The American Psychiatric Association echoes other leading medical organizations in coming out against attempts to change sexual orientation: “Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction … Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.”
Learn more about the dangers of reparative therapy HERE.
HRC members and supporters can act now to tell Herman Cain they don’t agree with his message that homosexuality is a choice.
Log Cabin Republicans respond
“If Herman Cain truly wants to see the science proving that sexual orientation is not a choice, Log Cabin Republicans would be happy to show it to him,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans executive director. “The claim that a person chooses to be gay or lesbian has been discredited by every major professional medical organization, starting with the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association. An individual’s orientation is no more a choice than the color of his skin or whether he is left-handed, and too many people have been hurt because of failed attempts to change the way they were born.”
“I would also be happy to discuss my experiences as a current Army reserve officer and combat veteran, and the testimony of military leadership that the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ strengthens our armed forces and furthers America’s national security interests. It is unfortunate that Mr. Cain chose to divert attention away from a solid platform of greater liberty and smaller government by indulging in anti-gay rhetoric. Log Cabin Republicans sincerely hope that Herman Cain is open to hearing the evidence and changing his mind on these issues.”