THE SHORT ANSWER
Every major medical health organization has concluded that sexual orientation and gender identity are aspects of human diversity to be treated with dignity and respect. The following policies and position statements are based upon decades of peer-reviewed and published research and subject matter expertise.
THE LONG ANSWER
You can read through various statements published by these medical and mental health organizations to see what they have to say on the topic.
Virtually every major mental health organization has concluded that there is no credible scientific evidence that LGBTQ citizens are psychologically impaired per se or need to change their orientations or identities.
LGBTQ citizens represent no more burden on American society than any other minority group, and, in fact, have made substantive contributions to the arts, sciences, and businesses in America.
Discrimination and stigmatization of LGBTQ citizens adversely affects their mental health and right to happiness.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are members of every community. They are diverse, come from all walks of life, and include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country. The perspectives and needs of LGBT people should be routinely considered in public health efforts to improve the overall health of every person and eliminate health disparities.
Social workers must advocate against policy or practice interventions that create or reinforce the prejudice and discrimination towards gay men, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender persons and their families. Social workers are obligated to use nonjudgmental attitudes and to encourage nurturing practice environments for lesbians, gay men, bisexual, and transgender persons.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community faces mental health conditions just like the rest of the population. However, they may experience more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice and other biases.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that NAMI strongly opposes any policy or legislation that has the effect of impeding, limiting or denying access to medical, mental health or substance use care, employment, education, housing, public accommodations, or other life activities based on an individual’s health or mental health status, disability, age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language proficiency or sexual or gender orientation.
The American Medical Association (AMA) supports the equal rights, privileges and freedom of all individuals and opposes discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, national origin or age.
A growing body of scientific literature reveals that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents will develop emotionally, cognitively, socially, and sexually as well as children whose parents are heterosexual. Parents’ sexual orientation is much less important than having loving and nurturing parents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes the diversity of families. We believe that children who are born to, or adopted by, one member of a gay or lesbian couple deserve the security of two legally recognized parents. Therefore, we support statutory and legal means to enable children to be adopted by the second parent or coparent in families headed by gay and lesbian couples.
United Nations entities call on States to act urgently to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI)1adults, adolescents and children.
All people have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma. International human rights law establishes legal obligations on States to ensure that every person, without distinction, can enjoy these rights. While welcoming increasing efforts in many countries to protect the rights of LGBTI people, we remain seriously concerned that around the world, millions of LGBTI individuals, those perceived as LGBTI and their families face widespread human rights violations. This is cause for alarm – and action.
Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.
Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.
The American Counseling Association is committed to nondiscrimination and to the prevention of harassment in all forms—verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological—including protections for transgender, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Mental health counselors do not condone or engage in any discrimination based on ability, age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, gender identity, race, religion, politic beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.
Mental health counselors have a responsibility to educate themselves about their own biases toward those of different races, creeds, identities, orientations, cultures, and physical and mental abilities; and then to seek consultation, supervision and or counseling in order to prevent those biases interfering with the counseling process.
See: (LINK TO) How Many People are Gay?
CHOOSE A TOPIC TO LEARN MORE
- Return to: Basic Questions
- Why are some people gay?
- What does transgender mean?
- Myths and Stereotypes
- The Coming Out Process
- Telling Others Your Child is Gay
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