NARTH reports on Robert Perloff, former president of the American Psychological Association. Perloff keynoted the annual NARTH conference in mid-November.
Excerpts from Perloff:
I am here as the champion of one’s right to choose … It is my fervent belief that freedom of choice should govern one’s sexual orientation … If homosexuals choose to transform their sexuality into heterosexuality, that resolve and decision is theirs and theirs alone, and should not be tampered with by any special interest group — including the gay community…
The individual’s right for self-determination of sexuality — or sexual autonomy — is, I am happy to see, inherent in NARTH’s position statement: ‘NARTH respects each client’s dignity, autonomy, and free agency…every individual has the right to claim a gay identity, or to develop their heterosexual potential. The right to seek therapy to change one’s sexual adaptation is considered self-evident and inalienable.’ I subscribe fully to the aforementioned NARTH position statement.
Noting that he was a Fellow of APA’s Lesbian and Gay division, Dr. Perloff reiterated his support for gay and lesbian issues. However, he vigorously declared his opposition to the efforts of the gay community within APA to prevent psychotherapists from accepting clients who wished to develop their heterosexual potential. Dr. Perloff articulated the following reasons for his position….
1. "The individual has the right to choose whether he or she wishes to become straight. It is his or her choice, not that of an ideologically driven interest group.
2. "To discourage a psychotherapist from undertaking a client wishing to convert, for reasons I will explain, [is] anti-research, anti-scholarship, and antithetical toward the quest for truth.
3. "To deny a client the opportunity to engage in a psychotherapeutic experience is potentially harmful to the client, who may well have emotional problems and mental health roadblocks independent of that client’s sexual orientation."