Recently, the addition of “actual or percieved” sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal law concerning hate crimes has come much closer to reality. Attempting to stir fear, many anti-gay groups claim that the term “sexual orientation” will be defined to include pedophiles and necrophiliacs, because the American Psychiatric Association defines such conditions – 30 in total – as sexual orientations. Exodus International’s website, in fact, attaches (historical screen capture) a pop-up to the word “orientation” any time it appears in one of their articles and tells us exactly that.

But there’s one catch: the APA doesn‘t recognize 30 sexual orientations. “Sexual Orientation” as defined by the APA refers only to homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and asexuals – people who are attracted to either nobody or another person of appropriate age.  The other “orientations,” such as necrophilia and pedophilia, are actually defined by the APA as “paraphilias.” Whereas the former is “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction toward others,” the latter involves “recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

For an organization that takes the word of the APA so seriously, curiously absent from Exodus’s website is the fact that the APA “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 a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.” And, of course, since Exodus claims they are a Christian group, the ninth commandment immediately comes to mind.

UPDATE 5/13/09: Exodus has silently changed the definition of “orientation” on their website [screen capture]. They have not acknowledged that their previous definition was an outright lie, nor apologized for their error.

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