from Social Issues
The exchange between Christine and Dr. Phil is reprinted below:
Christine: My 22-year-old daughter is in a relationship with a woman. I don't believe she is a lesbian. Could this be a form of rebellion and a result of getting in with the "wrong" crowd? Can homosexuality be learned and unlearned?Dr. Phil is wrong, according to NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. Dr. Nicolosi responds:
Dr. Phil: Homosexuality is not a learned behavior. A sexual orientation is inherited; you are wired that way. Certainly some people will experiment with a gay lifestyle, and a gay person might experiment with a heterosexual one. If she is really gay, she will find a place in that life and in that community. The important thing is that you just love her through that. What difference does it make if she is gay? Accept her, support her and do not be judgmental. It is difficult enough for her to live openly and honestly in this society; don't put your judgment on top of that.
Dr. Phil says sexual orientation is 'inherited,' which would mean 'genetic.' Dr. Phil should study this issue more carefully. There is no respected researcher who would agree with Dr. Phil. First, the biological components researchers have been finding are not primarily 'genetic.' Second, no one in the field is discounting environment-that is, parental and social-influences.NARTH leader, Dr. Louis Berman, has also responded to Dr. Phil's comments on sexual orientation and lesbianism. Dr. Berman notes:
Lesbians are more likely to share many of the values as the heterosexual majority: permanent mating, monogamy, and raising a family. But what is true of a majority of lesbians applies only to a minority of gay men.
Dr. Phil claims that lesbians are "hard wired" for their behavior. The fact is that a significant number of women adopt the practice of lesbianism after experiencing a bad marriage, or have had (presumably unsatisfying) heterosexual experience--less characteristic of gay men.) We see in the newspapers that when the famous lesbian comedienne Ellen DeGeneres broke up with her partner, her "lesbian" partner married a man. Understanding human behavior is an absorbing challenge, but seldom simple.