from Social Issues
In it, Dr. Phil tells this mother that sexual orientation is "wired" and not a learned behavior. He urges the mother to accept her daughter's lesbianism and help her to find a life in the gay community.
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: 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 Is Wrong On This Issue
NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. notes of Dr. Phil's response:
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.An Open Letter To Dr. Phil
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-a phenomenon less characteristic of gay men.) We see in the newspapers that when the well-known 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.
Dear Dr. Phil:
On behalf of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), I am writing to ask that you consider using our resources in future discussions of sexual orientation issues on your web site and on your TV show.
NARTH is a professional organization of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed counselors, educators, and others who believe in freedom of choice in therapy and are convinced that sexual orientation is fluid, not fixed.
This belief is based upon their own counseling sessions with individuals who have unwanted same-sex attractions-and upon decades of scientific data that clearly show that while homosexual development may be influenced by biological factors, it is not simply "wired" into a person from birth, nor is it a condition that is unchangeable. Countless patients in my own practice and in the practices of others are evidence that homosexual desires can be altered or diminished.
In our research over the past decades, we have found little evidence that homosexuality is biologically determined, although certain individuals have a personality structure that makes them vulnerable to homosexual attractions and thoughts. We have discovered over the years that a male homosexual's same-sex attractions are associated with a sensitive inborn temperament, an emotional deficit in the home, and not infrequently, with early sexual abuse.
We know you are an intellectually honest individual who is deeply concerned for the welfare of families and individuals with relational or emotional difficulties.
We encourage you to access NARTH's vast resources on our web site and invite you to visit our office in Encino, California so we might discuss this issue at greater length.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
P.S. - I am providing you with a link to our web site so you can access our materials: http://www.narth.com.