WASHINGTON – Texas Governor Rick Perry waded into the debate over a change to the Texas Republican Party’s platform, which recently added support for so-called “reparative therapy” as a plank. According to press reports, when asked whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder, Perry responded that, “whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that." He continued, "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."
"Although he may not have the 'genetic coding' to think before he speaks, Rick Perry, M.D. should have a real conversation with actual doctors before voicing his expertise on these issues,” said Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “Every major mental health and medical organization in the country has condemned practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.”
Many right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change his or her sexual orientation, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy. Research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful. Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.