Common Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality
Many people believe things about homosexuality that aren't true. Here are some questions people sometimes have.
Question: Can gays and lesbians change their sexual orientation if they really want to? Can't they get some kind of treatment?
Answer: Like heterosexuals, most gays and lesbians don't feel they can choose their sexual orientation. No "treatment" has been shown to change a person's sexual orientation. Most gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults are satisfied to be who they are. They would not wish to change into heterosexuals, just as most heterosexuals would not wish to become gay.
Question: Can child abuse cause homosexuality?
Answer: Abuse does not make people straight or gay. Science has not yet discovered what makes some people gay and others straight.
Question: I have an uncle who is gay. Should I worry about letting my children stay with him? Aren't gay people more likely to be child molesters?
Answer: Gay people are not more likely to molest children.
Question: My lesbian daughter and her partner are adopting a little girl. I wonder if they can be good parents or if my new granddaughter will grow up to be gay?
Answer: The ability to be a good parent has nothing to do with whether the parent is straight or gay. Most children of gay and lesbian parents grow up to be heterosexual. And most gay and lesbian children have heterosexual parents. Sexual orientation is not something you can impose on others.
Question: I've heard that people who are bisexual change partners a lot. Is it true?
Answer: Being bisexual just means that the person has been romantically or sexually attracted to both sexes at least once. Many people who are bisexual are monogamous, which means they have only one partner.
The American Psychological Association provides
information and brochures on a number of topics, including stress, anxiety, and
depression. Visit www.apa.org/helpcenter for information on the
mind/body connection, family and relationships, and how therapy works.
Family Equality Council
P.O. Box 206
Boston, MA 02133
Family Equality Council works to ensure equality for families with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender members. Parenting protections, adoption, health insurance reform, safe schools, and workplace equality are some of the many issues the organization works on. Its website includes news updates and resources for families.
GLBT National Help Center
2261 Market Street, PMB 296
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 355-0003 office
1-888-843-4564 national hotline
1-800-246-7743 youth talkline
The GLBT National Help Center provides free and confidential support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and for those with questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The organization offers information about GLBT issues, safer-sex info, and local resources for cities and towns across the country, as well as peer counseling for people going through a difficult time.
Healthy Minds. Healthy Lives.American Psychiatric Association
Arlington, VA 22209
This online resource is provided by the American Psychiatric Association for anyone seeking mental health information. It includes information on many common mental health concerns, including warning signs of mental disorders, treatment options, and preventive measures.
PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
1828 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
PFLAG is a support, education, and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, friends, and allies. PFLAG is a nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions. On the website you can find information about local chapters, advocacy issues, and more.
American Psychological Association (2008). Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Available online: http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/orientation.aspx.
APA Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns (2011). Answers to Your Questions About Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Available online: http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/transgender.aspx.
Biggs WS (2011). Medical human sexuality. In RE Rakel, DP Rakel, eds., Textbook of Family Medicine, 8th ed., pp. 1000–1012. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Hillman JB, Spigarelli MG (2009). Sexuality: Its development and direction. In WB Carey et al., eds., Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, 4th ed., pp. 415–425. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Sadock VA (2009). Normal human sexuality and sexual and gender identity disorders. In BJ Sadock et al., eds., Kaplan and Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 2027–2060. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Zucker KJ (2011). Gender identity and sexual behavior. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 346–348. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.