Even Failed Therapy for Undesired Same-Sex Sexuality Results in No Harm, Finds New Study

Mar 3, 2022 by

by Andrè Van Mol, MD, CMDA:

Swiftly on the heels of his 2021 study showing sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) “strongly reduces suicidality” and that restrictions on SOCE may “deprive sexual minorities of an important resource for reducing suicidality, putting them at substantially increased suicide risk,”[1],[2] Sociologist Paul Sullins’ new peer-reviewed analysis revealed, as per its title, an “Absence of Behavioral Harm Following Non-efficacious Sexual Orientation Change Efforts: A Retrospective Study of United States Sexual Minority Adults, 2016–2018.”[3]

Sullins begins with a clear definition of SOCE: “Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) is a summary term for therapies or programs that support change from same-sex to opposite-sex orientation in sexual attraction, identity, and/ or behavior.” As of 2016 the preferred terminology is not SOCE but SAFE-T (Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy).[4] That was the first naming of it by actual competent professional practitioners. The popular—but pejorative, misrepresentative, provocative and vague—“conversion therapy” label was spawned in 1991 by its opponents.[5] With time, the same monoculture morphed it into “SOCE.” Keep that in mind when reading about the renaming of “conversion therapy” allegedly to fool people—it’s the reclamation of representative language from the den of disinformation.

As with his previous analysis, the nationally representative data came from the open-access Williams Institute’s Generations study. Specifically, Sullins’ paper examined data across three cohorts of United States sexual minorities (centered in 1969, 1987 and 2003) who were exposed to SOCE, comparing them with “the remainder not exposed to SOCE on two measures of internal distress—psychological distress (Kessler scale) and current mental health—and seven measures of behavioral harm: substance abuse (DUDIT); alcohol dependence (AUDIT-C); self-harm; suicide ideation; suicide planning; suicide intentions; and suicide attempts.”

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