ERIC Number: ED327767
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Psychological and Ethical Implications of Causal Theories of Sexual Orientation.
Gonsiorek, John C.
This paper discusses the importance and dangers of causal theories of sexual orientation, noting that, in recent years, the illness model of homosexuality has been thoroughly discredited and replaced with a variety of gay and lesbian affirmative constructs which explore the effects of a disparaging and hostile society on the development and psychological functioning of gay and lesbian individuals. It is suggested that, despite its legitimate therapeutic and sociopolitical drawbacks, the illness model of homosexuality included elements of causality and a sense of context that is lacking from newer theories. It is argued that, even though both biological and learning theories of the cause of homosexuality have failed in finding empirical support, biological, and especially interactional, models nonetheless have a legitimate place in scientific inquiry. The dangers attendant upon theories of causality of sexual orientation are described as lying in the liability of such theories for abuse by the medical and psychiatric profession for the sake of economic gain. The paper concludes that gay and lesbian affirmative practitioners should pursue theories about the nature and causes of sexual orientation, because of the theoretical vacuum left by the decline of the illness model and because of potential clinical utility. (TE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).