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Quiet Death of Sexual Orientation

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Research Review

The Quiet Death of Sexual Orientation Immutability

How science loses when political advocacy wins

Review by Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D

 

Abstract

            A recently published comprehensive review article is must reading for anyone with an interest in being up-to-date on the science and legal status of sexual orientation change.  In this review of the work by Diamond and Rosky (2016), I attempt to outline and summarize the evidence they cite to support their belief that assertions of sexual orientation immutability are unscientific, legally unnecessary, and unjust. I then provide some observations about the authors’ perspective, with particular attention to their treatment of professional sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), the plausibility of which the authors summarily dismiss despite their affirmation of sexual orientation fluidity in most every context except psychotherapy. I also highlight the implicit and explicit acknowledgements by the authors of how the science of sexual orientation has been compromised when it is perceived to be at odds with advocacy goals.  Finally, I provide educated speculation about the impact of the authors’ worldview on their treatment of the immutability question.  The perceived ongoing political utility of immutability claims among gay activists likely insures that such assertions will die a very quiet death within professional psychology, Diamond and Rosky’s admirable work notwithstanding.

 

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