Research indicates that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCEs) are not effective and furthermore commonly lead to iatrogenic effects such as depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Negative attitudes toward homosexuality derive from most formal religions and are incarnated in medical and psychological theories that support and encourage SOCEs. Oppression of sexual minorities makes it unlikely that change requests by patients are voluntary. Recently there has been a dramatic change as the field moves from reparative to affirmative approaches. Here, we review the history of SOCEs, their consequences, current affirmative treatments, and future directions in the field as they pertain to the well-being of the queer community. From an institutional community psychology perspective, we argue that even if true conversion were possible, such efforts are unethical and should not be pursued even if requested. As is the case with all psychological/psychiatric interventions, the issue is not “can” but “ought.”

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 20 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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