Thursday, February 15, 2007

First do no harm

One of those kind people who mean well sent me a brochure about changing my sexual orientation. And while the brochure was all very medical and religious it seemed to me to have forgotten a basic tenet of medicine - First, do no harm. And while I'm sure they meant well, I have no doubts as to their sincerity it seems that when all the major medical and psychological bodies have statements about the risk of harm when trying to change sexual orientation and doubts as to whether it is possible to do so without harm and there is no independent study of success rates (though there is the Spitzer one that he has clearly said was misused that indicates some change is possible for highly committed and highly religious people - all of whom are making a living by being ex-gay), it just seems reidiculous to promote the idea that people can change their sexual orientation.

Certainly there are times when one might undergo a risky medical procedure. My dad's last heart operation was quite risky, but.... there were mitigating factors. All the risks were explained up front (didn't happen in this brochure). The quality of life was certain to be improved by the operation (without the operation he would remain in the hospital until death vs. with the operation he could return home). But while the brochure spoke of the evil in 'the' gay lifestyle, the lifestyle portrayed was not remotely similar to mine. And the peace it said would happen is something that I already have. The relationship with God that was promised is something I already live. And so I wonder what did the people who so kindly want me to change have to offer. It seems that I already have what they are promising, so why should I change? Why would I want to spend the money, the time, the effort to get what is already present in my life, just to make a change that they say is needed to get those things.

First do no harm, but also make sure that there will be some benefit.

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