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Homosexuality not a mental disorder

Meghan DiPerna | Tuesday, October 28, 2003

While ordinarily I would dismiss Michael Gerardi’s fringe contentions in his Oct. 17 letter with a roll of my eyes, in this case, I believe three important points need be made.

First, in support of his view that homosexuality is a “psychological disorder,” Gerardi cites the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a group that promotes the “curing” of homosexuality through “reparative” or “conversion” therapy. It should be noted that no published scientific evidence supports such a view, and all valid health and mental health professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, staunchly oppose any assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

Second, Gerardi argues against gay families. Initially, he reasons that gay relationships are unstable. Unfortunately, many relationships today, whether heterosexual or homosexual, that are unstable, and most people agree that, sexual orientation aside, children are better raised by parents in stable, as opposed to unstable, relationships. But Gerardi further states that even gay families that maintain loving, stable environments are still immoral because “no end justifies an evil means.” Aside from the fact that using the word “evil” to explain why one finds something immoral is an easy and non-persuasive escape from using rational, logical arguments to justify such a position, the use of the word “evil” borders on hate speech, as most people commonly associate evil with the need to eliminate it.

In addition, having spent time working with children in homeless shelters, I have seen abused, malnourished, unwanted, and drug-addicted babies brought into this world. I imagine that many such children, starved for loving, stable environments, would take particular issue with a per se determination that homosexual couples willing to offer love, care, attention, support, devotion and guidance are unfit merely because of how they choose to express their feelings for each other behind closed doors.

Finally, because Gerardi apparently believes that homosexual individuals will die earlier than their heterosexual counterparts, he suggests that intolerance is the best way to keep society from losing so many people before their time has come. I suppose homosexuals around the world should be thanking him for this consideration. To think that such homophobic comments come from a Notre Dame student representing a University that, according to du Lac, “strives for a spirit of inclusion,” “prize[s] the uniqueness of all persons as God’s creatures”, and “value[s] gay and lesbian members of th[e] community as [it] values all members of th[e] community” is quite disappointing.

I only hope that the remainder of Gerardi’s four years at Notre Dame open his mind to the possibility that society’s intrinsic wrongs stem not from non-traditional sexual practices, but from people unwilling to accept and eager to condemn others who happen to be different from themselves.

Meghan DiPerna

class of 2002

Oct. 18