Last updated on: 7/15/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

American Psychological Association Biography

Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is Sexual Orientation Determined at Birth?"
Reasoning:

“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”

“Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality,” www.APA.org (accessed July 15, 2009)

[Editor’s Note: In July 2009, the APA revised its website section “Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality“ with a new statement about the origins of sexuality. This alteration spurred a debate over whether or not the APA was backtracking from its former position. The APA argued that its position on the origins of sexuality did not change even though the language they used to articulate that position did change. The newer statement appears above while the older statement is presented below. We have categorized both statements as “Not Clearly Pro or Con” to our core question “Is sexual orientation determined at birth?”]

“There are numerous theories about the origins of a person’s sexual orientation; most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality. In summary, it is important to recognize that there are probably many reasons for a person’s sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people.”

“Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality,” www.APA.org (accessed Nov. 1, 2004)

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
  Organizations/VIPs/Other
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Description:

“Based in Washington, DC, the American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With more than 150,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.”

“About APA,” www.APA.org (accessed July 15, 2009)

Mission:

“The objects of the American Psychological Association shall be to advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting health, education, and human welfare by:

  • the encouragement of psychology in all its branches in the broadest and most liberal manner
  • the promotion of research in psychology and the improvement of research methods and conditions
  • the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists through high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement
  • the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct of the members of the Association
  • the increase and diffusion of psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications[T]hereby to advance scientific interests and inquiry, and the application of research findings to the promotion of health, education, and the public welfare.”

“About APA,” www.APA.org (accessed July 15, 2009)

Other:
A scientific and professional organization
Quoted in:
  1. Can Sexual Orientation Be Successfully Changed?
  2. Is There an Age by Which People Realize Their Sexual Orientation?
  3. Is Sexual Orientation Determined at Birth?
  4. Can Sexual Orientation Be Successfully Changed?
  5. What Is Reparative or Conversion Therapy?
  6. Are Children Who Are Raised by Gay Parents More Likely to Be Gay Themselves?