WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pennsylvania, SEPT. 18, 2003
(Zenit.org).- Amid the push for same-sex unions
in Canada and the recent overturning of Texas’ sodomy law, an aspect of the
underlying issue is sometimes overlooked: the medical consequences of
To shed light on the medical and scientific research into same-sex
attraction and homosexual behavior, ZENIT approached Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons.
Fitzgibbons is a principal contributor to the Catholic Medical Association‘s statement
on “Homosexuality and Hope.”
Q: Could you explain why homosexuality is not normal, from a medical
Fitzgibbons: Homosexuality was diagnosed and treated as a psychiatric
illness — abnormal behavior — until 1973, when it was removed from the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in psychiatry because of political
Numerous conflicts make homosexual behaviors abnormal, including rampant
promiscuity, inability to maintain commitment, psychiatric disorders and
medical illnesses with a shortened life span.
The sexual practices of homosexuals involve serious health risks and
illness. Specifically, sodomy as a sexual behavior is associated with
significant and life-threatening health problems.
Unhealthy sexual behaviors occur among both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Yet the medical and social science evidence indicate that homosexual
behavior is uniformly unhealthy. Men having sex with other men leads to
greater health risks than men having sex with women, not only because of
promiscuity but also because of the nature of sex among men.
Q: Is homosexuality associated specifically with psychological problems? Can
an active homosexual lifestyle lead to adverse psychological consequences?
Fitzgibbons: Two extensive studies appearing in the October 1999 issue of
the American Medical Association’s Archives of General Psychiatry confirm a
strong link between homosexual sex and suicide, as well as a relationship
between homosexuality and emotional and mental problems.
One of the studies in the journal, by David M. Fergusson and his team, found
that “gay, lesbian and bisexual young people are at increased risk of
psychiatric disorder and suicidal behaviors.”
The youth suffering from these disorders were four times as likely as their
peers to suffer from major depression, almost three times as likely to
suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, nearly four times as likely to
experience conduct disorder, five times as likely to have nicotine
dependence, six times as likely to suffer from multiple disorders, and over
six times as likely to have attempted suicide.
An extensive study in the Netherlands undermines the assumption that
homophobia is the cause of increased psychiatric illness among gays and
lesbians. The Dutch have been considerably more accepting of same-sex
relationships than other Western countries — in fact, same-sex couples now
have the legal right to marry in the Netherlands.
So a high rate of psychiatric disorders associated with homosexual behavior
in the Netherlands means that psychiatric disease cannot be attributed to
social rejection and homophobia. The Dutch study, published in the Archives
of General Psychiatry, did indeed find a high rate of psychiatric disease
associated with same-sex sex behaviors.
Compared to controls who had no homosexual experience in the 12 months prior
to the interview, males who had any homosexual contact within that time
period were much more likely to experience major depression, bipolar
disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
often diagnosed with major depression, social phobia or alcohol dependence.
In fact, those with a history of homosexual contact had higher prevalence of
nearly all psychiatric disorders measured in the study.
Also, a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health has shown that
39% of males with same-sex attraction have been abused by other males with
Q: What are the medical illnesses associated with homosexuality?
Fitzgibbons: The list of medical diseases found with extraordinary frequency
among male homosexual practitioners as a result of abnormal homosexual
behavior is alarming: anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium,
giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV,
human papilloma virus — HPV or genital warts — isospora belli,
microsporidia, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis types B and C, and syphilis.
Sexual transmission of some of these diseases is so rare in the exclusively
heterosexual population as to be virtually unknown. Others, while found
among heterosexual and homosexual practitioners, are clearly predominated by
those involved in homosexual activity.
Men who have sex with men account for the lion’s share of the increasing
number of cases in America of sexually transmitted infections that are not
generally spread through sexual contact.
These diseases, with consequences that range from severe and even
life-threatening to mere annoyances, include hepatitis A, giardia lamblia,
entamoeba histolytica, Epstein-Barr virus, neisseria meningitides,
shigellosis, salmonellosis, pediculosis, scabies and campylobacter.
Q: Many professional medical groups have stopped classifying homosexuality
as abnormal behavior, and pro-homosexual organizations actively promote it
as just another option that is perfectly normal. Is this responsible from a
medical point of view?
Fitzgibbons: Most medical groups have embraced the homosexual agenda and are
advocating that lifestyle, despite all of the scientific studies and medical
evidence that demonstrate medical and psychological risks. It seems the
politically correct homosexual agenda is trumping science.
Doctors have a responsibility to inform their clients of the dangers of a
homosexual lifestyle. In his study “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,” my
colleague Dr. John R. Diggs Jr. wrote, “As a physician, it is my duty to
assess behaviors for their impact on health and well-being. When something
is beneficial, such as exercise, good nutrition or adequate sleep, it is my
duty to recommend it. Likewise, when something is harmful, such as smoking,
overeating, alcohol or drug abuse, it is my duty to discourage it. …
“There are differences between men and women in the consequences of same-sex
activity. But most importantly, the consequences of homosexual activity are
distinct from the consequences of heterosexual activity. As a physician, it
is my duty to inform patients of the health risks of gay sex, and to
discourage them from indulging in harmful behavior.”
Same-sex attraction is a manifestation of serious emotional conflicts that
are preventable and treatable. Gender Identity Disorder in children
regularly leads to same-sex attractions in adolescence, and now there’s even
a move to remove it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
The media or major health organizations communicate none of the serious
medical and psychiatric problems associated with homosexuality. School
programs don’t present this information, so children are encouraged and
taught that the homosexual lifestyle is a healthy alternative to marriage.
These youngsters are not being told about the dangers of this lifestyle. I
think schools and school psychologists should be legally liable because they
are not providing informed consent while promoting the homosexual lifestyle.
Also, pediatricians know children raised without a father are subjected to
serious psychological problems, and raising a child without a mother also
predisposes the child to serious emotional and mental illnesses.
Q: Legalizing abnormal behavior would seem to dissuade people from seeking
the help they need to overcome it. Would that be a fair assessment?
Fitzgibbons: I think that is a very fair assessment. There are attempts to
prevent people from seeking help for same-sex attraction. There’s definitely
a movement to stop mental health professionals from providing treatment.
The Spitzer report from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which will publish
in October, surveyed ex-homosexuals who were out of the lifestyle for five
years, and it found that 64% of the men and 43% of the women considered
themselves to be heterosexuals after they received treatment. Dr. Spitzer of
Columbia University led the task force of the American Psychiatric
Association in 1973 that removed homosexuality from our diagnostic manual.
In a number of studies, when people with same-sex attraction were treated, a
third of the patients get better, a third get mixed results, and a third
don’t get better. In my clinical experience, when a spiritual component is
brought in to the treatment, the recovery rate is much higher.
Q: What do you think would be the long-term impact of legalized same-sex
unions? How would this affect future generations?
Fitzgibbons: Marriage between a man and a woman is based on commitment and
is an expression of Judeo-Christian morality. Same-sex unions are based on
neo-pagan, Kinseyian morality that doesn’t expect loyalty.
In a recent study from a major journal conducted on males, it found that
males in same-sex unions stayed together for an average length of two years,
and would regularly have sex with others outside of the relationship.
In this Amsterdam study, 86% of new HIV infections occurred in men who
considered themselves to be in same-sex unions.
Same-sex unions cause emotional trauma and pain to individuals, and damage
to the culture. Equating same-sex unions with marriage is a false belief —
Q: What about adoptions by homosexual couples? How would that affect the
Fitzgibbons: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a
document on homosexuality that addressed adoptions by homosexual couples.
The statement noted that intentionally depriving a child of a father or
mother is doing violence to that child. The office’s document and the
Catechism of the Catholic Church’s section on homosexuality are supported by
Also, raising children in an environment with same-sex parents goes against
the values of the common inheritance of humanity. The absence of a father in
the home leads to sadness, anger, difficulty in trusting and conflict
disorders. The absence of a mother is worse. One’s mother is one’s
fundamental basis of feeling safe in relationships; denying a child of a
mother wounds the child’s ability to trust and have faith in the world,
which can lead to anxiety and attachment disorders.
Children should not be subjected to this cruel deprivation, as it does
serious damage. Even Belgium, which approves of same-sex unions, does not
allow same-sex couples to adopt. Not all adults necessarily have the
inherent right to have a child. But all children have a right to a mother
and a father.
Q: What are the psychological strategies in the homosexual agenda?
Fitzgibbons: The homosexual agenda aims to desensitize people to
homosexuality via the media and “diversity weeks” held in many schools —
including Catholic colleges and high schools.
It portrays those who oppose homosexual behavior and unions as being
troubled, in violation of the law and in need of help, similar to those who
have racial prejudices. It also attempts to claim that homosexuality is
genetically determined in spite of research studies that fail to support
And of course, the main goal is to convert people to the homosexual agenda.
Q: What can Catholics do to protect the sacrament of marriage?
Fitzgibbons: Catholics can pray more for the protection of marriage and
families and can learn the truth about homosexuality by seeking information
at reliable Web sites: the International Association of Catholic Medical
Associations at www.Fiamc.org; the Catholic Medical Association at
www.cathmed.org; and the National Association for the Treatment and Research
of Homosexuality at www.narth.com.
They can communicate the fullness of the Church’s truth about sexuality in
their family, their parish and in their children’s schools.
They can also support the proposed marriage amendment to the U.S.
And they can ask priests to offer prayers for marriages as part of the daily
petitions at Mass.