Variations of Human Sexuality: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

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Health and Natural Variations of Human Sexuality

Healthcare professionals encounter many aspects of human diversity when providing care, including different variations of human sexuality. 

Homosexuality or bisexuality

A large body of scientific research indicates that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality without any intrinsically harmful health effects. Direct and indirect discrimination, stigmatisation, peer rejection, and bullying continue to have a serious impact upon the psychological and physical health of people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation. These negative experiences lead to higher prevalence rates of depression, anxiety disorders, substance misuse, and suicidal ideations and attempts. The suicide rate among adolescents and young adults with a homosexual or bisexual orientation is, consequently, three times higher than that of their peers.

This can be exacerbated by so-called “conversion” or “reparative” procedures, which claim to be able to convert homosexuality into asexual or heterosexual behaviour and give the impression that homosexuality is a disease. These methods have been rejected by many professional organisations due to a lack of evidence of their effectiveness. They have no medical indication and represent a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated. homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s official diagnostic manual in 1973. The World Health Organisation (WHO) removed it from the ICD in 1990 following a similar process of scientific review. The Pan American Health Organization (WHO) states: “In none of its individual manifestations does homosexuality constitute a disorder or an illness, and therefore it requires no cure.”

The WMA condemns all forms of stigmatisation, criminalisation and discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation, and asserts that psychiatric or psychotherapeutic approaches to treatment must not focus upon homosexuality itself, but rather upon conflicts, which arise between homosexuality, and religious, social and internalised norms and prejudices.

WMA Current Policy & Action: 

Press Release: WMA Urges Ugandan President to reserve New Law on Homosexuality, March 2014

WMA statement on Natural Variations of Human Sexuality, October 2013

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