Categories of sexual orientation typically have included attraction to members of one’s own sex (gay men or lesbians), attraction to members of the other sex (heterosexuals), and attraction to members of both sexes (bisexuals).
While these categories continue to be widely used, research has suggested that sexual orientation does not always appear in such definable categories and instead occurs on a continuum (e.g., Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Klein, 1993; Klein, Sepekoff, & Wolff, 1985; Shiveley & De Cecco, 1977) In addition, some research indicates that sexual orientation is fluid for some people; this may be especially true for women (e.g., Diamond, 2007; Golden, 1987; Peplau & Garnets, 2000).
The guidelines are also compatible with policies of other major mental health organizations (cf.
American Psychiatric Association, 1974; American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 1991; American Counseling Association, 1996; Canadian Psychological Association, 1995; National Association of Social Workers, 1996) which state that homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental illnesses.
These guidelines have been used nationally and internationally in practice and training and to inform public policy.
These policies include, but are not limited to, the resolution entitled (APA, 2009a).When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. refers to the “…way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests.A person’s gender expression may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity” (American Psychological Association, 2008, p. refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted.These guidelines are not intended to be mandatory or exhaustive and may not be applicable to every clinical situation.They should not be construed as definitive and are not intended to take precedence over the judgment of psychologists.Supporting literature for these guidelines is consistent with the APA Ethics Code (APA, 2002b) and other APA policy.