Updated: Nov 7
Individuals who are same-sex attracted have been described as either different or the same as heterosexuals, normal or deviant, rebels and outlaws or ordinary citizens, poorly or well adjusted, masculine or effeminate, flaming queens or butch studs, active or passive, tops or bottoms, sadistic or masochistic, and so forth.
Another bifurcation can be considered, with those from each position meriting a legitimate voice and respectful consideration. This area focuses on the personal attitude individuals have toward their sexual proclivities. On the one hand, some value their homoerotic inclinations and would not wish to live their lives differently. On the other are those anguished by deep and abiding disharmony between their same-sex erotic responsiveness and equally inescapable spiritual and religious commitments.
Peace escapes those of the latter group as they remain estranged not only from others of their sex, but also from themselves. Theirs is a protracted war, as a truce or peaceful resolution appears untenable. Neither happily adjusted nor dissatisfied gay people would welcome the other’s views. Since the Stonewall rebellion, and after the gay issue became politicized, gains from pro-gay activism have drowned out dissent from any who would question the morality of same-sex sexuality. Those who would acknowledge reservation or dissatisfaction have been attacked and vilified as traitors to the cause of gay liberation. Many suffering souls have failed to acknowledge their reserved, ambivalent status, for such would bring further rejection and recrimination and amplify the pain of their alienation.
The pendulum has indeed swung, and while the pro-gay position appears to be taking the day, along with much empathetic societal support, such has not always been the case. Previously, both society and many in the gay community viewed same-sex sexuality as deviant. In 1971, psychiatrist, Arno Karlen, published his tome entitled Sexuality and Homosexuality, in which he wrote:
“… we do know that predominant or exclusive homosexuality is seen negatively everywhere, and that when a society acknowledged to approve homosexuality is carefully studied, it turns out that homosexual acts are accepted only in special situations or times of life, and to the extent they do not impair heterosexual functioning or loss of sexual identity.”
Such was the tenor of the day, and at that time most heterosexuals and religious organizations sought to discourage same-gender sexuality primarily through intimidation and various forms of punishment. For the last sixty years or so, to counter being treated as pariahs, gay activists have assiduously utilized litigation and propaganda to change society’s moral position and thus improve their social status. Their goal has been to have gay okay.
While gay people have become more visible and accepted, tolerance is often tenuous and much antigay sentiment quietly remains throughout the land. Certainly, however, there is no justification for abuse of homosexuals or any who experience gender dysphoria. These men and women warrant the same lawful protections afforded other citizens.
I believe that both the homophobia of heterosexuals and the pro-gay agenda of homosexual activists are harmful to genuinely needful men and women. Study and personal experience have brought certainty that the “born that way and can’t change” message of activists is absolutely incorrect. Such opinions encourage victimhood, discourage personal responsibility, and buttress the barrier between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
I am assured that same-gender attraction evolves naturally through a discernable pattern of personal life experience. There is a constellation of events which encourages the internalization of divergent personal and interpersonal beliefs and behaviors. Further, I am assured that there exists an attainable resolution of the conflict some feel between morality and their erotic inclinations. Although most of these individuals have thus far been unable to change, and caregivers have been largely unsuccessful through their ministrations, there is no justification for closing the door on seeking options for a different outcome. There are approaches that can benefit not only wounded and worthy individuals, but also bring a healing societal rapprochement.
When homosexuals were unable to extinguish their unwanted draws to other men and psychoanalysts and other mental health workers finally admitted the failure of their therapeutic endeavors, both determined there was no problem and proclaimed homosexual proclivities to be simply a normal variant of human sexuality. From that point, it became professional suicide for students of the issue to continue seeing the behavior as problematic or searching for interventions. From both clinicians and those struggling with unwanted thoughts and behaviors, there have been a plethora of unrealistic explanations for these actions. For most of the naive public though, the purpose has been incomprehensible. Although beneficial insights have been garnered previously, they have been largely forgotten or swept under the carpet.
Space and effort in this blog will be given to providing an alternative view of same-gender attraction, of its purpose and process. Early workers, John and Joan Hampson, noted that gender is fixed so early that it has been thought to be inborn. Famed psychologist, Harry Stack Sullivan, himself homosexual, was assured that “man is a product more of his relationships with people than of his drives.” Male homosexuals know they are male. In essence, they value their gender and genitalia. They know they are men and idolize male virility in others while, generally, they feel they are not man enough. Most have found some aspect of their body or being that has convinced them that in relation to other males, they are inferior. At some deep level, they reject themselves. Sullivan was aware of the relevance of children’s early experiences. His consideration of “’preadolescent chumship’ is one of the most important and still under-researched areas in psychosexual development.”
My views are primarily drawn from the work of psychiatrist, John Bolby and psychologist, Elizabeth Moberly. Their theories coincide with the findings of other noted theorists and therapists and support the idea that obligatory homosexuality is a naturally evolving developmental phenomenon, the result of inadequate, erroneous socialization. I view homosexuality as a social problem requiring largely a social intervention. Rather than deemed “outlaws and perverts,” men drawn erotically to others of their own sex can be viewed as needful children and emotional orphans. Moberly defined them as having a “legitimate dependency,” justified in needing particular assistance from significant others. Rather than “homo-hatred” and a damning fist, a kind, nurturing hand is required. Gay author, Mark Thompson, summarized the issue astutely when he stated: “Somewhere inside every gay man, there’s a wounded boy who stopped growing, who simply gave up and shut down.” Unfortunately, these youth were abandoned by both themselves and those others who experienced a more benign childhood.
As homophobia and “homo-hatred” are evil and destructive, so is the message that same-sex sexuality is the same as heterosexuality and that those who discover themselves same-sex attracted are obliged to accept their inclinations as normal and go with the gay lifestyle. There is a rationale that supports males in the pursuit of their gender birthright.
Bolby, J., The Making of Affectional Bonds, 1979
Karlen, Arno, Sexuality and Homosexuality, 1971
Moberly, E. R., Psychogenesis: The Early Development of Gender Identity, 1983
Moberly, E. R., Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, 1983
Moberly, E. R., The Psychology of Self and Other, 1985