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#8 - STAGES OF LIFE'S JOURNEY

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Some have likened mortality to a brief period of schooling wherein we are challenged, learn through choices amidst opposition, and grow. Life is certainly about growth, forwardness toward some goal, and hopefully, achievement of a measure of maturation and greater happiness and fullness of being. Biblically, the two great commandments suggest that our main objective in life is to learn to love, first God, and then ourselves and each other. It is about the quality of relationship we build between ourselves and God and with our fellowmen. The whole law hangs on these two objectives. When we keep physical and moral laws, they keep us. When we learn and keep the law, we love the lawgiver of life. Perhaps love and life, if not synonymous, are very closely related. We certainly desire more of both.

When husband and wife come together physically, we say they are making love. Normally, they could, with major assistance from their Creator, be making life. However, seeking fun through having non-spousal recreational sex, commonly referred to as making love, is primarily an expression of lust. It is not really making love in the sense of making life, because frequently the life that can so easily and naturally flow from these actions is intentionally rejected and destroyed. Could this form of transient togetherness be more accurately referred to as "making death?"

Life and lives are important. Mortality, that period during which we experience ourselves and each other is brief but instructive and impacts eternity. Regarding learning, it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Following are several pictures that show the trajectory of life from the beginning of its course, following a couple’s having made love. They have begotten an incredibly complex and beautiful being, the physical abode of a human spirit. Given benign parenting, healthful social/emotional development usually follows, as shown in these pictures.

The stages of life are sequentially ordered, with each stage being a preparation for the next. It is not good for stages to be either neglected or taken out of order. They cannot be hopscotched. Humans are designed to grow through belonging and being a part of each other. Being able to stand and walk precedes abilities to run or jump. As a picture is composed of figure and ground, our physical development occurs in a complementary social and relational environment. Infants are like tender plant seedlings. They require particularly caring nurture to be strong and able to thrive. The first five years of a child's life are most important for their development.

In previous blogs, it was suggested that when infants and young children suffer emotional and social trauma, the result can be a failure of normal psychosocial and psychosexual development. Emotional trauma can prevent their experiencing beneficial gender-specific socialization and the internalization of a secure sense of self that is fully harmonious with their biological sex. These pictures can be a springboard for further consideration regarding the evolution of obligatory homosexuality, behavior that can in no way usher in the beginnings of new life. Despite this and many other similarly incontrovertible facts, gay activists continue to assert that there is no difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality.


Grateful appreciation and thanks are given for these photographs that support so very well the points being considered.



ON MY WAY!

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SWEET ARRIVAL

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PROGRAMED FOR A JOURNEY OF GROWTH

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MOM IS SO WONDERFUL


Humans are designed to grow through relationships with others. From birth, infants are active participants in a symbiotic relationship with their caregivers. Relationships between children and their parents during the first five years are of utmost importance in the evolution of their sense of self and their ability to relate well with others.


Before continuing, click on the following hyperlink and view the brief video of the “The Still-face Experiment, Part 1.”https://youtu.be/vmE3NfB_HhE. This remarkable study, by Dr. Edward Tronick, of UMass Boston's Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, highlights the importance of the relational bond which exists between an infant and its mother. That relational bond is the conduit through which the evolution of the self begins, is both critical and vulnerable. It supports the growth of healthful individuation or, when damaged or lost, brings feelings of incompleteness and interpersonal insecurity.[1]

Consider the damage to children who have primary relationships disrupted or destroyed through events such as a parent’s death, divorce, abuse, or serious illness. Many of these situations which separate children from their parents at vulnerable times commonly occur within families and are uninvited or unavoidable.

Sir John Bolby, celebrated psychologist, psychiatrist, student of child development, and framer of attachment theory, wrote of the immense importance of affectional bonds and infants’ early psychological development. He wrote: “There are few blows to the human spirit, so great as the loss of someone near and dear. …In considering the possible causes of psychiatric disturbance in children, child psychiatrists were early aware that antecedent conditions of significantly high incidence are either an absence of opportunity to make affectional bonds or else long, and perhaps repeated disruptions of bonds once made.[2]

[1][1][1] This video touches upon epigenetics, the idea that maternal drug abuse and other stressors may impact or modify gene structure within the developing fetus. This environmentally caused genetic modification is believed to affect the child’s ability to interact normally. This idea has been used to suggest that homosexuality may be programmed prior to birth. However, no specific direct tie has thus far been identified. Also, epigenetics is operative throughout life. “… epigenetics show that one can actually change one’s gene expression by lifestyle change.” (Lemole, G.M., Mehta, P.K., and McKee, D.L., After Cancer Care, 2015, p. 44) Psychologist and prominent researcher, John Money wrote: “There are several different human hermaphroditic syndromes each of which makes its own specific contribution to the science of homosexuality and to the understanding of genetic, prenatal-hormonal, and socialization determinants of being gay, straight, or bisexual. In combination, they indicate that sexualization is not under the direct governance of chromosomes and genes, and that, whereas it is not foreordained by prenatal brain hormonalization, it is influenced thereby, and is also strongly dependent upon postnatal socialization. (John Money, “Sin, Sickness, or Status? Homosexual Gender Identity and Psychoneruoendocrinology,” American Psychologist, April 1987. [2] Bolby, J., The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds, 2005, PP. 83 and 88.


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DAD --- WE’RE CONNECTING

Parents are commonly asked, “Is he smiling yet?” Others, along with the child’s parents, know implicitly the importance of this interpersonal engagement and look for the undeniable assurance that this connection is indeed happening.


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THIS IS GREAT. HAVING SO MUCH FUN!

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SORRY, GOT ALL TUCKERED OUT


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This beautiful family picture perfectly symbolizes the developmental transfer of the close affinity a male child has had with its mother to an increasing closeness with its father. The male child recognizes the physical similarity and, in numerous ways, senses and appreciates a greater commonness and oneness with its father. Thus, his identification with and preference for maleness gradually coalesces. This merging that male children have with their fathers is rewarding and necessary for the later awakening of heterosexual responsiveness. Males must be thoroughly immersed in their gender tribe and affirmed in their masculinity to appreciate opposite gender sexuality at physical maturity.


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TOGETHER, WE’LL CAPTURE THOSE OUTLAWS!



These boys may be expressing a nascent sense of morality

through play. Good guys united, going after the bad.[1] (Click on the URL below, skip the commercial, and learn about children’s innate sense of morality.)


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LET’S MIX IT UP!


From birth, male children are more physically active than female children. They generally relish energetic use of their bodies and enjoy robust play, often, the rowdier, the better. These somewhat rough interactions strengthen affectional bonds. At the same time, they allow children to learn to stand up and engage someone bigger and stronger than themselves.


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This is the time when it is great to be with a friend. Anything goes, as young boys explore and encounter their world. Together, there is total acceptance. Who can be king of the hill, belch the loudest, or pee the furthest? In physical play, the wilder the better and more affirming. At these times, the only enemy is exhaustion.


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With his inimitable wit and skill, cartoonist, Bill Watterson humorously plays off a most important concept concerning children’s psychosocial and psychosexual development. In the above escapade, Calvin delights in needling his nemesis, Suzie, about her unfortunate circumstance, being a girl. During early youth, boys and girls isolate by gender. It is this stage of merging tightly in one’s gender camp that prepares males and females to be of sexual interest to one another later, at physical maturity.

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PRETTY NEAT, HUH?

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IT WAS TOUGH, BUT WE WON!

-- DID IT TOGETHER!

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YA GOTTA BE KID’N







COOL!!!

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When boys share nudity before puberty, as while swimming, their thoughts and emotions are driven by the demands and possibilities of the activity. It is fast-paced-task, not person oriented. It calls for full-bodied expression of might rather than introspective sensuality. Staying afloat in water and landing safely from stupendous dives dominate thoughts and generate satisfactions. The friendship and mutuality boys share at these times are ordinary and in no way sexual. Later, during adolescence, with increased physical maturation and the body's hormonal sexualization, erotic responsiveness becomes the avenue to connect with those who are unique and different. For most males, those who have previously been closely related and shared all commonly throughout childhood, it is those of the opposite sex. However, for males poorly connected with their own gender tribe, it is other seemingly inaccessible males. It is those beautiful physical specimens who so capably but nonchalantly display the essence of robust, wholesome masculinity. It is those with whom they have been unable to be fully engaged. They have not been one of the chums, have not had bosom buddies. The needs of the stranded and left-behind males gradually shifts from admiration, through covetousness, envy, and on to lust. Then their fractured access to male potency is prone to become only symbolic, a sensual shadow of what it should and could have been.


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TEAM SPORTS: GREATER CHALLENGES REQUIRING MUTUAL DEPENDENCE


BECOMING ONE THROUGH BEING UNITED IN A CAUSE [1]




[1] In the picture above Seattle SuperSonics' Kurt Thomas (44) and Earl Watson (25) pressure Toronto Raptors' Rash Nesterovic, from Slovenia, during the first quarter of NBA action, at Bank of America Arena, in Seattle, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Kevin P)

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LEARNING AND GROWING TOGETHER


FATHER AND SON

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SHOWING THE WAY

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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

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The boy like to his father grown,

Has but attained unto his own;

To grow to sire from state of son,

Is not 'gainst Nature's course to run.


A son of God, like God to be,

Would not be robbing Deity;

And he who has this hope within

Will purify himself from sin.


---From "Man's Destiny," by Lorenzo Snow, (1892), based on 1John 3: 2 and

Philippians 2:5-6.


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THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT ARE NOW INTERESTING AND ATTRACTIVE, FOR DURING ADOLESCENCE AND SEXUAL MATURATION,

THAT WHICH IS EXOTIC AND DIFFERENT BECOMES EROTIC.[1]








[1] Bem, D. J., “Exotic Becomes Erotic: A Developmental Theory of Sexual Orientation,” Psychological Review,103, 1996, p. 332.

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Male and female come together in a total giving of self to each other. It is indeed a consummation, each achieving a long planed-for goal, coming to a sense of personal completeness. This unit, two becoming one, is both exclusive and inclusive. Their joining can and often does, in many ways, generate life more abundantly.

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BEGINNING THE BOND


COMMITMENT FOREVER

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GREATER FULFILLMENT AND HAPPINESS,


DEPTHS OF LOVE NOT PREVIOUSLY KNOWN.

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UNDERSTANDING AND BONDS OF AFFECTION THAT CAN BE KNOWN ONLY THROUGH THE EXPANSE OF TIME AND RESPONSIBLE CARE.


“COME, GROW OLD WITH ME, THE BEST IS YET TO BE.”[1]


[1] Browning, Robert – From “Rabbi Ben Ezra”


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FAREWELL FOR A WHILE

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Life is about growth, continued preparation for the next opportunity up ahead. Therefore, is it logical that mortals spend a lifetime moving forward, making moral-ladened choices, maturing, leaving simple for complex, valuing more than less, the full journey ascending a long ladder of growth and becoming, only to step off into oblivion? More than reason boldly affirms “No!” Below is pictured a comforting welcome following the end of mortality, painted by Derek Hegsted, entitled “Journey’s End.”


William Wordsworth poetically declared his assurance of continuance in his "Ode, Intimations of Immortality."




The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home.


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Becoming a mature person involves experiences through particular stages or segments of time. When a healthful father-son bond is not forthcoming, and/or there is an absence of rewarding transition into the gender specific patterns of masculine play and work, appropriate gender development is aborted. However, the requirements for personal validation and appropriate gender identification remain. The individual is locked into a push-pull dilemma of needing to be fully a man while finding himself unable to receive the nurturance and belonging that would satiate and liberate. If the normal course of masculine development from infancy to heterosexual maturity does not occur, the self is inchoate, unfinished. Males, deficient in their sense of manhood and unable to connect in affirming ways with valued heterosexual males pursue male power symbolically.

Freudian analyst, Harry Gershman, articulated the psychodynamics of homosexuality. He wrote: “The male homosexual, through his obsessive act, is attempting to incorporate that which he feels he is lacking... . Patterns of behavior are, therefore, more intimately connected with the experiential character development rather than the underlying biological drives. ... The act is reparative and is calculated to allay the anxiety of inadequate individualization.”[1]

The bedrock of homosexuality can be understood as consisting of an incomplete or devalued and distorted sense of self, a deeply held conviction of being inadequate and inferior. This frustrates social connections and growth. The developmental arrest which follows means that although these men may be in adult bodies and often excel in many areas of their lives, they are, in the deepest recesses of their being, very young, vulnerable, and needful children. The most elemental sense of being, the "I am," lies at the heart of the issue. The relational loss may be so great that their valuing of other well-identified individuals goes beyond wanting to be like them, to be them. At its deepest level, this urge may entail a total rejection of self, a strong impetus to not be, an abnegation of one’s very existence.

An alternative track develops when the child’s opposite sex parent has eclipsed and taken the place of the same-sex parent. These male children reject their sexual bodies along with the male role and move exclusively, spiritually, and psychologically, into the world of women. Male homosexuals love men and masculinity, their strong bodies and the structure and function of their genitalia. Transsexuals also value and are sensually drawn to males --from their adopted view. They, too, would seek a genital union with them but present themselves as women. Author, Seymour Kleinberg, wrote regarding a celebrated transsexual: “One of the most moving of Jan Morris’ statements in her autobiography [Conundrum: An Extraordinary Narrative of Transsexualism] is, 'I wear the body of a woman.’[2] Kleinberg defined the transsexual as a “creation” and explained: “The transsexual wants to disappear into secrecy, and the ordeal of his mortified flesh enables him to sleep with a man convinced that neither of them is homosexual.”[3]

Each person, in his or her own way, is striving for happiness, to love and to be loved. Those who grew up gay are blocked in their ability to find emotional and sensual fulfillment with a member of the opposite sex. Freud, among others, interpreted same-sex sexuality as evidence of an arrest or blockage of proper psychosexual development. These early workers saw heterosexuality as the developmental norm, given healthy socialization.

The promiscuity of homosexuals suggests addictiveness, using a substance or behavior to diminish discomfort. Although it provides temporary satisfaction, addictive behavior maintains and even strengthens the existing problem. Same-sex sexuality does not instill masculine identity or repair the relational breach with straight men. The pain of relational estrangement and psychic incompleteness drives them to seek one erotic encounter after another. The fix is temporary, and the search for another attractive male continues. Intimate encounters with other men’s symbol of potent masculinity are thus perpetuated. Sexual intimacy temporarily fills the void of unmet identity-securing-sociality which should have been experienced in earlier developmental years.

The reason activists have fought so fervently for gay liberation is because there really is no "third sex." The gender binary requires that males have access to some measure of engagement with their gender tribe. If gays are unable to intimately connect with other males through a same-gender straight sociality, then they must do so symbolically. Psychologically, they are not women and must have some access to the power associated with masculinity.

For years, unhappy gay men have pled for help and affirmed that they have genuinely tried to redirect their behavior. They have been promised cures which have generally not occurred. They have remained strongly drawn to other men, at the same time failing to become erotically interested in women. Often, this failure to change has been blamed on their being insufficiently motivated and not trying hard enough. Instead, it appears that failures to change have come from erroneous theoretical perspectives leading to improper clinical interventions and clients’ misguided personal efforts.

Gay men cannot and should not strive to shut down their attraction to males. This attraction should be used to take them to healthful, non-erotic socialization. It is because they are unable to connect socially with valued men that their same-sex proclivities strengthen, and their lives ultimately center around encountering men erotically. Unfortunately, many conflicted individuals choose to end their lives rather than continue trying to resist the attractions they have been unable to deny.

Most certainly, men who are unhappy being gay deserve support. It is understandable that they would value and desire the benefits of normal heterosexual family life. Although many of these men have indeed tried to change, despite monumental effort, they could never experience the desired growth unless they were knocking on correct doors.

There are wrong doors to be avoided. Wrong doors must include viewing same-sex sexuality as the primary problem when it is mostly a symptom, adjustive behavior to get around or solve a conflict. The motivation underlying that compulsive sensuality is the main issue. Trying to get men who are psychosocially immature to respond like men who are mature in their masculine identity is certainly an inappropriate and fruitless venture. Pointing immature youth and adults to heterosexuality is the wrong goal.

It bears repeating that parents are not invariably culpable for their children's gender-role estrangement and subsequent compensating homosexual adjustment. Alienation can result from a variety of naturally occurring issues that avert or disrupt the incorporation of , parent-child affectional bonds.

Young children who have been unable to fully identify with their fathers and/or same-sex peers, struggle with multiple issues. There is erroneous sex-object choice, the result of early wounding and a conditioned, over-investment in the male genital, the phallus. Many become developmentally handicapped through having been introduced precociously to sexuality by same-sex peers or older males. Even more extensive and pressing than sexual behavior is these men’s long-standing sense of being different. Most report abiding feelings of inferiority, of being inept in comparison to the physical and social abilities that other men so confidently and competently display. While fathers may not have been the source of initial relational wounding, the resulting estrangement comes to be centered in that primary, same-sex, father-son relationship. Early emotional trauma, even that experienced in the maternal/infant relationship, affects the child’s relationship with its father.

Estrangement from others and a pervasive sense of inferiority are largely held in place by the cultural norm of homophobia. It discourages relationally needful men from having emotionally honest, congruent relationships with those to whom they are drawn, those with whom they should be close.

Gay men are likely to be estranged from God. Distance from fathers has not encouraged them to value a spiritual father, particularly one whom many blame for their condition or one whom they believe has not responded to their petitions for divine assistance. Consequently, if they have broken the taboo of same-sex sexuality and become habituated to same-sex sexuality, they are likely to ignore general standards of behavior and develop their own set of moral values. Psychiatrist, Carl Jung noted that people get lost when they cease to have a value system outside themselves, a moral polar star. There is security in reliance upon a higher power and a system of ethics beyond oneself. People struggling with various forms of addiction report gains from this external resource. Large numbers of gay men have reported that the most significant changes they made were mediated by the application of religious values and connection with divine powers.

At least initially, it is likely that same-sex attracted men believed that sexuality with others of their own sex was not morally right. They deserve to understand how and why they respond so naturally and reflexively to the symbol of masculinity. With humility and sustained efforts of knocking on right doors, they can be successful in overcoming their sexual addiction. For these men, growing inwardly from boy to man, becoming confident and assured of their own masculinity, will be a gradual process. Such maturation cannot be accomplished either in isolation or by associating primarily or exclusively with other similarly wounded men. Validation of their gender identification can come through loving relationships that can be experienced with securely identified males. In these unique relationships, there can be experienced a shared love, similar to the father-son and peer bonding that should have occurred earlier.

A deceptively beaconing but wrong door has been referred to as Conversion therapy. It emanated from a confusion of behavior and orientation, an assumption that both referenced same-sex sexuality. Consequently, the overarching therapeutic objective in conversion therapy has been for conflicted youth and adult men to deny their attraction to males and develop erotic interests others of the opposite sex. But given their inadequate development, same-sex attraction is not only a profoundly normal reaction to their gender-specific estrangement. It is also the beacon marking the gender to which healing for the relational deficit can be found. The draw to other males should be valued and properly utilized to facilitate men becoming united socially and emotionally.

The reason why the same-sex attraction will not be denied is because it is supposed to be there. This force is an undeniable imperative, the impetus for males to grow up and finish the normal development for which they were designed. Male children were to be deeply loved and treasured by their fathers and supported by other males, so that they could become fully one with them. Properly nurtured, they would have been heterosexual, most later becoming fathers themselves. Being same-sex attracted is the undeniable teleological press to continue the normal growth process and be fully linked, the same as other men. That attraction will not and should not diminish even after full growth has been realized.

Continued respect and interests in other men should not be taken as failure to grow. Normal men love other men. Pressuring poorly identified children or adults to ever squelch these feelings which draw them to other valued men is antithetical to health. It is no wonder so many encouraged not to be attracted to men have been driven to suicide.

Valuing and responding appropriately to the same-gender attraction is to love men better, more wholesomely -- to love them, not lust them. Becoming more closely bonded with other well-identified men allows those who were previously estranged to break the unfulfilling cycle of addiction and draw closer to the appropriate end of their being, to be fully men. Understanding the paradox and recognizing the appropriateness of the attraction, they can fully engage with valued men instead of feeling different, remaining apart and defensively detached. As so well articulated by psychologist, Elizabeth Moberly, needful men can have "corrective emotional experiences" that neutralize those poisonous messages that had been experientially seated in the early, foundational years of their lives.

Surrogate fathers can recognize the blessing of their own correct socialization and leave behind traditions of homophobia and stereotypical thinking. The wall of ignorance and estrangement can be breached, and men from both developmental backgrounds can become brothers in the most blessed ways. They can share the healing power of friendship.

Although they did not directly choose to be homosexual, men who grew up gay need to take responsibility for having responded in ways that resulted in their being conditioned and locked into their choice of the wrong sex-object. While clinical care has its place, these men must do much under their own steam. They need to take charge of getting themselves back on the right course for appropriate growth. Knowing that this course entails facing their fears and approaching and connecting with men correctly, they can stage and pace their own learning experiences. They can replace defensive detachment with “offensive attachment.” They can approach well-identified heterosexual men courageously and honestly. Hearts can connect and lives can change. Rather than solely seeking to be repaired by another in a clinical setting, they must take personal responsibility for experiences that bring about their own healing.

New life can be breathed into the seeds of these men’s sense of manhood. They can link love and life. It may ultimately be possible for them happily bond their hearts to a heterosexual companion and keep the first commandment God gave Adam and Eve following their creation, that being to multiply and replenish the earth. They can know the joy of having their own posterity. They can love and become like the good men to whom they are drawn.

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It is ironic that gay activists believe they are obtaining freedom though efforts to normalize homosexuality when instead, they are furthering their bondage. Their supposed gains further ensure that the masculinity they idolize will remain beyond their reach. Through social and political intrigue, together with judicial mandates, they strive to have same-sex sexuality recognized as normal. and essentially, no different than heterosexuality.

Those truest and deepest connections between men cannot be attained erotically. Continued symbolic sexual transactions will assure that relationally needful men remain stuck on the developmental track toward a fullness of manhood. But with unfeigned love and nurturance, estranged youth and adult men can fully achieve their deserved inheritance of mature masculinity. Then they will have linked love and life.

For years, heterosexuals have punished homosexuals as a way of encouraging them to change. In response, homosexual activists have sought political power and covert means to sway and modify cultural values. This misuse of power, of attempts to force another to change is futile. It simply results in an escalation of conflict. Further, failure to acknowledge and honor truth is unwise and surely fraught with danger. The symbolic rapport of ame-sex sexuality is not good. It must be understood as destructive by both those who grew up with unfulfilled relational and identity needs as well as those who love and would help them.

When a sufficient number of gay activists recognize the failure of same-gender sexuality to ever satisfy normal, legitimate relational and identity needs, they can use their organizational powers to facilitate a healing rapprochement between themselves and those caring men who, instead of a providing a fist, would be “nursing fathers.” The scourge of homophobia could be forever eliminated.

Secure gender identification is generally gifted a child from a loving father. Surrogate parenting and brotherhood, spiritually based access to kind, gentle, heterosexual men, could bring fulfillment and progress not previously known. There is a choice and it belongs to those from both developmental backgrounds, the straight as well as the gay. Valid social and emotional needs could be met, and our intra and interpersonal and cultural rifts could be healed. Without this appropriate, healthful same-sex intimacy, this genuine coming together, grades and varieties of self-alienation do indeed have the divisive power to weaken families and even destroy the social fabric of communities and nations.

[1] Gershman, H., HHThe Evolution of Gender Identity, Amer. Jnl. of Psychoanalysis, 2, 1967. [2] Kleinberg, S., Alienated Affections: Being Gay in America, 1980, p. 152. [3] Ibid, p. 130.

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