|Posted on August 28, 2016 at 6:35 AM|
What's the point of using someone else's picture for your account? It is pathetic to see a guy whose age according to his account is in the 20s and who uses the picture of a man in his 40s with muscles and moustache. That does not make you more of a man, but a whole lot less. Manhood is something you have to earn. It is not given to you just like that and you certainly cannot steal it from someone else. Moreover, muscles and moustache do NOT automatically make a man!
|Posted on August 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM|
I don't get it why Christian authors brag with many "endorsements". A name of other "famous" Christians who write how good the book is. First, I am old enough to make my own judgement, second I understand that with a secular book, but when it comes to a Christian work, it certainly leaves a bitter taste for me. Like all they want is good sales. Sure, the would explain it away and point out how selfless those enhdorsements are... Get out of here. You want people to buy your book and try to get the big names to hail it. I am just thinking of the Christians of back then - like the doctors of the Church. None of them needed the praise of others. Their words and deeds spoke for themselves - or better: for Him. Because finally, it should not be about those authors, but about Jesus.
|Posted on August 13, 2016 at 4:50 PM|
I cannot understand how some ex-gays tour the world with spreading the biblical message of freedom from same-sex attractions when at the same time they married a divorced woman while being divorced themselves. That alone takes away pretty much all of your credibility.
|Posted on June 14, 2016 at 2:10 PM|
Sad to see how many people abuse of the drama in Orlando to push their own agenda. While faking emotions, all they seem to have in mind is what else they can wring out of that situation. Shame on you and shame on those who buy that obvious agenda!
|Posted on June 3, 2016 at 12:15 AM|
Mit Pfarrer Albert Bauernfeind hat das Erzbistum München und Freising nun einen Seelsorger für Menschen, die in einer gleichgeschlechtlichen Beziehung leben (https://www.erzbistum-muenchen.de/PV-Fuerstenfeld/Page055883.aspx). Der Titel allleine klingt schon merkwürdig - wieso nicht für Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen? Wer weiter liest, bekommt eine Ahnung, warum:
" Auch die Kirche tut sich bis heute schwer damit, Homosexuelle ganz zu akzeptieren. Die sexuelle Handlung definiert die Kirche immer noch als Sünde. Es ist an der Zeit, hier einen Blickwechsel zu vollziehen. Homosexuell lebende Menschen müssen in der Kirche willkommen sein – so wie sie sind! Die Liebe und die Verantwortung füreinander sind die Kriterien für ein gelingendes Leben aus der Perspektive des Evangeliums."
Bei allem Respekt, Herr Pfarrer, aber es gibt einen Grund, warum homosexuelle Handlungen von der Kirche, der Sie als Priester Gehorsam gelobt haben, als Sünde gesehen werden - und das sollten Sie eigentlich wissen. Sie haben als Priester Verantwortung für diese Menschen und sind verpflichtet, ihnen in Glaubensdingen das zu vermitteln, was Lehrmeinung der Kirche ist.
Liebe und Verantwortung füreinander allein sind eben nicht Kriterien für ein gelingendens Leben aus der Perspektive des Evangeliums. Wenn allein ein undifferenziertes Gefühl (das wie alle Gefühle früher oder später verschwindet) Grundlage für die Moralität einer Verbindung ist, würde das - konsequent weiter gedacht - zu absurden Ergebnissen führen.
Liebe im christlichen Sinn ist mehr als ein Vertrag, bei dem nur Eigentumsrechte ausgetauscht werden. Sie ist mehr als nur ein flüchtiges Gefühl. Sie ist ein Bund, der den lebensspendenden Bund widerspiegelt, den Jesus mit Seiner Braut der Kirche eingegangen ist. Zwei Menschen, die ein Fleisch werden – so sehr eins, dass man dem Einen neun Monate später einen Namen geben muss! Drei, die eins sind – ein Hinweis auf die Dreifaltigkeit selbst! Die Ehe ist zur Fortpflanzung und zum Wohle der Ehepartner gedacht. Eines von beiden bewusst auszuschließen heißt den Bund nicht als solchen zu begreifen. Dies mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Verbindungen gleichsetzen zu wollen, bedarf schon ein enormes Maß an spiritueller Verwirrung.
Sucht man diesen Pfarrer auf Google, findet man Erstaunliches: Er wurde 1995 von Friedrich Kardinal Wetter entlassen – er hatte in einem Interview mit dem Jugendmagazin der Süddeutschen Zeitung die offizielle katholische Lehrmeinung zur Sexualität als „unbrauchbar“ bezeichnet (http://www.zeit.de/1996/12/Unbequemer_Pastor).
Weiterhin gehört er zum Münchner Kreis (http://initiative-muenchner-kreis.de/unterstutzer/), der offensichtlich mit der Pfarrer-Initiative Deutschland zusammenhängt (http://www.pfarrer-initiative.org/pfarrerinitiative/). Dort heißt es etwa: „Wir stehen ein für ein ehrliches Wahrnehmen der Lebenssituationen der Menschen und für Glaubwürdigkeit kirchlicher Praxis. Deshalb benennen wir, was wir tun, auch wenn es im Widerspruch zu derzeitigen kirchenamtlichen Weisungen steht.“ (http://www.pfarrer-initiative.org/pfarrerinitiative/werwirsind.aspx).
Weiterhin heißt es in einem Papier:
„In entscheidenden Punkten (Voreheliches Zusammenleben, Empfängnisverhütung, Wiederverheiratete Geschiedene, Homosexualität) ist die derzeitige Lehre auf den Prüfstand zu stellen und weiter zu entwickeln. Es gilt, wie es im Bericht der Bischofskonferenz heißt, „einen Duktus zu finden, der sich vom
Vorurteil der Leibfeindlichkeit und einer lebensfeindlichen Gesetzesethik zu befreien vermag“. Dazu können die Bischöfe auf die jahrzehntelange theologische Arbeit zahlreichen Moraltheologen zurückgreifen. Ebenso sollten die heutigen human-wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse vorurteilsfrei zur Kenntnis genommen werden. Der Weg zu einer lebensdienlichen Beziehungsethik wird nur zu gehen sein, wenn von
einer problematischen Berufung auf das Naturrecht Abschied genommen wird.“ (http://www.pfarrer-initiative.de/pfarrerinitiative/2014EheFamilie.pdf). Unterzeichner u.a.: „Pfarrer Albert Bauernfeind, Diözese München“
Wer die katholische Sexuallehre als leib- und lebensfeindlich bezeichnet, hat seine Berufung als Priester verfehlt. Mit dem Zeitgeist oder mit schnell veränderlichen wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen zu gehen, kann und darf nicht Ziel der Kirche sein. Bestimmte Werte – wie etwa die monogame Ehe zwischen Mann und Frau ziehen sich durch alle biblischen Bücher, durch viele Kulturen und über tausende von Jahren – und wurden letztlich von Jesus, dem Sohn Gottes, selbst bekräftigt. Auf die Frage, ob eine Scheidung unter bestimmten Umständen gerechtfertigt sei, antwortete Er nicht einfach mit ja oder nein – Er wiederholte den Standard aus Genesis: Den Bund eines Mannes mit einer Frau.
Wenn Er uns nun verkündet, was richtig ist, muss Er wohl kaum eine lange Liste von Dingen beifügen, was falsch ist.
Wenn aber der Sohn Gottes selbst die Norm bekräftigt, wer sind wir, dass wir uns erlauben, daran zu rütteln?
Die christliche Ehe ist das Beste für alle Beteiligten. Nichts kommt dem gleich. Wir sollten darauf vertrauen, dass unser Schöpfer am besten wusste, was gut für uns ist – und was nicht. Herr Pfarrer Bauernfeind scheint damit aber seine Probleme zu haben.
Kein Wunder, dass er auch von der unsäglichen Vereinigung „Wir sind Kirche“ zitiert wird: http://www.wir-sind-kirche.de/?id=129&id_entry=5970
Mit „Theologie und Homosexualität“ hat er nun auch ein Buch herausgegeben. Kommentar der lesbischen und schwulen Basiskirche Basel hierzu:
„An den Aussagen der offiziellen katholischen Morallehre zur Sexualität scheiden sich die Geister. Albert Bauernfeind will die Verantwortlichen in Kirche und Jugendarbeit und die Jugendlichen selbst anregen, erneut über das Thema nachzudenken und Sexualität als das verstehen zu lernen, was sie ist: Geschenk Gottes und Möglichkeit zur menschlichen Kreativität.“ (http://www.lsbk.ch/2016/01/page/27/)
Diese Aufzählungen lassen sich wohl noch lange fortführen. Zusammenfassend darf wohl daran gezweifelt werden, dass Herr Pfarrer Bauernfeind der geeignete katholische Seelsorger für Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen ist – zumindest nicht aus der Perspektive dessen, was die Katholische Kirche zu diesem Thema lehrt.
Jason International (http://jason-online.webs.com), Partnerorganisation von Homosexuals Anonymous (www.homosexuals-anonymous.com) existiert seit 2005 – mit einer Ortsgruppe in München. Bisher wurden wir von den großen Kirchen ignoriert. Auch Herr Bauernfeind hat sich noch nicht bei uns gemeldet. Interessant, denn Homosexuals Anonymous ist die weltweit älteste Organisation ihrer Art (seit 1976).
Mit großer Besorgung und nicht zuletzt aufgrund einiger an uns herangetragener Berichte Betroffener (Priester, Ordensangehörige, gläubige und ratsuchende Katholiken) beobachten wir seit langem, wie es den Seelsorgern vor Ort offenbar egal ist, was die Kirche und die Bibel zum Thema gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen lehrt. Ganz im Gegenteil – sie werden nun sogar von den Kirchenoberen in verantwortungsvolle Positionen berufen, wo man wohl den Bock zum Gärtner macht.
Ich habe selbst viele Jahre in der schwulen Szene verbracht und weiß, wovon ich rede. Angesichts der vielen Faktoren, die zur Entwicklung dieser Neigungen beigetragen habe (etwa ein problematisches Verhältnis zum gleichgeschlechtlichen Elternteil) und angesichts dessen, was sich in der schwulen Szene abspielt, ist es unverantwortlich, Menschen dabei zu unterstützen, ein solches Leben führen zu wollen. Die jährlichen Zahlen des Robert-Koch-Instituts zeigen den enormen Anteil von Männern, die Sex mit Männern haben, an der Gesamtzahl von Menschen mit ansteckenden Geschlechtskrankheiten wie etwa HIV. Ganz so „normal“ und „natürlich“ ist diese Lebensweise wohl doch nicht.
Wir bieten Gemeinden, Privatmenschen, Geistlichen, Schulen, Familienangehörigen, Freunden, Behörden und wem auch immer unsere Hilfe und Unterstützung an – kostenlos und auf Basis der Bibel.
Gleichzeitig rufen wir die Verantwortlichen in den Kirchen auf, ihren Verpflichtungen nachzukommen und nicht vor dem Zeitgeist niederzuknien. Dass das nicht funktioniert, zeigt die enorme Zahl der jährlichen Kirchenaustritte.
Direktor von Homosexuals Anonymous
|Posted on March 24, 2016 at 5:00 PM|
Gender Ideology Harms Children
March 21, 2016 – a temporary statement with references. A full statement will be published in summer 2016.
The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex.1
2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.2,3,4
3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V).5 The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved.2,4,5
4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty- blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.6
5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.5
6. Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.7,8,9,10
7. Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT – affirming countries.11 What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88% of girls and 98% of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?
8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.
Michelle A. Cretella, M.D.
President of the American College of Pediatricians
Quentin Van Meter, M.D.
Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians
Paul McHugh, M.D.
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital
1. Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development, “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.” Intersex Society of North America, March 25, 2006. Accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.dsdguidelines.org/files/clinical.pdf.
2. Zucker, Kenneth J. and Bradley Susan J. “Gender Identity and Psychosexual Disorders.” FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. Vol. III, No. 4, Fall 2005 (598-617).
3. Whitehead, Neil W. “Is Transsexuality biologically determined?” Triple Helix (UK), Autumn 2000, p6-8. accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transsexuality.htm; see also Whitehead, Neil W. “Twin Studies of Transsexuals [Reveals Discordance]” accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transs_stats.htm.
4. Jeffreys, Sheila. Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. Routledge, New York, 2014 (pp.1-35).
5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (451-459). See page 455 re: rates of persistence of gender dysphoria.
6. Hembree, WC, et al. Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94:3132-3154.
7. Olson-Kennedy, J and Forcier, M. “Overview of the management of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents.” UpToDate November 4, 2015. Accessed 3.20.16 from www.uptodate.com.
8. Moore, E., Wisniewski, & Dobs, A. “Endocrine treatment of transsexual people: A review of treatment regimens, outcomes, and adverse effects.” The Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2003; 88(9), pp3467-3473.
9. FDA Drug Safety Communication issued for Testosterone products accessed 3.20.16: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm161874.htm.
10. World Health Organization Classification of Estrogen as a Class I Carcinogen: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/ageing/cocs_hrt_statement.pdf.
11. Dhejne, C, et.al. “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(2). Affiliation: Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Accessed 3.20.16 from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885.
|Posted on March 12, 2016 at 1:50 PM|
I can recall two times where I heard the word "homosexuality" in a sermon. Both times only as a sidenote, but nonetheless. The first time it was a Capuchin priest. All he did was repeat in one sentence what the Bible said about this. The boss of his monastery gave him a hard time for that behind the curtain saying he should refrain from mentioning that else people would stay away from the service altogether (what nonsense! Where else than in church are people supposed to hear about this subject? On tv??). The second time today (weird enough in a nursing home for old people. I wonder why he did that). The priest talked about the adulteress who was about to be stoned and saved by Jesus. He compared Jesus's words ("Neither do I condemn you") with the much-quoted saying of Pope Francis regarding homosexuals ("Who am I to judge?") and said this was the same spirit of the Gospel. IT IS NOT, dear Father. Why do people hear only what they want to hear from what Pope Francis says? Interesting that nobody feels the object of the Pope's criticism of the Church.
What the priest forgot in his enthusiasm (he mentioned this in the context of what he thought to be necessary reforms in the Church) is the next sentence: "Go away, and do not sin any more." THAT is the "spirit" of the Gospel: Grace and mercy - but also enough tough love in order to exhort and tell the truth! Everything else is a blunt distortion with which the shepard who is supposed to bring his sheep back on the right path actually leads them astray.
|Posted on January 21, 2016 at 2:35 PM|
Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality
Societal Developments On Homosexuality
There has been a monumental shift in the secular world’s attitude towards homosexuality
over the past few decades. In particular over the past fifteen years there has been a major
public campaign to gain acceptance for homosexuality. Legalizing same-sex marriage
has become the end goal of the campaign to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality.
A propaganda blitz has been sweeping the world using political tactics to persuade the
public about the legitimacy of homosexuality. The media is rife with negative labels
implying that one is “hateful” or “homophobic” if they do not accept the homosexual
lifestyle as legitimate. This political coercion has silenced many into acquiescence.
Unfortunately this attitude has seeped into the Torah community and many have become
confused or have accepted the media’s portrayal of this issue.
The Torah’s Unequivocal And Eternal Message
The Torah makes a clear statement that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle or a
genuine identity by severely prohibiting its conduct. Furthermore, the Torah, ever
prescient about negative secular influences, warns us in Vayikra
(Leviticus) 20:23 “Do
not follow the traditions of the nations that I expel from before you...” Particularly the
Torah writes this in regards to homosexuality and other forbidden sexual liaisons.
Same-Sex Attractions Can Be Modified And Healed
From a Torah perspective, the question whether homosexual inclinations and behaviors
are changeable is extremely relevant. The concept that G-d created a human being who is
unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition
is neither plausible nor acceptable. G-d is loving and merciful. Struggles, and yes,
difficult struggles, along with healing and personal growth are part and parcel of this
world. Impossible, life long, Torah prohibited situations with no achievable solutions are
We emphatically reject the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome
his or her inclination and desire. Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid
something which is impossible to avoid. Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and
despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is
heartlessly cruel. Such an attitude also violates the biblical prohibition in Vayikra
(Leviticus) 19:14 “and you shall not place a stumbling block before the blind.”
The Process Of Healing
The only viable course of action that is consistent with the Torah is therapy and
teshuvah. The therapy consists of reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual
by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its
disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the
individual’s emotional development.
Teshuvah is a Torah-mandated, self-motivated process of turning away from any transgression or sin and returning to G-d and one’s spiritual essence. This includes refining and reintegrating the personality and allowing it to grow in a healthy and wholesome manner.
These processes are typically facilitated and coordinated with the help of a specially
trained counselor or therapist working in conjunction with a qualified spiritual teacher or
guide. There is no other practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue.
The Mitzvah Of Love And Compassion
It requires tremendous bravery and fortitude for a person to confront and deal with same-
sex attraction. For example a sixteen-year-old who is struggling with this issue may be
confused and afraid and not know whom to speak to or what steps to take. We must
create an atmosphere where this teenager (or anyone) can speak freely to a parent, rabbi,
or mentor and be treated with love and compassion. Authority figures can then guide
same-sex strugglers towards a path of healing and overcoming their inclinations.
The key point to remember is that these individuals are primarily innocent victims of
childhood emotional wounds. They deserve our full love, support and encouragement in
their striving towards healing. Struggling individuals who seek health and wellness
should not be confused with the homosexual movement and their agenda. This distinction
is crucial. It reflects the difference between what G-d asks from all of us and what He
We need to do everything in our power to lovingly uplift struggling individuals towards a
full and healthy life that is filled with love, joy and the wisdom of the Torah.
Printed Name Signature
Title, Congregation, Yeshiva or other affiliations.
|Posted on January 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM|
THE GAY GENE?
Jeffrey B. Satinover, M.D. has practiced psychoanalysis for more than nineteen years, and psychiatry for more than ten. He is a former Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale University, a past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation, and a former William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard University. He holds degrees from MIT, the University of Texas, and Harvard University. He is the author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Baker Books, 1996).
On July 15, 1993, National Public Radio (NPR) made a dramatic announcement on stations across the country: Was a team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health on the trail of a gene that causes homosexuality? Their report would be published the next day in Science, one of the two most prestigious scientific research journals in the world. (1)
The discussion that followed explained for the listening public the implications of these findings for social attitudes toward homosexuality and for public policy concerning it. Science was on the verge of proving what many had long argued: that homosexuality is innate, genetic and therefore unchangeable - a normal and commonplace variant of human nature. In the light of these findings, surely only the bigoted or ignorant could condemn it in any way.
Shortly after the announcement, amidst a well-orchestrated blizzard of press discussions, there ensued the watershed legal battle over "Proposition 2" in Colorado. (This popularly enacted legislation precluded making sexual orientation the basis of "privileged class" minority status, a status conferred previously only on the basis of immutable factors such as race.)
Among the many crucial issues raised by the legislation was the question as to whether homosexuality was indeed normal, innate and unchangeable. One prominent researcher testified to the court, "I am 99.5% certain that homosexuality is genetic." But this personal opinion was widely misunderstood as "homosexuality is 99.5% genetic," implying that research had demonstrated this. Certainly, that was the message promulgated by NPR's report on the recent research, and by all the discussions that followed. In a few weeks, Newsweek would emblazon across its cover the phrase that would stick in the public mind as the final truth about homosexuality: "Gay Gene?"
Of course, just near the end of the NPR discussion, certain necessary caveats were fleetingly added. But only an expert knew what they meant - that the research actually showed nothing whatever in the way of what was being discussed. The vast majority of listeners would think that homosexuality had been all but conclusively proven to be "genetic." But the real question is whether or not there is such a "Gay Gene."
In fact, there is not, and the research being promoted as proving that there is provides no supporting evidence. How can this be? In order to understand what is really going on, one needs to understand some little-know features of the emerging study of behavioral genetics (much subtler than the genetics of simple, "Mendelian" traits such as eye color).
When it comes to questions of the genetics of any behaviors- homosexuality included- all of the following statements are likely to be at least roughly true:
1. Such and such a behavior "is genetic";
2. There are no genes that produce the behavior;
3. The genes associated with the behavior are found on such and such a chromosome;
4. The behavior is significantly heritable;
5. The behavior is not inherited.
The scientific distinctions that make these seeming contradictions perfectly reasonable and consistent seem completely misunderstood by the media who report on them.
For example, in response to the "gay gene" research, the Wall Street Journal headlined their report (which appeared the next day), "Research Points Toward a Gay Gene."(2) A subheading of the Journal article stated, "Normal Variation"-leaving the casual reader with the impression that the research led to this conclusion. It did not, nor could it have. The subhead alluded to nothing more than the chief researcher's personal, unsubstantiated opinion that homosexuality, as he put it, "is a normal variant of human behavior." Even the New York Times, in its more moderate front-page article, "Report Suggests Homosexuality is Linked to Genes," noted that other researchers warned against over-interpreting the work, "or taking it to mean anything as simplistic as that the "gay gene" had been found."
At end of the Wall Street Journal article, at the bottom of the last paragraph on the last page deep within the paper, a prominent geneticist was quoted for his reactions to the research. He observed that "the gene…may be involved in something other than sexual behavior. For example, it may be that the supposed gene is only ´associated' with homosexuality, rather than a 'cause' of it."
This rather cryptic comment would be most difficult to understand without the needed scientific background. Yet it is the most critical distinction in the entire article; indeed, it renders the findings almost entirely worthless. Why bury and fail to explain what it means? Perhaps the motives were innocent, but in fact, the belief that homosexuality is "biological" or "genetic" causes people to develop more positive attitudes toward it. They need not have the foggiest understanding of what "biological" or "genetic" really mean in order change their view:
105 volunteer[s]… were exposed to one of three… [T]he experimental group read a summary… emphasizing a biological component of homosexual orientation… [O]ne control group read a summary… focusing on the absence of hormonal differences between homosexual and heterosexual men. [A]nother control group w[as] not exposed to either article… As predicted, subjects in the experimental group had significantly lower(3) scores [more positive attitudes toward homosexuals] than subjects in the control groups(4).
Analysis indicated that subjects who believed that homosexuals are "born that way" held significantly more positive attitudes toward homosexuals than subjects who believed that homosexuals "choose to be that way" and/or "learn to be that way"(5).
What was actually going in the study the media was trumpeting? Dean Hamer and his colleagues had performed a Kind of behavioral genetics study now becoming widespread -the so-called "linkage study." Researchers identify a behavioral trait that runs in a family and then look to see whether there is a chromosomal variant in the genetic material of that family, and if that variant is more frequent in the family members who have the trait.
To the uninitiated, a positive finding ("correlation" or "association" of a genetic structure with a behavioral trait) is taken to mean that the trait "is genetic" - that is, inherited.
In fact, it means absolutely nothing of the sort, and it should be emphasized that there is virtually no human trait without innumerable such correlations. We will see shortly just how this is can be so. The most important take-home messages will be these:
(1) All the research that has been done on homosexuality has been selectively trumpeted through the press in carefully crafted form in order to shape public opinion -hence public policy- in predictable ways. The research itself means almost nothing.
(2) The research projects that would truly mean something are scarcely being done because they would all explicitly or tacitly lead to but one end highly undesirable to activists: a method or methods for preventing homosexuality or changing it with ever-increasing efficacy; and to one conclusion: homosexuality per se is not inherited.
(3) Most of the research has been hastily and often sloppily done but this point is a distraction. Even were it superb, the findings would still mean almost nothing.
(4) To whatever extent this research has been good enough to generate valid conclusions at all, these conclusions are precisely the opposite of what is claimed in the press.
Before we talk about specifics, here is what serious scientists think about the recent behavior-caused-by-genes research. From Science, 1994:
Time and time again, scientists have claimed that particular genes or chromosomal regions are associated with behavioral traits, only to withdraw their findings when they are not replicated. "Unfortunately" says Yale's (Dr. Joel) Gelernter, "it's hard to come up with many" findings linking specific genes to complex human behaviors that have been replicated. "…All were announced with great fanfare; all were greeted unskeptically in the popular press; all are now in dispute" (6)
A scientist at Washington University School of Medicine calculated what would be required for such replication, He:
…projected that if the trait (in question) was 50% heritable… detecting (just) one of (its) genes would require studying 175 families - that is, almost 2000 people (7). Replicati(on) would require studying 781 families - another 8000… (E)ach additional gene (for a polygenic trait), researches would need… the whole business again. "Suddenly you're talking about tens of thousands of people and years of work and millions of dollars". (8)
Nothing even remotely close to this has been done with respect to homosexuality.
Using arguable-at-best- methods, two American activists recently publish studies showing that if one of a pair of identical twins is homosexual, the odds that the other one is, too, are less than 50% (the study examined a few dozens of pairs). On this basis, they argue that "homosexuality is generic". British researchers generated comparable results in a similar study. Their conclusion? The surprisingly low odds that both twins were homosexual:
… confirmed that genetic factors are insufficient explanation for the development of sexual orientation. (9)
Two Columbia University researches (who have published the most comprehensive research summary on the subject to date) note the unexpectedly:
… large proportion of monozygotic twins who (did not share) homosexuality despite sharing not only their genes but also their prenatal and familial environments. (10) The… (50% odds)… for homosexuality among the identical twins could be entirely accounted for by the increased similarity of their developmental experiences. In our opinion, the major finding of that study is that 48 percent of identical twins who were reared together (and where at least one was homosexual) were discordant for sexual orientation. (11)
Two other genetic researches (one heads one of the largest genetics departments in the country, the other is at Harvard) comment:
… recent studies seeking a genetic basis for homosexuality suggest that.. we may be in for a new molecular phrenology, rather than true scientific progress and insight into behavior.
While the authors interpreted their findings as evidence for genetic basis for homosexuality, we think that the data in fact provide strong evidence for the influence of the environment. (12)
The author of the lead article on genes and behavior in a special issue of Science notes:
... the growing understanding that the interaction of genes and environment is much more complicated than the simple "violence genes" and "intelligence genes" touted in the popular press. Indeed, renewed appreciation of environmental factors is one of the chief effects of the increased belief in genetics' effects on behavior (my emphasis). The same data that show the effects of genes also point to the enormous influence of non-genetic factors. (13)
The director of the Center for Developmental and Health genetics at Pennsylvania State University comments:
Research into heritability is the best demonstration I know of the importance of the environment.
(Note the term "heritability"; we will be returning to it in detail as it lies at the heart of much confusion).
With regard to the work announced by NPR, genetics researchers from Yale, Columbia and Louisiana State Universities noted that:
Much of the discussion of this finding (of a purported gene locus for homosexuality) has focused on its social and political ramifications. (But) inconsistencies… suggest that this finding should be interpreted cautiously…
The results are not consistent with any genetic model… neither of these differences (between homosexuality in maternal versus paternal uncles or cousins) is statistically significant… small sample sizes make these data compatible with a range of… hypotheses.
(T)he… data… present no consistent support for the… results. (14)
By contrast to their public policy statements, the researches responded carefully as follows:
We did not say that (the chromosome segment under study) "underlies" sexuality, only that it contributes to it in some families. Nor have we said that (it) represents a "major" gene, only that its influence is statistically detectable in the population that we studied. (15)
Ignoring possible flaws in the research, have the researches actually pointed to this more modest claim with any degree of certainty? In fact, they have not - as they themselves acknowledge, but in language that will surely evade general understanding - and that will continue to be avoided by the press:
… the question of the appropriate significance level to apply to a non-Mendelian trait such as sexual orientation is problematic. (16)
English translation: "It is possible to know what the findings mean, if anything, since sexual orientation cannot possibly be inherited the way eye-color is". Thus, to their fellow scientists, the researchers properly acknowledge what every serious researcher knows, but the public does not.
Complex behavioral traits are the product of multiple genetic and environmental antecedents, with 'environment' meaning not only the social environment but also such factors as the 'flux of hormones during development, whether you were lying on your right or left side in the womb and a whole parade of other things'… the relationships among genes and environment probably have a somewhat different effect on someone in Salt lake City than if that person were growing up in New York City. (17)
English translation: "You're more likely to become gay growing up in Manhattan than in Utah among Mormons and Christian fundamentalists, even if everything else is the same, including genes."
Unfortunately, anyone who is so disposed can readily offer the public partial truths which are seriously misleading. This is so only in part because of an easily led or poorly educated press. The major reason is really that the ideas being cooked beyond recognition once they leave the labs are inherently complex, even if originally formulated and presented properly. There are no "lite," sound-bite versions of behavioral genetics that are not fundamentally in error in one way or another.
Nonetheless, if one grasps at least some of the basics, in simple form, it will be possible to see exactly why the current research into homosexuality means so little - and will continue to mean little even should the quality of the research methods improve - so long as it remains driven by political, rather than scientific objectives.
There are really two major principles that need to be carefully assimilated in order to see through public relations distortions to the actual meaning of recent research. They are as follows:
1. Heritable does not mean inherited
2. Meaningful genetics research identifies and then focuses on traits that are directly inherited. One prominent genetic researcher (discussing a matter unrelated to homosexuality, but equally frustrated with the bad science reporting) flatly calls the question of heritability "trivial".
Heritable Does Not Mean Inherited
Heritability studies can be done on almost any human trait - physical, behavioral, emotional, etc. - and will show positive results. That is, almost every human characteristic you can think of is in significant measure heritable (thus discussing it is "trivial"). But few human behavioral traits are directly inherited the way simple physiological traits are (e.g. eye color). Inherited means "determined directly by genes", with little or no way of changing the traits by choice, or by preventing it, or by modifying the environment in which the trait has emerged (or is more likely to emerge).
Here is a simple hypothetical example, but it is 100% plausible. It tracks the kinds of studies that have been done with innumerable other traits, including homosexuality. (But only in the area of homosexuality has the meaning of such studies been so badly distorted).
Suppose that for political reasons you want to demonstrate that there is a "basketball gene" that "makes" people become basketball players ("BBPs"). (Please suspend your immediate, current understanding that the idea is absurd). To make your case you would use the same methods as in homosexuality. These methods fall into three categories, and represent important forms of preliminary research when investigating any trait: (1) twin studies; (2) brain dissections; (3) gene "linkage" studies.
The basic idea in twin studies is to show that the more genetically similar are two people, the more likely it is that they will share the trait you are studying. So, you create a study set of pairs of people, divided into categories according to how genetically similar they are, as follows:
Pair Type Degree of similarity
Identical Twins 100%
Fraternal Twins 50%
Non-twin Siblings 50%
Unrelated people <5%
The most similar are identical twins, the next most similar are fraternal twins (who are on average as different as non-twin brothers or sisters, but no more so), the least similar are unrelated people.
Then you identify those pairs of twins in which at least one is a BBP. It will not be difficult to show that if one such identical twin is a BBP, his brother (or her sister) more frequently will be, too, than would a non-identical twin or a non-twin sibling or a non-sibling. You would create groups of such different kinds of pairs to make the comparison in a large number of cases. (One set of identical twin pairs, one set of non-identical twin pairs, one set of non-twin siblings, and so on.)
From the "concordance rate" in each set (the percentage of pairs in each set in which either both are BBPs or both are not. Pairs in which one was and another was not would be called "discordant for BBP") you would calculate a "heritability" rate. (Perhaps you have an armchair guess as to how many identical twin-pairs either both play or both do not play basketball. Probably a good deal more than half, the concordance rate for homosexuality in such twin-pairs.)
You respond to the reporter from Sports Illustrations that, "Our research demonstrates that BBP is very strongly heritable" and you would be right. But the article that comes out that month reads something slightly different, but completely wrong. "…Recent researchers examined the work and found it substantially accurate and well-performed. They cautioned against arriving at hasty conclusions, however." No one notices the difference.
Second, your colleagues perform a series of autopsies on the brains of some dead people who appear to have been BBPs. (Old jerseys, high-top sneakers and Knicks ticket-stubs were found among their possessions, for example). They do the same with a group of dead non-players (no sneakers, jerseys or tickets.) They report that, on average, "certain parts of the brain long thought to be involved with BBP are much larger in the groups of BBPs than in the controls." Certain nationally renowned newspapers in the Northeast pick up on the story and editorialize, "It will be very difficult for anyone to expect poorly educated yokels who believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth-Fairy and God to argue that BBP is not inborn. For not only has it been proven to run in families, even the brains of basketball players are different." (18)
In a pretense of balance, some of these papers interview diehard believers in the old view - yokels who still think that one must decide to play basketball, and play it for a long time, before you really can be considered "a BBP". One of them is quoted as claiming that, "maybe if you do something long enough your brain changes as you get better at it, and that part of the brain gets bigger." (Remarkably enough, this surmise seems obvious to the old-time believer.) The reporter does not merely report the comment, however, he also hints that it is especially idiotic - typical of diehards and yokels - since everyone knows the brain does not change.
Of course, you yourself are well aware that among neuroscientists it is extremely old news that the brain indeed changes, quite dramatically, in just the way the old diehard guessed: those parts responsible for the activity get much bigger over time (and there are definitely parts that are more utilized in BBP). You will not lie about if asked (since you will not be), but neither will you go out of your way to confirm the truth.
Gene "Linkage" Studies
Now for the coup de grace. You find a couple of families of BBPs and compare them to some families of non-BBPs. You have a hunch that of innumerable genes of every imaginable sort likely to be "associated" or "linked" to BBP (you never use the word "causing" because you do not need to - no one knows the difference), there are some genes on, say, the X-Chromosome. After a few false starts, sure enough, you find what you are looking for: among the BBP families one particular chromosomal variant (cluster of genes) is more commonly found (though not always) than among the non-players.
Now, sympathizers at National People's Radio were long ago quietly informed of your research, since they want people to come around to certain beliefs, too. So, as soon as your work hits the press, they are on the air: "Researchers are hot on the trail of the 'Basketball gene!' In an article to be published tomorrow in Sports Science…" Learned-sounding commentators pontificate in soft, accentless, perfectly articulated and faintly condescending tones about the enormous public policy implications of this superb piece of science-in-the-service-of-humankind. Two weeks later, there it is again, at a jaunty angle across the cover of the major national newsweekly: "Basketball Gene."
Now what is wrong with this scenario? It is simple: of course BBP is heritable ("has a non-zero heritability" to use the words of homosexuality researchers). That is because many physiological traits - muscle strength, speed, agility, reflex speed, height, etc. - are themselves directly inherited and they make it more or less likely that one can, and will want to, and will successfully, and will therefore continue to want to, and will in fact continue to, play basketball. In short, because of intermediate inherited traits associated with BBP (none of which are BBP), it shows significant heritability. (The genetic association, of course, is in no way necessary or predetermined, and is highly culturally conditioned: there were no BBPs at all in, say, ancient Greece, yet the same genes were there.)
BBP also shows a strong biological representation in the brain, both at birth (e.g.) nervous system factors contributing to reflex speed) and specially later (e.g. the parts of the cortex that are cultivated and become responsible for movements of basketball, as in the huge increases in finger-related brain tissues among blind people who learn Braille).
And the specific genes that run in families that are responsible for height, athleticism, etc. can surely be found and they will be statistically linked to BBP. And if one identical twin decides to play basketball, the unusually strong emotional bond between such siblings will make it even more likely that his twin will, too. (The fact of their genetic identity, not their specific genes, are here influencing an outcome above and beyond the indirect contributions from any specific genes.)
The basic problem is this: BBP is "influenced" (made more or less an easy and enjoyable thing to do) by the presence or absence of other associated traits. For BBP we can readily guess what they are and so immediately see that the "genetic" component of BBP has nothing to do with the game itself but with these associated (facilitating) traits. What are these traits? Height, athleticism, bone structure, reflexes, muscle refresh rate, and so on. So evident that are the specifics of this association that no serious researcher will waste his time looking into the genetics of BBP proper; he will concentrate on the obvious intermediate traits - height, athleticism, and so on.
The same is true for homosexuality, except (a) the more important, intermediate traits with which it is associated are mostly unknown and unsuspected ones are harder to confirm, and (b) the research agenda is being distorted by the political requirement that no such associated traits be discovered and that homosexuality be falsely presented as directly inherited.
Meaningful Genetics Research Identifies and Focuses on Traits That Are Directly Inherited
Research into more heritable traits is useful only in generating hypotheses about what the directly inherited traits might be. Here is what this means: Let us imagine that it was not immediately evident to us that the heritable aspects of BBP were intermediate traits such as height. A good researcher would not be at all tempted to conclude from the studies we described that BBP itself was inherited. He would conclude however that, indeed, there must be some inherited traits that facilitate BBP, and it would be these as-yet-unknown traits were producing the "non-zero heritability" results. If he could identify the traits correctly, he would find that heritability results, when he redirected his genetics research, would increase dramatically.
In other words, studying the genetics of BBP is really a crude way of unwittingly studying the genetics of height and athleticism, etc. If he selects his population on the basis of the indirect trait (BBP), when it is other traits that are really inherited, the researcher's results will be "fuzzed up" by the inevitable proportion of BBP's who lack these traits, or have them in lesser degree (e.g. a small number of shortish BBPs). But if he correctly identifies the traits in question, his next round of studies will "divide the herd" more efficiently, corralling his subjects not by BBP (or "sexual orientation"), but by height. Of course, there will be more BBPs among the tall subjects than among the short, but that is incidental. He will seek out other tall people who are not BBPs, and in his new study, the heritability factor (height) will be even more concentrated.
How might he guess at what the most important traits are, and then try to confirm his guess, so he could investigate the genetics of these traits? Very simply: he looks, does the best he can to name what he sees, and tries not to run afoul of the currently fashionable taboos enforced by the thought-police! He will probably have no trouble studying height, but he might run into difficulties should he suspect that athleticism (or even height) has a racial association. (More people of Nordic stock, being taller, become basketball players than do people of Appenzeller Swiss stock, being short. Perhaps other such groupings might occur to a researcher.)
In the case of homosexuality, the inherited traits that are more common among homosexuals (and that produce "non-zero" heritability" in studies) might include such qualities as greater than average tendency to anxiety, shyness, sensitivity, intelligence, aesthetic abilities and so on. (Of course, these traits may themselves be further reducible to a variety of mutually influencing, associated genetic and non-genetic factors.) The brain changes that are more prevalent among homosexuals, the tendency of homosexuality to run in families (and to vary with degree of genetic similarity within families) and the presence of associated chromosomal makings are all certainly due to as yet unresearched and therefore not-yet identified intermediate traits. There is no evidence that homosexuality itself is inherited.
Like height and BBP, these traits - intelligence, say, or anxiety - are surely widely distributed in the population at large and densely present therefore in groups that are properly selected to have them. If researchers had divided their populations by shyness or aesthetic sensibility, and ignored the homosexual/non-homosexual division, they might well have found even stronger chromosomal linkages as well as brain changes and twin concordance rates.
Here, then is a final summary, in the form of a dialogue.
Isn't homosexuality heritable?
So it is inherited?
No, it is not.
I'm confused. Isn't there is a "genetic component" to homosexuality?
Yes, but "component" is just a loose way of indicating genetic associations and linkages. This will not make sense unless you understand what, and how little, "linkage" and "association" really means.
What about all evidence that shows that homosexuality "is genetic"?
There is not any, and none of the research itself claims there is; only the press and, sadly, certain researchers do - when speaking in sound bites to the public.
But isn't homosexuality "biologically in the brain"?
Of course it is. So is just about everything else. I'll bet people who pray regularly have certain enlarged portions of their brains!
So doesn't that mean that homosexuality is "innate"?
No more than prayer is. The brain changes with use or nonuse as much as muscles do - a good deal more, in fact. We just do not usually see it happening.
But doesn't homosexuality run in families?
So you get it from your parents, right?
You get viruses from your parents, too, and some bad habits. Not everything that is familial is innate or genetic.
But it just seems to make sense. From the people I know there's a type - it's got to be inherited - that runs in families and a lot of these people are gay, right?
That is what associated traits are - but what exactly is the associated trait - or traits - you are detecting? If there is one thing the research confirms, it is that it is not "gayness" itself. That is why these traits are sometimes in evidence at a very early age, long before sexuality is shaped.
So what are these traits?
An important question, indeed. Science is being seriously obstructed in its effort to answer that question. If we were allowed - encouraged - to answer it, we would soon develop better ideas on what homosexuality is and how to change, or better, prevent it. We would know who was at greater risk for becoming homosexual and what environments - family or societal - foster it. As one prominent gay activist researcher implied, all genetic things being equal, it is a whole lot easier to become "gay" in New York than in Utah. So who do you think would benefit from that kind of research?
Well, what traits do you suggest are "associated," as you put it, with homosexuality?
May I speculate, perhaps wildly? That is how scientific hypotheses are first generated. The important thing is not to avoid ideas that prove wrong, just not cling to them if they do.
Okay, go ahead, speculate.
Intelligence, anxiety, sensitivity, aesthetic abilities, taste. You know, all the stereotypes.
But where do these traits come from? Aren't they inherited?
We do not know yet. Some may be. Or rather, we do not know how much is inherited, and which elements are direct and which merely further associated and linked with other yet more fundamental traits. But you are getting the picture. That is how the research ought to proceed. It is not necessarily that the traits that facilitate homosexuality are themselves bad; perhaps many are gifts. Athleticism is a generally good thing, and we think highly of people who satisfy their athletic impulses as, say, outstanding BBPs. Not so the fellow who merely become as thug.
1. D. H. Hamer et al, "A linkage Between DNA Makers on the X-chromosome and Male Sexual Orientation," Science (1993), 261, bno. 5119, pp. 321-27
2. "Research points Toward a Gay Gene," Wall Street Journal, 16 July 1993.
3. A lower score on this scale means a less negative attitude toward homosexuality.
4. Piskur and Degelman, "Attitudes Toward Homosexuals," Psychological Reports 71 (1992); my emphasis, pp. 1219-25 (part 2 of 3). See also K.E. Ernulf, "Cross-National Analysis."
5. K.E. Ernulf, S.M. Innala, and F.L. Whitam, "Biological Explanation, Psychological Explanation, and Tolerance of Homosexuals: A Cross-National Analysis of Beliefs and Attitudes, "Psycological Reports 65 (1989), pp. 1003-10 (1 of 3).
6. Mann C. Genes and behavior. Science 264:1687 (1994)
7. None of the studies of the genetics of homosexuality (all of which are initial; none are replicatory) have come even remotely close to studying this many subjects.
8. Mann C. op. cit. p. 1688.
9. King, M and McDonald, E Homosexuals who are twins: a study of 46 probands. British Journal of Psychiatry 160:407-409 (1992)
10. Byne W and Parsons B. Human sexual orientation: the biological theories reappraised. Archives of General Psychiatry. 50, 3:230 (1993).
11. Quoted by Horgan, J., Scientific American: Eugenics Revisited. June 1993, p. 123.
12. Billings, P. and Beckwith, J. Technology Review, July, 1993. p. 60.
13. Mann C op. cit. pp. 1686-1689.
14. Risch N., Squires-Wheeler E., and Bronya J.B.K., "Male Sexual Orientation and GeneticEvidence," Science 262 (1993), pp. 2063-63
15. Hammer DH et al. Response to Risch N et al. ibid p. 2065
16. Hammer DH et al. Response to Risch N et al. loc. cit.
17. Mann C., op. cit. p. 1687
18. Readers may recall Simon LeVay's much touted discovery that the certain parts of the brains of (supposedly) homosexual men were larger than among (supposedly) heterosexual men. But even if the research is valid - its quality has been strongly criticized - the discovery of brain differences per se is on a par with the discovery that athletes have bigger muscles than non-athletes. For though a genetic tendency toward larger muscles may make it easier to - become an athlete, becoming an athlete will certainly give one bigger muscles.
When this particular critique was raised, the press quickly took its accustomed potshot at the usual "poorly educated and easily led" religious groups for the suggestion's politically incorrect implications: "Some religious fundamentalists even suggested that homosexual activity somehow could have caused the structural differences [that LeVay claimed to have discovered]."
But as the editor of Nature - an equally prestigious publication - wrote, commenting on the LeVay research: "Plainly, the natural correlates of genetic determined gender are plastic at a sufficiently early stage... Plastic structures in the hypothalamus allowing the consequences of early sexual arousal to be made permanent might suit [those who claim an environmental origin to homosexuality] well." This editor is not, to anyone's knowledge, a religious fundamentalist.
|Posted on January 11, 2016 at 8:35 AM|
THE RAINBOW CONNECTION - THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
It started simply enough. She was my friend.
Me, I was shy and very conservative. I was too shy for boys and didn't have any real close girlfriends. I wanted to have a special friend, one in whom I could confide my deepest darkest secrets.
I wasn't a tomboy or a geek. I wasn't ugly or fat or disgusting. I was just me. "Plain old Wonder White Bread," not very interesting, not very exciting. I dated a few guys, but never made that "love connection" like so many other girls that I knew had. I often wondered what was wrong with me, why didn't I feel like other girls? I certainly couldn't have approached my mother with such questions. And, I felt so odd, so different; I certainly couldn't ask any of my casual girlfriends.
When I entered college, I was full of hope and promise. This was the moment I had daydreamed about since the sixth grade. I was going to be just like my favorite teacher. How I admired her. She had long, elegant legs that I often watched and admired. Her makeup was always perfect and she drove the cutest little Mustang. As an adult now, I tried to emulate her, right down to the Mustang I drove.
I secured a full time job that accommodated my class schedule. It was easy, relatively speaking, but the best part of the job was my social interaction: I had found a friend. She was so understanding, attractive and outgoing: everything that I was not. She was tall, had long legs, was blessed with generous endowments. Her manner and dress were well-polished. She was the epitome of class, I revered her and she could do nothing wrong.
When I was in the office, we often spent our breaks together. Sometimes she paid, sometimes I paid; as friends, we didn't need to keep track. She was interested in me; it was so easy to talk to her. It seemed as though she understood everything about me. All of a sudden, I didn't feel so different anymore. I felt accepted and understood. My life was changing, although not for the better. I was too wrapped up in the ecstasy of finally belonging and finally being understood that I couldn't see it.
Then one Friday, she suggested that we go to dinner and a movie, I was so excited that she wanted to be my friend outside of work that I could hardly contain myself. Even though I put in really long hours that week, I looked forward to going out on Saturday night, exhausted, but energized.
She had made all the arrangements. We went to a marvelous movie and even if it weren't, I don't think I would have thought otherwise. I was giddy with glee at actually going out with a friend. I was wanted, I was accepted and I was understood! Finally!
She had chosen quite an expensive restaurant for dinner. Awash in candlelight and expensive food, we had a wonderful dinner, fantastic and interesting conversation and even splurged on souffle for dessert.We had just finished dessert. When I reached for my wallet to pay my share, she put her hand on mine and told me that she would take care of it. While grateful for her generosity, there was something about the look on her face, gentle touch and tone of her voice that just wasn't right. A small alarm went off in my head, but was quickly quieted by the rationalization that as friends, we really didn't keep track and besides, she did choose the place and she did make a lot more money than me.
Basking in the glow of a wonderful evening, my mind barely registered what she was saying to me. She started out by telling me what a wonderful friend I was and how grateful she was that I was a part of her life. She told me that she had never felt such a connection to another woman before, and I was just such an interesting person and so much fun to be around. She then told me that she loved me. This being the 70's, where everybody was telling everybody that they loved them, I responded that I loved her too! After all, she was my best friend and confidant.
And then it happened. She took my hand in hers and looked into my eyes and told me that she knew I felt that way about her, too. It wasn't registering in my brain quite yet, but as she continued talking, my mind began to swirl. I started to lose my breath, and the room began to spin out of control. The words became disjointed, she mentioned dating, love, ecstasy, and the wonderful life we were to share. I needed air! And I needed it fast! I fled the table, but she found me. She was confused about my actions. Didn't I say I loved her too? Wasn't she my type? She thought I was a lesbian! How could she possibly think that? What on earth was she talking about? She tried to persuade me that I was a lesbian by taking everything I had confided in her and turned it around.
First, she talked about how I felt different. Then, she took my admiration of my sixth grade teacher and told me it was sexual attraction. Then, she used my lack of dating and not being sexually active with men to mean that I was not sexually attracted to men. She told me that being a lesbian was natural. And she used what I thought was a great friendship with her to say that I was really in love with her. Then she told me that if we became lovers a whole new world of excitement and sexual fulfillment would open up that I would never otherwise know. I asked her to take me home and told her I'd call her later.
I was dazed and confused. I tried to sleep, but couldn't. I didn't want to think, yet my mind was racing. Maybe she was right, some of the things she said did make sense. Maybe if I gave over to her desires, I would be fulfilled. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad and after I had tried it, if I didn't like it, I could just stop. If I did try it, then maybe it wouldn't repulse me anymore. I fell asleep on the couch.
It seemed that I was not asleep for so long. But when I woke, it was still dark. In reality, it wasn't "still" dark, it was dark "again." I had slept the day away. Fixing myself a snack, I sat down at my desk to work but I found myself unable to concentrate on anything other than the previous night.
I listed on a piece of paper everything she had said that indicated that I was a lesbian. The first thing she said was that I felt different. Yes, I had always felt different. But what did that have to do with sex? Wasn't feeling different a normal feeling? Being different had nothing to do with sexuality. The next thing she said was that I admired my sixth grade teacher because I was sexually attracted to her. Then I thought about what it was that I admired in her. In reality, I admired in her what I myself did not possess.
Thinking about others I admired, I found it was for the same reason, for they all, male and female, had qualities that I wished I had. Then she talked about my lack of dating. I had dated some boys, but it wasn't that I wasn't sexually attracted to boys, it was that I wasn't ready for a sexual relationship. I was still under 20, I was in school, I was working, I didn't have the time, much less the energy for a relationship serious enough to warrant sex.
It finally dawned on me that I was not a lesbian. The lack of close friendships with members of my own sex was my own fault. I didn't allow myself to become a good, close friend. The things I felt and my lack of a sexual relationship with boys were entirely normal. Rather, those who focused their youthful lives on such sex were the abnormal ones, especially since my faith taught that any form of pre-marital sex was wrong; it was a sin. The fact that I didn't date much was my own fault. I didn't make the time to date. Any free time I had, I used on me. And, who on this planet has the right to take a position that the lack of sexual involvement with a man meant I was a lesbian?! After all, no two people develop in the exact same way in the exact same time, not even twins! So my slow development was not caused by my sexuality, it was caused by me.
And then, the reality hit me, and made me sick. This woman, who I considered my friend, had taken everything I had told her and twisted it to meet her personal agenda. Not only did I feel betrayed by that duplicity, but I also recognized that she had used the same techniques on me that cults used to recruit new members.
She preyed on a shy, lonely, impressionable young woman. She took me into her confidence. She took my deepest secrets that I had shared with her and used them to meet her own agenda, all the while preaching unconditional love. She preached that I would find love, acceptance and satisfaction in her lifestyle. I also hadn't realized it, but she had been methodically separating me from the other workers in our office. She was cutting me off from the others who would or could have voiced their opinion had I asked. She attempted to make me emotionally dependent upon her.
The reality was that I was not a lesbian. I was just me. I quit that job immediately and changed my phone number. Two years later, I met the man of my dreams and was married shortly thereafter. I'm 30 years older now and looking back, I can see what could have happened to my life had I believed the messages she and the society around me were giving to me.
I am now active in a homosexual crisis ministry. I see, over and over again, the fraud of the homosexual community. I see young and old, men and women, many of whom are religiously observant, all conflicted in their homosexual lifestyle. I feel their pain and heartbreak at being torn between the only world they know and the world they know that G-d has planned for them. I see time and time again how much they struggle to leave their homosexual lifestyle, only to have their lover use their family and faith against them.
But, I tell my clients, "you have a choice." I came to a fork in the road and fortunately chose the path that has given me a completion and a happiness that is truly consistent with G-d's plan of creation. Based upon my experience, it is clear you do not have to be a homosexual. You were not born a homosexual nor do you need to live as a homosexual and, certainly, do not need to die a homosexual. Through faith, prayer, and the help provided by gender affirming ministries representing different faiths, be it JONAH, Living Stones or others, there is hope and life.
Adapted from the first chapter of an upcoming book: The Rainbow Connection-The Truth About Homosexuality, by Kaelly Langston, which also appeared in a slightly different format in the March 2003 "Bridge Builder," a publication of Living Stones Ministries.