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What is Homosexuality?
is not a lifestyle choice.
This is an essential basis for understanding the homosexual
orientation. Practically all psychologists now accept it as a fact. Through
history, same gender sexual activity was universally considered to be the
deliberate - and so culpable - perverted behaviour of heterosexual people.
Advances in psychology, in the last 100 years have shown that not all people
are heterosexual; some are homosexual, and their homosexuality is part
of their personality, not a deliberate choice.
"Survey after survey shows
that 5-10 per cent of men and women have an exclusive homosexual orientation.
I use the word 'exclusive' because, as Kinsey first showed, homosexual
orientation is on a spectrum from total to minimal."
[Jack Dominion: "The Tablet" 09/08/03]
Evidence that homosexuality is unchangeable includes:
While I do not recall making any "choice" about being gay,
and do recall going through considerable turmoil, I can now say that if
I were given a choice to be gay or heterosexual, I would choose to be gay.
Furthermore, I think many people who are functional heterosexuals, could
choose to come out as gay. I think fewer gay people could make the converse
choice, mainly because it is very difficult to come out: most functional
homosexuals have had to exhaustively investigate their own sexuality, whereas
most functional heterosexuals have not.
The thousands of young homosexuals who take their own lives
each year, despairing of changing their orientation.
The thousands who consult pastors and counsellors, wanting
assistance in dealing with their orientation.
The very small percentage of these who it is reported are
The millions who remain "in the closet," not wanting anyone
to learn of their orientation.
An American Psychological Association President has stated:
"There is no scientific evidence
that reparative or conversion therapy
is effective in changing a person's
There is, however, evidence that
this type of therapy can be destructive."
I expect that as homosexuality becomes more acceptable,
more functional heterosexuals will chose to self identify as gay. Ultimately,
as being gay or being straight becomes equally acceptable, I suspect up
to a third of the population might become functionally homosexual for part
of their lives. In these circumstances, it will also be the case that many
gay people will decide for some period in their lives to live with a member
of the opposite sex. In the prevailing social conditions it is far easier
for gays to "recruit" straights than for straights to "save gays".
sexuality is determined by genetics or by nurture is of no moral significance
Many anti-gay groups are keen to show that homosexuality
is "learned behaviour". From this they try to infer that it can be unlearned.
Since there is increasing evidence that many aspects of personality are
to a degree genetically determined, this is liable to be a losing battle.
Some commentators hope that such groups will have to accept gays when they
are proved wrong on this issue.
While biological research is finding impressive correlations
involving the homosexual condition, up to a third of homosexuals do not
exhibit any of those biological traits identified as correlative. Furthermore,
the social and cultural expression of sexuality has varied greatly over
time and culture. In some societies virtually all men seem to have had
some homosexual relationships during their lives, in others very few. So
it is clear that patterns of sexual behaviour are culturally formed. In
this sense, sexuality is indeed "learned behaviour". One of the important
processes in almost all cultural constructions is the process of reification
whereby arbitrary cultural conventions come to be regarded as "natural".
One observable reification is the belief of many modern heterosexuals that
their pattern of sexual behaviour is "natural". Another would be the belief
of many gay people that they were "made that way".
The moral issue is not really about "choice" or "non-choice".
While people who argue that they did not have a choice regarding their
sexuality may be correct, such a statement has no moral force. Indeed it
may seem to imply that "if I did have a choice, I would not have chosen
to be gay". In other words the contention of the anti-gay forces that homosexuality
is wrong is implicitly accepted, and one is making a "special pleading"
To the degree that a person is predisposed to behave in
a certain way because of their genes, the degree of vice or virtue that
can be associated with such behaviour is reduced. However, the moral
evaluation of either the homosexual orientation or of homosexual behaviour,
per se, would not be affected. Such an evaluation is based on issues such
as Biblical texts, natural law theory, and assertions about "The Common
homosexual should not be thought of in sexual terms.
Homosexuality is not a behaviour so much as an aspect
of personality. It is unfortunate
that heterosexuals often focus on same gender sexual activity when
they think about homosexuality. To do so is to miss the point of the larger
context of a same gender emotive relationship. It is to dehumanize and
depersonalize gays and le5bians,
caricaturing them only in terms of their sexual activities rather than
seeing them as whole persons with lives that include more than sex.
The homosexual has all the interests and concerns in life
that a heterosexual has. Whatever importance sex has for the heterosexual,
it has the same importance for the homosexual: no more, no less. A homosexual
is a person who falls in love with someone of
the same gender. What makes a heterosexual, fall in love with a person
of the opposite gender? I can't say: it is some innate characteristic of
their makeup. In the homosexual, that characteristic works differently,
and the falling-in-love process is directed at someone of the same gender.
It is no more a matter of lust than it is for a heterosexual.
If when you look at a heterosexual man or woman, you do
not immediately think of sex: when you look at a gay or a le5bian,
you should not immediately think of sex. Gay folk are people: with needs
and concerns; failures and successes; sorrows and joys: plus lots
of problems that heterosexuals do not have.
and le5bians have the potential for outstanding character
It is well known that while certain characteristics are dominant
in men and others dominant in women, all people have some of both characteristics.
Psychologists have found that the average gay man has an exceptional supply
of feminine characteristics, and the average le5bian
has an exceptional supply of male characteristics. Psychologists are recognizing
that this special combination of characteristics in homosexuals often results
in their having exceptional potential. The eminent psychologist Jung gives
five positive aspects of the homosexual male:
This [homosexuality] gives him a great capacity for friendship,
which often creates ties of astonishing tenderness between men, and may
even rescue friendship between the sexes from its limbo of the impossible.
He may have good taste and an aesthetic
sense which are fostered by the presence of a feminine streak.
Then, he may be supremely gifted as a teacher
because of his almost feminine insight and tact.
He is likely to have a feeling for history, and to be conservative
in the best sense and cherish the values
of the past.
Often he is endowed with a wealth of religious feelings,
which help him to bring the ecclesia spiritualis
[the spiritual church] into reality, and a spiritual receptivity which
makes him responsive to revelation.
burden imposed on homosexuals by society is a great evil.
We should stand in revulsion against, and do all we can to
oppose, the prejudice, the hatreds, and the condemnation of a society that
make the homosexual's life so difficult. The evidence is overwhelming that
our society is pervaded by a strong fear and a deep
hatred of le5bians and gay
men. This hatred and fear are manifested in discrimination, oppressive
laws, social practices, bullying in our schools,
and the official teaching of the Catholic Church.
Homosexuals do not have the natural protection of the law that others have.
There are laws against discrimination on the basis of race and national
origin, but only one fifth of the states of the U.S.A. have laws prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the
U.K. has none.
Many problems make a positive adjustment to a homosexual
life extremely difficult. Among these can be enumerated:
It should be noted, however, that all these negative aspects
of homosexuality are not due to homosexuality as such, but are the results
of society's attitude to the homosexual.
The agonies of remorse and self torture over what they feel
to be their immoral desires, whether these arise from conscious identity
with the condemnations of Church; government agencies; and society, or
from neurotic conflicts within themselves.
Their vulnerability to blackmail and other forms of intimidation.
Their status of being outside the normal protection of the
Their need to conceal their true identity from public view,
from fear that accidental revelation could result in:
loss of their job,
expulsion from school,
dishonourable discharge from military service,
loss of future security and job opportunities,
loss of friends and the respect of family and dependants.
Their propensity to sexual promiscuity because they are disallowed
any complete interpersonal relationship; and the resulting tendency for
sexual desires indulged in, but never fully satisfied, to occupy a disproportionate
place in their life.
The threat of ultimate loneliness to one to whom all the
normal structures of society: marriage; children; dependants and so on,
acceptance by society should be extended to gays and le5bians.
Marriage exists for people
to find ways to live ordered, shared lives. It is intended to be the stablest
possible unit of family life and a stable structure of intimacy. The marriage
vow enshrines love, honour, respect, and mutual support and gives people
access to resources and community acknowledgement that serve to strengthen
their bond. In many ways, gay folk have an easier time of creating a truly
egalitarian, mutual and mature relationship. Indeed, some researchers are
now looking at "the same-sex couple" as a model for more human heterosexual
relationships. Many gays and le5bians
want the right to marry for the same reasons
others do: to gain the moral, legal, social and spiritual benefits conferred
on the marrying couple and especially on their family unit. The material
benefits of marriage are considerable, but it is the moral benefit that
is especially attractive to many.
homosexuality of gays and le5bians, created by God,
is good and not evil.
Homosexuality, as the late Cardinal Hulme recognized, is
the basis of much love in the world. Whatever one things of homosexuality,
there can be no doubt that it is expressed in great devotion between many
gay and le5bian couples. This
is its primary claim to goodness. Homosexuality is expressed as physical
pleasure. Although some Christians are suspicious of pleasure, as both
Plato and Aquinas recognized, pleasure is in itself a good. That homosexuality
leads to pleasure is an argument in its favour! Homosexuality often leads
to creativity. As the old Jewish prayer goes, "Blessed art thou, Lord God,
King of the universe, who has made people different". It
is a good in human terms that people are not all the same. That homosexuals
are often at a distance from heterosexual norms leads, for some, to great
creativity, and contributions to human society.
If the heterosexual can say "God made me as I am, a heterosexual":
then gay folk can say God that made them as they are. If God made them
that way: that way is good. God has a purpose for every life: so the lives
of homosexuals have a God-given purpose. Refusing to accept and affirm
them in the same way that you affirm others is to oppose the purposes of
God. I might go as far as to say, that if there were no homosexuals, it
would be necessary for the good of society to invent them. Thankfully,
God did that.
is unjust to expect homosexuals to live without intimate sexual relations.
Imposing celibacy on gays and le5bians
cannot be supported by the Bible, is unjustifiable
from an ethical standpoint, and can be damaging
psychologically. Many psychiatrists believe:
A scriptural argument against requiring celibacy can be based
on St. Paul's writing that he does not expect all Church people to be able
to be celibate even for the brief time before the (expected) return of
Christ [I Cor. 7:9].
It is unrealistic to impose celibacy on others, for many
persons it is virtually impossible.
Many of those who attempt celibacy do so for pathological
Attempting celibacy without a vocation to this life-style
will result in pointless suffering, irrational guilt, and mental disorder.
Growth and maturity require deep and committed relationships
in one's life.
Once sex is no longer confined to procreative
genital acts, it is no longer possible to argue that sex/love between two
persons of the same gender is not a valid embrace of bodily selves expressing
love. If love is understood primarily theologically, as a Trinitarian
rather than in terms of biological concepts such as procreative
complementarity: then the love of persons of the same sex need be no
less valuable than that of persons of differing gender. Nor need their
experience of ecstatic bodily communion be considered to be disordered.
"It has to be recognized
.... that these men and women are fully human, sons and daughters of God
for whom Christ out of love died on the Cross. Any language used in respect
of them must tally with their dignity of having received the love of the
Cross that applies to all humanity. In the light of God's grace there is
no justification whatsoever for regarding homosexuals as second-class citizens."
"Like other human beings - the
heterosexual majority - gay and le5bian
men and women need to give and receive human love. In the course of my
work, I have met many homosexuals. Apart from their sexual orientation,
they match in their human characteristics all the qualities of hetero-sexual
men and women. To think otherwise is to express ignorance, prejudice and
"In light of this fact, Christianity
must take seriously their need to form intimate relationships or bonds
through which they can give and receive love. This love is not different
from heterosexual love. It is not, for example, particularly promiscuous
- at least no more than among heterosexual people. Homosexuals are no less
intelligent, talented and artistic than heterosexual people; if anything,
they are more so."
"The Tablet" 09/08/03]
are being sinned against by the Church.
The millions of gays and le5bians
in the World will never, with few exceptions, darken the doors of our churches,
because they know our attitude toward them is one of hatred and condemnation.
The Church ought to be a haven of peace and security for gays and le5bians
from the insufferable burdens they bear constantly. While the world knows
that the Church despises and condemns homosexuals, those who hate them
find encouragement. The Church is well aware
of the hate and the hate crimes against le5bians
and gays, and should not be silent. She has a responsibility to fight it.
Her silence encourages it.
Who knows how many hundreds of thousands of lives have
been lost: to violence; to suicide; to drugs; to promiscuity; to AIDS;
to shattered self-esteem; to life forever outside the doors of the Church,
because the hierarchy of the Church has colluded with the demeaning
and the ostracizing of homosexual people. In this respect there is blood
on the hands of the hierarchy of the Church.
Why has the hierarchy of the Church abandoned these children
of God to despair and to death? When people are lost and dying by the millions
you shouldn't preach about sexual morality, you should reach out to them:
give them a safe place; listen; talk, love with the love of Christ. The
hierarchy of the Church is shooting and killing Her own wounded. They should
make judgements on the basis of knowledge and the authentic Tradition:
not on groundless feelings and prejudice.
How many homosexuals
The growing controversy over the role of homosexuals in society
has focused attention on Alfred C. Kinsey's 1948 book "Sexual Behaviour
in the Human Male". Two of Kinsey's findings have received particular publicity:
Modern reworking of Kinsey's raw data doesn't change his
"37% of the total male population has at least some overt
homosexual experience to the point of 0rgasm"
"10% of males are more or less exclusively homosexual ...
for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55"
Two other modern surveys gave similar results. In 1970
the magazine "Psychology Today" polled its readers. Of about 20,000 returns,
precisely 37% reported a homosexual experience. In 1983 "Playboy" did a
similar survey. From about 100,000 returns came a figure of 35%.
A survey conducted for the National Institute of Mental
Health in 1972 showed that about 4% of college educated white males and
2% of college educated white females are predominantly homosexual.
In a 1994 commercial survey, 5.7% of respondents described
themselves as "gay, homosexual or le5bian".
The researchers found that this fraction increased dramatically with the
inclusion of bisexuals in the questionnaire item.
An academic study of the same year, presented at the Joint
Statistical Meetings in Toronto, found that between 6% and 21% of American
males and between 3% and 18% of American females could be considered at
least incidentally homosexual. The lower estimates were based on reported
same-sex sexual behaviour during the previous 5 years; the higher estimates
were based upon reported homosexual behaviour or attraction since age 15.
Other studies asking about behaviour, desire and self
definition have found that as many as 80% of Americans report some level
of homosexual inclination.
When I was in charge of a student house attached to Bristol
University, it eventually came to my attention that two of the students
(apart from myself) were gay. This was out of a total sample size of twenty-eight.
Now, when I knew these students, I was entirely unaware that any one of
them was gay. They did not come out to me even when I came out to them!
Hence it is quite plausible that others were in fact gay or have subsequently
so self-identified. Hence, on the basis of a rather small sample, I would
estimate the percentage of the male UK population who are predominantly
gay as being between 5-10%, which is exactly in line with the above figures.
A story run on CNN's Headline News (Friday, February 26th
1993) offered divergent statistics on gays in America. In this report,
a "general social survey" was said to reveal that 2% of men and 0.7% of
women reported "exclusive homosexual activity in the preceding year." The
survey was said to be a totally representative, nation-wide, random survey
of households, involving 2,243 men and 3,017 women.
Hidden within the answers to other questions are some
telling, if convoluted, numbers:
A cursory consideration [Karin Swann
: in "Bad Subjects" #5, March/April 1993] of this survey's methodology
illuminates its flaws:
3% reported performing or receiving ora1 sex with another
of the 20% who reported engaging in ana1 sex, one quarter
(5% of the total sample) reported male partners;
slightly more than 2% reported any same gender activity.
In the commentary to the study, researchers admit that "some
respondents may underreport their sexual behaviour..., because of embarrassment
or social unacceptability." The study was not, in fact, even designed to
count gay men. The study was designed to look at risky behaviour among
heterosexuals. "If we wanted to count gays, we would have done a totally
different study," Korsy Taufer, one of the senior researchers for the study
Because the survey's assessment was period specific, and
age cohort-unspecific, it is not surprising that these statistics are considerably
lower than the Kinsey Report's.
The survey's assessment of "exclusive homosexual activity"
is limited to gays and le5bians
who were sexually active in the past year.
The survey used pollsters who have only a few days of training
in sexual interviewing, rather than professional researchers who have spent
years interviewing in their speciality.
30% of those polled refused to participate, and those that
did were asked for their name and Social Security Number and employer before
being asked to reveal intimate details about their sexual behaviour. Clearly,
some men are going to be inclined to withhold aspects of their sexuality
from a strange woman who has just asked for his employer's name!
Random probability sampling, while excellent for most data
gathering, is inappropriate for ascertaining the incidence of homosexuality.
Homosexuals migrate from rural communities, where it is hard to conceal
their orientation, to the anonymity of large cities, so rural samples will
be largely devoid of them. In the cities homosexuals congregate in gay
communities. These are usually relatively small and therefore easily missed
in random sampling. Worse yet, the custom of interviewing only one member
of a household is disastrous in a gay community, where everyone in a household
is apt to be homosexual.
The 1% "exclusively homosexual" figure effectively rules
out bisexual men as well as men who were involved with women before coming
The question also arises: "do statistics concerning respondents
who report exclusively homosexual behaviour realistically assess the number
of people with a homosexual orientation or who should sensibly be categorized
as homosexual?" There are, of course, a myriad of factors which serve to
encourage homosexual invisibility, especially of le5bians,
in our society.
A 2000 survey revealed that 2.8% of UK men had had "at
least one male partner with whom they had had genital contact in the last
five years" - the definition the survey used on a "man who has sex with
men". This was up from 1.5% in 1990. Nearly four in five of those had had
sex with a man in the previous year. "Any homosexual experience ever" -
which includes kissing and
touching - was up from 6% of men in 1990 to 8.4% of men
in 2000. Gay sexual experience before 16 was reported by 4.5% of men in
2000 - 60% of it including ana1 or ora1 sex. This was up from 3.7% in 1990.
A 2001 UK internet survey (with 850 respondants) found
that 2.1% of women described themselves as either "gay or bisexual". However,
just over 5% reported that they had engaged in homo-gender sex and 40%
admitted to le5bian fantasies.
7% of men described themselves as "gay or bisexual", however another
6% said that they sometimes have sex with other males. Furthermore, 18
per cent of 'straights' record that at times they have fantasies about
gay sex. Among male homosexuals, 43% sometimes fantasised about sex with
The Heterosexual Questionnaire
This questionnaire was written by Martin Rochlin, Ph.D. It
can be used in a variety of ways to raise the consciousness of heterosexuals
about their typical and almost automatic assumptions about gay and le5bian
What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
When and how did you first decide that you were a heterosexual?
Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may
grow out of?
Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic
fear of others of the same sex?
Isnít it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
Heterosexuals have histories of failures in gay relationships.
Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of
fear of rejection?
If youíve never slept with a person of the same sex, how
do you know you wouldnít prefer that?
If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate
number of mental patients heterosexual?
To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies?
How did they react?
Your heterosexuality doesnít offend me as long as you donít
try to force it on me. Why do you people feel compelled to seduce others
into your sexual orientation?
If you chose to nurture children, would you want them to
be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face?
The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals.
Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual
Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public
spectacle of your heterosexuality? Canít you just be what you are and keep
How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit
yourself to a compulsive, exclusive heterosexual object choice, and remain
unwilling to explore and develop your normal, natural, healthy, God-given
Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each
other to narrowly restricted, stereo-typed sex-roles.
Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?