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What is Homosexuality?

I have published a book based on this part of my WebSite.

Contents

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:
  1. The thousands of young homosexuals who take their own lives each year, despairing of changing their orientation.
  2. The thousands who consult pastors and counsellors, wanting assistance in dealing with their orientation.
  3. The very small percentage of these who it is reported are "cured",
  4. The millions who remain "in the closet," not wanting anyone to learn of their orientation.
  5. An American Psychological Association President has stated:

  6. "There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy
    is effective in changing a person's sexual orientation.
    There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive."
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.

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".

Whether 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" argument.

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 Good".

The 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.

Gays and le5bians have the potential for outstanding character and accomplishment.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. He may have good taste and an aesthetic sense which are fostered by the presence of a feminine streak.
  3. Then, he may be supremely gifted as a teacher because of his almost feminine insight and tact.
  4. He is likely to have a feeling for history, and to be conservative in the best sense and cherish the values of the past.
  5. 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.

The 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.

Full 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.

The 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.

It 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].

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 Communion, 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 fantasy."
"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."
[Jack Dominion: "The Tablet" 09/08/03]

Homosexuals 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 are there?

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:
  1. "37% of the total male population has at least some overt homosexual experience to the point of 0rgasm"
  2. "10% of males are more or less exclusively homosexual ... for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55"
Modern reworking of Kinsey's raw data doesn't change his conclusions significantly.

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:

  1. 3% reported performing or receiving ora1 sex with another man;
  2. of the 20% who reported engaging in ana1 sex, one quarter (5% of the total sample) reported male partners;
  3. slightly more than 2% reported any same gender activity.
A cursory consideration [Karin Swann : in "Bad Subjects" #5, March/April 1993] of this survey's methodology illuminates its flaws:
  1. 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.
  2. The survey's assessment of "exclusive homosexual activity" is limited to gays and le5bians who were sexually active in the past year.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. The 1% "exclusively homosexual" figure effectively rules out bisexual men as well as men who were involved with women before coming out.
  7. 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.
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 said.

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 women.


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 persons.
  1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
  2. When and how did you first decide that you were a heterosexual?
  3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
  4. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
  5. Isnít it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
  6. Heterosexuals have histories of failures in gay relationships.
  7. Do you think you may have turned to heterosexuality out of fear of rejection?
  8. If youíve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldnít prefer that?
  9. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
  10. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
  11. 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?
  12. If you chose to nurture children, would you want them to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they would face?
  13. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
  14. 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 it quiet?
  15. 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 homosexual potential?
  16. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereo-typed sex-roles.
  17. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?