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March 12th, 2015
The End Of The Natural Law Excuse
by Bruce |
This New York Times article came across my Facebook stream this morning. It’s well worth reading…
Last month, Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, made controversial changes to a handbook for Catholic high school teachers in his jurisdiction. The changes included morals clauses, one of which forbids those teachers from publicly endorsing homosexual behavior. There are plausible legal and educational objections to this move. But there is a deeper issue, one that raises fundamental questions about Catholic teachings on homosexuality and other sexual matters.
Those fundamental teachings being the notion that the Catholic hierarchy can justify its dogmas about morality not merely with an appeal to supernatural authority but so-called Natural Law reasoning. The deep thinkers of this Natural Law tradition assert that morality flows…naturally…from that which makes us human and that homosexual acts can be rightly condemned simply on the basis of careful reasoning about what behavior nurtures our humanity and what behavior degrades it.
But can you can see the problem here? An understanding of what it is that makes us human is at best a work in progress. But it can also be a dandy rhetorical sleight of hand for presenting one’s bar stool opinions about human nature as settled fact when they are anything but. And that is how it usually works with the deep thinkers of Natural Law, such as NOM co-founder Robert George, who use it as an excuse to cull gay people out of the human family. Homosexual acts are contrary to Natural Law, so the deep thinking goes, because they run counter to what makes us human, and that makes them morally objectionable and also not coincidentally a grave sin. See? Religious dogma and science properly understood agree!
The problem as the article points out, is that a good faith search for understanding of what makes us human would seem to support not object to homosexual behavior. But good faith is hard to come by in the Natural Law crowd, and their objections to homosexual relationships have two fatal flaws. Gay folk if not always straight people usually see the first problem with it right away in the relentless focus on homosexual Acts. As the article points out…
The courageous uncloseting of many homosexuals has revealed them as people like most everyone else, searching for and sometimes achieving a fulfilling human life through rich and complex relationships.
It’s our visibility that’s moved our struggle for equality forward. I’ve said this repeatedly: proving that we do not choose our sexual orientation, while it addresses many issues, does not get to the heart of it. Which is…the heart. Homophobia’s central immovable dogma is Homosexuals Don’t Love, They Just Have Sex. You see it running throughout the so-called Natural Law rhetoric this article discusses. It’s always the Acts. The heart is never considered. It was easy once upon a time, before Stonewall, when the persecution of gay people was so relentless most gay folk stayed tightly inside the closet, to reduce our lives to the sex we have. But those days are over. The closet door has opened. And as we live our lives out in the open we are seen as every bit as human in our desires and needs as our heterosexual neighbors. That alone does the Natural Law Excuse irreparable damage.
“The natural-law argument might make some sense to those who see homosexuals as dominated by an obsessive desire for pleasure, to which they subordinate any notion of fidelity or integrity.” That is its only recourse, against which the argument that same sex sex is fundamentally sterile because it cannot lead to reproduction, but which excuses opposite sex couples who cannot naturally bear their own children is seen as hypocrisy. There is the second fatal problem. As the article notes, “Just trying to formulate the argument shows how strained it is.” Well…yes. It’s strained just like every hypocritically dishonest excuse for hurting your neighbor is strained.
The fact that heterosexual couples can still love and desire each other wholeheartedly and live lives together deeply devoted to one another, absent an ability to bear children, proves the power of love over biology, which pulls the rug out from under the Natural Law dogma. And it Is dogma, because the central premise about what it is that makes us human are ultimately and irreducibly matters of religious dogma. And the transparently bogus attempt to rationalize discrimination against same-sex couples but not sterile opposite sex ones anyway proves the intent here is not some sort of search for truth, but an excuse to hate: a little bowl of water to wash, wash, wash their hands before the multitudes of the harm they’ve done to innocent people in love. We were only doing what we thought was moral and right. No. No you weren’t.
This is Exactly why bigots like Salvatore Cordileone and his kinfolk in the anti-gay industrial complex want so badly to shove gay people back into the closet, and silence our heterosexual friends and family. The lie that sex between same sex couples is innately selfish and sterile, that Homosexuals Don’t Love, They Just Have Sex, dies the instant people can see our lives and our humanity for themselves. It becomes obvious we share the same human heart the rest of humanity does.
And then the question becomes, what kind of person wants to persecute someone for being in love…
July 28th, 2014
Should We Not Have Done That…?
by Bruce |
A soldier in the war against the homosexual menace has a road to Damascus moment…
As she sobbed over the breakup of her parents and family, an errant thought darted through my head: If we as a society didn’t condemn homosexuality, gay people wouldn’t feel pressured into marrying heterosexually, against their true attractions, and families wouldn’t be torn apart when the gay spouse could no longer continue the ruse. I had seen a number of gay Christians marry an opposite sex partner, only to leave when they couldn’t pretend any longer. It wasn’t fair to the spouse, the kids, or themselves. My doubts about the efficacy of change and the evangelical Christian stance against gay rights of any kind nagged at me.
December 8th, 2013
The Persistence Of The Closet
by Bruce |
Via John Becker at Bilerico, I see this New York Times article on that age old preoccupation of the heterosexual majority, How Many American Men Are Gay?
What percent of American men are gay? This question is notoriously difficult to answer. Historical estimates range from about 2 percent to 10 percent. But somewhere in the exabytes of data that human beings create every day are answers to even the most challenging questions…
While none of these data sources are ideal, they combine to tell a consistent story.
This is probably where the answers come from, finally. Because it was true before Stonewall, it was true in the post Stonewall gay lib phase, and it’s still true now, that many gay people will simply not tell even anonymous surveys the truth about themselves, let alone tell themselves the truth…
Additional evidence that suggests that many gay men in intolerant states are deeply in the closet comes from a surprising source: the Google searches of married women. It turns out that wives suspect their husbands of being gay rather frequently. In the United States, of all Google searches that begin “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” “Gay” is 10 percent more common in such searches than the second-place word, “cheating.” It is 8 times more common than “an alcoholic” and 10 times more common than “depressed.”
Searches questioning a husband’s sexuality are far more common in the least tolerant states…in fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.
This is unbearably sad. I’ve said before that for a lot of gay people in my generation it will always be a time before Stonewall. But it’s Still happening. And unsurprisingly, it’s happening where the ideal of married life is being systematically denied to gay people.
How I escaped this trap is part of the story I’m telling in A Coming Out Story. But I came out into a world where the soulmate, the beautiful lifelong love story, was almost impossible to find. I still haven’t found it and now I’m 60, and looking at the end of a lifetime of being alone, not having that intimate other. And that was not, as the stereotype would have you believe, because gay culture was and is obsessed with casual no-strings attachment free sex, but because so many gay men who would have been searching for the same things I was, were instead desperately searching for a way not to be gay.
We were taught…By The Righteous…to believe that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. And for many gay men as it also is for many heterosexual men, that’s just dandy. But for others it meant, and still means, “a huge amount of secret suffering”. We believed because we were taught…By The Good People, the Decent Upstanding Citizens we looked up to…that homosexuality was a tragic psychological perversion, a denial of normal healthy functioning heterosexuality. We were taught, not by gay culture but by heterosexual culture…that to be a homosexual was to be trapped in a hopeless cycle of empty sex searching for fulfillment we would never find. We were weak contemptible faggots, or we were dangerous sexual psychopaths. What we never were was people in love. The first crush, the first date, the prom, the Big Question. None of it was ours to have. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.
For some people that life of casual sex and serial loves is just fine. They live, they love, they go their separate ways, they remember fondly and are remembered fondly. But other hearts have other needs. And for those, to be told that the One Love, the soulmate, the intimate other, is not possible, is a heartache that never heals. It is always there, just below the surface. You would do anything to make it not so. Because without that intimate other, life is so very very desperately lonely.
…in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.
So many hearts that could have found their beloved other, instead locked themselves in the closet and watched their love lives wither away to graveyard dust all the same. But at least nobody knew their terrible secret…that their desires were foul, that they were unfit for love. So many hearts turned finally to stone, so the righteous could make their stepping stones to heaven out of our dreams of love.
November 8th, 2013
by Bruce |
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
At 16 I thought being attracted to guys was just a phase. By 18 I’d pretty much figured out that thinking it was a phase was the phase.
June 26th, 2013
Too Young To Know?
by Bruce |
This came across my news feed this morning…
Joshua’s mother, Beatrice Padilla, said, “I always knew in my heart he was going to grow up to be gay.” That didn’t mean, however, she was prepared to learn that day had arrived when her son was in just the fifth grade.
When the boy timidly asked, “Is there something wrong with me?” though, she rallied:
“You eat like everyone else, you sleep like everyone else, you go to school like everyone else. You’re no different,” she said.
He’s now 15 and says that while he never doubted his mother would be supportive, “I don’t think telling a parent at any age gets any easier.”
This is such an old story and I have heard it told and retold among gay people ever since I can remember: I knew I was different in some fundamental way even then, I just didn’t have the words to express it… I don’t think there is a single one of us who hasn’t heard it over and over and over. It’s my truth too. In first grade I knew I liked guys in some distinct way that set me apart from the others and that if I talked about it too much I would get in trouble.
But blabber mouth little young me couldn’t always keep it in. I remember being teased once by my other classmates about a girl and getting pissed off about it I blurted out that I didn’t like girls, and one of the girls said, “Oh, then you like boys I guess.” and everyone laughed.
I blushed. Fiercely. Which only made them laugh more. Everyone has these school days memories they would rather forget.
February 19th, 2013
You Keep Using That Word…
by Bruce |
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya, “The Princess Bride”
Here’s another word people keep using: Homosexual.
So I’m seeing the chatter about how this new Gallup poll (you know…the folks who did so well predicting the outcome of the last election…), gives us a more accurate figure for the percentage of gay people in America than Kinsey’s ten percent, and I can only conclude they aren’t paying attention to what they’re reading, don’t understand where that ten percent figure came from and/or what the Kinsey scale actually was.
Kinsey’s scale of zero through six, where zero (exclusively heterosexual) and six (exclusively homosexual) described the sexual behavior of his subjects over the previous three years of their lives, based on extensive face to face interviews with them. The report stated that ten percent of American males were “more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55″ by grouping the percentages of the five (Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual) and six positions on the scale together to come up with that ten percent figure. Later gay rights activists used this to claim that ten percent of the population is homosexual.
That’s an arguable, but perfectly defensible claim based on Kinsey’s data which, again, came from subjects who were only asked about their actual sexual behavior for the previous three years. But it is measuring a different thing than Gallup asked, which was…
“Do you, personally, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?”
See the difference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
The problem has always been the percentage of people who are homosexual you get in any given study depends on how the people who did the study define what “homosexual” is. It seems so clear cut and obvious on the surface of it and yet different people, even in all intellectual honesty about it, have different definitions…let alone those who want to marginalize us when it’s convenient (their numbers are too small for society to cater to their whims), and exaggerate our numbers when convenient (nearly all child molesters are homosexuals…it’s how they perpetuate themselves since they can’t reproduce…).
At this stage in my life, after all I’ve seen of this world, I am still comfortable with that ten percent figure. But I’m calling it desire, not necessarily how someone behaves or how they self identify. I Know people, and so do many of us who are gay, who would fit comfortably in either that Kinsey five or six position and yet would nonetheless have assured Gallup that they were heterosexual. It’s called “The Closet” and a lot of people are still in it….some still in denial, some not. In my generation and earlier especially, you see a lot of gay men who married young, as a way of turning themselves straight. Some of these have remained in those marriages, living behind that mask still, after all that has passed by them in the struggle, and I can’t find it in my heart to blame them for that. They love their wives very much. Add to that those of us who are out in various stages, even out to everyone they know and work with, and who would be unwilling to answer that question from a stranger.
I still think ten percent is probably right. But even those of us who are militantly out and proud don’t always seem so to the passing stranger. There is no gay lifestyle. You likely won’t know unless you are close enough to a person to know, and even then you might not. And still, even today, many people simply don’t want to know it about themselves. It does not surprise me either that perhaps only three to four percent rather than ten are willing to live openly just as they are, and fight the fight for our human dignity that still needs fighting.
“Do you, personally, identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender”, is a question worth asking of course, and maybe someday better researchers than the louts at Gallup will ask that question. But it’s really not the point. The word does not mean that.
April 6th, 2012
Today In News You Probably Didn’t Know Was Old News
by Bruce |
I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated, “all my homosexual patients
are quite sick”, to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients.”
-Ernest van den Haag, psychotherapist
There is nothing wrong with homosexuals. That is a simple statement of fact. Not opinion. Fact. Well researched, well established, scientific fact. And it has been well established fact for quite a very long time. If you were born in the 1960s or later, then this fact is older then you are.
Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin writes…
Study of 100 Homosexuals: 1957. There had been a string of high profile arrests of very prominent and well-known men in Britain in the early 1950s, including Lord Montagu, his cousin, Maj. Michael Pitt-Rivers, and journalist Peter Wildeblood, all of whom had been charged and convicted of homosexual offenses. Their arrests opened the debate over whether homosexual acts between consenting adults should remain criminalized.
So in 1954 a study was convened under the leadership of Lord Wolfenden whose name would later be attached to a report recommending the complete decriminalization of homosexual relationships among consenting adults in Britain. And how did they come to this conclusion? Well they didn’t consult the bible, and they didn’t ask the prejudices of their day. They did something positively unique for that day when it came to the subject of homosexuality.
They looked for evidence.
One problem with the published research on gay men was that virtually all of it was based on clinical or criminal populations, which Curran and Parr acknowledged would not necessarily be representative of the general population of gay men. In their report, they acknowledged that their sample would likely exhibit higher rates of psychiatric problems or criminal recidivism. But when they looked into the files of these 100 men who had been referred to their practice, the authors observed:
…[I]n spite of the probability that any group of homosexuals referred to a psychiatrist might be expected to be heavily weighted in the direction of psychiatric abnormality, no fewer than 51 % were considered to be free from gross personality disorder, neurosis, or psychosis during their adult lives. Only one was certifiably defective and none certifiably insane. They included a number of important and talented individuals of high integrity, successful, efficient, and respected members of the community. Only two had been on any criminal charge other than homosexuality. Very few showed the traditional “pansy” picture of homosexuals; indeed, only 21 were noted to have at all obvious homosexual personality traits, only one of these being a paedophiliac.
So in spite of their having difficulty recruiting a completely representative sample of gay men, in spite of their sample being weighted toward mental patents and criminals, they found less mental aberration then they would have otherwise expected. In fact slightly better then half their sample showed no signs of gross mental illness at all.
Only half the patients showed significant psychiatric abnormality other than their sexual deviation, and such associated abnormalities were often slight. Moreover, many of these abnormalities were explicable as a reaction to the difficulties of being homosexual. Symptomatic homosexuality was rare.
And then it gets down to brass tacks. Is homosexuality a disease? Is this even a problem?
If homosexuality is a disease (as has often been suggested), it is in a vast number of cases monosymptomatic, non-progressive, and compatible with subjective well-being and objective efficiency. In our series, both practicing and non-practicing homosexuals were on the whole successful and valuable members of society, quite unlike the popular conception of such persons as vicious, criminal, effete, or depraved. Only one-fifth were at all obviously ” pansy,” and we found no reason to regard most of the patients as physically, intellectually, or emotionally immature (unless the basic criterion for ” immaturity” is that of being homosexual-a circular argument).
What they’re saying here is that if homosexuality is a disease then its one that has only one symptom (homosexuality) does not get worse if untreated, and does not negatively impact the overall health and well being of the individual who has it. Really…can you even call it a disease in that case?
This is similar to what American researcher Evelyn Hooker in her 1957 paper The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual found: well adjusted homosexuals are clinically indistinguishable from well adjusted heterosexuals. From her Wiki entry…
She gathered two groups of men: one group would be exclusively homosexual, the other exclusively heterosexual. She contacted the Mattachine Society to find homosexual men. She had greater difficulty finding heterosexual men. She also had to use her home to conduct the interview to protect people’s anonymity…
Hooker realized that all extant science on homosexuality consisted of studies conducted on homosexual men who had already been committed to mental institutions or imprisoned for sexual offenses. Her experiment was simple and elegant and beautiful in the way all great science is simple and elegant and beautiful.
She recruited two groups of sexually active young men, one gay and one straight. From both groups she eliminated anyone who had ever been in therapy or trouble with the law. Then she gave each group a battery of what were then standard clinical psychiatric tests…
Hooker used three different psychological tests for her study: the TAT, the Make-a-Picture-Story test (MAPS test), and the Rorschach inkblot test.
She used trained professionals who were skilled in administering each of the tests. The testers did not know whether they were testing a homosexual man or a heterosexual. When she got the results back she further anonymized them so nobody looking at the tests could tell who administered the test. Standard double-blind technique.
Then she did something simple and beautiful…
After a year of work, Hooker presented a team of 3 expert evaluators with 60 unmarked psychological profiles.
…she passed the results out to the experts and asked them if they could identify the homosexuals.
No one could.
First, she contacted Bruno Klopfer, an expert on Rorschach tests to see if he would be able to identify the sexual orientation of people through their results at those tests. His ability to differentiate was no better than chance.
Then Edwin Shneidman, creator of the MAPS test, also analyzed the 60 profiles. It took him six months and he too found that both groups were highly similar in their psychological make-up.
The third expert was Dr Mortimer Mayer who was so certain he would be able to tell the two groups apart that he went through the process twice.
The three evaluators agreed that in terms of adjustment, there were no differences between the members of each group
Well adjusted homosexuals are clinically indistinguishable from well adjusted heterosexuals. This was what the Wolfsden researchers also found. And this is what everyone who objectively studies gay people has found ever since.
The experiment, which other researchers subsequently repeated, demonstrates that most self-identified homosexuals are no worse in social adjustment than the general population
When you study sick homosexuals, people who have already been committed to mental institutions or sent to jail for sex crimes, then what you find are sick homosexuals. But if you did the same thing with heterosexuals, only studying those in mental institutions or jail, you would also conclude the same about heterosexuals and nobody does that. The Christianist web site Lifesite tries to downplay Hooker’s study thusly…
Despite the fact that the purpose of the study was ostensibly to examine the possibility of mental instability in homosexuals, individuals who showed signs of mental instability were removed from the groups, which further predetermined the study’s conclusion.
But that was the point. If homosexuality was the result of mental dysfunction, as NARTH and their companions in the anti-gay industrial complex insist, then removing the individuals who showed signs of mental instability would have made not a whit of difference in the outcome. The experts Hooker contacted to evaluate her test results would have still been able to identify the homosexuals because homosexuals are mentally unstable, whether they show it outwardly or not. That the experts could not identify the homosexuals with those mentally unstable individuals removed proved decisively that the old models of homosexuality were wrong.
I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated, “all my homosexual patients are quite sick”, to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients”…
“If homosexuality is a disease (as has often been suggested), it is in a vast number of cases monosymptomatic, non-progressive, and compatible with subjective well-being and objective efficiency. In our series, both practicing and non-practicing homosexuals were on the whole successful and valuable members of society, quite unlike the popular conception of such persons as vicious, criminal, effete, or depraved”…
“The three evaluators agreed that in terms of adjustment, there were no differences between the members of each group”…
Understand this if you understand nothing else about the anti-gay industrial complex: this is knowledge that is over a half century old now. There is nothing new here. Most of the people reading this post will have been born after modern science clearly and unambiguously established this fact: there is nothing wrong with homosexuals. This has been understood in the science for over half a century.
November 14th, 2011
Choice: Six Of One, Half Dozen Of The Other
by Bruce |
On Towleroad today I see that James Hormel has a new book out about his time as ambassador, and he’s apparently making the TV rounds promoting it. I also see that he’s making the same mistake a lot of very well meaning people make when it comes to the nature of bigotry…
James Hormel, who was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and was the first openly gay ambassador ever to serve, spoke with ABC News about his new book Fit to Serve, as well as DOMA, and what he sees as the #1 problem for LGBT rights today.
Says Hormel: “The number one problem today as I see it is that people think that being gay is a matter of choice, and they somehow distinguish gay people as having made a choice to be tormented by their society.”
Hormel calls DOMA “the most heinous piece of civil rights legislation in a century.”
Yes about DOMA, no about whether people think being gay is a choice. Look…nobody questions the fact that race isn’t a choice and that has never made racists question their racism as far as I can tell. Hell…they have their own junk science industry proving that blacks are genetically inferior so prejudice against them is morally justified…
When the New Republic devoted almost an entire issue (10/31/94) to a debate with the authors of The Bell Curve, editor Andrew Sullivan justified the decision by writing, “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief.”
In fact, the idea that some races are inherently inferior to others is the definition of racism. What the New Republic was saying–along with other media outlets that prominently and respectfully considered the thesis of Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein’s book–is that racism is a respectable intellectual position, and has a legitimate place in the national debate on race.
-FAIR, Racism Resurgent, January/February 1995
When the day comes that sexual orientation is generally seen as biologically innate, the homophobes will simply shift gears and start babbling about how homosexuality is a genetic deficiency that makes us unfit for…well…everything. The nature verses nurture argument is a distraction. The reason some people are homosexual does not matter to bigots. They just hate us. That hate is what comes first. The justification for it comes later, and takes whatever shape the bigot needs it to have to justify that preexisting hate.
All everyone else needs to see about our lives is that we are as human as they. That we love, we cherish, we long and we need, just as they do. Once they see that, once they can look at a same-sex couple and see in that couple’s happiness their own, it won’t matter to them why we mate to our own instead of the opposite sex. That’s the problem. Not the Nature verses Nurture debate, but the lie that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. That is what we have to kill. And we do it by living our lives openly, by resisting the pressure hate brings to bear upon our lives to stay hidden. Bigots we will never change. But every moment we live our lives openly so that we can be seen as neighbors and not some strange alien other, we defeat hate.
October 12th, 2011
Just A Thought…
by Bruce |
If you really think having sex is like farting, might I suggest you’re doing it wrong.
October 11th, 2011
I Was Not Put On This Earth To Live Anyone’s Life But My Own
by Bruce |
October 10th, 2011
Conversation With A Happily Married Man
by Bruce |
The Scene: A table in an upscale restaurant located in a trendy vacation resort. Two old friends are sitting across from each other. One openly gay since he was seventeen, the other a Happily Married Man having long since overcome the unwanted same-sex attractions of his youth. They are discussing Openly Gay Friend’s problems finding someone to love and settle down with. Happily Married Man is finding it hard to believe that Openly Gay Friend has been single and struggling all these years.
Happily Married Man: Don’t you have any gay friends?
Openly Gay Friend: Oh yes. About half my friends are gay. I have a regular Happy Hour crowd I try to go out with every Friday. It gets me out of the house.
Happily Married Man: How long have you known them?
Openly Gay Friend: Oh, most of them since the mid-eighties…
Happily Married Man: Wow…I can’t believe they haven’t tried to hook you up. Didn’t they ever even try?
Openly Gay Friend: Oh get me started…there was this one time…
Happily Married Man: You need to get some better friends!
Openly Gay Friend: They’re nice people. I think they just don’t get me…they just don’t get romantic types. They think I should just go get laid and that’ll make me feel better. They don’t get how random loveless sex might make someone like me feel a whole lot worse afterward, not better.
Happily Married Man: You need to get some better friends!
Openly Gay Friend: I want you to understand something…that isn’t just a gay thing. If I was straight and my happy hour group was a bunch of other straight guys I’d be getting the same advice. Just go get laid and you’ll be fine. The cure for every lonely heart is to just get laid. The popular culture pays a bunch of lip service to the idea of love and romance, but it’s all about just having sex in the straight scene too.
Happily Married Man: Sex is overrated…
Openly Gay Friend: I’m not saying that…
Happily Married Man: It’s just a bodily function.
Openly Gay Friend: Uhm…
Happily Married Man (emphatically): When you’re on your death bed it won’t be the times you had sex you’ll be remembering, but all the people you loved.
Openly Gay Friend: Yes…absolutely! That is so very true. But I would want my last memory to be the times I spent laying down with the one I loved. That one special body and soul relationship…that’s what you would be remembering. At least I would…if I’d ever had that. (looks wistfully at Happily Married Man, then looks away) But your life is what it is…
Happily Married Man (rolling his eyes): Stop whining….
Openly Gay Friend: I’m not whining…
Happily Married Man: You’re whining. You have to work with what you’ve got to work with and accept that. Stop thinking about what ifs. Sex is overrated…
Openly Gay Friend: Well yes, I agree completely that it isn’t all there is to life, but it’s still important…
Happily Married Man: It’s like a fart.
Openly Gay Friend: I’m sorry?
Happily Married Man: This may sound strange but think about it. It stinks for a little while, and then it’s gone.
(Openly Gay Friend looks blankly back at Happily Married Man)
Happily Married Man: Sex is like that.
Openly Gay Friend: Uhm…it helps if you’re having sex with a person you’re sexually attracted to. (ironically) Then it’s actually a lot of fun…more engaging…more satisfying…(looks Happily Married Man in the eyes) and it makes a whole lot more sense that way. You kinda understand then why everyone else is so into it.
Happily Married Man: You’re a piece of work…you know that? Well it’s getting late and I have to go home now. I’m a happily married man.
Openly Gay Friend (unhappily): So I see. And I’m still single and unhappy. And for gay men of our generation it will always be a time before Stonewall won’t it?
Happily Married Man: Stonewall?
(This was mostly a real conversation. Some lines were edited for brevity, and Openly Gay Friend didn’t actually say his last two lines to Happily Married Man because just then his head was spinning. But now he wishes he had.)
June 8th, 2011
Born In The Blood Of Innocents
by Bruce |
I just have one comment to make on the unfolding story of Kirk Murphy. This can’t be shouted out loudly enough: The subject of this study, which formed much of the basis for the ex-gay movement’s claim to scientific legitimacy, killed himself and his therapy so deeply wounded his family they are still, decades later, suffering from it.
The Ex-Gay movement was born in the blood of innocents. In his book, Anything But Straight, Wayne talks about the formation of the very first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, its first clients, and how one of them, Jack McIntyre, chose to end his life rather then keep failing at becoming heterosexual.
In 1973 John Evans, who is gay, and Rev. Kent Philpott, who is heterosexual, co-founded the original “ex-gay” ministry, Love In Action on the outskirts of San Francisco. Philpott soon wrote The Third Sex?, the first ever “ex-gay” book which touted six people who supposedly converted to heterosexuality through prayer.
Although time eventually revealed no one in his book actually had changed, the people reading it had no idea the stories were fallacious. As far as they knew, there was a magical place in California that had figured out the secret for making gays into straights. Inspired by his book, a few enthusiastic individuals spontaneously began their own “ex-gay” ministries.
Evans, however, denounced the program he co-founded after his best friend Jack McIntyre committed suicide in despair over not being able to “change”…
McIntyre wrote a suicide note. If the ex-gay movement could be said to have a heart and soul, here it is:
TO: Those left with the question, why did he do it?
I loved life and all that it had to offer to me each day.
I loved my job and my clients.
I loved my friends and thank God for each one of them.
I loved my little house and would not have wanted to live anywhere else.
All this looks like the perfect life. Yet, I must not let this shadow the problem that I have in my life. At one time, not to long ago, that was all that really mattered in my life. What pleased me and how it affected me. Now that I have turned my life over to the Lord and the changes came one by one, the above statements mean much more to me. I am pleased that I can say those statements with all the truth and honesty that is within me.
However, to make this short, I must confess that there were things in my life that I could not gain control, no matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed.
It is this constant failure that has made me make the decision to terminate my life here on earth. I do this with the complete understanding that life is not mine to take. I know that it is against the teachings of our Creator. No man is without sin, this I realise. I will cleanse myself of all sin as taught to me by His word. Yet, I must face my Lord with the sin of murder. I believe that Jesus died and paid the price for that sin too. I know that I shall have everlasting life with Him by departing this world now, no matter how much I love it, my friends, my family. If I remain it could possibly allow the devil the opportunity to lead me away from the Lord. I love life, but my love for the Lord is so much greater, the choice is simple.
I am not asking you to sanction my actions. That is not the purpose of my writing this at all. It is for the express purpose of allowing each one who will read this to know how I weighed things in my own mind. I don’t want you to think that, ‘I alone,’ should have been the perfect person, without sin. That would be ridiculous! It is the continuing lack of strength and/or obedience and/or will power to cast aside certain sins. To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.
Please know that I am extremely happy to be going to the Lord. He knows my heart and knows how much I love life and and all that it has to offer. But, He knows that I love Him more. That is why I believe that I will be with Him in Paradise.
I regret if I bring sorrow to those that are left behind. If you get your hearts in tune with the word of God you will be as happy about my ‘transfer’ as I am. I also hope that this answers sufficiently the question, why?
May God Have Mercy On My Soul.
A Brother & A Friend.
And as Wayne writes…
Still, Love in Action survived because many people who read The Third Sex? came to California in hopes of changing.
And George Rekers was still citing his success at fixing Kirk years after Kirk had taken his own life. When reporters caught up with him recently Rekers dismissed the idea that Kirk’s suicide could have had anything to do with the experimental gender identity therapy he’d inflicted upon the child. Oh no…that was years ago…
“That’s a long time ago, and to hypothesize, you have a hypothesis that positive treatment back in the 1970s has something to do with something happening decades later. That would, that hypothesis would need a lot of scientific investigation to see if it’s valid…”
More apparently, then the initial therapy got according to Jim Burroway who writes of his surprise that there was little to no independent verification of Reker’s claims. But according to his family Kirk was a troubled soul the rest of his life, though he had moments when it seemed he had made peace with himself. And it bears noting that the therapy deeply disturbed then, and continues to this day to disturb, his mother and his straight older brother, his sister being too young at the time to remember any of what happened.
“I do grieve for the parents now that you’ve told me that news. I think that’s very sad.” – George Rekers
Look carefully at this: Kirk was the patient who made Rekers’ career and he only just now learns of his suicide when CNN reporter tracked him down? Yes. Of course. He never stayed in touch, clearly and sickeningly never felt the slightest curiosity about how his most famous patient was doing. This is not science, it is politics. The client is not important. The client’s family is not important. It’s the message, that that there is no such thing as a homosexual only broken heterosexuals, that is important. Because inside that message is another: that homosexuals bring their own persecution upon themselves, since they can choose whenever they want to not be homosexual.
…no matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed… The Ex-Gay movement was born in the blood of innocents. It continues to destroy lives and wreak families with no more tangible regard from its leadership for the human toll now then in the moment of its birth. Their allegiance is to a higher agency. No…not God. The culture war. Failure is not a bug, it’s a feature. The scapegoat must hate themselves too.
August 6th, 2008
You Know…My Gaydar Maybe Wasn’t All That Bad After All…
by Bruce |
Misadventures in Atlanta
A Dating Scene Blog
Excuse me ma’am, but your husband is gay
When I moved to the South, I thought I lost an important tool: my gaydar. I routinely met men I believed were gay, only to discover they either only dated women or were married to them.
I mourned the loss of my sixth sense, but then a co-worker clued me in: Blanca, if you think they are gay, it’s likely because they Are.
Obviously this isn’t always true, but I’ve since learned that some of the couplings I questioned were indeed what I suspected.
As we all know, Atlanta has an expansive, vibrant and seemingly supportive gay community, but some men (and women) instead choose a traditional partnership with someone of the opposite sex. In some cases, their spouse knows, while in others it can either be a lifelong secret or a Jerry Springer episode…
In the case of people who go into these gay-straight marriages knowing what they’re doing, as opposed to being in denial about their sexual orientation, I’m willing to bet that it’s mostly a generational thing, with more older gay folk doing this then younger, and that it’s also mostly a bible-belt thing.
As I said in a previous post, I’ve had this track record in my dating life of falling for guys who later claimed to be completely, perfectly, absolutely heterosexual. Yet my shyness when it comes to dating nearly immobilizes me, and I am not one of those who likes to hit on straight guys by any means. And yes, there are gay guys like that. Think of it as the gay male version of a straight guy who thinks lesbians are hot. I am not anything like that guy. I need someone who is on the same page as me. Very much so. And between that and my shyness I have never, Never approached any guy who wasn’t pinging my gaydar pretty solidly…or so I thought at the time.
Yet I seemed to keep making the same mistake over and over again. So over the years I came to think that the problem is I have lousy gaydar. I began making jokes about how bad my it is. But now I look back over the course of my adult life and I realize that I have spent most of the waking hours in a week in the workplace with tons of heterosexuals. And when I look at how those heterosexuals relate to each other, verses the ersatz straight guys in my life, I have to wonder. Anyone who thinks that gay people, gay men in particular, are way more preoccupied with sex then heterosexuals are, is living in Fantasyland. The subtext between them is always there, just as it is between gay guys or lesbians…
Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ‘em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.
-When Harry Met Sally
And it’s exactly that subtext, which I see all the time when I’m in a mixed company of straight men and women, that I just never pick up on in certain other contexts. Just as there is a difference between acting gay and being gay…
…there is a difference between acting and being straight.
Was I really mistaken about the sexual orientation of those guys I tried to date once upon a time? Or was it the nobility I thought I saw within them that I was mistaken about?
July 24th, 2008
The Difference Between Helping Children And Kicking Them In The Face
by Bruce |
PFOX, (Parents and Friends of eX-Gays), would have you believe it’s different from P-FLAG, (Parents and Friends of Gays), in that PFOX supports people who are "struggling with homosexuality" and P-FLAG does not. But that’s not it.
Here’s the difference:
Anti-Gay Distortions of Research
Take a look at this story at OneNewsNow, which begins:
Quoting a recent study, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is warning of the increased risk of suicide that is linked with young people who identify themselves as homosexuals before achieving full maturity — a process encouraged by many homosexual high school clubs.
The study in question, as it turns out, is a seventeen year old work published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, back in June 1991. Not exactly recent…but never mind. What PFOX is saying there is that supporting gay teens as they come out to themselves puts them at risk of suicide. Their solution?
Schools should not be encouraging teens to self-identify as gays, bisexuals or transgendered persons before they have matured. Sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood. Rather than affirming teenagers as ‘gay’ through self-labeling, educators should affirm them as people worthy of respect and encourage teens to wait until adulthood before making choices about their sexuality. If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently ‘gay’ before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression.
So says PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs. Note the doublespeak there about affirming them as "people worthy of respect". But how much respect is it, to tell a kid gay kid they don’t have to be gay if they don’t want to? Look again, at what came slyly out of the other side of her mouth there…
Sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood.
Thats religious rightspeak for There Is No Such Thing As A Homosexual. Don’t believe me? Look again…
If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently ‘gay’ before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression.
Permanently ‘gay’. Note both the quotes around the word gay and the word permanently preceding it. You don’t have to be gay if you don’t want to. Change is possible. This is what PFOX wants teachers to tell the gay kids that come out to them, and/or to their peers. Griggs is sliding that under the radar their, in a cotton candy cloud of PFAUX respect. But in today’s hostile school environment, where the word Gay has itself become a generic put-down among school kids, a kid who comes out, almost certainly already knows how impossible change actually is for them.
And that has consequences.
But leaving aside the fact that a 17 year old study was cited as "recent" and was cited as evidence against the existence of GSA clubs, which didn’t exist at the time of the study, this argument also makes a causal claim that can’t be justified by the study itself (see the full text of the study here).
First of all, they make no distinction at all between correlation and causation. If a higher percentage of those who self-identify as gay or bisexual early attempt suicide compared to those who self-identify later, is that a causal relationship or might both factors be effects of some other cause? Griggs makes no attempt to analyze this, it is enough for her that there is a correlation.
It never occurs to Griggs that those who attempt suicide soon after self-identifying as gay do so because that is when they first become aware that their identity is in such stark conflict with societal expectations. As any gay person can tell you, the initial coming out period is the most difficult because it often leads to serious conflicts with friends and family (and that was even more true in 1991 than it is today). She also ignores all of the other far more important risk factors that are obviously more likely to be causal. The study notes:
In 44% of cases, subjects attributed suicide attempts to "family problems," including conflict with family members and parents’ marital discord, divorce, or alcoholism. One third of attempts were related to personal or interpersonal turmoil regarding homosexuality. Almost one third of subjects made their first suicide attempt in the same year that they identified themselves as bisexual or homosexual. Overall, three fourths of all first attempts temporally followed self-labeling. Other common precipitants were depression (30%), conflict with peers (22%), problems in a romantic relationship (19%), and dysphoria associated with personal substance abuse (15%).
There are far more serious risk factors for suicide in the study, all of which are ignored by Griggs and PFOX. For instance, 61% of those who attempt suicide were sexually abused, while only 29% of those who did not attempt suicide were sexually abused. There’s an obvious causal factor. Those who attempted suicide also reported much higher rates of friendship loss due to being gay, drug use and having been arrested. Again, these are far more rationally viewed as causal factors in suicide than the age at which one self-identifies. Griggs ignores all of this because it doesn’t fit her ideological preferences.
But to call it ‘ideological’ ennobles it. This isn’t ideology, it’s hate. A hate so bottomless it will cheerfully let children kill themselves rather then allow them to have the support they need at that critical moment in their lives. What Griggs is saying there to kids, stripped of its PFAUX respect, is that thinking you are gay will make you kill yourself. That is, seriously, the message they want kids who are just coming into puberty and feeling same sex desire for the first time in their lives to hear, and internalize. These feelings are going to make me kill myself. And when they can’t stop themselves from having those feelings, feelings they’ve never had before, feelings that seem to come out of nowhere whenever an attractive classmate walks by, feelings that they have no control over whatsoever, what do you think is going to happen?
Here’s what: Griggs will cheerfully blame those of us who want gay kids to feel good about themselves when those kids take Griggs message, that thinking you are gay makes you want to kill yourself, to heart and actually do it.
And there is the essential difference between P-FLAG and PFOX. One group supports gay people. The other, ex-gays. And it doesn’t get any more ex then dead.
[Edited a tad for clarity...]
September 5th, 2007
by Bruce |
I always knew this…
Sexual Orientation Revealed by Body Type and Motion, Study Suggests
An individual’s body motion and body type can offer subtle cues about their sexual orientation, but casual observers seem better able to read those cues in gay men than in lesbians, according to a new study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
"We already know that men and women are built differently and walk differently from each other and that casual observers use this information as clues in making a range of social judgments," said lead author Kerri Johnson, UCLA assistant professor of communication studies. "Now we’ve found that casual observers can use gait and body shape to judge whether a stranger is gay or straight with a small but perceptible amount of accuracy."
Johnson and colleagues at New York University and Texas A&M measured the hips, waists and shoulders of eight male and eight female volunteers, half of whom were gay and half straight. The volunteers then walked on a treadmill for two minutes as a three-dimensional motion-capture system similar to those used by the movie industry to create animated figures from living models made measurements of the their motions, allowing researchers to track the precise amount of shoulder swagger and hip sway in their gaits.
Based on these measurements, the researchers determined that the gay subjects tended to have more gender-incongruent body types than their straight counterparts (hourglass figures for men, tubular bodies for women) and body motions (hip-swaying for men, shoulder-swaggering for women) than their straight counterparts.
In addition, 112 undergraduate observers were shown videos of the backsides of the volunteers as they walked at various speeds on the treadmill. The observers were able to determine the volunteers’ sexual orientation with an overall rate of accuracy that exceeded chance, even though they could not see the volunteers’ faces or the details of their clothing. Interestingly, the casual observers were much more accurate in judging the orientation of males than females; they correctly categorized the sexual orientation of men with more than 60 percent accuracy, but their categorization of women did not exceeded chance.
Emphasis mine. Why am I not asked to participate in experiments like these? This is the one area where my weak gaydar seems to work most reliably. I love to watch beautiful guys walk. There’s just something about the sight of the male body in motion. And in the gait, sometimes, I can just see it. Some guys just have a more beautiful, or at least a more attractive to my my eye, gait then others. The gay ones. Makes my heart beat.
There’s this Bob Segar song… I realize that, according to the story, he’s singing about about a specific person…but ever since it started playing on the radio, whenever I hear it I just mentally flip a pronoun and rock to it…
But oh, they love to watch him strut…
The play on words about how they all respect her, but…doesn’t quite work with the male pronoun so I end up mentally adjusting the lyrics further as the song goes on. But I seldom pay that much attention to the lyrics of a rock song anyway…it’s about the music, and the music of that particular song is just about right for watching beautiful guys walking. And sometimes you just find yourself following along…er…you know…to the rhythm of it…
But there’s a disquieting side to all this, that you also need to pay attention to…
The findings build on recent research that shows that casual observers can often correctly identify sexual orientation with very limited information. A 1999 Harvard study, for example, found that just by looking at the photographs of seated strangers, college undergraduates were able to judge sexual orientation accurately 55 percent of the time.
"Studies like ours are raising questions about the value of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy," Johnson said. "If casual observers can determine sexual orientation with minimal information, then the value in concealing this information certainly appears questionable. Given that we all appear to be able to deduce this information to some degree with just a glance, more comprehensive policies may be required to protect gays against discrimination based on their sexual orientation."
The findings also are part of mounting evidence suggesting that sexual orientation may actually be what social scientists call a "master status category," or a defining characteristic that observers cannot help but notice and which has been scientifically shown to color all subsequent social dealings with others.
"Once you know a person’s sexual orientation, the fact has consequences for all subsequent interactions, and our findings suggest that this category of information can be deduced from subtle clues in body movement," Johnson said.
A lot of gay guys,,,myself included…just assume most of the time that we’re not really all that "obvious". In particular, those of us who grew up being fed a lot of stereotypes about swishing and limp wrists and lisping and that kind of crap, tend to assume that to the degree we don’t fit the stereotype, we’re probably passing. Well guys…it looks like they can see right through us anyway.
And in a world that’s been so relentlessly polarized, gays so relentlessly demonized by this kind of republican party crap…
…that can have, as the article points out, consequences.
Have you ever had a business interaction that all of a sudden just turned negative and you couldn’t quite put your finger on why? You’re talking to a clerk at a store somewhere, or trying to arrange to have some professional come and do some work on your house, or your car, or whatever, and suddenly they turn all cold and contemptuous and suddenly find a million excuses why they can’t sell you what you were looking for, or do the work for you that you need done? I’ve had that happen over and over again and usually I put it down to being a longhair in bluejeans and sneakers, and the lingering resentment some folks still feel toward the 60s counter-culture. But what if it really is homophobia?
It’s all too easy to fall into the suffocating trap of putting every negative reaction down to prejudice against gay people. But there’s another side to that coin and it’s called denial. I don’t think I have any obvious effeminacy to me, I’m no macho guy by any means, but I’ve always pictured myself internally as pretty much an average middle class, suburban American guy. Okay…so I don’t much care for sports. I love fast cars, firecrackers, and hard rock. I am a stereotypical male in so many ways, some pretty embarrassing. No…I don’t ask for directions. I hate shopping for clothes. Weekends when I’m cleaning house, I am always scolding myself for not picking up after myself like I should.
But maybe none of that matters anyway. Maybe none of it ever mattered. The clues are subtler, and they’re hard wired into us. The way we talk, the way we move, even according to this 60 minutes article, the way we sit…
Bailey and his colleagues set up a series of experiments in his lab at Northwestern University. In one study, researcher Gerulf Rieger videotaped gay and straight people sitting in a chair, talking. He then reduced them visually to silent black and white outlined figures and asked volunteers to see if they could tell gay from straight. The idea was to find out if certain stereotypes were real and observable.
Based on physical movement and gestures of the figures, more often than not, the volunteers in the study could tell a difference.
You can be flaming and you can be quiet and reserved and it doesn’t matter. You can be fabulous and you can be a geek whose clothes never seem to fit quite right and it doesn’t matter. The people we interact with on a daily basis may never even be aware consciously what it is they’re picking up on. They just know, somehow, that they’re dealing with a homosexual. And that can have consequences. Especially after so many elections where gay people were painted as the demons who were going to take over America, prey on children, spread AIDS and destroy marriage and family if the democrats won.
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