Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why we should stop using the term “homosexual” and “heterosexual”

The term “homosexual” is an especially politically charged word, and the word “heterosexual” helps to actually foster this usage. For those who actually want to help heal the often deep wounds of those in same-sex relationships, read the following.

From page 23-24 of, "One Man, One Woman: A Catholic's Guide to defending Marriage," by Dale O'Leary, we read:

In public-policy debates, language is crucial. This is particularly true in the same-sex marriage dbate, an gay activists have been no less crafty in their language that the Sexual Left as a whole. For example, although there is no universal agreement about the definition of homosexual (does it refer to cetain desires, or behaviors, or convictions, or some combination thereof?), gay activists act as if it were a scientifically designated ategory of human beings. They have taken further advantage of this ambiguity, always seeking to influence public opinion, by carefully choosing words that fame the issue in their favor. They have eschewed the nineteenth-century term homosexual, for instance, and insisted on using gay and lesbian to refer respectively to men and women who A) identify themselves with their sexual attraction; and b) identify with the gay political agenda.

The language of sexual orientation and “sexual minorities” has also expanded to include bisexuals, transsexuals, transgenders, and transvestites. And thus, the entire constituency is today summed up in the acronym GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) or, alternatively, LGBT. Some also like to refer to themselves as “queer,” although others find this term insulting when used by non-members of their community.

However, none of these categories adequately describes all persons with same-sex attraction (SSA): for example, those who have never acted on it. Neither do these categories include those with SSA who don’t identify with the gay agenda. For this reason, I find “persons with SSA” to be the broadest and most accurate term, if a somewhat cumbersome one. I try to avoid using the word homosexual as a noun, of for that matter heterosexual, because these terms create the impression that human beings can be neatly divided into categories based on their patterns of sexual desire. People are either male or female. Patterns of sexual attraction are not their identity and, in fact, can be quite fluid over time. Some gay activists refer to those who are sexually attracted to the other sex as “straight,” or derisively as “breeders.” I prefer to refer to them simply as men and women.

I do use the word homosexual as an adjective, when referring to the various intimate acts that two persons of the same sex can engage in (Technically, of course, the acts that two persons of the same sex engage in are not “sexual acts,” because the sexual organs of both persons are not engaged in the same act – that is, sexual intercourse. So while we may use the term having sex to describe homosexual behavior, it isn’t really sexual intercourse.). This allows discussion of the behavior or acts without having to describe them in detail. I choose to avoid such explicit language wherever possible, although occasionally I think it is necessary to name precisely what we are talking about – lest we play right into gay activists’ strategy of euphemising their behaviors.

And we know that there are numerous terms of derision for persons with SSA. All of them reflect badly on those who use them; they demonstrate a lack of charity and should be scrupulously avoided, even if some persons with SSA use such terms in reference to themselves. Persons with SSA are human beings, and they are entitled to all the rights that belong to every human being. This does not include the right to change the definition of marriage.”

Thus, as I have been saying for a while now, there are no homosexuals, let alone heterosexuals (these terms were created in the 1800s). There are only human persons, male and female, and we must work to defend their dignity, not by affirming actions that are contrary to their true desires, but by leading them to the One who can redirect their lives and be the gift that they were created to be.


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