April 10th, 2009 (As seen on tob.catholicexchange.com)
In the Western world, there is radical push for the normalization of same-sex attraction. Commonly called homosexuality, it is believed that this is something inherent in a person’s nature, even going so far as to say that they are “born this way.” In this very brief examination, we will a) answer the claim of whether same-sex attraction is genetic or if it comes from a variety of environmental factors; and if it is not genetic, b) the keys to bring healing and freedom to men and women with same-sex attraction.
The Language Game
In order to correctly address the topic of same-sex attraction (SSA), we must first clarify our terms. One of the main aspects that polarizes the debate over homosexuality is that of language. Dale O’Leary puts it perfectly:
In public-policy debates, language is crucial…For example, although there is no universal agreement about the definition of homosexual (does it refer to certain desires, or behaviors, or convictions, or some combination thereof?), gay activists act as if it were a scientifically designated category 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 terms, if a somewhat cumbersome one. I try to avoid using the word homosexual as a noun, or 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…I prefer to refer to them simply as men and women. (Dale O’Leary, One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to defending Marriage, (Sophia Institute Press: United States of America, 2007), 23-24.)
Thus in addition to ceasing to use the term “homosexual,” we should stop using the term “heterosexual” as well, due to the fact that this is a politically charged word, for when the term “homosexual” is used, it is often understood to be merely another option in which a person expresses their sexuality genitally. This thus paves the way for a plethora of sexual “inclinations.”
Furthermore, O’Leary argues that the term gender should not be used either. According to the social constructionist ideology,
“biological sex might be a given, but “gender” – one’s perception of self – is a social construct and therefore can be changed…This deconstructing of “gender” oppression is behind the Radical Feminist war on marriage, motherhood, and their fanatical support for lesbianism and abortion on demand…Although most Americans are comfortable with “gender” as a synonym for sex, this opens the door to the idea of “gender” as something “fluid.” (Dale O’Leary)
If sexuality is left to mean something merely fluid, it will lead to much more confusion about sexuality. When a person does not know who they are but think that their identity is in flux, their whole world does not make sense. They proceed to medicate to avoid the pain. This is why among those who subscribe to the SS lifestyle they have a much higher rate of drug abuse, alcoholism, sexually transmitted diseases, and successful suicide attempts than those who do not participate in SS actions (Catholic Answers, “Gay Marriage,” http://www.catholic.com/library/gay_marriage.asp, 2004.).
Our True Dignity
Instead of using the term “homosexual” or “heterosexual,” we must use the term “person.” As Christ has said “Have you not read that in the beginning he…made them male and female” (cf. Matt 19:3), this is the way we must look at human beings. What we do is not what we are, but our actions flow from our nature. To understand our nature, we must go back to the plan that God has for all people. God created humanity in His image, and in His essence as Trinity, He is Gift. In order for a gift to exist, there must be one who gives, one who receives, and the gift itself. In the Father making a total-self gift of Himself to His Son, who receives this gift, and gives Himself back completely to His Father, who receives Him. The Love between them is actually another Person, the Holy Spirit.
Human beings were created male and female to image the Trinity. God created us to be gifts to one another, and this giftedness is written right into our sexuality. Men, written right in their bodies, are to initiate a gift of themselves; women, written into their bodies, are to receive sincere gifts. Putting this in terms of a genital act, when husband and wife give and receive from each other, they are able to procreate another unrepeatable human being. While the marital act is not the only way in which this image of the Trinity can be revealed, it is fundamentally written into our sexuality.
To deny this truth would do damage to a person. In no way can a person with SSA who acts out on their inclinations image this union of the Trinity. To claim that a person is actually born with SSA is to say that they can never be a gift and that they can never attain the reason they were made. In essence, it would be to condemn them.
The belief that people are “born gay” is a widely misunderstood myth. Alfred Kinsey first reported that ten percent of the population is gay. The actual truth is that the rates are closer to 1-2% of the population. (“Exposed: The Myth that 10% are homosexual,” www.traditionalvalues.org/urban/two.php (Date Accessed:April 4, 2009)). When researcher Simon LeVay found that a part of the hypothalamus of the human brain in the cadavers of men with SSA who had died from HIV-related causes to be different than the hypothalamus of other cadavers, the media immediately picked up on this, saying that this was “proof” of the gay gene. Yet what they did not report that a) LeVay denied that the evidence proved that people were “born gay,” and b) it is possible that it is the HIV virus that caused the difference in their brains (Joseph and Linda Ames Nicolosi, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality (InterVarsity Press: Illinois, 2002), 55.).
The most damning evidence of all comes from the study on identical twins, where based on the “born gay” theory, if one twin is gay, than the other should also. However, as Dr. Whitehead puts it,
If homosexuality was a biological condition produced inescapably by the genes (such as eye color), then if one identical twin was homosexual, in 100% of the cases his brother would be too. But we know that only about 38% of the time is the identical twin brother homosexual…If one [twin] is homosexual, the other usually is not. (Neil and Briar Whitehead, My Genes Made Me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation (Huntington House Publishers: Lousiana, 1999), 26, in Nicolosi, Joseph, and Linda Ames Nicolosi, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality (InterVarsity Press: Illinois, 2002), 55.)
The Real Causes
If same-sex attraction does not come from genes, where does SSA come from then? In many of the discussions with those who have same-sex attraction, we discover that something occurred during their formation as a child and/or youth that stunted their sexual development. What psychologists call this is Gender Identity Disorder (GID) (unlike the 1973 removal of same-sex attraction from the DSM by the APA, GID is still viewed as disorder). Starting from between the ages 1 ½ to 3 years old, a child must learn to identify primarily with his sex and disassociate with the other, or they will experience a much more difficult time in learning their masculine identity. This is especially true for boys, for masculinity is something that must be imparted, and for those with GID, they never learned to identify with their father. Many case histories have revealed that when the father is cold and/or distant, and if their mother is overbearing, they have a greater predisposition toward developing same-sex attraction when they are older (this is found to be true in both men and women with SSA). This is due to the fact that the great need for love that they never received from their father was not met in childhood, and they are striving to have this need met in genital relationships with other men. In addition, many of these men and women have a history of abuse as children and teenagers from a member of the same sex, which often leads to acting out genitally later (Dale O’Leary, One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to defending Marriage (Sophia Institute Press: United States of America, 2007), 89, 94.).
What is most present in these men and women is that there is a great desire for intimacy. Because we are made to have our gifts received completely, a very high number of those in “committed and exclusive” SSA relationships have to allow for other genital relationships, due to their deep desire to be totally accepted not being met (For example, “New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan admit that for them, “fidelity” does not mean complete monogamy, but just somewhat restrained promiscuity” (Found in Andrew Sullivan, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1995).). Yet what is common to that those in “committed” SS relationships is that once they have established a very strong friendship, they stop expressing themselves genitally with their partner. This is radically different from the relationships between men and women, for
As friendship between husband and wife grows over time, complimentarity and mystery remain, and sexual intimacy can become even more satisfying. But as friendship between two men grows, their awareness of each as another man like himself increases, and sexual excitement tends to fade concurrently. (Dale O’Leary, One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to defending Marriage, (Sophia Institute Press: United States of America, 2007), 162.)
Thus what men and women with SSA must learn is the true nature of intimacy, which is grounded in friendship.
Thus in order to bring healing and freedom to men and women from same-sex attractions, there are many things that can be done. The first thing that must happen is for them to identify first between a same-sex act and their God-given nature as men and women. Next, because many of the wounds are related to their childhood, it is crucial that they are willing to confront them and get to the root. There are a variety of psychological techniques that can be used to address these traumas. (Visit Narth.com for more info). Third, men and women must establish solid friendships with others. Fourth, this can only be done through the virtue of chastity, which is only made possible with a solid friendship with Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of all desire. Only from Him can they reclaim their God-given dignity and will be able to give themselves away in a sincere gift of self.
Catholic Answers. “Gay Marriage.” http://www.catholic.com/library/gay_marriage.asp. 2004.
“Exposed: The Myth that 10% are homosexual,”
http://www.traditionalvalues.org/urban/two.php. Date Accessed: April 4, 2009.
Nicolosi, Joseph, and Linda Ames Nicolosi. A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.
InterVarsity Press: Illinois. 2002.
O’Leary, Dale. One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to defending Marriage. Sophia
Institute Press: United States of America. 2007.
O’Leary, Dale, “Gender vs. Sex,” Class Handout. 2009.
Sullivan, Sullivan. Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality. New York: Alfred
Whitehead, Neil and Briar, My Genes Made Me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation.
Huntington House Publishers: Lousiana, 1999.