It is often proposed that homosexuality is a predisposition people are born with. This proposition has reached the level of dogma in the secular West, and anyone who questions it is immediately labeled a bigot, homophobe, etc. There is a lot of emotion vested in this issue, and part of it is justified. There have been wrongs committed against people with same sex attraction, and any hatred, bigotry, violence, or verbal abuse has to be strongly deplored. It is certainly contrary to the way of Christ to hold such hatred and to seek to harm others, even if it be due to a sin we see another holding on to. With that said though, I do believe homosexuality is a disorder, and it's not because I fear gay people. It came from an understanding of human nature, and a realization that homosexuality is one of those things that runs contrary to it. The ironic thing is that the majority of the world does, and has always viewed the same. A Hindu understands it as against Dharma, a Taoist as against the Tao, and any European without amnesia, a thing contrary to the Natural Law. It's a strange thing therefore when those of us who still hold to the seriousness of homosexuality as a disorder, find ourselves ostracized. I personally think the education/media complex has a lot to do with the shaping of this view, and that's why it’s all the more remarkable to discover opinions contrary to this view.
Although I do not have same sex attraction, I do suffer from another and very common psychological disorder, namely anxiety. My anxiety is mostly social, and derives from a variety of factors, starting when I was rather young. Although it’s a very different disorder from homosexuality, I see some of the same challenges in addressing it. Its become a long part of my life, and perhaps it would be easier to simply "accept" I have it and live on. But I know there is a much healthier way to live, and that is by a proper ordering of things in my self. This is again, a concept known to many cultures, but has become lost to our society, but that is for another thread. The main reason I bring this up, is that I have been addressing my own disorder, and in doing so I discovered some interesting things. I picked up a book written by the psychiatrist, Paul A. Hauck, called Overcoming Worry and Fear. In the chapter concerning the neurotic characteristics of fear, he has a subchapter on the fruits of fear. He lists the typical things you would think of, namely shyness, inferiority, guilt, etc. But then as you flip the page, he lists “Homosexuality.”
I was honestly thrown off by this (Shocked is actually a more appropriate word!) He then explains how in his clinical experience, many cases of homosexuality have run the following pattern: a child has a poor model for their sexual role, usually a father who drinks/womanizes, and has no close feelings for the boy. Whether consciously or subconsciously, the boy wants to be nothing like his father, and masculinity is associated with his father's poor behavior. In addition to this, there tend to be other factors, like a mother who is reminding the boy he is a sissy, and if he is particularly frail, it only further impairs the boy's identity as a male. In effect, the boy is brainwashed into believing that the masculine role is totally unsuited for him. He feels himself a man physically, but not emotionally. Hauck mentions a case where such man who suffered from such feelings, had several failures sexually with his girlfriend. When he failed even with a prostitute, he simply gave up heterosexuality and decided to become gay. The fear of failure with women, pushed him over the edge so to speak, to become what many believe to be solely a born disposition.
Although this book is from the mid-seventies, Hauck is an honest psychotherapist, and clearly there are cases of homosexuality resulting from environmental causes. This is a point that is likely neglected, if not outright rejected and hidden nowadays.
What added to this reality, is a personal friend of mine who has same sex attraction. He is a practicing Catholic, and a far better Christian than I likely ever will be. But what struck me, is that although he said as far as he can remember he always had an attraction to men, he admitted that he distinctly remembers being bisexual at an earlier stage of his life. Eventually as he aged, this wore off, and he became fully homosexual. I found this transformation intriguing, since at the time he revealed this to me, I believed sexual orientation to be something that is fixed, and we are born with. The possibility of changing sexual orientation, leads credence to it being environmentally related. And indeed, there are many cases people revealing that they are former homosexuals, although this is largely glossed over by the media:
There have since been numerous studies that indicate sexual orientation can be changed.
With this, the long standing view has been undermined by the complete mapping of the human genome. No "gay gene" responsible for homosexuality has been identified, despite the persistent popular belief that it is a predisposition people are born with. In fact, the genetic evidence against this belief is so strong; the American Psychological Association (APA) had to revise their public statement concerning homosexuality:
In 1998 the APA wrote the following:
"There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."
The revised statement says the following:
"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles...."
There is a lot to be said on this complex topic, and it requires a lot of open mindedness. We have to abandon base labeling, which serves us in no way, and look at this issue honestly and openly.