(Home-My Story)....... True, Tragic and Unnecessary Gay Youth Suicide Stories...................... (Español)
PART 2 (page 26 of 34)
Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? (Part 5 of 5)
The Nature of Nurture - The Theories
Psychiatry Giant, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, Sorry for Backing Gay ‘Cure’
A Highly Questionable Presumption - "We assume that
heterosexuality is the biologic norm, and that unless interfered with all individuals are heterosexual."
It's Over! The Ex-Gay Movement is Dead (...well it's on life support in any case)
What do we mean by Nurture?
Warning: Many of The Theories Presented Below are Highly Problematic
The nurture point-of-view proposes that male homosexuality can only be the result of cultural, social and environmental factors (see the list below for examples), not biological ones therefore making homosexuality a choice and not an in-born or God given trait. This point of view is strongly supported by the more extreme conservative evangelical, fundamentalist and charismatic Christian groups. Within these groups are people that say that there is no such thing as a homosexual. Leanne Payne, whose books have had considerable influence in the ex-gay movement, explicitly denies the existence of what is generally meant by the homosexual orientation. In Crisis in Masculinity, she states flatly that "[t]here [is] no such thing, strictly speaking, as a lesbian or homosexual . . .there are only those who are separated from some valid though unaffirmed part of themselves." And in a similar vein, Joanne Highley of L.I.F.E. ("Living in Freedom Eternally") Ministry in New York City insists that Christians must recognize the notion of "homosexual orientation for what it is - a lie." We are all, Highley contends, "truly heterosexual." (1) [Note from Gary Lynn. It's like these "experts" are taking ignorance to a new level just to hold on to their perceived "Biblical" point of view. See box below where I talk about the idea that everyone is a heterosexual titled "A Highly Questionable Presumption]
But even people with more moderate and progressive positions on the subject of homosexuality usually admit that nurture does play some role in the development of a homosexual, even if a smaller one when compared to the influence of biological factors. Therefore it is worth our time to look into just what it is that is meant when we talk about the influence of nurture in the development of the homosexual.
First of all here are some examples of cultural, social and
childhood play patterns,
early peer interactions including quantity and quality of childhood and teenage relationships,
parental teachings given by their actions and by their words,
religious or nonreligious upbringing,
immediate and extended family and community attitudes towards homosexuality,
exposure to alternate lifestyles including homosexuality (assuming homosexuality is a lifestyle which I don't; actually homophobia is a choice and a lifestyle, LOL),
parental behavior patterns and expectations toward male and female children, and
the role of gender constancy* in the household.
There are numerous theories as to how homosexuality would take root due to these factors or influences. Among these are the theories that a homosexual individual learns homosexual behavior through observation and makes a conscious choice to adopt that kind of lifestyle, or that homosexuality arises because of sexual abuse in the individual’s childhood, or from a weak masculine identity [called gender-identity deficit (see the separate paragraph describing it below) by Joseph Nicolosi and other reparative therapists belonging to the professionally marginalized and discredited National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)] because of poor abilities in sports or because of the “absent or distant/passive father” and/or “dominant mother” theories.
They Saw The "Lifestyle" as a Child
and Thought "Oh Wow, I Love it".
Some conservative anti-gay groups are of the opinion that homosexuals are the way they are because they, at a young age, observe the sexual behavior of positive homosexuals role models, and become interested in the "lifestyle". Coupled with a more tolerant society, such an interest is not curbed and is instead given room to flourish. One makes the choice to continue along this path and thus develops into a homosexual. The observation of homosexual behavior occurs so early in childhood that one comes to believe that one was homosexual all along, and this idea is so deeply ingrained in the homosexual that he would believe that any attempt to cure him of his homosexuality would lead only to failure (2). A huge weakness of this argument is that it cannot ensure that all homosexuals have observed homosexual behavior as a child – what of the large number of homosexuals who have never observed such behavior prior to the personal experience of homosexual feelings? Regarding the claim that an individual would make a choice to adopt this lifestyle, one may wonder about who would choose to live a life which includes dispiriting and grinding discrimination aimed at him or her. Indeed, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu opined, regarding sexual orientation being a choice, that “the homosexual persons must be the craziest coots around to choose a way of life that exposes them to so much hostility, discrimination, loss and suffering.” (3)
Sexually Abused as a Child
Another theory of homosexuality holds that a possible root of homosexuality is sexual abuse in an individual’s childhood. For instance, a young boy sexually abused by an adult male could grow to doubt his own sexuality and might eventually come to the conclusion that he really was a homosexual. Such confusion over sexuality has in fact been expressed by male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. However, there are at least two flaws with this argument chain. Firstly, it cannot explain the incidence of homosexuality in the large quantity of individuals who were not subjected to sexual abuse during their childhoods. Secondly, although confusion over sexuality has been expressed by male survivors, another reaction to this confusion has been open hostility towards other homosexuals. In other words, confusion over sexuality stemming from the abuse is also likely to result in homophobia instead of homosexuality (4).
The Sports Factor
Weak masculine identity is another cause of homosexuality according to our conservative religious opponents. According to them, it can be an outgrowth of weak eye-hand coordination which results in an inability to play sports very well. This condition can be accompanied by severe peer rejection. In a sports-oriented culture such as our own, if a young boy is unable to throw, catch, or kick a ball very well, he can then be excluded, isolated, and ridiculed by his peers. Continued rejection can be a major source of conflict for a child and teenager. In an attempt to overcome feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, he may spend more time on academic studies or fostering comfortable brotherly-like friendships with girls. The "sports wound" will negatively affect the boy's image of himself, his relationships with peers, his gender identity, and his body image leading to a failure to internalize a male gender-identity. His negative view of his masculinity and his loneliness can further lead him to crave the masculinity of his male peers.(5) Granted that these may be some of the effects for some gay boys who aren't very coordinated but it's quite a stretch to consider that a lack of ability in sports would be a "cause" of homosexuality. This sounds like the thinking of junior high school boys who have low self-esteem, both straight and in the closet gays, who pick on smaller or weaker boys who are different just to make themselves feel better and more accepted. Of course, this idea assumes that all gay boys are athletically challenged and completely ignores all the gay men who have in fact excelled in sports in recent history. Click here to see a A Listmania! list by Jeffery Mingo of Gay Men in Sports http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Men-in-Sports/lm/R1ATBF63MJYGMW
The Distant Father
Another cause in the development of a weak masculine identity say these anti-gay groups is a poor emotional relationship with the father. A number of therapists characterize the childhood experiences of the homosexual adult as a form of "defensive detachment" from a disappointing father. As children and adolescents, these men yearned for acceptance, praise, and physical affection from their fathers, but their needs were never met. The profound inner void that develops from a lack of physical affection and a father's love can lead a man to fail to internalize a male gender-identity which then develops into promiscuous behavior with other men in a misguided attempt to fill an emotional emptiness. In other words, the male homosexual seeks to repair his Gender Identity Deficit (GID) through erotic attraction towards the same-sex during his adulthood. Once again, while there is some evidence to suggest a link between “distant fathers” and homosexuality, it does not account for all the homosexuals who have had close relationships with their fathers and their families, nor does it account for heterosexuals who have had weak relationships with their fathers. Also rather than being a cause of homosexuality we may be seeing here more of the effects of homosexuality, since a father faced with a very feminine acting son might well become more distant or hostile, leading the boy's mother to become more protective. (6)
The Overbearing Mother
For many in right-wing religious groups, the chief causative factor for the homosexual adult is a smothering, overly protective, seductive mother who so cuts the young boy off from his primary male role model - his father - that he is never able to see himself as a real man, responsive to women, and thus seeks out male partners instead, limping through life as a kind of pseudo-female. Alternatively, this same seductive mother is claimed by other analysts (isn't it strange that these reparative analysts can never seem to agree, ha-ha) to create such conflict between the boy's incestuous cravings for sexual union with her and his internalized incest taboos that - perceiving all women through the grid of this neurotic relationship - he avoids reliving these conflicts with other women and turns to men for sexual and psychological relief. Other psychoanalytical theorists argue that the very oppressiveness of the dominant, seductive mother's power in the boy's life leads to a generalized hatred of all women as castrators and manipulators, so that homosexuality is not so much a matter of attraction to men as is of recoil from women. Again, while there is evidence to suggest a link between “difficult mothers” and homosexuality, it does not account for the large numbers of homosexuals who have normal loving relationships with their mothers and their families, nor does it account for heterosexuals who have had difficult relationships with their mothers. (6)
gender identity deficit
If, for example - as Andrew Comiskey argues - the properly gender-identified male will relish competition in which he is challenged to "fight and lose and fight again . . . to push through every resistance until [victory is] achieved, how is one to explain fully heterosexual men who are nonetheless more supportive behind-the-scenes players than dynamic leaders, more detail men than visionaries, more quiet scholars than bold adventurers? Have all these men in some way failed in their calling to embody the "masculine principle?" Conversely, are women who have acted upon their strong leadership abilities (a la Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa or Chancellor Angela Merckel of Germany) to be condemned as lacking in suitable gender credentials and suspected of latent lesbianism? In reality, critics including me, allege, "ex-gay" arguments regarding gender identify are simply gross reductionism (a procedure or theory that reduces complex data and phenomena to simple terms, or in this case, overly simplistic terms/traits). (8)
Gender-Identity Deficit should not be confused with Gender Identity Disorder (sometimes also informally called Gender-Identity Confusion), which is the psychiatric classification most commonly applied to transsexuals.
"The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.” ~ Oscar Wilde ...
In presenting the above mentioned theories which support the view that homosexuality has a totally socially derived cause, we realize that while these theories do have some merit and are likely to hold some truth, they are very inadequate as an all-encompassing theory for homosexuality. Actually, some are downright laughable. But the one thing that we do know is that we human beings are extraordinarily complex creatures and probably because of this we find (as I have also more thoroughly noted in Part 1 of 2 - Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? - But Seriously . . . . at the bottom) that there is no consensus among doctors, therapists and 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, environmental 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. So it looks like the undecided just have to be patient and await the results of more studies or they can just suck it up and listen to and believe the testimonies of the hundreds of thousands of homosexuals and bisexuals who say, "Hey, we didn't choose our sexuality and neither did you."
From The New York Times
Psychiatry Giant Sorry for Backing Gay ‘Cure’
Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, above, is a major architect of the modern classification of mental disorders.
By BENEDICT CAREY, New York
Published: May 18, 2012
PRINCETON, N.J. — The simple fact was that he had done something wrong, and at the end of a long and revolutionary career it didn’t matter how often he’d been right, how powerful he once was, or what it would mean for his legacy.
Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, considered by some to be the father of
modern psychiatry, lay awake at 4 o’clock on a recent morning knowing he had to
do the one thing that comes least naturally to him. He pushed himself up and
staggered into the dark. His desk seemed impossibly far away; Dr. Spitzer, who
turns 80 next week, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has trouble walking,
sitting, even holding his head upright.
The word he sometimes uses to describe these limitations — pathetic — is the same one that for decades he wielded like an ax to strike down dumb ideas, empty theorizing and junk studies. Now here he was at his computer, ready to recant a study he had done himself, a poorly conceived 2003 investigation that supported the use of so-called reparative therapy to “cure” homosexuality for people strongly motivated to change.
What to say? The issue of gay marriage was rocking national politics yet again. The California State Legislature was debating a bill to ban the therapy outright as being dangerous. A magazine writer who had been through the therapy as a teenager recently visited his house, to explain how miserably disorienting the experience was. And he would later learn that a World Health Organization report, released on Thursday, calls the therapy “a serious threat to the health and well-being — even the lives — of affected people.”
Dr. Spitzer’s fingers jerked over the keys, unreliably, as if choking on the words. And then it was done: a short letter to be published this month, in the same journal where the original study appeared.
I believe,” it concludes, “I owe the gay community an apology [for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy," Spitzer wrote. "I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some 'highly motivated' individuals."] Click Here to continue to read this very informative article in the New York Times. For more analysis of how the above flawed study affected the gay community, click below on "How One Flawed Study Spawned a Decade of Lies" from Forbes.com.
The Ex-Gay Movement is Dead(...well it's on life support in any case)
Exodus International Shuts Down Completely
Exodus Int’l President Alan Chambers, leader of 37-year old ministry, admits grave errors and says to the Gay Community: “We’re Sorry”
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and reparative/ex-gay/sexual orientation change therapy, issued an apology to the gay community for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.
“I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have
I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change.
I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents."
“I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite—or worse.
I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know.
I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart.
I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine."
“More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives."
“You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have
been yours. I hope changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce
tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show I am
serious in both my regret and offer of friendship. I pledge that future
endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.”
, , , , , , . . . . . . .
In January 2012 then- president of Exodus International Alan Chambers, during
his address to a Gay Christian Network conference, stated that 99.9% of
conversion therapy participants do not experience any change to their sexuality
and apologized for the previous Exodus slogan "Change Is Possible".
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Click Here to read the rest of the statement by Exodus International on their new website. For more details on this development click Here. The end of the Exodus Era is something to be grateful for ... but it should not be confused with the end of religion based homophobia. Click Here to read more about this.
So what does all of the above mean? Reading the articles listed below plus the readers' comments helped me, Gary Lynn, get a handle on it all:
Apologies Are Too Late When the Damage Is Already Done by Rev. Dr. Cindi LoveExecutive Director, Soulforce
Ex-Gay' Group Shuts Down, But Movement Is Re-Branding by Michelangelo Signorile, Editor-at-large, HuffPost Gay Voices
Exodus International Ex-Gay Survivor Discusses 'Homoerotic' Experience: 'The Damage...Was Astounding' (VIDEO) The Huffington Post | By Alexandra Schuster
John Paulk, 'Ex-Gay' Leader, Apologizes For Involvement In Reparative Therapy
Movement The Huffington Post | By Glennisha Morgan - In this article
John Paulk says:
“For the better part of 10 years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the 'ex-gay movement,' where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination," he said. "At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not."
He added, "Today, I do not consider myself 'ex-gay,' and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people." updated 28august2013
Escape From the Ex-Gay Movement by Christian Mentz in the Huffington Post - January 5, 2015
Christian Schizzel was once the poster child of the "ex-gay" movement. After leaving the movement, he called out the conversion attempts that he suffered through for what they are: something terribly dangerous.
The primary school
picture is of me, Gary Lynn, in 1948 or 1949 when
I guess I was about 7 or 8 and in the church affiliated
School in Inglewood, California.
*Gender constancy means that the child is aware that he or she will always be male or female regardless of superficial changes such as haircuts or clothing.
(1) Holben, L. R., “What Christians Think About Homosexuality - Six Representative Viewpoints”, North Richland Hills, Texas, BIBAL Press, 1999, page 59.
(2) Lee, Robert. T. Against Homosexuality!; Sub-article: Are homosexuals born that way? The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Online] September 20, 2002. [Cited: September 25, 2007.]
(3) Wockner, Rex. Gay Good News; Sub-article: Archbishop Tutu Defends Gay Christians. ChristianGays.com. [Online] March 20, 1996. [Cited: September 26, 2007.] http://christiangays.com/news.shtml.
(4) Lisak, David. The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse: Content Analysis of
with Male Survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 7, No. 4; Retrieved from
Hopper's Home Page. [Online] 1994. [Cited: September 25, 2007.]
(5) The Origins and Therapy of Same-Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD), By Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., from the 1999 book, Homosexuality and American Public Life, edited by Christopher Wolfe. The author of this chapter, Dr. Fitzgibbons, is a member of NARTH's Scientific Advisory Committee. NARTH = National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. http://www.narth.com/docs/ssad.html
(6) Some of the above summary of what is meant by the nurture point-of-view in regards to homosexuality comes from three sources:
a) Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? A Case Against
Reparative Therapy and Discrimination by Kwok Chee Keong. It can be found
b) Holben, L. R., “What Christians Think About Homosexuality
- Six Representative Viewpoints”, BIBAL Press, 1999, pages 17 and 18.
c) McNeill, John J., "The Church and the Homosexual", Boston, Beacon Press, 1976, 1993, page 33, quoting Dennis Altman, Homosexual Oppression and Liberation, New
York, Dutton, 1971, page 4. "Many psychiatrists tend to locate the origins of homosexuality in “maladjusted” family life, yet such an explanation is not altogether convincing. Too many homosexuals have strong and loving fathers, too many heterosexuals have dominating mothers, for any obvious connection to be seen. It is probable that in Western societies most mothers over-dominate their son’s and this fact is often disregarded by those concerned to discover an etiology of homosexuality.
(7) "The Personalization of Sex," in From Machismo to Mutuality, Ruether & Eugene Bianchi, eds. (New York: Paulist Press, 1976)
(8) Holben, L. R., “What Christians Think About Homosexuality - Six Representative Viewpoints”, BIBAL Press, 1999, page 86 and 87.
If you would like to communicate with me, my e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Gay Teen Short Story ♂♂
Church is so confusing for Zack. His new pastor preaches nothing but hate and condemnation of gays and lesbians, but no matter how carefully he reads his Bible, he can’t find where it says God hates him. Will things change when Zach's boyfriend Billy suggests that they all go to his church instead? Click Here or on the icon to read the story.
Click for Page 27
New Ground in Debate on 'Curing' Gays
below to go to:
The Anti-Gay Religious Right's Really Cruel and Idiotic Argument
Their Message to a Gay Person is: Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.
Click for Homosexuality is neither a Choice nor a Sin - Table of contents
Click for Gary Lynn's Home Page
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