|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 5:50 PM|
(This article has been adapted for JONAH with the permission of Alan Medinger. Alan was active homosexually for many years and is now married with children and grandchildren.)
I believe that the subject of this article is going to become increasingly important in coming years. If it does, enormous changes lie ahead for all who deal with homosexuality from a societal, pastoral or personal perspective. What is offered here will be a brief look at a deep and complex subject. The focus of this article is an explanation that homosexuality is not an authentic identity. In addition to helping the homosexual struggler see who he or she truly is, my hope is that this article will also help the community-at-large to see how homosexuality is being deliberately normalized through making homosexuality an identity, and that people will consider the societal effects of this normalization."
You are not a homosexual!
The March issue of First Things Journal offered a series of articles on homosexuality. In line with the magazine's focus, the various authors dealt with homosexuality from an historic Judeo-Christian perspective. The articles provoked considerable correspondence from readers, and in one letter, published in the June/July issue, a writer-in challenged some of the author's conclusions stating:
"...I have come to the conclusion that the primary issue is the authenticity of their claim concerning their personal identity. Whatever the reason for their sexual condition, the nature and scope of their relationships are governed by their being homosexually oriented..."
The issue addressed by the writer is how to address homosexuality and the homosexual person and whether or not being a homosexual is an authentic identity. He seems to assume it is as he goes on to state that their relationships are, in fact, governed by their being homosexual. He assumes that being a homosexual is something you are rather than something you do.
But what if homosexuality were not a legitimate identity? What if homosexuality is in fact an artificial category of person created for some purpose? By implication, and I believe by logic, we would not then have any reason to make special accommodations for "homosexual persons." Social and moral standards would be the same for them as for anyone else. The individual, then, could no longer call him or herself a homosexual person, but simply a man or woman with a certain set of problems regarding romantic and sexual attraction, self-esteem, ability to relate to the opposite sex, etc.
The idea that there is no such thing as a homosexual person has been surfacing with increasing frequency in the past few years in the secular world. In ex-gay ministries we have long urged people not to define themselves by their particular sins or forms of sexual brokenness. For example, people do not identify themselves as adulterers or as sexually active heterosexuals. Letting go of the alleged homosexual identity, and acknowledging that God created us male and female has been seen as an early step in the healing process. We have done this while still acknowledging that we do have distinct problems with our sexual attractions and sexual identity.
We would hope that people see the world both as it is and with an eye to how it should be according to the plans of the One who created it. The secular or scientific person tries to view the world - though often unsuccessfully - as it is. Secularists who are challenging the concept of "a homosexual person" are doing so from the perspective of history, anthropology, sociology, logic and other academic disciplines - without making qualitative or moral judgments. Let's look at what they are saying:
1. The concept of a homosexual person is quite recent. The word "homosexual" was a Nineteenth Century innovation. For millennia mankind recognized homosexual behavior, but saw it as just that - a behavior engaged in by some people. And although some people were clearly observed as engaging in frequent and/or exclusive homosexual behavior, no need was found to see these people as different beings, rather than as individuals with a different behavior pattern.
This is a key thought in David F. Greenberg's massive study: The Construction of Homosexuality. Studying almost every significant culture from the beginning of recorded history to the present, Dr. Greenberg examines how homosexual behavior was expressed and how each society dealt with it. In almost every culture he found a form of homosexual behavior being practiced, but in light of the enormous variations in its practice, from being an accepted part of male adolescence in New Guinea to being a means of degrading and humiliating a defeated enemy in ancient Greece or Persia, he challenges the idea that homosexuality should be seen as a "biological given, constant in different periods of history and in different societies" (page 484). He urges a greater emphasis on understanding that homosexuality is a behavior which is profoundly influenced by the overall social organization of the culture.
2. Being a homosexual defies definition and when used has a circularity of definition. I was introduced to this concept by a psychiatrist who addressed the recent conference of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) held in Philadelphia. Dr. Uriel Meshoulam pointed to the circular thinking that exists around the concept of a homosexual person: Although not his exact words, he said that in common parlance:
- We define a homosexual person as a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex.
- Then we say that a person is sexually attracted to people of the same sex because he or she is a homosexual.
At this point we have said nothing. This is similar to my experience when I went to an ophthalmologist because I had a chronic bloodshot eye. He carefully examined my eye and told me I had conjunctivitis. I asked what that meant, and he said, "It means your eye is bloodshot." How did this help clarify my condition?
Bell and Weinberg, in their study of modern day homosexuals for the Kinsey Institute, chose to title their book Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, using the plural because of the tremendous variations they found among homosexual men and women. With large scale surveys, they sought to define the homosexual man and woman, but found they could not do it; individuals differed too greatly.
Gay leaders, when they are seeking general acceptance from the larger society, deny that anything but sexual attractions set them apart from their neighbors. (However, it needs to be recognized that when they are seeking special privileges or when seeking to boost their community's self-esteem, they will focus on how different they are.)
If we could say that a homosexual person is a person whose body carries a such and such gene, or who has an abnormally large amount of a certain hormone, or who is genetically different from the norm, we could legitimately say that this is a certain type of person. But try as they might, gay researchers and others have yet to come up with a generally accepted physically measurable characteristic that identifies a person as a homosexual.
Absent a causative factor, in declaring someone to be a homosexual person, we are back to the circular thinking; we are giving a name to their attractions; we have not defined the person.
3. Dividing the world between heterosexual and homosexual is artificial and arbitrary. With the invention of the word homosexual to define people who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex, we had to start to use the word heterosexual to define people who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. That everyone is either heterosexual or homosexual (with a few bisexuals thrown in) is rooted in our thinking. Viewing mankind in this sense, probably does more than anything else to reinforce the concept of a homosexual person. But this is totally arbitrary.
In no other way do we divide up mankind by the sexual preferences of individuals. Forgive my creating my own words where there are none, but we do not divide up the world into pedophiles and adultophiles or into necrophiliacs (people who desire sex with a dead person) and liveophiliacs. It is undeniable that a small proportion of people in our community are attracted to children, a small proportion want to have sex with dead people and two or three percent prefer sex with people of their own sex. But why on the basis of just this one preference, do we divide mankind?
4. Identification of one's self as gay is a choice, not an knowledgment of a fact. A study has shown that the average time between when a person started to recognize that he or she felt homosexual attractions and the time he or she identified himself or herself as homosexual is about six years. For me it was many more than six. We would have to assume that before the Nineteenth Century people went through their whole lives sexually attracted to their same sex, but not identifying themselves as homosexuals.
The identification is a defensive measure taken to legitimize feelings and behavior. It is fostered and encouraged by feelings of low self-esteem and victimhood. This is not surprising as many of us see low self-esteem as a root of homosexuality, and in fact, homosexual women and men, particularly since they grow up feeling "different," and often are treated as if they are different, do have some legitimate right to victim status.
The formation of the gay sub-culture and its associated political movement over the past 25 years, has been largely an effort to give an identity to people who feel homosexual attractions. It is, in essence, a political movement, and its leaders have done what demagogues have always done: expand their power and influence by convincing their followers to identify more and more strongly with their group.
An "us-them" attitude, a powerful sense of victimhood, a sense of superiority, all empower the gay movement, and expand the concept of being a homosexual person to the point that to think in other terms, or to view the world from another perspective, becomes almost impossible.
The extremes to which this identification can go is evidenced by the incredible number of gay organizations that exist in most large cities. In a city the size of Baltimore there are more than 50 "gay" organizations. You can join the gay doctors or lawyers association, take part in a gay volleyball league, be a part of a group of gay Quakers, or even join the gay Republicans group. Jewish sub-groups are just as profuse, e.g., there are E-mail groups entitled Orthodykes or Frum GLBT or Gay Jews. So much have people with homosexual attractions chosen to identify themselves according to these attractions that using the words of the letter writer at the beginning of this article, "the nature and scope of their relationships" become overwhelmingly influenced by their gay identify. However, we need to recognize that this is a choice. This is not inevitable!
If the concept of the homosexual person is indeed arbitrary or fundamentally inaccurate, we need to ask how can this understanding help the man or woman seeking to overcome his or her homosexual feelings and behavior?
First, it is critical to recognize that going down this road is not taking us into denial. It is a fact that some of us, from an early age, more or less involuntarily, found ourselves sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of the same sex, and not to people of the opposite sex.
But with that given, I suggest that we set out on a course to try and change our own thinking. This will be extremely difficult because it requires us to change fundamental points of reference through which we have tried to view reality. If we don't change them, however, our childhood defensive reactions will continue to limit our growth into full manhood or womanhood. I suggest that we see it as a process, one in which, step by step, we back off from our identity as a homosexual person. Here are some steps you might take:
1. Start to distinguish between gay and homosexual. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi in his book, Reparative Therapy for Male Homosexuality, discusses "non-gay homosexuals," those who have homosexual feelings but choose not to identify themselves with the gay movement.
2. In your own thinking try to consciously abandon the division of mankind between heterosexual and homosexual. Start by looking at the enormous differences there are in the tastes, talents, desires - even sexual desires - of people with homosexual attractions. They are not a single group.
3. Start to focus on what clearly makes a man or woman: voice, stature, genitals, facial hair, etc. Remember that every chromosome in your body says that you are a man or woman. Nothing in your body that we know of says you are a homosexual.
4. Carefully and precisely list the problems that hinder your functioning as a man or woman in accordance with God's apparent plan for you. These might include:
· A desire for sex with other men (women)
· A lack of attraction to the opposite sex
· (Men) Feelings of inadequacy around other men
· (Women) Distrust of men
· Compulsive masturbation
· A longing to be held by a person of the same sex
· A desire to control or be controlled by others
These or others like them are your problems; your problem is not that you are a homosexual. Each person's list will be different. Each list will include some things that can be dealt with directly, and others that will be dealt with indirectly as a part of your journey to spiritual and emotional wholeness.
The concept of being a homosexual fosters hopelessness. You would ask, how can I change who I am? Maybe that's not who you are. True, you do have some special problems, but through the power of God and an understanding of the root causes of your emotionally-based condition, you can overcome them.
|Posted on January 5, 2016 at 2:35 PM|
Written By Ben Newman
Gay sympathizers insist that homosexuality is not a choice. On this point I completely agree. It is not a choice. No man I know or have heard of who deals with homosexuality, whether they reject and struggle against it or embrace it with pride, feels like they ever chose these desires.
It is not a choice, it is a consequence -- an unintended consequence of a lifetime of choices -- conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It is an unfortunate but natural consequence of choices made by a growing boy that were intended only to protect himself against rejection and hurt, to make himself feel safe, and to do what seemed most natural.
One can hardly fault a little boy for running away from male peers he felt were taunting and frightening and for preferring the company of girls he felt were accepting and easy-going. One can hardly fault a little boy for rejecting and protecting himself from a seemingly cold or harsh or absent or disinterested father, or for expressing his naturally artistic and sensitive talents while rejecting what for him are the frightening, unfamiliar and uncomfortable rough-and-tumble games of boyhood. After all, he is only trying to take care of himself, feel safe and be true to himself, as best as an innocent (and unguided) little boy knows how.
Little does he know that all of these perfectly understandable and innocent choices, in combination, and without intervention, can lead to horrendous unintended consequences. These choices can ultimately cause him to fail to discover his innate masculinity, fail to bond with his gender, and fail to develop a healthy gender identity as a man among men. And unable to find his own masculinity within, he can begin to seek it outside of himself, to envy it in other boys and men, and finally to lust for it sexually. His choices can have the
very unintended consequence of causing him to see himself as the opposite of men -- to see other men as the opposite sex. And so, being their opposite, he naturally feels drawn to them sexually to give himself that sense of completeness, wholeness, balance and
oneness that sexuality is designed to provide.
The problem is, many (perhaps most or even all?) men never really find in homosexual relationships that sense of completeness and balance that they long for, because in homosexuality they give away their masculinity to their partner. They turn to another man to fill the masculine emptiness within themselves. And though they may feel maleness for a moment outside of themselves, and revel in being able to touch it externally for a moment, they are left feeling even more detached from their own inner masculinity and void of a sense of maleness they have been craving all their lives.
The question to the now-grown man becomes, what will you do with this history of choices and their unintended but inextricably attached consequences? No one I have ever heard of has been able to simply choose to stop feeling homosexual desires -- after all, the desires
aren't chosen, they are the result of a web of other, more primal choices. You can't unchoose the consequences while continuing to make the same original choices.
Nor can you change past choices you have already made. That is your history and must be accepted. But that doesn't limit you to make the same choices now, in the present. This is the terrifying, thrilling, exciting and satisfying part of homosexual recovery -- learning to
make all-new choices about the kind of man you will be now, the way you see yourself as a man, the way you see other men, the way you relate to men in your life, the way you relate to the world of men, and the way you see women and relate to women.
Today, as a grown man with much greater understanding about choices and their consequence, as a grown man with many resources for support to turn to, and not as a hurt and needy little boy, you can make different choices. Healthy choices. Constructive choices. Empowering choices.
Perhaps you will choose to work on no longer rejecting your father outright and instead to find the good in him that you can embrace and, yes, even accept as a role model. Perhaps you will choose to work on no longer seeing heterosexual men as destructive and
frightening, or no longer rejecting the entire masculine realm out of hurt and spite. Perhaps you will choose to work on overcoming defensive detachment, or no longer running from meaningful relationships with heterosexual men. Perhaps you will choose to begin to focus on your similarities with other men instead of your differences.
These new attitudes and beliefs and ways of relating will take time to learn and to develop. This is a chosen path of careful and deliberate reconstruction of the inner self. You will be ridding yourself of the long-established and familiar attitudes and beliefs and character traits and ways of being with others that have had negative consequences in your life, or the outcomes you don't want, and instead embracing and developing those that have positive consequences in your life, or the outcomes you do want.
(By emphasizing that these things can be chosen, I don't mean to suggest that change is a moment in time. The decision to pursue change might be, but the change itself -- as anyone who has ever pursued personal growth or enlightenment knows -- can take months or years or a lifetime.)
Then, as real change begins to take effect, the consequences will inevitably follow: You will discover a sense of inner male power and innate masculinity you previously only saw in others. Men will eventually stop appearing to be the opposite sex from you. You will
begin to see heterosexual men as your peers and will begin to identify with them in a bond of brotherhood as you never have before. And as your masculine identity develops, your desire to connect sexually and romantically with your opposite will gradually, quietly begin to turn from the men you once saw as the opposite sex to the women (or a woman) that you, as a firmly grounded man, now recognize as your true opposite.
So as a man among men, what new choices will you begin to make today?
|Posted on January 15, 2015 at 5:30 PM|
I read this confusion among SSA people all the time asking what normal should feel like and there's always something I want to say to alleviate some of your pressure that I can't find the right words to express.
Firstly, yes, I'd guess a significant number of so-called heterosexuals have dallied in same-sex experimentation and many likely found it somewhat pleasing but only because of the deeper and second point.
Second is that we are compelled in a variety of ways to seek pleasure whether its sexual or eating or relaxation. When you combine that fact with news stories of guys getting arrested for having sex with lawn chairs or pit bulls, you realize there is a strata involved. SSA seems to somehow cross connect same-sex bonding with the lower more fundamental strata of sexual intimacy. Since sexual gratification itself can be found many ways. The key, then, seems to be finding that linkage, which I suspect is very individual, that someone mistakenly ties sexual gratification with same-sex bonding. And I think we already know it in many cases. Same-sex sexual abuse rates high on the list. The individual has been mentally conditioned, like Pavolov's dogs, to know where to find sexual gratification due to the only sexual experience they know - the abuse. There are other more intricate causes too but to answer your question as a non-SSA, skirt chasing red-blooded type heterosexual -- yes, that part of us that seeks gratification, particularly sexual gratification passes through our minds in reference to many potential partners. This is something, I think most people are afraid to say, but I say it because I'm secure in who I am and I feel badly watching you struggle. I could find sexual gratification in another male (or blow up doll, a hollow tree, someone's grandmother) but most of us filter through a protocol of appropriateness for one and secondly we focus on the fruits of a compatible opposite sex mate who are exquisitely designed for our maximum pleasure.
In my opinion, this only leaves the question then -- what psychological gain are you seeking in your desire for emotional intimacy with a same-sex person. We all love people of the same sex. We have spiritual brothers and sisters we would die for - but we don't take that additional step of intermingling it with a need for sexual gratification from them.
J. (used with permission)
|Posted on June 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM|
How many times have we heard those words from people with same-sex attractions – and how many times have we said them ourselves?
We “are” different. Are we?
Think about it – we use that word as if it were a part of our personality or a character trait. Without even thinking about whether this is correct or even healthy.
We might be honest, devoted, persistent, adventurous – all of which are character traits that define our inner selves. But different?
Being different is not something that comes from within us. It is not part of our character. Being different simply says that we are different in relationship to someone else.
If we use that as a personality trait, as a label that characterizes us we might cause a self-fulfilling prophecy: We might become different in the sense of “weird” or “freaky”.
Yes, we are different. Everybody is different! That is not something that defines us though. What we probably mean to say is we never felt part of the gang back then in the days. We never liked to play football with other boys or something like that. Then let’s call it exactly like that: I have never liked to play football. This is a value-free statement and should stay such. If we say we are different that sounds as if there is something wrong with us, as if we are worth less than somebody else.
And there lies the root cause of that statement: Our self-worth and our masculine (or feminine) identity. Both of which, however, can never come from the outside. We are not worth something because of what others think about us, but because we are beloved children of God. That’s where we draw our real value and worth from. And we do not find our masculine identity on the outside (even though the interaction with other men is crucial for the development of it), but only within ourselves – and by looking up to the most perfect picture or manhood: Jesus. We find our true identity in the One in whose image we were created.
That might sound like a minor detail to some and yet it says a lot about what’s going on inside of us. Also the way we talk has an influence on the way we think and act, se we better be careful about we self-identify.