Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I wonder?

Chad posted some videos today that got me thinking. I laughed at them too but something Cohen, the guy in the videos, said caught my attention. Usually when you hear ex-gay movement you immediately think of the religious right. In his interview though, Cohen asserts that being gay is a choice and that if you want to live that way great but he shouldn't be forced to live that way if he chooses not to. While the religious right would definitely agree that it is a choice they are in complete disagreement with Cohen about what choices are acceptable. This raised some questions because being from a religious background I always assumed that the only reasons not to be gay were moral ones. But Cohen doesn't make that claim. Instead he says that he just knew that it wasn't right for him (and by right I mean correct vs. incorrect not good vs. evil)

To consider this fully I started at the beginning. Is being gay a choice or are we born that way? Personally, I don't think that being gay is a choice the same way that picking a major in college is. I just don't see any evidence to support this. How many people do you know that have said "I'm tired of being straight. I think I'll be gay from now on (or at least until I change my mind again)." Not very many. Instead you see people saying "Why am I gay? I don't want to be this way." Usually this is due to the stigma associated with homosexuality. So the only option left is that people are born gay right? Not necessarily. I think the answer is both. I think the reason that science hasn't given us any definitive answers is because there are different causes of homosexuality.

I happen to believe that I was born this way. As far back as I can remember, I have always related better with girls. I played dolls and house with my sister and cousins, in elementary school my best friends were girls, and as an adult I find it very awkward trying to interact with straight guys in social settings. There are also things about me that fit in with some of the research. My mother was in a car accident when she was pregnant with me which some studies suggest may have exposed me to different levels of hormones inutero and therefore affecting my sexuality. I am the third of four boys. Some studies have found a correlation between birth order and incidence of homosexuality. I am also left handed. Left handedness is higher among the gay population suggesting a genetic link.

While it may be true that I was born gay, does that mean that everyone that is gay is born that way? I don't think so. Take a look at allergies for example. Some are caused by a genetic predisposition, others are environmental and some are even caused by traumatic events. I think homosexuality is the same. Some (probably most) are born that way however I believe other people can become that way for various reasons, some of which may involve a traumatic event. This is where I think choosing to be gay occurs. The choice isn't whether or not to be gay, it's whether or not to stop being gay.

This leads me to my next conclusion. If some people become gay because of some influence on them in their past then theoretically, addressing this issue in some way (reparative therapy) would cause them to cease being gay. The problem with this is that the religious right tries to apply this to all gays because they assume that being gay is a sin and so there must be some way of fixing it. I think many of the problems in our world are caused by people taking a one-sided approach to things and not keeping an open mind. If we as homosexuals can't be open to the possibility that reparative therapy may work for some individuals then we're no better than the extreme right who say those that can't change aren't trying hard enough. If someone is born gay then that is who they are. It's an inherent part of their make up and I don't think they can change. At the same time, if someone is molested as a child and their whole mental , emotional and sexual development is destroyed then they may develop same-sex attraction. I believe that therapy to deal with these issues would result in them reverting back to their original sexual orientation.

While I may find Cohen's methods unorthodox, if he is able to accept that some people are happy being gay then I must accept that some people choose not to be. I do hope that Cohen considers the origins of homosexuality in the men that come to him for help and why they want to change because I do believe that attempts at changing someone who is born gay will only end in pain and suffering.


Blogger Jeff Skybar said...

Like I said on Chad's blog, I chose to be gay. It just had a better sell to me than the oh so common boring staight man lifestyle. I want glitz and glamor - and good dressing skills and hygiene!

3/21/07, 7:42 AM  
Blogger Reid Dalgleish said...

I always argued that a person is born gay, but they choose to live a gay lifestyle. You're in or you're out. I still believe that, but hell, if you're gay, why wouldn't you want to live a gay lifestyle? Any other alternative is just futile...what a waste of a human existence! LOL

If anyone ever implies that your lifestyle needs correcting because it's wrong, tell them to shove it!

Why is everyone obsessed with our every move? Because they're jealous, jerkies!

Go gay power, GO!

3/23/07, 2:40 AM  
Blogger Reid Dalgleish said...

Bye, dahling. Talk to you in a week.

3/23/07, 2:40 AM  
Blogger Dash said...

Hey - I like your rational approach . . . it allows flexibility that defies the rigid boundaries we often put onto people with labels . . .

Oh - by the way - Happy Birthday!!

4/5/07, 10:11 AM  

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