They’re Born That Way

Earlier today I came upon an excerpt from lawyer Rena Lindevaldsen’s new book, Only One Mommy. In it, Lindevaldsen explains how people become gay.

“For men with temperaments that predispose them to same-sex attractions, two key factors are (i) the lack of a strong father-son bond, and (ii) same-sex abuse as a child. For women, two key life factors are (i) the lack of a healthy relationship between mom and dad and (ii) sexual abuse (primarily opposite-sex) as a child.”

According to Lindevaldsen, children become gay because they had unhealthy relationships with their parents and/or because they were sexually abused. This is the same logic I was taught as I grew up, the same logic put forward by James Dobson and others like him. Lindevaldsen goes on to explain how this happens:

“Picture for a moment, a boy who is artistic, sensitive, talkative, and, as is frequently the case, not very athletic. Now imagine that his father has made clear that he had dreamed of having a boy that would be a star athlete. At some point, in some way, the father conveys his disappointment to his son, either expressly or implicitly – perhaps the father doesn’t spend time with this son or takes no interest in his son’s more artistic interests. The son soon realizes that he hasn’t lived up his father’s expectations and that he’s different (since the kids at school also make fun of his interests and personality.).”

So far, this story sort of makes sense. We can see the artistic young boy whose football tossing father doesn’t appreciate him. We can even see him getting picked on at school for not being athletic enough, or not being macho enough. But what does this have to do with “making” someone gay?

“It doesn’t take long before the son wishes he could be more like his father. Soon, the desire to be more like his father leads to the son idolizing other boys and men who have all the characteristics he believes that he is lacking. In essence, he idolizes all that he thinks he is not.”

Well…maybe. I have to say I find it difficult to believe that this boy would idolize those who are making fun of him and maybe even making his life a living hell. But then, I suppose plenty of girls hate what the popular girls do to those “beneath” them and simultaneously want to be like them. So I guess it’s totally possible. I’m just saying that alternatively this boy could just hate his father for being a prick and not appreciating any abilities outside of football, and hate those bigger boys who pick on him. This is a minor point, though, because the real kicker comes next.

“As he gets older, the feeling change from idolizing to a longing to be close with men – to be attracted to them. From the son’s perspective, he hopes that having a sexual relationship with a man he perceives to be all that he is not will fill the void in his life, will make him feel whole, but it does not.”

Um. WHAT? See, this is the problem here. This unappreciated artistic boy might want to be like his manly daddy or the more macho boys at school, but how the heck does that lead to him being sexually attracted to them? Here’s an example. I greatly admire Natalie Zemon Davis, the preeminent medieval historian. However, that admiration does not make me get all wet between my legs. Admiring someone, wanting to be like them, does NOT cause one to have sexual feelings towards them. Period. Regardless of what some religious leaders would have us believe, sexual feelings are not something we can change. We look at a picture of a fit man or woman and we are either sexually attracted to them or we are not. You can’t change that, it’s part of your biology. You’re born with it. No amount of absent fathers is going to make a boy sexually attracted to other males. It doesn’t work like that. This was first driven home to me when I asked a gay friend I made in college (we’ll call him Bob) how he realized he was gay. He told me that he literally never felt sexually attracted to girls. When he was around ten his friend shared one of his dad’s porn magazines with him, and Bob felt nothing. He watched his friend leering over the naked photos, and realized that he was different. What they did for his friend, they didn’t do for him. As he went through puberty and his friends all went crazy over girls, he didn’t. Because he literally wasn’t attracted to them. Bob’s older brother noticed that he was different and hired a girl to seduce him in an effort to fix him. It didn’t work, because it couldn’t work. Bob had no sexual feelings toward this girl, none at all. Those feelings that all of his friends had toward girls – those sexual urges, longings, and rushes – he didn’t have. Instead, he had those same feelings toward guys. The bottom line is this: Who you are sexually attracted to is a product of your biology, not a product of your upbringing. Just like you can’t change your skin color, even so you can’t change your sexual orientation.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.unendlichkeit.quicksilverqueen.com Unendlichkeit

    THANK YOU. Finally Someone understands why I am attracted to both, its not because of my father-daughter relationship. and it has nothing to do with my upbringing. its who I am.

  • Anonymous

    I think that to say that sexual attraction is completely hardwired and there's nothing we can do about it is as destructive as all of the tripe about it being caused by daddy-issues and abuse.My biggest problem with all of the discussion of sexuality from all sides is reductionism such as either of those points.I want to believe that sexuality is part of a larger picture called "love" and that love can always be a choice. Yes, there are predispositions – stronger in some than in other – but can't our higher selves choose to love more broadly and deeply than our biology might provoke?Perhaps I'm just a romantic that way… it surely has kicked me in the balls more than once to try to live this way, so there is that!

  • Anonymous

    According to this I should be very, very gay, and I'm not :D

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Young Mom

    Thanks for writing this. Every person is unique and different,despite socialization and upbringing and prior relationships. Trying to find other ways to explain non-conforming people really just defies all logic.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08858194710968460714 Dave

    IMO, you and Lindevaldsen are both wrong. I don't believe you are born gay or genetically predisposed to being gay anymore than it being a product of upbringing. You will never get me to believe that. First of all, God calls out homosexuality as a sin so he would never create a gay person from the get go. The lawyers story about a parent unwittingly steering a child towards being gay is also wrong. Being attracted to the same sex is a choice plain and simple. A person chooses what they like in every aspect of their lives, so choosing who turns them on is just one more thing. You either believe all of the bible or none of it. just don't pick out the parts that sound good and fit your lifestyle how you want to live it. In the end you have only one person to answer too, GOD.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    "I want to believe that sexuality is part of a larger picture called "love" and that love can always be a choice. Yes, there are predispositions – stronger in some than in other – but can't our higher selves choose to love more broadly and deeply than our biology might provoke?"I don't really get what you're saying here. Are you saying that people who are attracted to the same sex love those people less "broadly and deeply" (not that I know what that really means) than people who are attracted to the opposite sex? Are you saying that people who are naturally pre-disposed to being gay can choose to "broaden" their attractions and instead favor relationships with opposite-sex partners?Because that just ain't so. There are many kinds of love out there. It's a word with different meanings in different contexts. We can choose to "love" our fellow humans–that is, to try to see the goodness in them, to value their individuality and their rights, to work on their behalf. Those things are choices. But erotic and romantic love, the type that has sexuality as a component? That feeling of going weak in the knees for another person, getting excited when they're around? No, you can't choose that. Straight people can't choose it either. Think about it. I think most kids would rather not be consumed to distraction with hormones when they hit puberty. I think most would rather not be awkward and tongue-tied around their best friend's older brother, or that girl they have to see in choir practice every day. When I was going through adolescence, I certainly experienced plenty of situations that made me feel that being attracted to boys was far more trouble than it was worth! But I couldn't help it and neither can anyone else, because you don't get to decide who gets your motor going. And who you're attracted to has no bearing on how "loving" you are in other ways. Sexuality is not part of our "lower selves", something our "higher selves" need to triumph over. It's just a part of the human condition and has many expressions. What our "higher selves" CAN choose to do is love the best way we can, no matter who we love.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    @ Dave"A person chooses what they like in every aspect of their lives, so choosing who turns them on is just one more thing."Is that so? I am a woman, and I don't recall "choosing" to be turned on by any of the men who have ever turned me on. In fact, sometimes it was rather inconvenient. For that matter, I don't remember choosing to love singing, or swimming, or to think the movie "Airplane!" is hilarious, or to adore eating seafood. These likes are just part of who I am. I didn't choose them. Nobody chooses what they like or don't like.And why would anyone choose to be gay? Do you think they think it will be a hoot to risk violence from hateful people, or to be bullied to the point of suicidal misery by their peers, or to have their rights limited? This doesn't make any sense.The first time I ever heard the idea that sexuality is a choice, it immediately struck me as ridiculous. After all, I knew that I'd never chosen my own sexuality. I still think that anyone who thinks that you can choose who turns you on can't be all that sure about who turns THEM on. Just sayin'.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Anonymous of 5:25 – "I want to believe that sexuality is part of a larger picture called "love" and that love can always be a choice. Yes, there are predispositions – stronger in some than in other – but can't our higher selves choose to love more broadly and deeply than our biology might provoke?"I'm not sure what you mean by this. I would point out simply that I am not talking about "love," I am talking only about sexual attraction and sexual arousal. Any person can choose to love anyone they like, but they don't choose what turns them on sexually. Dave – "Being attracted to the same sex is a choice plain and simple. A person chooses what they like in every aspect of their lives, so choosing who turns them on is just one more thing."Like PP said, I most certainly did NOT choose to be attracted to men or to be sexually turned on by them. I just am. Did you miss the story about my friend Bob? There was no choice involved. He simply COULD NOT be sexually attracted to women. He was missing whatever it is that does that. And to clarify, I'm not saying that upbringing can't shape our individual sexual kinks, such as BDSM or whatnot. In fact, supposedly being spanked as a child makes an individual more likely to enjoy sex that involves some form of masochism. But that kind of thing doesn't affect whether you are attracted to males or females, or both.

  • http://simplygettingby.blogspot.com Raine

    Dave, there's actually a lot of debate on what exactly the Bible was referring to in some of the passages used against homosexuality, especailly those in the New Testament.Either way, it is pretty evident that some people do have a predisposition toward one sex or the other (or both), so I don't think it's all a choice or even partly a choice for some people. I think it probably is inbron but, if not, then most of the influences seem to take effect way before puperty and before a person could choose what to be. I think part of the idea that people "turn gay" in reaction to something may be because there are some people who experiment with another orientation for a period of time, and then go back to their "real" preference. A straight person may experiment with someone of the same sex for a while, and a gay person may date or even marry someone of the opposite sex, but it will not last in the long term if that person is going against their real orientation.

  • Anothermous
  • Anonymous

    I used to believe I was gay. I wasn't. But that's not the point.My point is this: I hung out with gay people for years. Mostly men. I went to their bars and their parties and their parades. They were bosom buddies. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HAD BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED. This anecdotal "evidence" proves nothing, of course, but it also can't be ignored.Many homosexuals will lie about their background experiences because they don't want to feed the conservative stance. I'm telling you it's true. Unfortunately, many of them were abused by religious fanatics livinvg a lie. Why they won't admit this, I don't understand.

  • Anothermous

    Anonymous said:"This anecdotal "evidence" proves nothing, of course, but it also can't be ignored."If it proves nothing, then it can definitely be ignored.(Have you considered that they were abused because they were gay, not gay because they were abused?)

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    "If it proves nothing, then it can definitely be ignored."Took the words right out of my mouth.Here's another anecdote. I have several gay relatives and plenty of gay friends, including my best friend since childhood. And I did the parades with them too. Not one gay person I know has been sexually abused, that I know of. Of course, that doesn't mean that some aren't keeping a secret, but the same goes for straight people I know (some of whom I know WERE sexually abused). If the gay guys you know were private about their history of sexual abuse, that's probably because it's, you know, something that people tend to be pretty private about, not because they're worried about "feeding the conservative stance." Because, honestly, fewer and fewer people are taking that stance remotely seriously. Thank God.Anyway, there is no evidence that shows that childhood sexual abuse occurs more in the gay population than the straight population. Of course, abuse of kids BECAUSE they're gay occurs plenty, as Anothermous pointed out. And some of that abuse is sexual in nature.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/5b20d3b0-9d71-11e0-a6d0-000bcdcb8a73 Fina

    My standard reply to anyone who claims that being homosexual is a choice:Try being attracted to your own sex, the same way you are attracted to the opposite sex right now.Have you tried? Honestly? Well, it didnt work, did it? QED, being homosexual is not a choice.Also, if it was simply a choice, why would people whose whole career is based on gay-bashing, like Tedd Haggard, choose to be homosexual?As for Homosexuality being caused by factors such as parental abandonment or sexual abuse: If that was true, why is there no statistical evidence for it?Let's look at psychological disorders. For them, we can find clear correlations between harsh living conditions and corresponding disorders. A child growing up untroubled in a happy, healthy environment is less likely to have a psychological disorder than one that had a troubled childhood.But a child that grows up in a happy, healthy environment is NOT less likely to be homosexual.No matter what you look at, you can find no environmental factor that shows any correlation to homosexuality – not even being raised by gay parents, by the way.If we can find no enviornmental factor for some behavior, then we must conclude that it is innate and that you are born that way. We can keep looking for such a factor, but unless we find one that is the only logical conclusion.

  • Anothermous

    Fina-I suspect that many of the people who claim it's a choice CAN be attracted to the same sex. That's why they think it's a choice.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Anothermous- I am with you on the fact that people don't choose who/what they are turned on by in general.But I hate, hate it when the implication is made that people who believe homosexuality is a choice, and a wicked choice at that, are secretly gay.That's as conversation stopping as talking about "the Jesus-sized hole in everyone's heart" to an atheist. It's an assertion that the other person's thoughts and words can't be trusted to be honest, that the person is lying about who they are inside.Anti-homosexuals are not secretly gay and atheists are not secretly longing for Jesus. Let's take what people say at face value, or we can't have a conversation.People can and do change their minds, even ones who fail the flow chart listed above. It doesn't come quick or easy, but it won't come at all if we tell them they don't know their own minds. No one likes being disrespected.I know because I once believed the same way about being homosexual, until I met and learned to love and appreciate gay people IRL. Then I spent a lot of time on the internet, conflicted because I loved my faith and I loved my gay friends. I finally found a balance in my life, and made peace with both. I'm not secretly gay and I wasn't back then, either. I was just propogandized big time.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Shadowspring–I see your point and in most cases I would agree with you that it's unfair and ad hominem to tell somebody that they only believe something because they've got a secret, personal stake in that belief.But the thing is, I really am just bewildered as to how somebody with a firm grasp on their own sexuality (and on how sexuality works in general) could really believe that sexuality is a choice. I'm not saying that EVERYBODY who believes this is secretly gay (or bi) but I do think a disproportionately large number are, especially people who dedicate themselves to promoting anti-gay attitudes. And considering how many of those types end up being outed, as well as how many are obvious closet cases (*cough* Marcus Bachmann), there seems to plenty out there to support that theory. It's just that the idea of somebody choosing their sexuality just makes NO SENSE to me, and never has. My parents told me about homosexuality when I was very little because we had gay family friends and so I knew what "gay" was for years before I knew that it was something that a lot of people had a problem with. The "gay is a choice" idea is something I first heard as a young adolescent and my first thought was "Huh?." Because I knew that straight wasn't a choice. Before I even had gone through puberty or had any kind of vocabulary to describe sexual attraction, I always knew that I felt differently about boys than about girls. I remember when I was 4 I "married" a boy I liked in my preschool class (this involved kissing at an altar made of chairs, followed by a romantic sharing of animal crackers.) I knew that I had no desire to "marry" a girl. Before I even knew what sexuality was, I knew I was heterosexual, the same way I knew my own face in a mirror. It was just something that had always been. It was instinctive, it was me. And most people I talk to, say similar things about themselves. So I tend to think that a lot of people who think that sexuality is a choice think so because that awareness of sexual attraction was NOT as straightforward for them–and a big reason why that can happen is because they're experiencing attractions at a young age that are not being encouraged and reinforced by society, the way mine, as a straight person, were. So it's confusing for them. This is not the only reason, but I think it's a common reason. I don't consider these people to be "lying"–at least not all of them. I just think that their own sexual feelings are probably confusing enough for them that they don't really "get" what sexuality is and that it's intrinsic to a person. You can disagree with me, but I don't think what I think to be malicious or to try to shut people down. It's just what makes logical sense to me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11439024525253785948 Grikmeer

    When I was 16-18 I really wanted to be bi-sexual, because of a particular political edge I was on at the time. I truly believed that being bi-sexual was what I should be.The trouble is, I have absolutely no attraction to men and I couldn't choose to. These days I've pretty much come to terms with my sexuality (although it's still not heterosexual; I'm a no-op transgender lesbian)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    "I do think a disproportionately large number are, especially people who dedicate themselves to promoting anti-gay attitudes."Well, unless you have hard facts to back that up, you fall on the flow chart linked above as someone who can't carry on a discussion. Feeling in your heart that something is true doesn't make it true.Again, "And considering how many of those types end up being outed, as well as how many are obvious closet cases (*cough* Marcus Bachmann), there seems to plenty out there to support that theory." This sentence is along the same lines as the statement made by Anonymous 9:50. Even though the sentiment is the opposite, it is just opinion and anecdotal evidence. It doesn't belong in a real discussion.The rest of your opinions about it are just that, your opinions. I already told you that I once believed homosexuality was a choice, mostly because of my religious training. I have been a fan of heterosexual sex all my life.You can keep using that argument if you want to just shut down people who believe that sexual orientation is a choice. They will feel insulted and they will understand that you have no better arguments than, "well, you're probably secretly gay yourself!", but that won't change anyone's heart or mind.If you want to engage the people who think differently from you in a way that helps them understand your thoughts, you will need to try a different way of putting your thoughts. I don't think you want to shut people down, that's why I bothered to point it out. :)

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Did you see the words "I'm not saying that EVERYBODY who believes this is secretly gay"Or "This is not the only reason, but I think it's a common reason."I don't think you're gay, okay? I get it, you love straight sex! My post, believe it or not, was actually not about you. It was about a common trend I–and many other people–have witnessed. Is this my opinion? Absolutely. I never pretended it was anything else. If I'd realized I was going to be taken to court over it, I would have cited sources.As it is, I have no sources to cite at this moment, only my own personal logic which I think is sound, and which I have already laid out. But convincing evidence?Ted HaggardMark FoleyGeorge RekersLarry CraigI could go on. Are those facts hard enough? Or do I just "feel them in my heart?" I can also tell you I know plenty of gay people who also went from believing homosexuality is a choice to realizing that they were gay themselves. But you would (rightfully) point out that that is purely anecdotal. The only distinction I can make off the top of my head between my anecdotes and Anonymous' is that his (or hers) have absolutely no backing in any research that has ever been done. There is absolutely no evidence showing a higher rate of child sexual abuse among the gay population than among the straight population. My opinions, at the very least, are not based on assertions that are demonstrably untrue.And "you're secretly gay yourself" is not the only argument I've got. I do not believe that all, or even the majority, of anti-gay people are secretly gay. But I maintain that internalized homophobia that comes as a result of an inability to come to terms with one's own homosexuality is a major component in a lot of people's militant anti-gay attitudes and behavior. Is that really such a radical statement? That may be based on anecdotal evidence but it's a hell of a lot of anecdotal evidence that doesn't just come from me. I could employ other arguments if they'd come up. They didn't. I was responding to one commenter. If some troll on a blog comes out all belligerent and self-righteous, talking about how gay people are sinners who choose to reject God, I reserve the right to get a little peevish. I'm not representing every non-bigot in the universe here, I'm representing myself, and I'm a person who's seen a lot of suffering as a result of this attitude. Listen to a teenage boy in tears because he believes that God hates him for who he can't help being, and maybe you'll get where I'm coming from.I tried to phrase my opinion in a way that was not belligerent and explained my reasoning. I did not attack you or patronize you so don't attack or patronize me. I am not some innocent who grew up in a liberal enclave and has never been exposed to any opinion but my own–I didn't move to a liberal area until I was an adult. If I didn't know how to talk to people whose opinions differed from mine, I'd have never survived adolescence and I can't say being incapable of carrying on a rational discussion is something of which I'm often accused. Although, if you seriously read my entire statement as "YOU ARE A SECRET HOMO!", I can see why you'd think that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Wow.I had a long thoughtful answer, but the net ate it. Probably because it was so tastefully crafted! :pI did not intend to be patronizing. I really thought you were trying to persuade Dave and folks like him, and was hoping to share information that would empower you to be more effective at achieving that purpose.I am a student of science, and that is probably why your evidence (four people no matter how famous is hardly a large enough sample for an assertion of fact) strikes me as not very useful. Also as a former fundie, your statement does read "you are a secret homo" to all who hold the opinion that homosexuality is a choice. It's a conversation killer.The idea that homosexual behavior is a choice is taught in every religion that has taboos against the behavior. The idea that orientation is a choice is taught in fundamentalist branches of those religions, while more moderate branches will admit that even though orientation may be innate, it's still abnormal and sinful to act upon those inclinations. Congregations that allow that homosexuality is innate and that such persons deserve to have love relationships and that those relationships should be as welcome and celebrated as anyone's- churches that teach that are called liberal. It takes a lot of time and thoughtful, reasonable discussion to get a person from a fundamentalist opinion to a liberal opinion, because like homosexuality, the word liberal is slandered as unholy and sinful.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    *Sigh* Yes, I know a sample size of 4 does not prove anything. I wasn't trying to write a scholarly article. All I was really trying to do was explain the reasoning behind the opinion that I and many others hold, and point out that we don't say what we say to be like "BOOYA!" to the people who disagree with us. We say it because it makes logical sense to us. Fundamentalism is a philosophy that downplays the importance of sexual desire and pleasure (especially for women but for men too) in favor of strict rules that govern sexual morality. This makes it a good hiding place for people who are not comfortable with their sexual desires and would rather subvert them to a "higher purpose." I've seen a lot of people do this and so have many others. I had friends in high school who came out of the closet to me and my friends, only to then jump back in, cut ties with us and become fundamentalists. And as I said before, I think that believing that sexuality is a choice indicates a poor understanding of what sexuality is and how it works. And a big reason–once again, NOT THE ONLY REASON–that a person would have that poor understanding is because they don't really understand their own sexuality, because it has not been reinforced by society. Understanding ourselves is generally the first step to understanding others. Throw in the fact that a new high-profile fundie gay-basher seems to get outed every year and that, for several others, it seems to just be waiting to happen (yes, I repeat, Marcus Bachmann–the basis for "gaydar" may not be scientific, at least not yet, but it's pretty damn accurate, as most people, gay and straight, will attest), and it seems there's something real going on here. As silly as it may be to say that every single fundamentalist who believes that homosexuality is a choice is secretly gay or bi (and I agree, it is), it seems equally silly to say "Golly gee, there is NO CORRELATION at all between an anti-gay dogma that places sexual rules over personal preferences and espouses views on sexuality that make no logical sense and deeply subverted homosexuality in individuals who adhere to it." This is not something that I, or anyone else, is trying to get accepted as a scientific theory. It is a speculation, based on what I believe is sound reasoning, and not inconsiderable observation and experience (of more people than just me) which also has a fair amount of anecdotal support. I never claimed it was anything else. I'm sorry to snap at you a bit. I don't want to get in some internet war with you–I see your comments and I often agree with them and find them smart and well-expressed so it seems pointless. But when I went to some effort to support my views with my reasoning and, in return, I get "you can't carry on a discussion" and "you're just basing your views on what you 'feel in your heart'" it annoys me a little. Just because I can't point you to a pile of studies to back up my views doesn't mean that I'm being reactionary and illogical (and honestly, I can't even think of how a study could be designed that would explore this idea with any accuracy.) I'll say one more time–I was never trying to insinuate that you are secretly gay. I repeated several times that I do not think that being closeted is the only reason somebody would hold the fundamentalist view, just that it is an important one among several. And as for Dave–no, I guess I wasn't trying to convince him that much. He seemed kinda like a troll to me. Perhaps, I should have more patience (and I mean that) but when some guy comes onto a liberal blog with the express purpose of thumping the bible at us about gay people and talking about how we have to answer to God, it seems that logic and reason aren't going to go far with him.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    LOL. Internet ate MY response too! WTF! Well, here goes again:"I did not intend to be patronizing. I really thought you were trying to persuade Dave and folks like him, and was hoping to share information that would empower you to be more effective at achieving that purpose."I already know that not every person who thinks or has ever thought that homosexuality is a choice is gay. I'm aware that it's possible for intelligent, analytical people to believe something utterly ridiculous because it's been repeated at them their whole lives. And that they don't necessarily have to have a stake in that belief. As for Dave, honestly, I guess I wasn't trying that hard because it kind of seemed more like he was trolling than looking to hear things he hadn't considered before. Maybe I should be more patient."I am a student of science, and that is probably why your evidence (four people no matter how famous is hardly a large enough sample for an assertion of fact) strikes me as not very useful."Okay, see THIS is patronizing. I know that science folks forget this sometimes, but humanities-trained people understand how rational arguments and evidence-based claims work too, okay? I know that 4 people is not an appropriate sample size. I wasn't trying to write a scholarly article, for pity's sake. I was stating an opinion, based on the not inconsiderable experience and observation of myself and others, and I think I did more than enough to explain my reasoning. Fundamentalism is a philosophy that downplays sexual desire and pleasure–for women especially, but men too–in favor of rigid sexual rules. This makes it a good hiding place for people who aren't comfortable with their sexual desires and would rather subvert them to the higher purpose that fundamentalism offers. I knew a couple people growing up who came out of the closet to me, only to jump back in, cut ties with me, and embrace fundamentalism. Almost everyone I know knows somebody like this too. And, as I said, I think that the belief that sexual attraction is a choice reflects a poor understanding of the nature of human sexuality, and one reason (and only one) people might have that poor understanding is that they don't really understand–or don't want to understand–their own sexuality. Add to this the fact that a new high-profile fundie gay-basher seems to get outed every year, and some are obviously just waiting to be outed (again, I cite Marcus Bachmann–you can not believe in "gaydar" and it does not yet have any kind of scientific explanation but it's pretty damn accurate, as both gay and straight people will attest), and it seems like something is going on here. Just as it is silly to say that every person who believes that people choose to be gay is secretly gay–and yeah, I agree that is overly simplistic and untrue–it also seems silly to say "Golly Gosh, there is NO CORRELATION between a system of thought that imposes rigid rules on people's individual desires and encourages beliefs about sexuality that make no logical sense and people using that structure to hide from their own true sexuality." I wasn't trying put forth my view as some set-in-stone scientific fact. It is a speculation that I think is backed up by good reasoning and a fair amount of anecdotal evidence. I never claimed it was anything else. I was really just trying to demonstrate that people who believe as I do aren't just trying to say "Booya! What now!" to everyone who believes differently. This is what makes sense to us.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    "Also as a former fundie, your statement does read "you are a secret homo" to all who hold the opinion that homosexuality is a choice. It's a conversation killer."As for this, I don't really know why you took it this way. I feel like I made a point of saying multiple times that I don't think everyone who holds this belief is a "secret homo," only that it is a relatively common thing. However, if that's really what you got out of it, I suppose I must take at least part of the responsibility for the communication breakdown since I don't think it's fair to just tell people that their feelings are wrong.Look, I don't want to start an internet war with you because, from your posting history, you seem like a very reasonable person who I agree with a lot. If I got a little snappish–and I apologize–it was because I felt that I'd gone out of my way to explain my reasoning, only to get back "you can't hold a rational discussion" and "you're just going by what you 'feel.'" I still don't think that's really fair. I hope my position is a bit clearer now.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    LOL. Internet ate MY response too! THe above comment was "part II." WTF! Well, here goes again:"I did not intend to be patronizing. I really thought you were trying to persuade Dave and folks like him, and was hoping to share information that would empower you to be more effective at achieving that purpose."I already know that not every person who thinks or has ever thought that homosexuality is a choice is gay. I'm aware that it's possible for intelligent, analytical people to believe something utterly ridiculous because it's been repeated at them their whole lives. And that they don't necessarily have to have a stake in that belief. As for Dave, honestly, I guess I wasn't trying that hard because it kind of seemed more like he was trolling than looking to hear things he hadn't considered before. Maybe I should be more patient.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    "I am a student of science, and that is probably why your evidence (four people no matter how famous is hardly a large enough sample for an assertion of fact) strikes me as not very useful."Okay, see THIS is patronizing. Humanities-trained people understand how rational arguments and evidence-based claims work too, okay? I know that 4 people is not an appropriate sample size. I wasn't trying to write a scholarly article. I was stating an opinion, based on the not inconsiderable experience and observation of myself and others, and I think I did more than enough to explain my reasoning. Fundamentalism is a philosophy that downplays sexual desire and pleasure–for women especially, but men too–in favor of rigid sexual rules. This makes it a good hiding place for people who aren't comfortable with their sexual desires and would rather subvert them to the higher purpose that fundamentalism offers. I knew a couple people growing up who came out of the closet to me, only to jump back in, cut ties with me, and embrace fundamentalism. Almost everyone I know knows somebody like this too. And, as I said, I think that the belief that sexual attraction is a choice reflects a poor understanding of the nature of human sexuality, and one reason (and only one) people might have that poor understanding is that they don't really understand–or don't want to understand–their own sexuality. Add to this the fact that a new high-profile fundie gay-basher seems to get outed every year, and some are obviously just waiting to be outed (again, I cite Marcus Bachmann–you can not believe in "gaydar" and it does not yet have any kind of scientific explanation but it's pretty damn accurate, as both gay and straight people will attest), and it seems like something is going on here. Just as it is silly to say that every person who believes that people choose to be gay is secretly gay–and yeah, I agree that is overly simplistic and untrue–it also seems silly to say "Golly Gosh, there is NO CORRELATION between a system of thought that imposes rigid rules on people's individual desires and encourages beliefs about sexuality that make no logical sense and people using that structure to hide from their own true sexuality."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16753690091825424985 Hypatia

    Yay for Natalie Zemon Davis! And I agree with your other points too. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Hypatia – If I have another girl I seriously might name her after Natalie Zemon Davis, that's how much I love her!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    "Golly Gosh, there is NO CORRELATION between a system of thought that imposes rigid rules on people's individual desires and encourages beliefs about sexuality that make no logical sense and people using that structure to hide from their own true sexuality."I never said that. Anyways, let's just let this fall to the ground. I like and respect you too, and I think we would agree on many issues as well.Peace? =D SS

  • Anonymous

    *whistles* how do they explain bisexual girls like me with parents who get along great and no history of sexual abuse?(And anyway, if same-sex attraction were an adaptive strategy to abuse, how would that make it a bad thing? It's like saying "people use wheelchairs because they can't walk, not being able to walk is bad, let's get rid of wheelchairs!")

  • Autumn M.

    I realized I was a lesbian when I was twelve. I developed crushes on actresses and female pop singers. I just never have been attracted sexually to boys. I have nothing against them, I'm just not attracted to them sexually.I was raised by my mother in a fundamentalist home. My father left when I was a baby and I've only seen him a few times since. When I realized I was a lesbian, I prayed and cried about it. I hated myself because the bible said my feelings were an abomination.I'm now twenty and an atheist. I'm happy as a lesbian and I have a wonderful girlfriend. I'll never go back to the sexist and homophobic bondage of Christianity. I was born to like women. It's just what I am. I can't change. I don't want to and shouldn't have to.Peace,Autumn

  • Anonymous

    the problem with a lot of this anti-homosexual propoganda is that people confuse and equate sex-addiction with homosexuality (I've even people who are pro-homosexual).I was taught and raised that all homosexuals would probably try to molest children, because they had all been molested as children and this is why they were homosexuals. We also had a family member (a nice upstanding family member) who was busted in the park participating in group sex with a group of men. We were then told he was homosexual, and then during counseling it was revealed that he'd been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.I've learned after befriending a lot of normal and upstanding homosexuals in college and graduate school, that homosexuality is NOT the same as what happened to my family member. He became a sex addict after not being helped or treated properly after he was abused as a child. he was not a homosexual, he only ever entered romantic relationships with women, he was married to the same woman for over thirty years and he was completely happy in that relationship and they had a very healthy sex life. He was however a sex addict, who participated in secret sex indulges, and even put his health and life at risk to participate in them secretly. This is not homosexuality, this is a sex addiction.My friends who are homosexuals, engage in romantic relationships with potential partners, the ones who "marry" (however legally) have sex only with each other. They don't engage in secret behaviors, they don't put their health and familial relationships at risk for their behavior, and they openly practice their sexuality in a non=secretive and non-risky and addictive manner. This is homosexuality, this is NOT a sex addiction. Most of these people were not abused as children.

  • Anonymous

    I am a born gay man. Nothing, except maybe God, Chance, or maybe genetics made me this way. I was raised a God-loving (as opposed to God fearing) Lutheran by two heterosexual parents who supported me and my interests. I was the child who didn't do ball sports, wrote poetry, and loved hiking and camping. Nobody, not my pastor, my father, nor any uncles or teachers abused me, or any of my scout leaders. No, my rape happened years later, after going home with a beautiful man who sang love songs to me and made me believe in him. He was gay, and so am I.Throughout my adolesence, I tried to be straight. I begged God, and I dated girls. I remember kissing girls and wondering what the big deal was. What was this magic everyone talked about. If I could have chosen to be straight I would have. Frankly my teenage self would have said to you "I choose to be straight, sign me up!''I finally kissed a boy in college and felt for the first time in my life what I had been missing. I struggled some more, had people pray for me and with me, all to no avail.The turning point came when I came out to my father and he told me he loved me no matter what, and that God made me perfectly just as I am. Gay, flawed, but good hearted, caring, and deep.Generally, I can say I do not hate anyone and give most people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that is Christian charity, or just paying it forward. The exception to that, however, are "exgays". Those who identify as such are beyond simple insults, but I am ill-equipped to express how deep or complete my loathing of these people runs.They are not "formerly" gay, they are one of three tragic groups. The first are the most pitiful, they are the heterosexuals to tried to be gay to be close to those they admired, or tried it to fit in. I cannot hate them too much, for I have lived their life in reverse, the difference is they chose to reject the gay community like garbage.The second are bisexuals who found a woman to love, and have "chosen" to spend the rest of their lives dedicated to that woman. I applaud them for chosing monogamy, but they are lying to themselves (and not fooling the rest of us) that they still give a fit guy a second appraising look. Frankly, these guys wouldn't be so bad if they just accepted their bisexuality and boxed it up and said "Yeah, I am Bi, but I am solely interested in a committed relationship with a woman." Cool, have a nice life and be good to your kids.The last group are the deniers. These wretched few "decide" to be straight and they go at their marriage like a military campaign with battles won with mortgages and children, and puppies with picket fences. They are determined to have a "normal life" they turn on the gay community for roughly 30 years, more or less until one of a few things happen. Their wives die, or divorce them (as really, who wants to feel that their partner treats sex like a dangerous combat mission?), or they finally fall off the wagon. No matter how they get there, you can find these "exgays" in their twilight years sad and alone, frequenting gay bars and clubs gazing lustily at younger happier men. You can find them getting STDs at bath houses and spending their income on hired hustlers for discrete relief so their "normal friends" never know. Although I hate the deniers most of all, I know they shall each suffer for the lies, hurt, and destruction their fear and conformity has wrought.–GayFor Better or Worse

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15679138193167886642 Dara…

    I agree with sexuality being in the biology. One interesting thing to add to this knowledge is something I got recently from the book, "Early Deprivation of Empathic Care" which, yes, is an exciting read. ;) But, it discusses the different results of different deprivations of care in early childhood. In a few places it discusses what can result especially in the case of a male baby…if the baby is left alone too much. If the baby turns to his own body (which is a normal reaction…kinda' like if you stroke your own hair when you're nervous…a baby may play with his own…parts…because of the soothing hormones it releases which he needs) for the comfort his mother is denying him as he's left to "self-soothe"…it described the process of how this can change the wiring of the baby's brain to eventually prefer other males once sexual maturity hits. But, again…even if this is not something from birth…because of this…it is in their biology…and they are no more "guilty" of preferring their same sex than I am of preferring what I do. It just is what it is. And, one thing that's interesting, I think, is that often it is the SUPER religious who are following those rules about leaving the baby alone a lot to teach that baby to not be selfish and sinful etc…and what they are sometimes inadvertently doing is pushing their babies to seek their own sex when they grow up…

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