From Homophobe to Gay Rights Advocate

I didn’t meet a gay person growing up. “Homosexuals” were talked about in tones of disgust and sorrow, and we children knew that it was wrong for “men to kiss men” and “women to kiss women,” and that the Bible condemned homosexuality, but it was all in the abstract. It was about those depraved people who were out there trying to ruin marriage and subvert youth, not about any actual people we knew.

This is the story of how I met gay people, heard their stories, realized that they were human, and changed my position on homosexuality.

I met my first gay person in college. I didn’t know he was gay when I met him. Bobby was just the clean-cut, fun-loving guy who hung out in the dorm lounge and cheered everyone up with his words of encouragement. Bobby was smart, compassionate, and encouraging, he was there for everyone and everyone loved him. He came from a good family and was extremely successful in school, headed toward a career in computers. Halfway through freshman year Bobby came out as gay. This was completely unexpected.

Growing up, the most important things my parents and church had emphasized about homosexuality was that it was a choice, and that it was a horrible, ruinous, depraved lifestyle. Bobby challenged the later of these two teachings, for I could not understand how this wonderful, loving, compassionate young man could be holding such depravity inside. I had expected every gay person I met to be sporting piercings, tattoos, outlandish clothing, foul language, hedonism, depression, and likely several incurable diseases leading him to his grave. Bobby challenged this expectation because he did not fit it, not in the least.

Later in college I met a biology graduate student, Eric, who was openly gay. Like Bobby, Eric was clean-cut and respectable. I enjoyed talking to him about evolution, global warming, and other science-related issues. Because I knew him only ephemerally, I felt comfortable enough to ask him how he first figured out that he was gay. He explained to me that when he was nine or ten a friend of his showed him a playboy magazine he had found, and that was when he first realized he was different, because that magazine was doing something for his friend that it didn’t do for him. As he went through adolescence, he was never sexually attracted to females. Instead, he was sexually attracted to other males. This was not, he explained, something he had chosen, and it was not something he could change. After all, being gay had cost him his entire family, which had rejected him when he came out.

Eric thus challenged the second thing I had been taught about homosexuality, that it was a choice. Eric explained most emphatically that being gay was not something he had chosen and not something he could change, not anymore than I could change being sexually attracted to males.

In graduate school, I had a gay coworker, Doug. His background was similar to mine, growing up in a conservative religious family very involved in the church. Doug explained that being gay was never something he asked for, and that as a teen he prayed that it would disappear. He heard the teachings of his church about the evils of homosexuality, and he came to despise himself, to wish that he were dead, to feel that he and his family would be better off if he were dead. Finally, halfway through high school, he attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle full of pills. This left him violently ill, vomiting blood, but did not kill him. In college, after years of hiding it, he finally came out as gay, and for the first time the depression lifted and he felt that he could truly be himself. For the first time, he was truly at peace, truly happy, truly fulfilled.

Meeting gay people thus threw into question the things I had been taught about homosexuality as a child: that it was a choice and that it was a depraved, hideous lifestyle. Yet even with this, I had been taught that the Bible condemned homosexuality. I knew that if this was the case then whether or not homosexuality was a choice and regardless of how nice or loving or normal-seeming gay people might be, it was wrong. Yet it was during these same years that I realized that I could not take the Bible literally, and and that I must understand it in its proper cultural and historical context. I soon learned that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is not at all as clear cut as I had been raised to believe it, and I did not see how a God of love could create people with homosexual attractions and then condemn them for it. As I began to see God’s love as more important than his judgement, and his ways as less black and white than our narrow understandings, I reevaluated my theological position on this issue. A few years later I became an atheist, which made what the Bible says or does not say about homosexuality irrelevant.

Today, I feel completely comfortable around the gay people I meet and befriend. They are people just like me, with their own hopes, dreams, and interests. They are not defined by their homosexuality any more than I was by my heterosexuality. Today at long last I can accept gay people without any remnant of my earlier inside squeamishness or disgust.

Furthermore, stories like Doug’s have turned me into a big of a gay rights activist. Something like 30-40% of gay youth attempt suicide just like he did, not because being gay gives them depression but because the homophobic messages they receive from their families, churches, and communities make death seem more attractive than life. Last week on NPR I heard the story of a gay young man whose mother suspected he was gay when he was only ten, and took him out into the woods, pointed a loaded gun at him, and told him that this was the place she would shoot him through the head if he ever became a “faggot.” There is also the story of my bisexual friend who was rejected from her religious community when she came out as bisexual, even though she had been raised in that community from infancy.

There is also the fact that if Bobby, or Eric, or Doug wanted to marry their partners (two of the three are in long-term relationships), in the states where they currently live they could not. They would not be allowed to visit each other in the hospital or make medical decisions, they could not file joint tax refunds or have any of the other benefits that go to married couples. I hear people like twice-divorced Newt Gingrich condemning gay marriage as a threat to the institution of marriage, and I become angry inside. Bobby, Eric, Doug, and the other gay people I have befriended are not bad people. In fact, they are some of the most loving, accepting people I know. They deserve to have the right to marry the person they love just as much as I, or Newt Gingrich, or any heterosexual person can.

I understand where people like Newt Gingrich are coming from. I understand that they believe God has condemned homosexuality and that they harbor a veritable library of destructive myths and stereotypes about gay people. They are my parents. They are the church I grew up in. I get it. It’s just that I no longer agree with them. Today, I believe in equality.

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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.

  • Resophonic

    "Meeting gay people thus threw into question the things I had been taught about homosexuality as a child: that it was a choice and that it was a depraved, hideous lifestyle. Yet even with this, I had been taught that the Bible condemned homosexuality. I knew that if this was the case then whether or not homosexuality was a choice and regardless of how nice or loving or normal-seeming gay people might be, it was wrong." When I came to this point in my life, I had a stunning and unwanted realization that I just might be more moral and just than god was. A system where you could be created one way, have that creator demand that you be the opposite way, and then to be forced to live without physical/sexual love for the rest of your life, is just profoundly immoral to me.I think that this is part of why (some) Christians cling to the "decadent, evil sinning choice" argument. It lets them pretend that their god is just and moral. The god who demands those things of people who didn't choose (and for many gay Christians, would have chosen anything other if it were possible) wasn't someone that I could worship.This was one of the four paths that led to my atheistic appostacy. the other three were Holocaust studies, evolution and dealing with my ex's mental illness (which for me was another choice free-will/predestination issue where the reality that exists means that god is NOT good).I have come to cherish your blog. I didn't have the quiverful or explicit patriarchy issues that you did growing up, but our experiences have been close enough that I have found your blog to be my favorite. You are a wonderful writer.

  • shadowspring

    I agree that getting to know gay people certainly puts the lie to the gay stereotype propagated by the church. For me, it came in the form of knowing a fundamentalist Christian mother who abused and neglected her children emotionally, psychologically, physically and sexually, but got away with it because she was so good at controlled torture. She had social workers in her home four times, called in by daycare employees, public school teachers and of course her ex, and came out smelling like a rose every time. Her ex was gay. I met her during the divorce and of course I befriended her. I am very glad I did, because what I thought was cracking under the strain of a marriage falling apart was really a chronic mental health issue. But because I was her friend, I was able to help one of her children escape. Escape to where? Her gay dad's of course.That was such a conundrum. He was BY FAR the more loving, supportive, mentally stable parent. It was an irrefutable fact. It was the beginning of the change in my opinion. Justin at clinched the deal. The video they produced, Through My Eyes, erased any lingering doubts I may have had about gay being a choice. It's not.I have hope that America will be a better place in all aspects in the future, even in the religious community. People like Justin are making a difference. And our kids are much more likely to learn from real world experiences than to just swallow what comes from the pulpit without question. I am really grateful for this. It's how it should be.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I'm so glad the world is changing to be much more accepting because, as Libby Anne points out, the suicide ideation and tentatives are really way higher especially in LGBTQ teenagers but also in young adults and in fact all the spectrum. I think it was just last week that a young gay man who worked for a pro-LGBTQ organisation comitted suicide just a few months after doing his "It gets better" video as that just simply breaks my heart. Also, I think it's important that we educate children to know LGBTQ people exist so that they can be more tolerant and that they don't feel confused if they are feeling they aren't in a body that that doesn't match their real gender or have feelings for a same-sex person. Some basic knowledge so you don't get the complete puzzledness about what pronouns to use on a MtF or FtM you watch on online discussions. My parents are left-winged atheist but they never talked to me about any of this so I didn't know gay people existed until I was quite old and I didn't know you could be bisexual, transgender or genderqueer so as I liked boys I didn't quite realise I was also sexually atracted to girls until I was in my last years of high school.

  • Anonymous

    You know, I have supported gay rights fervently as a straight ally. It made me sick that they killed themselves after being pushed to do so by bullies and even sometimes parents. Gay is ok, after all!The next part is hard to write. Growing up, I knew that I was ok, but my mother hated me. I've lived in shame of two attempted suicides, but I know now that it was my mother who was pushing me to do both of them. She wanted me dead because I wasn't what she wanted, and my dad couldn't/wouldn't stop it.When I realised that, everything clicked. I know what it is like to be bullied for who you are. Although I could theoretically ask for social services for protection, many LGBT people cannot, because they are not a protected status. We need to change this!Shadowspring–what happened to your friend?

  • Melissa

    Thanks for writing about this Libby. I wish more people could see others for just who they are and not who they believe them to be.

  • Mommy McD

    My church certainly taught that homosexuality was a sin, but I didn't focus on it any more than smoking, playing instruments in church or drinking as being particularly sinful. I also didn't think there was anything wrong with the feelings or thoughts so long as they weren't acted on (not a good thing to think – but it caused me to be a defender of sorts for kids teased for being gay). I only understood it as abstract until I met a kid who was gay when I was 12. He was one of the only people nice to me and we were good friends.I moved the next year and found out years later that he committed suicide. I still cry when I think about it, because he was a beautiful person and a wonderful friend. Certainly deserved so much better.Anyway, the movie Prayers for Bobby always gets me bawling, and it also shows the progression from being anti-gay to gay rights activist for a conservative Christian woman. She keeps her faith, but comes a a much better understanding by the end, and I think a lot of Christians or ex-Christians can relate to that journey.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Wonderful post–it just goes to show that it's a lot harder to view a certain group of people as "the enemy" when you actually know them. I hope that, as being gay becomes ever more acceptable, it will be less and less possible for kids raised with homophobic ideologies to NOT know gay people. I don't think homophobia can survive that.One thing–I think you are giving Newt Gingrich WAAAY too much credit. I believe someone like Michele Bachmann is at least sincere in the beliefs she professes. Newt Gingrich is just a calculating, opportunistic low life who wants to capitalize on ignorance and hate to revive his career. Ugh.

  • Rosa

    The thing that increasingly angry is not just that parents lie to their own children (though when their children are, in fact, gay or bi, it is EVIL to tell them this shit) but that they also want the rest of us to conform ourselves to their lies rather than them having to explain reality to their kids.Your parents chose to segregate you from most of the world to support their lies. But lots of parents instead choose to ask/tell all the rest of us to lie to their children for them – not to touch our partners, not to answer questions truthfully, not to correct obvious lies about ourselves when told in front of us. Teachers are asked to omit chunks of the world from the curriculum and in many places to lie about their own personal opinions when asked by their students.And when that push to lie is resisted, the lying parents (not all of them fundamentalists – Catholic and secular parents in my family have done this to me and my stepsister) cry "freedom of religion". Because they want not just their own explanations but their own facts to be supported by everyone around them, or they can't have their own beliefs.

  • shadowspring

    She is a sophomore at JMU, doing great. She came to live with me for a semester (that was my kind of miracle- no bona fide defying the laws of physics, but way beyond my ability to manipulate) ostensibly to improve her math knowledge (which she did), but as an answer to my prayer that I just get to love on her for a few months. When the semester was over and she went back to her mom's, oh my god, that woman is crazy! She was so offended with her daughter's newfound self-esteem that she threatened the worse thing ever- to send her to her GAY DADS! (le horror)I played along, agreed that horrible girl deserved that most heinous of punishments. It was still another miracle that her mom followed through and put her on that train. She almost backed out. She was starting to realize that would mean losing control, but as luck would have it, someone else goaded her into following through. My young friend was truly saved! ;-) She finished out her junior and senior year with her Dad and his husband, and is doing great. She is a beautiful girl who deserves all life's best. Thanks for asking! =D

  • shadowspring

    (((Anonymous 12:13))) I am so sorry your mom hated/hates you. My mom hated/hates me, and so do my enmeshed co-dependent sisters. I have one sister who, unlucky for her, is my ally. She was unlucky enough to be my twin, and so shares in my ostracization.I did wind up in foster care at the end, but it was not really a protection. Being hated sux, and having no family when it seems everyone else has siblings and parents who love them is a constant thing I have to live with. It gets better, of course, but the scars still remain.Love and good will to you, Anon! SS

  • ee

    Shadowspring–I just love your comments on this blog, so thanks for reaching out to me! Quel honneur!I love hearing success stories, and I am so glad that your friend had you and others who could 'game the system' and get her the help she deserved. Thank you for following up!And I am sorry to hear about your growing up, too. It is amazing how many people have this in common, but how we are shamed into keeping it secret. My 82-year-old neighbor and I recently also had this talk, and for her, it was the first time she found someone just like her.It is amazing how 50 years age difference meant nothing, and how this abusive behavior has someone transcended through time.Still, it is a deep reminder to be kind to everyone: you never know who is in a hopeless Shadowspring–I just love your comments on this blog, so thanks for reaching out to me! Quel honneur!situation, and who will need those kind words. I know that it meant the world for me, and I know that it means the world to someone else.Hugs to everyone,Anon–now ee

  • JW

    Libby, I can relate to your experiences here. I have been trying to understand the homosexual surgence going on. On the one side the bible says homosexuality is wrong both in the Old Testament and reinforced in the New Testament as well. I have an uncle who is homosexual. I don't know if he actively engages in it since the only 'friends' we have seen him with have been women. In this case lesbians for her goes to a 'gay' church. I also had a friend back in 1995ish who later said he was homosexual. It surprised me but it didn't totally. He told me he was struggling with feelings for other men and I was the only one he told. I split friendship with him because he began to have an overbearing attitude of control. Later I found out that he came out as a result of him working with a lady who's husband I worked and the whole subject was brought up. ONe thing led to another and that news was leaked. I personal belief is that homosexuality is wrong dispite the numbers who say they are homosexual. It would be easy for me to say that I believe this because the 'bible' says it is wrong. While part of that may be true I don't use it as a premise to say it is wrong. I believe it to be wrong because of the gender issue involved. Yet this is where the crossroads of conflict meet with who has the best argument to argue for the truth of the whole thing.I am not prepared to fight that whole battle at this moment in time but I should not be labeled as homophobic either. Nowhere have I said they should be discriminated against but only that the 'lifestyle' is wrong. I know many people will disagree with me and that is fine but I will be interested to see any one chooses to label me and call me names as a result.JW

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    @JW: I don't think you are a bad person for what you've said but I do think you are wrong and the comment that being gay is a lifestyle and that it's wrong is a bit uninformed and could and will be construed as homophobic. That said, I don't know what you mean that it's a gender issue because for starters gender and sexual orientation are independent from each other and very different things. Anyway, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. You are entitled to your opinion and if you don't discriminate, that's good.@everybody: I just saw this video on a kickstarter campaign for a documentary called Second class citizens (it's about the nowadays struggles of the LGTBQ collective and the hate they receive in modern society. The video had me completely in tears because it's very powerful. I'd appreciate the difusion but at least take a look:;=player_embeddedThe link to the kickstart campaign is in the information of the vid.

  • Libby Anne

    Paula – I think what JW means about gender, from what I have read of what he has commented before, is that marriage is meant to be male and female, a complementary thing, and that making it so that it's just two individuals defeats that purpose. From what JW has said before, he seems to hold to very traditional gender roles, though he says he doesn't want to force everyone to fit them.

  • Perrie D

    @JWI wouldn't ever turn around and call you names, but I think maybe taking the view that homosexuality is wrong because of genders is a little misleading. Yes, the majority of people on this planet are heterosexual males and females (leaving totally aside other issues of cis-gendering or whatever), who like to sleep with the opposite sex and feel attracted to the opposite sex. That doesn't mean that the minority of people who don't feel that way are wrong; just that they're a minority who feel differently, and are attracted to their own sex. I don't think you can necessarily be so black and white as to say 'this sort of love is wrong' and 'this sort of love is right' – it's all love in the end, isn't it? After all, I don't think I ever sat down and chose to conduct a 'straight lifestyle'. Why would they do differently?@Libby Anne: I've been lurking through Google Reader for a while, but I love your blog. (: It's one of my favourites to read.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Ahm, thanks Libby Anne. Now I understand a bit better what he meant even if I don't agree with him.

  • JW

    I think this is a subject in which people will agree to disagree. The important thing in it is that people don't get into a knock down drag out fight and stop talking to each other. I know for myself, I like discussions- even if I don't agree with another person.May I say that with homosexuality, To me it seems that A reason why it being accepted as 'normal' is because of the emotional factor attached to it. Does such a thing make it ok or right? I lean back to the natural roles of physiology and that seems to upset many people who are pro-gay. I also lean towards biblical precepts and how it lays out that homosexuality is wrong (just as fornication and adultery as well).What I am curious of is this, what is the foundation of those who are pro homosexual? Is the cornerstone that they 'love' each other and that should suffice? Is it the hanging on that there is probably a gene involved in this thing?Lastly, one thing that simply puzzles me is this. There are homosexuals, who, which when younger appeared to be a bit different from others. Maybe in mannerisms or speech. I think of one particular person in my life. Later in high school he came out to be homosexual and it didn't surprise me in the least. I have wondered if this is because there is a hormonal imbalance and guys tend to have more estrogen then they should? What do you folks think about it?JW

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I'm sorry, but if you think homosexuality is wrong, you are homophobic. That's not a "label," it's an adjective. I'm not saying it defines you as a person, I'm not saying it makes you a terrible person. But it's true. And I have to say, I have little patience with people complaining about being "labeled" or "name-called" as racist, sexist, homophobic when they say blatantly racist, sexist, or homophobic things. When someone says "I don't want to be 'labeled' a homophobe just because I'm against homosexuality" or "I don't want to be labeled sexist just because I think women should play a subordinate role to men" etc., what they are really saying is "I don't want to be able to express my views without people who find them hurtful and offensive expressing theirs." Not exactly fair.I'm sure you are many things, both good and bad, besides a homophobe. But you are a homophobe. Words have meanings.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    oops, rather "I want to be able to express my views without people who find them hurtful and offensive expressing theirs."

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Part 2:Returning to the most popular theories (I get too sidetracked) that are being researched (more centered on gay men than lesbians), but for all we know there might be mroe than one method to become gay or bisexual They've been studying the recurrence of a genetic sequence in gay people. They've also been studying the quantity of testosterone male fetus received in uterus (and curiously there's a big correlation between it and the comparative length of index and ring finger which are mostly the same in straight females and gay but it works more or less fine for gay men but not nearly as well for female women suggesting at leas the influence of different factors in that side). The third one I've heard of is perhaps the best well known and it seemed to have started when they realsied that comparatively gay men had a bigger number of older brothers than straight folks. this gave a break through with a theory that every time a woman had a male pregnancy her body recognised it as strange (which it's actually the natural response of the body) and created antibodies that "attacked and feminised" the next male baby and so on so for each extra male pregnancy the chance of a gay son increased by a 30% Still I repeat that all these theory could be true, all could be fake (although I doubt it) but Science is on the way to answering this one. There are plenty more theories but these are the ones I remember right now because they appeared in that Documentary I mentioned.Anyway, even if homosexuality was a choice (what I don't believe between other things because many people prefer to commit suicide rather than accept they are Homosexuals, usually because of religious beliefs) it wouldn't matter to me an iota because I see nothing wrong with Homosexuality, really, nothing. Before I realised I liked girls too I supported gay people and not because of emotional feelings because I knew little of the wrongdoings they suffered and I didn't know any gay people personally but because there is nothing wrong with them and they are just human beings like the rest of the world.I think I've written too much again, sorry if I've bored someone to death or if I've misrepresented something. The only excuse I have is that I'm sleepy :P Have a nice day!

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Part 1:We are going to have to agree to disagree. I'm going to tell you a tiny bit of the little knowledge I have compared to more knowledgeable people. You can then search the net for the articles and such involved if you are interested because I'm not going to take the time to retrace them for you, forgive me for that.I must first say that I've never believed in a god but there are many believers who understand the meaning of what the Bible is at least not as clear cut as you find it on this issue (for example Libby Anne put a link to a very interesting video about 5 families and their reactions to their children being gay with a take on the bible verses on Homosexuality or for example therrre's a good article on but those are of no relevance for me because I am agnostic atheist. Also, there are plenty of rules in the bible that are completely ridiculous so personally I don't understand why you guys follow ones so stubbornly and not others… or how a good god could make someone gay and then codemn that person for it.The other typical argument is that it's unnatural but actually you find Homosexuality in Nature. Another point is that our bodies were not engineered for that. taking the example of some other person, neither were hands used to talk and Deaf people use them for that, wheel church or most major surgeries like a hip or valve replacement don't seem very "natural" to me either.The gay life style doesn't exist. A gay person is exactly the same that another person except for his sexual orientation. They get up in the morning, go to work, .. They aren't especially promiscuous (that's a mix of bad propaganda and the fact that before they could only have hidden rendevous or worse stuff to maintain their homosexual status unknown and the rebound effect after they could go live). Some of them can be more "alternative" because they are more open minded but some of them are conservative and devout Christians, some of them are very nice and responsible people, other can be complete jerks like any other group. Of course there are many mroe of them feeling depressed because they are being shunned by their communities, friends and family or because they have to keep hidden what they actually feel or because they think they are going to hell because of the bible. But in general when they accept themselves, they are all happier than before (I can't speak for everybody out there but this si from numerous interviews of out homosexuals).

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Being gay has nothing to do with hormone levels. Men with high estrogen levels are not more likely to be gay than men with "normal" estrogen levels, just like women with high testosterone levels aren't any more likely to be gay than women with "normal" testosterone levels. There is a lot of natural variation with hormone levels among humans, they may effect things like your body type and how "masculine" or "feminine" you LOOK but that has nothing to do with your sexuality and or your speech and mannerisms. Behavior and physiology are different things.And, yes, there are some gay men with effeminate mannerisms etc., and some of them have had them since they were children. But there are also plenty of gay men who are just as butch as your average straight guy. Not all gay men are "flaming." It's just that the ones that are are easily recognizable. I have gay male friends that you would not guess were gay simply by seeing them talk or move and, since they are not in the habit of wearing t-shirts that say "I have sex with men," you'd probably walk right by them just assuming they were straight.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    And what is MY foundation as a "pro-homosexual?" (I don't know if it's possible to be such a thing, any more than it's possible to be "pro-Black" or "pro-Asian." I don't like gay people more than I like any other people, I just accept that they exist and don't have a problem with that.) That very question implies that being repulsed by homosexuality is the norm and that people who aren't require some kind of explanation for why not. That's now how it was for me. My mom explained homosexuality to me when I was little, after she had a lesbian colleague, "Amy," and her partner, "Sarah," over for dinner. I liked Amy and Sarah a lot. They were nice and friendly and good at talking to little kids. But I didn't quite get their relationship, because I'd never encountered two grown-ups of the same sex who were together so much. So I had a conversation with my mom that went roughly as follows:Me: Mommy, is Sarah Amy's best friend?Mom: Well no, sweetie. Sarah and Amy are more than best friends. You know how Daddy and I are married because we fell in love with each other? Well, there are some women who, instead of falling in love with men, fall in love with other women. And there are some men who fall in love with other men. It's called being "gay." Sarah and Amy love each other like Daddy and I love each other. They are gay.Me: Oh, okay.That was it. It made sense. I couldn't see why two adults of the same sex would be together so much, live together, and attend dinner gatherings and stuff together if they were just "best friends," but my parents lived together, were together a lot, and attended dinner gatherings together all the time. So if these two women were like my parents, well that made sense. My question was answered. I went on playing My-Little-Ponies.I don't know if that answers your question. There was no argument presented to me as to why it was okay for people to be gay. It was not an emotional conversation. Nobody ever mentioned supposed genetic foundations of homosexuality to me I didn't require an explanation any more than I required one for why some people were tall and some were short, some are artists and some are athletes. I just filed it under "people are different." The first time anything about the subject of homosexuality seemed odd to me is when I got to be about 10 or 11 and began to realize that some people really seemed to care a whole lot about whether or not a person was gay and even thought that there was something bad about it. That just seemed downright bizarre to me. It made about as much sense as the idea of people getting really riled up over the fact that, say, some people love anchovies. I just thought "Huh? Who cares? Why would anybody be bothered by something that doesn't have anything to do with them?" It was homophobia that seemed weird to me, not homosexuality.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Part 1 and a half:I don't agree with you on the gender roles issue and I don't think men and women complement each other. Also I've studied Phisiology and Children phychological and physical growth in Medicine so I'm not completely useless in the topic.About if Homosexuality it's a choice or not. I can only say that most scientifical studies (by legitimate sources) point to a genetic or embriological nature but there are some theories that point that the first two years of life (where most of our characteristics are formed) could influence it. There many scientific papers there (you can go to Pubmed to check all the worldwide Medical publications) and documentaries in the topic (for example the Making of me Episode one was the last one I watched where Tv star John Barrowman goes on a search to learn if it's Nurture or Nature what made him Homosexual). The thing is they never choose Homosexuality, the same way you never chose to be Heterosexual. It was just what they felt. Also, it's not a psychological disease, just in case you were wondering.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Lol Petticoat Philosopher. I think we were trying to post at the same time because my first post wouldn't appear (or perhaps it was too long). Also, as you said gay people don't have hormone imbalances and nobody (including me) knew one of our best friends was gay until he told us because as many gay people he had zero manerisms. What I mention in the paragraph above is that there's a theory that say testosterone levels in the womb affect the possibility of being gay. I know the comment wasn't directed at me, just explaining.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I'm a bit troubled by this equating of a"masculine" woman or a "feminine" man with being gay. Once again, there are plenty of gay men and lesbians that do not present as being effeminate or masculine respectively. There are also plenty of straight people who have high levels of "opposite sex" hormones. What of women who develop polycystic ovary syndrome (and there is some evidence that these women are genetically pre-disposed to it)? They have high androgen levels. They're not all lesbians, or disproportionately lesbians. Similar examples can be found with men. This idea that gay men are akin to women has and lesbians are akin to men has just got to go. Frankly, I get skeptical of anything when I hear that damn ring finger vs. index finger test cited. Another poster just mentioned it a few posts ago on this blog, this time in support of the idea that "feminine" and "masculine" behaviors and thought patterns are innate. If you're a girl who likes to play with trucks, your ring finger ought to be longer than your index finger or whatever. My ring finger is longer than my index finger on my right hand, and my index finger is longer than my ring finger on my left hand. That ought to keep some people scratching their heads for a while.I like a lot of the other things you have to say though. You're right, it doesn't really matter where homosexuality comes from because it's totally inconsequential. What's so wrong or weird about it that it requires some kind of scientific explanation as a justification? There's a lot of variation in human psychology and behavior etc., and most of those variations we just accept without further question. Simply because they exist. It's interesting for knowledge's sake to study where they come from, but they don't need to be justified.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    haha, I just responded to all that and I might have misunderstood your point. Re-reading again…

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I get your point and I promise you I don't equate gay tendencies with feminity (even if we go by stereotypes, bears aren't precisely feminine) or masculinity with lesbian even if I might have come across that way. In fact I'm a very firm believer in continuum in gender, feminity-masculinity, sexual orientation and sex and you can be in a different point in each of them and move along the scale (also for example the finger test has been said not to work much on females and the protagonist in the documentary I mentioned didn't have the "gay gene" nor the finger thing for example… I'm just interested on them from a purely scientific interest and again I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding or misrepresenting something). A super simplified comic introduction Queer 101 I read the day before yesterday explains a bit the different continuum between gender, sexuality (romantic and sexual) and the rest so if someone is interested:

  • Candidly Uncandid

    If homosexuality is genetic, as most liberals emphatically spout, why is it that, in the case that an identical twin is homosexual, there is a 50% chance (and certainly not 100%) that the other twin is gay?

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Do you know anything about genetics? The actual genes that person has–the genotype–are not the absolute last word in what traits a person will have–the phenotype. Not all genes are expressed in the phenotype. They can be turned on and off by all kinds of factors, their traits masked by other genes, they are subject to host of variables that mean that, while twins share an identical genotype, they are never EXACTLY the same. That's why all identical twins have some physical differences, even if they're not obvious. Even if there is a "gay gene" and a set of twins have it, that does not mean that both twins will be gay.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I've heard numbers between 60-70% in homozigotic twins but as Petticoat has said you need to account for a lot of other factors form the fact that there's genetic thing like (how the heck do you say it English???) intermediate expression of genes, different phenotipic expression, embriological formation and a few more I'm not even going to try to translate (my teachers would be ashamed of me T_T).

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Also in the study of illnesses, homocigotic twins rates of around 50%+ strongly suggests a genetic origin (because genes aren't always expressed). The bigger rates you get in famous genetic illnesses (between homocigotic twins and smaller in heterozigotic twins) is 80-90% so I think that's soemthign you should take into consideration.

  • minuteye

    Recently Newt Gingrich's half-sister was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show. She herself is a lesbian and gay-rights activist, and said that based on the way her brother had treated her over the years, she didn't think he believed the anti-gay rhetoric he was spouting, just that he thought it was an opportunity to garner support among voters.

  • Nenya

    I was raised the same way, and even through college I remember feeling that gay people were some weird strange variety of human being that I could never understand. It started to change when I met a friend in the space exploration enthusiast club (we all wanted to be astronauts!) who was a lesbian, and about a year later my younger brother came out as gay to me. I sat down and thought, "I can't hate him. He's my little brother. He's still the same kid he was a year ago. I still love him. But I'm supposed to dislike homosexuality. OK, something's got to give. All I know is that I love him and he's a wonderful person." Slowly, over the years, I became comfortable with it, and when my little sister came out as bisexual a few years later, I was able to support her when my parents weren't really okay with it. I just wish people hadn't put all the lies in my head in the first place; it would have saved a lot of pain.

  • Steve

    @Libby AnneI'm curious, do you know or have you heard of any people in the Quiverfull movement who turned out to be gay? What are their experiences? Were they able to leave eventually?I mean just by statistics if a family has 10-15 children the chances are pretty high that one or two of them will be gay. There is also some research suggesting that the chances of a man being gay increases with the number of younger brothers (something to do with the mother building up antibodies)

  • Libby Anne

    Good question! I only know of one, but remember that I was one of the oldest in my community, so most are still in the process of growing up, and also that given the pressure I would actually expect a person raised in a household like mine to hide his or her gayness and perhaps even marry. In fact, that is just what the one person I do know did, and now this individual is trying to find a way to get out of the situation and live in the open.