Our bodies tell us who we are

Warning: Long post…

This post could be part three of the series on sexual identity therapy and neutrality but I chose this title because I want to focus on one specific issue, at least in my mind, with telling psychotherapy clients that “our bodies tell us who we are.” Saying something like this to a client is the expression of a natural law argument that is expressed by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi in his article “Why I Am Not a Neutral Therapist.”

Our Bodies Tell Us Who We Are

Philosophically, I am an essentialist — not a social constructionist: I believe that gender identity and sexual orientation are grounded in biological reality. The body tells us who we are, and we cannot “construct” — assemble or disassemble — a different reality in which gender and sexual identity are out of synchrony with biology.

The belief that humanity is designed for heterosexuality has been shaped by age-old religious and cultural forces, which must be respected as a welcome aspect of intellectual diversity. Our belief is not a “phobia” or pathological fear.

Natural-law philosophy says this view derives from mankind’s collective, intuitive knowledge; a sort of natural, instinctive conscience. This would explain why so many people — even the nonreligious — sense that a gay identity is a false construct.

Clients who already believe a natural law argument would most likely look for a therapist who believed as Dr. Nicolosi does. In that case, I do not see how he could be accused of imposing his values on the client; clients who are committed to this perspective (many conservatives, for example) might not work well with a therapist who did not articulate a similar view. On the worldview front, I suspect many people are directed by their spiritual advisors to look for counselors who are amenable to the teaching of their church. I also suspect, that feminists look for feminist therapists and so on. This will no doubt continue no matter what the professions pronounce.

What I want to raise now are some issues with the natural law argument. Specifically, I propose that if we know who we are via our bodies, then a fairly solid argument can be made against Dr. Nicolosi’s conclusions. He argues that genitalia and procreative capacity is the definer of correct identity. However, there is more to body than genitals and secondary sex characteristics. Brain is a part of body. As an organ of the body, the way the brain functions and is organized must be important as well. I am not here talking about psychological constructionism or the constructed opinion of a person that he/she is gay or straight, male or female. I am talking about the automatic response of the brain to triggers both sexual and otherwise that differentiate gay and straight people. In the research available, brain reactions differentiate people based on sexual preferences. In other words, if the body tells us who we are, and brain is body, then our brains tell us whether we like the same sex, the opposite one, or both. And our brains do this well before we have time to think about it.

I have written before about the pheromone studies conducted by a team led by Ivanka Savic from Sweden. Here is what I wrote about their study of lesbians:

This study shows that sexual orientation at the extreme (5-6 Kinsey scale) differentiates how the brain responds to a putative pheromone. The response from lesbians is not as clear cut as gay males. Lesbians process estrogen derived pheromones both in the normal olfactory fashion and via the hypothalamus (a link in the sexual response). The participants did not experience any sexual response so it is interesting that these lesbians’ brains registered the pheromones in a different way than did straight women. Lesbians were somewhat like straight men but not exactly like them. The reference is: Berglund, H., Lindstro”m, P., & Savic, I. (2006). Brain response to putative pheromones in lesbian women. Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science, Early Edition (www.pnas.org).

I also reviewed their initial study of males:

• The study does show involuntary hypothalamic response associated with self-assessed sexual orientation

• The study shows that gay males do react to the estrogen condition but in a different manner than they react to the testosterone condition

• The study cannot shed light on the complicated question of whether sexual orientation of the participants is hard wired.

• The brains of these participants may have acquired a sexual response to these chemicals as the result of past sexual experience. In other word, the response described in this study could well have been learned.

• If these results hold up, this could explain why varying sexual attractions seem so “natural.” Also, such conditioning could give insight into why changing sexual attractions is often experienced by those changing sexual preferences as a process of unlearning responses to environmental triggers.

There are other lines of research that also find large involuntary differences in brain response or perceptual response associated with sexual attractions. I could add the brain imaging work of Miichael Bailey which I referenced recently.

As noted above, whether these differences are innate in some way, learned early, or learned gradually through life, they appear to be real, substantial and involuntary. Furthermore, many ex-gay and ex-ex-gays testify to the perceived naturalness of the attractions to the same sex. For these individuals, if their bodies tell them who they are, I suspect they are experiencing mixed messages.

So what are we to make of the research on brain differences? Clearly, for those who are at the extreme ends of sexual orientation continuum, their brains tell them one thing and if they believe natural law, the rest of their bodies tell them something else. Here is one element of dissonance: which part of body to believe? I suppose in an interesting irony, those who go with brain are also following a naturalistic argument — if I feel it or experience it as natural, it must be supposed to be that way. Isn’t that what natural law arguments do? Read again, Dr. Nicolosi:

Natural-law philosophy says this view derives from mankind’s collective, intuitive knowledge; a sort of natural, instinctive conscience. This would explain why so many people — even the nonreligious — sense that a gay identity is a false construct.

For Dr. Nicolosi, what seems natural according to anatomy must be so. For the person arguing from brain research, what seems and feels natural surely must be so as well.

Now it does not seem to me that science can resolve this dilemma of belief and intuition. Science can collate stories of how people feel about their anatomy and inner worlds and report those results, but ultimately, it is up to the individual to weigh the evidence (which certainly includes brain reactions and body make-up) and make a decision. For reproductive anatomy to win out over brain response, one would have to argue that environment, during development, packs a pretty powerful punch in wiring the brain for sexual response. Of the two main theories (reparative drive and exotic becomes erotic), I would say EBE has more empirical support but neither describes the differentiation of brain from neutral (EBE) to gay or straight; or in the case of reparative drive theory, from basically straight to gay. Although I am not arguing for an inborn orientation, I am neither able to describe at the neurological level how the brain differences get there.

Reasoning as I am here, I suppose it might be accurate to say values tell us who we are or more precisely, we get data about who we are from what we value. From this point of view, sexual orientation could be more than what the brain does in response to triggers. It certainly would incorporate brain response and anatomy, but the guidance for action comes from chosen values and beliefs.

Here I am very close to a school of psychological thought known as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Steven Hayes is often considered the founder of ACT and has been the subject of several popular articles on the subject. Regarding values as reflection of self-direction, Dr. Hayes says:

Values are like directions on a compass. They’re never achieved, but in each and every step they influence the quality of the journey. Values dignify and make more coherent our life course—and they put pain in a proper context. It’s now about something. Let me go back to that movie A Beautiful Mind. It’s only when the hero has to decide between what he values and entanglement with insanity that it’s possible and sensible to accept the delusions; to notice them; and to abandon trying to control them—all in the service of being a husband, father, and a mathematician. In the same way, we only put down our avoidance, addictions, and mental wars because it’s costing us something dear, whatever it is that we want our lives to be about. Without that cost we would be lost.

It’s amazing how often people have never really thought about what they want in their lives. They’ve been fighting a mental war, waiting for life to start, and have never really asked or answered the question of what kind of a life they’re waiting to live. The joyful vision of ACT is that you can start living that very life NOW, with your thoughts, feelings, memories, and sensations. You start that journey by asking what it is that you really want your life to be about.

Where there is conflict between givens, we step up and choose meaning. For some, there will be a synthesis of religious beliefs and sexuality; for others, the conflict will seem like competing sides where one side wins out.

  • Mary

    Oh boy! Nicolosis stance can be twisted into all sorts of fashions!!! Is he SURE he wants to say it this way?? I doubt he really understands the gay mind from the gay perspective.

  • Boo

    Hmmm… it makes sense. Like when I had an obese client who wanted to get stomach stapling surgery, I should have just told her that her body is telling her who she is, and that natural law has decreed her to die by 45 or so.

  • Mary

    Boo,

    There are diffenre intepretations for the essentialist and constructionist point of view. Are not gays always saying – “That’s the way I was born?”

  • Drowssap

    Holy smokes!

    Throckmorton is back. That post was long but worth every sentence. I gotta read through that a few times.

  • Drowssap

    This would explain why so many people — even the nonreligious — sense that a gay identity is a false construct.

    As a not particularly religious guy thats not how I’d put it. My opinion is more of a, “What the heck?” (eyes squinting, scratching head in bewilderment)

    Nobody writes about the clash of values and orientation better than Throckmorton. However my main interest is the clash of biology and biology. Every strand of DNA yearns to get into the next generation and yet a tiny but powerful portion of the mind says, “nope.” Which side wins out? The powerful desire for sex or the absolute necessity to reproduce? No human conflict runs deeper.

    Whoever figures out the cause of SSA deserves the Nobel Prize.

  • Lynn David

    Drowssap wrote:

    Every strand of DNA yearns to get into the next generation and yet a tiny but powerful portion of the mind says, “nope.” Which side wins out? The powerful desire for sex or the absolute necessity to reproduce? No human conflict runs deeper.

    You anthropomorphize that idea way too much.

    And If I were to point out that the mothers and aunts of gay men are more fertile than those who are mothers and aunts of no gay men, would you then accept that your individal fitness argument is simply bunk, because the fitness is increased in several others in the family of the gay man?

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Dave Rattigan

    Haven’t read this article yet, but I was intrigued by the statement “Our bodies tell us who we are.”

    A few weeks ago I had a dream that I met someone I knew as a kid (we were both kids at the time, and I haven’t seen him since). During the course of our conversation, he said, “My body tells me I’m gay.”

    I have no idea where that came from, as it’s not the sort of expression I’d ever use or think of using; nor is it an expression I remember ever hearing before.

    Anyway, that may or may not have anything to do with the article!

  • Boo

    There are diffenre intepretations for the essentialist and constructionist point of view. Are not gays always saying – “That’s the way I was born?”

    I can’t speak for all gays, but what I say is “Who cares?”

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Drowssap – Thanks for the props; I suspect the NP winner will need to account for several types of SSA.

    Lynn David – I am not clear on the effect size of this variable. Do you know the extent of these differences?

  • D Hall

    Perceptions during infancy and early childhood ,weather physical,mental or emotional, can

    result in lifelong fears,addictions sexual proclivities.

    Humans are not guided by instinct,but by ideals developed by the ability to think rationally and critically.

    Hunger is is a natural indicator that we should eat. If

    we allow our emotions to turn hunger into a gluttonous appetite, we stand to develop a myriad of physical problems ;some obvious,others internal. And of course the original emotional (i.e. from the “brain”)

    problem can spiral to the point it becomes an inbedded part of our self. When ill effects become apparent ,denial is the first defense. In other words ,

    “I was born that way.”. same as the debate on sexuality.

    I believe Dr. Nicolosi is correct.

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    If homosexuality was the byproduct of a female fertility gene it would be dependent on fertility and track pretty closely to it. I don’t think it does.

    Female fertility in the USA from 1800 to 1990

  • Mary

    Boo,

    “Who cares?”

    Because that has been the fulcrum of many gay rights activists argument for GLBT rights. And that is why I personally think rights should be based on something other than biology. (And for anyone reading this, I’ll print again I support GLBT rights)

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    Gay gene survives because it boosts fertility

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article493806.ece

    I call shennanigans on that one for more than a few reasons.

    During the 250,000 years that humans existed as hunter gatherers women popped out kids every 18 months. A fertility gene would have been powerful. Today the same gene would be largely insignificant. Are women with 0 children infertile and women with 3 children particularly fertile? That describes 99% of the modern female population. For most of the 20th century choice, not genetic fertility has been the predominate factor in family size. These are the women that Camperio studied.

    In any case the study is several years old and quite inexpensive to replicate. It consisted of nothing more than 198 interviews about family size. Why hasn’t he or someone else duplicated it on the same or broader scale? If they confirmed this finding I’m not sure it would match the claim but it would certainly be an interesting and useful piece of information.

  • http://sleevenotes101.wordpress.com Jonathan

    If one is going to make a “natural law argument” shouldn’t persons who are Intersex be included?

    j.

  • Mary

    Drowsapp,

    Check those births per woman against birth control methods, patents, and contraceptives, and family planning social movements.

  • Lynn David

    Warren, the study was in the popular press at:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1306894,00.html

    As Drowssap has also pointed out. There it read:

    In the study, published today [13 October 2004] in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, Dr Camperio-Ciani’s team interviewed 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men in detail about their extended families. In total, more than 4,600 individuals were thus indirectly involved. They found that both the mothers and maternal aunts of the homosexuals were significantly more fertile than those of the straight men: the mothers had an average of 2.69 children compared with 2.32, and the aunts 1.98 children compared with 1.51.

    Fertility rates among paternal relatives and among male relatives on the mother’s side were similar for both groups.

    Drowssap wrote:

    I call shennanigans on that one for more than a few reasons. … In any case the study is several years old….

    Yes, people have reasons for not having children now. I happen to be the only child, so my mother goes against the grain. But then if you take into consideration that after the car wreck on her honeymoon the doctors told her she could no longer conceive…. It seems that despite the change in overall rate, a factor which increases fertility still remains. Fertility can be a catchall for several factors, one of which might be the fitness of the child as carried in the womb which could result in an effect to lower child mortality rates.

    Gee, three years old, and I can’t get the anti-gay crowd from stop using opinionated rhetoric masquerading as evidenciary fact from books that were written in the 1970s.

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    Check those births per woman against birth control methods, patents, and contraceptives, and family planning social movements.

    Thats work for professionals. Actual research is way over my meager skills. 8-)

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    If fertility means “more likely to get pregnant” I’m not buying it. Birth rates are plumeting worldwide which pretty much kills that hypothesis (and any gene involved).

    If fertility means “more pregnancies that survive to childbirth” I become a lot more interested. This indicates something about the mother’s immune system which is directly in line with other recent findings.

    Autism and Schiz triggered by mother’s immune response to common flu virus, mechanism and protein (Interleuken 6) identified

    http://www.autismconnect.org/news.asp?section=00010001&itemtype=news&id=6252

    This story is everywhere if you google.

    I wish somebody would attempt to replicate the Italian study on a broad scale. This is old news, why doesn’t the guy do it himself? I wonder if he did and it didn’t pan out so he didn’t publish. I have no idea why this easy to check hypothesis sort of died.

  • Drowssap

    Dr. Throckmorton

    I suspect the NP winner will need to account for several types of SSA.

    Agreed. How the numbers break down between genes, environment, and socialization will be the interesting part.

    Lynn David

    As much as I don’t believe in the gay gene theory as a common reason for SSA it takes no mental gymnastics to assume that A FEW people are gay exclusively because of genetics. Genes have been shown to work that way in many different areas.

  • Ann

    I suspect the NP winner will need to account for several types of SSA.

    Yes, because there are so many and also many dimensions to account for.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Lynn David – The study is intriguing but may not actually confirm much. First of all:

    They found that both the mothers and maternal aunts of the homosexuals were significantly more fertile than those of the straight men: the mothers had an average of 2.69 children compared with 2.32, and the aunts 1.98 children compared with 1.51.

    I doubt these are very big effect sizes. And when you have small effects, sampling is critical. I will have to look at this study to find out what they asked of participants. The volunteer effect was huge in the early twin studies and it could very well be impactful here.

  • Drowssap

    Warren

    Here is an example of someone who might “be gay” due to personality quirks, not necessarily biology.

    Lou Pearlman, creator of Backstreet Boys and other bands alleged to have sexually harassed and exploited teenage boys.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/10022007/gossip/pagesix/pagesix.htm

    Maybe he’s gay, but I think it’s just as likely that he isn’t. His behavior could easily be caused by a combination of low character, narcisism, and a personality that enjoys exploiting powerless and desperate people. Could his behavior harm vulnerable kids and motivate them to reenact what they experienced once they become adults? It’s certainly possible. Everybody involved in this sad story could probably use some therapy.

  • Ann

    Drowssap,

    This is very interesting and certainly sounds logical to me. There are so many variables and dimensions to this particular subject and the effects it has on ALL those involved that it should never be talked about in general terms nor have periods put where there should be commas. Thank you for your perspective on this – I do agree with you.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    You are too kind. I think we’ll start to get the very beginnings of answers in a few more years. In two or three more decades this will probably be in the history books one way or the other.

    But I wanna know now!!! I guess this is where patience comes in.

  • Eddy

    I’m a total layman in these areas but I’m thinking that our sex drive itself (as felt and expressed in our lower body) is essentially without direction. The direction comes, IMHO, almost entirely from the brain. I further believe that the brain’s wiring is determined by conclusions the individual has reached based on what they’ve ‘learned’. So many variables!

    How we learn though is amazing. The child starts with “Look”…wanting to know the name of what they’re pointing at. “Why?” comes very shortly after.

    But, while a lot of learning comes from your basic ‘show ‘n tell’ and Q & A, so much more is from observation. What they see and hear at home, in church, at school, on the playground, watching TV, watching videos, on the bus (think school vs city), magazines, ads, commercials, in parks, at sporting events….just drinking it in. Filtering it and filing to the best of their abilities and it all becomes a part of their whole sense of self. What a child (or an adult) actually experiences or observes will usually outweigh anything they simply hear…no matter how many times they hear it.

    But I believe that therapy can assist in refiltering and refiling if an adult perceives they came to some faulty conclusions. I always saw myself as different. The shortest, the blonde, the non-competitive, the bookish…as a child. Later, the hippie/peacefreak in a family of with 3 Marines. In grade school, I found 5 or 6 other uncool kids and we were different together.

    Different became my enemy. It was the blame for all the horrible traumas of my adolescence. I was different from the images on TV too. And I didn’t relate at all to how TV women wanted to be treated or how real men were supposed to act. Different. I must be gay. Somewhere the two interchanged and I came to believe that I was different because I was gay. This didn’t do much to alleviate my traumas but it did afford me a sense of direction. (Have I ever mentioned that I was trying to get a Gay Lib group at my community college where my brother was president of the only frat?)

    It wasn’t long afterwards though that I realized, to my chagrin, that I was an ‘odd duck’ in the gay pond too! Different didn’t mean I was gay; different meant different. After I became a Christian, I actually embraced it as ‘my gift of uniqueness’.

    I wonder: What’s the potential effect of these thought/brain shifts on the rest of the body? LOL! If I believe I’m gay will my unconscious toe-tapping extend to Cher songs? (And, God forbid, not in a stall at the airport!)

  • Drowssap

    Good post Eddy,

    From my experience people that feel different probably ARE different, but probably not to a massive degree.

    For example someone with 10% more natural ability at football may realize they have a talent and begin to practice. This kid may ultimately end up with 100% more skill than other kids.

    Kids that are a little different also have the extra burden of being taunted and picked on by “normal” kids. This also pushes kids in alternate directions.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Kids that are a little different also have the extra burden of being taunted and picked on by “normal” kids. This also pushes kids in alternate directions.

    This theory always makes me chuckle. I don’t recall being picked on by “normal” kids at all. In fact, if I recall correctly, I was friends with the bullies, the jocks, and the nerds. Hmmm, maybe they were all pushing me in different directions.

  • Drowssap

    Timothy Kincaid

    I wasn’t infering that being picked on or bullied could make somebody gay. I meant it could make a kid feel different or push him in a nonmainstream way.

    Put simply, a kid starts out 10% different. Other kids notice the difference and taunt him. Final result, somebody who is 100% different.

    I’m not refering to sexual orientation. I believe that for most people SSA is already set in motion before birth or right after.

  • Drowssap

    Timothy Kincaid

    Let me add something to that last post.

    I believe that most men are handed OSA or SSA wiring before birth or shortly thereafter. However I do feel there is evidence that a small percentage of boys have some wiggle room. Three out of four boys with clinical level GID become gay but somehow a few become straight. I’m not saying that one in four are straight because some of that 25% are probably in the closet. Still, a small percent of boys with GID grow up to be straight. I’ve read about this phenomenon and talked to a guy who went through it. During childhood he experienced strong GID and fantasized about being a woman every single day. At puberty his brain masculinized and his GID disappeared. He was gay, but his feelings of body mismatch and desire for feminine things was gone. He said it was a tremendous relief to be free of the torment of feeling like a girl stuck in a boy’s body. That story is the norm for boys wth GID. However in a few boys it appears that something happens during masculinization and the OSA switch is flipped on.

    I believe that is where socialization comes into play. I don’t think forcing a kid to play football and army is going to make him straight. However a low stress, supportive, loving, stable home and social environment might tip the scales a few percentage points back towards OSA. When the mind is busy masculinizing parents, relatives, friends, etc. shouldn’t slow it down with stress, pressure or other emotional speed bumps. Maybe it will have the energy and ability to flip the SSA/OSA switch, maybe not.

  • Eddy

    Drowssap and Timothy: LOL! Believe it or not, I didn’t even mention taunting or bullying in my post. I was trying to stay with the topic and consider how the brain can experience major changes that could then impact both behaviors and impulses. The bigger point I wanted to make was that the brain is receiving impressions from a variety of sources almost constantly. The individual processes these impressions and the impressions, in turn, help to form conclusions and perceptions. The conclusions and perceptions shape a person’s response to their everyday world. So, if refiltering happens and the conclusions and perceptions change, then behaviors and impulses would also change as a result. Could something as intrinsic as sexual direction be changed through such a process? To what extent? Would it vary by individual? If so, what factors impact the speed and degree of the change?

  • Drowssap

    Eddy

    As for degree of change in adults I think its a completely different ballgame than what is possible with kids. I’m not sure if adults can “rewire” themselves. More specifically I believe an as yet to be determined neurotransmitter isn’t being produced or absorbed in men with SSA. I guess we’ll find out if/when they discover it. Even with biology fully set people still have control over the perception of their feelings. Perception is a big part of everything and for some people thats enough to be happy. For others, No Way Jose.

    Most straight guys find a way to override the wiring that tells them to sleep with everything they see. This probably has to do with an adjustment of perception and expectation. Are most straight guys miserable because society makes them override their biology? Well… maybe. 8-)

  • Eddy

    Drowssap–

    Re the statement “Most straight guys find a way to override the wiring that tells them to sleep with everything they see.” I’m thinking that statement either needs support or clarifiers. 1) In the context of this blog, it seems to suggest that gay guys DON’T try to curb impulses towards promiscuity. I’m not sure you we’re going there. 2) So, significantly more than 50% (“most”) straight guys don’t try to ‘sleep with everything they see’. If you are speaking from actual statistics, I’m hoping they differentiated between straight single and straight married…and perhaps between younger and older. (In the circles I’ve travelled, very few straight single men are virgins beyond age 20. Am I seeing an unnaturally sexually active microcosm? If not, how does this reconcile with your statement?)

  • Drowssap

    Eddy

    From Tim and your comments I can tell I’m being particularly unclear in this thread. 8-)

    I was trying to be a Devil’s advocate about SSA.

    Straight guys are programmed at birth to desire sex with every woman they see.

    Gay men are biologically programmed to desire sex with men.

    Society forces both groups to live outside of their natural biology.

  • Mary

    LOL! Okay – we have altered our sexuality. Duh!??? We have since recorded history been putting restrictions, demands, and “do’s and dont’s” on our sexuality. It does not matter if you are gay, straight, male, female, child, elderly – etc… (or animal) -

  • Drowssap

    I think Mary figured out the point I was trying to play devil’s advocate with.

    If straight men are socialized to be monogomous what is morally wrong with socializing gay men to act straight? Both social constructs run counter to each groups sex drive.

    I’m not saying this will or ever should happen. But theoretically speaking what is the difference?

  • Ann

    also, aren’t we socialized to do other things – like be potty trained, wear clothes, eat with utensils, practice good hygiene, follow rules, etc.? Is that part of civilization or discipline or being socialized or all three? None of us are born with that knowledge – we learn it.

  • Eddy

    It appears no one actually wants to discuss the questions I raised in 51172 and 51657. I’ll save my questions for my journal–although other insight would have been nice–and catch you all on another thread.

  • concerned

    I would agree Ann and will take this a step further in that much of what we do in Education is socialization. What we learn in school is not always easy to come by, it takes some hard work and effort. There are some that feel that the effort is not worthwhile and that if it takes effort it is not for you. That mentality is prevelant in our schools today and is damaging many young people.

    There are many things that we do to maintain our civilization that do require some level of learning and effort. These things are not inborn, but they are worth learning if we want to live in a civilized society and be able to live with others. One thing that we need to unlearn is self-centerness, which is a childish trait we all seem to possess.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    I am sorry I didn’t respond – I will read them again and write back asap, ok ?

  • Ann

    One thing that we need to unlearn is self-centerness, which is a childish trait we all seem to possess.

    VERY well said and SO true!

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    Regarding #51172 – I guess I was interrupted when I started to read this because I do remember the first part. I also think you are “right on the money” and have always felt the same thoughts about how we learn things and filter them and experience them and how that can be perceived to be the truth rather than just an experience that we accept temporarily or reject all together. The first time I heard Dr. Throckmorton talk about temperment, it somehow spoke to what I knew but didn’t have the words for. We can all have the same experiences or set of circumstances yet it is how we perceive them and feel them that determines what we do with them.

    This next sentence is so powerful -

    “But I believe that therapy can assist in refiltering and refiling if an adult perceives they came to some faulty conclusions.”

    This is where one’s maturity and autonomy comes into play – if they feel they have come to some faulty conclusions based on “feelings and perceptions” then they have the right to seek treatment with an unbiased therapist that only has their client’s well being in mind during any interview and subsequent therapy.

    As far as your uniqueness – I like it a lot and find the word unique a much better description for all of us who are a little “different”. :-)

  • Ann

    Could something as intrinsic as sexual direction be changed through such a process? To what extent? Would it vary by individual? If so, what factors impact the speed and degree of the change?

    Eddy,

    I think that anything that is learned can be unlearned. The degree and dimension to that unlearning can come in various ways and have different satisfaction levels for each person. Again, temperment, desire and motivation, support and encouragement all play a part as to the extent any change is successful. Sometimes a shift or change can mean to modify or cease a behavior we find not in alignmentment with our values rather than a complete or consistant change in thought. I think it is a very personal and individual dynamic and would absolutely vary between one person to another.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Drowsap

    If straight men are socialized to be monogomous what is morally wrong with socializing gay men to act straight? Both social constructs run counter to each groups sex drive.

    If by “act straight” you mean engage in heterosexual sex, you are discussing two incomparable things. One is passively avoiding a pleasurable thing (ie sex with someone desired) and the other is actively performing an non-pleasurable thing (ie sex with someone undesired). Foregoing pleasure is not the same as engaging in the unpleasant. Avoiding ice cream is not comparable to eating cockroaches.

    Eddy,

    So, if refiltering happens and the conclusions and perceptions change, then behaviors and impulses would also change as a result. Could something as intrinsic as sexual direction be changed through such a process? To what extent? Would it vary by individual? If so, what factors impact the speed and degree of the change?

    Jones and Yarhouse argue that in some small percentage of highly motivated individuals, sexual direction can be changed.

    However, the extent seems on average to be very little (a single Kinsey point) and clearly depends on the individual and is determined by factors outside the individual’s control. And the best expected end result is far from what most of us would call “straight”.

    So J&Y would answer you with a “yes”. I would be inclined to answer you with a “not likely”.

  • Mary

    Drowsap – I am assuming by the things you write that you do not have SSA nor have ever been through the process of changing??

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    I am assuming by the things you write that you do not have SSA nor have ever been through the process of changing??

    Well… I guess its time for me to come out of the closet. I must admit I am hopelessly straight. I’ve known it since I was a little kid. 8-)

  • Mary

    Yeah, the changing process never includes teaching gay men to ACT straight.

  • Drowssap

    Timothy Kincaid

    Foregoing pleasure is not the same as engaging in the unpleasant.

    OK, interesting point.

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    Yeah, the changing process never includes teaching gay men to ACT straight.

    Hey don’t read too much into a sloppy post. I meant live a hetero lifestyle.

  • Mary

    Then please be more careful and respectful of the time you choose to use when addressing this very real issue for others. There is nothing sloppy in the lives of people who seek a better understanding of themselves.

  • Ann

    isn’t engaging in the unpleasant subjective? I don’t think it is unpleasant for everyone.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    I am pretty sure Drowssap meant no disrespect…

    Ann, what is unpleasant varies from person to person but if something is unpleasant, I doubt it clarifies much to engage in a discussion of how subjective the unpleasantness is. My dislike for order is subjective and persistent. However, for someone else on the orderly side of life, being in my office would be just as unpleasant.

  • Ann

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    I’m very aware that each person experiences unpleasantness differently. That is what I was saying. I also had no plans of engaging in a conversation about it. I think it is important to clarify that an unpleasant experience is subjective and should not be generalized as being the same for everyone in similar circumstances.

  • Mary

    Warren,

    Disrespect not intended doesn’t matter – it was laziness to be involved in a discussion on this blog and use that kind of language and then just wave it off as sloppy.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    In discussing unpleasantness and it’s subjectivity, let us remember that heterosexual sexual interaction is as uncomfortable, disconcerting, and feels just as “wrong” to many (if not most) gay people as would homosexual sexual interaction to most straight people.

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    You are misreading my post. I can assure you that I don’t have a malicious or anti-gay bone in my body.

  • Mary

    I don’t think that you do – I think you have alot of misunderstanding about the process of changing. And I find it offensive when you say such things. With all the effort that is put into getting the correct information out – someone like you comes in and says something like “act”. WOW!!! Thank you for belittling my efforts and the efforts of sooooo many others. Your brand of “sloppiness” is just what the anti ex gay machine needs to spin more misinformation.

  • Eddy

    As I said earlier, I’ll be elsewhere. It’s plain that this brutal detour shows no sign of waning.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Yes, I would like to see discussion move back to the post. I am proposing that “bodies telling us who we are” can lead to multiple messages. When I feel something I do not value, what do I do? Say it is who I am? Or what? It is certainly evidence as to my essence but are my inclinations alone my essence?

  • Drowssap

    Mary

    Alright, fair enough I heard you.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    I loved the cockroach analogy…gets that particular point across very well! But, LOL, I woke up thinking of broccoli. I mean EVERYBODY has a distaste for cockroaches. But with broccoli…some hate it, some love it, some used to hate it and have grown to like it, some only like it certain ways while still others like it any way they can get it. But, I agree it’s foolish to force it on someone while they find it distasteful.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    That is such a good point. What we like and dislke and how that evolves or changes over the course of a lifetime is so personal and individual and should never be diminished or limited by blanket statements or generalizations. That is what I was saying in my earlier comment. I also cannot think of too many things worse than feeling like something is being forced on you that you don’t want or like – I never said anything to the contrary but I see that it was unfortunately interpreted that way.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Two Points:

    1. Aren’t several comments focusing on what is pleasurable/unpleasurable and ignoring what may be good or bad? Shouldn’t there be some discussion about doing what is “good” for you and determining what that might be objectively? I realize that this may take us into some complicated philosophical discussions but they would at least bring about a challenge to the hedonistic philosophy apparently being accepted by default.

    I know that the dislike of eating locusts brings about massive starvation in parts of Africa where locust plagues consume the crops.

    2. There are a lot of comments related to “wiring.” Shouldn’t we avoid assumptions of “hard wiring” until such wiring has been identified? You may wish to run studies on the existence of unicorns but should avoid assuming their existence until the evidence is established. It does not make it any more rational to presume that there are only a very few unicorns.

    The evident “hard wiring” is that you are heterosexual unless you are “intersex.” Our bodies tell us which we are. The question of “who” or “what” we are is a much deeper philosophical issue and cannot be reduced to a mere consideration of sexual attraction.

  • Drowssap

    José Solano

    Shouldn’t we avoid assumptions of “hard wiring” until such wiring has been identified?

    Agreed but in a limited way. Sheep and humans are the only two species that have large numbers of males who exhibit exclusive, lifetime SSA from birth. It goes without saying that sheep are acting on instinct, not socialization. I’m not suggesting this is genetic but it AT LEAST appears to have a biological foundation.

    Whether feelings of SSA can be overcome is another question. I would imagine that the answer depends on an individual’s biology and personality.

    Example

    Group A) These people slave away at a lousy job until retirement.

    Group B) These people find a way to enjoy themselves and discover satisfaction in the same situation.

    Group C) These people say, “to hell with this” and find a new job.

    Group A = Old school in the closet gays

    Group B = Happy ex-gays, probably with families

    Group C = Mainstream LGBT

  • Eddy

    Jose’–

    You said, “I realize that this may take us into some complicated philosophical discussions but they would at least bring about a challenge to the hedonistic philosophy apparently being accepted by default.”

    A few points: ‘this may take us’…are you speaking of this blogsite? I’ve seen your name pop up once in awhile but thought of you as a visitor rather than someone ready to take part in complicated discussion.

    Re the ‘complicated philosophical discussions’: I think if you browse a few of the other topics on the site you’ll see that we have attempted and sometimes succeeded at complicated philosophical rhetoric.

    Re the ‘hedonistic philosophy apparently being accepted by default’. LOL! I can only remember a time or two when ALL of us here were in agreement. We actually butt heads so often that most people wonder if we could ever agree on anything…I’m puzzled by what philosophy you think we’ve ‘accepted by default’.

    We do tend to steer away from the standard arguments that have been presented by ‘both sides’ for the past few decades and it does get philosophical…in my book, although we disagree on some of the biggest issues, both Timothy Kincaid and JAG can be some of the most philosophical reading I’ve found on these issues.

    I must also warn you if you do pursue those discussions here, we have BADD. (Blog Attention Deficit Disorder) The discussion rarely reaches any resolve before being derailed and, if it’s a fiery topic, the discussion will erupt on several threads at once–regardless of the actual topic. We’d welcome a new voice, though. Perhaps you could succeed (in keeping us on track and focussed) where others have failed.

    Ann–

    Didn’t mean to ignore your comments. (or Timothy’s) I was waiting to see if anyone had anything new or unusual to add to the mix. I thought 52336 was very well stated. (LOL! I forgot, I did kind of respond to Timothy this morning with my broccoli musings.)

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Hi Eddy,

    This is my first visit to this blog and I’m only referring to this thread. Please don’t laugh too loudly as it could hurt someone’s feelings.

  • jag

    I’m going to attempt to steer back to the post topic by commenting on a quote Warren stated:

    “When I feel something I do not value, what do I do? Say it is who I am? Or what? It is certainly evidence as to my essence but are my inclinations alone my essence?”

    Are your inclinations alone your “essence,” I would say not. We are a combination of factors, but these tend to be guided by our inclinations and abilities. I went into academics, for example, because schooling was always a strength. I also love athletics, and cycle, do regular weight workouts, etc..

    Why do I mention these things? Because for me, although I can find pleasure in the arts…nothing, but nothing can give me the satisfaction of clicking into my pedals and doing a 40 mile ride. I realize not everyone likes this…but my body loves exertion, and being worked regularly…when it doesn’t get this (due to illness, or papers to grade) I become grumpy, “not myself,” and frankly down in the dumps.

    We look to our bodies to tell us when we are “pushing too hard,” when we are ill, and when we need to slow down (pain). We enjoy when we are tickled by humor and our body laughs, and when we are wooed and our bodies get butterflies in delight. They are a tool that seems to shed light on our deeper person, a tool that assists us in successfully navigating our world. Whether following an intellectual gift, choosing sexual partners, or simply avoiding things that cause us physical pain. We trust out bodies, and watch as others do the same since we are very young…using it as a barometer to life’s undertakings.

    So while I do not think that our bodies tell us “everything,” I think they do inform us greatly. We pay attention to them, and they guide us in innumerable ways.

    When our beliefs do not meld with our inclinations, I think this is what makes the ex-gay dilemma so very difficult, and the therapy of change so very challenging…it almost seems as if we are expecting individuals (or they expect themselves) to fight against something they have learned to rely on…to trust in so many other basic ways (as I’ve described above). With the person seeking to become ex-gay, their cognitive realities have to directly challenge their internal inclinations. To get to the goal of change, they have to work against what we have learned to trust, and what has guided all of us in so many other essential ways.

    While I think that we can “train” our bodies not to respond as we might like (not hit the person who angers us), the internal experience of rage or anger is difficult to take on. This is what the person seeking orientation change is attempting – not only to seek to alter behavior, but the inclinations. A more difficult path I could not imagine.

  • Eddy

    Jose–

    I realize I’ve offended you. I’m sorry. It was not intentional. I’m glad you called me on it or I wouldn’t have even seen it.

    I think I’m a bit blog-bleary. I visit the site almost every day and I’m often involved in several of the different discussions simultaneously. Anyway, this particular topic thread started ten days ago…and I forgot there were so many comments. So I come in, and only update myself on the new posts. I was oblivious to the possibility of someone new coming in and reading it all. Totally bad (without the extra d) on my part. Please forgive me.

  • Drowssap

    Eddy

    Yeah, maybe I’m blog weary as well. I read your post that we weren’t discussing your point and my mind was saying, “huh?” I thought we were.

    naptime

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    I think “they” – whoever they are – should win a prize if they discover the cause for SSA OR OSA!!!!

    Everyone,

    Changing isn’t always a bad thing, but I was just thinking about how often we try to change things about ourselves that we don’t like, such as: nose, face, hair, breasts, wrinkles, emotions, behaviors – some have even tried changing skin color. I’m amazed, sometimes, at what we can change – AND, what we can’t.

  • jayhuck

    Ooops – I forgot about changing gender!

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    It’s Ok Eddy. No offense, just a little surprised.

    Hi Drowssap,

    — Animals do a great many things that “instincts” might motivate to obtain pleasure and power (dominance). We know that a certain percentage of dogs enjoy having sex with humans but could that be defined as a genetic/biological trait? There is often a blending of power and sexual instincts. I’m only acquainted with the secondary sources on sheep studies and observations. I’ve read that the brains of these homosexual rams are smaller than those of heterosexual rams, about the same size of ewes. We don’t know if the behavior caused brain shrinkage. Can they predict from babies which will grow up with homosexual urges? It’s also peculiar because they are not acting like females. Are their rams who seek out being penetrated (receptive) by other rams or is it only rams desiring to penetrate other rams? Are there consistently “lesbian” ewes also seeking to mount or be mounted by other ewes. Are there any suggestions about lesbianism from sheep or just observations of male homosexuality?

    We know of bonobos chimps and other animals that engage in “sort of” homosexual, incestuous, and pedophile relationships. It is not certain whether or not these behaviors are genetic/biological or learned or both. Behaviors such as the migration patterns of birds may be acquired over long periods of time and generations. It may not be “hard wired” at all.

    It is good that people ask lots of questions related to the sheep studies and be careful not to assume that because black widow spiders kill their mates that this instinctual drive could somehow correspond to women who might kill their husbands. Human beings have the capacity to develop, discover or obtain a value system that helps them rise above the desire driven life, beyond concupiscence.

    My first point related to what a human being’s behavior “should” be over and above what is pleasurable. An objective value system should drive the behavior but this objectivity would generally be in harmony with the anatomical/physiological condition. I say “generally” because the value system may call for self-sacrifice.

    The perspective of ACT, with it’s self-evaluative question, “What is it that you really want your life to be about,” may fall short of the discovery of what your life should be, as what it should be may be totally different from what you might want.

  • jayhuck

    Jose,

    I’m not sure I understand what you are trying to say in your post above. I think everyone is going to have a different idea/belief regarding what their lives “should” be about. I’m not sure if you were trying to say this or not, but homosexual/gay couples are not simply together due to pleasure. These couples usually want the same things their heterosexual counterparts have, and they involve a great deal more than simple pleasure. Relationships, gay or straight, require love, self-sacrifice, honesty, trust, etc…

    There are gay AND straight people whose sole aim is pleasure, but there are also many who want more than that.

  • Drowssap

    José Solano

    Animals do exhibit all different kinds of seemingly sexual behavior. You mentioned dogs rubbing up against humans. We don’t know what is going on in the dog’s mind, it may or may not be sexual.

    But seemingly peculiar behavior that may or may not be sexual isn’t the same thing as exclusive, lifelong behavior. Male dogs will mount each other to show dominance but they’ll also fight over females in heat. “Gay” sheep have no interest in female sheep at all. This exclusive, lifelong SSA in humans and sheep is what scientists find so fascinating. I should mention that gay sheep have no offspring. From a biological perspective thats fascinating.

    What people should do with SSA is another matter. Thats individual choice.

  • jag

    Jose -

    “We know of bonobos chimps and other animals that engage in “sort of” homosexual, incestuous, and pedophile relationships.”

    You didn’t include the variations of heterosexual behavior in your listing…or perhaps you classify the behaviors above together? I’m hoping not.

    Please do some reading on homosexuality within various species…your examination of it is a bit off base with the research. There is no “sort of” about it in many species. We have seen long-term, short-term, monogamous, non-monogamous etc…same-sex partnerships in various species. Some form of homosexuality has been seen in over 300-400 species. Some as “instinctual” as dragonflies. I would be happy to give you specific studies to refer to with a number of species, and have listed multiple studies throughout the blog.

    You also stated:

    “My first point related to what a human being’s behavior “should” be over and above what is pleasurable.”

    Same-sex couples are as complex as their heterosexual counteraparts, with motivations for their behavior being equally so. I understand why some people have a faith which would dictate that their behavior be non-homosexual, some use their faith to proscribe what they should or should not eat, etc…

    However, I would be clear that just because this is how *you* perceive it is how someone “should” act, does not mean that individuals of a same-sex orientation cannot find Christian living within their own faith.

    As of yet I haven’t heard an argument, aside from personal faith applied to self, that justifies how one “should” behave in prescribing heterosexuality…and one person’s faith is not the appropriate barometer for the behavior of others. Especially if that person’s behavior harms no one, and is consistent with their faith.

  • jag

    ugh…I hate my own spelling mistakes…my apologies for the above.

  • Drowssap

    jag

    To the best of my knowledge humans and sheep are the only two species where large portions of the male populations (1% or more) exhibit exclusive and lifelong SSA.

    I’ve read about horses, dogs, monkeys and penguins but it isn’t the same thing.

    Gay Penguins Break Up

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,169653,00.html

    There is nothing situational about gay sheep. They exhibit exclusive SSA for a lifetime. Thats what makes them particularly interesting to scientists.

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    Animal comparisons only go so far – humans are not like other animals in many other ways as well.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Jag advises me: “Please do some reading on homosexuality within various species….” Thank you. I have.

    Thank you Drowssap for making that distinction. This is why I was cautiously saying “sort of” in the cases of bonobos chimps, etc. I am particularly fascinated by what is occurring with sheep and as I have only read secondary sources perhaps you can refer me to where I might find the primary sources. Perhaps you can answer some of those specific questions I asked. Is this “exclusivity” observed only in rams or is it noted in some ewes? Are there genetic/biological features that can allow people to predict from birth which rams will be exclusively homosexual? Are there rams that are exclusively receptors, that is, imitating females seeking to be mounted? Is this a universal phenomenon among sheep? I’ve read it occurs among bighorn sheep. Does one find a similar percentage among sheep anywhere? How about goats? They are closely related to sheep.

    I’m here to learn and as you understand, to learn what’s really happening it’s important to ask the right questions and avoid jumping to conclusions.

    When I have the opportunity I’ll return to the question related to what human beings “should” do (categorical imperatives) and how such imperative judgments may be derived by the reasoning mind. I think the examination of both these topics speak to the issue of this post.

    Hi Jayhuck,

    Yes, that’s true, people of all orientations may be driven by their desires, some more than others. I’m just reflecting on some of the statements in the post and certain comments while trying to be “blog comment brief.” There is no insinuation about homosexuals being more pleasure seekers than heterosexuals. I suspect they may be exactly the same in this respect.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Jose – Good to have you along. You said:

    The perspective of ACT, with it’s self-evaluative question, “What is it that you really want your life to be about,” may fall short of the discovery of what your life should be, as what it should be may be totally different from what you might want.

    Practically, these are very similar questions. When I speak of values, I am speaking of a chosen direction. People may chose to pursue heterosexuality or celibacy because they believe it to be the best course, even if they do not want it in the sense of desire. It doesn’t work quite the same way for someone who is same-sex attracted and identifies as gay. I think for them it seems natural and the pursuit of integrity with that becomes a value. I do not see it as of necessity choosing pleasure over value for many — especially those who frequent this blog.

    Regarding “wiring” of brain, I do not need to assest that such sexual brain responses are determined by pre-natal factors in order to have trouble with a natural law rejection of a gay identity. We have lots of evidence that however sexual response is achieved, it is difficult to alter once achieved. Since we do not have any ability to map out a learning explanation for such wiring, we should be humble about the mechanisms. Saying our body tells us who we are but leaving out brain as body seems incomplete to me.

    The way out I advocate in the post is to recognize the human capacity for value driven self-reflection.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Eddy – I would like to think of something to say in response to your thoughts on Cher and toe tapping but I am inadequate to the task.

    How about Larry Craig doing “If I could turn back time”?

  • Drowssap

    José Solano

    There are a billion gay sheep links and here is a decent one.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1582336,00.html

    Here are some additional gay sheep data points if they aren’t in the Time piece.

    Gay sheep pop up much like gay humans. There isn’t an obvious chain of heredity.

    Gay sheep aren’t necessarily “feminine.” The want to mount other male sheep.

    Gay sheep have no offspring.

    Its only a matter of time until Roselli or someone else clones a gay sheep.

    If the clone is gay we’ve got our answer, genetics

    if the clone is straight we’ve got it narrowed down to some factor in the environment, probably early exposure to a virus or germ.

    Realistically they’ll make several clones at once. Watch for this one because when it happens it will be seismic one way or the other. My guesstimator says this research will be done and released within 5 years.

  • jayhuck

    How about Larry Craig doing “If I could turn back time”?

    Would the next line be – “If I could find a way”…not to get caught!? :)

  • Drowssap

    jayhuck

    Its wrong to project human motives on an animal’s actions. On that I agree 100%.

    But in the specific case of gay sheep they are 100% gay for a lifetime. That eliminates a lot of situational variables. If 1 sheep in a thousand were gay it wouldn’t be all that interesting. If some sheep were situationally gay or bisexual it wouldn’t be all that interesting. But several percent are exclusively gay for their entire lives. That makes it pretty darned interesting.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Hi Warren,

    For the sake of clarification I think the distinction needs to be drawn because in the former it is I who am determining, making the conclusions and establishing the values, while in the latter these are being brought to me in some compelling manner. I do not make-up what is of value but am rather instructed what is of value in such a way that I am convicted. This leaves open the door to consider and/or accept that the ultimate values are revealed rather than subjectively construed. As such they come across as absolutes rather than relative truths and realizations. This does not mean that through the deceptive powers of human machinations these revealed values cannot be resisted and rejected, especially if they demand a complete reevaluation of our self-constructed value system. When such rejections occur one may, or at least certain people may, observe personality disorders and varied neurotic behaviors—to use an old expression. Not all value systems are the same or of equal value.

    I’m having a little difficulty clearly understanding what you say in your next to last paragraph and that may be because I’m focusing too much on the terminology rather than your overall meaning. There are all sorts of “sexual response(s)” and when adopted (achieved?) over a long period of time they are very difficult to alter. This extends from masturbation and viewing pornography to adultery or pedophilia and what have you. Once these desire driven, pleasure driven practices are ingrained they may appear natural and a justification process is developed that becomes a value system, however objectively valueless they may be. They may appear natural, even as thumb sucking may be. Yet even if it is concluded that they, or some are indeed “natural,” the question can still be raised, “So what?” So what for a meaningful and objectively value-full, valuable life? The human being should have greater capacity to resist “instincts” or natural compulsions than sheep or black widow spiders. But one must have a reason to resist.

    I like the expression “value driven self-reflection” but everything rests on what it is that the person values.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Thanks Drowssap for your response. I know of the zillions of “gay sheep” sites and they are very similar to the one you cited, but I was hoping you might know of a primary source.

    Are you able to directly answer any of the questions I asked? You come close when you say, “Gay sheep aren’t necessarily ‘feminine.’ The want to mount other male sheep.” The ain’t “necessarily” part sounds a little strange but already one can recognize a huge difference from how homosexuality manifests itself among humans.

    Thanks again.

  • Eddy

    I’m wondering–did the sheep studies take parental/sibling/peer pressures into account? How many sheep were monitored? Were the gay sheep monogamous or did they mount other males indiscrimately? What have the studies revealed about the lesbian sheep? Is that 1% also–or is it significantly more or less? There seems to be increased ‘incidental homosexuality’ among men and women who are incarcerated? Were these free roaming sheep or were they captives? (Domesticated vs non-domesticated.)

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    I absolutely agree – it IS interesting :) – it just can’t tell us much, if anything, about humans

  • jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    I take that back, it can tell us some things about humans, I’m just not sure how much. Forgive me for going off on a tangent here – It is interesting to see percentages such as these and compare them to what we know about the incidence of homosexuality in the human population. I remember reading on Wikipedia that, somewhere around 2.5 – 7% of the population identifies as homosexual – although we’ll probably never have a solid percentage because there is a good chance that people are under-reporting for fear of being “outed”, or they may not even be out themselves yet, or they are bisexual, etc…. Conservatives will tend to use the lower numbers and progressives will tend to use the higher numbers – “the world may NEVER know” ;)

  • Drowssap

    jayhuck

    Agreed, SSA in sheep and humans will be different. But a clear understanding of SSA in sheep might give us a lot of clues for humans. If a particular nucleus in the hypothalamus is small in the sheep and it is also small in humans it could be a huge find.

  • Drowssap

    José Solano

    Sadly I must admit my knowledge of gay sheep does not extend past what I read in the popular press. If you want original research you could check pub.med. Sometimes I run across something cool on that site.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Jose,

    I do not make-up what is of value but am rather instructed what is of value in such a way that I am convicted. This leaves open the door to consider and/or accept that the ultimate values are revealed rather than subjectively construed.

    The problem with proclaiming revealed values is that one either must assume that one is wiser/holier/luckier than others who have revealed values that differ from one’s own. One needs to ask, “Do I know the true values because I was born in 20th Century America rather than 1500 BC Egypt? Were the situation reverse would my revealed values include offering children to the crocodile god?” Or perhaps one can ask, “Am I wiser than the theologian and scholar who is proficient in ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic who disagrees with my revealed values? ” or “Does God reveal more to me than he does to Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, or the Dalai Lama, all of whom differ from me in some items of faith but all of whom have shown greater devotion to their faith?”

    Ulitimately, to claim that one’s own values are the ones that are instructed by God (or some other universal provider of values) while the values of others can be disregarded as subjective, self-constructed or of lesser value is the height of arrogance.

    All we can do is stand before God in a state of humility and trust that He will see our willing heart and will direct us in the way that he has for OUR lives. To assume that we are the possessors of True Wisdom and Absolute Values is to set ourselves up for a fall.

  • Drowssap

    Posts by Timothy Kincaid and the original by Warren Throckmorton are why I tend to stay out of the values end of SSA. I am hopelessly outgunned by two very thoughtful writers.

    Sorry, I had to suck up after reading Tim’s last post.

  • Drowssap

    Eddy

    I’m wondering–did the sheep studies take parental/sibling/peer pressures into account? How many sheep were monitored? Were the gay sheep monogamous or did they mount other males indiscrimately? What have the studies revealed about the lesbian sheep? Is that 1% also–or is it significantly more or less? There seems to be increased ‘incidental homosexuality’ among men and women who are incarcerated? Were these free roaming sheep or were they captives? (Domesticated vs non-domesticated.)

    All I know is this, neither ranchers nor scientists have found a way to interest “gay” male sheep in ewes. I believe wild sheep can be gay as well, but I don’t think widespread studies have been done to determine the percentages. I’ve never run across any.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Dear Timothy Kincaid,

    The problem that occurs when a relativist takes on an absolutist posture, so as to demand the superiority of the relativistic position, is that you end up with circular reasoning. Plato demonstrated this thousands of years ago. When this posture is coupled by the accusation of “arrogance” on the person holding on to absolute values, the accusation simply backfires. By taking on the absolutist posture the accusation of the relativist falls on himself. Plato illustrated this problem in a scenario similar to this one:

    Relativist: You are a most arrogant person if you imagine you can claim some absolute truth.

    Absolutist: Are you absolutely certain of that?

    Relativist: I most certainly am.

    What you have done in your comment is to also accuse Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, the Dalai Lama and even Jesus Christ Himself of demonstrating the “height of arrogance” because they are all claiming a view that has greater value than yours. This philosophical issue is far more complicated than you realize.

  • Lynn David

    TImothy Kincaid said:

    In discussing unpleasantness and it’s subjectivity, let us remember that heterosexual sexual interaction is as uncomfortable, disconcerting, and feels just as “wrong” to many (if not most) gay people as would homosexual sexual interaction to most straight people.

    I have found that I managed a little of it by drinking vinegar or Worchestershire sauce afterwards. Now for the weirdness. I engaged a nice Catholic woman in a little sex talk over the Internet a few years ago, thinking I might be able to rekindle some heterosexual feelings. I suddenly found myself drinking more vinegar and Worchestershire sauce, and it took a few days before I understood why I was doing that – even without any physical contact.

    Concerning homosexually-oriented male sheep: Their preference is purely this, a ram classified as homosexually-oriented will mount only another ram when offered a preference between a ewe and a ram while in heat. If only a ewe is around while both are the ewe and homosexually-oriented ram are in heat, then about a third or more of the time the homosexually-oriented ram will mount, penetrate and inseminate the ewe. Gay sheep do have offspring.

    Concerning the bonobo: I have recently read (I think it was in Science) that certain genes which may have to do with our socialization are more similar in to bonobos and humans than chimpanzees and humans. In other words maybe if we’d think less about and do more of it, the world would be a better place….. sex that is.

    José Solano wrote:

    The human being should have greater capacity to resist “instincts” or natural compulsions than sheep or black widow spiders. But one must have a reason to resist.

    And yet that vaunted Aristotlian/Aquinian natural law which the mainline Christian churches and many other Christian sects accept as the bastion of their sexual ethics is based, in part, on the view concerning what is instinctual in the animal kingdom. Furthermore, to be heterosexual is nothing but an instinct. But those thinkers (Aristotle, Aquinas and others) didn’t see what existed in the totality of nature because their own biases wouldn’t let them because they were poor scientists (the very description of a philosopher).

    I’m ba-ack…..

  • Ann

    But a clear understanding of SSA in sheep might give us a lot of clues for humans.

    Are female “ewes” gay as well as the males? If a female “ewe” shows no interest in mating, does that make her gay? What do the females do to show they are gay? =-0 If there are only male gay sheep and not females, what does that tell us?

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    So, Lynn David, shall we say, “poor philosopher, the very description of a scientist?” It need not be.

  • Lynn David

    Well Ann…. my personal viewpoint is that females, be they sheep or humans or otherwise, do not have the possibility for a genetic-driven instinctual change in sexual orientation. Females who are homosexual are probably due to either to hormonal issues from without (their mother). Other instincts in animals such as the need to procreate (and opportunistic males), may overcome any sexual preference in females. I tend to think that as the number of gay human males are about double that of gay human females is one sign of a genetic cause in males; since females have XX chromosomes and males have XY chromosomes from which gene expression of the X chromosome may occur.

  • Lynn David

    José… what need not be? That philosphers bleat about saying they know truth when they don’t know their head from a hole in the ground?

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    Those are bisexual sheep, which also make up a significant percent of the sheep population. Another portion of the sheep population have no interest in mating at all.

    Depending on where you get your info about 6% of male sheep will only mount other male sheep. They are exclusively gay and do not produce offspring.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    I’m not sure about lesbian sheep.

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    Asinine statements will simply cut discussion.

  • Eddy

    Okay, here’s the deal. I just counted approximately 30 comments on the homosexual sheep and those chimps, yet when I raised some pretty straightforward questions about the potential for the human brain to be rewired….and Warren brought questions of a similar nature forward later…the response was minimal. Why, I wondered, would we avoid these questions that we actually have personal experience with (we’ve ALL changed our minds about something in our lifetimes…I hope) to focus our attentions on speculations about homosexuality in sheep? Gee! A rational man might think that people aren’t willing to talk about stuff that hits close to home. A rational man wonders why that is.

  • jayhuck

    I mean no disrespect to anyone by saying this, but this has to be one of the most humorous and surreal discussions I’ve witnessed :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Folks, let’s focus. Whatever science learns about the nature of sexual attraction, practical decisions must be made by people in the mean time. My concerns with a naturalistic argument is that what seems natural to one does not seem natural to another. As I understand the natural law argument, truth is based on what seems natural according to the created order. My problem with this is that brain science is demonstrating that sexual attractions are real and measurable neural pathways and that activation of these pathways differ according to stated erotic preferences. Research has not demonstrated a learning pathway from undifferentiated sexual response in early life to sexual preference in adulthood, nor has research demonstrated a convincing pathway from pre-natal factors to adulthood. If anything, the proposed theories account for very little. So saying to a real live adult, “your body tells you who you are” presents the traditionally religious SSA person with serious dissonance which is not completely addressed by saying look to your genitals.

    Regarding wiring and re-wiring, we do not know how sexual attraction gets wired so anyone who says they know how to re-wire it would be guessing. Even if we know how concrete sets (to mix metaphors), doesn’t mean we can apply a reverse process to extract the elements and remix it. Studying those who have changed (and those who tried and didn’t) aspects of sexuality would be one way to explore this. I hope to do some of this via brain scan soon.

  • Drowssap

    Apologies for the sheep stuff. Looking back I don’t even know how that got started.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    All we, like sheep, have gone astray… :)

  • jayhuck

    Studying those who have changed (and those who tried and didn’t) aspects of sexuality would be one way to explore this. I hope to do some of this via brain scan soon.

    I think what you meant to say, Warren, is those who SAY they’ve changed, right? Changing a behavior, as I’ve tried to say before, doesn’t prove any kind of change in “wiring” for the simple reason that that said change could have any number of reasons behind it – none of which have to be a change in wiring. Whew, hope that made sense

  • http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/ José Solano

    To help bring us back into the fold I think Eddy offers us an excellent question that should be addressed, but I think the answer should begin with a solid definition of “wiring.” What wiring? Is this wiring a “habit” or some biological feature like genitalia or gene? I think we need tight definitions so that we’re all talking the same language. Habit is sometimes seen as “soft wiring” as differentiated from biological “hard wiring.” Can a human being behave in a way contrary to what his/her “hard wiring” “calls for.” The answer must be clearly “yes” because the obvious human “hard wire” calls for heterosexual relationships and yet people behave contrary to what it calls for. The obvious “hard wiring” calls for sexual complementarity and so people search for some other wiring that may interfere with what is obvious. This has not yet been found but the sheep studies seem to suggest that it may be somewhere. Nevertheless, sheep do not have human will or reasoning abilities and that brings us directly to Eddy’s question.

    If there is some other inherent (or not inherent) physical feature that counters the preponderance of physiologically inherited features defining one’s sex, so that the person is attracted to someone of the same sex rather than the expected opposite sex, can that individual change his/her behavior if he/she wishes the behavior to correspond with the preponderance of inherited features? I think the answer is “yes” but if the behavior is very pleasurable and engaged in for a long period of timeit will be very difficult to change.

    For the sake of objectively examining this question I would like to not use a hot-button example like homosexuality and rather talk about thumb sucking. There may or may not be an inherent factor “calling for” thumb sucking. Breast sucking can certainly be recognized as inherent in mammals and hence this desire to suck is transferable to the thumb. As the child becomes very “attached” to sucking the thumb it can be very difficult to break the so-called habit and the child can speak of having that desire as long as he/she could remember. If the total society then does not indicate any disapproval of thumb-sucking and indeed declares that it is a good and natural behavior, it is conceivable that the child will grow into adulthood sucking his/her thumb. At a certain point scientists can observe that anywhere from 2 – 7% of the adult population are thumb suckers. The examination of this issue is both philosophical and scientific. Neither discipline should be ignored even if one is rather weak in one or the other. I am leaving the discipline of psychology as a possible “balancer” of science and philosophy, though this might be disputed by some.

    The power and significance of human will and reason, of psychology and epistemology, must be taken into account.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren
  • Jayhuck

    From what little I’ve read of that article, that is how I would say I understand wiring.

  • Eddy

    Thanks Warrren and Jose for your less abstract thoughts on ‘wiring’. Good reading. (Warren, I followed your wiring link and figure I’m going to need at least two cups of coffee before wrapping my brain around it.)

    Jayhuck–

    I think Warren’s question is fine as it stands. He wants to evaluate those who have ‘changed…aspects of their sexuality’. While the points you made do need to be considered in Warren’s proposed brain scan imaging; there is nothing wrong with the way he used the word ‘change’. I guess I’m saying that it’s fair to elaborate on what he said to further make your point but to suggest that what he said is incorrect is stretching it. LOL! I’ve been admitting for going on 30 years that I haven’t ‘changed completely’ but I most certainly have ‘changed aspects of my sexuality’. The reasons and the degree of change may be up for evaluation and study but there has been change in aspects of my sexuality. Is it behavior only and not any real wiring change? That’s precisely what Warren wants to evaluate. (In essence: I agree with your concerns and comments as elaborations but I think Warren’s statement is accurate as it stands.)

    On a lighter note….I’m totally with you on the surreal tone. I felt like I had entered the twilight zone. My thanks again to Warren and Jose for bringing the discussion back to human brain wiring and also the human’s capacity for spiritual understanding and response.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    The reasons and the degree of change may be up for evaluation and study but there has been change in aspects of my sexuality.

    That is all I’m really saying. Ex-Ex Gays used to say that there had been changes in aspects of their sexuality too – so while I feel there is merit in embracing your change, I think its vitally important to start to figure out WHY those changes are happening. And saying there has been a change in your sexuality does NOT mean that there has been a fundamental change in the hardwiring of your brain. I think – at least I hope – we’re on the same page with this

  • Eddy

    To find out if we’re on the same page, I’d need the answer from you to this question: If I said that “I experienced changes in aspects of my sexuality”, would you accept the statement or would you infer that I was making an overstatement? (Would you feel impelled to suggest that I further qualify my words?)

    I really do need a basic ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in order to pursue this any further with you. Feel free to elaborate or qualify as needed but please recognize that my question(s) are simple and straightforward, I do need your honest ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Here’s hoping we’re on the same page.

  • Eddy

    Ooops! My bad. I should have directed my last post to Jayhuck. Anyone is free to respond, of course, but I was answering Jayhuck’s previous post directed to me.

  • Lynn David

    Eddy wrote:

    Okay, here’s the deal. I just counted approximately 30 comments on the homosexual sheep and those chimps…

    I just wrote what I did to clarify some misconceptions. Which seem to continue in one quarter.

    Eddy further wrote:

    I raised some pretty straightforward questions about the potential for the human brain to be rewired….

    And it seems I gave an answer to that…. but was it on this thread? No, it wasn’t…. where?? Dr T. even commented that he agreed with my post, so you’d think I would remember what I said or where it was…. though his agreement might have only been concerning the scope of science…. ok, found them. They were in the Homophobic Therapies Documenting the Damage thread, my posts numbers 49625 and 50553. And if the link to 49625 doesn’t show up just scroll up from 50553.

    In my post #49625 I commented:

    I do not doubt there is change in sexual attractions [SA] which represents true cognitive change (conscious mind). Maybe it is time to reserve sexual orientation [SO] for an aspect of the subconscious mind. And yes, I’d propose that SA & SO were, respectively, the result of higher brain functions of the neocortex (conscious mind) and more base instinctual functions of the limibic system (unconscious mind).

    SO would of course be a component (an often large component) of SA, but that doesn’t mean one cannot use reason to deny your SO as any part of a rebuilt SA….. or something like that.

    And in my post 50553 I further stated and clarified the idea:

    I would propose that the greater aspect of the totallity of sexual attration is a subconscious element which is what should be called sexual orientation. I would further propose that such a subconscious element is either a product of biology or the earliest of human neuro/psychological development such that this element tends towards immutability. ….

    ….overall it is the conscious mind which considers and reports on sexual attraction, the catchall. The conscious, willful mind can perhaps negate those aspects of sexual attraction which are derivative of the hypothesized subconscious, instinctual mind (such as sexual orientation), but perhaps only with great motivations such as that deriviative of the social order. Even then as reported by the president of Exodus, homosexual attraction (conscious recognition of the subconscious sexual orientation) may come to the fore.

    How’s that, Eddy

    ________________________________

    Warren wrote:

    ….brain science is demonstrating that sexual attractions are real and measurable neural pathways and that activation of these pathways differ according to stated erotic preferences.

    Back when you showed the Baily MRIs (or whatever scan they were) I asked that since homosexual men had a greater response in the midbrain, which I would consider to be the instinctual, old-mammalian brain, I asked if you or others were now going to claim that homosexuality is the product of the “animal which is man” and not of reason. Now I wonder if that does not state a grain of reality and it has to do with socialization.

    Here is what I have in mind. I have this overall idea concerning man (conjecture, certainly not hypothesis or theory – and yes, the idea of a godless atheist) in which his cognizant statements of family, morality and certain religiosity is a restatement in the cognizant mind, thus a rewiring of the neoccortex, of that which is first stated (hard-wired) in the instinctual mind, the old mammalian brain. Through further positive socialization in our youth, it might be that the reaction of the cognizant mind is then divorced from the instinctual mind, thus that area of the brain, the old instinctual mammalian brain, may not be activated for certain reactions, such as heterosexual attraction. It would be as if one hard drive (the old instinctual mammalian brain) had permanently uploaded to active RAM (the human neocortex).

    But that isn’t seen in gay men, and my idea thus is that socialization from an early age doesn’t occur for the homosexuality and thus the instinctual sexual orientation in the old instinctual mammalian brain is not fully uploaded to the human neocortex – thus the Baily MRIs showing midbrain activity during arousal. And it is thus that heterosexual sexual orientation would be fully uploaded – via positive socialization – to the human neocortex; and the instinctual sexual orientation, simply becomes the cognizant mind’s sexual attraction (as i differentiated them in 49625). But the correlation between the MRIs and socialization may simply be serendipetous.

    _____________________________

    But after your admissions as to the brain being the control, Warren, I have to ask why you should state that: “…saying to real live adult, “your body tells you who you are” presents the traditionally religious SSA person with serious dissonance which is not completely addressed by saying look to your genitals.” I heard much the same thing the other day on Oprah as my mother flipped between channels, a transgendered woman stated that: “gender is the the brain, sexual orientation is between your legs.” I find these statements to be insulting as the timing of both directed them towards gay people. Because we all know that the brain is the originator of all reactions.

    _______________________________

    There I go again with the exposition… put it down to my German roots which push me for an explanation. So then it would be that a person’s socialization in heterosexual society (and religious thought) would be the great motivator to change that sexual attraction of the cognizant mind (human neocortex) and divorce (separate) or ignore (suppress) the sexual orientation of the instinctual, old mammalian brain.

    How a Christian might do that I do not know. Divorce will obviously give one the better result, but I thought divorce was a sin? :)

  • Lynn David

    Was my somewhat esoteric post too long?

    It didn’t show up for me.

    Or did its links and length trigger an automated warning flag for moderation?

    Thankfully, I saved it on Notepad, so….. ;)

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    If I said that “I experienced changes in aspects of my sexuality”, would you accept the statement or would you infer that I was making an overstatement?

    I have never, EVER suggested that what you are saying is not true. I’ve never believed it was an “overstatement”. But I also believe you cannot further qualify the statement either.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    The short answer is YES! :)

  • Drowssap

    As for change, I do believe in prayer and the power of positive thinking. However neither of these things has been shown to be overwhelmingly effective or consistent.

    People interested in change need a roadmap. Somebody needs to interview the people who stopped acting on or reduced their SSA and find out how they did it. Take all of the simple, practical ideas that worked/helped and broadcast them online. There has to be some simple but effective ideas floating around out there.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    I could very easily be wrong about this, but I think the experience has been different for each person.

  • Ann

    I could very easily be wrong about this, but I think the experience has been different for each person.

    Jayhuck,

    You are 100% right as far as I am concerned!

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    Ann

    I’m sure you guys are right. For those interested in change its different for everyone. But without some simple and commonly effective steps success is going to be rare. Aren’t there 10 simple things people can do to get started? People need a roadmap for success.

    Sidebar: The roadmap can’t be solely based on willpower.

    Last point: If people can’t reduce SSA or start feeling OSA it shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of moral or personal failure. If someone tries and doesn’t get there, no big deal. Maybe they weren’t ready for OSA yet, and maybe they never will be. Congrats on the effort.

    my 2 cents

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    If people can’t reduce SSA or start feeling OSA it shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of moral or personal failure. If someone tries and doesn’t get there, no big deal. Maybe they weren’t ready for OSA yet, and maybe they never will be. Congrats on the effort.

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with this. There is SO much emphasis put on changing and sometimes marriage, that I think, too often, the people who can’t change or who change only very little are made to feel inadequate or inferior – not directly of course. Its too bad that, in our society, we don’t prize celibacy more than we do – it is a noble thing and for many can even be a better and holier state than marriage.

  • Ann

    Drowssap,

    I think you make very good points – my concern has always been how this subject is generalized by most and then causes limitations to those who are seeking answers. For instance, the fallacy that one has to be a Christian to change their SSA. How has that been accepted and endorsed? Unfortunately it is promoted at the exclusion of any other resource. I understand that it is crucial to many but is meaningless to others who have a different religion or none at all. YES, as in all things that we endeavor, a road map or guideline can put us in the right direction. It is daunting when someone does talk about their suggestions in this regard and it is villified by all those who don’t agree. I am looking forward to the day when those with unwanted SSA will be respected for their decisions instead of chastised. I also think the majority of those who have made a personal decision to no longer identify themselves as gay or be in same gendered relationships choose to stay anonymous. As in most things, those kind of decisions that have been made quietly and without fanfare are more sustainable than those who chose to go public.

  • Eddy

    Drowssap–

    I think it goes a little beyond ‘the power of positive thinking’. Sometimes, it’s rethinking something that is the most powerful and, IMHO, produces significant and lasting change (to whatever degree).

    I used to be so effeminate that I was often mistaken for a woman. I had what many considered to be ‘a gay walk’ and ‘gay mannerisms’. When I went ‘ex-gay’, I still had them. No one drilled me on how to ‘walk like a man’ and I wasn’t chastised for having mannerisms that appeared ‘gay’. However, both my walk and my mannerisms changed dramatically over the course of the next several years. I recall that I had a very narrow view of what a man was…and I didn’t fit that image at all. When the truth finally dawned that I was indeed a man just not ‘the worldly version’ of a man, my exaggerated effeminacy began to disappear. I also recall a teenage incident where I had quit baseball and joined the swimming team. When I swam in my first meet and actually outswam 2 of the other teams swimmers, I was expecting words of congratulation from my dad (who also happened to be the manager of the pool). He missed my race entirely. I recall thinking to myself “if that’s what a man is, then I want no part of it.” When I forgave him for this parental injustice, significant changes happened again. (I believe those same changes COULD have occurred had I remained gay-identified but that they probably wouldn’t have. The effeminacy would likely have been viewed as part of my gay self.)

    Please note what I didn’t say: I didn’t say that all, or even most, gays are effeminate. I said I was. I didn’t say that my walk was gay or that my mannerisms were; I said they were PERCEIVED that way by others (but I’ll add that I perceived them that way too.) I didn’t say that gay men weren’t real men. Neither did I say that all gay men have issues with their sense of maleness; I’m saying I did. I also didn’t say that all gay men have traumatic issues with their fathers; once again, I’m saying I did. Further, I’m not saying that these were the only changes that occurred in ‘aspects of my sexuality’ but simply that these changes did occur and I”ll add that they are so far gone that I don’t even think I could re-create them if I tried. There are other aspects of my sexuality that changed to a lesser degree and some that changed more. Some changes were more permanent and others seem to require periodic ‘booster shots’, as it were, through prayer, bible study, fellowship or counseling.

    This is why I support the direction Warren is taking with SIT. A mixed up young person such as I was could benefit from a neutral environment to safely explore these issues. Some are persuaded that Warren is far from neutral but I’m personally persuaded that SIT is far more neutral that any other option that either side currently offers. I agree that it shouldn’t be this way but the ongoing political polarization has made it so.

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    I’ll have to let you off the hook on what we were discussing earlier. But when an appropriate thread pops up my links are ready. 8-)

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    I would propose that the greater aspect of the totallity of sexual attration is a subconscious element which is what should be called sexual orientation. I would further propose that such a subconscious element is either a product of biology or the earliest of human neuro/psychological development such that this element tends towards immutability.

    How about simplifying that to “missing neurotransmitter.” Gay people may (or may not) be one neurotransmitter away from being straight, and visa versa.

    Example:

    The neurotransmitter Orexin regulates sleep. Without it people experience narcolepsy.

    http://www.dailyadvance.com/health/content/shared-auto/healthnews/somn/517910.html

  • Mary

    10 simple things people can do to get started

    1. Stop thinking you can’t and start to think that you can

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    What is “maleness”? What does it mean, according to you, to be a male? I’m not trying to be adversarial here, I’m just curious what your take on this is. Culture, by and large, usually determines what it means to be a male – but I’m interested to know what the idea of being male means to you.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    I believe that most people who seek out reorientation therapy do it primarily for religious reasons – and the vast majority of these people are Christians – which is why I think you tend to see mostly people from that faith tradition seeking that kind of help/therapy.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m also curious if you think SIT therapy should be a standard for ALL people, or just for those people who are struggling with their orientation and their value system?

    Personally, if the idea is to use SIT as a standard therapy system for all kids/adults, then that same neutral environment to explore issues surrounding sexuality should be offered to those kids/adults who believe they are straight.

    My understanding (and I mean my own personal view) has been that SIT or Reparative Therapy is ONLY to be an option if someone is struggling with their orientation – since being gay is not a disease and is considered normal, I see no reason to make SIT a standard for all.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Simple definition: maleness is those things that identify one with the male gender.

    Since ‘disidentification with a sense of maleness’ was my point–and I indicated that I had distorted views, my current concept of what things are essential to maleness are not relevant to the topic. My current views of what it means to be a man–given the topic of this post–would be a serious detour in the making. Theories of masculinity and feminity: how much is learned vs how much is innate, how much is cultural vs how much is common to all men regardless of their culture, how much is twisted or distorted through increased media exposure. We’ll go further when we’re a bit closer to topic.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Fair enough :)

  • concerned

    You are right Mary. When I stopped thinking that there was nothing that could be done to change I was able to begin the journey of change that seemed to elude me for years. Now I no longer doubt that change occurs. If change in my behaviour away from same-sex activity and living more inline with my true value system makes me feel better about myself then nothing anyone says contrary to this should influence my choice.

    For all of the biology that has been presented here I say I have heard it all before. I use to let it influence how I felt about myself and that influenced what I thought would make me happy. I now see so much of this to be agenda driven and very far from actual science that I have started to look elsewhere for answers. I am not saying that I do not believe that science cannot give us answers, but when it claims to be unbiased and yet is extremely agenda driven it is not science.

  • Jayhuck

    Concerned,

    If change in my behavior away from same-sex activity and living more inline with my true value system makes me feel better about myself then nothing anyone says contrary to this should influence my choice.

    This much I wholeheartedly agree with!!!!!

  • Drowssap

    concerned

    What simple things did you do that helped you change either your orientation or behavior? If something works it needs to be known.

  • concerned

    I simply surrendered my will to change over to the will of God. I know that sound religious and all, but it was not at all like what you think. My trust in others took me out of the isolation that I had put myself in for so many years. Because I felt I could not change and I believed what I had been reading about this being so much hard-wired I began to believe there was nothing I could do to change. What I have learned is that surrendering my will helps me to understand what it was that was really missing in my life, it was healthy relationships with friends and family. Nothing in the kind of behaviour I was involved with before could have ever given me this. The fact that I have now been able to stop this behaviour has helped me to look at myself very differently. No it has not been an easy thing to do, but nothing in life worthwhile is ever easy. That is the biggest deception of our age.

  • Jayhuck

    Concerned,

    No it has not been an easy thing to do, but nothing in life worthwhile is ever easy.

    What I find interesting in the above statement is that I’ve heard many gay people say the exact same thing – I think the ex-gay and gay camps have more in common than maybe either wants to admit.

  • Drowssap

    I understand the general idea but could you be more specific on what you did?

    Day 1) Today I stopped behavior X and started behavior Y.

    I mean specific steps. I’m not saying they would work for everyone but maybe they would work for many people. Its gotta be like weight loss, cut calories and increase exercise. Something simple that tends to work.

    That is the biggest deception of our age.

    If scientists ultimately determine that SSA has biological origins it doesn’t automatically mean that change is impossible for everyone.

    The brain is mallable.

    However, it would explain why change is so difficult if not impossible for so many people.

    Timothy Kincaid wrote about attempting change and coming up blank. I believe him.

  • concerned

    I attempted change for many years also and would have to say I came up blank. I think what changed for me was that I began to believe that if the choices I made in my past got me into the mess I was in then different choices today might just help get me out. And that is where it began.

    Different choices on how I react to situations gave me a different way to look at the world. I am in no way saying that what I have found for myself will work for everyone who deals with homosexual feelings, but I will no longer accept anyone saying that no one has really changed. They can believe what they want and gay science, I am, sure will support what they are looking for.

  • Lynn David

    Concerned wrote:

    …the isolation that I had put myself in for so many years….

    …surrendering my will helps me to understand what it was that was really missing in my life, it was healthy relationships with friends and family….

    …Nothing in the kind of behaviour I was involved with before could have ever given me this…..

    So you’re saying you got caught up in a behavior which separated you from friends and family? Your isolation was due to their disgust of your behavior? Otherwise, why should being homosexual do that, if for no other reason than your friends and family shunned you because you were homosexual? Was that it?

    If so, then you reprioritized your friends and family over your behavior…. but not a sense of self? Because your self had nothing to do with having a homosexual orientation…. no hard-wiring, right? So then in your case homosexual behavior must have first occurred without any homosexual attractions? Why?

    And why so difficult? Nicolosi says once a gay man realizes what “made him gay” then *poof* he’s straight.

    ________________________

    Drowssap wrote:

    If scientists ultimately determine that SSA has biological origins it doesn’t automatically mean that change is impossible for everyone.

    The brain is mallable

    I agree. I think the mind can also be a trickster.

    It’s just that of the Exodus ministries which i have found which speak of or have polled their “clients” for the reasons for being homosexual (or rather just having homosexual behavior), 98+% mention daddy issues/lost love/hunger, a good three-quarters mention being mommy’s boys, and less than half might mention having been sexually or emotionally molested. A host of other “reasons” are also given (especially in one Exodus ministry poll). These reasons seem trivial to me. I mean my dad died when I was 17, but I knew I was homosexual long before that. It’s like they picked them out of a book by Nicolosi.

    It seems to me that people in the ministries are often giving themselves these simplistic reasons just to fool themselves, to give themselves a reason for an out. In other words, a trick of the mind, to hold to as a truth by which you then concentrate upon your change. But just how true is that truth for so many people? And if that truth cannot hold up and is exposed as the trick it is? Well, that is often the problem with reparative therapy.

  • concerned

    No Lynn,

    That was not it at all. I isolated myself because I could not accept that homosexuality was acceptable to them or for me. I could not find what it was that fulfilled me as a person by doing what I was doing, and yet I was always hearing from pro-gay propaganda that the only way I would be happy would be to accept that I was gay. Now I am grateful that that did not come as an easy choice to make.

    And no Nicolossi does not say this at all.

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    I don’t know a lot about Exodus but from what you write I am in complete agreement. That sounds like a bunch of hocus-pocus.

    Whether SSA is the result of a gene, environment or socialization it appears that real biological changes have occured. I don’t believe in the notion that if gay men come to grips with their father, POOF they will be straight. That is nonsense. For those people who hold the possibility of switching to OSA it is going to take a lot of consistent, mental retraining.

    Think how hard it would be for most people to switch from Democrat to Republican or visa versa. It would be that times 1000. 8-)

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    I do agree that ex gays and gays have alot in common. Both groups have had to fight people, society, and themselves to get to a place of contentment.

  • Mary

    Concerned,

    I’m glad you have stuck to your guns. It’s your life and it’s a good one (just in case you have not heard that in a while)

  • Eddy

    Lynn David–

    You mentioned above the 98% claiming dad issues and love deficits, another sizable chunk (and obviously overlapping with the 98%) as momma’s boys and somewhere less than 50% being sexually or emotionally molested. When you said ‘these reasons seem trivial to me’ were you including these or did you only mean those other unnamed ‘reasons’? I’m having an especially difficult time viewing sexual or emotional molestation as a trivial reason.

    It sounds as if you’ve ruled out the significance of both upbringing and traumatic molestation. I’m wondering, then, if there could be ANY reason that you’d regard as non-trivial.

    I believe that the only ‘reason’ for homosexual identity that ALL within Exodus would agree on is that it’s ‘a snare of the enemy’. They believe that the transaction that took place at Calvary was very real. That Christ lived and died buying our souls back from the power of Satan. (Yeah, a real satan…a proud angel.) To varying degrees, they recognize that Satan and the angels that fell with him have been doing their best to corrupt God’s human and earthly creation. That’s where the ‘snares’ come in.

    It would appear that some snares are employed more often than others. (the 98%) Often, a combination of snares are employed.(the overlap of the 98% and the 75% for example) If we stick with this scenario, no two snares are exactly alike–just as no two people are exactly alike. So, when you encounter a snare you’ve never seen before, you’re likely to deal with it in a private session. If it’s showing significant commonality, then you’ll likely be hearing lectures and discussion on it at leadership conferences and seminars. In the polls, Exodus was simply trying to determine which factors were most common–and which other factors may have been overlooked.

    One problem, of couse, is that the polls are subjective. Another is, that depending on how long and how deeply the pollee had been involved with their ministry, they could simply be parroting what they’ve been hearing in the groups or one to one’s.

    (It’s my personal opinion that both the ‘distant dad’ and the ‘smother mother’ results suffer from this. And, is another reason why I’d like to see a program like SIT where professionalism might improve the accuracy and relevance of the results.)

  • Lynn David

    I guess I better answer some points and questions.

    First Concerned wrote:

    I isolated myself because I could not accept that homosexuality was acceptable to them or for me. I could not find what it was that fulfilled me as a person by doing what I was doing, and yet I was always hearing from pro-gay propaganda that the only way I would be happy would be to accept that I was gay.

    Gee…. what were you doing? Well, I guess I can imagine. But my question is why do it? Hey, I admit to some rather unconventional behavior also. Dating women – looking for a relationship – on the rare weekend and even more rarely hooking up with men at a reservoir park during the week while in my 20s. Then at 29 I ended up with a cancer which sorta cut into any intimate activity. What I found therein was my own peace which valued an intimate emotional relationship above all and, yes, the acceptance that I was gay.

    From what you say, I imagine that it was the overall social order – family, church, etc – which gave you your negative view of your life as you led it. But why style your life in that isolation and whatever? I don’t see any of your “pro-gay propaganda” as being in favor of that. That is self-abhorance. But today, those who lead in the gay community are more often family-oriented people. People whose ethic tends towards monogamy. Because like me many if not most value an intimate emotional relationship above all. I mean the local gay-pride picnic near here looks more like a church social.

    But I understand that you had to do what was best for you at the time and under the circumstances, which I cannot at all know. I’m just a little miffed at your tendency towards an anti-gay rhetoric is all, I guess.

    Oh and lastly… Nicolosi did say that, but I cannot now find where. Well, he said when one’s “masculinity is restored” then the orientation changes. See Jim Burrows report of Nicolosi’s talk at Love Won Out at:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/04/12/290

    ________________________________

    Eddy asked:

    When you said ‘these reasons seem trivial to me’ were you including these or did you only mean those other unnamed ‘reasons’? I’m having an especially difficult time viewing sexual or emotional molestation as a trivial reason.

    I meant the other reasons were trivial. I’m not sure if the other reasons are trivial or if they are reactions to a gay (less than masculine) child by the father. My question is always which came first the homosexual child or the father who is distant. Some of the trivial things were like missing a child’s performance at school or something like that. The poll I had in mind was I think from “People Can Change” – which I guess is not an Exodian affiliate.

    Even my dad disappointed me often when I was young, it was the nature of his work. But we still had a strong bond of love and as I got into my teens I often went with him to help in his work (he was self-employed). Those early disappointments seem trivial to me if a father still makes the effort otherwise as my father did.

    Then I wonder why my father and his brother weren’t gay. Their father was a drunk, physically abusive – even took a gunshot at their mother, and then finally he abandoned the family during the depression. Classic neoFreudian/Nicolosian case for it if you ask me. And that has me wondering about the daddy issues.

    Ok, on the spiritual issues, though there are some more mundane things that an Exodus therapist would concentrate upon.

  • concerned

    Lynn David,

    You may be right and I will not judge you on the happiness you found in living your life as a gay man, but again, I do not believe that is necessarily the way others will find happiness. For myself I have found happiness by leaving the past identity behind, as difficult as that has been. Labelling oneself as “gay” is a very strong lore in our culture today, but it definitely left me feeling unfulfilled. I no longer see it of value for me. Now all that I ask is that you are able to accept that and be happy for me rather than judge me for what I may or may not have done in the past. What matters for me and my family is how I live my life today. I am sorry if you cannot accept this for what it is.

    Coming to understand my masculinity, not in accordance with the image being set by Hollywood or theatre, but the image that is presented in scripture has set me free to be myself. You say:

    “I imagine that it was the overall social order – family, church, etc – which gave you your negative view of your life as you led it. But why style your life in that isolation and whatever?”

    You are partly right on this and today I am thankful for that negative view. Coming to a clearer understanding of my masculinity has freed me of the bondage of seeing myself as being gay, because some wished to put me into their little compartment because that is how they personally identified themselves.

  • ken

    Lynn David said in post 54066:

    My question is always which came first the homosexual child or the father who is distant.

    I’d put my money on option C, the therapy intent on finding the distant relationship with the father.

    Your characterization of the NARTH (Nicolosi isn’t the only one using this approach, just the most vocal) reparative therapy is a bit of an over-simplification, but not far off the mark. The basics are they try to find the root cause of the person’s homosexuality (i..e bad relationship with the father, early child-hood trauma etc) and apply psycho-dynamic techniques to “repair” the damage caused by this early childhood “developmental flaw”

  • Jayhuck

    Ken and Lynn,

    I’ve often wondered about this myself. I’ve had my own theory surrounding the distant same-sex parent phenomena that exists for some gay kids (as well as straight kids). I believe, at least for some, that the parent distances them self AFTER the child reveals, directly or indirectly, that they are gay – or simply different in another way. By this I mean that the parent through some event guesses the child might be gay, or the child specifically tells them, and then that parent distances them self from that child – it would make sense that it might be the same-sex parent in such cases. For example, I’ve been witness to fathers slowly distancing themselves from sons that aren’t perhaps what they hoped for – I also think that this could happen at just about any age other than the extremely young.

    I say all of this with the understanding that many or most gay children do not grow up with distant parents -

    and that this is just a personal theory and is not supported by science.

  • Ann

    I’m just a little miffed at your tendency towards an anti-gay rhetoric is all, I guess

    Lynn David,

    Anit-gay rhetoric? Just because he has a different perspective and experience than you hardly indicates an anti-gay rhetoric.

    Concerned,

    PLEASE keep sharing your perspective and experiences – they hit home for many of us and I applaud you for your courteous responses when your point of view is scrutinized.

  • Ann

    Jayhuck,

    Doesn’t temperment also play a part as to how the child interprets his / her experiences as to parenting or other issues? I know many people, including myself, who have grown up with exactly the same set of circumstances within a family environment and have responded to life in a completely different way. Temperment is the only thing I can attribute it to. If one is born with a sensitive nature then their experiences will be very different from the child who is resilliant and can move through experiences rather than be suspended in them. I think temperment that is not conducive to resilliancy (anger, over-sensitivity, shyness, agressive, etc.) can be modified throughout one’s life, preferably starting in childhood.

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    Yes – I’m sure the temperament of the child also plays a part in this process – although I thinks its wrong to assume that even an overly-sensitive child can’t be resilient! Maybe it depends on what we mean by resiliency!

    I think – and let me emphasize THINK – that in the end, we will come to understand that our behaviors are the products of both our DNA and the environment.

  • Mary

    Ann,

    I have a strong belief in the tempermant idea. My sisters and I grew up in the same environment but responded in a variety of ways. Unusual ways — but a variety nonetheless.

  • Ann

    I think – and let me emphasize THINK – that in the end, we will come to understand that our behaviors are the products of both our DNA and the environment.

    Jayhuck,

    Oh yes, I think they complement each other as well in the development of our thoughts and behaviors. A sensitive child can absolutely be resiliant, however a child that doesn’t “absorb” it’s experiences the same way will more than likely move through them easier without trying to understand them the same way as a sensitive child – in other words, the sensitive child will try to figure it out while the less sensitive child moves forward toward the next and new experience. The same with adults – some will allow everything to bother them while others will move through the same experience like teflon.

  • Eddy

    Lynn David–

    Thanks for your reply. Since we recently had the post about the silver-haired daddies…I couldn’t bring myself to use it in this other context. (Believe me, I wanted to…but feared it would be misconstrued…and that the humor would be missed.)

    Exodus does focus on the more mundane…what’s that old line about ‘an idle mind being the devil’s workshop’? Those ‘snares’ I mentioned are most often mental and emotional. Doesn’t really matter if your relationships were good or bad…it’s how you perceived them to be.

    I thought my dad was disappointed in me…that I wasn’t the kind of son that he’d have chosen to have. In return, I was disappointed in him…and concluded that that I didn’t want to be anything like him. Turns out that dad was very proud of me. He admitted years later that I was asking questions at age 6 that most people wouldn’t ask in their entire life. He didn’t have the answers–got intimidated and backed away. I, in turn, felt the distance but ascribed my own reasons to it. I also have a boatload of brothers. Our differences in tastes, interests, drives and beliefs also played into my ‘messed up’ teenage and young adult head. With dad, there also came a point when there was really nothing he could do to have any further impact on me. (It wasn’t until after a Christian counselor persuaded me to forgive him–even as wrong as I believed he was–that I recalled that he actually spent an entire Saturday in a high school auditorium attending a city-wide spelling bee because I was our school’s winner.)

    I think of ‘rejection’ as almost having magnetic properties. If you expect rejection, you’ll almost certainly get it. My basic sense of rejection ran so deep that I imagined offenses when there were none and was ‘visually impaired’ when it came to the good stuff.

    Another problem with rejection is that it is extremely common to make assumptions based on it. There must be a reason he doesn’t love me…there must be something wrong with me. Self-rejection, hatred or loathing is one of the first things that most of Exodus would deal with with a new client. One of the first lessons I taught was that ‘conviction’ was a guilt feeling from God designed to draw you closer to him; ‘condemnation’ was a guilt feeling (from within, from society, from satan) that’s purpose was to drive you away.

    I appreciated the further talks on the temperaments. LOL! Growing up in a large family, you don’t need to be convinced that they exist! And looking back at a large family, I can see how differing temperaments played into how we each responded to our environments…home, school, church, neighborhood. None of my brothers turned out gay but, let’s just say that we ALL gave mom plenty to pray about…3 of us moreso than the rest. Lynn David, I tend to think that the temperaments are the ‘wild card’ that cause some to respond to the dad issues as they do.

    One final point, homosexuality isn’t the only snare we believe satan would use to drive a wedge between a person and their creator. Could be licentiousness, selfishness, greed, media addiction, overeating, alcoholism, compulsivity. A person could be so rich and comfortable that they never see their need for God. The focus on homosexuality that you see here and within Exodus are NOT motivated by a desire to single out one specific behavior. It is, however, a recognition that the church at large has been dismal in presenting a complete Gospel message. (They stop at ‘you’re a sinner’ and forget to add that ‘Jesus loves you, anyway’.)

  • Lynn David

    Concerned wrote:

    You are partly right on this and today I am thankful for that negative view. Coming to a clearer understanding of my masculinity has freed me of the bondage of seeing myself as being gay, because some wished to put me into their little compartment because that is how they personally identified themselves.

    Not to harp, but there you go again about other people classifying you in one way. And yet you are happy about people putting you into their little compartment because that is how they personally identified themselves drawn on by their negative views of what you were. Where is the you in all of that? The view of the major religions are just as much a little compartment as any other view from without. I guess my point is that one can create their own set of values, drawing from either side to create what is best for your life.

    As far as masculinity goes, I’ve always tried to be true to what my own father told me. He was dying of cancer and knew it even if mother and I didn’t, and he wanted to impart some wisdom. The one thing he told me that really stuck was that, “you should do what you’re man enough to do.” He used a rather mundane example, that of exceeding the speed limit, not for a thrill, or just because you could do it, but for a real need, a purpose. I’m sorry to say that in my 20s I wasn’t being “man enough.” It took my own bout with cancer but when I finally came to acknowledge my homosexuality that I finally came to be the man my father was talking about there.

    _____________________________________

    Ann wrote:

    Anit-gay rhetoric? Just because he has a different perspective and experience than you hardly indicates an anti-gay rhetoric.

    Well, I guess it was words such as this that stuck in my craw…..

    Concerned #53718: “For all of the biology that has been presented here I say I have heard it all before. … I now see so much of this to be agenda driven and very far from actual science that I have started to look elsewhere for answers. … when it claims to be unbiased and yet is extremely agenda driven it is not science.

    Concerned #53781: “They can believe what they want and gay science, I am, sure will support what they are looking for.

    I’ve been in discussions of evolution/ID [aka. creationism] and the arguement from the creationist side has often been to calumnize a whole body of science (most often including my own profession of geology) and the conscientious scientists themselves as either liars or fools. This seems to be at the heart of many of their arguements as well as Concerned made it a part of his. So call it anti-gay or anti-science, but I find it to be an attitude which is completely at odds with the 8th commandment (I’m former Catholic, so it might be your 7th or 9th). Thus the viewpoint should surely be a sin for such a person. But as an atheist I see it more simply as an extraordinary lack of faith in one’s fellow men.

    . . .

  • Jayhuck

    Ann,

    I agree with you completely.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    They stop at ‘you’re a sinner’ and forget to add that ‘Jesus loves you, anyway’.

    I would agree with this as far as Evangelicals are concerned. They indeed have a dismal history concerning loving the homosexual. Chad Thompson in his book “Loving the Homosexual as Jesus Would” does a good job taking Evangelicals to task.

  • Concerned

    Jayhuck said,

    “that many or most gay children do not grow up with distant parents”

    “I believe you mean to say many or most gay children you know”. My experience is just the opposite. I know many men who struggle in this way and the story is more often than not that there was a distancing from the same-sex parent or even both parents. I know that was true in my own case.

  • Concerned

    Ann,

    I agree with you on the temperment idea and I strongly feel this is the route of this for myself. A couple of years ago a friend gave me a book call, “The Highly Sensitive Person”. I did not have to read far into it to realize this was all about my life experience. That sensitivity made me much more susceptible to rejection and judgement from my father and perceived feeling of rejection by him. This really challenged my sense of my own masculinity.

  • Concerned

    LYNN DAVID,

    The issue I have with this science as you are calling it is that I am trained in science and do firmly believe in what science can reveal to us, but what I have seen in much of the science is more media hype than science and as a scientist I have a responsibility to challenge that.

  • Jayhuck

    Concerned,

    I’m not saying that there aren’t gay people who grew up with distant parents – But in the group of people that I do know (and you’re right Concerned, I should have said it like this :)), the number of straight people with distant parents equals the number of gay people with distant parents. Add to this discussion the fact that we often don’t seem to know when the parents actually distanced themselves or why, and it just becomes a weak case for supporting the distant-parent causal theory for homosexuality. Maybe no one was trying to make this case, but I got the sense that perhaps we were headed in that direction – my apologies if I was wrong!

  • Lynn David

    Concerned wrote:

    but what I have seen in much of the science is more media hype than science and as a scientist I have a responsibility to challenge that.

    Now this has me scratching my head…. sure the media has reported on the research and sometimes a story is written concerning the totality of it. Other times there have been some debate about the efficacy and purpose of the research in the media; such as when some gay activists got all hot under the collar against the Oregon sheep study.

    I fail to see how this reportage is hype when you can go to the original scientific article (and I have attempted to locate those when available on the Net). But sometimes a newspaper article is all one can access at the time. [In my gay mind] hype was more in keeping with the way Jones & Yarhouse came to present their study in a book form at a recent conference of persons amenable to their viewpoint.

    Moreover, to be gay is simply newsworthy these days. I’m not sure who made it so, but I think what most of us lump as the “anti-gay side” is the cause. I remember after the Supreme Court issued its finding in the case of Lawrence v. Texas that the “family” organizations immediately started their rumblings [aka clamoring for contributions] over “gay marriage” and how homosexuals were going to destroy civilization which has continued to this day. So if the media coverage seems like hype, I think you only have the real anti-gay side to blame for for the most recent spate of it this century.

  • concerned

    Lynn David,

    You are right in part of what you say and I do apologize for offending you by my comment about the science. I must also clarify for you that I am not from the US and when I say media hype I look back here in Canada when the culture war over same-sex marriage was at it peak in this country. There was little open or honest discussion on this debate allowed.

    Anyone that tried to stand against the power of the governing body of the time was shut down through ridicule and chastizement. How does this allow for all voices to be heard? I did go to many of the original articles on the gay gene and I found that the authors often said something quite different than what the media reported and yet that is the source that so many people seem to rely on for their understanding of science. In this country it was often the public media not the religious right that had the reporting mixed up. That is the part I have trouble with.

    In many ways I should be thankful to you for your position because it has clarrified for me my own position and why I had such distain for the approach used up here not that long ago. I do not wish any ill upon anyone so I will leave it at that.

  • Lynn David

    You’re welcome, Concerned. During those times I remarked several times to a Canadian friend of mine (straight) that it seemed as if the Canadian government was going too far in policing speech concerning sexual orientation. Her opinion was that all was as is should be…. but to me it didn’t fit the idea of free speech in America. Which is to say you really didn’t have to apologize to me. I’m just a bit sensitive in that regard towards science and those who diligently work therein when someone starts making blanket statements to rebuke it/them.

  • Drowssap

    Lynn David

    You are right for being concerned about the policing of free speech by interest groups. What your friend doesn’t understand is that the pendulum is constantly swinging. A few scientific discoveries from now society could completely rethink it’s position and end up going too far the other way.

    Whatever the outcome its better that everyone is heard. At least then the only people who are angry and bitter are the crazies, not half of middle America who feel looked down on.

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