When I was in college, at the University of Hawai'i back in 1982, the human sexuality class took stood on the side of biology. Our textbook stated that people were born homosexual. There didn't seem to be much room for choice. Apparently the sexuality was driven by hormones and personality and other inborn traits that could not be altered. Clearly that was an answer that was not accepted comfortably by everyone, including the professor. In Hawai'i in the 1980's AIDs was something people were only beginning to talk about. Promiscuous sex from both heterosexuals and gays was rampant in Waikiki, a tropical vacation hot spot where people frankly, expected to have numerous encounters. Not only were their bars that catered to gay men, there was even more than one on Oahu that specialized in lesbian clientele. The local population, located only a few miles inland from Waikiki beach was by no means uniformly united accepting homosexuality. Barely a few years later when the subject of legalizing gay marriage in the state came up, it did not pass. In a state with some incredible ethic, religious, and social diversity this was shocking.
Unable to confidently speak on homosexuality, my professor for the human sexuality class asked a guest speaker to pick up the topic. She didn't choose another professor, or even a professional speaker. She picked a gay person she knew. This likable young man, hardly ten years older than us, if even that, came on stage dressed in a bright orange jumpsuit. I could see discomfort on the face of the boy sitting next to me in class. Luckily we were sitting in a theater style arrangement there may have been over a thousand kids in the class, the lights dimmed as he began to speak. There would be no heckling. We were adults who paid money for full four year university degree. We politely settled in to hear what he had to say.
If my professor thought he was going to dispel some of the notions people have about gays she was sadly mistaken. Perhaps she was naÃ¯ve, or maybe she meant to incite. This man had by no means an average story. He did not bring up any memories of "feeling different" or "knowing from a young age. Instead he launched right into a visceral description of being molested as child by a male neighbor. An absolute nightmare, cinching, unequivocally every person's fear that someone can "turn" gay, by his story. I could hear murmurings and mumblings in the crowd. I find it hard to believe that if the topic had been heterosexuality she would have brought in a guest speaker who enjoyed gang raping teens.
In fact that young man's story brings up the sorry subject of defining "what is gay?" You may think it is as simple as saying when two guys get it on, but it's not. Queen Victoria was so naÃ¯ve that when she outlawed sex between two men in England, she neglected to outlaw sex between two women because she did not think such a thing ever happened. So what is gay? Is it when two women or two men get it on? It's actually not even that simple. There are men in prison who are so frustrated and bored they would overpower another inmate without defining themselves as gay. One would argue that their action was not powered by biology. If they were not incarcerated they might have gone their whole life without a homosexual act. And you can equally argue that their behavior is innate, and inborn, in that not every person incarcerated takes advantage of other inmates. There are people who are born dominating and unsavory â€“ rape is a crime of power and control, not passion.
The real truth is human sexuality is a spectrum. Any person truly devoid of every homosexual feeling would be unable to even ascertain if someone of their same sex was "good looking" or attractive. The truly straight person would only be attracted to people of the opposite gender. We all know women who say things like, "so and so is very pretty." That doesn't make them gay. However, it means on some level they are attracted to other women. They know what constitutes "pretty." Ask a man if his friend is good looking, and you will find a large number of men shrug their shoulders in authentic confusion.
Estimates of the homosexual population vary widely for this reason. Estimates as low as three percent are probably defining a homosexual as someone who knew their preference as a self realization unconnected to aberrant sexual practices such as a rape or molestation. Estimates as high as 10 percent may be including people who engage in homosexual practices under duress, as in, when incarcerated, as well as youthful explorations, and bi-sexual individuals.
There are Christian groups committed to "healing" or "fixing" homosexuals. Some of these groups will admit the best that can be expected is either abstinence from a completely gay person, or choice adjustment from a bi-sexual person. A bi-sexual person who finds dating people of the same sex too difficult can choose to act straight without revealing an ongoing attraction to people of the same sex. Technically this would still be a sin, although people hoping to be accepted into a Christian community would hardly admit to the lingering attraction. The same would be true of abstinence. According to Jesus, lusting in your heart, is the same as the action. So in my humble opinion, a person born gay might as well enjoy the life style, if it's a sin either way.
Some Christians break it down to sex outside of a marriage, heterosexual or homosexual, as the "real" sin. If that is the truth, they really ought to reconsider their view on gay marriage. Else how can a real queer get any sanctification here? I have known settled gay couples. One pair had lived together over 40 years, longer than most straight couples. My own opinion is gay or straight I have always preferred conservative committed partners over wacky dysfunctional pairings. The most recent study on lesbian mothers shows that their children are slightly better adjusted, all things being equal, to children raised by heterosexual couples. The researchers speculated that perhaps it was because every child was both planned and wanted. Not a bad thing.