In my youth I was quite vocal with my opinions and beliefs. A bit of a smart-ass really. Still am to some degree, but I've quieted down a lot. As I've aged, I've become exceedingly aware that people are rarely open to hearing opinions which oppose their own. I've also learned that, if I'm going to evolve at all, I have to be open enough to new information that I'm willing to alter my own ideals. This makes me redescent to state opinions which I might later lament. Thirdly, as a result of certain stressful events in my life, I've developed a pretty healthy fear of conflict. So, in general, I avoid my soap boxes for the safety of the ground.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever an form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." - United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
So, despite my own fears and inadequacies, I am stepping back up onto my neglected soapbox. And, to all nine of you, who read my blog, I beg your open minds and hearts. I do empathize with your hesitancy to be open on this matter. I assure you, as a daughter of faith and religion, this is not an issue I have taken lightly, or formed my opinions/beliefs about easily. I am aware that you might argue with me, or even "unfriend" me. I welcome the discussion. The unfriending will sting, but, I think I'm okay with that.
A great deal of research has been conducted on the issue of homosexuality in relatively recent years. Though, most would say we're just beginning to study it, some progress has been made. For instance, after half a century of research, assessing nearly every imaginable psychological cause of homosexuality, researchers have discovered that homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to have been neglected, smothered, or sexually abused (Kinsey Institute studies). Studies by Bailey, 1995, and Golombok and Tasker, 1996, also showed that children raised by gay fathers or lesbian mothers were NO MORE LIKELY to be homosexual or, deviant, than those raised in heterosexual environments. Which leads me to wonder how a gay couple down the street, or even a homosexual teacher would have any notable effect on the future survival of heterosexual unions.
Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association state that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should not be treated as such. There are still some advocates for "curing" homosexuality, despite overwhelming evidence that these attempts to alter one's sexual orientation are ineffective and even harmful.
The majority of credible mental health professionals view sexual orientation much like handedness. We tend to be right or left handed regardless of our desire to be one or the other. There appears to be NO CHOICE involved in the matter. In fact, most homosexuals admit going through at least a period of time where they desperately wanted to deny their sexuality and many make great efforts to un-gay themselves. They try therapy, treatment centers, prayer, celibacy, heterosexual dating or even marriage. These attempts are universally unsuccessful. If they are lucky to have support, they eventually give in to the inevitable and "come out". Unfortunately, there is a significantly high rate of suicide or attempted suicide in homosexuals, largely due to their inability to change themselves and their sense that they will lose everyone they love if they don't. Just sit with that for a minute. It is real and we ALL contribute to it, either positively or negatively.
While there are virtually no credible studies linking environmental factors to sexual orientation, there are many studies suggesting a possible genetic and/or prenatal influence (Zhang and Odenwald, 1995; Whitman and others, 1993; Bailey and Pillard 1991, 1995). It is also well documented that homosexuality exists widely throughout the animal kingdom where psychological and spiritual factors play almost no role at all.
Despite the wealth of information now available to us on this issue, it seems that far too many people are still uninformed and/or unwilling to consider that homosexuality is benign. They are deeply afraid of it and it's potential impact on what they deem to be a successful society. Somehow, they fear that if gays are allowed to get married, heterosexual people will no longer want to marry(??). They fear that if their children are exposed to gay family models, that those children might then become sexually deviant, or worse, catch homosexuality! They might even make friends with a homosexual, or not cringe at the sight of a gay couple holding hands in public!!
Consider the mayhem?!! I mean family values might just flush right down the toilet! Just imagine! 40% to 50% of marriages might end in divorce (National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau)! We might break out in an epidemic of fatherless children. 36.2 million people in America might go hungry (USDA, 2007). Drug warfare might become a problem (you know how those gays are with their gangs and drug trafficking!) I'm certain that teen pregnancy and STD's would rear their ugly heads. There's just no end to the disastrous possibilities that might ensue if we choose to love and accept homosexuals into our, now utopian, society.
Sarcasm aside, I do understand standing in that fear. I stood there for a good portion of my life. It never set well with me though. I always had trouble mingling my desire to love "others as myself" with my belief that homosexuality was an "abomination" in the eyes of God. The conflict disturbed me. I remember being thankful that I wasn't gay because at least I didn't have to figure it out. And I was able to keep it at arms length because I knew relatively few gay people and had managed to not have any meaningful relationships with them. But ultimately, I wasn't able to quell the inconsistencies of this issue in my mind. I tried to take comfort in the camp of "we love them, we just don't love what they 'do' (more accurately, who they are)." That stance appeased me some, but, as I carried that philosophy to it's conclusion, I realized that, it's an oxymoron. Or, frankly, it's Bull Shit.
In my attempt to honestly love gay people, I began to see them as human beings that have hopes and dreams, love their families, and contribute to society. They hurt over broken relationships, strive to succeed at their jobs, are creative, thought-provoking, intelligent, and loving. Some of them are screwed up. Some of them are cruel. Much like the rest of us. They do not have "agendas" to make the world gay. They just want to be loved and accepted for who they are and have the same opportunities for safety, life, liberty and happiness as the rest of the "created equals".
I can not address all that I want to in just one blog. As it is, this is quite long and I hope you've made it this far. So, I will continue this later. I just have one request for now. Get to know them. Not from a safe distance. Up close. With your heart. We'll talk more later.
TO BE CONTINUED...