Sunday, March 31, 2013


Homosexuality is the emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to members of the same sex. Sexual orientation is not black and white but sits on a spectrum. For example let's say we have a scale ranging from 1-10. 1 could represent extreme heterosexuality, having interest in only the opposite sex. While 10 could represent extreme homosexuality, having interest in only the same sex. It's likely most don't sit at either of these extremes but would be more like a 3 or 8. Of course this example still pales to the complexity of human sexually, under representing the reality of the situation.

Homosexuality has both been accepted and condemned in different cultures through out history. At one time homosexuality was regarded as a mental illness. While this classification of homosexuality being a sickness has carried with a long held stigma, (something that the American Psychological Association has worked for decades to change.) this ruling was considered a progressive step at the time, as a person who was mentally ill was less culpable than a sinner or criminal.

In the modern era Western society has become increasingly more accepting of homosexuals. Though there is still much work to be done to achieve equality for the LGBT community. Asian and Africa has shown the least amount of acceptance. Same-sex relations are illegal in places like Uganda where they have gone as far as to introduce an anti-gay bill dubbed the "Kill the Gays bill" in which "aggravated homosexuality" would warrant the death penalty. Overall about 1/4 of all countries in the world list homosexuality as a crime.

Gay Marriage
In the USA gay marriage is only legal in a hand full of states. Though acceptance of it has increased over the years. Some claim that gay marriage is an attempt at special rights an that homosexuals are already free to marry so long as it's with that of the opposite sex. This argument fails to realize that homosexuals are looking to be allowed to marry and spend their life, including all legal benefits afforded to a couple (about 1,100 benefits) with the person they love. Which would be someone of the same sex. This is something a heterosexual couple receives that a homosexual couples does not. It's a request that love not be bound to gender roles and that legal rights reflect that.

A common argument against gay marriage is that the marriage doesn't last long. This however is not true. Research into the matter indicates that gay relationships are just as stable and perhaps even more so in long term situations. "There is considerable evidence that both lesbians and gay men want to be in strong, committed relationships [and] are successful in creating these partnerships, despite difficulties created by social prejudice, stigma, and the lack of legal recognition for same-sex relationships in most parts of the U.S.," - Anne Peplau (UCLA psychologist)
Another accusation against gay marriage is that marriage is a religious institute. This fails to recognize all the non religious legal benefits (again about 1,100 benefits) that are at the focal point of gaining equality between heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Some will argue that a traditional marriage has always been between a man and a woman. There have been homosexual marriages in other cultures through out history. What is and is not allowed can be different and has changed.

Another snarky counter to arguments against gay marriage.

The major religions of the world have generally viewed homosexuality negatively. Though this varies greatly between different religions and denominations. The current Catholic pope (Pope Francis I) has stated that homosexuals should be treated with respect, though has also called homosexuality immoral and has actively opposed same-sex marriage. The Christian Bible and Judaisms Torah (Old Testament) clearly denounces homosexuality. One of the most well known examples being Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.". One of the more well known religiously driven anti-gay groups is the Westboro Baptist Church, who make statements such as "God hates fags". While this group may be a poor representation of Christian views as a whole, they do seem to provide a magnifying glass on the negative homosexual views Christianity can hold. While most Christians hold a negative view of homosexuality to one degree or another some Christians believe that homosexual behavior is not inherently sinful. This view within Christianity seems to be gaining popularity in recent years.

Islam views homosexuality as a natural temptation but a transgression to act on. Most major Muslim countries have prison sentences for homosexual acts. Some even have the death penalty. Iraq has no criminal code dealing with homosexuality but does have death squads operating in the country killing gays. Non have anti-discrimination laws.

Biologically, sexual orientation isn't so much the result of having a "gay gene/s", but the result of epigenetics, genetic markers that determine how genes are expressed. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara (Their Study) have determined that sex specific epi-marks from father to daughter and mother to son that are usually "erased" before being passed on escape erasure. "Transmission of sexually antagonistic epi-marks between generations is the most plausible evolutionary mechanism of the phenomenon of human homosexuality,".

Hormones being introduced or deprived at certain stages of development in the womb also plays a role in gene expression. This link can be observed in how birth order can increase the odds of a boy being gay by 33%. As the mother has children her body will begin to develop H-Y antibodies which can inhibit the masculinisation of the brain. These changes in gene expression effect the sexual dimorphism of the brain resulting in areas of the brain that regulate sexual behavior being more feminine in homosexual men and more masculine in homosexual women. (A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men)
Covariations with the respective amygdala seed region in heterosexual men (HeM), heterosexual women (HeW), homosexual men (HoM) and homosexual women (HoW).

(Credit: Image courtesy of National Academy of Sciences, PNAS (copyright 2008).)

There are a number of arguments put forth by those who oppose homosexuality.

"It's Wrong"
Such a statement usually stems from either homophobia, religious views or both. The question to ask here is what makes it wrong? Things aren't wrong by virtue. Generally what we think of as wrong is something harmful done without consent.

"It's Gross"
Often when pressed why homosexuality is wrong this is one of the reasons given. Just because someone finds something personally displeasing doesn't mean others do and is no reason to not allow others to participate in such things. not to mention this argument just comes off as seeming rather childish.

"It's a Sin"
Another retreat of why homosexuality is wrong is to cite religious reasons. (For example the anti-gay slogan "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve") Depending on the religion and denomination This may or may not be the case. However not everyone is of the same religion and someone should not force their religious views on another person. If someone is gay and follows a religion that does not accept homosexuality, it's worth questioning why follow a religion that doesn't accept the way you are. It would be like being in a relationship with someone who doesn't like who you are and expects you to change to accommodate their desires. If you're not homosexual and if we assume that your religion is correct, you are concerning yourself with someone else's sins that have no affect on you. Ultimately why should two people loving each other be a sin at all?

"It's Unnatural"
Something is generally considered unnatural when it doesn't occur in nature, but as a product of human design/choice. However homosexuality has been observed in nature. Nearly 1,500 animals have been observed engaging in homosexual acts with 500 being well documented. We can also see that it's natural in that it's part of the biology of the person. The way the genes are expressed and how the brain is structured are the causes of sexual orientation.
Of course this argument that it's wrong because it's unnatural can be countered by simply pointing out all the unnatural things we commonly include in our daily lives.

"The Parts Don't Fit"
This argument deals with anatomy. Claiming that male and female genitals are made for each other and using them any other way is unnatural/immoral. This often goes along with the argument that gay men just have anal sex.

The male and female genitalia aren't made for each other. In fact there is great variation between individuals, size and shape doesn't always match up between male and female genitalia. As for use, there is no right or wrong way to have sex. What matters is that all parties involved are enjoying the experience and are consenting.

Also just because someone has a penis doesn't mean they wish to penetrate anything with it. There are more ways than that to have sexual contact with another person. Even if everything always perfectly matched up, using one's body on another consenting individual in another way does not make it wrong, unnatural or immoral.

"Homosexuals Can't have Children"
Not only is this argument used for why it should be considered wrong but it's also used as an argument against gay marriage. Being homosexual does not in any way make a person sterile. There is nothing stopping a homosexual couple from seeking other means of procreating other than having sex with their partner. They could use artificial insemination or a surrogate instead. In places that allow it they can also adopt. This argument also ignores the fact that there are sterile heterosexual couples who don't face such persecution of not being able to have children and are still allowed to marry. Pointing out this fact will often be attempted to be counter by saying that a heterosexual couple still has the chance of procreating. This however again ignores the point that there are some who truly aren't capable at all. Finally this ignores that having children is not a requirement to having a partner or getting married. In a world that is facing overpopulation it could even be a good thing to have couples that aren't reproducing.

"Homosexuality is a Choice"
Sexual orientation is the result of biology. This has been shown with the studies into epigenetics and how the brain is structured. A simple experiment anyone can run can also help determine whether sexual orientation is a choice or not. Simply make the choice to be attracted to a different sex yourself. If it works you can always choose to go back. It's also often suggested that it's a choice because we are free to choose to act on how we feel. This of course has no consequence to one's sexual preferences, it doesn't change how they actually feel. Even if it was a choice, this does not make it wrong. One should be free to make such choices for themselves. Just as a person should be free to choose what religion they wish to follow, if any.

"Homosexuality is a Disease/Disorder"
The definition of disease is "a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms" - Marriam Websters Dictionary.
A psychological/mental disorder, is a pattern of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple areas of life and generally create distress for the person experiencing these symptoms.

A homosexual is perfectly capable of functioning and living a normal productive life. Their sexual orientation does not impede or impair their life. As such it can't be classified as an illness. Any distress a homosexual faces is from others intolerance and nonacceptance than from them being homosexual.

Ford and Beach (1951) reported that homosexual behavior of some sort was considered normal and socially acceptable for at least some individuals in 64% of the 76 societies in their sample; in the remaining societies, adult homosexual activity was reported to be totally absent, rare, or carried on only in secrecy.

Hooker administered three projective tests (the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test [TAT], and Make-A-Picture-Story [MAPS] Test) to 30 homosexual males and 30 heterosexual males recruited through community organizations. The two groups were matched for age, IQ, and education. None of the men were in therapy at the time of the study.
Unaware of each subject's sexual orientation, two independent Rorschach experts evaluated the men's overall adjustment using a 5-point scale. They classified two-thirds of the heterosexuals and two-thirds of the homosexuals in the three highest categories of adjustment. When asked to identify which Rorschach protocols were obtained from homosexuals, the experts could not distinguish respondents' sexual orientation at a level better than chance. (Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health)
"Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality" - Gonsiorek (1982)
Empirical evidence does not support that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

"AIDS, Gay Disease"
It's common for anti-gay rhetoric to claim that AIDS is a "gay disease". This stems from a misconception that AIDS only infects homosexuals, or at least to imply this. This is also used to at least is meant to imply that homosexuals are sexual deviants. These misconceptions likely stem from real statistics that place homosexual men as having the highest rate of contracting HIV/AIDS. This creates a false correlation that engaging in homosexual acts results in contracting AIDS. This often hand waves the fact that anyone can contract the disease. Also geographically sexual intercourse of this nature doesn't always account for the largest group. Most of the newly registered HIV cases in Russia and Europe were among heterosexuals. This also ignores the fact that homosexual women are among the lowest group to contract the disease, demonstrating that homosexuality has nothing to do with contracting the disease. Contracting the disease is not the result of homosexuality but from having unprotected sex and engaging in other activities that result in fluid transfers. This also does not indicate sexual deviance. The spread of the disease in mass does not require sexual promiscuity and it would be a false assumption that it did.

Gay Conversion Therapy
Conversion therapy ties into the beliefs of homosexuality being a choice and/or illness. Non of the accredited psychological associations condone the use of conversion therapy or regard it as affective in any way. It's in fact regarded as being psychologically harmful. Conversion therapy can also be financially harmful as the cost can be in the thousand and all out of pocket. To make it even more questionable is that no two ex-gay ministry use the same methods. The ministries them self don't claim to change a persons inner sexual desire, only their conduct. There are also many who later recant being converted, also referred to as ex-ex-gays.
Let's hear from people who have been through conversion therapy first hand.

Homosexuals and Children
A number of arguments are brought up against homosexuals having or even being around children.

One claims states that most gays are pedophiles. The truth of the matter is that the majority of pedophiles are heterosexual males. One survey of 269 cases of molestation had only 2 out of the 269 involving the offender being someone who was gay. (Conducted by Carole Jenny of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 1994)

Many fear that children raised by homosexuals will be turned into or raised to be homosexuals themselves. This argument stems from the belief that homosexuality is a choice, which is false. As shown sexual orientation is based in biology. It's not something that can be learned. This also ignores that it's overwhelmingly heterosexual couples giving birth and raising children who are homosexual.

Many who oppose gay marriage think that a homosexual couple wouldn't make as good parents as a heterosexual couple would. The reasoning is often because it's thought that it requires both a male and female to properly raise a child. That the children will be left maladjusted. This argument ignores all the single parents who do just fine raising children. All indication between hetero and homosexual couples show no significant difference in behavior of their children.
We can see first hand just how "maladjusted" children raised by homosexual couples are.

Many concern themselves that the children of gay couples will have to face persecution from their peers and cite this as a reason why homosexuals shouldn't raise children. This if anything is an argument that blames the victim. We should be teaching our children tolerance of differences between people so that there is no issue among peers. (Something that is also often apposed.)

"Why Can't They Keep it to Themselves"
This is usually put forth by those who find homosexuality "gross". Often they will cite homosexual couples hugging and/or kissing in a public place or the existence of gay pride parades. There seems to be no real issue with heterosexual couples showing some level of affection for one another in public so there should be no issue with homosexual couples doing the same.

The start of the gay rights movement was the result of police raids on a gay bar (Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village NY) in 1969. The first parade to publicly demonstrate that homosexuals, transgenders and the like were not sexual deviants. Today the more festive parades are held in more accepting cities. With these, though festive and more celebratory, they still provide education from various LGBT institutions. Even the most festive will usually provide remembrances of AIDS victims and anti-LGBT violence. Some such festive parades have even been funded by government and corporate sponsors, becoming a tourist attraction generating revenue for the city they are held in.

Originally it was intended to be a non-confrontational, educational way of dealing with a homophobic society that didn't accept them. Today in places where it has become more accepted it's like a carnival with Mardi-Gras like characteristics, but still keeps the educational aspect. Gay pride parades not only serve to celebrate and promote positive feeling in homosexuals for being who they are, but to also demonstrate for equal rights. This allows the issues to be put to the forefront.

Gay Agenda
The term "gay agenda" is often used as a sort of scare tactic. Often mentioned without getting to much into exactly what it is. It plays an almost conspiratorial role against homosexuals and anyone who supports them. It was first used in 1992 by a conservative Christian group, referring to is as the "hidden gay agenda". The term is thrown out whenever attempts are made to change government policies to achieve equal rights, protect civil rights for people in the LGBT community, introduce anti-bullying legislation to protect minors who may be LGBT or have family who are, and more. It's also used to suggest an alleged goal to "recruit" people into a homosexual lifestyle.
The truth is the only "agenda" is equality.

Denying homosexuals the same rights or treating them differently leaves this being rather hypocritical, as the person doing so is now pushing their views, their "agenda" on the LGBT community.

The arguments against homosexuality are fallacious, based on a dislike, hatred and/or fear of those who are different. There may be a fear that with equality it may lead to the shoe being placed on the other foot. That the person doing the hate will be hated. But if you are against homosexuals, do try to place yourself in their shoes.

- What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
- When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual?
- Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
- Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
- If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good Gay lover?
- Do your parents know that you are straight? Do your friends and/or roommate(s) know? How did they react?
- Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep quiet?
- Why do heterosexuals put so much emphasis on sex?
- Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?
- A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?
- Just what do men and women do in bed together? How can they truly know how to please each other, being so anatomically different?
- With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
- Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?
- How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, elusive heterosexuality?
- Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?
- Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don't you feel s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own leanings?
- There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?
- Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face?

And think, is this what you want to do to someone else?

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