28 August 2006

Why Gay People Exist (Part Two)

. . . let me try to shed some light on why people have different sexual orientations. I don't expect many will agree with me, but there is evidence, anecdotal, scientific and scriptural, that seems to support what I'm about to say.

There are two kinds of gender: Physical, and spiritual (atheists may prefer to think of the latter as "gender identity"). Both kinds of gender can be separated into three categories: Male, female, and androgynous. Physical gender governs procreative function. Spiritual gender governs sexual orientation and certain aspects of behavior and perception.

A heterosexual person is one whose physical gender matches his spiritual gender. He is attracted to his opposite physical gender. A bisexual person is one whose spiritual gender is slightly androgynous (blended male and female). He is attracted to either physical gender. A homosexual person is one whose spiritual gender is thoroughly androgynous. He is attracted to his identical physical gender. A trangendered person is one whose spiritual gender is the opposite of his physical gender. Transgendered (persons) tend to be attracted to (biologically female mates).

This is why sexual orientation is fixed, not fluid. It's also why human beings cannot become ex-Gay, ex-Straight, ex-Bisexual or ex-Transgendered. Sexual orientation is inextricably linked with gender! Gender can be changed cosmetically (sex change operations), but not fundamentally. Deep inside this complicated picture is the truth that fundamentalist Christians quote from the Bible: God made them male and female. Female complements male, yes. The male is indeed meant for union with the female. But what seems male or female on the surface may be something else under the surface.

When I recently posted this comment on Gay activist Wayne Besen's weblog, I'm pretty sure Wayne and his regular blog patrons thought I'd gone off my rocker. Either that, or they thought I was the most arrogant piece of work they'd yet come across. Scientists have been trying to figure out what makes people Gay for at least a century, and this chubby Black guy claims to have found the answer?

Maybe I don't have the answer, but I have an answer. I came by it because I chose to consider the totality of sexual orientation, not just homosexuality. None of the sexologists I know about used that approach; even the hypotheses of Gay researchers always seemed to be tainted with a pronounced heterosexist bias. In short, my theory is a combination of the Third Sex argument popular in Germany at the turn of the century; ancient Native-American beliefs about a third gender; interview segments from Word Is Out, the groundbreaking 1977 documentary on LesBiGay lives; anecdotal evidence from Lesbian celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell; testimony from Transsexual individuals; enlightened self-knowledge, and careful reading of the Christian Gospels, both Gnostic and Biblical.

Who knew that the key to understanding sexual orientation could be found in obscure and not-so-obscure religious texts? No wonder God prevented me from abandoning scripture (see my blogpost titled "My Conversion")!

My self-knowledge told me I was born Gay. I've known I was different from other men at least since the age of seven. I was not recruited, or deprived of masculine contact, or molested, or influenced by any of the things reputed to "turn" a person homosexual . . . and if I was born Gay, only God could have made me so. Logical, n'est-ce pas?

Scriptural support for my position is found in the 19th chapter of Matthew, where Jesus Christ talks of "eunuchs from birth." That passage also connects "born eunuchs" to the kingdom of Heaven. Study of Creation texts in the book of Genesis, the Gnostic Gospel of Phillip and the Gnostic Secret Book of John reveals that God is androgynous, and that Adam was created an androgynous being in God's image. Heterosexuality came into being when the Lord removed the female essence from Adam (not his rib! The Secret Book of John directly refutes that notion) to make Eve.

Had the Lord not wanted humankind to procreate, Heaven would have continued to fashion beings like the original version of Adam, and the world would be populated exclusively with Transgender persons! Obviously, God had a different plan, but contrary to what "ex-Gay" advocates say, His plan included folks like you and me.

There are many Native-American legends which identify Gay people as "two-spirited" beings. Just as the phrasing suggests, homosexual persons were thought to be possessed of two spirits: One of them male, and the other female. Together, they form an androgynous soul. Here's a summary of those legends, taken from a 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation feature reported by Katherine Walker:

According to Navajo culture, there was a time when women lived on one side of a lake, and the men lived on the other, and so the Creator sent Gay people to integrate them . . . in Cree culture, they were called "Whetigokan"(whee-ti-go-i-kwan), and had a definite role in the community and in spiritual ceremonies.

The two-spirited concept is echoed in certain Gnostic scriptures, though the explanation of it is far more complex. (I will decipher some of these scriptures in the third part of this essay.) Some of you will dismiss such evidence as religious bullsh*t, but rest assured that more concrete evidence exists.

The aforementioned filmed interviews with Gay and bisexual people, as well as my own self-knowledge, confirms a pattern of androgynous behavior in childhood, such as gravitation toward both girl toys and boy toys. (Yes, I did play with Barbie dolls on occasion.)  Many Gay men are considered effeminate from childhood, and many Lesbians exhibit traits throughout life that are considered "butch." We're ostracized, taunted, threatened, beaten and sexually harassed for breaking gender rules. The evidence for androgyny is indisputably there.

With that point proven to my satisfaction, I then considered what Transsexual men and women tell us about gender. They say that there are two kinds: The physical (genitalia) and the spiritual, and sometimes they don't match. This testimony(as well as the Navajo legend) neatly parallels Third Sex theory as postulated by early sexologists like Magnus Hirschfeld, Edward Carpenter and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. They believed homosexual men had female souls, with the reverse being true of Lesbians.

We now understand this theory to most accurately describe Transgendered status, not Gay identity. However, Hirschfeld, Carpenter and Ulrichs were on the right track! They identified a third gender that lies somewhere between the two everyone knows about.

Put it all together, and you come up with a continuum of sexual orientation that all of mankind fits into; this is what I laid out for Wayne Besen and his incredulous readers. More accurately, it's a continuum of gender identity; sexual attraction is merely an expression of gender. One thing is constant about gender: Male attracts female, and female attracts male. The existence of Lesbians and Gay men does not contradict this rule!

There's something about an androgynous soul in a male body that seems to make the female part of that soul dominant in regard to sexual attraction; thus, you have the appearance of a man being attracted to other men. It works the opposite way with an androgynous soul in a female body. Yet, there appear to be degrees of androgyny, and a lesser degree of it produces bisexuality in men and women who would otherwise be heterosexual.

On opposite ends of the gender continuum stand those who are heterosexual and those who are Transgendered, polar opposites in all respects except (sometimes!) sexual orientation. Both male and female Transfolk that I've heard about tend to desire females; a post-operative Transwoman will often think of herself as a Lesbian. No, I can't explain it!  I haven't figured that particular phenomenon out yet . . . but I wonder if heterosexuality and transsexuality may not be more similar than anyone suspects?

What would happen if my theory about gender could be proven? Do you think the hardened bigot would begin to see androgynous gender as evidence of God's good works? LOL! Do hens wear lipstick? Of course not! They'd view it as evidence of a profound mental disorder. And if science found biological markers to support its existence, they'd view it as a birth defect as well as a mental disorder! They'd redouble their efforts to "cure homosexuality," using exorcism, aversion therapy, surgery, or any other morbid idea that appealed to them.

Nothing would change. In fact, bigots would stereotype, ostracize and ridicule Gay people more than ever! Would my proven theory be blamed for this turn of events? Probably. Some current Gay historians fault the early sexologists. They accuse Hirschfeld, Carpenter and Ulrichs of promoting stereotypical characterizations that provoked anti-Gay sentiment . . . but really, aren't bigoted people responsible for their own behavior?

I don't care what heterosexists do, say or think. Their issues have more to do with their own inadequacies than with mine. Years ago, I made up my mind that I would never live my life in reaction to the ignorant attitudes of people who hate me!

So androgynous nature doesn't fit heterosexual society's idea of what's normal. So what? Heterosexual folk aren't the arbiters of normalcy, God is! If you want to know what God considers normal, just look around. Marvel at the incredible variety that exists in His world, all the different species and subspecies, with previously unknown forms of life being discovered on a regular basis. Within the Lord's definition of normalcy, there's ample room for me and all of my androgynous brothers and sisters. The heterosexual definition of normal is just too damn narrow to be accurate!

"Why Gay People Exist" concludes with Part Three.