12 October 2006

Homosexuality 101 (Part One)

“You know, a great place to start when talking about homosexuality is to define the word. What is homosexuality?”

This is the way a televangelist named David Kyle Foster recently kicked off his new Christian Television Network talk show. It’s a testimonial outlet for “ex-Gay” people called “Pure Passion.” This pathetic excuse for reality television is produced by a front organization for Exodus International, the world’s largest “Christian” ministry devoted to “curing” Lesbians and Gay men. You can be sure that “Pure Passion” is one show that’ll never get programmed on my TiVo!

Dr. Foster’s definition of homosexuality is much too ignorant to be reproduced here; I have no desire to insult your intelligence, or try my own patience! However, I think his idea about defining homosexuality is a very good one.

So many people, regardless of sexual orientation, seem to have no idea what they’re talking about when they use the word. Don't know about you, but I’m tired of hearing my identity misrepresented all over the media! I think it’s time for me to put my own definition out there. Are you in the mood for a lecture? I hope you are, because if you’re reading this post, you’ve just enrolled in Homosexuality 101.

I’d like to start by telling you what homosexuality is not. Homosexuality is not sin. Homosexuality is not unnatural. Homosexuality is not bestiality. Homosexuality is not pedophilia.

Homosexuality is not pederasty. Homosexuality is not promiscuity. Homosexuality is not heresy. Homosexuality is not depravity.

Homosexuality is not conspiracy. Homosexuality is not sexual activity in public. Homosexuality is not atheism. Homosexuality is not Satanism. Homosexuality is not a mental illness. Homosexuality is not a form of sexual harassment.

Homosexuality is not like theft. Homosexuality is not like perjury. Homosexuality is not like pyromania. Homosexuality is not like kleptomania.

Homosexuality does not cause infidelity. Homosexuality is not like and does not cause alcoholism. Homosexuality is not like and does not cause drug abuse. Homosexuality is not the cause of HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases. Homosexuality is not the equivalent of murder.

Are you following me? Let’s continue, then. You cannot be recruited into homosexuality. You cannot be converted to homosexuality. Rape and other forms of molestation cannot make you homosexual. You cannot choose to be homosexual. Neither can you choose not to be homosexual.

Homosexuality does not float through the air or fester on drinking glass rims and toilet seats like bacteria! Homosexuality cannot be transmitted through touch. Homosexuality will not “rub off” on you through friendship, or cohabitation, or close association.

Having homosexual relatives isn’t enough to make you homosexual. Having homoerotic dreams isn’t enough to make you homosexual. If you have one or even several erotic encounters with a person of the same gender, that’s not enough to make you homosexual, either! Sometimes even partnering sexually with a person of the same gender isn’t enough to make you homosexual (just ask Ellen DeGeneres’s ex-girlfriend Anne Heche)!

Please take notes if you haven’t started to do so already. The Oxford Modern English Dictionary defines the word “homosexual” this way:

Feeling or involving sexual attraction to persons of the same sex (or) concerning homosexual relations or people.

I wouldn’t call this an inaccurate definition, but I daresay it’s rather superficial. My description of this term has a bit more depth. I define a homosexual man or woman (and in my opinion, the word should always be used as an adjective, never as a noun) as someone who is emotionally and sexually attracted exclusively to persons of the same (physical) gender. If the attraction isn't exclusive, then the person is Pansexual. There’s more to my definition, as you already know if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, but for the purposes of this essay, I’m going to try to keep it simple.

Towards that end, I’m going to draw a distinction between homosexual conduct and homosexual status. People constantly talk about them as if they were the same thing, but they’re not. Conduct is what you do; status is what you are. Now, pay attention, because this next part is very important: If you’ve ever felt physical attraction to someone of the opposite gender, you are not homosexual! If you can’t imagine yourself sexually partnered with someone of the same gender, you are not homosexual! If you believe in your heart that homosexuality is only about sex, you are not homosexual!

Those who claim to be homosexual aren’t always credible. I know that statement seems to support “ex-Gay” doctrine, but it’s the truth! Some people do claim homosexual status falsely. Others deny being homosexual, but are. Confused yet? Wait, it gets worse! What people actually do sexually is sometimes as misleading as what they say they do. You can’t always know if a person is homosexual by knowing who that person is married to and/or or sleeping with. Hard as it may be to believe, men and women of all sexual orientations have occasion to engage in sexual activity that’s unnatural to them.

Sometimes it's because they’re addicted to sex. Sometimes it’s because they engage in sex for money. Sometimes it’s because they indulge in situational sex, as often happens in prison settings. Sometimes it’s because they’re "experimenting" with their sexuality. Sometimes it’s because they’re hiding their sexuality. Sometimes, it’s because they’re just plain confused!

What makes some people confused about their sexuality? What makes others hide their sexual orientation? I’m no authority on the subject, but I’d be willing to bet that the manner in which sexuality is talked about (or not) and taught (or not) has a lot to do with it. In most places in the world, the teaching of sex education is deliberately corrupted! It’s loaded down with sexism, heterosexism, racism and other kinds of bias, as well as with stigma, shame and fear. Sex education isn’t taught at all in many parts of the world (including large parts of the United States)!!!

As a result of this persistent corrupting and withholding of important health information, some people feel trapped between what they want to do sexually and what they’re expected to do. There are those who deny knowing what they want, because they’re afraid of their feelings. Others know, but feel ashamed of themselves every time they have sex. Still others rebel against expectations, but instead of doing what they truly find satisfying, they use sexuality to fill emotional voids and/or make socio-political statements.

Here's an example of the latter situation: I‘ll never forget reading a blog comment left by a lady who identified herself as a “radical d*ke.” She said, in all seriousness, “I prefer men, but because I’m a committed feminist, I only sleep with women“. Say what?  This kind of absurd behavior only leads to more confusion! Frankly, it amazes me that a great many more people aren’t confused about their sexuality than are.

"Homosexuality 101" continues with Part Two.