Hi Justmates – I had a reply nearly written on this but alas I lost it and I've not been able to get back to it till now.
I dont think there is any mystery about why same sex attraction is often unwanted – especially in people of faith. Despite the medical community being VERY and ABSOLUTELY clear on this point – Homosexuality is not a disorder and there is no need for a cure.
However, society (whilst admittedly changing for the better), sends out strong (extremely strong) mixed messages on this topic.
When I was growing up, being called a Poof or any of a number of names meaning the same thing – at school – was about the worst thing you could be called. That alone is extremely strong programming for any same sex ( Gay or Bisexual) attracted person to overcome.
When I went to church – the church was also adamant on this topic – Gays go to hell (I might also add that one church I went to growing up also taught that Nuclear power was a plot by the club of Rome etc etc) This is another level of programming many of us grow up with. Then we have the fight of Gay marriage etc. All those throw away comments. The bitter fights in the churches still. They all add up to a message that is simply its not good to be same sex attracted.
Of course then we hear that we aren't born Gay but are made Gay. _ Those who would like homosexuality to be a sin have expounded a number of causes over the years – it was the weak or absent father figure and of course – sexual abuse.
For people who have been taught by society that same sex attraction is a bad thing. That have to find a new basis for their faith. Indeed have to redefine their entire path in life once they accept they are homosexual (because no longer is the wife and kids traditional family something you plan for) its certainly no surprise that many prefer to say – something made me this way – and I dont want to have same sex attractions. I WANT TO BE NORMAL (as I perceive it) and I want to be fixed.
This is why there is such a large number of people looking at this topic – because an very high percentage of Same sex attracted people (and an even higher percentage of same sex attracted people of faith) will look for ways to stop their attraction rather than accept it.
I speak from my own experience when I say [ especially as a person of faith] to accept you are Homosexual means a major redefinition of who you are. Especially because – at the time – it tends to be a big issue for the person. (Nowadays – my sexuality doesn't define me. Its just a tiny part of my like the fact I like Doctor Who or am passionate about social Justice. ) When you deal with this it can be the biggest thing in the whole world It was for me when I was wrestling with it and I know many others for whom it was the same.
This is why this thread is so popular – and why exodus and living waters etc were so popular. Very few same sex attracted people ever want to be. But we don't get to choose whether we are short or tall or blue eyer or brown (well unless we wear high heeled boots and special contacts etc but you know what i mean) – and the evidence is that although there are multiple pathways to being Gay (and the pathways seem to be different for Men and Women) – that there is a strong biological link – we are born Gay. (This chart is interesting and is from one of my favourite if a little dated books called a Separate creation http://borngay.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=000047 )
Certainly – the American Psychiatric Association has clearly stated – "No specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse does not appear to be more prevalent in children who grow up to identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, than in children who identify as heterosexual"
Indeed there are no peer reviewed studies that show any links. I saw one (from a very doubtful population) a while back from the Gay is a choice school – but the numbers didn't add up and it wasn't peer reviewed and the broke basic statical methodologies making it meaningless..
(and for what its worth – my personal experience – fits this – I know more heterosexual men who were sexually abused as children than I do Same Sex Attracted men)
OF course these are abstractions. The fact that major mental therapeutic organisations are quite clear that reparative therapy is harmful says much.
The APA says in the conclusion of its meta study on Reparative therapy Treatments that are based on assumptions that homosexuality or same-sex sexual attractions are, a priori, a mental disorder or psychopathology or based on inaccurate stereotypes regarding LGB people are to be avoided because they run counter to empirical data and because reports of harm suggest that such treatments can reinforce restricting stereotypes, increase internalized stigma, and limit a client’s development *Study here –> http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf
These of course are statistics. So – the fact that no studies show a link between sexual abuse and same sex attraction doesn't make it impossible. Just means it doesn't happen very often, The evidence is that mostly – people generally like to think something made them Same sex attracted because its difficult to deal with the implications of – God made me that way. That of course is a purely statistical thing and everybody has to look within them selves and find their own truth. (and ultimately – it become my point of view that God did make us that way for a reason, and that to try to change it – is to oppose Gods will. Something I personally am not comfortable with. IF God decided I should suffer the issues of a same sex attracted life – why would I turn my back on the path he chose for me. )
When Exodus closed after 37 years of trying to make Same Sex attracted people Heterosexual (and causing massive harm to so many people in the process), the President [infamously] apologised and said – I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change
(Here he explains why he thinks Same Sex attraction cant be changed –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc23jzr3WNA
So your (Valid) feeling is that you think the article robs people of hope. However we all have our own Journeys' – and if you read through the stories on this site you will find that Anthony is not the only one – who tried to change his unwanted sexual attraction and after much pain and heartbreak – eventually leaned that they could no more do that – than fly. Now – that doesn't mean their path will be every one's but you will note that the APA – says that trying to change sexuality is harmful – and the president of exodus – after 37 years of saying they were changing – people – came out and apologised for the pain and the hurt (and in my paraphrase) selling false hope ???
You absolutely have a right to believe what you do (indeed many of us have believed it at some point in our journeys and I'm sure there's more than one member of our community that believe the same). So I'm not trying to shift your point of view. What I'm trying to do is shift your opinion of what Anthony is trying to do. Is is trying to share experience from his path. Its perfectly reasonably that's not the path you want take – now – or perhaps ever but its still worth realising that its a path MANY people took.
As an little aside I am curious as to what you define as the Gay lifestyle ? AS far as I'm concerned – the Gay lifestyle is what ever you want to be. I'm a married (to a man under NZ law because we don't have Same sex marriage in Aus yet) Gay man – who's been with his partner for 14+ years. I thought that was good but I a gay couple the other day that had been together 38 years. I know old and bitter divorced straight people – who regret the paths they have taken in life also.
Actually, this is something that's beginning to change – but its worth remembering that in my memory (and possibly yours ?) being homosexual was illegal ?
Something that's very clear when you work with people in the community is the nature of the people and their lives. The older gays – if their family found out they were thrown out – often beaten by their family and ostracised. They were bitter and hardened because they fought for the rights I have today.
The next generation had it a little easier (although there was HIV and still the church and social stigma) Same sex youth today are more often (although not as often as I would like) better integrated into society. Many are out with their parents and at school (I know a surprising number of your Gays like that). (Of course – many – especially those with religious families – are not out).
We can only make the best of what life offers us. Sometimes there are no great choices. In the older generations – the ones who came out – are the ones who wouldn't (or couldn't )lie – to themselves or others. There were MANY other men – who married and had families and had sex with men in shady places.
Here is a hypothetical question for you. Assume for a moment you were me or someone BORN Gay. I have a choice. I can stay in the closet and have a family etc and not be alone as you say – but sneak out and have sex with men when the same sex attraction gets to strong OR I can come out – and be honest to myself and those around me – and hope I find a BF and a community of support. Which do you think would be the more rewarding life ?
There are also a surprising number of men who come out later in their lives and leave their wives (or vice versa). I would suggest it boils down to following the path where you are true to yourself and those around you. Whether that means you find a partner or die alone or get hit a bus tomorrow.
Its difficult to come out to our parents and our church etc. We do it and most of us move on or build new lives and support structures but they are based on who we see ourselves has – not on who we wish we were. It can be the hardest thing we ever do. It took me years before I came out to myself (as odd as that sounds) I cant speak for your Journey or anyone else – but I can say that when I accepted me for who I was – then it resolved a major cognitive dissonance between actual me and the me I was trying and wanting to be (but wasn't). It also meant I no longer had to lie any more – to myself or anyone around me. (Of course it took me a few years between accepting to myself I was gay and actually telling everybody – don't think this was an easy Journey)
I guess what I'm trying to say is – You don't have to be like any other gay. There are no rules. There is no lifestyle. There are gays who never go to mardi gras and are totally monogamous. There are gays who are celibate. There are gays who party like there's no tomorrow. There are Gays who ride motorbikes and hike through wilderness loving the seclusion and the quiet. There are gays the go to bed a 9 oclock. There are married gays who are in the closet who sneak out to clubs on Friday nights. There are kind Gays and mean Gays. There are selfish ones and generous ones. There are quiet ones (who like most of the people in a church actually) who make up the majority but they are integrated and just dont stand out – and there are the flamboyant ones. Plus we change – Im not the same person I was 10 years ago. (Different city for a start – Joke) We are a minority. If can be hard finding a a good partner – but I have a few straight friends who complain of the same problem. My advice would be – be true to yourself. Dont try to be who you think you should be – but be the person you are and be honest. (As the temple at Dephi said – γνῶθι σεαυτό – Know thyself)
This didn't go where I intended – but its late and I think Ive rambled – sorry – – so I hope its helpful and I hope its not too strong. Im not trying to say your opnion is wrong. Im trying to explain why others hold other opinions (Such as Anthony's Article) and put them in context which I hope will be helpful.