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« The Role of Scripture | Main | Homophobia: A Problem of Moral and Spiritual Development »

July 15, 2007

Comments

Benton

What I see in your analysis is the deep need for role models for young gays. Gay children have no healthy role models of what it means to be in a gay relationship. Children who are trying to find out what it means to be gay/lesbian/bi look for whatever they can find and usually that is pornography. Maybe if we had more open, loving, couples out in the world, this denial of our being would not need to happen.

Joe

I avoided accepting my queerness for decades. Yet I acted out with anonymous sexual encounters for years. I became a sex addict. Unable to accept myself, unable to stop the acting out.

Who would want to live a life like that? Unreality. Avoidance of intimacy. No love. Of course I wanted to be a nice "normal" straight boy.

After 21 years of marriage and children and all, i could no longer fight the addiction OR the reality that I am gay. And the addiction, the pornography, the casual anonymous sex DO NOT define what it means to be gay.

Yes, it is a large part of the what many think, it is rampant in the gay community. It has come to be what defines us, and we have allowed it to define us.

I understand the wanting to be straight. I understand the rejection of the lust, porn, etc. But I do not reject being gay.

Joe, you are spot-on with your post. Well written! I've just begun reading your book, too.

Shalom & Cheers, "Joe"

Bethany

I agree with Benton. As a teen, it's hard to live when I have no role models. All of my role models are my college friends and the straight adults in my life; no openly out individuals of adult years or in a long-term loving relationship are present in my life. As a teen, I appreciate having someone there to imitate at times, and no one is there to tell me "this is how you go about asking so-and-so out;"etc etc. Gay teens need people to look up to that aren't spouting anti-gay nonsense, aren't trying to fit us into a mold we won;t fit, and we especially don't need a role model to tell us how inherently evil and corrupt we are...we need someone to love us and to understand that we are teens, we are growing, and we need someone to support us.

Clayton

Bethany, it's great that you recognize that need. It's not that those role-model-worthy people do not EXIST, it's that it is difficult to CONNECT with them. Some LGBT community centers may have mentoring programs; you might check with your nearest one. One of my goals with MyOutSpirit.com (that hosts this blog) is to help raise the visibility of vibrant and healthy LGBT role models of all sexualities, gender identities and spiritualities.

brad

This might not be the right place to ask...But I seem to be facing a dillemma. My whole life I never questioned my sexual orientation, until now, in my early 20s. I don't even know where it came from, and I feel really disgusting for it...but the thing is, im not homophobic at all. I grew up going to church with a man who wore a dress every sunday, and never judged him once. My parents would totally accept me, Im not worried about how other people would see me etc...The only thing that concerns me is that up to this point I have been straight, Ive been in love with one woman for sure, a couple pretty close. I've always been sexually attracted to women, to the point that I developed a sexual addiction!
My dream is to have a wife and kids, a well balanced spiritual life, and nothing to hide from anyone...I don't want to be preoccupied with sex all the time. it kills me. In your opinion, can someone turn gay?? I need to sort some things out in my life, but I need some help. I haven't felt like myself since ive been questioning it, and the fact that I even questioned it makes me think something has to be up. Could drugs make you gay? I hope I don't offend anyone, because Im not trying to say that these reasons could apply to anyone else, but my situation just makes NO SENSE to me. I would appreciated any advice. I liked what you wrote about sexual attraction, closeness to god through relationships, and this is why I am asking here. Thanks in advance for any input.

Clayton

Hi, Brad. Sounds like you are dealing with a lot, right now. I don't think it's unusual to discover a same-sex attraction later in life, and it is certainly not a sentence to promiscuity or cheating on your future wife. The fact that you are already attempting to address your attraction in an ethical way is a sign that you can trust yourself to be disciplined about how you ACT on that attraction.

Are you already in treatment for your sexual addiction? There are many, many Gay-affirming therapists and counselors out there you can turn to for help. Perhaps they could help you discover whether this attraction is an extension of your addiction or a genuine opening into bisexuality.

Keep in mind, too, that even if you do decide to identify as bisexual, you may choose, and be committed to, a single life partner! Of course, there are many different kinds of family structures out there; perhaps you will end up in some kind of open relationship...

I hope that you will not be afraid of your same-sex attraction, and instead continue being honest and attentive to what is happening with you.

None of this is to say that this "investigation" may not be a trying time for you, but you do not have to go through it alone.

All the best to you!

phillip

Hi i dont know where to go. i have been struggling with a gay pornography addiction since i was 14 years old and im now 17. i dont think im gay. I have a girlfriend who i really love and i dont seem attracted to men. Im just trying to figure out why i look at gay porn. i have prayed for help and forgiveness but i always turn back to porn. Please, if anyone has a way to help me please let me know.

joe perez

phillip, if you're still out there, i hear your question. short answer: why not talk to somebody about your feelings regarding gay pornography? talking to a real live person, and acknowledging that you have an issue with this, is a healthy step. it will take courage, surely. but you cannot go any further--or heal from your addiction--if you do not acknowledge the issue with somebody you can trust. find somebody who can listen to you as nonjudgmentally as possible as a good first step.

josh

Hi I 28 yo gay male. Not sure how I can to with this, but I have been out of the closet for yen years now. I have been a few solid long relationships with men and do alot of community work for the GLBT. Lately I have been having dreams and thoughts of women. Guess what I'm trying to find out if there is anything or anyone I can talk to that I do not know or doesn't know me. I just wanting to figure put what the truth may lead to. I have already put my family, friends and community through enough with me becoming gay. I hope to find more people like me having the same problems. Because I do not want to feel misguided.

pennyjane

i also applaud this piece joe. you make some really good points that go far beyond the "gay turned straight" paragigm. to me you have just reinforced my attitude about gay marriage. i believe more and more each day that "marriage" is the only practical response from our community to all the ills you have mentioned. we must allow ourselves to have families and to be family oriented. that we cannot procreate as a rule, does not mean we can't love in the way you suggest and that's what a family consists of...love and commitment. we need to look at what josh just told us, i apologize josh, but this is a perfect example of where we are. josh says he has been out for ten years and has been in "several" solid and long term relationships. josh is not at all out of the ordinary for one in our community by being able to have "several" solid and long term relationships in ten years.

family. social legitimacy. we really do need a moses to bring us out of the wilderness. not to discredit our sexual orientation, but to discredit our conception of what a solid and long term realationship is. we need to demand our place in God's world, not because we are free and independent people, but because it is His plan for us just as it is for our heterosexual brothers and sisters. we are full members of God's plan. we, like everyone else, have a choice to make. do we want to be a part of that plan or do we want to go our own way? i choose to go boldly to God, with the confidence of the Holy Spirit and sing His praises and use His gifts to me only for His glory. i can't do that from the closet or from the bottom of the barrel. i need love and family to reach my potential in Him and i will have it. much love and hope, pj

ned

While I agree with the essence of what Joe is saying here, I'd like to give a more post-gay angle on this gay/ex-gay issue.

My own journey involved coming out militantly as a lesbian. And the way I did this was to wrack my memories about my childhood and adolescence, and block out ALL the memories of attraction to men, and highlight and emphasize all the memories of attraction to women. To be sure, I've been predominantly attracted to women and still put myself closer to the "lesbian" side of the spectrum. But the whole thing has become a lot more fluid for me, and I can't really treat "gay" as an identity anymore. And looking back, I can see that my entire "gay childhood narrative" was at least partly constructed and came from a place of fear and defensiveness.

A lot of this has to do with my spirituality. For one thing, spiritual experiences annul all human identities anyway. For another, one's personal preferences start to drop away as one progresses on the spiritual path. I had a few kundalini rising experiences that actually increased my propensity for bisexuality. I later found out that some Tantric teachers are actually quite open about how kundalini can cause bisexuality as an initial stage, prior to the full sublimation and transformation of human sexuality into higher stages of spiritual bliss (Ananda).

I would encourage both gay and straight people to be open to the fact that their preferences might be fluid and could change. Moreover, as far as the spiritual path goes, it is clear to me that not only can sexual desire be transmuted, but so can sexual preferences. In fact this seems to me to be the logical result of spiritual transformation, to attain states of bliss where all the old distinctions of man/woman, gay/straight, etc., have been transcended and no longer have any practical meaning.

I think this is the larger lesson to be learned from the whole gay/straight divide: eros is neither gay nor straight, but is universal. It neither has any preferences toward men, nor women, nor anything else. And often I feel that both sides are missing out on this larger picture (the article I wanted to contribute to this forum was supposed to focus on this perspective).

As for the ex-gay movement, it is obviously a sham. Any approach that tries to repress or deny desire will never succeed. Desire can't be repressed; it can only be alchemically transmuted when looked at from a higher perspective that doesn't seek to reject anything but rather seeks to put everything in its rightful place and harmonize all the movements of our lower egoic nature. Moreover, the transition from gay to ex-gay, from the perspective of transformational spirituality, is just a transition from one egoic illusion to another egoic illusion, and certainly the farthest thing from "salvation".

All identities come from a place of fear and insecurity. If we annul ourselves in the Reality without a name that is the Supreme Being, we will (include and) transcend all human identities.

pennyjane

gosh ned. i love my human identity and my sexual identity and my gender identity. i hope i never transcend these things as they are so much a part of what i am. i surely do not want things such as my gender identity to lose all practical meaning. i like to grow and learn but i don't think i want to do away with such fundamental components of my human identity until i make that last trip into the spiritual. earth and earthy experiences aren't so bad, i sort of enjoy them. as is often said, "i want to get to heaven, just not today!" lotsa love and hope, pj

ned

Dear PJ,

I certainly don't mean to suggest that what I'm talking about can be *forced*! To each stage its law -- at the human level, all identities have their value, but the value is totally relative.

But what I'm talking about is the aim and perspective of transformational spirituality -- this includes all mystical schools of thought from practically every religion.

Again, though, it can't be forced. Rome wasn't built in a day, and surrendering to the Divine is a process of letting go that can take decades (or lifetimes, from the Vedantic perspective!). But I guess my larger point was to highlight that as in any ideological conflict there are always hypocrisies on both sides. There might be a difference of degree -- i.e. one side being more hypocritical than another -- but there are always hypocrisies on both sides or there would be no conflict.

Anyhow it's just my personal perspective -- admittedly it's based on my Vedantic view of spirituality (mostly the Indian teacher Sri Aurobindo) -- so I'm not pushing an ideology here! :-) To each individual his or her own law*.

All the best,
Ned.

* . . . the perfection of the integral Yoga will come when each man is able to follow his own path of Yoga, pursuing the development of his own nature in its upsurging towards that which transcends the nature. For freedom is the final law and the last consummation.
— Sri Aurobindo

pennyjane

hi ned. oh, i wasn't hoping to force anything. i guess i kind of got off on the tangent about how nice it is here, celebrating our differences instead trying to eliminate or merge them. the stuggles of life are a large part of it's charm, to me.

hipocracy? yes, i guess that's another very common element of the human condition. what with everything always being in flux and whatnot, i don't see anyway around it.

i haven't studied under any great teachers other the jesus, but this thing about going off into the whole, the universalist thing...seems kind of like jumping the gun to me. who said it? "anticipation is half the fun." to me it's what life is all about down here on earth. hope.

anyway, i just absolutely love being a girl, anywhere that might be muted is nowhere i want to go. lotsa love and hope, pj

ned

PJ, I understand what you're saying and I can say with certainty that universality does NOT mean uniformity. The transcendence of human mental constructs like gender, race, etc. etc., would not mean a bland uniformity, but rather even MORE diversity -- in fact, INFINITE diversity -- total unity and harmony in infinite diversity. That would be the Kingdom of God on earth, predicted by Jesus, and all the sages and mystics of every religion. Everyone would be an individual, unlimited by external constructs. That isn't uniformity, it's more diversity than the human mind is capable of comprehending, a kind of diversity that terrifies the human mind (which is already so terrified by even present levels of diversity on earth).

I may be a woman, a lesbian, and all those things, but more than anything else I am a unique soul, a unique instrument of God, with a unique role to play in the evolution of humanity. Therefore, rather than trying to conform to stereotypes pertaining to those labels, I'd much rather focus on understanding what my role is in this life.

pennyjane

hmmmmmm...interesting ned. it does sound alot like my idea of heaven. or, maybe after the second coming. i guess it's just that i'm not at all convinced that these great and beautiful ideas are compatible with humankind as we know it. nor am i even sure it is a desirable destination for our kind, here on earth that is. it seems to me that it is exactly that unique quality of us all is what we are celebrating, harmony that stops just before the meld. i guess i don't see myself as conforming to stereotypes as much as just naturally fitting into some. maybe i overstate it, but i really enjoy many of the "stereotypical" attributes of my femaleness. i understand that if one sets the stereotype as a boundary there will be trouble, but if one snuggles in and feels all warm and fuzzy but keeps within range of the door, then...it's kind of nice.

maybe the next level will be better and i admire your desire to explore it, but i still think i've a lot to discover right here and much of it shows every promise of being just simply wonderful. lots of grays out there but just because something is black or white doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. lotsa love and hope, pj

pennyjane

anyway, getting back to the "gay turned straight" thing. sooner or later we are just going to have to accept that homosexuality is not just about sexual activity. leave sex out of it and it is still my experience that gay people are different then the ordinary garden varitey heterosexual. i don't mean to stereotype, but there is just so often other aspects of those who are gay that don't fit into the common genre.

with me it's just a viseral thing and i'm not trying to say that i have some kind of "gaydar" but those who have identified themselves as gay to me seem somehow different, eventhough i've never had any sexual pleasures with anyone other then my wife. i just don't see that as a bad thing. i think that, like with transsexuals, we are of a different origin. it could very well be that homosexuality is but one manifestation of a more specified nature within humans. i guess then the question is, is it nature or nurture? the evidence seems clear to me, it's likely far more nature. so if, like transsexuals, we are just born this way, then we can't just up and turn straight. i have blonde hair, i can color it burgandy, but it's still blonde and i have to keep up the artifical coloring or i'll go back to blonde every time. i am a transsexual and i am positive i will always be transsexual, i can choose what i do about it, but i can't choose not to be it. when i was young and constantly being told how awful it was to be "sissy" i tried everything i could think of to not be it, but nothing even came close to working. i think that my homosexuality is just like that. i could no more be straight then i could be a man, it's just not in my power to alter the spirit, that which God has made.

so, by using myself as an expample, i am very, very wary of anyone who does believe they can change their sexual orientation. it probably can and does happen sometimes, but i'd bet against it every time and make a killing in the long run. i think that there are many people who manifest different sexual interests at different times and try all sorts of things, but that core, that place way down deep where identity is stored, we pretty much die what we were born.

ned

Hi again, PJ -- one last comment, and then I think we'll have to leave the discussion at this point ... I think the whole nature/nurture debate is irrelevant, really. The question is not can someone change their sexual orientation -- but rather, why should they? And more to the point: why on earth should a human being change anything about themselves just to appease the egos of other human beings? That's just idolatory.

To the extent that I want to refine or transform my nature and become a more spiritual person, or whatever, it is only for the sake of the Divine, who I perceive as my Lover, Teacher, Father, Mother, Friend, and so on. But if I were trying to transform myself out of fear of a reaction from human egoism (which is precisely what the ex-gay movement is about), I would be killing my soul -- quite literally.

Vedantic teachers never cared about whether their students were gay or straight. It was a non-issue. Christopher Isherwood, E. M. Forster and Edward Carpenter are some high-profile examples of homosexual people who were initiated into the Vedantic tradition. When Swami Prabhavananda (1893-1976), founder of the Vedanta society in the U.S., heard of Oscar Wilde’s conviction, he remarked, “Poor man. All lust is the same.”

On a slightly different note, this is why I find all the heterosexist homophobia so absurd. Because basically heterosexual people are saying, "My lust is better than your lust!" ;-) Isn't that the most hypocritical thing ever? "Let's take one type of lust/desire and socially sanction it, while we persecute people with another type of lust/desire so that we can feel good about our desires." Give me a break. It doesn't take a genius to see through that. It's like the idea that prostitutes exist to keep everyone else chaste. By demonizing the prostitute, "normal" people can comfortably shield themselves from their own hypocrisies. That is all that's happening with this entire ex-gay movement.

pennyjane

hi ned. i don't think you've said anything here that i would disagree with. i don't think Jesus cared if the ones He spoke to were gay or straight either, or at least if He did He never made mention of it.

to the question of gay v. straight. i agree wholy that i would have no interest at all in changing my gender or my sexual identity, but there were times when i did care. i think by first answering the question of can i do it with a resounding no, then we lay moot the question of "should i." i think you are right, the question should never even come up.

i certainly can't argue with the absurity of homophobia either. but absurd or not it has to be dealt with, lives are at stake. a better approach to homophobes then talking down to them, dismissing their attitudes as absurd or hipocracy, might be to deal with them respectfully and try to demonstrate for them the possiblity they may be wrong. a debate that begins with "you are an absurd hipocrit" is most liable to end with no attitude change at all.

a also agree that hipocracy is rampant within the whole of the human community, myself included. it has been my experiece that i can be just as hipocritical as the next guy. usually i prefer to identify my hipocracy as well meaning ignorance while ascribing an agenda to those who's hipocracies may seem absurd to me. i try not to assign my own motives to the actions of others, rather try to understand their motives and in conversation hope that we can both be lifted above the starting point. with much love and hope, pj

hayward

I dont know what brought me to this page on the internet but i am glad i found it...i started to read the article then i scrolled down and read a couple of comments and 1 commen really stuck out the most and the guy said somethings that really matched me...im still in limbo of life how do i release who iam to feel happier in life...?dont get me wrong i love God and life but was does it feel like not to have to hide your own likes?

Angel

I feel that you need to cast down negative thoughts and actions. If the bible says its a negative then believe this is so. We are trying to justify our actions, feelings, and lives and God doesn't want us to do that. He wants us to defeat the enemy in our minds that tell us we are gay and be what he called us to be. The devil is becoming more busy as we come closer to the end times. We are here to overcome our issue and let others know that they also can do it. We cannot do it apart from GOD. He is our strength and our shield from this lifestyle. Hold on to his unchanging hand and he will see you through it, then you can lead more young people into the light. We are to be loved right out of our mess. Sometimes I look at being gay as someone who is a thief. They enjoy stealing, its a part of who they are but they need to discipline themselves in order to break away from the bondage of thievery. Acceptance from people is not what were looking for but acceptance from God is! Do the right thing please!

pennyjane

thank you for your concern angel...and may God bless your sincerity. myself, i will not apologize for God and i will not try to defeat or demean that which He has made. (me)

i will not show shame of Him by being ashamed of me, that which He created and loves with all His heart. i did not choose to be trans or gay and i did not choose not to be either....and, i deeply resent your assumption that i am demon possessed. the devil does not live in me and i'll appose his lying and deceitful nature wherever i find it. one of those places is where other people try to speak to me in His name. my line is open to God, He speaks to me through the Holy Spirit and i listen attentively. i am as christian as i can be (christlike). in all things i consult with Jesus and would never, never knowingly shame Him or bring dishonor to His name.

if you believe that homosexuality is keeping you from Jesus, then by all means, do whatever is in your power to pluck that log from your eye. but, in His name...i ask you...don't judge me and don't try to speak to me for Him. when you do this, try to force feed your own ideas on others, you do bring shame and dishonor on His name. when you judge in His name you replace His love and compassion with your own weak, mortal self...you cannot save me, only Jesus can do that. i cannot save you either, i won't try....i know my human limitations and am not so arrogant as to hold myself up as speaker for God. please, if you have nothing good to say, nothing that has a chance at being uplifting, nothing without a chance of bringing people to God...don't say anything. driving people away from God is a sin paul tells us is worse than all other sin. if you are concerned with my sin....be doubly concerned with your own...your sin, you can do something about...my sin is beyond your control.

much love and hope. pj

pennyjane

when Jesus admonished the mob, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone", he was saying, "only the sinless can stand in judgment of sin." that would be Jesus, so why is it that so many so-called christians hear so clearly other things from the bible but don't hear this?

"woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint, dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. it is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. you blind guides! you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."

can you hear?

much love and hope. pj

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