Understanding Sexual Orientation
Catherine and David,
While homosexuals are attracted to persons of the same gender, they are no different than anyone else otherwise. This is one of the three main reasons that homosexuality was taken out of the DSM. There was no psychological test in use at the time or proposed (and many tried to construct one) that could distinguish gays as a group from straights as a group. Sure gays have problems, but in the same proportions as the rest of the population. Homosexuality is not correlated with any other psychological disorder. Certainly not pedophilia. Sexual orientation is a distinct trait, like eye color, which is separate and unrelated to anything else.
To the extent that gays are anxious and depressed, this is situational anxiety and situational depression due to the way gays are treated by some in today's society. It is not psychological anxiety or psychological depression due to any underlying personality deficiency.
Gays' attraction to other men is exactly the same as a heterosexual woman's attraction to men, no more, no less. It is derived from the same set of genes and effects the same sexual arousal centers in the limbic system. It is a primal autonomic nervous system reaction like the "fight or flight" reaction and produces many of the same hormones and physiological reactions. In addition, sexual arousal produces the hormone oxitocin, the human bonding hormone also found in lactating women, which is required to form the bonds of love and affection necessary in romance. Since women don't stimulate this reaction in gay men, these men are not able to form bonds of love and affection to persons of the opposite gender.
These primitive reactions are not under voluntary control, they occur when the activating stimuli are present, whether we like it or not. They cannot be changed by any type of therapy. This is the second main reason that homosexuality was dropped from the DMS. There is no way to cure such a primitive instinct. The best professionals can do is help gays live with this innate difference.
The way we can apply the Christian "love thy neighbor" principle is to understand the scientific basis for sexual attraction, realize that this physiological reaction is not chosen, and accept gay people as they are the way God does.
Behavior is completely different from orientation, since it is chosen. Yet we can't have a reasoned discussion about behavior if we fail to acknowledge the limits that orientation places on the available options. Love, Dad
PS: Here's the latest article that reviews the current information on gay and lesbian parenting. It appears in the Obstetrics - Gynecology medical journal. It even includes that latest study I listed in my previous e-mail.
Summary: The literature supports the notion that children of lesbian mothers and gay fathers are not more likely to become homosexual and are not measurably different from children raised by heterosexual parents in terms of personality development, psychological development, and gender identity. Larger longitudinal studies of same sex parents, particularly gay men, are needed, including those who choose to become parents through the use of assisted reproduction.
Since gays are no different than anyone else otherwise, why would we expect there to be any difference in the way their children turn out?