Below is a response to a Facebook comment that I received on a post (posted in the image below) I made about same-sex marriage. I knew going into my response that it was going to be too lengthy to just make a comment out of, because it’s something that I’m passionate about. The bold, italicized bits in quotation marks are pieces of this individual’s argument, followed by my own responses and a sprinkling of scholarly reference. Enjoy! (Or don’t…shrug)
I want to make the caveat that I do not think all Christians are bad or that all churches are teaching harmful values and ideals. I’m thankful to have a family that accepts me for who I am. I also have amazing Christian friends in my life that accept me and don’t view me as someone that is “unnatural” or “wrong.” However, those fundamentalist churches out there teaching that homosexuality is a choice are a large part of why there are so many suicides within the LGBTQ+ community.
“I believe marriage was designed from the beginning to be between one man and one woman, to help and enjoy each other equally through life.”
Marriage is a concept that was created by religion. It was designed, as you stated, by religion. Give credit to God, if you will, but not everyone subscribes to the ideals of the Christianity, so to expect everyone to subscribe to the design of marriage created by religion would be pointless. Believe what you want about marriage—it doesn’t mean that everyone believes the same way about marriage.
To be honest, I could give two shits about marriage as far as proving my love and commitment to a future partner. Having a ring put on my finger or putting a ring on my future partner’s finger is not going to prove that I love him anymore than I will prove that through my actions and commitment to him.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, marriage affords couples protections and benefits under the law that are otherwise not provided to couples who are not married. Therefore, if no one is voting on whether or not straight couples are allowed to marry, everyone should step out of any conversation regarding whether or not same-sex couples are allowed to marry. It’s a legal thing now, and it’s no longer simply tied to a religious commitment.
“It used to be that people who thought themselves attracted to the same sex were aware that it was wrong, and sought help for their mental issue.”
Again, we come back to religion. It used to be that homosexuality was considered a mental disorder, and homosexuality is still considered to be an “abomination” or “unnatural” by fundamentalist Christians who love to indoctrinate the rest of the world with their ideals based on their religious texts. As far as homosexuality in the context of being a mental disorder—the framework behind that was very similarly driven by a religious context of morals and ideals.
Society viewed homosexuality as something “wrong,” therefore, it was classified as such and treated as a mental disorder. As psychology and science have progressed, homosexuality is now known to be perfectly natural and is no longer considered to be a psychological mental disorder.
“In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), removed the diagnosis of ‘homosexuality’ from the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). This resulted after comparing competing theories, those that pathologized homosexuality and those that viewed it as normal.” (Drescher, 2015).
“Rigid gender beliefs usually flourish in fundamentalist, religious communities where any information or alternative explanations that might challenge implicit and explicit assumptions are unwelcome. When entering the realms of gender and sexuality, it is not unusual to encounter another form of binary thinking: ‘morality tales’ about whether certain kinds of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are ‘good or bad’ or, in some cases, whether they are ‘good or evil.’” (Drescher, 2015).
“Most importantly, in medicine, psychiatry, and other mental health professions, removing the diagnosis from the DSM led to an important shift from asking questions about ‘what causes homosexuality?’ and ‘how can we treat it?’ to focusing instead on the health and mental health needs of LGBT patient populations.” (Drescher, 2015).
“It is not normal behavior, because men cannot procreate with men, nor women with women. Simple biological logic.”
Actually, it’s been shown scientifically that homosexuality is quite normal behavior. Basing your definition of what is normal and what is not on the basis of procreation eliminates more than homosexuals from your pool of who’s considered “right” and “wrong.”
For example, there are women that cannot have children because of genetic or health factors. They must not be normal. Therefore, they must be wrong, yes? Some men experience issues with getting or maintaining an erection, causing them to rely on “unnatural” medications. Other men simply have sterile semen loads in which they are left with little-to-no chances of getting a woman pregnant. These men must be “unnatural” and therefore wrong, yes?
“If all humans behaved this way, they would quickly go extinct.”
Luckily for the human race, we’re not all little robots that behave, feel, and think the same way. Trying to use the argument of “If all humans behaved this way” is pointless, because no two humans on this planet behave in the same way.
“…in the context of Darwinian natural selection, homosexuality appears to be a paradox. Gay men have eighty percent fewer offspring than do heterosexual males, so this trait would be expected to undergo extinction within several generations. The essence of natural selection is to favor and conserve beneficial genetic variations and eliminate maladaptive ones. Thus, if homosexuality were a genetic error, it would have been removed long ago from the gene pool via natural selection.” (O’Keefe, et al., 2018).
“This evolutionary enigma is magnified by accumulating evidence indicating that male same-sex preference—defined as sexual attraction to male partners even when female partners are available—is largely determined prenatally via inherited genes undergoing epigenetic modification in utero. In other words, genes coding for sexual orientation are activated in the developing fetus in response to signals emanating from the mother and her surrounding environment, which are endocrine mechanisms acting upon the fetus during pregnancy. Thus, homosexuality is not solely a consequence of the in-utero environment; nor is it determined by an individual’s genes alone. Instead, a complex interaction between the two produces biological changes that alter sexual orientation.” (O’Keefe, et al,, 2018).
Still reading? Lucky you…
Believe it or not, this is what science tells us. If your argument is that “science is wrong,” then I would urge to you think about that next time you get sick and go to the doctor and then proceed to take whatever medicine is prescribed to you. Think about that next time you get in your “unnatural” car or on an “unnatural” plane thousands of feet up in the air. Think about it while you’re waiting on science to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19.
If you don’t value science and wish to close your mind off to reality, that’s cool. You’re perfectly entitled to your close-minded views. It’s easy to spout off all the reasons why you think same-sex orientations are “wrong” or “unnatural” when it hasn’t been your lived experience.
I can tell you based on my own experiences that homosexuality is not a choice. I grew up in the church, and I know that the church would like people to believe that homosexuality is a choice. I spent years trying to “pray the gay away” and going through the motions of being in relationships with women where their feelings for me were not reciprocated by me to them. Trying it that way only got people hurt, and I had to live with the fact that because of my fake behaviors, I ended up hurting multiple people emotionally.
I grew up thinking that the feelings I have for men were wrong…that there was something wrong with me. I hated myself, because I couldn’t just “choose” to “do the right thing” and fall in love with a woman. I couldn’t eliminate the thoughts and feelings I had toward men.
When I left home and went to college and started discovering the science behind my thoughts and feelings instead of relying on what I had been indoctrinated to believe by the church, my mental health improved significantly. It was such a relief for me to find out that there was an actual explanation to what I was experiencing. I left the church behind, because I know that there are very jaded teachings happening there. Those teachings kill people.
Thanks for reading!