What Do You Call a Man Who Experiences "Homosexual Arousal"?


Oh. I thought the answer was "Pastor"...
If it were possible to change someone's orientation and some people wanted this, grand. It doesn't matter to me if we could be "cured" or if we were born this way or whatever. We exist and we should be respected.

This pray-away-the-gay BS really isn't about that at all. The horrific psychological consequences, the way people are coerced or forced into it, the fear-mongering, the self-hatred, the abuses, the utter scam of it all as they terrify and torture people and offer them a false hope to escape from something that was never wrong to start with, all combine to make one of the most evil institutions currently tolerated in America.
the researchers have an agenda as opposed to a curiosity
Religion is a prison. Free yourself from the prison.
@2 FTW.
Waiting to die, because denying who you are does not sound like living. Sad.
@5: Just because you can't sit through services doesn't mean that nobody else should.
To your average ex-gay therapist, "hateful" and "soul-destroying" are features, not bugs.
@8, Just because you can sit through the services doesn't mean it's not prison. Just ask any of the kids when you're back at temple for Yom Kippur.
I simply REFUSE to go back into that closet (not that I ever was, to begin with).

Knock yourself out, if that's what you want to do, but don't expect me to join you.
Whenever I read that ex-gay BS, I'm always reminded of this Onion article:

@10: In my congregation, kids who aren't b'nei mitzvot yet aren't expected to sit through the whole service. They usually just come in for the Torah service, though some of the older ones often stay longer.
Frankly, that's the way it should be. Religion should be chosen, not forced.
@5, 8 & 10 ... organized religion's dogma is the justification bigots use to give themselves a free pass for reprehensible behavior. Their actions are precisely what the prophets and gods they say they worship counseled against (allegedly).

Too many (but not all) religions have been co-opted by the purveyors of hate and intolerance, and the GOP is infested with bigots who cloak their hate under the umbrella of being one of the "faithful."

Make no mistake. The Republican Party has been co-opted and is no longer a political machine -- it's a religious movement intent on establishing a theocracy.

But politics aside, "pray away the gay" is pure bullshit, plain and simple. No matter what the so-called study's sample size.

@12, that's lovely, thanks for posting it. 1998, wow...

What do you call a dude who gets excited when the Knox sisters come on TV...as a unit.

@13, Come to think of it, that's pretty much how it is at the congregation I used to attend (we actually held a separate, shorter service for children). My father, however, was fond of forcing me to sit through the entirety of services. Oddly enough, my father was and is an atheist. I'm not too clear on what his reasoning was; he's absolutely fucked in the head though, so it's not like he needs logical reasoning for anything he does.
@14, Are you taking issue with something one of us said? I don't think anyone who has commented on this thread would argue with the idea that many bigots justify their bigotry with religion, or with the idea that the Republican party has a serious theocratic bent.
@20, Hahahaha
@19 Ouch, but true...
@18 -- Maybe your father was trying to make sure that whatever choice you made (atheism, religious) was an informed one? That you knew all the options?
@17: Please explain? Why would you stay in the closet?
@3 (Zuulabelle), I agree 100%. I often wonder why people worry so much about the 'naturalness' of being gay. Hell, if it was as much a choice as being a Christian, would it in principle be any less worthy of respect?

I once said in another comments thread that there's an ambiguity in "natural" that people play with when they think about the gay issue: "natural-1" as 'good, wholesome, healthy, organic, not harmful, not chemical(!), not contaminated, not twisted, not perverted' and "natural-2" as 'occurring in nature', 'not artificial/man-made/culturally determined', 'following one's instincts', 'genetically determined'. (Come to think of it, natural-1 and natural-2 neatly mirror the nature/nurture 'divide', don't they?) So snake poison and gonorrhea are natural-2, but not natural-1. And people who want to prove that being gay is natural-2 (which is probably feasible) react as if that would also imply it is natural-1 (which is a cultural preference), when in fact these are two independent things.

'Change the gay' people think that being gay is not natural-2, so it can be changed. But there are other non-natural-2 things (like the fact that Americans speak English rather than Dutch or German), and nobody thinks that making Americans switch from English to Dutch should be done just because it is in principle feasible, so there's more: they think being gay is not only not natural-2, it is also not natural-1 ('bad for you', if not against god's will), i.e., it should be changed.

Which is to me the real point. Regardless of whether or not gayness is natural-2 or not and thus can (or cannot) be changed, why should gayness be changed, since it obviously is natural-1 (causes no harm)?

Rather than spend time proving that you can't pray the gay away, I'd rather see people insist on the question of why the gay should be prayed away. To me, doing that is as laughable as actually changing the language of Americans from English to Dutch. Even if you did achieve it (after a lot of effort for quite a long time), exactly what advantage would you derive from that? What harm would you avoid? What problem would you solve?

Ah, the imaginary windmills people!...
@17: I thought you (finally) came out last year?

@26, but this would be like saying that STIs in general are an argument against sex ("if you're a virgin forever you'll never have these problems", abstinence campaign, etc.), not against gays in particular. Any given activity will have its own risks, and those who engage in it (from mountain climbing to Buddhism) will have higher-than-average risks for certain things (and lower-than-average risks for others). All this says is that the person who chooses this path should do this informedly -- not that the activity in question should be discouraged. (I suppose one would have to agree on a threshhold of danger for diseases in general. When is danger high enough for it to be a good idea to discourage a certain activity? Numbers, of course... and agreed-upon criteria.)

Is a higher likelihood to develop Tay-Sachs disease an argument against Ashkenazi Jews and French Canadians? Or at least an argument against marrying them?
26,This is mixing up homosexuality with promiscuity. One can safely be a practicing homosexual. Worldwide, heterosexuality is the predominant means of HIV infection, again because of promiscuity, not heterosexuality.
@26, I was going to say what Rob in Baltimore just said. I'll simply add, the 'higher STI risk from promiscuity" could be used against any group perceived as 'more promiscuous'. Is it an argument against being, say, a sex-positive feminist, a Californian, a Swede? Should sex-positivity, Californianness and Swedeness also be "tolerated but discouraged"?
An editor at The Stranger?????

32, again, Promiscuity, and homosexuality aren't synonymous, any more than black and promiscuity. The biggest AIDS problem in the world is in Africa. That doesn't mean you should judge all black people by that. Nor should black people be prevented from marrying because of it. Heterosexual promiscuity may be a problem in Africa, but it's an educational issue. You're not going to stop African heterosexuals from being straight, but you can teach them, and steer them away from promiscuity, and unprotected sex. You're also not going to stop homosexual men from being gay, but you can teach them, and steer them away from promiscuity and unprotected sex.

@33: I think the point is that we men are generally huge sluts due to the sly and corrupting influence of our testicles.
@32, who wrote: @30 I doubt Swedes or Californians suffer from STIs at anywhere near the rate that gay men do.

The difference, of course, is that they take care of their bodies better (plus, for the Swedes, their health care system). Homosexuals should do the same, not stop being homosexuals.

Besides, even if STIs among these groups are lower than for homosexuals, they are still above abstinents. So, by your logic, we should still be against ('tolerating but disencouraging') Swedeness and Californianness, though not so much as homosexuality. If not, then where do I misunderstand your argument?

You also wrote: I think it is pretty clear that male homosexuality leads to promiscuity.

Only statistically, not individually. Being Black is also statistically more correlated with being a criminal, and ending up in prison. It doesn't follow from that that we should 'tolerate but discourage' Blacks.

Again, the point you raise is against promiscuity, not homosexuality. In your view, heterosexual promiscuous people (of which there is no small supply, probably more than homosexual promiscuous people in absolute numbers) are just as bad.

And, of course, lesbians, who are less likely to be promiscuous than the average population, should be held in higher regard than heterosexual women (if their STI rates are lower, for instance).
To put it succinctly, Mr Mehlman, to just frown upon homosexuality ('tolerate but discourage') is not going to solve the problem (STI). In a simple cost-benefit analysis, isn't it better to actually go for something that would work (e.g., better health care) -- as it worked for the Swedes?

Besides, there's the problem of morality. When deciding how to solve a problem, we as people should take other people's individuality into account -- because we are, after all, people, not robots. For instance, one way to completely solve the problem of homosexual STIs is to exterminate all homosexuals (call that 'the Nazi solution'). No homosexuals -- no homosexuals STI. Yet I assume we would all agree that this would be wrong, since it violates the individuality of too many people in too violent a way to be morally acceptable.

People are -- have to be -- part of the equation.
@37, I think even in this case it wouldn't, because being Black -- even if it were a choice -- involves many things beyond simply higher risk of ending up in prison. Being black is more than that. Likewise, being homosexual is more than simply having a higher risk of contracting STIs. By making the easy conflation -- black=crime, homosexual=promiscuity=STI -- we throw the baby (= individuality) out with the bathwater.

I do think that whether or not homosexuality is a choice is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is good, or acceptable. There's no problem here with me.

My problem is with the simplistic equations: black=criminal, so to get rid of criminal, get rid of black; gay=promiscuous=STI, so to get rid of STI, get rid of gay. Throughout history, the application of simplistic solutions has usually had results far different (often the opposite) from what their proponents thought they would get. The history of prohibition in America jumps to mind.

The real problem is STI and criminality, not homosexuality or being black. Morally speaking, if it's possible to solve STI/criminality without forcing people to choose not to be gay/black, then this is preferable, because being gay/black is in principle an acceptable way of being human. And I think it's possible to solve the problem (STI/criminality) without forcing people to give up this choice.

What do you think? Would you disagree with that?

(PS: In fact, I suspect the really effective solutions, if we ever find them, will have little if anything to do with people's sexual orientation or skin color. I suspect the latter are simply what statisticians call confounding variables, without direct causal links to the problems in question.)
@39 Indeed. And precisely my point.

I'm reminded of a story I heard once -- I don't know if it's specifically true, and I've forgotten the details, but as the Italians say, se non è vero è ben trovato (if it isn't true it's well invented).

It seems one of the first pro-ecology groups (or it was a women's Christian group, I don't remember) decided to buy a certain area to create a reservation for a species of herbivore (let's say, gazelles). They decided the best thing they could do to help the gazelles thrive was to kill all predators -- lions, tigers, hienas, etc. And they did. They were happy to see the number of gazelles immediately increase. Later on, however, the gazelles began to starve -- they had eaten up all the available food. So the proto-ecologist (or Christian women's) group actually got the opposite of what they had wanted: rather than helping their gazelles thrive, they made them starve to death. They hadn't realized that the predators had a 'function' (keeping gazelle population within reasonable limits) and simply acted on their first impression, gazelle=good, predator=bad --> eliminate predator to increase good.

That pretty much describes my feelings on simplistic solutions for all kinds of problems. Don't jump to conclusions.
@38, oh, I should add one thing. It's indeed good that there were many remarkable personalities who were gay -- writers, musicians, artists, but also, if you're more conservatively-minded, mathematicians (Alan Turing), generals (Alexander the Great), and so on. But the argument that being gay is an acceptable way of being human shouldn't depend on the existence of such personalities. For two reasons:

(a) There were also great people who had serious problems -- drug or alcohol addiction (Friedrich Nietzsche), mental disorders (John Nash, also Nietzsche), bigotry and intolerance (Richard Wagner), depression and low self-esteem (Marcel Proust, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka), superstition (Sir Isaac Newton)... None of these things is good, or commendable, simply because some great people had them.

(b) Human dignity, and the acceptability of a certain life choice (or condition, if it's not a choice) shouldn't depend on high achievement, but simply on humanity. I usually hear the opposite argument in interethnic fights. My mother-in-law, who is Russian, for instance, is very much anti-Latvian (in fact anti-Baltic; many Russians can't forgive the Baltic states for having been the first to leave the Soviet Union in 1991). One way she justifies herself is by saying "we Russians are better, because we have a great literature (cue to Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Pasternak, you name it). Whereas the Latvians -- what has a Latvian ever written that deserves to be part of World Literature?" And yet, despite her implication, I still think it's OK to be Latvian -- it's one possible, plausible, acceptable way to be human, even though there is no Latvian Shakespeare, no Latvian Tostoy, no Latvian Balzac. The human dignity and acceptability of Latvianness should not -- must not -- depend on the level of achievement of its writers. Human dignity is not measured by human achievement.
@40: Why wouldn't the gazelles' food start increasing as their population died down due to starvation? In other words, why couldn't starvation deaths serve the same balancing effect as predator deaths?

There's another story like that I like: a town once had a problem with a certain type of rat, so they offered a bounty for each rat pelt to try to get the townspeople to kill them. So, naturally, people started breeding them...

Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_…
@42, if well balanced and seasonal, it might. But the problem with starvation is that the gazelles can't last long enough for the food to become plentiful again -- if there's really no food around, all gazelles die within a few weeks. If only they could wait several months, for the next generation of food plants to mature!...

The problem is that killing the predators threw the system out of equilibrium big time, like pushing a pendulum with all your strength. The gazelle population became huge (since there were no predators and food was plentiful) and really ate all the food. Like a store owner who got a lot of money from his first month of sales but reinvested nothing to buy stocks for the following month, there was nothing they could do but die (or go elsewhere perhaps). If things had happened more slowly -- if the food had simply become less plentiful, so that the gazelles went hungry but didn't starve, or if only some of them starved, then they could wait for more food... but with the big upsurge in population at the beginning that wasn't possible. (Maybe if the predators had been reduced but not toally eliminated.)

Or at least that's my reading of the tale.

I like the rat story, and thanks for the link!