Born…or Soft-Wired to Be Gay?
In today’s brave new world, it’s verboten to connect child abuse to same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, despite them being disproportionately common among its victims. Yet the media and public widely accept and discuss the connection between child abuse and later struggles with everything from obesity to attachment disorder. My blog on Sex and the Singularly Abused Girl evoked an immediate response from a number of people who acknowledged and appreciated this point.
Some, however, insisted there are many exceptions – homosexuals who have never been abused but have what appears to be an innate same-sex orientation. Several mentioned a family member or friend who truly seem to have been “born gay.” (As a pastor and and a student of the subject I have known, ministered to and interviewed quite a few as well.) They wanted to know what I had to say about them.
First, I would simply point to the many LGBTQ advocates who now freely acknowledge that hitching their cause to the civil rights movement was the key to normalizing homosexuality. This was chief among a number of reasons they insisted same-sex attraction was congenital and immutable – akin to being black or Slovak.
But now they have so spectacularly won the day, more and more homophiles have drop-kicked this rhetoric. And for good reason. There simply is no scientific support for the “hard-wired, born gay” premise. To the contrary, a growing body of evidence points to human sexuality being malleable or—as it is more commonly characterized—“fluid.” (And the right to engage with and explore this fluidity has now become the new cause célèbre for many in the movement.)
For example, Dr. Lisa Diamond, one of the foremost researchers on this subject—and herself a homosexual—has written:
“…early childhood influences on sexuality (whatever they may be) were not immutable, and that most individuals were unaware of their own capacity for change in sexuality over time.” (Lisa M. Diamond, Sexual Fluidity, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), p.8)
And toward the end of Sexual Fluidity, Diamond openly acknowledges that for the sake of the gay rights movement (as it was in 2008) and its “not yet ready for prime-time” end-game—that is unrestricted sexual freedom—it perhaps remained necessary to continue to propagate the “born gay” myth:
“Some (gay) activists feel that the climate is not yet right for such a shift in our thinking about sexual freedom. Given the recent resurgence of conservative antigay activism (much of it focused on banning same-sex marriage), it may well be that for now, the safest way to advocate for lesbian/gay/bisexual rights is to keep propagating a deterministic model: sexual minorities are born that way and can never be otherwise. If this is an easier route to acceptance (which may in fact be the case), is it really so bad that it is inaccurate? (pp. 256,257)
(For a more detailed, yet concise refutation of the born-gay myth, please refer to Dr. Michael Brown’s excellent article, No One is Born Gay. )
But while no one is deterministically born gay, what are we to make of the fact that there is evidence thatsome people are genetically and/or hormonally and/or dispositionally wired in such a way as to make them more vulnerable, more likely to be subject to homo-erotic temptations and inclinations?
Simple. Accept and deal with it.
But this in no way means we are to also accept the homophile agenda being smuggled in with this not-too-surprising reality.
The fact is each of us is hard and soft-wired in ways that predispose us to all manner of sub-optimal characteristics and habits. Every parent knows their children have certain traits and impulses that are just part of their make-up. After being called to school for the third-time that year because little Johnny is mentally checking out of class in favor of looking out the window and doodling, his mother nervously laughs: “He’s either going to grow up to be a great artist of some kind…or live in a van down by the river.”
Mary was born with a temper. Manuel is shy. Mark is predisposed towards (choose
one): anger, pride, overeating, lust, fear, risk-taking, impulsivity, aggression, passivity, rebellion, alcohol or chemical addiction, gender or sexual confusion…on and on. And all of these predilections are, at least in part, the product of everything from their genes; birth-order; the hormones, nutrition or chemical compounds they bathed in while in utero; the emotional and spiritual climate of their home; life experiences (particularly during the critical years between birth and around eight-years-of-age) and many other factors over which the child has little or no control.
And let’s not forget the biggest glitch: a sin nature; the most universal birth defect of them all.
Does that mean we are to wave the white flag of surrender? Bow down before the idol of determinism, embrace our brokenness and iniquities—be they small or big—and join in singing the chorus from West Side Story: “Hey, I’m depraved on account of I’m deprived”?
Souls are doomed the moment that concession is made. And so is the culture that normalizes it.
The fact is, we’re all broken as a result of the Fall. We’re all predisposed towards sin. And each of us has our own demons to fight—one, two or more “besetting sins” or inclinations that will follow us, sometimes all the days of our life. And unless we’re in thrall to politically-correct group-think, each of us also knows we’re not to succumb to or be controlled by these temptations. Instead, we’re called to battle them and learn to channel their dark energies towards the light. Such is the stuff of which great souls—and a much better world—are made. (I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t say that knowing God and learning to ride the winds of His grace is the penultimate key to victory in this regard.)
Lastly, there is also the fact that the characteristics, some innate, that would make someone more vulnerable to homo-erotic inclinations can result in homosexual behavior via a kind-of “self-fulfilling prophecy” mechanism. Take, as a fairly common example, a boy who is wired to be more “aesthetic than athletic.” What happens if he’s marginalized in some way by his former jock dad, who prefers the other, future jock son—and as a result grows up hungry for male affirmation? Or if he is rejected by the other boys on the playground and called a sissy or a queer—and begins to think perhaps he is. I could go on listing hundreds of common scenarios that these types of boys experience and that can bend them towards homo-eroticism. Or worse, create a vulnerability towards a predatory homosexual who then proceeds to flip the switch though sexual abuse masquerading as male affirmation. Sadly, it happens every day.
And it is going to happen more and more now that the walls regarding sexual norms have been so thoroughly destroyed.
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