Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CM at others' comboxes -- 4

I wrote the following at Disputed Mutability, a blog by a lesbian-turned-new-mom who calls herself "ex-gay until some better term comes along" but can be rather skeptical of parts of the Ex-Gay Movement (as am I). The context was the dispute over the genesis of homosexuality, whether it's a developmental condition or an inborn trait (or to be more precise, how sure we can be of either alternative, either generally or in given cases; my answer: "not one bit at all").

But my words there were on a different point, a side issue. They were as follows:
Why do at least two people think that the developmental theory should lead to greater optimism re change?

After all, if a condition be decisively inborn and/or biological (I am obviously speaking generally and hypothetically) … that tells us exactly what the “cure” is. Reverse the effects, change the gene, alter the hormones in utero, etc.

But if a condition be the result of a set of historic circumstances and one’s interactions thereto, neither the circumstances nor the adolescent soul doing the shaping can ever be recreated or “relived.” To put it simply and crudely (and I put it to my shrink this way) … you can only grow up once.

“Bios” is dumb and so is easier to change than the self-conscious “psyche.”


Heather said...

Hey, CM--I know this link is two years old, and you've probably seen it, but I just heard about it now.

It goes along with the "born that way but it's not genetic" idea, though it doesn't cover oldest children or only sons.

markdvnprt12 said...

Greetings Courageman. I check in every once in a while. Your past couple of posts are somewhat confusing. I hope that you are back on track going to Mass. Even if you have met the man of your dreams you still need to go to Mass. (And maybe offer thanks - LOL!) I get confused when people talk of curing homosexuality. It is an orientation, not a disease. God has made us as we are and we don't need to be fixed. I have read about how some guys have gone into reparative therapy and killed themselves. What a bunch of garbage. Why should people allow themselves to be abused by people that hate homosexuality. People need to learn to accept and love themselves. Socially and culturally I am straight but biologically I am gay. But I don't have a disease or a disorder. This is just the way God made me.

Peace be with you - Mareczku

Anonymous said...

Hi CourageMan,

I study cancer for a living and it's a complex family of diseases that has both genetic and environmental components. Either one alone in this context is oversimplification.

As I understand it, homosexuality is a behavior that stems from a desire/attraction and is about as fuzzy a phenotype as you can get. There is a range of behaviors and self identifications. Because there is no clear cut uniform physical trait, it's very likely that homosexuality is multi-genetic and environmentally sensitive, with environment having both physical/chemical and social aspects. Under those conditions finding a "gay gene" may only be possible among a small very well defined group with an extreme behavior. In breast cancer a small set of related women had extreme risk at an unusually early age and this fact led to the discovery of clearly related genes and indirectly to a relevant pathway of genes. I don't know if such a group exists within the homosexual community.

I doubt this question will be resolved easily and may go through stages of understanding.

What matters morally is not what condition you're born into but what you do in the few areas you can control. As for sexuality I believe you can not control your orientation but you can control your response. As a Catholic I know I'll fail without divine assistance but that we are all given this divine means to succeed through Christ without earning it as a gift. The daily rosary keeps me on track with sexual temptations, which are universal. Regular confession and Eucharistic reception also helps a lot. I did a first Saturday devotion to Mary with 5 months of confession really set me on the right track. FYI I'm straight and married, but I think it does not make a difference to the general problem of temptation.

God Bless

Janey said...

Well, I think homosexuality is a confusing topic to discuss and it's even more confusing when you the person are working through such issues.

I think if we try to narrow down the reasons behind the attractions and the causes of them it makes for that much more difficult process.

I'm speaking from my own personal life and the journey that I've walked through myself.

I'm still working through Same-sex desires but my faith is still my faith.

And my point is this.

We can be in a same-sex relationship and be happy. Is it God's best for us. I don't think so. Is it healthy? I don't think so. Is it what God originally intended for us. I will never believe that what we are experiencing God's orginal intent. We live in a fallen and broken world and every single of us who choose Christ embrace a journey to discover what God originally had intended for us.

And along the way there are choices and sacrifices that need to make. Everyone has to but not everyone truly udnerstand just how much.

I think it's more difficult for those coming out of a homosexual lifestyle and identity because of it's nature. Because that's all we've ever known.

The homosexual issue if a complex thing and we can't possibly narrow things down. But when our sexuality begins to conflict with our faith we really need to ask ourselves what direction we really want to take our life.

Jen said...

"You can only grow up once."

True, but you can only be conceived/born once, too. Changing the hormones in utero, etc. would be great for the next generation (if possible). What about this one?

The analogy would be the difference between a wound and a congenital disability. The wounded one seems to have the greater chance of being healed.

Heather said...

Off topic, but I wondered what your thoughts were on the speech Bishop Soto (arriving in Sacramento) gave recently. Did he misrepresent himself, or did his audience presume too much?

Anonymous said...

CourageMan, every so often I stop in your blog to see how you are and to say a prayer for you.

Anonymous said...

You can grow up more than once, or should I say you can finally grow up when you accept the responsibility for your own behaviour, instead of trying to blame it on genes. The nature vs nuture debate is over and it was a stalemate. This means there are aspects of SSA that are relatively fixed by the time we reach adulthood, however, that does not imply they are that way as a result of genes. For too long now science has ignored the effects of upbringing and trauma on our identity and tried to prove the genetic link. I do not think we will find any definite genetic link for some time, at least not a legitimate one, but you can be we will spend large amounts of money to try to prove that there is one. That to me is extremely sad, when there are so many other important things that we could be spending this money on.