Living In Truth: Unsure of Your Sexuality?
"...the Church... refuses to consider the person as a ‘heterosexual’ or a ‘homosexual,’ and insists that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life."
"Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," no.16 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), 1986
Spiritual and Emotional Growth
Am I Homosexual or Not?
You’re not alone if you’re not sure. A large study of 34,706 Minnesota secondary school students report that 26% of seventh graders are "unsure of their sexual orientation," and 5% of twelfth graders are still "unsure."
That’s a lot of young people wondering and confused, a lot of young people who may also feel alone with their uncertainty -- alone because this is not an easy subject to talk about. If that’s you, this article is addressed to you, or to any of your friends who may need to read it.
Demography of Sexual Orientation in Adolescents, published in Pediatrics The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Volume 89, April 1992.
What Are the Chances I’m Actually Homosexual?
The odds are quite small. Probably you’ve heard that "one person in ten" is homosexual. That statistic originally came from Alfred Kinsey's studies on sexuality which have now been discounted. The ten percent number is unfounded, so don’t let it scare you about yourself.
Serious researchers don’t accept the ten percent statistic. The best current studies agree on a figure of 1.5% for females and 3% for males.
But Do I Have a Choice?
Yes. Most school administrators today may tell you that you don't have a choice, that same-sex attractions are normal for some, even genetic, but same-sex attractions are not genetic and you definitely do have a choice. Of course, if you choose to label yourself "gay" or "lesbian," you will find support from school counselors, and you might be guided into peer support groups such as "Gay-Straight Alliances."
But for your own reasons, you may not want to accept your homosexual attractions. Maybe you’d like to marry and have children. Maybe you don’t want to accept the physical and emotional risks of same-sex acts. Maybe it just doesn’t seem natural to you or safe. Maybe it’s against your religion. For you, the help you might get at many schools will be no help at all.
Named for the ten percent myth, this nationwide movement "to address lesbian and gay issues in the schools," instructs school personnel as follows: When approached by students with homosexual feelings, "It’s not OK to say, ‘How do you know?’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘You will grow out of it,’ ‘You need counseling." In other words, any questioning of the homosexual life which you may express will be rejected by your counselor as self-hatred or "internalized homophobia."
If you confide your uncertainty to most school counselors, you will probably be urged to accept any homosexual feelings as your true self. If you say it’s against your faith, you could be told your Church is "homophobic." If you say you don’t want to be homosexual, you could be told you’re wrong to feel that way.
A Cultural Battle
In an effort to reverse alleged hatred of people with homosexual orientation, homosexuality is actually being promoted. A great cultural battle is going on --a battle of Truth vs. falsehood-- and you’re in the middle of it. Society is locked in a fierce debate. A second major myth is being pushed on us: "You have to accept your homosexuality, because you can’t change it.
Let’s Check Out that Myth
Many modern studies have concluded that there is no one gene that causes same-sex attractions. In studies of identical twins, when one twin exhibited, as an adult, definite same-sex attractions, the other twin most often did not -- even though the two twins were genetically exactly alike. While there may be genetic predispositions to developing same-sex attractions -- for example, stature, athletic ability, and emotional sensitivity -- in extensive studies of the human genome a "gay gene" has never been found.
There are those who succesfully seek therapy to decrease same-sex attractions and increase heterosexual attractions. This is not a requirement of the Church, and it is therapy only to be undertaken with competent therapists and with the understanding that while some may successfully "change" their orientation, many will not, although often there may be a decrease in the instances of same-sex feelings. Many factors influence the success of treatment, but in one 1997 study by the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, ninety-nine percent of 860 participants reported that treatment was "valuable" to them whether or not there was any change in their same-sex attractions. In other words, they all grew as a result, and no one felt brain-washed, which is how the media too often depicts psychological therapy for homosexuality.
You don't have to act on your homosexual desires or build your identity around them. Your attractions may or may not be transitory, but either way, you can choose to see yourself first and foremost as a son or daughter of God with infinite potential. With grace, you can learn to develop a peaceful interior chastity in union with Christ. The choice is yours.
But What Does the Church Say?
The Church stays out of the debate about treatment for homosexual feelings but has a lot to say about the value and meaning of those feelings and the value of acting on them.
"...an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good... homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary’ to the creative wisdom of God."
CDF Letter, nos. 3 & 7: "To choose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul [erase] the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexuality is not a complementary union, able to transmit life..."
CDF Letter, no.7: "Increasing numbers of people today are bringing enormous pressure on the Church and society to condone homosexual activity as normal and morally acceptable. The Church is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe it; deceitful propaganda." CDF Letter, no. 8
Love’s Fierce Voice
The Church is saying that God intends something more for you, that homosexuality cannot satisfy the deepest desires of your heart, and that you are hearing lies from society.
Why is the Church so strong and confrontational on so sensitive a subject? Why does the Church risk arousing the rage of those who disagree? Because lives and eternal souls are in danger, especially those of the young and undecided. At such moments, love requires that the Church be very bold, for the protection of all who will listen.
Although this article speaks mainly to adolescents, the content is applicable to all.
Courage International, Inc.
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