My argument regarding sexual identity in the following essay is three-fold: a) outsiders don’t have the right to disallow therapy or treatment merely because they believe it to be ineffective b) outsiders don’t have a right to set limits on the sexuality of others and c) outsiders cannot accurately gauge the motivations behind sexual behavior or the urge to alter that behavior with foolproof accuracy.
In the summer of 2009, the APA repudiated the efficacy of “reparative therapy” for treating/curing homosexuality. There are a few logical problems here – although they are experts in the field of mental health, they didn’t provide clear reasons for why reparative therapy is ineffective. The organization simply issued statements to the effect that it doesn’t work and could be harmful, but never explain why the therapy doesn’t work or how they know with certainty that it can’t work. This underscores a similar problem with this position; it puts the A.P.A. in the business of fortunetelling and clairovoyance. None of us knows with 100% whether or not some drug or treatment will be discovered to reverse sexual orientation. Viagra didn’t exist 50 years ago either, and that’s had a big impact on the sex lives of some senior citizens. There are new drugs and compounds discovered all the time, many with as yet untold effects. Who’s to say there won’t one day be some kind of gene therapy which could eliminate the predisposition to homosexuality?
Although I am very libertarian, and don’t think anyone should be forced to be heterosexual, I also don’t think anyone should be forced to remain homosexual if they don’t want to be. Denying someone else desired treatment because you don’t like it’s motivations or affiliated political ramifications doesn’t justify interfering without someone’s free will to choose the therapy or treatment he or she sees fit. I also don’t think many people want to be told what they are or are not capable of doing in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Who wants to be told they are incapable of fucking the opposite sex or their own in 10-20 years if they harbor that secret desire?
One of my online debaters insisted that the urge to change one’s orientation is not self-derived, but that such an urge is attributable to the influence of family and society. Although I don’t deny that may be true in some cases, I believe it may also be true for some to be very unhappy with their romantic experiences in the GLBT community. A search of Craigslist personals and similar websites can turn up no shortage of those seeking anonymous sexual and/or NSA (no strings attached) encounters. “No love. Just sex” sang Salt’N’Pepa decades ago, illustrating an attitude that never seems to go out of style. If one wants a committed relationship with a member of the same sex, but can’t find one, that is likely to prove frustrating. Overwhelming passion directing one towards those who will never care about one’s welfare may prove to be an unwelcome passion. Enough lonely nights and despair can motivate as surely as outward pressure. So can envy of straight friends and acquaintances and their smiling children. Who can say with certainty how these factors will play on the minds of any given individual over time? Who doesn’t want to be perceived as having a normal life? Internal motivations are individual and no hard and fast rules can be made.
Recently, I discovered this NY Times article from a few years ago, which puts an interesting scientific and sociological spin on things.
Other interesting thoughts on sexuality from across the web: