Issues of Identity-Part 2


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:

http://girlhate.com/2009/12/17/the-bisexuality-debate/

http://cluelessbisexual.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/two-new-pages/

Am I bisexual?

http://monicaaydee.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/sexuality/

Mahalo


Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Issues of Identity-Part 2

  1. CB says:

    Hi, I just came and checked out your blog because I noticed you did a ping back even though I can’t figure out why you’d do a pingback of that post.

    But anyway, interesting post except I do agree with who ever you’re debating this with that not wanting to be queer isn’t a self-derived choice, but from outsider influence.

    If everyone could accept it then there wouldn’t be a bloody problem.

    As for wanting to change their sexual orientation just because they had some crap relationships, then why don’t straight people want to change their orientation too? Plenty of straight people out there have bad experiences and have bad luck seeking love and sexual encounters. It’s not just the queer community putting out ads and searching online.

    It’s really not a pro or a proper argument for a sexual orientation changing drug which I think if they could make one like that is pathetic. Really. Not only is that changing the course of something natural, but it’s telling the person that they aren’t right and it’s ok to not be accepted for who they are.

    • andy2700 says:

      “…not wanting to be queer isn’t a self-derived choice, but from outsider influence.”
      That may certainly be true in some cases, but not necessarily true in every case. Envy is an internal force-it may be connected to external factors, but it’s ultimately from within – we’re not all envious of the same people/things. Looking into a mirror and realizing one’s biological clock is ticking – that’s not traceable to a specific third party – nor or the reality that it bothers some people and not others.not wanting to be queer isn’t a self-derived choice, but from outsider influence.Those who see change may have some unidentifiable biological/genetic basis for doing so as well. There may be some kind of difference between those who seek change and those who don’t that is more than just psychological.

      “…why don’t straight people want to change their orientation too?”
      I don’t have empirical data to prove that no straight person in the history of the world hasn’t tried, but probably because heterosexuals are in the majority, considered the norm, and don’t generally envy the orientation of homosexuals. However; the way a person perceives his or her bad experiences is internal, individual, and personal.

      “Plenty of straight people out there have bad experiences and have bad luck seeking love and sexual encounters. It’s not just the queer community putting out ads and searching online.”
      True enough, but do the numbers even out? Is the percentage of those unlucky in love really equal between straights and queers? Is the risk taking behavior on the part of gay men, for example, at the same level as it is on the part of straight women? Do both groups have equal opportunity for meeting others through channels other than the internet; especially if members of one group live in suburban or rural areas? I don’t know the answers to all these questions, but I suspect you don’t either.

      “…sexual orientation changing drug which I think if they could make one like that is pathetic. Really. Not only is that changing the course of something natural, but it’s telling the person that they aren’t right and it’s ok to not be accepted for who they are.”
      This is a similar kind of argument used against those seeking to change their gender via surgery and hormonal treatment. Who are we to decide or judge?

      I find it hard to embrace a pro-choice position on one side of the issue- and an anti-choice position on the other. I might think someone would look ridiculous for dying their hair blonde if they have darker features/skin, etcetera, but that doesn’t entitle me to stop them from doing it.

      We may sagely conclude that someone is on a fool’s errand, but it’s his or her errand to run.

      Why is it ok to tell people seeking change that they are unacceptable for doing so?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s