What is presented in this handout is information to help have a meaningful, open, and honest discussion. A discussion that allows for more then points of emotional rhetoric, deliberate deceit and deception, threats and intimidations.
The parameters of a discussion of homosexuality are best framed in the following way. Who one is, a homosexual or what one does, homosexuality. The support is strongest for the latter. Homosexuality is a relationship issue. Homosexuality is an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for intimacy in same-sex relationships. The following quotes are by authors who self-identify as gay and are university history professors. Martin Duberman graduated from Yale University, received a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and was a professor at Princeton. John D’Emilo received a Ph.D. from Columbia University and teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. These two university professors agree that it is homosexuality, what one does and write it this way in the following quotes.
“I have argued that lesbian and gay identity and communities are historically created, the result of a process of capitalist development that has spanned many generations. A corollary of this argument is that we are not a fixed social minority composed for all time of a certain percentage of the population. There are more of us than one hundred years ago, more of us than forty years ago. And there may very well be more gay men and lesbians in the future. Claims made by gays and nongays that sexual orientation is fixed at an early age, that large numbers of visible gay men and lesbians in society, the media, and schools will have no influence on the sexual identities of the young, are wrong. Capitalism has created the material conditions for homosexual desire to express itself as a central component of some individuals’ lives; now, our political movements are changing consciousness, creating the ideological conditions that make it easier for people to make that choice.” (D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity, p. 473-474 in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader by Henry Abelove, Michele Aine Barale and David M. Halperin)
“There is another historical myth that enjoys nearly universal acceptance in the gay movement, the myth of the “eternal homosexual.” The argument runs something like this: Gay men and lesbians always were and always will be. We are everywhere; not just now, but throughout history, in all societies and all periods. This myth served a positive political function in the first years of gay liberation. In the early 1970s, when we battled an ideology that either denied our existence or defined us as psychopathic individuals or freaks of nature, it was empowering to assert that “we are everywhere.” But in recent years it has confined us as surely as the most homophobic medical theories, and locked our movement in place. Here I wish to challenge this myth. I want to argue that gay men and lesbians have not always existed. Instead they are a product of history, and have come into existence in a specific historical era. Their emergence is associated with the relations of capitalism; it has been the historical development of capitalism-more specifically, its free-labor system-that has allowed a large numbers of men and women in the late twentieth century to call themselves gay, to see themselves as part of a community of similar men and women, to organize politically on the basis of that identity.” (D’Emilio, Making Trouble Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University, p.5)
“It isn’t at all obvious why a gay rights movement should ever have arisen in the United States in the first place. And it’s profoundly puzzling why that movement should have become far and away the most powerful such political formation in the world. Same gender sexual acts have been commonplace throughout history and across cultures. Today, to speak with surety about a matter for which there is absolutely no statistical evidence, more adolescent male butts are being penetrated in the Arab world, Latin American, North Africa and Southeast Asia then in the west.
But the notion of a gay “identity” rarely accompanies such sexual acts, nor do political movements arise to make demands in the name of that identity. It’s still almost entirely in the Western world that the genders of one’s partner is considered a prime marker of personality and among Western nations it is the United States - a country otherwise considered a bastion of conservatism - that the strongest political movement has arisen centered around that identity.
We’ve only begun to analyze why, and to date can say little more then that certain significant pre-requisites developed in this country, and to some degree everywhere in the western world, that weren’t present, or hadn’t achieved the necessary critical mass, elsewhere. Among such factors were the weakening of the traditional religious link between sexuality and procreation (one which had made non-procreative same gender desire an automatic candidate for denunciation as “unnatural”). Secondly the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the United States, and the West in general, in the nineteen century weakened the material (and moral) authority of the nuclear family, and allowed mavericks to escape into welcome anonymity of city life, where they could choose a previously unacceptable lifestyle of singleness and nonconformity without constantly worrying about parental or village busybodies pouncing on them.” (Duberman, Left Out, p. 414 - 415.)
Larry Houston who is delivering this handout, has written it, and self-identifies as a former homosexual. I ask for affirmation and validation as a former homosexual. My story may be read on the web page, www.banap.net. There you may not only read my story of overcoming homosexuality, but of facing discrimination as an ex-gay at Harvard University. I came under investigation by three departments of Harvard University after a Harvard student wrote an article for The Harvard Crimson newspaper. Attached are two articles from The Harvard Crimson that gives details of these investigations. During these investigations no Harvard University official contacted me. The article on www.banap.net, “Discrimination for being Ex-gay” gives additional information that provides a context prior to the initial investigation by the gay and lesbian ministers of the United Ministries Department of Harvard University.
Harvard University students continue to seek me out after the investigations. This year a gay Harvard senior asked for help with a class assignment.
To help bring about a meaningful, open, and honest discussion listed below is a series of questions followed by brief answers. A discussion that allows for more then points of emotional rhetoric, deliberate deceit and deception, threats and intimidations.
· Who is advocating for change? Homosexuals/gays/lesbians.
· Is the discussion one of legally sanctioning relationships or behavior? The case for the latter is much stronger.
· Who is a homosexual/gay/lesbian? An individual who self-identifies by behavior or the things one does. A gay male and lesbian female identity has political connotations. In late 1960s and early 70’s during the beginning of what is now known as “gay liberation” homosexuals/gay/lesbians used the term “sexual preference” to describe how they viewed their same-sex erotic attraction. Later around the middle 1980s those advocating for homosexuality begin using the term “sexual orientation” instead of “sexual preference.” The later implied “choice” by those practicing homosexuality, homosexual behavior. It was a social/political change to a more “conservative period” that led to those advocating for homosexuality to begin using the term “sexual orientation” instead of “sexual preference.”
· How does one become a homosexual? There are multiple pathways that may lead one into pursuing homosexual behavior. Homosexuals in their numerous articles and books acknowledge one is not born a homosexual. For this reason it may be reasonably argued that it is not a “rights issue”. This is also why no court (state or federal) has granted homosexuals “suspect class status”. Likewise for this reason it will be unlikely for courts to rule on the basis of equal protection and due process. Homosexuality is not an innate trait.
· What is homosexuality? Homosexuality is a relationship issue. It is an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for same-sex intimacy. Physical sexual acts are often added to or substituted for those relational acts needed as a part of same-sex intimacy in relationships.
· What about former homosexuals/ex-gays? There are individuals who overcome homosexuality and they do so in multiple ways. But what is of great interest are those individuals who choose to continue to self-identify as gay or lesbian but have as their objects of sexual activity members of the opposite sex. The following are examples of such people who have made public declarations.
JoAnn Loulan was a prominent lesbian activist in the seventies and eighties who met and fell in love with a man in the late nineties, and even appeared on a 20/20 television episode in 1998. Jan Clausen also a lesbian activist writes in two of her books Beyond Gay or Straight, Apples and Oranges of a sexual relationship with a man. This latter book is autobiographical. She began a long-term monogamous relationship with a man in 1987.
In England Russell T. Davies wrote Queer as Folk and also wrote for British TV the show Bob and Rose airing in September 2001. This second show is about a gay man who falls in love with a woman and has a sexual relationship with her. This series was based on a friend of Davies’, Thomas, who was well known in the Manchester, England gay scene. Bert Archer who identifies as a gay male in his book, The End of Gay (and the Death of Heterosexuality), writes of his sexual relationship with a woman. He also gives examples of other gay men who have similar experiences.
A 29-page bibliography, that is extensive, but not exhaustive from my research for the information presented on www.banp.net, may also be found there. The two main sections are “Inventing a Homosexual” and “Identifying the Homosexual”. The first section “Inventing a Homosexual” is from a historical perspective. “Identifying the Homosexual” contains information from those advocating for homosexuality attempting to “proof text” the concept of the “homosexual” as an innate individual sexual being. www.banap.net also has a section “Legal and Political” of my lobbying the Massachusetts state Legislature for maintaining the status quo that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. The following two quotes from my research gives me great hope and encouragement in my self-identity as a former homosexual. There are pictures of my many visits to Ukraine at to help students and families www.as4us.org.
“In short, the gay lifestyle - if such a chaos can, after all, legitimately be called a lifestyle - it just doesn’t work: it doesn’t serve the two functions for which all social framework evolve: to constrain people’s natural impulses to behave badly and to meet their natural needs. While it’s impossible to provide an exhaustive analytic list of all the root causes and aggravants of this failure, we can asseverate at least some of the major causes. Many have been dissected, above, as elements of the Ten Misbehaviors; it only remains to discuss the failure of the gay community to provide a viable alternative to the heterosexual family.” (Kirk and Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of the Gay’s in the 90s, p.363)
The authors of this book published in 1989 self-identify as gay. Kirk graduated from Harvard University in 1980. Madsen has taught on the faculty of Harvard University. He is a public-communications expert, designed commercial advertising for Madsen Avenue, and guided strategy for the Positive Images Campaign. This campaign was the first national gay advertising effort in American. The following quote from the introduction of their book along with the title of the book perhaps gives a very strong indication of the authors’ belief in a homosexual agenda. Perhaps this may be their motivation for writing the book.
“The campaign we outline in this book, though complex, depends centrally upon a program of unabashed propaganda, firmly grounded in long-established principles of psychology and advertising.” (Kirk and Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of the Gay’s in the 90s, p.xxvi)