Sunday, October 23, 2011
My article Homosexuality and Masculine Development has received, by far, more hits than any other article, it seems that it has also caused the most confusion and the most controversy. So I wanted to address some of this confusion and controversy.
Since writing the above mentioned article I have had several people say to me "So you're anti-gay?" and I have had several other people say "So you're pro-gay?" I am not certain how people got such opposing ideas from the same article but my best guess is that it is because I am neither and peole feel that they have to take a side on this issue. The one thing that I am completely pro is the choice of individuals to choose for themselves. I believe those who choose to act on their homosexual feelings have a right to do so. They have every right to choose for themselves what is right for them and I have no right telling them what they should do with their life. So am I anti-gay? Not at all I know many amazing homosexual people who are great individuals. So why do people think I am anti-gay? This I believe comes from the idea I presented that those who have these feelings but do not or cannot find happiness in a gay relationship have the right to work through and if desired overcome these attractions. Many people see this as being anti-gay because I put forth the idea that change is possible which popular media has presented as impossible. Therefore if I support that idea then I am "trying to change people because I hate gay people." This is a very abrupt and in my opinion rude assumption as my only motive in presenting this idea is to protect the rights of those experiencing these feelings but are distressed by them. It has nothing to do with hate but everything to do with acceptance. People who have these feelings but are working through them form a culture of support for each other that is just as real and should be just as respected as those living an active gay lifestyle. So in a nutshell I am neither anti-gay nor pro-gay but support the rights of individuals to choose the life they want to live.
Some of the controversy that was presented to me is that helping people overcome these feelings and the processes involved don't work, are detrimental to individuals, and often push individuals to suicide. This is all very false information put out by many very loud pro-gay individuals who believe that change efforts are "anti-gay" and that by allowing them to happen will take away their rights. The truth of this is that this type of therapy does not hurt an individual and it does work; however, just like any therapy it is not going to be able to help everyone. In any therapy a huge part of success has to do with the individuals commitment to the processes. If an individual is not committed to the change or isn't sure if that is what they want or buy into the constant stream of media saying that change is not possible, then change is going to be very difficult. In addition many of the issues under these feelings are extremely difficult for some individuals to talk about and some are never able to. You see this occur in any other type of therapy as well. Some very important issues for people to talk about are the issues they can't get themselves to address. So the "lack of success" that we sometimes see in this type of therapy is really no different from that of other therapy addressing other issues.
Now, the second controversy is that these efforts are detrimental to an individual and can cause suicide. This could not be more wrong. Many of the techniques used in helping an individual overcome this has absolutely nothing to do with their homosexual feelings. It has to do with many other hurtful things that have happened in their past and working through those issues. Therefore many individuals who engage in this therapy, even if they don't completely overcome their feelings, find themselves happier in life because issues that were bothering them have now been resolved. So what about suicide? There is a loud opinion out their that says by telling people they can change will cause people to commit suicide as "change is not possible" and therefore the letdown of this expectation pushes people to take their lives. I disagree wholeheartedly. I'm not sure who said it but I heard at a conference one time that "suicide is caused by hopelessness and hopelessness is caused by lack of options." I believe what pushes people to take their lives is anyone telling them they have no other option. I know many people who were pushed to contemplate suicide because they were told that accepting their feelings and living a gay lifestyle was the only option. just as I believe telling people they have to overcome their feelings can push people to the same thing. people need options because lack of options makes people feel that their situation is hopeless and therefor take extreme measures.
In conclusion am I anti-gay? No! Am I pro-gay? No! I believe individuals need to choose the course of their own life and I believe the two sides of this political debate need to be more accepting of each other because it is that malicious in your face agenda that is causing the hopelessness and suicide. I believe that addressed all the confusion that was presented to me. IF their is any other I would love to address that as well.
Posted by Daniel Caldwell at 7:43 AM