Out of the Closet

"God hates fags." "Homosexuals are possessed by demons." "Scientology classifies homosexuality as an illness." These are a few examples of the derogatory words written on picket signs paraded around at any homophobic protest. Many people that belong to certain religions believe homosexuality is a decision and not an identity that someone is born with. Christianity is the main religion where the mindset is that. They compare it to the means of a disorder or a disease. They believe that it can just go away with treatment, and for a time the medical community agreed. However, homosexuality cannot be cured because it is a sexual orientation that can be hidden or masked but does not go away. Trying to “treat” a person of homosexuality can result in serious mental health problems.

"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them." That is a clear line in the old testament of the Christian bible that shaped many people’s opinions on homosexuality. According to a Washington Post poll, 35% of Americans oppose marriage equality, meaning those people are most likely against gays and believe being gay is a decision. This was before June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage be legal in all 50 states. There was pride, happiness, and rainbows throughout the country but, not everyone was happy with that decision. Those unhappy people were the ones who did not want equality for homosexuals and wanted them to change.

In the 80s through the 90s, there were several methods through which Christians expressed their disgust towards gays. They have always spread their message that homosexuality is a curable disorder. Conversion therapy, a treatment that aims to convert any homosexual to heterosexual, was very popular. This type of therapy started around the 19th century, and persisted for over a hundred years. Recently president Barack Obama expressed his support for the ban of these therapies. Studies show that the conversion treatments do more harm that what is believed to be good.  "There is no scientific evidence that reparative or conversion therapy is effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. There is, however, evidence that this type of therapy can be destructive," says Rodrigo Munoz, a president of the American Psychiatric Association. These treatments can cause serious mental health problems in the patients, coming from the urge of the patient to change, but being unable to do so. They just feel as if they are not normal and do not fit in with society.

Up until 1973, homosexuality was listed a mental illness in the DMV (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual.) Research into the origin, causes, and development led to its removal within the book. Some theorists argue that it emerges in adolescence, while some argue that an individual’s upbringing can influence homosexuality. Further scientific research prove not only that homosexuality isn’t a choice, it also suggests that is an inherited trait.  According to a 2014 study in the journal Psychological Medicine, “A gene on the X chromosome (one of the sex chromosomes) called Xq28 and a gene on chromosome 8 seem to be found in higher prevalence in men who are gay. That study, involving more than 400 pairs of gay brothers, followed the 1993 report by geneticist Dean Hamer suggesting the existence of a "gay gene." This biological evidence contradicts the arguments that these people choose to be gay.

Religious beliefs, however, have mostly stayed the same. The Christian bible, a collection of sacred texts, has much authority over the lives of Christians. There are many verses proclaiming that homosexuality is wrong which clearly suggests that it is a choice. Fortunately, there is some evolution on the part of Christians. The Nalt Christians Project, a group of christians proclaiming their belief in full LGBT equality, says, “Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community’s treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as one-half of God’s most important commandment: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.” Christians don’t have to support equality, but it is important to respect it and to know the facts and accept that it is not a decision, but an orientation.

Works Cited

Cox, John Woodrow. "Poll: Gay-marriage Support at Record High." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/poll-gay-marriage-support-at-record-high/2015/04/22/f6548332-e92a-11e4-aae1-d642717d8afa_story.html>.

"Taking God at His Word: The Bible and Homosexuality." The NALT Christians Project RSS. N.p., 23 July 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.notalllikethat.org/taking-god-at-his-word-the-bible-and-homosexuality/>.

"Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture." AllPsych. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://allpsych.com/journal/homosexuality/#.VhxM_ELFvVr>.

Merritt, Jonathan. "How Christians Turned Against Gay Conversion Therapy." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 15 Apr. 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/how-christians-turned-against-gay-conversion-therapy/390570/>.

Comments (2)

Larissa Pahomov (Teacher)
Larissa Pahomov

This expanded my thinking with the conclusion — I didn't know there was a CHristian group so explicitly focused on LGBT issues (although I know that many many Christian denominations ARE accepting of gays and lesbians).