Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some thoughts about the sexual orientation continuum - and homophobia

English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: h...Indulge me. Sexual orientation is presumably a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. I suspect that very few people are at those extreme ends. 

If the continuum is a ten-point scale, with zero being homosexual and ten being heterosexual, I suspect that I am somewhere between two and three. I have some attractions to women but have no desire, or passion, to act on those attractions. Hence, I identify as homosexual. Attraction and passion are very different feelings.

How many heterosexual men are willing to publicly state that they are below ten on the continuum scale? A gay man admitting some attraction to women is a shameless disclosure. On the other hand, if a straight man admitted to having a gay fantasy moment (even if passionless) it would not only be shameful but risky. It represents what they think is a challenge to their masculinity. People would think less of them.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to suspect that most of our vocal adversaries have had homosexual fantasies or desires that they will never admit to. This, in turn, causes anxiety and insecurity which are the bases of homophobia.

It may go even further. We tend to assume that people insist that sexual orientation is mutable in order to conform to religious beliefs. Perhaps many of these people secretly believe that they have overcome homosexual desires without appreciating the complexity of sexual orientation. They would certainly attribute their convenient “triumph” to the power of prayer. Thus we should pray for … something.

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