• Prelude to a Gay Wedding

    May 20, 2013

    CENN8G_2425131bIf you’ve spent any time in the conservative church world, you’ve probably heard the causation theories for male homosexuality (there are conservative church theories for female homosexuality’s cause, as well, but I’ll keep it simple here by focusing on the sex I know best: my own.). One theory says that gay men experienced shame as a child regarding their masculinity. Either Dad wasn’t there, or he was emotionally distant. Mom was overly involved and doting, and she smothered the child in the feminine so that the boy never gained a sense of being “other” than Mom, or different, separate. The boy, thus, didn’t feel like he was one of his peers, and upon reaching puberty, he sexualized the longing for his lost masculinity, always seeking it through sex with other men.

    That’s the neo-Freudian “reparative” understanding of male homosexuality’s cause, and a great many churches subscribed to it unreservedly, beginning in the 1980s, so that if you attended a conservative congregation from that time forward, you likely heard this explanation, particularly if you were gay in the pew. Only recently have science and experience begun to chip away at this nearly ubiquitous late twentieth-century belief among evangelicals.

    Of course, from that understanding of the origin of homosexuality flowed the conviction that homosexual relationships were inherently flawed and broken. I can’t tell you how many times I heard (and, I confess, repeated) that gay relationships do not last because they cannot last, because they are unhealthy at the core. Each gay man is trying to get from another what he never got from Dad. He begins hopeful, but soon he discovers his partner is devoid of it as well, and the relationship falls apart. On to the next guy until he also is found to be lacking that elusive sense of masculinity. On to the next until … you get the idea.

    The “father wound” as it was (and often still is) called, that of never having emotionally bonded with Dad and detached from Mom, was seen as the main reason for the rampant promiscuity within the gay community. By joining with another man, each gay man is trying to “repair” his sexuality, a futile effort, always. We can certainly debate whether there really is more promiscuous sex happening among gay people than straight people. And we can debate whether the evangelical church has unintentionally encouraged the very problem it condemns by seeking to delegitimize any formal and legal sanctioning of stable monogamous gay relationships. I’m just telling you what I heard over and over in the church world of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

    I once interviewed Joseph Nicolosi, the man who has championed and practiced so-called reparative therapy for the last 25 years. I was writing a book I later abandoned. I asked Nicolosi directly if he thought there were ever any gay relationships that make it, that last. He said, no. Maybe there was one out there somewhere–he couldn’t be sure–but the implication was that you’d have to scour the earth to find that one. Well, having been out for a while now, I can tell you I’ve met “without searching that hard for them” many an apparently happy gay couple. Soon, I’ll introduce you to one such couple, and they’re gettin’ hitched!

    Stay tuned…

    Posted in: Gay Marriage, Joe and Dan, More Gay Stuff

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