Tuesday, June 28, 2005

One Quick Question

I realize I just wrote a novel of a blog last night, but I have a question for any gay man who happens to read this.

Do you believe that one’s homosexual desires may be connected to his poor relationships with men (especially fathers)?

In talking to many homosexual men, it seems as though many of us have dysfunctional relationships with our fathers and other men. Hence, we feel a longing to be loved by men. Please comment and let me know what you think.

12 Comments:

Anonymous C.D. said...

Dear GM--That most certainly is NOT why people are gay--although some reparative-therapy enthusiasts still try to peddle that thoroughly discredited snake-oil. And make claims (which which scientific studies do NOT support) that if guys improve their relationships with their fathers they won't be gay any longer. It's nonsense. In study after study, many American males--whether straight or gay--report unsatisfying relationships with their fathers. In countless studies since the 1930s, when American men are asked which parent they prefer only 5%-22%, depending on the study, named their fathers. Most guys, whether straight or gay, have better relationships with their mothers, feel warmer, closer to them. Given the homophobia in opur culture, some fathers will become even more distant from sons they perceive as gay or as sissys. But study after study shjows that many men--perhaps a majoririty--whether straight or gay, complasin of emotional estrangement from their fathers. Irving Bieber found that 37% of the American males he surveyed said they "hated" their fathers (that's a survey of males, regardless of orientation); a University of Utah study had 21% of males saying they disliked their fathers.
Lots of guys, gay or straight, wish their fathers were emotionally more available. There are plety of uptight fathers out there, raising kids (some of theior kids may b gay, mst will be straight) who wish their fathers were warmer, mre loving, more open.

I'd love to talk bout thi stuff more in person someday. It's too much to handle via comments on as blurb. But the misinformationm you have about homosexuality is SO out-of-date, it's scary. Where do you get this nonsense from? This theoryu about possible causation of homosexuality is NOT generally accepted by sex researchers today.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

I would make a distinction between the psychological issues created by bad father/son relations--which can lead to homoerotic imagery in dreams, even in the straightest of men--and homosexual orientation, which appears to have its basis in biology. A man can crave attention and affection from other men without wanting to have sex with them. If your sex drive is primarily directed towards other men, then I suppose you could be labeled homosexual. So I guess I pretty much agree with C.D.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds as if you are trying desperately to find a cause for your homosexuality. Maybe if you can find a cause, you can find a cure? It doesn't work that way. And what about lesbians? Are they gay because of problems with their mothers? Most of the lesbians I have known have been very close to their mothers. Or is it all Dad's fault with them too? Sorry, no matter what you may think, sexuality is biological.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous C.D. said...

PS. For what it's worth, I have a great relationship with my Dad. He's very supportive, just a great guy. I'm really lucky with the parents I have.... I'm attrcted to guys wit lots of positive, attractive qualities. It just feel natural.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. Gay men are not created by emotionally distant fathers. That is a story put out by The Church and, as C.D. pointed out in the first comment, is completely bogus.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

GM,

I have to agree with C.D. also. I also have a great relationship with my father and even though it is not perfect, he has always been supportive of all my activities, whether in sports, school, art, etc. And even though he is a bit of a "red neck", he still want all of his children to find their own path and be happy, even though is may be a different path than his.

I was very intrigued by your last post and your family reunion. The thing that stuck the most was how your entire family revolves around what each of you have accomplished regarding church callings, etc. Obviously a 30 year old Bishop would have been one of the signs of real success.

I have BIG problems with this mentality. I think the problem your father has with you being gay is NOT the fact you are gay.... It is how this will reflect on him within his family and friends when other learn about this. This may be a reason both he and you want to keep this information from your mother and other siblings... I think this is being very selfish on his part and not wanting your real best interest. To me, it is clearly HIS problem.. not yours.

Just another point to consider on your journey!

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also was told this theory also when I was at BYU. I wasn't very critical in my analysis of theories back then because, like you, I was caught up in the moment to moment struggle with the possible loss of church and family. I desperately wanted to find a reason for my sexual attraction to men so that I could fix it and make women the main object of my desires.

So I went to work, studying everything I could get my hands on.
I found literature that said the cause of my homosexuality was that I was too fond of my mother. Other sources touted the father thing as the cause. Others said it was the combination of the close mother and distant father. At the time I thought, "wow, that's me, that's me exactly. I'm close to Mom and distant from Dad. That must be the reason I'm gay." So I actually went on this big mission to get over my mother and to get close to my father. You know what? I accomplished some of that. By looking closely at my relationship with my mother I discovered some very unhealthy aspects of it. I found that the love I thought I had from her was partly love and partly superficial and based on how well I made her look. I found that I could get closer to my father too if I pursued him enough. I learned that he was a very different person that I thought--much more open minded and intelligent. I spent hours talking with him and spending time together. As a result, I even recieved a very important apology from him for some of the abuse he had given me as a child.

I spent several years at this task. I read lots of books, saw several psychologists and learned a lot about myself.

I can tell you with complete candor that it did not change my desire for sex with men. It did not change my desire for a man's attention and his caring. It did not change my love for women either.

The statistics on men and their generally bad relationships with their fathers seems to confirm what I know about my male friends and their fathers. Yes, a close mother and distant father does describe my life--unfortunately, it also describes the lives of most men in our society.

I don't regret most the work that I did with my parents as a result of my trying to change my sexuality. But I do regret that I grew up in a system (Mormon/American) where my deepest self was marginalized, hated, feared and shunned. I do regret that who I am was actually made into a disease by the medical community until the mid=1970s. I do regret that all the teaching I received about God and how to live a good life excluded teachings about me and my love. I regret that I was taught that who I am is sick and twisted.

If you can find a cause, then there is a cure implied. What you don't yet realize is that you want to cure yourself of yourself!

Be very careful in your zeal to be "normal". It could lead to electoshock therapy, having your genitals burned, messing with your head, making family relationships more strained, etc.

Sometimes the thing that stands in the way of our happiness is simple acceptance. Accepting something we judge as unacceptable is often the aim of most therapy. You are now in the process of accpetance. It can be a long road. I wish you luck and safety on the journey.
Love,
Andy

11:46 AM  
Anonymous George said...

Dear G.M.: Scott, Andy and C.D. havegiven you such good counsel, I'm not sure what I can add. Bout the early theory that close-binding mothers and distant fathers somehow produce homosexuals has been discredited; it is not supported by scientfic research. Studies of identical twins separated at birth, raised by adoptive parents, are revealing. If one twin is gay, there is a very high chance the other twin will be gay, too--despite their being raised in totally different households, suggesting a genetic component at play. Fraternal twins separated at irth, raised by different adoptive parents, are more likely to both be gay than average children, but less likely than identical twins--exactly the result to be expected if genes were at play. There is some kind of genetic or biological factor influencing the outcome of who prefers one sex more than the other. Many of us have some feelings for both sexes, but we have a preference for one. And biological, pre-birthfactors seem to affect that. Not all sexd researchers feel that biology is paramount; C. A. Tripp feels envirnmental factor are highly significant. But he does not believe the old theories about close-binding mothers and distAnt fathers; too many studies have disproven that. And as he's noted, the Kinsey Research studies have shown that gay men, on average, reach puberty earlier than straight men and have larger penises. There's no way one's relationship with his or her parents can affect such things as age of reaching puberty, or size of genitals. There is some bilogical factor coming into play. Gay men are also, statistically, more likely to be left-handed than the general population, according to some studies. If accurate, that again suggests biology (or genes) coming into play.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous ROBERT said...

Do you really think your relationship with your father is the source of your gay feelings? Your capability to respond sexually to males may simply be a part of your mammalian heritage. If you observe bonobo chimps at a zoo--and they're a close cousin to us humans among animal species--you'll see males perorming fellatio on other males. It's not because their parents raised them wrong, or because they've somehow apostasized, it's because that's simply a part of nature. (And not just mammals--thee porcupines, penguins, etc. that scientists have filmed, that have responded homosexually.)

You were raised, like I was, yo believe that the Chutrch we gew up in is the one true church, that our leaders have all the answers, that the prophet and the General Authorities will never lead us astray. But they are human beings. They are fallible. They have lesd followers astray on many issues in the Church's existence, and will always do so. It's part of being fallible human beings. I mean, Brigham Young approved of slavery; slavery was legal in Utah in tje 1850s. Today civilized people everywhere reject slavery. But he led his followers astray on matters of race all the time. Until very recently, church leaders strongly and vocally opposed inter-racial marriages. Bruce McConkie was stressing how bad that was, when I was younger. Today, the church has moved on. Church leaders used to urge gay men to marry women. Now they don't. Times change. People change. Attutudes stressed by the church change. Spain is just about to legalize gay marriage--polls show that most Spaniards want it legalized. In pain, 80% of the people identify themselves as Roman Catholic. But contemporary Spaniards have liberal attitudes on birth control, pre-marital sex, gay rights that would have been unimaginable to their grandparents 50 years ago. Canada is just about to legalize gay rights.

Yes, you friends and relatives talk more about homosexuality. It is coming out in the open more, gaining more general public acceptance. In time, you will live to see more and more states approve of gay marriage. And those who once opposed it will beccome historical relics. Like those who opposed civil rights for blacks. On the wrong side of history. Your relatives who jest that maybe you are gay may sense that you are, and are dealing with it lightly. When you come out, someday, you may find some are supportive, some are not. But you can always move to someplace like New York, where you can surround yourself with supportive friends. And if gay friends take you to the theater (lucky you!), as you wrote a couple weeks back, it will seem more and more natural. And people in Utah who might reject you because you're gay will seem old-fashioned and narrow-minded. Which they are. But even kids raised in Utah to be anti-gay are more aware of how normal gay people are than kids were when I was younger, thanks to "Will and Grace," and every other TV show, movie, or magazine article bringing homosexuality into the mainstream.

Are you back in Utah for good? Or did you just take a trip back for a family reunion. After college, where would you like to live? Any great city outside of the Mormon corridor--New York, Boston, San Francisco, LA--you will probably find greater freedom to live however you like.

You are very lucky to have friends like Scott and Randy and C.D. wanting to help you. They know more about this subject that the church leaders do.

And unless you believe the prophet is infallible, and the GA's are infallible, remain open to the reality that they are VERY misinformed about sexuality.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

United Church of Christ head

endorses same-sex marriage resolution

By AP from AccessNorthGa.com on the Web, June 29, 2005



Atlanta, GA -- Days before the United Church of Christ is set to cast a historic vote in support of same-sex marriages, the head of the denomination publicly endorsed the measure for the first time.

The Rev. John H. Thomas said Tuesday that the church's General Synod "should affirm the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender persons to have their covenanted relationships recognized by the state as marriages equal in name, privileges and responsibilities to married heterosexual couples.

"I believe our local churches, as they are able, should move toward the development of marriage equality policies so that the same liturgical and pastoral blessing and discipline may be offered all entering into covenanted relationships," Thomas said during a speech at Emory University.

That remark drew a lengthy standing ovation from the audience of about 200.

The same-sex marriage resolution is one of three expected to be voted on by the General Synod at its annual meeting this weekend in Atlanta. If the measure passes, the church would be the first mainstream Christian denomination to officially support the marriages of gays and lesbians.

Church members could also choose to support a "one man, one woman" marriage resolution or a resolution calling for prayer and study of the same-sex marriage issue. Recently, backers of the third option endorsed the same-sex resolution and condemned the "one man, one woman" resolution as discriminatory.

The 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ has a history of supporting gays in its denomination, dating back to 1972, when it ordained the first openly gay minister and established a gay caucus.

UCC churches are autonomous, meaing that the General Synod does not create policy for its more than 5,700 congregations. Thomas said he was disappointed that some congregations are considering leaving the church if the same-sex resolution is approved.

UCC HeadEndrsSSM 0506.doc

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been suggested that gay men might have poor relationships with their fathers because the fathers sense their sons are gay so they distance themselves from their sons.
This sometimes occurs subconsiously but often the fathers and the sons both feel a sort of discomfort and begin to move apart emotionally.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Fellow said...

Wow. The folks here are certainly confident in their views. Hopefullly this post is old enough that my comments won't start a flame war (I certainly wouldn't participate in it), but I must disagree, based on my own experience.

My father divorced my mother when I was four, and though he was around from time to time, I regarded him as evil (he left the Church and my mom at the same time). That left me with my mother and my two sisters, and I felt very left out of things. I went from loving G.I. Joe and He-man all alone to wanting to be a girl so that I could have someone with whom I could play. Males and masculinity retreated from my consciousness until they became rather alien figures. Though I never succeeded in becoming feminine, I never effectively connected with anyone in my childhood. I certainly feel that if my father had played a more important role in my life, I would be a very different man today.

Now, I can't speak to statistics, and it is certainly obvious that a poor relationship with one's father is no guarantee of homosexuality. Nonetheless, based on my understanding of my experience, and on the reported experiences of many others, it is qualitatively evident that a boy's relationship with his father can have a distinct effect on his son's sexuality.

10:38 AM  

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