Introduction

         What does a man need most in life? It has been said that “Happy is the man who has found his work, his woman, and his worship.” Such fortunate men have found happiness in life’s endeavors, bound themselves and found fulfillment with a spouse — arguably, the most important of human relationships — and anchored their lives to the divine. While I am such a man and have been blessed to know this as my secure reality for years, such has not always been the case. I grew up gay.  

          I am not the same person now that I was many years ago. Considering the past, my experiences echo the words of Oliver, one of the characters in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. He said: “’Twas I; but ’tis not I: I do not shame to tell you what I was, since my conversion so sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.”[1] Now, as a redirected life should show, there is a new story. 

          Born in the mid-1930s, I was introduced to same-gender sexuality while very young. Although early on I felt it was wrong and sensed it was generally frowned upon by society, these furtive relationships were in the background of the way I experienced life for years. I first encountered the metropolitan gay scene in the early 1950s in Washington, DC, more than two-thirds of a century ago. I attempted to live the script it seemed life had handed me until events transpired that required my finding a different path. After experiencing an epiphany, I did an about-face and pursued a different course that has led me to greater peace and a more fulfilling life. 

          My message is to all who wish additional understanding regarding this topic, but it is especially for those men who wish to grow beyond homosexuality. Should my candor help any to better utilize the draws that come so naturally to them and thereby more competently pursue their own growth, my goals will have been met. 

Some adapt easily to the attractions they feel for others of their own gender and ultimately live a homosexual lifestyle, but many do not. Despite growing social tolerance, when men are recognized as having homosexual “tendencies,” many still feel discriminated against and ostracized. Many suffer extreme anguish upon recognizing their homosexual inclinations. Emotional distress related to psychosexual inversion can be a heavy burden, often a sore thorn endured throughout life. Too many young people feel beaten from the start, unable to deny their urges for same-gender unions while faced with demands that they not be or feel that way. Aware of society’s pervasive anti-gay sentiment or unable to resolve conflict with their own values, too many are pushed to what they view as their only resolution — suicide. 

            As with many of the vicissitudes of life, we are prone to think that same-gender attraction, along with other “unfortunate” conditions, always happens to others, never to ourselves. Such is not the case, and chances are that you or someone you love will be or already has been affected in some manner by this variation of self-identification and interpersonal behavior. Many men want to know ways to combat factors in their lives they did not directly invite. Relatives and friends of gay men are also interested in learning of ways they can assist needful men whom they love and respect. It is hoped that, whether gay or straight, your exposure to my report will aid you in your own personal travel. To communicate rationally, we must be willing to allow the free expression of divergent views and to respectfully consider each other’s opinions and beliefs.

 

            In this book, I consider only obligatory homosexuality, not opportunistic or experimental same-gender sexuality.[2] Neither do I consider other forms of gender identity and role dysphoria, hermaphroditism, or intersexuality. I do not comment on issues relative to female homosexuality, primarily because I am not female. Women have understanding concerning the subtleties of their emotional, physical, and relational needs that a man could never fathom as well as they. Further, there likely are different dynamics involved regarding the how and why of women's entrance into the behavior or lifestyle, along with factors that would encourage or discourage the intensity or duration of their relationships. While I recognize the existence of causal and expressive differences between male and female homosexuality, I do believe that many of the theoretical explanations which follow can apply to females as well as to males. 

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           Historically, heterosexuals first sought to stamp out homosexuality through shame, intimidation, and punishment of all sorts. When that did not work, they tried to cure what was later viewed as a mental illness through psychoanalysis and behavior therapy. However, psychiatric interventions have largely failed to help these men. I present reasons why neither force nor most contemporary therapeutic approaches have been greatly beneficial. Not finding these methods successful, gay activists determined it was heterosexuals and their sex-negative values that needed to change, not homosexuals.

 

          Gays have worked collectively to improve their image and combat bigotry and prejudice. I have observed gays’ organizational efforts and seen the remarkable achievements they have accomplished in increasing gay visibility and social tolerance. In recent years, gays have brought same-gender sexuality from secrecy and relative obscurity to openness, celebration, and even support at the highest levels of government. Over the same years, there have been huge shifts in multiple facets of cultural values and behavior, sea changes that paralleled and facilitated America’s embrace of new sexualities. Some activists suggest that sex for recreation and pleasure is more to be valued than sex for progeny and family life. They have united in proudly proclaiming their normalcy and their right to live their lives as they feel inclined.

            Within a dramatically brief period, the push for gay rights has become more than a battle. Gays’ struggle against discrimination and abuse has morphed into a major revolution for LGBTQ persons.[3]Rights are now pursued by these separate-but-related groups that strain cultural standards previously upheld by heterosexual majorities for centuries.

             I have witnessed the emboldened political activism of LGBTQ groups and their intolerance for any who would object to or question the appropriateness of their aims or behavior. They seek, through political power and judicial mandate, to have same-gender sexuality validated and upheld by all as normal.  Heterosexuals and homosexuals have been on a collision course, particularly as the push for gay rights has become politicized. They are aligned against each other like two boxers in a ring, and I fear that, if either were to win the current contest, both would lose. Force nets only resistance and more force. An alternative solution, based on reason and persuasion, is presented. It suggests a new way of understanding and responding to homosexuals. This treatise is on behalf of homosexuals and can aid them greatly in their quest for happiness.

          Explored particularly are the following three assertions gay activists have advanced to convince a largely uninformed heterosexual public to view homosexuals differently than in the past. First, they stress that they have been born gay. Second, they affirm that their sexual orientation is fixed and unmodifiable. Third, they state that not only is homosexuality good but that it is essentially no different than heterosexuality. 

          Beyond these considerations, I provide reasonable explanations relevant to the following important questions.  “…why [do] so many millions of men and women become motivated toward such behavior [homosexuality] despite the powerful cultural taboos against it?”[4] and “…what stands in the way of him [the homosexual] making the conventional, and, therefore, comparatively simple, adjustment [toward behavior] which is regarded as normal…?”[5] (emphasis original)

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        I have spent essentially a lifetime studying and dealing with the matter from both sides of the fence. Despite all that has been written, I believe that homosexuality has remained a conundrum through time because it has been largely misunderstood and inappropriately responded to by both homosexuals and heterosexuals. I provide information to encourage thought and action in a new direction. Not at all a rehash of so-called “reorientation” or “conversion” therapies, these ideas introduce a reasoned explanation of factors that give rise to the development of homosexuality. They also clarify the psychodynamics driving and sustaining homosexual behavior.

            I believe that there is a primary route leading to the expression of obligatory homosexuality, that track including factors that discourage boys’ internalization of the male identity and role and a cultural bias against gays that has discouraged honest discourse and frustrated change. I believe also that lawful and orderly aspects of the way into the homosexual complex signal specifics regarding the route beyond it.

 

            With others, I see heterosexuality as the default setting for mature males, given healthy family relationships and normal socialization. In failing to receive adequate same-gender socialization, males are less likely to internalize a secure masculine identification. Their need for intimate rapport and affirmation from other men is appropriate, but, for many, trying to meet this need sexually is not fulfilling.

             Referencing the writings of Andre Gide, Sigmund Freud, Harry Stack Sullivan, Michael Foucault, and other prominent theorists and therapists, I cite historical facts which show how erroneous ideas and interventions have evolved into the current gay agenda. I note how homosexuality represents more a deficiency of proper childhood development than an expression of adult deviance. It has more to do with the need for mutually affirming relationships and identity than sexuality.

            I propose that individuals who become gay have suffered emotional trauma early in life. I suggest also that they have a part in naively shaping their same-gender erotic responsiveness as they deal with that damage. I am convinced that, with personal motivation, sustained effort, and attention, change and the redirection of one’s life is a realistic option. I know it is possible to improve non-erotic social and emotional relations with others of one’s own gender. It is also possible to realize physical and emotional joys not previously known with an opposite-gender companion.

            These new insights could bring a major paradigm shift that would facilitate cooperative efforts between heterosexuals and homosexuals and thus support a grand rapprochement. More than simply a truce, it could be a genuine, mutually beneficial coming together of these two positions.

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            As points of view regarding homosexuality, from scholars and laymen alike, appear to have been arrived at primarily from secular thinking, there is justification to include more spiritually based considerations. I believe we are spiritual as well as physical beings. We possess a mechanical body, but it is through our spirit that we uniquely represent ourselves as we make choices and willfully direct our body and our behavior. Sexuality is an expression of our dual nature. Perhaps accurate and successful explanations and interventions are more likely to be discovered as the search for solutions allows reference to both secular and spiritual values and precepts. Although homosexuality is related to both, I believe it to be more a spiritual than a physical issue. 

            I believe moral absolutes are real and reliable and that their consequences are as unavoidable as are those cause-and-effect relationships proven to exist in physical realms. We cannot ignore any with impunity. We must tune into and rely upon our conscience, the moral polar star that guides and lifts us beyond animal passions to rules of virtue, compassion, mutual respect, and brotherly love.

            Although some men claim that God made them gay, I am convinced that this is not the case. I believe that God can help those who wish to move beyond that behavior to another life they may desire. While others can be helpful, it is not people who change others; people can only change themselves. Responsibility and power to change ultimately rest with the individual and his desires and choices. More than clinicians and formal therapy, it is good men, friends, and neighbors who offer their hearts in kind friendship who provide the finest encouragement for the growth of needful men.

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           It has been stated that “Truth is deed. The horizon of our knowledge extends as far as our field of action.”[6] To truly know the route, we need to have taken the journey. The ideas we are able to convey clearly and with greatest certainty are most often drawn from the details of our own personal experience. It is the richest of what we have to give of ourselves to another. Regarding this multifaceted topic, I am my data. I know because I have been there and beyond. Mine is the effort of a clinician attempting to fit together a few new pieces of an age-old puzzle. Through personal experience, extensive exposure to the work of others, and clinical work with gay men, I hope to add more accurate understanding to the subject. 

             I begin by referencing my personal journey, which introduces some of the dynamics commonly experienced in the lives of many males who ultimately define themselves as gay. I, too, have felt the confusion, anguish, and discouragement many suffer at finding themselves upside-down in a right-side-up male world.[7] I believe that most gays will recognize points of similarity between their lives growing up and details I share regarding my early years. Some may benefit from what I have learned about how to deal with this circumstance — one that they neither directly invited nor want to preserve. To present concepts in an orderly manner, I feel it necessary to start from the beginning. Although the names of most about whom I have written have been changed, my journey and the things I have experienced have been real and are related to the best of my ability.

 

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[1] Shakespeare, W., As You Like It, Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 134-137, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 1951.

[2] In his book Homosexual Behavior, psychiatrist Judd Marmor has defined an obligatory homosexual as “one who is motivated in adult life by a definite preferential erotic attraction to members of the same sex and who usually (but not necessarily) engages in overt sexual relations with them” (p. 5). 

[3] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Questioning or Queer.

[4] Marmor, J., “Overview: The Multiple Roots of Homosexual Behavior,” Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal  (Ed.), 1980, p. 7.

[5] Sullivan, H. S., Quoted in The Problem of Homosexuality, by Charles Berg and Clifford Allen, 1958, p. 74.

[6] This quote is based in part on the writings of 18th-century Italian philosopher Giovanni Battista Vico; “verum factum” is often translated as “truth is deed.” 

[7] See Miller, M., On Being Different: What It Means to Be A Homosexual, 1971.