There has long been a wall of misunderstanding between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Many church leaders of various denominations throughout the world have admitted an inability to understand the dilemma, why the behavior and how to help those who desire to cease being homosexual. Heterosexuals and homosexuals have been blind to the other’s reality because they experienced different socialization from earliest childhood. Historically, their different vantage point has resulted in heterosexual theorists advancing ridiculous ideas regarding the what, how, and why of homosexuality. Unfortunately, these erroneous explanations have continued to misdirect efforts to help legitimately needful individuals. More accurate explanations have often come from those who had lived the different life.
Some have described same-gender attracted men as selfish, and, in the most important way they are. They are “self-ish” in the same sense that “greenish” is only a little green. Their identity as male is only partly formed. Because of early emotional trauma, these males have experienced a psychosocial and psychosexual developmental arrest. They are stuck or detoured on the route to gaining a whole, complete male gender identity. They are thereby unable to optimally connect socially and emotionally with others of their gender tribe.
Sexuality per se is not what drives men who seek sex with other men. Men’s obligatory sexual transactions with others of their gender are symbolic interchanges that are, albeit futile, efforts to attain within the sense of maleness and the virtues of masculinity they so desperately need. They value masculinity and want to belong and confidently be men, but they early on internalized a fiction that they are unworthy or unacceptable. They find the route to affirming intimate sociality with particularly valued males, those to whom they are highly attracted, to be unavailable or inaccessible.
Although gay men’s need for intimacy with others of their gender has been eroticized, their draw to other men is a positive press from within to achieve mature masculine identification. When I was a young boy healing from scrapes and scratches, I learned a bit about the body’s marvelous ability to mend itself from illness and injury. Sometimes I would pick at a hardened brown scab until I had torn it off. I watched the clear liquid fill the hole and learned that soon the liquid would harden and become another dark covering. I realized that the body would persistently strive to heal itself, despite numerous episodes of my interfering with the process.
From earliest childhood, life is about growth and development. I believe there exists throughout nature a teleological imperative, a pull toward a specific endpoint. As acorns are to become oak trees, male infants are destined by our Creator to become boys and finally, with healthful socialization, heterosexual men. The divine plan is for intergenerational connection and blessing, that men know the joy of having both “roots and branches.” As they proceed through the life cycle, their growth and maturation fits them to usher in the next generation. The sex drive and much of our physical bodies are prepared for that end. Compulsive same-gender sexuality devilishly wrecks this pattern and process.
I believe that heterosexuals have been unable to correctly understand or successfully address this issue because of envisioning it through their heterosexual lenses. They have generally seen only an adult sexual problem when it really concerns unmet same-gender emotional and relational needs, so deeply seated because they evolved from earliest childhood. The adult behavior evolves from a child’s misdirected adjustive response to trauma.
Same-gender attraction has been viewed by homosexuals and heterosexuals as evidence of pathology, something needing to be diminished or eliminated, a necessary step to no longer being homosexual. This is wrong, very wrong! The attraction is really the soul’s impetus toward growth, the press to get back on the route of normal development. If not short-circuited through same-gender sexuality, the attraction could lead to healing rapport between the two camps. This could happen, were both groups better able to understand the reason for that interpersonal drive for intimate connection.
As there are physical servo-regulatory mechanisms that keep bringing disordered physical processes back to order, I feel certain there is a spiritual servo-regulatory mechanism. I believe same-gender attraction is the soul’s undeniable press that is urging gender relationally estranged men toward others of their gender. It is the press to achieve mature gender identification. The mystery of homosexuality will remain until both sides recognize the attraction as a blessing rather than a curse and utilize that drive appropriately. It is only the erotic response to the impetus to join intimately that frustrates and blocks healing.
A social and emotional fix is needed, not a sexual one. But establishment of that healing bond is also blocked because of the homophobia of heterosexual men. There is a lockstep dynamic, traditionally maintained by both the normally identified and needful men. It ensures that the correct healing relationship will not develop. Correcting this mutual standoff would bring dramatic and lasting benefits to both groups. A major paradigm shift could occur were caring heterosexual men to recognize the attraction as the soul’s press for growth. Then needful men could stop blocking and wasting that healthy draw through inappropriate sexuality. Through friendship and brotherly love, the necessary maturation could be realized, bringing benefits to both.
In times past, ignorant Christians have most often offered a fist rather than a hand-up to men struggling with this compulsion. They have judged and rejected rather than nurtured. Boys do need men and those boys and men struggling with unwanted erotic same-gender draws need nurturing fathers or surrogate fathers. These often fatherless men are “male-affect starved.” Heterosexual homophobia or homo-hatred lies on one side of the wall and discourages them from helping estranged men. It will not be until heterosexual and homosexual men respond to the attraction differently that we will be able to move toward becoming people of one mind and one heart. Gay men desperately need access to the love and fellowship of their healthfully identified brothers. They need rescued from bondage and snares, from mistaken response to trauma they did not invite in their earliest years.