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Born That Way

In 1892, a theater-loving woman named Mabelle Webb moved to New York with her three-year-old boy, contemptuously dismissing the father of the child, a mere railroad ticket clerk. “He didn’t care for the theater,” she said, and she kept him from playing any role in her son’s life, refusing even his surname. She put the boy in the way of show business from the start, training him in music and dance. He left school at thirteen to enter the theater, eventually becoming a mainstay of Hollywood, playing characters similar to himself, sophisticated, condescending, and prissy. He was always her “little Webb.” Notoriously overbearing, she lived with him until her death at age 91. They were smotheringly close. After she died, he let his health go to ruin from grief. He had never married, but had carried on a discreet homosexual life, with mother’s complaisance.

Clifton Webb was born that way.

In 1934, an exceptionally handsome thirteen-year-old boy was haunting about a London cinema house, watching horror films. His happy home had been broken when he was young, by a working arrangement that kept his father in the city while the son was raised by his sister and his nanny, and later by an aunt. He was vulnerable, and a young medical student noticed it. After they watched a movie about a mummy, the student invited him back to his flat, saying that he could give him an experience of mummification, if he was interested.

The boy agreed. He wrote later in his biography that he did not then “know” what life was about. The student gave him a drugged drink, stripped him naked, and bound him in bandages and tape from his toes to his face, leaving only his genitals free. Then he took a cold knife and laid it across the genitals, whispering into his ear that he could kill him or mutilate him now, but of course he wouldn’t, that wasn’t what he wanted. The boy’s heart raced for terror. He thought he was going to die. The student had his way with him, untaped him, and let him put his clothes on and get lost. “At last I knew,” he wrote, thirty years later. He would never marry. He entered show business, and tried to have an affair with an actress or two, but it never lasted. Instead he settled into a life with another man.

Dirk Bogarde was born that way.

In 1949, a judge in the Bronx gave a ten-year-old boy a choice. He could live in juvenile confinement, or be sent away from his family to an acting school. He chose acting school. It does not appear that he could have chosen better, at least in practical terms. His parents, recent immigrants from Sicily, had lost control of him. He had been thrown out of his Catholic elementary school. He had joined a street gang and been convicted of armed robbery. Later in life he would be known as “The Switchblade Kid.” One of his off-on affairs with an actress resulted in a pregnancy, which they snuffed out. He became, for about a dozen years, a great heart-throb in Hollywood, with his velvety voice, dark complexion, and large eyes. He also carried on affairs with men, and produced and starred in a play featuring a homosexual prison rape; he was the rapist. He never knew an ordinary family life.

Sal Mineo was born that way.

In 1933, a thirteen-year-old boy who had landed a part on Broadway decided to stay in New York, away from his family. His father was a violent, abusive drunk, and his mother squandered much of their money, traveling roundabout to discover her aristocratic lineage. Later in life he said he remembered nothing of his childhood, other than never being in one place for long. He became a great actor, with a run of twenty years of first-rate roles, in some of the finest American movies ever made. The father he loathed contributed to his success, thus: whenever he needed a mental image of obstinacy and ignorance, against which to rail in uncontrollable rage, he thought of his father. He was a gentle soul who sought in the director John Huston the father he never really had. He too carried on affairs with men, and drank and drugged himself to a premature death.

Montgomery Clift was born that way.

It was inevitable, when Rock Hudson was born, that his parents would divorce when he was a little boy, and that he would be raised on a ranch by grandparents he disliked. It was inevitable, when Tab Hunter was born, that his mother would divorce the abusive father and divest the children of the man’s name. It was inevitable, when Raymond Burr was born, that his mother would divorce his Canadian father and move to southern California, raising the boy with her parents. Drunkenness, hatred, loneliness, missing fathers, rape, molestation, over-mothering, all these are inevitable when a certain kind of boy is born.

One of the most emotionally disturbed students I’ve ever taught would muse aloud in class, entirely irrelevantly, about being bathed by the boyish actor Elijah Wood. His father had shot himself in the head when the son was nine. His mother then married another man whom the boy detested. That was inevitable too. The child was born that way.

The only boys who are not born that way are ordinary boys, who, if they’re given half a chance, play cops and robbers, organize themselves into baseball teams, build go-carts, roam the woods, hunt small game, commit everything about (fill in the blank) to memory, play with fire or electricity or catapults, and start to notice the pretty girls they try for years not to notice. They are socially constructed; magically so, since similar behaviors are to be found among boys in every age and place and culture known to man.

We are mad, quite mad.

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story Is God’s Story and Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. He teaches at Providence College.

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  • Manfred

    Thank you for a fascinating column, Dr. Esolen. I know you have a home on Nova Scotia so I thought of you when my wife and I had a Cape Breton evening last week at the Mayo Theater in Morristown, N.J. provided by the Leahy-McMaster family and three of their six children. There was two hours of fiddling, piping and the children each playing their fiddles and dancing jigs and reels. The audience fell in love with this talented, unassuming couple who witnessed to such family happiness.
    Everyone knew that none of these children would be Born That Way.

    • Tony

      Manfred — That is splendid! Do you know, I’ve written about the time I saw their family perform, a couple of summers ago at Broad Cove, behind the church where Natalie and Donnell were married. They are devout Catholics, and they read Touchstone, The Catholic Thing, Crisis, and so forth. And you are right, there is zero chance that their little boys will grow up crooked. See to it, fathers — it requires attention, boyish capers, love, the building-up of manliness, and physical expressions of affirmation –attaboy!

  • Thry may not be born that way but then what? The psychological damage cannot be reversed. It is what it is. So what about their happiness,,need for connections and their souls?

    • Arden Abeille

      I’ve taught Gender & Sexuality in a state college for many years. While people with “an agenda” will argue that Mr. Esolen’s examples are all anecdotal, the point he is making is also borne up by other more systematic evidence. Sexuality, like all complex human behaviors, is not “inborn” but develops, and indeed retains flexibility throughout life (much to the consternation of people on “both sides”). There are numerous examples of people who have indeed reversed “the psychological damage” you are assuming “cannot be reversed” and gone on to fulfilling heterosexual marriages. There are other numerous examples of people with same-sex attraction who have come to terms with their call to live a celibate life and are doing so with joy and in contexts of deep and meaningful human connections.
      With respect to “their happiness,” there is clear and incontrovertible evidence (including from studies done by homosexuals hoping to prove the opposite) that living an actively homosexual lifestyle is much more likely to lead to deep and abiding unhappiness, distress, and is associated with a significantly higher degree of psychological disorder and serious physical health problems as well. As for “need for connections,” all people have this need, and it is NOT fulfilled by your sexual partner alone, and certainly not by multiple, more casual sexual partners (which is the more common pattern for those pursuing a homosexual lifestyle). Real connection–true intimacy–is about sharing yourself with others, not just (indeed, not requiring in any way) the getting and/or giving of sexual pleasure. Finally, regarding their souls, that answer is very clear in the teachings of the church, and in the Bible. Like any other sin (and no worse than any other sexual sin, which is certainly prevalent enough amongst heterosexuals, too!), homosexual behavior separates a person from God, which is our highest good, our source of true and abiding joy, and the beginning and end of all meaningful connections. Now that is what truly “is what it is.” Humans are mutable (thank God!). God is not (thank God!). Let us strive always to be better reflectors of His life, love, and truth to anyone who may glance our way, to point them in His direction.

      • Jerry Rhino

        Very well reasoned and stated. For me the bottom line is, “If you accept fornication as OK, then how could you not accept gay sex?” Sex outside of marriage is sinful regardless of your partner.

        • Arden Abeille

          Yes, and because “sinful” means by definition harmful to oneself and others (God doesn’t just arbitrarily label random behaviors “sins” because he’s some kind of cosmic control freak; like any loving parent he puts limits on our behaviors because outside those limits we will be hurt!), it is not “judgmental,” but LOVING, to attempt to help people to see both the dangers of harmful behaviors they may be tempted to engage in (whatever those may be; and in the case of sexual sin the dangers to self and others are just glaringly obvious and rampantly abundant after nearly half a century of so-called “revolution”), AND the joys of behaving according to the “operating instructions” (less obvious, but equally well established, by both widespread personal experience and formal research). If you’re drying your hair in your bath, someone who loves you ought to tell you that’s a bad idea, and suggest you keep the electrical appliances away from the water!

      • Burger Fan

        Thank you!

      • fredx2

        One wonders if it is not simply a deep need for love that gets turned in the wrong direction, like a starving man being willing to eat grass.

      • Mike Gannome

        Homosexual behavior is objectively a grave sin. However, the Church teaches that there can be mitigating factors which lessen or even extenuate the moral culpability of the person. The anecdotal examples provided by the author depict traumatic events that can cause psychological and emotional disorders (which can actually biologically affect the brain and neurological system) which lead to distorted thinking and destructive behavior. Only God truly knows the extent of mitigation in each individual circumstance and that is why we are commanded by Christ not to judge others, because we do not the know the state of their souls, even though externally they are committing objectively grave sins.

        • Arden Abeille

          Of course! As a neuroscientist, I’m well aware that experiences (and even habits of thought) cause physical changes in the brain. The good news is that additional experiences, and new habits of thought, ALSO cause physical changes in the brain. The brain is not some fixed “hardware” system that, once damaged, can in no way heal or adjust. There is a great deal of plasticity, even in adult brains, when given the chance and proper support. Approaching a person in pain or pathology and offering them assistance toward healing does not constitute “judging” them; it constitutes loving them, does it not?

      • Tony

        Dear Arden — thank you. I would like to continue this conversation, if you are willing.

        • Arden Abeille

          Absolutely! How can I help?

    • Beth

      If the psychological damage *cannot* be reversed, then God is not God. We are all damaged goods, but our need for connection and joy can only come from and through Christ in any case. And those who are severely damaged at young ages can still find Him, find healing, find true joy. I know. While it was not my experience, it has been the experience of many I know.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Olier’s advice remains sound: “It is necessary for the soul to be in fear and distrust of self; … It should make its pleasure and joy depend on sacrificing to Jesus all joy and pleasure which it may have apart from Himself. And when taking part in those things in which by Providence it is obliged to be occupied, such as eating, drinking, and conversation with creatures, it must be sparing in all, must discard what is superfluous, and must renounce, in the use of them, the joy and pleasure to be found in them, uniting and giving itself to Jesus as often as it feels itself tempted to enjoy something apart from Him and not Himself.” (Journée chrétienne)

    • Diane

      Having sex is not all there is to happiness. The more mature one becomes the more we realize that loving relationships with family and friends are also ways to happiness. However, true happiness is only found in Jesus Christ and His love for all of us and our love for Him. Homosexuals are mostly unhappy because they never find the real love they are looking for. That is why most of them have many partners throughout their lives which then leads to more unhappiness and loss of health.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Aristotle, as usual, has something interesting to say. He speaks of “morbid [νοσηματώδεις – nosemaatoodeis] states resulting from habit [ἔθους – ethous] – the habit of plucking out the hair or of gnawing the nails, or even coals or earth, and in addition to these, sexual intercourse with males [τῶν ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν – tōn aphrodisiōn tois arresin]; for these arise in some by nature [φύσει – phusei] and in others, as in those who have been the victims of lust from childhood, from habit.” [Eth Nic 1148b 27-30] The translation is mine; some English versions are misleading, translating τῶν ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν as pederasty, why I don’t know.

    He appears to think some are born that way and that in others it is the result of habit. Interesting that Aristotle should link sodomy with nail-biting or eating coal; perhaps, with his stress on final causes, he thought of them all as essentially purposeless activities. But I am only guessing.

    • AugustineThomas

      “The translation is mine; some English versions are misleading, translating τῶν ἀφροδισίων τοῖς ἄρρεσιν as pederasty, why I don’t know.”
      I think you know why..

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        No, I don’t. : Ἀφροδισιάζω means to have sexual intercourse and ἄρσην means male; ἄρρεσιν is the dative plural. Had he meant paederasty, there is a perfectly good Greek word for it, παιδεραστία – paederasty, as it happens

        • Fred

          Maybe there’s not enough of AT’s comment to gather what I do, but I have a feeling he means the reason it’s usually translated as “pederasty” is because translating it as “homosexuality” or “sex with a male” would render it politically incorrect.

        • AugustineThomas

          Forgive me. I thought it was obvious that the secularist university system is run by people who deny the obvious truth if they think it serves their political agendas. In this case they don’t want to admit that many of the Greeks–who they often speak of as the non-Christian counterpoint to Christian learning, the men who prove that you don’t need Christ to be truly enlightened–acknowledged the unhealthiness of homosexual perversion.

  • Rick Fitzgibbons

    A 2009 doctoral dissertation on the international Catholic apostolate for those with same sex attractions, Courage[i], demonstrates that the Church offers an effective program to help those with SSA. This study showed that an increased rate of chastity is negatively correlated with psychopathology: an increased rate of chastity is positively correlated with happiness; the time in Courage is positively correlated with a history of increased religious participation, and extended participation in Courage is positively
    correlated with chastity.

    The major goals of Courage are chaste friendships and friendship with Jesus. Men and women have related that the experience of friendship with Jesus in the present and of his presence during times of intense emotional pain with a father, mother or rejecting or abusive male peers is comforting and strengthening.

    [i] Harris, S. (2009). Mental health, chastity and religious participation in a population of same-sex attracted men. Doctoral dissertation.

  • James FitzHugh

    This article is pure rubbish written by a man who has no special education or degree on the subject he writes about. Do you think for one single moment that God makes mistakes. He doesn’t. The “so called” gay gene is in both the human and the animal kingdoms. God put it there for a reason. Stop looking for bloody excuses, accept the reality and treat Gay people just as you would members of your own family.

    • pj

      You are ignorant. No gay gene has ever been found. Sin entered the world without God’s approval.

      If homosexuality is caused by an early-age breach with the same-sex parent, leading to habitual attempts in the child to repair the breach which are eroticized with substitutes in later life, it would explain many empirical observations, such as the ones cited here.

    • Howard Kainz

      Studies of the “gay gene,” Identical twins, the size of parts of the brain of homosexuals, etc., have been subjected to criticism by other scientists for their methodology, or for ineffective controls or lack of reduplicability, or for including bisexuals along with homosexuals. But it is important for the gay movement to prove gays are “born that way,” since that makes homosexuality into a civil rights issue.

      • Fleshman

        But it is also equally important for gay rights opponents to disprove a genetic basis for homosexuality precisely because it heads off the kind of civil rights argument that the gays are making. The point is that the truth of the matter is quite apart from purely tactical concerns of who is arguing what in the broader public debate. As a philosopher bred to truth and not sophistry you should know that, Dr. Kainz.

        Moreover if the gays are right and homosexuality is largely hereditary, the negative genetic load will mostly eliminate it from the human genome in a few generations, if gays live as gays and stop procreating.

        • Tony

          Let us suppose you are a boy among the old Plains Indians. Let us suppose you are nearsighted and clumsy and prone to corpulence. Some of that is hereditary. Your father makes fun of you. The other boys reject you. Does your failure to identify yourself as a boy have a genetic “cause”? Yes and no. You are vulnerable by heredity, but the reason you are vulnerable has nothing to do with sexuality. You might say something similar about other hereditable traits that, in a given situation, would cause a boy to be particularly vulnerable.

    • Bev Malona

      I am sorry to burst your imaginary bubble but science has not yet found the “gay gene”. It does not matter what side of the fence you take. Be accurate in your comments.

    • Jude

      And yet no one has ever been able to isolate the “gay gene.” Because it doesn’t exist.
      Animals have also been known to eat their own feces. Should we emulate that behavior as well? God doesn’t make mistakes. He calls us to something higher. Some persons choose not to listen and give themselves over to unnatural, deviant behavior.

    • Jerry Rhino

      I do. Fornication is a sin whether it be in my family or yours. You cannot condone gay sexual activity without first having condoned fornication.

    • saa5of5

      Does God permit suffering? I hear stories of tremendous pain and suffering in this writing.

    • squishee

      I have an education of many things. Yes, God makes no mistakes. Some men are born blind, halt, and lame. Some men are born with a propensity to drink, abuse women, and in their anger commit acts of violence. So what? Are these things to be desired? Should not these things be eschewed and that men strive for virtue? There is precedent for them to succeed. And saying all that, homosexuals are not gay. They are in fact angry, depressed, and laden with the guilt of their perverted acts.

    • RufusChoate

      I started to subject your post to an exposition of the logical fallacies that you deployed but thought the better of it and decided to go with an anecdote that a friend of mine who is a Biologist who specializes in Sexual Transmitted Diseases, shared with me. In his research he used as his target population long term incarcerated felons in both a Women’s Prison and a Men’s prison. In the process of telling about how the disease that was his particular field of study progressed through the prison population he detailed how it starting with Prisoners at the top of the food chain (most violent, gang affiliated and longest serving) to the younger and more recently incarcerated like a finely tuned machine becoming chronic and pervasive.

      I stopped him at this point and asked how this could occur if the majority of the population were Heterosexual represented in the same high percentage of every other population if they lacked access to opposite sex partners.

      He laughed at my naivete and said it had little to nothing to do with Sexual orientation, the lack of partners or other silliness but moral depravity and corruption. He also went on to detail how according to the medical records of the prisons in the 1950’s and 1960’s the only Sexually Transmitted Disease found were in the the recently incarcerated and quickly treated and eliminated.

      I concluded with him that much of what we are force fed by people who want to justify their action is the same toxically narcissistic justifications that we see in other parts of culture the ancient Non Serviam. .

    • stlhdsal

      The science on the finding of a ‘gay gene’ is not conclusive. Developmental psychology does not know the cause of homosexuality and it would be very good for researchers to look into this phenomenon deeply. Of course, they won’t, because the LGBT political lobby would never allow themselves to be found wrong about their homosexual orientation.

      The article makes a good point, if it may be guilty of painting with too wide a brush. Having sat in men’s circles with gay men and hearing their stories, I’ve yet to meet one who did not suffer some degree of psychological trauma as a child, especially the loss of the love bond with the mother which caused them separation anxiety and a failure to accept their latent masculinity.
      More research needs to be done.

      • schmenz

        I’m afraid it’s not only non conclusive; it is utter nonsense and grotesquely unscientific

        • Phil Steinacker

          You are, of course, wrong.

          Esolen is drawing from decades of scientific research which pre-exists the fascist homosexual agenda to control the honest and virtuous who oppose it by burying the old research – scientifically produced – and creating their own “facts”

          You may or may not be in denial but you certainly don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • ScientificCatholic

            Phil, although there are frequently circumstances which would lead one to grant the plausibility of psychogenesis as the cause of homosexuality, the cause-and-effect of bad-experience leading to homosexuality is not universal. Thus, other factors may be involved. Such as the effects of a germ, similar to what Toxoplasma gondii can do in its hosts.

          • schmenz

            Alas, there are numerous books out there supposedly proving that this or that man was a homosexual, but most of them contain mere hearsay and rumor. “He said, she said”, typically. I am not ruling out that Burr succumbed to this unspeakable perversion, but I would require something more substantive than one of the many tiresome tell-all books.

          • schmenz

            Phil, I was responding to stihdsal, not Mr Esolen. I agree with you.

      • AugustineThomas

        If they had a political treason to look hard enough they could find a “thief gene”. The whole “science” of the “gay gene” simply means testing people who suffer from homosexuality and looking for some genetic quirk that the majority share and then concluding “it’s the gay gene, hooray!!”
        This isn’t science. It’s leftists trying to justify sexual perversion.

    • Bro_Ed

      I think that’s harsh: The article is anecdotal. I’m sure many of us may know Catholic families with multiple children, properly nurtured and educated, only to learn that one of them is Gay. Why? Pew Research estimates up to 25% of our Catholic clergy is Gay. Is that due to “smothering mothers and abusive fathers” too? I don’t think anybody really knows. This article does not advance the cause of understanding.

      • fredx2

        You are right to a large degree. But the point of the article is something else. “Born that way” is quickly becoming one of those things that no one is allowed to publicly disagree with. At least, that is what is being attempted. I think Mr. Esolen’s point ultimately is the same one you make – we just don’t know what causes it. But for the political activists and shriekers to get away claiming it is all in the genes now, is just plain crazy.

      • RufusChoate

        When you use the term “Gay” to describe homosexuals you are stating a supportive partisan position. The Pew survey was utter rubbish and the real number of Homosexuals in the catholic Priesthood was definitively found to be the same as the general population at 2% but clustered the amicable dioceses. The clustering produced increased issue with Sexual misconduct. If you are interest the total number of individual cases of Sexual Abuse was ~1400 for a 45 year period with 85% of the abuse being Homosexual. of these case 600 where in Boston where the Criminal investigators determined that only 200 of the cases met the minimal level of proof for a criminal prosecution. The other 400 were completely unprovable but had a check written for them anyway.

        Personally I have know many Homosexuals and if they didn’t have trauma as children they invariably had an history of an older man introduce them to homosexual acts in their teens.

        • Patti Day

          Don’t forget that a percentage, probably a high percentage, of the unprovable cases that were caved into by the Church, ruined the lives and vocations of good priests. One day the truth will be known and there are many who will suffer in the after life for taking 30 pieces of silver for the life of an innocent man.

        • Diane

          Rufus, I agree with you. I have two gay friends and both were abused. It isn’t just sexual abuse as the article indicates. But, sexual abuse seems to cause most of the problems.

      • AugustineThomas

        “Properly nurtured and educated”–which means they were raised by perverted pop culture no doubt.

      • Marie

        I agree. I know of two intact (no divorce), middle class families in which one daughter is “gay,” the other straight. I know of another intact family with one daughter (straight), and one son (“gay”). No divorce, no alcoholism, no Hollywood.
        Human psychology is not a science.
        Most importantly, they need our prayers and our Christian witness.

        • Phil Steinacker

          On the surface you are correct in that your observations are observable by most of us. However, even close friends of a family most often but not always are outside the innermost dirty secrets of particular family life.

          Like each of us, you simply cannot know what you don’t know.

          • Diane

            No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. People can pretend to be something they are not.

        • Tony

          I deny that that son is “born that way.” SOMETHING happened. These days it may be porn. It may be a molestation. It may be a seduction. It may have to do with the surrounding boys, not with the father (see the life of Olympic diver Greg Louganis). I am not going to stick my head in the sand just because social scientists, who don’t study other cultures and who usually know very little about history or literature, haven’t gotten around to seeing the truth. SOMETHING prevents the boy from either identifying as a boy or from normal attraction to girls. I bet if you talked to that son for an hour or two, and if he were honest, you would find out what it was. Porn, a bad “friend,” being belittled or rejected by other boys …

          • Thomas Boynton Tucker

            You are correct, Tony. Dig behind the scenes, and a reason will be revealed.

          • Tony

            Indeed. I have heard of a case in which several teenage boys would get together regularly to watch porn, between men and women, and somehow eventually they got into the habit of sodomizing one another while the porn was on. Because of what they were watching, none of them thought of himself as homosexual. They are now pretty messed up — and trying to un-remember what they did. These are things that people in previous generations would not have dreamed of, in their most terrible nightmares.

    • simplynotred

      Presumption about what is and is not truth does not give you the ability to comprehend God’s will on the one hand, or the disease ridden lot of humans who are born with biological malformations. God does not make mistakes, but man: (1) makes mistakes, (2) sins against God, and (2)sins against his fellow men. Instead of sins against, a more appropriate phrase would be “IS UNKIND TOWARD.” Man makes Mistakes, Man is unkind toward God, and Man is unkind toward his fellow man.

      The article above is riddled with unkindness that manifested an altered state of being for a number of movie actors. It would appear that the over structuring of their childhood development was a pretext for their sexual behavior. Did God create those tragic events of unkindness, or was that something of mans doing. I am really perplexed at those who on the one hand give God all the credit for making the universe and the power that goes with it, and on the other hand refused to admit that God has the ability and power to give human beings Free Will. The Free will for an individual to be Kind or Unkind – towards God and/or his fellow men is becoming less and less discussed these days in an appropriate forum. Where Free Will is discussed often finds it’s outlets in selfishess, imprudence, isolationist, ignorant behavior, and a completely absent rhetoric towards discussions regarding (1) the Will of God, (2) the Kindness of God, (3) the examples of Kindness of Jesus Christ and (4) what God expects us to be like in our daily behavior to each other.

      If science is to be believed at all – then there is NO NATURAL EVIDENCE in the Gene Pool that supports homosexuality in humans or any animal for that matter. To say that homosexuality is not manifested by unkindness from a father, together with an overbearing mother has neither been proven, nor disproven since human being cannot be biologically monitored for their entire life, from birth to the grave if you will. To suggest that a biological behavior exist without biological foundations is total ignorance of human nature, and biology itself. If homosexuality is normal, then there should be a biological elements that when it is diseased, should be treatable when it is so. But there is no evidence to suggest that there is any biology from the start.

      Saying something is rubbish without coherent truth, either empirically, or logically says much about the one who speaks. Even this very contributor demonstrates a sense of unkindness towards the reality of homosexuality as he suggest that the article dose not “treat Gay people as members of Y[our] family.” Nonsense!

      Women Feminist who emphatically desire that men be destroyed completely from the face of the earth, together with Muslims fanatics, are more in line with those who don’t
      treat homosexuals with kindness than many of those who are engaged in this discussion.
      Unfortunately the rage that takes place towards those who merely discuss the manifestation of unkindness towards our fellow men needs to be reduced significantly. Discussions regarding what establishes the development of a boy into a man with an environment of kindness compared to what was perfectly discribed as the unkind environment found in the artilce above and its outcomes is worth looking into.

    • Super Genius

      So you must think that the notion of any kind of congenital physical deformity or psychological disorder, or even human sin, is pure rubbish as well, since God doesn’t make mistakes. (You may want to look into the concept of the Fall.)

      Of course, the article focuses on the role of nurture (as opposed to nature, or inheritance) in a person’s development. Interestingly, some studies of identical twins suggest that if one is same-sex-attracted, the other has a higher than normal chance of being so as well, but the chance is not 100%, as would be the case if homosexuality were exclusively a matter of genetics, since identical twins are genetically identical.

      • mw006

        The additional propensity of an identical twin to be homosexual is approximately only 20% per the renowned scientist Francis Collins, former Head of the US Human Genome Project, cited in his book The Language of God. This is far less than the estimated percentages for other personality traits that can be ascribed to heredity, such as extroversion at 54%, aggression at 38% and general cognitive ability at 50%. He adds that half our population carries a genetic variant that makes then 1600% more likely to engage in criminal behavior and end up in jail–the Y chromosome carried by males–and notes wryly that this genetic association has to date proved useless as a criminal defense.

      • barbara

        Not born that way. .”The sins of the parents come down on the children.”

      • barbara

        Not born that way. .”The sins of the parents come down on the children.”

    • CissyScum

      Perhaps one day parents can test for this “gay gene” and choose to abort their unborn chi-sorry, clump of cells.

      That would get a lot of people riled up, don’t you think?

    • Felix C.

      Your notion of a gay gene is pure rubbish. A gene that predisposes a creature not to reproduce is absurd. It is contrary to the fundamental principles of natural selection. How many generations would it take for the characteristic to completely disappear from the gene pool? Now that sodomy is a socially acceptable alternative to intercourse, will the homosexuals not breed themselves out of existence?

    • fredx2

      God doesn’t make mistakes, That’s why he creates alcoholics. That’s why he creates congenital diseases and club feet and kids who need glasses. He creates theives and murderers and rapists, and all of this is natural, and good, and we should accept it.

    • RainingAgain

      What you describe is a fatal mutation. However, it is untrue to declare that it exists.

    • Diane

      Animals do not have souls, therefore, they do not have intellect. They react by instinct. God made humans with souls and intellect. Therefore, they can recognize good from evil. Human desires should not be compared to animal desires.

    • Arden Abeille

      Oh dear. There is no “gay gene.” This is demonstrable by the fact that the children of homosexuals are no more likely to grow up to be homosexual than the children of heterosexuals (if there were any genetic basis, biological children of a homosexual parent, even if the other biological parent of the child is heterosexual, should be at least somewhat more likely to grow up homosexual than biological children of two heterosexual parents).

      Examples of homosexual behavior in non-human animals are largely found in artificial situations resulting in numerous other unusual (and often also pathological) behaviors; rarely in their natural context; also, assuming that, because a given behavior is found in an animal, that behavior is therefore “genetic,” is fallacious reasoning (animal behavior, like human behavior, is influenced by a multiplicity of causes over and above the genes that provide the initial instructions for their physical construction).

      In addition, I must agree with another poster here that we need not “excuse” behaviors we know to be harmful simply because they have a biological basis (if they do), or because other animals do them. While I don’t yet see any clear indication of a biological basis for human homosexuality, we know that (for example) alcoholism and drug abuse have biological bases. This is no reason to hand your alcoholic family member a beer, and it would NOT constitute a loving response to him if you did so.

      Regarding the notion that, if animals do it, it must be “natural” and therefore healthy to do, many dogs eat carrion–or feces. I don’t recommend that for people. If you think that is straying too far from sexual behavior, other animals have sex and then kill and eat their sexual partner (or even do so WHILE they’re having sex). Many animals have sex with complete strangers, give birth to their young, and then abandon them to their own devices. Also not practical for humans (although some do try. . . ). The point is, as much as we can learn many valuable things from nature, we can’t take moral pointers from the animal kingdom; they are very much “doing their own thing” out there, in moral climates that do not and can not apply to human civilization.

  • tad

    Excellent

  • Mike

    Psychology is being reduced to biology or else to non-sense via some of its politiking – it should stay out of the political debates and stick to the science like physics and chemistry do. Reducing some human beings to mere biological machines does not do them a favor but is a form of soft bigotry.

  • Rich in MN

    Dr. Esolen, I love your juxaposition of the last paragraph with its jab at “gender studies.” With the recent death of Leonard Nimoy, there has been much written about the contributions of “Star Trek.” While I loved “Star Trek,” I would call its contributions “mixed,” pointing out how an episode such as “The Mark if Gideon” (released about the same time Humanae Vitae was issued) was a caricature and direct attack on Catholic moral teaching. However, there were a few key insights in “Star Trek.” For example, the pilot episode, “The Cage,” (which was re-edited into the two-part “The Menagerie”) focused on a race of beings who had enslaved the [previous] Enterprise captain for some unknown purpose. You learn at the end that these beings had learned the power of illusion to such a degree that they just lived in illusion and did not know how to live in reality anymore. Because of this, their race was dying out, and they needed to find another intelligent life form to replace them.
    Anybody who thinks things like, “It’s not really a baby,” or “I may have XY chromosomes but I’m not really a male,” or “I really do not see what makes male-female sex more natural than male-male sex,” they really need to be forced to watch that episode until it sinks in.
    Maybe that’s what Purgatory is all about. Hmmm…..

    • grantruth

      Lynette, Dr. Laura Listener, writes in about being unable to “navigate life” having come out of “an unfortunate and chaotic childhood”. As a “Star Trek fan….using Spock as a clear example….deliberately began using logic to get me through…..a process…..question: ‘Here’s what I’m feeling…but what’s REALLY happening? What’s the true equation here?And I would do the math, and REASON things out…learning process..changed my life…the way I approach everything…due to Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of this unforgettable character.”

    • Mako

      Funny you should mention Nimoy. Zach Quinto, who portrays Spock in the recent Star Trek movies, described Nimoy as father figure in a recent essay on time.com. Guess what–Quinto lost his own father at a young age. Guess what–Quinto is gay. Hm…

  • Let’s move past this idea of looking for “nature” vs. “nurture.” I’d rather not derive my ethics from the animal kingdom. The Bible is very clear that we do not seek our own desires and call them good. It is evil people who’s god is their belly, who fulfill their own sinful desires. God made most men to desire to sleep with many women, yet adultery is sinful. How does this not only decide the debate for a Christian, but prove most of the lines of reasoning along biological justification absolutely irrelevant? People are genetically predisposed for addiction, yet drunkenness is sinful. People are genetically predisposed for violence, yet murder is sinful. People are predisposed to sin, yet they are still responsible for their actions. The Bible flat-out tells you that your nature is sinful and needs to be changed by Jesus. Come on, how is this even a debate?

  • susanna

    The first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned: Adam knew Eve, and they produced Cain. the human race’s first murderer. It’s the fault of sin. What very sad stories.

  • acricketchirps

    Not Raymond Burr?! Oh, I’m so disappointed.

    • schmenz

      As much as I enjoyed Mr Esolen’s article, there is no conclusive proof that Burr was a homosexual. At this point it is only an unsubstantiated rumor.

      • acricketchirps

        Whew! I’m gonna say Perry Mason and Robert T. Ironside – not gay

        • Dominic Lombardo

          Actually, no. There is quite a bit of evidence that Raymond Burr was, in fact, homosexual – and his long-time lover and “partner” was a minor actor named Robert Benevides. Read Michael Seth Starr’s biography “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr.”

          • schmenz

            Alas, there are numerous books out there supposedly proving that this or that man was a homosexual, but most of them contain mere hearsay and rumor. “He said, she said”, typically. I am not ruling out that Burr succumbed to this unspeakable perversion, but I would require something more substantive than one of the many tiresome tell-all books.

  • saa5of5

    It has always baffled me how people who seem to sincerely care for people with same-sex attraction can deny the suffering and trauma of those same people have experienced. Also, for their idea of the way things “should be” (if we would all just stop being so hateful and homophobic) they are fine with completely denying the rights and benefits of a child being raised by both a father and a mother.

  • Fleshman

    Memo to TCT editors. I get the fact that TCT is against gay marriage and indeed against normalizing homosexual relations.

    But human sexuality is a very complicated thing. Yes some men become homosexual in the right environment (prison for instance, or sexual abuse by an adult). Others are just born effeminate.

    FWIW, I have known both types of people

    But the causes of homosexuality in general are overdetermined. Whatever the case however the argument is an empirical one for which we–by a longshot–lack the necessary information. The is some evidence for both the nature and nurture theory of homosexuality.

    Esolen’s lightly sourced Hollywood anecdotes are utterly worthless in explaining the broader phenomenon.

    • AugustineThomas

      Where is the evidence for nature affecting sexuality that isn’t politicized nonsense designed by “scholar” activists to sway the debate?
      The trauma that leads to sexual perversion doesn’t have to be the worst kind. I was raised secularist and, though not inclined to homosexuality, the perversion that has inflicted me arose simply from watching movies; no sexual abuse, no suicidal dad, just being put in front of TV and movie screens and later computer screens and left there to “learn about life”.

    • Arden Abeille

      I just can’t let “born effeminate” slide, as if that equates to “born homosexual.” There are many “effeminate” men who are not homosexual (and “effeminate” boys who grow into heterosexual men). And I really can’t countenance “born effeminate,” either, unless you mean something like “born highly sensitive/reactive,” which yes, CAN be an inborn trait. See my earlier comment regarding the development of sexuality and its flexibility. Having taught Gender & Sexuality at a state college for over a decade, I can confidently state that there is no scientific basis for “born that way” (EITHER way!).

      • Thomas Boynton Tucker

        There are “many effeminate men who are not homosexual?”
        Not in most people’s experienCe. What world do you inhabit?

      • Mike

        A VP in a company i used to work in was hounded by a gay guy i knew bc he “just knew” he was secretly gay bc he was effeminate but in reality lived with his wife and 3 kids and was happy etc. etc.

        Then there’s my wife’s ob who’s effeminate and ‘caring’ and metrosexual at least and yup married to a beautiful women and has 4 kids – even i thought he might be gay bc of the stereotype which is just cruel.

  • RufusChoate

    Excellent as always.

  • Diane

    That was an excellent article. It is unfortunate that more ssa individuals do not seek help. They may find true happiness, instead of the struggle.

  • Yankeegator

    OoRah!!!

  • Lisa Cooper

    Citing a number of people who have had terrible upbringings and committed homosexual acts does not prove any correlation between homosexuality and how a person was raised. Furthermore, there are plenty of people with same-sex attraction who have been raised in loving Christian homes. When people use the “I was born this way argument,” they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. We are all born selfish, not caring about anyone but ourselves. If a person is born with an inclination to violence or alcoholism, that doesn’t mean we just accept them acting the way they feel like acting.

    • Phil Steinacker

      The citation does not prove the correlation; the citation is based on decades of solid research which the homosexual lobby has buried and, when it is cited, attacks and denigrates without foundation.

      Perhaps if you knew just a little more about the history of this subject you wouldn’t just jump in head first to make pronouncements based on what seems “obvious” from your limited perch in life. Perhaps you’ve don so because you are young and therefore ignorant of the facts, or you are merely ignorant. Hard to tell.

      Either way, it can be corrected by fearless exploration of facts – though you may have a hard time finding the research upon which Esolen bases his ideas.

      • Tim H

        Phil, she’s on your side. She’s just taking the argument further. Whether born “that way” or not – we are all sinners and need salvation.

        I do get though, that we can still debate whether born that way is real.

      • Tony

        It is very sad, isn’t it, that we have to pretend we don’t know things and don’t see what is in front of our faces, just because the social scientists haven’t gotten around to “proving” in a vague and general and usually unhelpful way what everybody has known for a million years?

    • jimnewl

      You’re absolutely right, Lisa, although I’m not sure the author is claiming his article as demonstrative proof of anything. I took it more as a sly, “now hold on here just one doggone minute” attention-grabber. Whether dysfunctional family life of a particular character can account for the behavior of every person who habitually commits homosexual acts or not, there does seem to be a marked tendency toward it by many with the sort of family history described which at least bears investigating. However, it remains true that there are many, like myself, with similar upbringings and abusive father/cloying mother relationships, who are not drawn at all to homosexual behavior. I have my issues due to my family ‘s dynamic I’m sure, but sexual attraction to men isn’t one of them. (And no, I’m not in denial. I know.)

  • Mary Carlton-Jones

    Years ago, an inordinate amount of “gay” friends, (having gone to Art and Design schools, RISD and Yale), all discovered they were gay after impregnating the women that they were having sexual relationships with. All women were abandoned, either to raise a child on their own or bullied into an abortion. Excessive self involvement, selfishness and an unwillingness to take responsibility seemed to be a common thread. Perhaps certain psychological tendencies that draw individuals to the “Arts” also make them susceptible to the “alternative society.” Many in the gay world prey on the vulnerable and they do love newbies. (from the horses mouth)
    A very good article on issues of homosexuality and how it relates to marriage in general was written by Dennis Prager back in 1993(?). You can still find it : Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism rejected homosexuality. It is another piece of the puzzle, but more importantly it describes why it is important for society to reject Homosexual Marriage. We still as Christians treat all with love and charity, but in no way should we be cowed into the belief that the behavior is normal and/or desirable. Like many who err in their ways, convincing others to join in, justifies their own bad behavior.

    • Phil Steinacker

      Dennis Prager is and continues to be a gift.

  • Andrew

    Now THAT is writing.
    I know from experience that when a single mother leaves her boy alone, without interference, he does the last paragraph.
    A child hood of video games, weapon smithing, martial arts, memorizing basic philosophy, and creative competition.
    That’s the way.
    Effiminate…boys are just precise boys who have advanced diplomatic skills inborn. They can be just as competitive and sometimes even more so.

  • grump

    Out of the billions of people created, only 2 were perfect and the rest defective; only a small fraction “intrinsically disordered,” whatever that means. God’s the potter, we’re the clay. If He made a few homosexuals to prove a point, that point escapes me.

    He also made a blind man, we’re told in the New Testament, for the sole purpose of performing a miracle. Likewise, God “hardens hearts,” we’re told in the Old Testament, i.e., the Pharaoh who wouldn’t let the Israelites go. It’s His Will, after all, and we’re mere players on the stage, making our sorry entrances and exits and reciting our lines by the order of the Director.

    • Micha Elyi

      You misunderstand the expression used in Exodus. If someone you resent and dislikes “makes you mad” they don’t literally cause you to become angry, honey, it’s just an expression. Likewise when God tells Moses “I will harden Pharoah’s heart.”
      So now you must wonder what else is in the Bible that you’re wrong about.

    • jimnewl

      It’s true enough that God wrote the play we are in, but it is not true that He is responsible for our individual lines and performances. St. Thomas insists that while every act of men has been foreknown and predestined from all eternity, each of those acts–excluding as irrelevant to the argument any special cases which might be thought to arise from divine intervention overriding, as it were, a man’s free choice–is nevertheless a totally free choice of his own. In other words, God makes use of, or incorporates, every free choice of every man He creates, down to the tiniest, niggling detail, into His Divine Plan and thereby somehow brings about the end He Has in mind. That “somehow” can be understood in this way: while God has written this play from all eternity and knows perfectly, down to every jot and tittle, how it all plays out, He has done this using actions of men which have been freely chosen by them, but nevertheless foreseen by Him from eternity.

      A clearer way of understanding it is this: God, as Divine Playwright, has composed His script not as human playwrights do, assigning the actors their lines which the actors then are obliged to recite, as it were, by rote, but by knowing at once the infinite or near-infinite number and substance of scripts which could be written using every possible choice made freely either way by every man He has ever created or will ever create. So having read through all of these potential scripts written actually (albeit potentially, given that it is played out sequentially over time rather than all at once) by men, God has chosen the one He likes best, and that script now constitutes the life and history of the world we inhabit. In this way the apparent conflict between predestination and free will is resolved, for while we are bound, as it were, to this particular script God has decided upon–i.e. predestined–the script is composed, with regard to man’s will, of nothing but the totality in history of every freely chosen act of every man who has ever (and will ever) lived.

      To put it, I hope, even more plainly: imagine a Godless world in which men act freely according to their individual wills alone. Now imagine the entire history of that entire world as a timeline already played out and ended. Finally, imagine God suddenly and conveniently appearing in the argument, confronted with this rolled up timeline and countless alternate ones from countless alternate universes, choosing this particular one to put His “Divine Playwright” stamp of approval on, thereby confirming and setting in stone which play will be playing for this eternity in the Divine Theater. That is, roughly put, how predestination and free will are related in this world we live in, according–or so I claim–to St. Thomas and other exceedingly wise men such as myself. Ahem. That last was a joke… Lol?…. Oh, forget it. (Note that this final characterization of it shouldn’t be taken too far. I am not making any claim about there being an infinite number of alternate universes that are, or have, or will be, played out somewhere, of which ours is just one. The analogy is meant loosely, as a way of “seeing” something that only God Himself can completely understand, inasmuch as we can have no direct experience of things infinite qua infinite, or of the future qua past, or etc.)

      Note that there is an important question left unanswered here concerning whether it is proper to say that God has written something that He seems, according to my somewhat fanciful characterization of it, to have only chosen. In order to save time, just go with yes, OK? No, really. Trust me on this… No? You’d sooner trust the devil himself? Fine. Well, *my* answer is yes in any case, but we’ll have to leave it at that for now.

  • Marie

    The emphasis seems to be on gay men…what about gay women? Isn’t this just as devastating on our culture?

    • Tony

      Perhaps even more devastating. But I am a man, and I was a boy. I speak about what I have seen and what I know. Women must take on the comparable task for their afflicted sisters.

      • Arden Abeille

        There are, by most studies, about twice as many homosexual men as homosexual women: generally, the numbers run about 2.5 to 5% of men are homosexual, about 1 to 3% of women. Interestingly, many people are shocked by those numbers; a recent poll found that most respondents believed that as much as 25% of the population was homosexual! That’s how “loud” the agenda is now! That literally made me laugh out loud, since, if these people would take even one minute to consider whether literally one in four people they know are homosexual, most people would realize that’s a whopping overestimate! I have worked for years in theatre (a context that tends to draw a population overrepresenting all sorts of “fringe” types, including homosexuals), and even in the theatre, the percentages track similarly.

        • Rock St. Elvis

          “a recent poll found that most respondents believed that as much as 25% of the population was homosexual!”

          They are, on primetime TV sitcoms.

          • Arden Abeille

            You have put your finger firmly on it; the fact that most Americans spend so much time imbibing mass media certainly is the major contributor to this bizarrely skewed notion of population distribution.

    • Diane

      Of course, but there are more gay men than women, or they are just more outspoken. As a woman I just can’t imagine how any woman would want to get involved in this lifestyle. They need our prayers and they need to seek help.

  • friend

    Thank you for this…life is a mystery and many men through the iniquitous part of the mystery have been effected as these few famous men had been. What we need and the Church has largely missed is not fighting at the political level only, but calling men to loudly yet graciously defend and uphold complimentary marriage of male and female while having compassion toward their fellow men who suffer in their sexuality. We have men in pain because they were abused and made vulnerable to abuse because they had no man to look to as model and defender. We need a Men’s Movement instead we are mocked and addicted, fat and silent as misandry is doled out to our sons as the just dessert for those men who abused women or because we don’t accept the rootless society as viable option. Men fear meaningful friendship among themselves because a cheap prurient tabloid culture giggles at the prospect that “maybe they are gay”, immature stupidity causes us to cower and fail to hold one another up. A strong chivalry modelled on St. Joseph is needed—not a lust for control, but a firm direction that does battle with the evils of the age while hoping for the sinner. Yes, we men fail routinely, but that does not diminish the demands of the truth and though we fail, we ought still to proclaim the truth as the truth independent of our failure to live up to it, to strive rather than redefine is what protects a culture from the tyranny of self. To this end, we need also the return of the Penitent and the Path of Penance as a manly and Christian way of being in union with the crucified. What alternative do we present to our same-sex attracted brothers who have suffered in pain and become addicted to so many things and who would find healing in a life that strives and contends for goodness and to keep others from the same pain. How powerful their offering could be. God loves us brothers! Peace.

  • 2LA42

    Great opening, and the point is made, but is he going to wrap it up or explain it? This feels very incomplete. This sounds like the setup but there is nothing following it. At least it was enlightening. It’s back to the old nature versus nurture and I have long been suspicious of the argument that homosexuals were “born this way”.

  • Marie

    A good article on a painful subject. I wonder if the causes of lesbianism are more or less mirror image of the causes of male SSA, or not. People lump the two together, for obvious reasons, but I wonder if the pathology is the same or different.

    By the way, I am a different person than the “Marie” who posted below. She and I just happen to share a profile name. Just to avoid confusion….

  • FreemenRtrue

    perhaps homosexual behavior, like pederasty, is submission to a temptation. The vulnerability to temptation is increased by unbalanced and oppressive family life. Is pedophilia genetic? Why cannot these people be cured? After reading a bit about exorcisms one may wonder that aberrant sexual behavior is demonically prompted. It seems a favorite gambit of the Father of Lies to instigate gender confusion and its destruction of life. It seems that pederasty is a sin so severe that those souls can never be recovered. The wicked delight that many male homosexuals take in promiscuity also seems demonic. The pope is a gravely mistaken man to offer even a bit of succor to the ravaging beast of homosexuality.

    • $139892560

      You make a good point. Any type of abuse and certainly sexual abuse can cause this… the wounds caused to the spirit can leave doors open for possessions/obsessions to occur. But it seems most don’t wish to be free of it, sadly. Exorcism will only work if one wishes to be free of the demons.

  • Proteios

    I suspect the statistic that >75% of gay men had sexual trauma from a ephebophile, indicates that most are NOT born that way. Thats an alarming bit of data and very sad for those men. One can not speak in absolutes as BPA and contraception that is present in nearly all water sources has altered mens biochemistry. Not so much born, but pollutant induced perhaps. But focusing on the social construct, I think this is the bulk of it all. So the influence homosexuals want over social constructs is a great way to evangelize. I suspect numbers will change for the worse as we humans are slaves to social organization. Its how God made us and if we are good stewards of society it works to support men and women. If not, it readily distorts us.

  • eddie too

    human beings can control their thoughts and desires as well as resist their temptations.
    biology has nothing to do with these abilities, except perhaps in the case of the developmentally disabled.
    unless it occurs in one’s sleep or one is raped, every sexual act is chosen. what can be chosen can be denied.
    most of modernism is simply human social constructs from the imagination. very little can be correlated to reality.

  • Diane

    There was/is a program on EWTN called Courage. It is about gays and lesbians who have left the lifestyle and they tell the viewers how they became gay. In most cases it was from sexual abuse when they were children. Others lost identity with a parent. They need help. They also said that they are much happier finding God and leaving the lifestyle.

  • Tony

    I’ve noticed something interesting in the comments to discussions such as these. Or rather I’ve noticed the absence of something. I have never yet been confronted by a man who says, “My relations with my father, my brothers, and the boys in my neighborhood were perfectly pleasant and physically and emotionally affirming, when I was growing up. My parents didn’t get divorced, and I was never molested or raped. And yet I am ‘gay’.” You’d think, if only to argue, that hundreds of men would show up to stretch the truth or lie or give some personal testimony to counter what I am saying. But no one has.

    • Arden Abeille

      I’ve spent a great deal of time in the theatre, which tends to draw a population skewed toward the “fringe” groups (or what would have formerly been called that!), including an over-representation of men and women of homosexual orientation. I’ve known (and dearly loved) many people in this category. Most of the homosexual men were well aware of their “daddy issues,” and would honestly share them with you. The homosexual women, for some reason, were less likely to share about family-of-origin issues, but most of them had horror stories they would gladly (or fiercely) share with you regarding abuse by men in their past. That’s still “most,” not all, but like you, Tony, I’ve never met any who sincerely shared that their childhood, youth, and young adulthood were all “just peachy, thank you.” Like you, I too wonder at the silence there.

      • Tony

        Dear Arden — Your observation makes it all the more inexcusable in us to ignore the real suffering of such young people. We want to pat them on the shoulder, look the other way, and pretend that what we ourselves do with our own children or our own siblings could not possibly result in such trauma.

        And yet when you look at a boy and his father, especially among other boys and men — I speak about boys, because that’s what I know — you can tell right away which boys are in absolutely no danger at all, and which few are in danger, and even why they are in danger. It’s hard for the father to see when he’s deeply involved in the situation, but it is not hard to see from the outside. Again, we are speaking in general terms; there’s no predicting something horrible, like a rape.

        • Adrianne

          I would be very interested in your thoughts on this. Could you elaborate? I’m a mother and keen to raise my son to be affirmed and confident in his masculinity.

  • john

    I take it all of these guys were only children and, more generally, that heterosexual children never face the same sorts of experiences? If you know of no gay men or women who were never raped, abandoned or victimized as children but are still gay, there is only one reason — you do not know many, or any, (openly) gay men or women.

    • Tony

      Are you one? I still note that nobody comes forth to make that claim in his own person. I could go on, looking at boys in my acquaintance:

      “Jay” was the youngest boy in a large family. His sister and mother “protected” him against the anger of his father, with whom he never got along. Their relationship was characterized by rage punctuated by slammed doors and icy silences. His brothers were much older than he was, so he was always on the outside looking in, when they went on their boy-escapades together.

      “Mike” had an older sister and no brothers. He was distant from his father, who was a rough-talking blue collar worker, and who contracted a fatal disease when the boy was very young. He only ever really was close to his mother and his sister.

      “Greg” was grossly overweight, and his father belittled him for it all the time, subjecting him to shame and contempt.

      It’s always something, and it is usually something extraordinary.

      Some boys are protected from the development of the syndrome by other factors, most of them accidental. So this boy might be protected from a cold and nasty father by plenty of boy cousins who make him part of their world. Or that boy might be protected from a smothering and feminizing mother by a coach in school who overrules her. Another boy might be saved by a strong grandfather …

    • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

      I don’t quite understand your last sentence here. Are you saying that if someone was raped, abandoned or victimized as a child and then openly identifies as a gay adult, then that person really isn’t gay? How did you come to the conclusion that an openly gay person couldn’t be gay because they were abused as a child?

      • john

        You misunderstood my point. I was saying that if someone does not know gay people who have NOT been raped, abused or victimized it us simply because they choose not to know openly gay people. The vast majority of gay people I know never suffered that kind of trauma growing up. I have never seen a peer reviewed study that suggests rape can make someone either heterosexual or gay. Nor have I ever heard a logical explanation as to how being raped could make someone heterosexual or gay. None of the mainstream medical psychological or psychiatric associations support the assertion and, in fact, outrigh refute it.

        • Rock St. Elvis

          I think the article’s point is that environment plays a role, and that molestation by another male makes it even more likely that a boy will turn out “gay.”

          I have a friend from childhood who turned out “gay.” While I do not think he was ever molested, he definitely fit the profile of “distant father, doting mother.”

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    Some years ago the School of the Art Institute of Chicago taught a course on how to make pornographic films. I was a friend of a professor at SAIC who talked me into going to the final screening of the class, which I should not have done but I just had to see what this professor and these students were like. I’m glad I went.

    As I recall there were about five boys in the class. And I say boy because even though they were all 19-21 years old each of them were frail, shy things. All of them had a same sex attraction. Each showed a 5-minute film and then they did a Q&A with the audience.

    During the Q&A someone asked one of them if he had ever been molested as a child. The boy laughed and said “well yeeeah, we ALL have.” He looked over at his fellow filmmakers and they all nodded their heads in agreement and laughed a nervous laugh.

    • Dawg_em

      That is so tragic.

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    Some years ago the School of the Art Institute of Chicago taught a course on how to make pornographic films. I was a friend of a professor at SAIC who talked me into going to the final screening of the class, which I should not have done but I just had to see what this professor and these students were like. I’m glad I went.

    As I recall there were about five boys in the class. And I say boy because even though they were all 19-21 years old each of them were frail, shy things. All of them had a same sex attraction. Each showed a 5-minute film and then they did a Q&A with the audience.

    During the Q&A someone asked one of them if he had ever been molested as a child. The boy laughed and said “well yeeeah, we ALL have.” He looked over at his fellow filmmakers and they all nodded their heads in agreement and laughed a nervous laugh.

    • Dawg_em

      That is so tragic.

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    The next time someone rolls their eyes and says something like “…oh I suppose you just think it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ that someone is gay…” I will say “no, in a frightfully long list of cases it is the product of child molestation. No 10-year-old boy chooses to be molested.”

    • Tony

      Precisely. Dirk Bogarde did not choose to be raped. As Clifton Webb did not choose to be raised apart from his father, by an overbearing mother; and I’ll bet anything that that boy was preyed upon by some man before he hit the age of 15…..

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    The next time someone rolls their eyes and says something like “…oh I suppose you just think it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ that someone is gay…” I will say “no, in a frightfully long list of cases it is the product of child molestation. No 10-year-old boy chooses to be molested.”

    • Tony

      Precisely. Dirk Bogarde did not choose to be raped. As Clifton Webb did not choose to be raised apart from his father, by an overbearing mother; and I’ll bet anything that that boy was preyed upon by some man before he hit the age of 15…..

  • Dawg_em

    With all of the present persecution of Christian businesses that refuse to cooperate with sodomite so-called “marriage”, why isn’t there a demand for proof of the “gay” gene? If it can’t be shown that a desire for sodomy is immutable, then there is no case for discrimination. I realize, of course, that truth is not a consideration by those with an agenda.

    • Arden Abeille

      Complex human social behaviors, such as sexual orientation, are not coded for by genes. Genes code for proteins, period. Proteins can influence the color of your skin or eyes, the shape of your facial features, even your tendency to have more or less of different kinds of muscle, and yes, some very basic temperamental features (basic tendency to be highly sensitive vs. easy-going, for example), but they simply do not determine sexual orientation, which clearly develops over time with multiple contributing factors. One very quick way to refute a “homosexual gene” assertion is to note that biological children of homosexual parents are no more likely to grow up homosexual than the biological children of heterosexual parents. If there were somehow a gene “causing” sexual orientation, then the biological children of homosexuals would be at least somewhat more likely to be homosexual themselves. The only difference so far found in research on such children is that they tend to be more promiscuous than the biological children of heterosexual parents. This is likely to be a result of generally more permissive attitudes toward sexual behavior in general on the part of the parents raising them, rather than any genetic legacy. (To my knowledge, there have not yet been any studies of children of heterosexual and homosexual parents reared by parents of the other orientation, which is what you would need in order to know this for sure–nor are there likely ever to be such studies, for reasons which should be obvious.)

  • Dawg_em

    With all of the present persecution of Christian businesses that refuse to cooperate with sodomite so-called “marriage”, why isn’t there a demand for proof of the “gay” gene? If it can’t be shown that a desire for sodomy is immutable, then there is no case for discrimination. I realize, of course, that truth is not a consideration by those with an agenda.

  • chloethetortoise

    One of my dearest friends was, for most of his life, a rampant, promiscuous homosexual. He contracted AIDS, was an alcoholic and addicted to over the counter drugs. He had good parents but his relationship to his father was poisoned by the lies of a close relative. He believed he had never been loved by him. He was a convert to Catholicism as a teenager and always kept coming back. Eventually, he gave up this lifestyle. He told me that acceptance by ‘do gooders’ of this choice, because yes it is a choice, did no one any favours. Left him and people like him with nowhere to turn. Keeps them in a very dark place. I lost my friend last years. AIDS and alcohol finally killed him. He would plead to you now for prayers for the repose of his own soul and the salvation of those who follow this path.

  • chloethetortoise

    One of my dearest friends was, for most of his life, a rampant, promiscuous homosexual. He contracted AIDS, was an alcoholic and addicted to over the counter drugs. He had good parents but his relationship to his father was poisoned by the lies of a close relative. He believed he had never been loved by him. He was a convert to Catholicism as a teenager and always kept coming back. Eventually, he gave up this lifestyle. He told me that acceptance by ‘do gooders’ of this choice, because yes it is a choice, did no one any favours. Left him and people like him with nowhere to turn. Keeps them in a very dark place. I lost my friend last years. AIDS and alcohol finally killed him. He would plead to you now for prayers for the repose of his own soul and the salvation of those who follow this path.

  • schmenz

    There was at least one happy ending to the sad stories related by Mr Esolen. Rock Hudson, on his deathbed, asked for a priest, and the priest came and heard his confession. We can, I think, assume then that he made his peace with God before his death. Pray for the repose of his soul.

    • Tony

      I am very glad to hear that. Rock Hudson had had such a rotten youth, he could not bring himself to believe in God. I wonder which of his friends in Hollywood helped bring him to the faith. There are some really poignant stories of Hollywood conversions: Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Alec Guinness . . . And some terribly sad stories of conversions that never happened, and actors simply tiring of life: George Sanders, Gig Young …..

  • schmenz

    There was at least one happy ending to the sad stories related by Mr Esolen. Rock Hudson, on his deathbed, asked for a priest, and the priest came and heard his confession. We can, I think, assume then that he made his peace with God before his death. Pray for the repose of his soul.

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  • paddymanning

    This sick attempt to push the idea that gay men are created by abusive, neglectful fathers is as disgusting as it is dishonest.
    I will deliberately chose NOT to be insulted on my own behalf and that of my kind and living father.

    • jserink2004

      Ah yes, if it disagrees with YOU its a “sick attempt”.

      So, all Muslim boys in Afghanistan and Pakistan are born WANTING to be buggered? Pederasty is the main stay in that region and its TAUGHT. Do some reading bro… 🙂

      • paddymanning

        Top marks for irellevancy and missing the point but don’t let the facts get in the way of your multiple prejudices.

    • Louise

      Unfortunately most of them are. It’s very sad. Good article.

  • Dennis

    The Church teaches that there are unjust and just choices that are taken by ‘men’. In this respect you mentioned several situations and cited that they were born that way,but the actual fact is that they were socialised that way. If I grow up with religious I intend to like what religious do because I have mostly been socialising with them, also If you live amongst charismatic people you develop an interest for such. This is to say that it goes back to your social influence what was socially acceptable in your environment. This is when the issue of choice comes in, you liked what you saw or experienced and then chose that:

    “Rochelle lived with an abusive, drug addict and alcoholic mother in her childhood, but she didn’t choose to be abusive”
    Because She was not born that way

    “The sexual abuse started when I was very young, and when he decided I was mature enough, he took things even further. From this point until I was eighteen, he raped me at least once a week. My father, whom I was supposed to be able to trust and who was supposed to keep me safe, was the person I came to fear the most.” Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries
    And she didn’t choose to be that because she was not born that way

    “Davidson was born in an environment with homosexuals and sometimes could feel attracted to men and he even practiced homosexuality, until he was offered help and now is no longer into homosexuality”
    Because he choose to do so.

    What I am saying is that as humans we were given the will or right to choose between good or bad, as our first parents Adam and Eve, therefore we can not say that A was born a homosexual because he was made to sleep with his own sex, when some in this same community and circumstance is not.

    It is a matter of choice, no one is born that way, practice your right wisely to choose justly or unjustly, between good or evil.