YEP, YOU CAN CHANGE

by David Sisler

Time magazine's headline said, "Yep, I'm gay." In the cover story's exclusive, Ellen DeGeneres explained "why she's coming out."

"I didn't do it," Miss DeGeneres said, "to make a political statement. I did it selfishly for myself and because I thought it was a great thing for the show."

Reporter Bruce Handy wrote, "For DeGeneres the decision was the culmination of a long process of struggling with feelings about her own sexuality, her fears about being rejected for it, her wish to lead a more honest and open life in public, her weariness at the effort it took her not to."

Christopher J. Portelli, executive director of the National Lesbian and Gay Health Association, wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, "The American Psychiatric Association (APA) long ago determined that homosexuality is not a mental disorder."

Dr. Charles Socarides, who led the APA's task force studying homosexuality prior to the 1973 vote which removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, called the decision "the medical hoax of the century."

An analysis of the vote itself is revealing. All 25,000 members of the APA received ballots. Only one-fourth of the ballots were returned. The final tally was 58 percent in favor or removing homosexuality from the list of disorders. 3,625 members less than fifteen percent of the total membership actually voted to disavow homosexuality as a disorder. That is certainly not the ringing endorsement gay activists would have you to believe.

Four years later the APA voted again and this time 69 percent said they believed that homosexuality was not a "normal variation." Eighteen percent disagreed. Thirteen percent were uncertain. I could not find the actual number of ballots received for this second survey. Nevertheless, the results even if the same percentage responded demonstrate a conclusion diametrically opposed to the first.

The debate continues, but it is clear that the APA's 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that homosexuality is a normal condition, which is innate and immutable.

Controversy swirls around a second issue: does homosexuality have a biological basis?

In 1991, Dr. Simon LeVay studied the brains of forty-one cadavers. Nineteen were homosexual males. Dr. LeVay found that "a tiny area [in the hypothalamus] believed to control sexual activity was less than half the size in the gay men in than in the heterosexuals."

Johns Hopkins University psychologist John Money, sometimes called the dean of American sexologists asks, "When did it get there? Was it prenatal, neonatal, during childhood, puberty? That we do not know."

Dr. LeVay's research is frequently touted as "irrefutable evidence" that homosexuals are born gay, but it is seldom reported that all nineteen of the homosexual men died of AIDS. Researchers believe that condition could account for, or contribute to, the differences. More fundamentally, there is no way to determine if the smaller hypothalami were the cause or the result of homosexuality. Additionally, Dr. LeVay, a homosexual himself, stated that his study was not entirely a dispassionate scientific endeavor.

Nick Canavan of Sherman Oaks, California, wrote to The Wall Street Journal, "I know that my [homo]sexuality is normal, as is my fifteen year monogamous relationship." In 1978, Simon and Schuster published Homosexualities, a respected research volume which reveals that sixty percent of male homosexuals had more than 250 lifetime sexual partners, 28 percent had more than 1,000 lifetime sexual partners, and 79 percent admitted that more than half of their sexual partners were strangers. That seems to contradict Mr. Canavan's definition of normalcy.

Peter M. Nardi, professor of sociology, at Pitzer College, Claremont, California argues that homosexuality does not need a cure. He said those who proclaim that a cure is possible, "fail to tell the reader ... that ... long-term behavioral changes and changes in sexual orientation have not been established scientifically."

John DeCecco, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and the editor of the 25-volume Journal of Homosexuality, stated that homosexuality is "a behavior, not a condition, something that some people can and do change."

These issues may be complicated, but their importance can be easily summed up. If there is a genetic cause of homosexuality, then homosexuals cannot change their lifestyle or their behavior, and must be accepted as normal. If homosexuality is not natural, then homosexuals must examine their behavior in a different light and explain it in very different terms.

May I appeal to another source? According to this Book, every sexual practice is an aberration, a deviation, a sin, except for the relationship of one man, married to one woman, living in a life-long monogamous relationship. The Bible says that we have all turned out backs on God and gone our own way. Except for the grace and mercy of God, every one of us would be helpless with the bondage of our own sin.

Ellen DeGeneres said, "Yep, I'm gay."

To anyone who wants to change, any behavior, any lifestyle, God says, "Yep, you can! Through my Son, those changes can last."

-30-

Published in the Augusta Chronicle 4/19/97

Copyright 1997 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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