On a parenting forum today, a father asked about the causes of homosexuality. The first response was a good one: it addressed what was probably the real question, or fear rather, that their child may turn out to be gay, calling for acceptance. But it did not address the elephant in the room, which is the nature of homosexuality so little understood by the general public. In other words, education may make it easier for parents to be accepting. I did not address the morality of it — a matter of much debate for many — but I do think we can agree there must be knowledge and understanding to have a deliberate and just stance in dealing with it.
Here I present my response:
First, gender / orientation is malleable, and hardly a switch from one setting to it’s “opposite”. It is a continuum where statistically most people are toward one end or the other.
No matter how much scientific study is done, you can find both biological and environmental factors, but the latter seems vague. It’s not like having a boy do housework or wear pink is going to affect their sexual preference. It may make them more well adjusted to NOT be pushed into a socially defined gender role, though. For example, I am very MATERNAL in my parenting, and my emotional availability makes me the go-to guy for some women when they need someone to talk to. On the other hand, I build shelves and can parallel park, LOL.
Also, I think orientation and experimentation is not just a natural development process, but in today’s society, fashion. I don’t mean metro-sexuality, but lifestyle choice no different than being vegan. In America, being a minority is fashionable. (No, I’m not kidding and not disrespecting the remnants of injustice based on ethnicity and so on.)
Anthropologically, about 5% of any given population across the world and time is dominantly homosexual (as opposed to bisexual, curious, etc.). Taking those who wear the label, the percentage is MUCH higher in modern America. My wife’s theory is that many of them are not really homosexual at all, and I think there’s some truth to that. It’s a fashion statement within some communities, like a teenager getting a tattoo. In other communities, such as the arts college my daughter goes to, it’s the expected norm. Finding a straight guy to date isn’t hard, but if she blindfolded herself and spins around, chances are she’ll have to spin again.
There also seems to be a mid-life shift for many people, where a man will raise a family with a wife and then decide they are gay. I don’t know how or why that works, but it seems more common than you’d think.
But whatever the causes, it’s how we deal with it that counts. As exotic and attractive an alternative lifestyle may be at one moment, in another you risk getting your skull bashed in. I wish my statement was metaphorical, but it’s not. [Additionally,] the suicide rates among people who are LGBT are sky high, and special support systems are in place in many communities to deal with this. Parents obviously need to be part of the solution. I made it clear to my daughter that it’s okay to be whomever she is, and even though she did not turn out to be a lesbian, my attitude has taught her tolerance and love for people where they are, not where we think they should be.
And that lesson alone is worth the price of admission, I think.
The important point is that by birth, choice, or the facade of a fashion persona, we ourselves are the ones with the choice. We can either treat them in judgment based on our own values and beliefs, or we can accept the identity they choose to portray to the world for any of the above reasons. After all, the Golden Rule still applies, right?