A Few Simple Ways to Talk More Constructively About Homosexuality (That Don’t Require Major Doctrinal Changes)
1) Drop the term “same-sex attraction,” as in, someone “suffering from SSA.” Being gay isn’t an illness.
2) Drop the term “lifestyle” as a description of gay relationships. Recognize that there is a difference between a promiscuous lifestyle (whether one is gay or straight), and a decision to be in a committed relationship, rather than assuming that all gay people, by virtue of being gay, fall into the former category if they aren’t celibate. Note that the lifestyle of gay couples is pretty much the same as the lifestyle of straight couples.
3) Acknowledge the desire for relationship as a healthy desire, rather than pathologizing it. When a straight person wants to get married, we celebrate and encourage that. Even if we ask gay people to forego such relationships, we can refrain from labeling the desire to have them as somehow unnatural.
4) Don’t frame homosexuality as an addiction. Being gay is not like being an alcoholic. Yes, sexual behavior can be an addiction, whatever your orientation. But wanting to have an intimate relationship with a person to whom you’re emotionally and sexually attracted simply isn’t comparable to having an addiction.
5) Don’t compare homosexuality to life challenges like depression. I’m gay. I have bipolar disorder. The two are qualitatively different. The latter is something which requires treatment, which is intrinsically a problem. The former is simply an aspect of who I am.
6) Don’t talk about love and acceptance of gay people as if this is something particularly virtuous to do. Love and acceptance are good things, obviously, but sometimes people talk as if you should pat yourself on the back for managing to love and care about gay people. This shouldn’t be an “extra mile” kind of thing.
- 1 April 2014