Sexuality is not confined to the male-female binary. Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) homosexuality and other variant sexual behaviours are manifestations of normal sexuality, and it is not a disease nor does it require any treatment. Neither should there be any shame or guilt about it
In the previous article, an attempt has been made to critically appraise the scientific narrative of LGBTQI+ discourse from a neutral perspective, relying solely on empirical research. In truth, this appraisal actually reflects much of the scientific evidence generally propelled to prove the legitimacy of this discourse, relative statistical variations or data that cannot be replicated. From this narrative, two extreme points of view of LGBTQI+ spectrum emerge. The first, which enclosed itself in the realm of nurture and the other completely, nature. Although some of the research at this point in time does weigh towards the “nature” realm, however, whatever scientific arguments are given for it and from where you look at it, this viewpoint is not completely and empirically proven. Another extreme perspective is that it is purely “nurture” based and synchronized with the surrounding environment, the psychosocial development of the child, childhood experiences etc. There are certain studies to support this argument but they are either redundant or deficient in data or cannot be validated independently. The reality is that this narrative fits somewhere between these two extremes and it is wrong to create a monochromatic canvas for it.
But practically, a monochromatic canvas is already being placed in and this is exactly the reason, why the whole narrative of sexual minority debate is like a football being kicked around vested interest groups
After a critical review of the scientific narrative of deviant sexual behaviour, an analysis of its psychosocial narrative seems to be necessary.
The major purpose for the analysis of this narrative is not limited;
- To prove/label same-sex Attraction (SSA) and other variant sexual behaviours as a “disease”.
- To admit that people and behaviours outside the gender binary do not suffer from social inequality, sexual harassment, social exclusion, sexual violence, etc. because of their “differentness”.
After admitting the above-mentioned factors, let’s look at the Psychosocial Narrative of LGBTQI+:
- Sexuality is not confined to the male-female binary, same-sex attraction (SSA)/ homosexuality and other variant sexual behaviours; rather, it is considered as the manifestation of normal sexuality, and it is not a disease, nor does it require any treatment. Neither should there be any shame or guilt about it
- Sexually deviant behaviours are completely natural. And people with such sexually deviant behaviours are perfectly normal.
- Male and female homosexuals can establish marriage, have children using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as surrogacy and have family systems just like normal people.
- Children raised by individuals with sexually deviant behaviours and children raised by individuals with normal sexual behaviours did not differ in terms of psychological, physical, and other social indicators.
- Sexual violence in male and female homosexually married couples is considered akin to other issues that occur in heterosexual married couples; just like a normally married man and woman.
- Psychologically, people with sexually deviant behaviour are just as healthy as people with normal sexual behaviour.
- The family unit or normal marriage system and for that matter “the social system” is not affected by the person having sexually deviant behaviour. Their number in society is so small that no substantial visible or significant change will happen due to gay or lesbian marriages.
- Due to the non-acceptance of male homosexuality and female homosexuality and other sexual behaviours in society, people with such sexual behaviours are victims of various waves of abuse. Their human rights are violated. Their sexual rights are not given to them. Therefore, there is a need to take concrete steps in this regard. So that all SSA minorities can be protected on humanitarian grounds.
- According to religions and certain religious teachings, any sexual behaviour outside of the gender binary is punishable. Therefore, religious teachings should be modified or their role in the collective sphere should be reduced/minimized so that social and sexual violence against LGBTQI+ can be eliminated which is often justified by these religious teachings.
- All over the world, there is a need to revise existing laws based on gender or sexual attitudes to ensure social justice for LGBTQI+ people, especially in countries where laws based on religion are enacted. (For example, Islamic countries and some states in the US where laws have been made based on religious traditional narratives of sexuality or Christian ethics or Victorian morality)
The above-mentioned ten points, with some modifications and additions, generally constitute the psychosocial narrative of LGBTQI+.
Now a point-wise detailed appraisal of this narrative with critical analysis is discussed below:
1) Sexuality is not confined to the male-female binary. Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) homosexuality and other variant sexual behaviours are manifestations of normal sexuality, and it is not a disease nor does it require any treatment. Neither should there be any shame or guilt about it.
In previous articles, we have analyzed in detail how “all sexual attitudes outside male-female binary gradually gained acceptance first in Western society and now in Eastern society as well”. There was a loss of moral sensitivity in this regard and subsequently, the laws were amended and added to in this regard as a result of public opinion.
And that wasn’t possible until the two most influential psychology organizations [American Psychological Association (APA) and American Psychiatric Association (APA)] in the academic world were convinced that this was all “normal”. There are thousands of researchers associated with these two institutions who actually believe in this particular theorem and carry out the research process underpinning Western epistemology which is essentially naturalistic (Naturalistic Philosophy and Naturalistic Methodology).
Remember that until 1973, all these researchers and thinkers considered male homosexuality and female homosexuality as diseases. In 1973, a committee was formed to define the approach to such “diseases” and to place them in their proper place.
The task of this committee was to gather all the research on sexuality after the Kinsey scale, analyze it scientifically, and then tell the APA whether or not homosexuality is a psychiatric disease. Before we move on to the psychosocial discourse of LGBTQ+, for the interest of the reader, we will provide a brief introduction of the APA and the Research Committee on Homosexuality along with the Report of this Research Committee. American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the largest scientific and professional organizations in the United States carrying out research on psychology and its related aspects. In truth, it is the world’s largest association of psychologists with approximately 130,000 researchers, teachers, clinicians, consultants, and students associated with it. (1) Their mission is to carry out “advance work in the creation of knowledge in the domain of psychology to benefit society and improve people’s lives.”(2)
The American Psychiatric Association; also abbreviated APA is a medical specialty society consisting of more than 35,000 psychiatrists along with physicians who work together to ensure care and effective treatment of mental disorders. (3) The American Psychiatric Association publishes DSM, commonly known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is the authoritative guide for the diagnosis of mental health and mental disorders in the United States and much of the world. The DSM includes descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It provides clinicians with a common language to communicate about their patient’s psychiatric disorders and a consistent and reliable diagnosis. (4) The contents of this book are also used in the research of psychological disorders. Abiding by their mission, an APA task force of 1973 prepared and published a report entitled “APA task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation”, essentially to provide more specific recommendations to licensed mental health practitioners, the general public, and policymakers. This report cites evidence to support the claim that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. It should be noted that the “task force” that produced the report was chaired by Judith M. Glasgold, Psychiatry, a lesbian by herself and a psychologist. Additionally, she has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Psychotherapy of homosexuality. Presently, she is serving as chairperson of the Homosexuality Research Division at APA. (5) Other members of the task force were Dr. Lee Beckstead, Dr. Jack Drescher, Dr. Beverly Green, Dr. Robin Miller, Dr. D. Rick Worthington, and Dr. Clinton W. Anderson. According to Joseph Nicolosi, Beckstead, Drescher, and Anderson were all homosexuals, while Miller was bisexual. (6)
Readers should therefore it is unwise to expect an unbiased research report given that the task force is governed by homosexuals entirely. As a matter of fact, we would like to clarify we are not simply arguing here that, because they were homosexual, the report is false. In fact, a principle of basic scientific research supports this notion, that is, the research of a researcher with a competing interest will not be accepted. But APA’s task force included researchers with conflicting interests. Anyway, the APA report concludes that: homosexual sexual attraction, behaviour, and inclinations are normal and positive variables of human sexuality. In other words, they do not indicate mental or psychological disorders. They further emphasize their statement that by normal they mean “absence of mental disease “. (7)
Although the arguments of APA and other organizations have been thoroughly refuted by orthodox Christian researchers, preachers, and church-affiliated think tanks (8). But beyond these refutations, certain other aspects need to be pondered upon above the binary of “Normal” and “Diseases”.
Originally, three main arguments were put forward behind attempts to accept and convince homosexuality and later all sexually deviant behaviours as simply a manifestation of the sexual continuum.
- A sizeable number of people practice homosexuality, its prevalence is so high in the human population that it cannot be called a disease, it is a normal behaviour. In this regard, the most important argument can be given with reference to Kinsey Scale (for details refer Aura October, November 2022 issue) that asserts “not every phenomenon in this world can be divided into clear boxes of black and white”. It is the fundamental principle of classification that nature is rarely divided into discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to confine facts into clear boxes, but there is continuity in the living world and every aspect of it. And the sooner we learn this lesson about the continuum of human sexual behaviours, the sooner we will arrive at a better understanding of sexuality and other sexual behaviours.
- Male and female homosexuality has existed throughout history. This is not a modernized attitude. Rather, sexual behaviour has been proven in human history.
- Homosexuality exists in animals too, so it is normal. And it provides evidence for the Darwinian evolution of sex.
The three arguments given above are analyzed one after the other in the following lines.
- The real issue is the definition of “normal” and abnormal. The premise here established by the APA was that the presence of a significant number of male homosexuals in the human population is significant evidence that it is not a disease, but simply a gender outside the binary frame. In other words, any “characteristic” “behaviour” or “action” that a significant number of human beings have is normal. This is a strange logic because there are so many psychological disorders, so many behaviours and so many characteristics that exist in a significant number of the human population will they all be considered normal?
It is also important to clarify here that we are not fundamentally convinced of seeing homosexuality etc. in the dichotomy of ‘disease’ or ‘normal’. We believe that such behaviours should be classified as “sexual deviations” and should be dealt with accordingly.
Our main objection is why an expert research organization like APA took such an unusual position on such vague bases of normal for the definition of “normal”?
It is a well-known fact among all psychologists that the classification of normal and abnormal psychological behaviour as “features” or “processes” is one of the most difficult tasks. Take Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an example, in this psychological state, it becomes very difficult to decide who is sick, who is normal, and who is not normal because, in this condition, a person usually becomes highly sensitive about any object or action. For instance, when he locks his house, he checks it once to see if it is properly locked. It will be called normal, if someone checks it twice, it will be called more careful. But if one does this process 10 times, it is placed in the initial category of OCD. But if someone does it five times, psychologists are divided, and then they look at other factors that may help classify such behaviour as disease or normal.
Similarly, some people are more conscious about cleanliness, some are a bit more and some are a lot more conscious, all of them have a kind of continuum. But who has OCD and how much? There are many debates on this. Of course, it can be said and it is true to a large extent that there are clear guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) regarding OCD and the features are determined to keep it at the level of mental disorder (Psychological Disorder)! But this makes no difference to the premise that no such clear guidelines and boundaries can be drawn in psychology to determine normal and abnormal as can be drawn in relation to physical diseases.
Another example that is most commonly cited in the context of “normal” and “abnormal” categorization is that of Xenomelia. Xenomelia is a mental condition in which a person feels that their healthy hand or foot must be amputated from their body; he feels comfortable in this state while he feels restless in the presence of these organs.
This is pure mental illness. Christian creationists say that homosexuality is a similarly serious mental illness, as the Xenomelia patient cannot be allowed to exercise his “liberty,” “individual rights,” and implement his self-will. And when such a desire is considered a mental disorder and can cause harm to the individual and society, then why should homosexuality not be considered a psychological disorder? Both of these are natural disorders, both are not under the control of man. Both have genetic components! In both cases individual rights, the right to choose, the right to exercise one’s will, the right to self and my body, my choice arguments hold true!
But such arguments are hampered by the fact that Xenomelia etc. are very rare brain disorders while homosexuality is found in more individuals as compared to Xenomelia.
It is interesting to note that there are very important and fundamental concepts of disease and mental disorders that are quite different from each other. In general, the Christian creationist emphasis here is on proving homosexuality to be a disease. To us, this “emphasis” has played a major role in making LGBTQ+ a reactionary movement, shaping the entire LGBTQ+ discourse in binaries, and alienating the LGBTQ+ community from religion as a whole.
For us, going beyond “normal” or mental disorders, etc., a question that arises on this premise is that until the prevalence of homosexuality and other sexually deviant behaviours are conclusively proved in different cultures in different continents in different nations in different countries it is difficult to say conclusively that this behaviour is normal.
The second most important thing is that only one of the possible criteria for declaring normality was used as a basis. For example, the proportion of homosexuals in the American population is generally extrapolated in this case. But can there be some other standards? Such as: its effects on the moral landscape of humans, its effects on the human population and procreational concepts, the development of sexual concepts in children, etc.
Until it is conclusively proven that the human child is completely genetically programmed to have “sexual orientation”, “sexual inclination” and “sexual activity”, wouldn’t it be academic misconduct and injustice to present deviant behaviour outside of the gender binary as beautiful and wouldn’t it be an injustice and wouldn’t that affect the landscape of sexuality?
To us, this is the central thesis that has been under-discussed.
It must be recognized that when you describe behaviour as an abnormal or rather mental disorder you are psychologically isolating (Othering). But it is equally true that calling it normal until it is proven that it is not a deviation from “normal” is more harmful than isolation given that there are quite a few arguments regarding normality.
2) Sexually deviant behaviors are completely natural.And people with such sexually deviant behavior are perfectly normal.
This is the second most important argument made in favor of the psychosocial narrative of LGBTQ+ since we have had sexuality throughout history, it is normal. It is not a product of modernity. There are several flaws in this argument. For example:
A. There is no conclusive evidence as to which period of history such deviant behaviour was prevalent. There are very few examples and can they be normalized and expanded to many contexts? In human history, there are also examples of various negative attitudes, so will they all be considered legitimate and normal? For example, marriage with mothers or incest etc.
B. How can one ascertain what is the status of such attitudes that history has referred to? Were these exceptions or was it the general culture? Was it considered a deviation from the norm or was it considered a disease?
C. Historiography has its flaws and weaknesses. It is a formal art even in terms of its principles, such complex issues and sometimes idiosyncratic issues and idiosyncratic attitudes are considered like finding a needle in the haystack of history. Therefore, to understand the manifestations of sexually deviant behaviours reported in certain historical sources it is important to reason whether these behaviours were common, that they were accepted by the public, or that they were considered morally acceptable by the public, or their status as perfectly normal behaviours is noncognitive. If we look deeper, even in this history, we do not find mention of SSA with the utmost clarity and continuity that LGBTQ+ scholars claim. Rather, most of the incidents are related to homosexuals and such people or eunuchs in the popular sense.
But it is obvious that heterosexual or transgender or sexually inactive male-like people or female-like men or male-like women etc. are entirely different from the current conceptualization of LGBTQI+ are completely different things. LGBTQI+ discourse cleverly paints them all with the same brush and tries to convince that all these mentions in history are proof that homosexuality and all other deviant sexual behaviours were common and it was acceptable to even among the influential classes of society and others communities for a long time.
3) The third most important argument that proponents of LGBTQ+ discourse make is that even in the animal world, sexuality is not confined within the binary of male and female, but homosexuality is found in them too.
Of the three arguments that are given regarding homosexuality being “normal”, this is arguably the most senseless argument. Because the very fundamental flaw in this argument is that it sees humans and animals within the same frame. While even the staunchest naturalists are now beginning to believe that after all man is man and animals are animals.
The comparison of man with beasts is nevertheless fundamentally flawed, but even if it is accepted that homosexuality is found in animals, the following points are worth noting:
- Out of the millions of animal species, how many species exhibit homosexuality? About 8 or 9 species. So, is this an exception or something common? In the same way, the behaviour of cannibalism is found in some animals. That is, animals eat their family members. It is found in animals in a higher percentage than homosexuality, so can cannibalism in humans be justified on this basis?
In response to the above argument, it is said that some human tribes are also cannibalistic. Does this imply that cannibalism was present in humans and gradually died out under “Darwinian ethics” or evolutionary ethics? So, the answer is that firstly, there is no evidence that cannibalism was limited to a few tribes or a common phenomenon. The truth is that this was an exceptional case. Moreover, its Darwinian explanation is not possible from a human evolutionary perspective. Because, in human evolution, there is a lot of emphasis on group fitness or collective benefit. That is, the members of a group individually distribute the means and resources among themselves or help each other to get benefitted from each other and to ensure the survival of the collective.
The concept of cannibalism conflicts with both: group fitness and biological altruism (i.e., sacrificing or giving up one’s life or resources for another organism). Therefore, it is only an exception in the human evolutionary theory and not the general rule. Therefore, it cannot be argued that juxtaposed with homosexuality justifies its normality.
A detailed analysis of the first argument of the psychosocial narrative of deviant sexual behaviour that says homosexuality is normal behaviour tells us that:
A. The data on sexually deviant behaviour on a purely scientific basis are so sparse and variable that it will be considered as academic dishonesty if one generalizes any sexual behaviour based on it. The argument that homosexuality (male and female) is normal or common or that it is on a continuum of a scale that starts with the Kinsey Scale is invalidated by the research flaws of the Kinsey scale. (Please see Aura, October 2022).
All three arguments for normality have their flaws. These arguments are made regarding the frequent presence of homosexuality in history, the prevalence of homosexuality in large numbers of humans, and the presence of homosexuality in the animal world. But their detailed and deep analysis proves them wrong. More points on the psychological and social narratives of deviant sexual behaviours will be discussed in the next article.
- https://www.apa.org/about retrieved November 16, 2022
- https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/advocacy retrieved November 16, 2022
- Glassgold, Judith M., Lee Beckstead, Jack Drescher, Beverly Greene, Robin Lin Miller, Roger L. Worthington, and Clinton W. Anderson, APA task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. 2009. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- The A.P.A. Task Force Controversy about Gay Conversion — Joseph Nicolosi – Reparative Therapy®
- Glassgold, Judith M., Lee Beckstead, Jack Drescher, Beverly Greene, Robin Lin Miller, Roger L. Worthington, and Clinton W. Anderson, APA task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. 2009. Report of the task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
- Robert L. Kinney III: 2015; Homosexuality and scientific evidence: On suspect anecdotes, antiquated data, and broad generalizations. The Linacre Quarterly 82 (4) 2015, 364–390