Translated by Musfirah Ruman
In the previous article, LGBTQ+ psycho-social discourse was articulated under ten different points in conjunction with critical analysis of the first point. The gist of the discourse was, “Sexuality is not confined within the periphery of male or female; homosexuality, lesbianism and other deviant sexual behaviours are manifestations of normal sexuality. It is not a disease so treatment is undesirable and there shouldn’t be any kind of shame or feeling of guilt.”
Under this point, the actual root cause of the whole discourse and the scientific flaws in the various arguments presented by the American Psychological Association (APA) to shift its status into a normal variant of sexuality were analysed. (While fully acknowledging that this whole discourse should be looked beyond the binaries)
Now in continuation to the preceding article, a critical appraisal of the second important point of the psycho-social discourse of deviant sexual attitudes i.e., “sexually deviant behaviours are natural and people with such sexual deviant behaviour are absolutely normal” will be debated.
As discussed, before 1973, “homosexuality” was considered a disease, later, APA shifted it from the list of diseases or abnormal conditions into the discourse of “normal sexuality” as specified by Kinsey. This not only steered the desire of the scientific community to study different facets of this entire discourse but also influenced how it is perceived culturally, medically and legally. However, out of the blue, as research on homosexuality progressed, the concept became more and more difficult to define because as long as it was within the frame of “disease” or “abnormality”, it was viewed as a developmental disorder. But categorising it (in the scientific community!) as a normal variant, or normal phenomenon of sexuality prompts countless questions in the scientific basis of its explanation.
All the same, the most interesting and paradoxical issue was that despite the fact sexuality and sexually deviant behaviours don’t fit in the framework of the naturalistic theory of evolution, the direction of this discourse was heedlessly shaped to fit into it. (Please recall that sexuality is still a “deep question” of evolutionary biology, let alone deviant sexual behaviours!)
Ironically (or otherwise!) all the emphasis was somehow placed on proving that homosexuality is normal behaviour or that “this is also a type of sexuality” or common manifestation of sexuality, foreseeing that once it is established as “normal” then the achievement of social justice will be easier, and then, the discourse won’t be ridiculed and won’t be looked down upon. In this way, legislation can be made and people’s consciousness can be positively panned out towards such sexually deviant behaviours. Seemingly appearing very transparent, this viewpoint is actually flawed in many respects.
- Social justice cannot only be achieved by publicly normalising these deviant behaviours. It is necessary to work on many other factors which can inculcate societal acceptance and some universal values and principles. But conversely, the whole thrust of this discourse was focused on promulgating that these universal values are wrong, archaic, outdated and useless (especially in terms of sexuality and gender boundaries given by religion/s). For instance, in terms of social justice, the caste system in India or societal injustice towards black people in Australia and South Africa, linguistic prejudices and racism under various headings around the world proves that the solution to the problems for achieving social justice does not rest merely in framing legislation, making laws and implementing them effectively. Rather more importance rests on how perceptions are shaped, how the societal structure is remoulded to accommodate and how sensitivities are cultivated. India has very strict laws against caste discrimination, but caste-based violence is still rampant in India. Similarly, Australia, America and South Africa have formulated different laws against racism and intolerance, but gross human rights violations are reported and they are not isolated or sporadic but rather systematised. Has it been possible to achieve social justice over there?.
- Despite the presence of such an extraordinary system of sexual duality, the concrete scientific evidence needed to normalise such sexual behaviour or to view it as a continuum of sexuality has not yet been achieved and whatever random investigations carried out failed to clear the picture completely. This was in part due to the fact that studies formulated from 1973 to about 1995 were primarily centred on normalising these behaviours and describing them as perfectly natural and going beyond that, to vociferously pronounce homosexuality as completely normal. Parallelly, during this phase, a handful of scientific reports refuted deviant sexual behaviours as normal and espoused certain psychological differences in people with normal sexuality as opposed to people with deviant sexual behaviour. Researchers ascribe the following criterions responsible for these dynamics:
1. Suicidal tendencies
3. Identity disorder
5. Conduct disorder
6. Tobacco (nicotine addiction)
7. Addiction to other drugs (1)
Initially these investigations faced severe backlash in the sense that researchers received threats, ridicule and mockery. But before long such research became popular, and two trends emerged:
1) The researchers & religious leaders who were adamant that it was a mental illness started saying, “See, didn’t we say it was a mental illness because people suffering from it have other mental disorders too”.
2) While the other group said that these people live in a society where there is an aggressive environment against homosexual people, where they are considered different and outcaste and are considered a source of shame and humiliation and are also religiously ostracised. Therefore, suicidal tendencies and depression etc. are found amongst them.
But in reality, both of these narratives are not completely correct. Whatever evidence is given to justify these beliefs are relative. For instance, it is very difficult to prove that sexual orientation actually normalizes the tendency to commit suicide. Because there is no reliable method available with us to prove the hypothesis of cause and effect; what is cause and what is effect? It’s like who came first, chicken or egg! Similarly, it is difficult to prove that the proclivity to commit suicide is concurrent to sexual orientation or this tendency flourishes due to feelings of guilty conscience and social pressure. However, if we look beyond this duality, there are two important aspects that differentiate people with deviant behaviour and people with normal sexual behaviour. (2)
1) Narcissism: In the language of psychology, excessive focus on one’s own appearance is called narcissism. Several studies have shown that men with deviant behaviour are more narcissistic (3).
2)Binge eating: studies documented that homosexuals tend to overeat or have been shown to generally eat more immoderately than heterosexuals (4).
But the question arises; is sexual orientation the only decisive factor that can utterly regulate different psychological conditions including suicidal thoughts in both groups? The answer to this question is still being sought.
However, it is now being said that people with same-sex attraction live under a kind of “Minority Stress”. They live with it & constantly face it in their daily life. That’s why they have scores of suicidal thoughts, depression, or eating disorders. Otherwise, they are quite normal & this happens to them due to Minority Stress (5). But this argument itself has many flaws.
For instance, if minority stress leads to or exacerbates suicidal thoughts, depression and drug abuse, then this should be true of all other minority groups e.g., Latinos and Blacks in America, Palestinians in Palestine and Muslims in India. There are hundreds of linguistic, cultural and religious minorities in India, America and Europe. They also face social harassment. Like LGBTQ+ people, they are also killed based on their identity. But they do not have suicidal tendencies and depression in the way that these people do!
So, are there other factors that are responsible for these trends? Is there any difference between the psychopathology of normal people and people with sexually deviant behaviours?
The central point of the whole debate here is that it doesn’t matter what is causing such extreme tendencies in these individuals, the bottom line is that it must be resolved; indeed factually! But unless the root cause is addressed, a lasting solution is not possible.
The reality is that it is important to understand the psychopathology of normal individuals and LGBTQ+ individuals: is it different or is it the same. That definitely will help to understand how the psycho-sexo-social landscape varies among different groups in the context of heterosexuals and SSA people.
For example, from interesting research conducted among Italian and Spanish youth to understand how sexual orientation impacts societal tendencies, depression and other psychological disorders, it was reported that suicidal tendency is directly related to gender orientation disparities and it is found to be higher among those who were non-religious and sexually deviant than religious sexually normal individuals or general youth. (In this finding term “non-religious” should be considered).
The crux of this study in the language of the researchers is as follows: “Sexual orientation, non-religiosity, low education, homosexuality, and very poor relationship with parents and caregivers is responsible for suicidal tendencies.” (6)
It will be more interesting if research and statistics are used to see the differences in suicidal ideation, level of ideation, level of attempt, and level of success between homosexuals who describe themselves as religious, regardless of their religion and religious practices and among homosexual individuals who describe themselves as non-religious, and atheistic. But to date, there is no such research that shows how religiosity and homosexual behaviour interact.
The psychosocial discourse generally emphasised that all sexual behaviour outside the binary is “Normal or Common.” But, what is called a ‘common’ characteristic or trait? What is the correct definition of ‘normal’? If ‘normal’ is proportional to number or quantity, then why are there so many common mental illnesses considered diseases?
The psychosocial discourse of LGBTQ+ cleverly normalises all deviant behaviour. To it, everything outside of the sexual dichotomy is acceptable. The biggest problem with this whole discourse is that it does not consider the majority in the minority. This means that it gives away the rights of those with deviant sexual attitudes as a minority, but completely ignores the demands of the majority of this minority. (It should be noted that in modern terminology, “sexual deviants” are being referred to as “sexual minorities”).
It must be noted that LGBTQ is not a homogenous group as perceived by many, it has a variety of shades, of deviant behaviours, including male homosexuals, female homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, non-sexually attracted, all non-gender-binary behaviours. This is a very heterogeneous group & thus can be categorised for example:
1) Individuals who are fully satisfied with such deviant sexual behaviour and are active in fulfilling their sexual desires outside binary. They hate the whole discourse of sexual dichotomy. A similar level of hatred is shared by people with normal sexual behaviours towards people with deviant sexual behaviours. Most of them are strongly non-religious.
2) Individuals who are uncomfortable with such deviant sexual behaviour. They have a sense of guilt and embarrassment within them. They wish to get back to the heterosexual group. They try the best available treatments for it. Sometimes religious people are also present among them. They also have a spectrum of religiosity. So, this group includes religious, semi-religious and more such people.
3) Those people who do not have gender, sexuality or sexual orientation awareness. They cannot decide why they are “the way” they are. Why they are deprived of normal sexuality. Why are they attracted towards the same sex rather than the opposite sex? These individuals also want to “discover” themselves and want to come out of this closet but due to social, religious and cultural pressures, they cannot talk to anyone in this regard. They can’t get counsel or advice.
Apart from this, there are many other types of gender identities and gender roles and every other day, some new type of sexuality is being “discovered”.
The real question is, how are so many conflicting, so diverse and so many multifaceted discourses being painted with just one brush? What would you say to a heterosexual male or female homosexual who wants to get back to “normal”? Why shall they be burdened by your discourse? If they desire the same gender and are willing to do something about it, why does your gender deviance discourse serve to dehumanise them?
What are the opportunities for these people in this context? It can be said: who compels them? They are free. But what is the truth? The efforts being made in this regard are showing a different scenario. For example, the entire discourse on LGBTQ views counselling for men trying to come out of homosexuality as worthy of contempt. Irrespective of what are the results of such “correction” efforts? Is it healthy behaviour to look down on these efforts, to belittle the research being done in this regard, and to ostracise it at the academic level?
The situation has become so hyped that registered counsellors and psychiatrists are reluctant to take up a person with deviant sexual behaviour if he wants to seek counselling, because homosexuality has been legally removed from the status of a disease.
The latest case that has happened in this regard is that of Dr. Deepak Kelkar in Akola. Dr Deepak Kelkar is a registered psychiatrist. He has worked on thousands of psychiatric cases over the past fifty years. Thousands of cases of homosexual men come to him from across the state of Maharashtra. If he is to be believed, he says that he has a record that “thousands of gay men” have “reverted” their sexual orientation and are living happily married lives.
Recently, Dr Deepak Kelkar gave a statement in which he shared his experiences of male homosexuality and said that it is like a “disorder” and anyone can get treatment. His statement was taken very seriously. There has been talk of revoking his practice licence. The Indian Medical Association threatened to file criminal charges against him. Ultimately, Dr Kelkar had to retract not only his statement but also to remove the video lectures that contained valuable and academic material on the internet about homosexuality and its allied aspect.
This behaviour with a senior psychiatrist practising at a relatively obscure district headquarters in Maharashtra state is a sad example of how the psychosocial discourse of LGBTQ+ is not only seeking to assert itself at the academic level but is taking an aggressive turn. This aggression in this discourse is against the interest of the majority within the sexual minority.
To be continued
1) Is Sexual Orientation Related to Mental Health Problems and Suicidality in Young People? David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, Annette L. Beautrais. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56:876-880
Narcissism and self-esteem among homosexual and heterosexual male students. Rubinstein G. : J Sex Marital Ther. 2010;36(1):24-34. doi: 10.1080/00926230903375594. PMID: 20063233
2) Review of Bulimia Nervosa in Males: Daniel J. & Carlos A. Camargo, Jr., Am J Psychiatry 148:7, July 1991 831
4) Suicidal behaviors in homosexual and bisexual
5) The associations between health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among a school-based sample of adolescents. Garofalo RA, Wolf RC, Kessel S, Palfrey J, DuRant RH. Pediatrics. 1998;101:895-902.
6) Suicidal ideation among Italian and Spanish young adults: the role of sexual orientation. Baiocco R, Ioverno S, Lonigro A, Baumgartner E, Laghi F. Arch Suicide Res. 2015;19(1):75-88. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2013.833150. PMID: 24846715
Not comment but a question is that what is meant by ” majority within the minority” according to this discourse ?