How do I love my homosexual son/daughter?

If your son/ daughter tells you that they have embraced a homosexual identity, they are probably asking you to accept it as well. This may be your greatest challenge. You may never accept homosexuality as being normal or desirable; however, it is important that you accept your child and the fact that to them, their same-sex sexual attractions are too real to be ignored.1

Be honest. By being open and disclosing their feelings to you, your son/ daughter is entrusting you with very personal and difficult information. Few homosexual people expect their parents to just shrug off the news and almost all expect some negative reaction. Tell them honestly and calmly how you feel – possibly hurt, angry, frightened, disillusioned – without beating around the bush about your own beliefs. Judging or condemning their actions will only alienate them, so avoid accusations like, “You’re going to bring shame to our family”.

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Am I homosexual if I’m attracted to a person of the same sex?

Same-sex attraction is not the same as homosexuality. A person can experience different types of attraction toward another person, whether of the same or opposite sex. Not every form of attraction is necessarily sexual or erotic in nature. Accordingly, experiencing same-sex attraction does not mean that a person is homosexual.

  • Same-sex attraction can take several forms – it may not be sexual, such as in an adolescent crush; and may be involuntary – it appears to be something that “cannot be helped”. Innocent same-sex attractions can spring from a normal need for appropriate affection, affirmation from and relationship with someone of the same sex whom one admires. On the other hand, same-sex attraction can also take on a sexual nature.
  • Same-sex sexual attractions are not immutable  –  they can be controlled and/ or changed. This is similar to how a married person can be “unwittingly” attracted to someone other than his/ her own spouse, but may not necessarily start an affair. Engaging in same-sex sexual behaviours or the homosexual lifestyle is clearly voluntary and based on a choice made by the individual. Heterosexuals have thus been known to “turn” homosexual or bisexual (sexually attracted to both male and female) by choosing to act on the same-sex sexual attractions they experience.
  • Sexual orientation refers to a person’s tendency to be consistently attracted to persons of the same or opposite sex in an erotic way. A lesser or unconfirmed orientation is sometimes referred to as a sexual inclination.
  • Sexual behaviour refers to the actions that a person undertakes in order to satisfy his or her sexual attractions or sexual orientation.
  • Sexual life(style) results when a person embraces his or her sexual behaviour and sexual relationships as a norm, e.g., a promiscuous sexual lifestyle.

Homosexual behaviour takes what could have been a harmless same-sex attraction further into an orientation and lifestyle that ultimately define who the person is.

While there are clearly exceptions to the case, research has shown that children who have experienced rejection, abuse or inadequate gender-affirming relationships are at greater risk of becoming confused about their feelings for someone of the same sex. In a study of 942 adults, almost half of the homosexual men (compared to only 7% of heterosexual men) reported molestation by a member of the same sex. In the same study, 22 times more homosexual women than heterosexual women reported molestation by a member of the same sex.1

Indiscriminate and excessive teasing – or even bullying – may push young people to misunderstand their gender identity. This may cause confusion over their sexual identity and orientation especially when innocent same-sex attractions become sexualised during puberty. This may lead them to experiment with homosexual behaviour and eventually embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Healthy intervention is needed to prevent young persons from misunderstanding their need for natural affections as homosexual inclinations to be acted upon.

 

Endnotes
1. M.E. Tomeo, D.I. Templer, S. Anderson & D. Kotler,  Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons,(Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 2001 October, Vol 30(5), pp535-41.)

Why do some “straight” men/women turn to homosexuality after being married?

Women need someone they can talk to, share their feelings and feel safe with. When their marriages become emotionally unfulfilling, it can cause them to look outward for “someone who understands”. This is often in another man, but in some situations, women who have never engaged in or even thought about emotional or sexual attraction to another woman, may find themselves involved in a same-sex relationship. Married women rarely leave their husbands because of unresolved same-sex sexual attractions.

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What if change doesn’t happen?

Many expect change for a person who experiences same-sex attractions to be a 180-degree turnaround in their sexual orientation, i.e., from homosexual to heterosexual. However, actual change can represent different things for different people as:

  • Change can take a long time, depending on the approach and complexity of the issue.
  • Change can take various forms, such as in sexual behaviour but not sexual orientation.
  • Change may take place in degrees rather than a complete elimination of all homosexual attractions, with heterosexual desires awakening and homosexual ones diminishing.1

Just as a person addicted to pornography may still be tempted or even “relapse” after therapy and counselling, the same applies for homosexuals. Christians who continue to struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA) may have been through repeated, varied and prolonged “ex-gay” therapy and deliverance, but with little satisfaction of having their SSA dealt with. It is not uncommon for them to question if God had actually made them homosexual and become resigned to the fact that “once gay, always gay”.

Homosexual people who have been treated insensitively or inappropriately during therapy and counselling are more inclined to re-embrace homosexuality and criticize sexual orientation change efforts, sometimes identifying with or supporting efforts like Beyond Ex-Gay, Soulforce and the Gay Christian Network.

Nonetheless, the many success stories from ex-gays and post-gays2 (those who accept their homosexual orientation but choose not to act on it because they believe that their sexual identity and behaviour are neither defined nor dictated by their attractions) prove that it is at least possible for a person with a homosexual orientation to change his/her sexual orientation.3

 

Endnotes
1. Kerby Anderson, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality (Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008)
2. Peter Ould, Post-Gay FAQs (An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy, 14 April 2012)
3. Daniel E. Byrne, Yet Another Attempt to Discredit the Spitzer Study Fails (Retrieved 2 Nov 2010)

What practical help can I offer someone struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attraction?

Many who struggle with same-sex sexual attraction have experienced rejection, whether intentional or otherwise through careless words and attitudes. Peer friendship and mentoring is the best and most practical way you can help your friend who is struggling with same-sex sexual attraction, desires and feelings.1

  • Read together a relevant book on homosexuality sexuality or identity. Help them think beyond human sexuality in your discussions about their involvement in homosexual activities. The issue is not homosexuality per se but God’s overarching design for humanity and His unique plan for the individual.
  • Take time just to enjoy life and one another’s company. Have lunch or coffee together, catch a movie, go shopping, hang out with the guys/gals. Spending all your time together working on the “issue” will exhaust both of you.
  • Spend time together with other people of the same sex, e.g., through social, community or bible study groups.
  • Affirm their worth, that it is more than their sexuality or gender identity. Recognize and celebrate their positive qualities, and acknowledge how you appreciate their presence in your life.

How Men Can Help a Struggling Lesbian

A disproportionate number of lesbians have been sexually abused, often by men. Hence you need to be especially sensitive to how you interact with them.

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