Tag Archives: gay rights
(In the interest of full disclosure, your not so humble columnist is a heterosexual man and therefore is less than qualified to write on this subject, but I am the only one here, so somebody has to do it.)
In researching for these columns, I came across a staggering array of statistics, many at odds with one another. In just merely looking for a base number of the percentage of homosexuals within the population, I found a range of two percent to six percent, with claims that from twenty to forty-five percent of people have had homosexual experiences. Recent polling in the United States (2004 and 2008) indicates a gay population of about four percent.
It is no wonder that the subject has so many varying points of view if researchers cannot even agree on how many people are actually homosexual.
Numbers aside, homosexuality has had a varied history, as well. Until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a disorder. In Ancient Rome, however, all the emperors, save one, took male lovers. In some societies, male relationships with adolescent youths were encouraged and even celebrated. Artwork, throughout history, depicts both gays and lesbians in a positive light. Even in the Middle East, Persians had “wine boys” serve them in the taverns of the day.
So, how is a homosexual “born?”
Well, even that question is debated among professionals.
While the general consensus among most is that homosexuals are “born that way,” the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004 stated:
“Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.”
Interesting. What “environmental influences” would cause someone to “choose” or “become” gay?
(Since I am trying to treat a serious subject with respect, I will refrain from any jokes about Tele Tubbies, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood or Bert and Ernie.)
The Religious Right and even some moderates and liberals claim that homosexuality is a choice. There are varying reasons behind their claims, but in my view, those claims are just a feeble attempt at justifying that last acceptable form of bigotry.
(Part II of III tomorrow.)
William Stephenson Clark
Of late, there has been a great deal of talk about the intent of the Founding Fathers of our country, particularly as it relates to the Constitution. To some, the Fathers were infallible and divinely inspired.
While I have great admiration and am grateful that those Patriots brought to birth our nation, I do not share in the deification of the Founding Fathers. When this nation was born, women were still second class citizens and non-whites weren’t even citizens at all. Slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans were the law of the land. All men were not created equal.
The progression of a society is a slow process and sometimes that progression is accompanied by violence and even war. Some of the progress is prompted by court decision, other by courageous and principled legislative activity and more yet by seminal changes in attitudes within society.
Sometimes, the leadership that is required to facilitate progress is not recognized as such at the time. Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., but in the Sixties, he was vilified by a good portion of society. The FBI had an extensive file on him and many were convinced that he was a communist. MLK did not change – society’s attitude towards him changed.
Most take for granted the progression of society wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, but that progression came with a horrible price tag and virtually split the country in half once again.
It is said that opposition to Gay Rights is the last “acceptable” form of bigotry. I feel for those that are hurt by the lack of progress towards equality for our gay brothers and sisters, but I also remember that it was just a half century ago that racial discrimination was rampant.
That is scant consolation for those damaged by sexual orientation discrimination, but with time comes progress and time is greatly compressed in this age of high speed communication. I am not preaching patience, I am preaching hope.
The day will come when, truly, all men and women are created equal.
William Stephenson Clark