Thursday, June 09, 2005

Is Being Gay Just About Sex?

In my opinion, of course it isn't. There is way more going on when a person is gay than just sex. But, David Morrison over at Sed Contra says (in the comments section) that the gay community and being gay is just that, all about sex.

He says the gay media and the mainstream media both continuously depict gay life being about sex. My response first is that believing the mainstream media on matters such as this is a bit silly. Most of the "religious right" doesn't give the mainstream any weight at all do to their "left-leaning bias." That is of course, unless the media happens to agree with them in that point in time. I'm not writing this to talk about the alleged liberal medial. But surely anyone can see that the mainstream media is sensationalistic to the extreme. And what is the most sensationalistic part about the gay community? You guessed it, the sex. David also didn't care to mention the mainstream media's almost constant portrayal of teenagers as sex crazed, alcohol and drug using hedonists. I'd hate to suggest that because the mainstream media portrays them like this, this is what they are all about (or only about for that matter).

As for the gay media. I'll admit, the only piece of gay media I read is The Advocate online. And, while I admit some of the stories and ads center around sex, the majority surely do not. Then again, most of the magazines and press centered around older teens (and hey, even some younger teens) also tend to revolve around sex. But again, we can just use common sense and realize that this does not mean that all teens fall into that category.

I have a few friends (believe it or not). One of them has been one of my closest friends since high school. To this day, he is one of only a few gay guys I am close to. He has not had sex of any type for nearly 3 years now. Yet, he is still gay. He is still attracted to guys and one day he wants to find a guy to spend his life with. I wonder what David Morrison would have to say about people like him, or people like me for that matter. As much as David wants to paint the picture of the immoral gay sex fiend (to my extreme disappoinment), I wish that he would spend more time admitting that there are plenty of gay people out there that don't fall into his immoral little box than trying to demonize the group as a whole.

Sex plays a very minor part in my life. Ask my friends or my boyfriend. I'm not together with him for the sex, and as much as some gay guys have sex, I wish David would get out a bit more and realize that sex is not ALL that the gay community is or not all that all gay guys think about.

I have to agree with Joe Perez, who commented in the thread on David's blog that I linked above. I wish David would spend a bit less time demonizing gays from his moral soap box, and a bit more time doing what I suspect the Catholics he met that turned him into a Catholic did--counsel, love, steer towards God. Why would I ever want to go towards a religion that was constantly telling me how evil and terrible my friends and I are?


At 9/6/05 4:59 PM, Anonymous David Morrison said...

Brady, I have never said you were evil. Ever. I am sorry if you believe I have said that and I apologize. What I have said is that gay sexual acts serve to turn the body of person we claim to love (a body which I believe, as a Christian, to be a miracle created in the image and likeness of God) into a means for fulfilling desire because, by their very nature, none of the procreative aspects of sex can flow from them, aspects for which we are very clearly designed.

I have also noted in the past that heterosexuals who perform such acts as well as contracept do the same thing.

While I had already come to chastity when I became a Catholic, it was my faithfully Anglican friends who led me deeper into Christianity and they did that by loving me even though the explicitly disagreed with me about gay sex (I was still sexually active at the time).

If you lived closer to me, or Joe Perez too for that matter, you both would be welcome in my home and I hope we could become friends - we still wouldn't disagree but I would not want our disagreement over the morality of gay sex, or even faith, to color our entire friendship or prevent it from taking root.

At 9/6/05 5:04 PM, Anonymous David Morrison said...

Sorry, typo. We wouldn't agree...

At 10/6/05 6:59 AM, Blogger Brady said...


I appreciate your sentiments. Honestly I do. As you may have seen on your blog, my perceptions and thoughts about you waiver. Sometimes I see you as a SSA person that really does strive to help gay people in some form.

Other times, like now, I see you as someone that is trying to rationalize his own personal life against those that disgaree with it (the marriage traditionalists aren't just trying to keep me from marrying my boyfriend, many of them are trying to keep you out of the arrangement you currently have with Dan and I think you realize that at some level).

I don't mean to sound dismissive when I say I think you are rationalizing because we all do it some, but the appearance to me is that you are rationalizing why what you do is ok (even though there are lots out there that still think it is sin) and what other gays are doing is not ok. You are differentiating yourself. I honestly think that your stance is formulated on one of faith (you want sexually active gays to find God and be celibate), but I feel that you take that a bit further in your portrayal of gay life to show others why you are so much different than out gays.

So, here is why I have taken your recent posts so personally. You may have heard this story before. When I came out my dad was worried about two things. First, that being gay was a sin, so I was living in sin (his own salvation of being divorced and remarried apparently doesn't matter, but that is another story). Secondly, he automatically assumed that I was sex-crazed, promiscuous, drug addicted, etc. I am none of those. Never have been, never will be and before I said I was gay, he was confident in that.

So, to say that all gay groups revolve around sex or that being gay means that your life revolves around sex perpetuates this mistaken idea that people like my dad have. Accept it or don't, but these types of statements shape the minds of people out there. But, many (most) don't get the nuance that it is just the sex that you believe is sin (along with all of the other sins out there), not the gay person himself. When you say that gay life revolves around sex my dad and other's don't look at someone like me whose life does not revolve around sex. They are looking for a reason to dislike homosexuality (and gays in many cases) and all of this bad news about how drug addicted, promiscuous gays are is good enough. Why worry about the "few" gays that aren't like that?

When you never post positive things about gays (and trust me, there are positive gays and positive gay organizations out there). When you never commend, only criticize, the thoughts are created, not that gay sex is a sin, but that gays in general are bad, immoral, and yes, evil, even if you do not outwardly say it.

I realize you call for compassion and ask for gays to turn to God. But, in the light of all of the bad news I see about gays on your site, it feels like lip service, and in the end you can say a person is good as often as you want, but if you say his actions are immoral, and the actions of anyone like him are always immoral or centered around immoral activity, more often the talk of the "good person" gets lost in the shuffle and individual gays are stigmatized as a result.

At 11/6/05 7:01 AM, Blogger Brett said...

Hi, Brady. It's interesting to me how these kinds of assumptions stick. Especially because with a very small amount of honest observation these kinds of beliefs unravel very quickly.

At 11/6/05 5:47 PM, Anonymous David Morrison said...


Part of my problem with your line of thinking is that in order to be "gay friendly" or "gay supportive" one must buy into the notion that gay sex is a good and moral thing. That's the gay community's litmus test, not mine.

My Anglican friends who were instrumental in leading me deeper in Christianity were able to do that because I recognized that they could love me and be my friends even though we didn't agree about gay sex. They didn't apply the stereotypical litmus test with me (you're gay! ewwwwww) and I didn't apply the gay litmus test with them (if you really love me, then you have to think my sex life is perfectly fine).

I recognize that there might be people out there who think that Dan and living chastely is a sin. But I don't particularly care what they think.

If they are Catholics and they think such a thing, their thinking is not in line with the teaching of the Church, teaching that is upheld in my life by both an orthodox spiritual director and confessor. If they are non-Catholics, well we have even more separating us than their opinon of my living arrangements.

The bottom line is that people, ourselves and other men and women who live with same sex attraction are capable of making moral decisions and following Christ, just like everybody else.

But by default, defining oneself as gay means defining oneself by one's sexual inclinations - at least to some degree. I know you don't agree with this but it is the old difference between seeing oneself as a man who lives with something (an attraction to members of the same sex) and being something (I am gay.

The former is an accident of either biology or circumstances that God has allowed in my life to His own mysterious purpose that I don't pretend to understand. The latter is an identity I can take up or lay down as I like and, in my life at least, I have found taking it up has led me farther from God, not closer.

At 13/6/05 3:41 PM, Blogger Brady said...

Thanks for responding, David.

My problem, though, isn't that I have to have people say gay sex is morally ok. My problem is that you are seemingly going out of your way to show how terrible gay sex and gay people are (you often do not do a very good job differentiating the two unless you are differentiating between active gay people and celibate gays).

As far as defining myself, you are right that we disagree. I'm not sure how your describing yourself as someone who lives with ssa and me saying I am gay is really much different except your way is a little wordier.

I realize that gay pepole are capable of following Christ just like anyone else. And honestly, not even the gay press or gay community says gays aren't. To me, that is you putting words in their mouths. My issue is that gays are often called to follow Christ "more closely" (for lack of better words) than others.

For example, protestants ok remarriage in almost all cases after divorce. Catholics seem to condone smoking and drinking while many protestants find both to be the sinful destruction of bodies. Some pastors (Even some pastors of large congregations) use false statistics and stereotypes (sometimes knowingly, sometimes just carelessly) to demean gays. For some reasons, these are all ok, but gays aren't.

In the end, my take is that gays can be Christians too. They are sinners just like all of the others (and lots of out gays do not engage in sex). I can disagree with someone about the moral rightness of homosexuality (and I am talking all of it- the attraction, the romance, the caring, the love, the emotions and the physical nature of it--I refuse to let anyone narrow all gay relationships down to only sex), but I can still be their friends. My issue isn't with that. My issue is when the message goes beyond being gay is sinful and into, here are all the ways gays are bad, nevermind any good stuff, and that is where I think your site has gone recently.


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