Thoughts I Had After Watching Star Trek Beyond with my Parents

There are two things every single member of my immediate family enjoys: science fiction, and Broadway musicals. Strange combination? Definitely. But Catholicism also used to be something we all had in common. While I’ve been dealing with family tension since I started to form my own opinions about religion and politics, I’ve still been able to enjoy science fiction and musicals with my parents, and I love that.

Sometimes though, a science fiction film or show does something progressive, and talking to my ultra-Catholic conservative parents about how awesome that is runs the risk of creating more conflict, so I’ll be reacting here instead.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Star Trek Beyond with my parents. As is often the case in Star Trek, there’s a scene where the characters are coming back to Starfleet after a mission, and greeting people they know. In one such scene, we see Sulu coming home to a man and a little girl. There’s no major PDA or anything, but you can tell the girl is meant to be their daughter, and Sulu and the other man walk together with their arms at each other’s backs. It’s subtle; the characters never talk about it, but it’s there: Sulu has a spouse or romantic partner, and it’s not a woman. For the first time ever, Star Trek has included a gay character, and they chose to make that character be Sulu–an important character on the bridge of the Enterprise–in a nod to George Takei, the actor who played Sulu in the original series. Takei came out as gay in 2005.

If you’re not a big sci fi fan, you may know George Takei from his Facebook posts. He’s amassed a huge following by sharing interesting tidbits of internet hilariousness, and you know, the weird stuff that gets shared on the internet. He’s also been vocal since he came out about gay rights. What I find particularly interesting though about this story is that Takei wasn’t happy with this decision to make Sulu gay in the new films. Takei explains:

I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Rodberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.

Takei says that Sulu was always a heterosexual character, so this is a pretty big change that he doesn’t think makes much sense. This whole thing is fascinating to me as a former English major and total sci fi nerd. Takei has a good point. Sulu, as a character, has existed for a long time as a straight man. While it’s wonderful to have gay people represented in one of the most popular science fiction franchises ever, does it really make sense to change one of the franchise’s beloved characters in such a substantial way? Why not just introduce some new characters to the franchise? Part of me is a bit bothered by this, but it’s a very small part of me.

Today, when it seems like every other move that comes out is a sequal or remake of something pretty old, we’re going to have to accept that one of the ways the new versions can really stand out from the old ones is diversity. There was a time when no one would bat an eye to see an all white, mostly male cast, but that’s just not the case anymore. As much as I appreciate fan loyalty to a franchise and to the original versions of these beloved characters, I can’t help but think that maybe the progress we’re seeing is also improving these franchises in this one sense: showing that even in fictional worlds, people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities, and so forth.

Star Wars Episode VII, which debuted many new characters, was the first Star Wars episode I found particularly relatable. For the first time in the live action films (yes, I know we had Ahsoka in Clone Wars), we finally had a female force-sensitive character (Rey) who is portrayed as a hero rather than a sex object. While I loved some things about Leia in the original films, her character was so tainted by the male gaze that it was sometimes difficult to relate to her as a woman. She was portrayed as a sex object half the time. But there’s none of that with Rey. And knowing how I felt watching Rey kick ass in episode VII, and get taken seriously by all parties, I can’t help but think how much MORE incredible it must have been for the young black women watching the original Star Trek series when it first came out in the 1960s to see Uhura working as an equal to the other main characters. Uhura was a crew member on the bridge of the enterprise at a time when black women on the screen (and often in real life) were servants and could be nothing more. The series first aired in the 1960s, right around the time that Jim Crow was coming to an end. Decades later, maybe this moment with Sulu is Star Trek carrying on its tradition of progressiveness. Somewhere in the audience of Star Trek Beyond, there may be a gay man thinking, wow. Finally. Someone I can relate to.

Perhaps the most important thing about the scene in Star Trek though, is the fact that the characters didn’t talk about it. No one makes a big deal out of it. No one makes a joke about Sulu being gay. There are no awkward moments, just acceptance that this is part of Sulu’s life. We need more entertainment media like this. Where something as natural as people’s sexuality isn’t a joke or something to obsess over. It’s just part of life.

Since seeing the film, I kept waiting for my parents to say something about this brief moment showing Sulu’s sexuality, which was very obvious to me. My whole life, my parents have been the sort of people to say “is that really necessary?” out loud in response to everything from sex scenes that are a big part of the plot to characters being open about their sexualities–basically anything remotely related to “icky” sex. They didn’t say anything this time though. Which means either they didn’t notice at all, OR they did notice but don’t want to talk about it with me. I’m trying hard not to bring it up, but I’m curious which one it is.

Do you have thoughts about diversity in film, or about Star Trek Beyond? Feel free to leave a comment. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!



Placing Myself on The Kinsey Scale

One of the things that I think causes a barrier with regards to equal treatment of LGBT people is an overly simplistic model of sexual orientation. This is especially true for people who experience attraction to multiple genders–sexualities like bisexual and pansexual, for example. Even among the gay community, people who experience attraction to more than one gender are often assumed to be lying about their sexuality.

A close friend of mine who I’ve mentioned on this blog previously, identifies as pansexual. In high school, he used the label “bi,” and people frequently told him, “No. You’re either gay or straight. You can’t be both.” When he tried to explain to them that he was, in fact, attracted to both genders, people assumed he was just using the label “bi” as a stepping stone to coming out gay. This could not have been farther from the truth. While he had not had any relationships with men at the time, he had actively pursued relationships with both genders, and genuinely had no preference for one over the other.

I recently stumbled upon this video, in which lesbians describe what they think about bisexual women, and even among these members of the LGBT community, I saw the same bias my friend had encountered. As I said earlier, I think this boils down to an overly simplified model of human sexuality. We’ve finally accepted that people can be either straight or gay, but sexuality includes even more variation than that, and that variation hasn’t been accepted yet by everyone.

I’m not the first person to have this thought. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist whose work contributed greatly to the field of sexology, developed his own model of sexual orientation, and while it certainly isn’t perfect (and does not address gender identity), adopting it (or something similar) for the purpose of understanding sexuality may help remove the stigma against people with attraction to multiple genders. Here’s his model of sexuality. I’ll describe it a bit, but it’s pretty self explanatory:

On the left side of the chart is the label “straight.” A person with a score of 0 experiences attraction to the opposite gender only. On the right side of the chart is the label “homosexual.” A person with a score of 6 experiences attraction to the same gender only. In between the two are varying degrees of attraction to both genders. People with a score of 3 are exactly bisexual. They do not favor either gender, and are attracted to both about equally. Yet there are those who are mostly straight but have some attraction to people of the same gender; simultaneously, there are people who are mostly gay, but have some attraction to people of the opposite gender. It isn’t perfect, but it opens up the idea that a person who is mostly one way or the other can have some attraction that does not match their primary label. It also lends itself to the idea of bisexuality, allowing a way for people to visualize how this attraction fits in with other ones.

Here’s where the title of this post comes into play. I’d like to see more people utilizing this idea of continuous sexuality in some way. I’d like to see people, especially people who fall anywhere from a 1 to a 5–those in-between places of sexuality–come out as not completely matching the labels society accepts. I suspect that if more people were to openly admit that sexuality does not necessarily fall into a perfect dichotomy, people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, and so forth, will be understood and accepted.

Maybe I’m crazy, but here goes. I’m definitely not a 0 on the Kinsey scale, but I’m not a 3 either. I use the label straight because it most accurately describes my sexual orientation, but I’m at least a 1, maybe a 1.5 if half points are allowed, though I don’t think I’m quite a 2. I definitely experience some attraction to women, though not as frequently as I do to men, and not enough that I’ve ever been actively interested in pursuing a relationship with a woman, though there have been times when I haven’t been completely opposed to it. There’s a stereotype that all women are at least a bit bisexual, but I don’t think this is true. I also don’t think that all men are either gay or straight, but I suspect that due to the way society views male homosexuality more negatively than female homosexuality, we are less likely to hear about it.

What about you? Where do you place yourself on the Kinsey scale? Do you match the exact labels, or are you somewhere in-between? Why do you think there’s so much misunderstanding concerning bisexuality and other such sexual orientations?

Feel free to leave a comment. As always, all opinions are welcome; just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!


Catholicism’s True Stance on Homosexuality Part 3

Sorry for the late post–I’m going to aim to not make posts that require this much length to finish  so that I can post more frequently.

Now we’re finally getting to the meat of things. In my previous two posts, I commented on this video, in which multiple Catholics, some of them gay themselves, explain the church’s stance on homosexuality. There’s a lot wrong with this video:

If that link doesn’t work, try this one (it’s the same video):

Part 1 dealt with the misconceptions about gay people that are presented in this video.

Part 2 discussed the misuse of words and language by Catholics, as they define homosexual acts as “disordered,” and “contrary to natural law” without fully realizing the harsh wording of the first statement, and the fact that the second is devoid of any actual meaning if you use your noggin.

Part 3? Well, here I’m going to talk about the culture of Catholicism, how it actually treats gay people, and the language it uses to describe them due to the fact that Catholics, like many other branches of Christianity, fail to understand how sexuality works, and probably won’t bother to learn unless they leave the church.

It’s not uncommon to hear a Catholic use phrases like  “the gay lifestyle.” In fact, the people in this video use it. In my experience I’ve even heard them use the phrase, “the gay agenda,” which is a ridiculous phrase. They also mention “the gay church” in this video, a phrase which suggests that being openly gay is a religion–you know, like Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc. The reason they talk like this is that they see everything through a lens of religious belief. Every other way of life has to fall into a category, and they see hierarchies where there aren’t any. As good religious people are supposed to do, they apply their faith to every aspect of their lives, from their basic observations to their thoughts about other people and how they live. Except for one problem–it doesn’t accurately represent reality. There’s nothing religious about being openly gay, so this “gay church” thing? It doesn’t exist. There are gay people in every religion, and gay people with no religion.

There’s also no “gay agenda.” Gay people are as varied in personality and political opinion as any other group of people. What unites them is their struggle for equal rights. (And not all gay people agree with the gay rights movement either. The poor confused people in this video are a perfect example of that.) When it comes to “the gay agenda,” I’ve actually heard a Catholic priest argue that gay people don’t just want to be allowed to marry. They want to be allowed to convince kids to be gay, and then everyone will be gay and we won’t have anybody having kids. This is ridiculous because of the fact that, while a person can experiment with gay behaviors to figure out his or her sexual orientation, the majority of people will still be straight. According to Wikipedia, about 3.8% of people in the US identify as LGBT.

The page acknowleges that some people identified as having same sex attraction but didn’t consider themselves LGBT, which makes it a bit confusing and hard to give an exact number. (Not to mention the fact that when you look at the state-by-state percentage, one starts to wonder if some states simply have a lot of people in the closet), but still, the number of gay people is a small percentage of the population compared to the majority of people, who are straight. Being straight is not going to become less popular just because being gay is becoming less and less frowned upon, because, as many Christians fail to realize, one’s sexual orientation is not a choice. For a person who has zero attraction to the same sex, no amount of public approval of gay people will turn that person gay. The only thing that might make the number of known gay people grow is society treating gay people as human beings so that they feel comfortable being themselves. The number of people who experience one sexual orientation or another in actuality won’t be affected by public acceptance or lack thereof.

I’ve also heard Catholics say that the next goal on “the gay agenda” after marriage is to legalize pedophilia, polygamy, and bestiality. This idea fails to recognize that gay people are still individuals. Yes, they often unite to protest anti-gay laws, and to try to get marriage and other things like adoption made legal for them, but seriously, how would you like it if I said, “the next goal on the Catholic agenda is to ban all sex, not just premarital and gay sex, so that everyone will be a virgin and we’ll all die out!” Seriously, it’s not fun when someone puts words in your mouth, and that’s what they’re doing to an entire group of people. There is no “gay agenda.” There are only gay people, uniting at times to protest injustices and fight for what they believe they have a right to as citizens and human beings.

The reason I chose to include this in this post, and not in the language post, is because this kind of conversation directly influences Catholic treatment of gay people because it perpetuates assumptions, and creates a culture of ignorance when it comes to sexuality. Many Catholics truly do not understand how sexuality works. They aren’t aware of how many people are gay because they either have been so sheltered that they haven’t met a gay person, or they have, and that person is in the closet. It’s very easy to believe something is wrong when it doesn’t seem to affect you or anyone you care about. I invite you to think about the musicians in your church. I’ve met many Catholic organists because my mom works in music ministry, and I can tell you right now–many (not all, but many) of them are gay, and some of them are also Catholic. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. And many of them attend every single mass, every Sunday. Do you feel bad for them, having to listen to a homily that speaks against them several times in one day? I do. When I’m at mass and that happens, it’s all I can think about.

Once, on a multiple-day retreat which took place at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, I realized just how far Catholic ignorance extended. Having been thrust into deliberation of gay marriage by my own experience having a bisexual best friend (whom I will admit to having a bit of a crush on), I cringed a bit when one of the speakers talked about the immorality of homosexuality. I mentioned it to one of the girls with whom I had traveled to the event, and she said, “Well, all the people here are Catholic, so I mean, nobody here is going to be offended by it. There shouldn’t be any gay people here.” See the aforementioned percentage of the American population that is gay. There were hundreds of teenagers there–maybe even thousands. I really don’t remember the exact number, but it was a very large retreat. The odds of not a single person having even an inkling of homosexual attraction, especially if sexuality, as many believe, is more of a spectrum than a number of clean, exact choices, then there were definitely some gay or otherwise LGBT people there. Being Catholic does not make you any less likely to be gay/bi, etc, than being atheist, or Muslim. There are gay people born into every group, in every country in the world. I explained to her she that she was wrong and she seemed surprised. Then, I don’t know what made me say this, but I asked, “What if I were gay?” I’m not. But in the process of figuring out my opinion on the issue, I figured, why not imagine myself in their shoes? Could I really expect the country to legislate against someone no different from myself? Gay people are people, after all. I’ll never forget her response:

“I don’t think we could be friends. It would be too weird. You might have a crush on me.”

Is it any surprise that I’m completely for gay rights now? It sucks to admit this, but I used to think the way she did. Luckily, at that point, I was starting to understand how sexuality and attraction works. Imagine an experiment where someone decided to survey a large group of straight people, showing them pictures of tons of human beings of various ages and appearances, who happen to be the gender to which they are attracted, and ask how many of those people they find physically attractive. The truth is, even going with just physical attraction, nobody is going to select the whole list. I would even hypothesize that most people won’t select more than a quarter of the photographs as “attractive.” And I bet if they actually knew those people they found physically attractive, more than half of those people they chose for reasons of physical attraction would be eliminated for traits that can’t be noticed from just a picture, like an abrasive personality, or an irritating speaking voice. In the end, only a handful of the options would still be considered “attractive” by any given person, and the people whom one person finds attractive won’t match the ones whom someone else likes. Seriously, who hasn’t told a friend about someone they found attractive, shown them a picture, and found themselves making excuses like “this picture isn’t that good,” or, “the lighting’s bad,” when their friend doesn’t share their attraction or enthusiasm. Facebook has made this an increasingly common occurrence, and it just goes to show you that people are diverse in their attractions, even if they fall under the majority category of sexual attraction. Now imagine doing the same experiment with gay people, or bisexual people. Maybe the bisexual people would have a slightly larger pool of options, but it still would only include a few women and a few men, not the entire list. Heck, maybe some bisexual people would only find a few men attractive, and no women, or a few women and no men, and not because they discriminate by gender, but because none of the photographs from one group happened to fit what they are physically attracted to. That was a long hypothetical explanation, but my point is, there are way more variables than gender when it comes to physical attraction, so to assume that someone will be attracted to you because they can potentially be completely ignores all of those other variables that come in to play. Furthermore, to assume that you can’t be friends with someone because they have the potential to be attracted to you is to assume that if you’re a girl, you can never be just friends with a straight guy, and vise versa, which is just plain ridiculous. But I digress.

The strongest examples of the way Catholics actually feel about gays don’t come from my experience though–they come from the experiences of the people in the very video they’ve made to promote Catholicism. The video spends several minutes talking about how hard it can be to be Catholic and gay. One man says, “A large part of the alienation I felt was just what homosexuality was in like, widespread Catholic culture. You know, kind of like, mean jokes got said about it. Or not mean, because, you know, ‘nobody we know is actually like that.’…but of course, you know, I’m sitting right there. …There’s this sense that well if I do [speak up/come out] they’re not gonna see me anymore, they’re gonna see this label. They’re gonna identify me with the enemy in some way.”

One woman says, “Sometimes it would be hard sitting there when the subject of ‘those evil homosexuals’ would come up. I would want so badly to just jump up and  yell at them, you know, I’m not what you think gay people are. But I couldn’t say anything.”

Another woman adds, “Unfortunately there are a lot of people who’ve had negative experiences. Usually it’s with people who have grasped the law, but who have not grasped the teaching that a homosexual is a person.”

Why is this a teaching though? Isn’t it obvious? When you see a human being standing in front of you, do you really have to ask if he or she is gay to determine whether or not that individual is a PERSON? This brings up the issue of getting one’s morality from religion alone, but that’s a topic for another day.

Then, a priest talks about how the church condemns “unjust descrimination.” I looked up the passage in the catechism, and it’s in paragraph 2358 on this page:

It acknowledges that, “the number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible,” yet so many Catholics still act like it is. It’s in their authoritative source, and they still don’t get it, and here’s why:  because a few words later in that same paragraph are the words “unjust discrimination.” I am thoroughly frustrated by that phrase because all discrimination is by definition unjust. There is no such thing as just discrimination, but saying it the way they do suggests that there can be. It suggests that maybe it’s just to say that gay people are people but they can’t get married or adopt or have any of the other rights that married couples are handed by the government, but, you know, it’s OK. They’re still allowed to give our church money and come to mass every Sunday. They just have to never have sex.

Another speaker in the video goes so far as to say that the Catholic church and other Christian churches should apologize to gay people for being bigoted. I nearly cheered when I heard that, but of course, not long after, the video ends with spiritual sounding classical music and smiles all around, because gay people are “heroes” for choosing to live celibate lives through the teachings of the Catholic church, and because the Catholic church is “truth.” The giant turn around from Catholics don’t hate gays to, Catholics often mistreat gays, and we’re sorry, and then back to “You (gay people) belong in the Catholic church. And we’re (Catholics are) gonna love you,” makes me wonder whether or not these people hear themselves. You can’t tell a group of people that you love and accept them, but only if they live by your rules, and by the way, they should also ignore the fact that you regularly misrepresent and mistreat them, because you’re awesome and they should join you. Seriously, in whose mind does this make any sense?

Not in mine. You really can’t love and accept gay people without also allowing them to live whatever life they find fulfilling. That may be a celibate life, but in a lot of cases that life may be living with a partner, or spouse if they want to be married. This so called “third way” of taking a sort of halfway stance between being anti gay and actually supporting marriage equality is really heavily leaning towards the former rather than the latter, because while it’s possible to comprehend, the idea that “this behavior is bad but the people who do it aren’t,” is nearly impossible to apply in practice because people’s emotions are a strong part of their sense of morality. You can’t turn off the feelings you automatically get when you find out someone’s done something you find morally objectionable.  Your reactions are automatic, and visceral. Understanding intellectually that a person is human and deserves fair treatment is a step better than some, but having a culture that collectively distrusts and misunderstands gay people brainwashes you into having the same reaction one has when finding out someone has murdered a child to finding out that a person is gay. Anger and disgust do not breed a welcoming community, so if you’re gay and looking for a religion, I advise you to steer clear of the Catholic church, no matter how much they tell you they have “truth.” You deserve a real community, not one that hates and distrusts you for being yourself.

Again, sorry for the delayed final post. 

Happy thinking!

Catholicism’s True Stance on Homosexuality Part 1

I’d like to start this post by saying that I’m a straight, cisgender female, so I have not experienced what it’s like to be gay. I’m going with my understanding of homosexuality and the clashes I find between my personal understanding of how sexuality works, and what my former religion says about it. This will be a 3 part blog post because of the amount of content in the video I’m responding to, and the fact that many people, myself included, have short attention spans.

Let’s start with what Catholicism has to say. I’m going to be kind to them and let the actual Catholics make their case. The other day, while perusing Facebook, I came across this video, which a Catholic friend had shared. This film explains it quite well, and if you’re like me, it will infuriate you enough that you won’t need to read further, but I will discuss it at length. Here it is:

In case the link no longer works, the video is called The Third Way and it’s about 35 minutes long. It is titled the way it is because it’s suggesting that Catholicism offers a middle ground between the two extremes of supporting gay marriage, and flat out homophobia. Unfortunately, this “third way” is much closer to homophobia than they’d like to admit, and that has to do with how Catholics treat gay people in practice. How did I sit through this half hour of bullshit, then? With post-it notes and a pen. I literally wrote a note every time someone said something I thought was fundamentally incorrect, a negative portrayal of homosexuality, or not possible in practice. Needless to say, I used up a lot of post-its. In case you really really want to read this post but don’t have time to watch the video, I’ll summarize Catholic teaching on homosexuality in the next paragraph. If you have watched the video, feel free to skip it.

The saying, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” basically sums up Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Essentially, the rules are, it’s not wrong to be a gay person, but acting on one’s homosexual urges is a sin. Straight Catholics are supposed to treat their homosexual brothers and sisters as equal human beings (who are still not allowed to get married, of course). What are the gay people supposed to do?  Individuals who experience homosexual urges are expected to remain celibate. Forever. What Catholics would have you believe is that this means they are completely tolerant of gay people, and that they simply disagree with the “gay lifestyle.” This is a little difficult to grasp, and doesn’t work in practice, for reasons which I’ll explain later. So Catholics believe that homosexual behavior is bad, while homosexual people are just humans in a tough situation. OK. So how do they present homosexuality in the video?

On the bright side, the video does start with the idea that being gay isn’t a choice. A huge misconception that many people have about homosexuality is that it is something you can choose. Instead of arguing that homosexual attraction is a choice, Catholics argue that that the behaviors–gay sex, and gay relationships–are choices. I would have to agree with them on that point as it applies to sexuality in general. I’m straight, but I don’t have to date. The behavior of dating is a choice. I don’t have to have sex either. If I decide to wait till marriage, I can do that. If I decide to have sex, I can do that too, so having sex is a behavior. I can’t, however, just decide that I’m suddenly attracted to women. I simply don’t have that attraction. Just because I agree that dating and sex are behaviors, does not mean that I agree with forcing all gay people into celibacy, though. Personally, I think that’s a completely unfair thing to do to an entire group of people, especially a group of people whom Catholics don’t understand.

Many of the people cast in the video are gay themselves. Now, I’m glad they bothered to find gay Catholics, and have them tell their own stories. Believe it or not, I’ve met some gay Catholics in real life, and they do exist. What’s incredible, and casts doubt on what the video is suggesting, is that some of those people in the video have flawed ideas of how sexuality, especially their own sexuality, works. And these are the people who are supposed to have figured it all out through God and the Catholic Church.

At about 4:04, the video takes a turn for the worse and presents a misconception about homosexuality that I grew up hearing:  the idea that it’s caused by abuse. I’ve mentioned this to non Catholics who say they’ve never heard of this misconception, but I distinctly remember family friends and relatives saying, “I knew this gay guy, and he was abused as a kid. I think that’s what did it.” This misconception is often paired with the idea that being gay is caused by having no relationship, or a bad relationship with one’s father or mother, or by having a hard time connecting with people of one’s own gender. In fact, both of those misconceptions are also brought up in this video. I’d like to present the hypothesis that maybe sometimes gay people just end up having different interests than many of the straight people in their lives, and that alone can make it very hard to relate to others. Just ask anybody who’s ever been on a blind date with someone with whom they had nothing in common. What are you supposed to talk about? As far as I can tell from the reading I’ve done on sexuality, none of these ideas are true. Scientists have done many studies trying to find a cause for homosexuality, and as far as I know, there has been no consensus in the scientific community that any of these aforementioned things cause homosexuality.  For further reading about the abuse idea, check out this webpage:

The above website mentions that some studies have found a correlation between homosexuality and abuse, while others have not found any. I’d like to point out what any scientist would:  even if it had found a strong one, correlation and causation are not the same thing. As one of my favorite psychology professors once explained, there’s a correlation between people who carry cigarette lighters, and people who develop lung cancer. But is lung cancer caused by carrying cigarette lighters? No. Smoking, however, can lead to lung cancer, and smokers tend to carry lighters so that they can smoke. Hence the correlation. As far as homosexuality and abuse are concerned, I suspect it is possible that when homophobic parents see signs that their child is gay, they may have a tendency to react violently because they don’t know how to deal with it. That may be one cause of this association between being gay and being abused. However, as far as people who have studied this can tell, it is probably not the cause of homosexuality, and it’s sad that the people who made this video chose to include those details so prominently, supporting this incorrect conclusion. What’s even sadder is that they did it through the words of people who should know better, but probably haven’t been encouraged to learn things about their own sexuality because of the religion they follow.

One guy literally says “my homoemotional needs became homosexualized,” referring to a time when he used to masturbate to men’s health magazines because, as he explains, he was looking for a symbol of manhood that he wasn’t getting from his relationships with men in real life, as if to suggest that this masturbation and his lack of a strong sense of manhood caused his homosexuality. The thing is though, he was turned on by those images of men at the time. Otherwise, why would he masturbate to them? In my opinion, this particular interviewee is so embarrassed by his own sexuality that he is having a hard time admitting that he’s gay, even though the reason he even has a role in the video is to admit it. I feel sorry for him.

Then there’s the idea that homosexual sex and sex with contraceptives are both “not what sex is for.” Or as one of the speakers puts it, “The desire can’t be fulfilled according to the design of our bodies.” It’s like he’s never had sex. Going with nonreligious arguments here, the main reason humans feel sexual attraction and enjoy sex is probably so that kids can happen. It’s a fact of life–we wouldn’t put together those yucky body parts we piss from if it didn’t feel good. But orgasms without baby making? They’re not a bad thing. And guess what–they fulfill that “desire” they’re talking about. AND, it’s perfectly natural to want them. An orgasm is an orgasm, whether it happens in a vagina or not.

Unless what they mean by “fulfill” is making babies. That is an argument I’ve heard from Catholics against both gay marriage and contraception, and I think it’s what they’re trying to say without saying it, so I’ll go there. Just because kids can’t come out of sex doesn’t mean that the sex is wrong or bad. In fact, if sex that doesn’t lead to pregnancy is so wrong, why do Catholics teach engaged couples natural family planning, which is as much a way to avoid pregnancy as pulling out is (which they do not condone)! By the reasoning of “sex without babies is bad,” they shouldn’t teach NFP all. I’d like to see this guy tell a married couple in their sixties that they can’t have sex anymore because they can no longer have kids, or tell the same thing to a young newlywed couple that’s infertile. No one would do that, not even a typical genophobic Catholic. Yet they pick on gay people, and claim it’s because they can’t have kids through the usual way. It’s absurd.

The video also suggests that having strong relationships with straight people is really what gay people want and need, and that if they just had strong friendships with straight people, they’d be able to keep themselves celibate and focus on God. I happen to have met some of the straight male friends whom my best friend (who identifies as pansexual) is close friends with. He’s still not straight. Neither are any of the other gay people I’ve met, all of whom seem to get along fine with people who are both the same gender as they are, and straight. Sorry to burst their bubble.

There’s so much more wrong with this video, and with Catholic treatment of gay people though. Keep an eye out for Part 2 of 3, which is coming soon.