Skip to content

Envy and Narcissism

June 20, 2014

Before we add gender identity and expression to anti-discrimination laws and international agreements, it might be a good idea to try to understand what is driving those the law is supposed to protect –the transgendered, transsexuals, transvestites, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, gender queer, adults and children with gender dysphoria (previously know as gender identity disorder), and autogynephiles (men who are in love with the image of themselves as a woman).
With such a diversity of expressions of gender dysphoria (being unhappy with the sex you were born), no single characteristic could be expected to be applicable to every person who could claim protection under “gender identity and expression” status, but there is reason to consider the possibility that many could be described as being motivated by pathological envy.
As I was trying to find a way to explain why men who claim to be women trapped in male bodies aren’t women, I came across a web post by Thorin25, a man struggling against the temptation to cross-dress. I felt his insights were significant since dressing in clothes associated with the other sex is the gateway to the transgender world. He wrote:

Recently I’ve been pondering the nature of cross-dressing desires and have become convinced that a significant component of cross dressing is envy or coveting…
What are cross-dressing desires if not envy? We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us. We envy the beauty of females. We crave and desire that beauty. We want it for ourselves. We want to be as beautiful as the women we see or imagine. We envy the feeling of “being beautiful.” Is it any surprise that cross-dressers are so vain? We spend hours in front of the mirror striving for perfection in our beauty and admiring ourselves.
We envy the feminine experience. We want to experience what it is like to be a woman or a girl. We want to experience how men treat women or how they treat beautiful women. We want to be treated chivalrously. We want to experience the freedom women have to give in to specific emotions or behaviors that our culture tends to not be so accepting of with men. We envy that women get to feel sexy, sensual, spontaneous, daring, free from responsibility, provocative, cute, free to giggle, be expressive, vulnerable, sensitive, flirtatious, or gentle. We improperly think that we shouldn’t show these feelings as much as men, so we envy women being able to have these feelings, and when we cross-dress we then feel free to give in to these feelings…
We envy the soft or silky feel of the clothing. We envy the beautiful colors of the clothing. We envy the beauty of the feminine face with makeup. We envy the beauty of shiny painted nails. We envy the cool look of high heels. We envy what we perceive as the ability to dress in a sexy way. We envy the female clothing that we perceive as more comfortable.

As I read this, as a woman, I could not identify with this man’s idea of what it means to be a woman. I found it demeaning. Where was women’s intelligence, competence, power, motherhood? His envy driving image is not the heart of the feminine experience. I don’t spend hours in front of a mirror striving for perfection. I just try to cover up the obvious flaws, before I face the world. I certainly don’t feel free from responsibility, as a mother (even though my children are grown) I still feel responsible. This is a male illusion of what it means to be a woman and doesn’t match the reality of women’s lives.
The antidote to envy is trust. If we trust God the father, we believe that he will give us what we need. Unfortunately, the transgendered have trouble trusting their heavenly father because they don’t – often for understandable reasons – trust their biological fathers. Some of the transgendered go so far as to claim that God made a mistake that they should have been born with a woman’s body. Some deceive themselves into believing that they can change their sex with clothes, hormones and surgery. They can’t. Our sex is written on our DNA, wired into our brains.
Envy is the sin of wanting what you don’t have and what someone else has. The person who envies is unhappy and imagines that if he has what the other person has it will make him happy. He creates a fantasy, and then tries to make it real. Even if he were allowed to change his documents and be recognized legally as a woman, he wouldn’t be a real woman, only a simulation of a fantasy. Passing as a woman requires wiping out his past and living a lie. Society is under no obligation to give the envious what they covet.
According to the DSM-5, envy is one of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissists are “hungry for adoration , admiration, acceptance , approval and any other kind of attention… Narcissists are, at times, suicidal and are always self-destructive.
Why does this matter to us? Because Narcissists’ needs can never be completely satisfied. No matter how much adoration, admiration, acceptance, approval and attention they receive it will never be enough. They will notice the smallest slight, the tiniest criticism, the inadvertent rejection and they will demand groveling repentance. If they don’t receive it, they will react with narcissistic rage. According to Heinz Kohut, the narcissist experiences a

…need for revenge, for righting a wrong, for undoing a hurt by whatever means, and a deeply anchored, unrelenting compulsion in pursuit of all these aims…. There is utter disregard for reasonable limitations and a boundless wish to redress an injury and to obtain revenge…. The narcissistically injured on the other hand, cannot rest until he has blotted out [the]…offender who dared to oppose him, [or] to disagree with him.

Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in their blue print for gay activism After the Ball could not help but notice that a significant number of gay men fit the clinical description for narcissistic personality disorder.
If even only a small percentage of the LGBTQ community is pathologically narcissistic, according them legal protection will give them a weapon to use against anyone who so much as looks at them cross-eyed. People of faith who refuse to compromise religious principles are being dragged into court and charged with discrimination. Even those who support their agenda can be targeted, as the case of J. Michael Bailey, author of The Man who would be Queen demonstrates. Several members of the transsexual community were offended by Bailey’s treatment of his subjects and launched a vicious smear campaign against him, his friends, family, coworkers, and casual acquaintences. A comprehensive review of their attack by Alice Dreger was published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Narcissistic rage may also explain the LGBTQ activists’ demand that therapy for same sex attraction and gender identity disorder be made illegal. Gerald Schoenewolf, in an article entitled “Gender Narcissism and its Manifestations,” discussed the problem of narcissistic rage among some of his clients:
A number of both female and male homosexuals had politicized their feelings about homosexuality. Not only their gender was idealized, but also homosexuality as well. Homosexuals, they held, were more sensitive, more humane, more refined, and more moral than heterosexuals. “If straights were as peace-loving as gays, the world would be a better place,” was an often expressed sentiment. Underpinning this grandiosity was the narcissistic rage. If I did not mirror their idealization, I would quickly experience this rage in the form of character assassination, threats, or hasty terminations.
If a person who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, or transgendered seeks help with other psychological difficulties (which, as numerous, large, well-designed studies have shown, are more common among LGBTQ self-identified persons) and is challenged by the therapist to explore the roots of his problems, the person may react with narcissistic rage, going so far as to demand that the therapist be punished.
Anne Lawrence, a post operative male to female transsexual, in an article entitled “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism,” acknowledges the problem of narcissistic disorders among transgendered and warns therapists to be sensitive lest they trigger “narcissistic rage.” All therapy with members of the LGBTQ will be compromised because a soon as the therapist touches on the key issues, he risks becoming a target.
Adding “gender identity and expression” to anti-discrimination laws cannot satisfy the envy that drives narcissistic rage, but will force the entire society to walk on eggshells for fear of being labeled homophobic, heterosexist, transphobic haters.

Envy and Narcissism

June 19, 2014

Before we add gender identity and expression to anti-discrimination laws and international agreements, it might be a good idea to try to understand what is driving those the law is supposed to protect –the transgendered, transsexuals, transvestites, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, gender queer, adults and children with gender dysphoria (previously know as gender identity disorder), and autogynephiles (men who are in love with the image of themselves as a woman).[1]

With such a diversity of expressions of gender dysphoria (being unhappy with the sex you were born), no single characteristic could be expected to be applicable to every person who could claim protection under “gender identity and expression” status, but there is reason to consider the possibility that many could be described as being motivated by pathological envy.

As I was trying to find a way to explain why men who claim to be women trapped in male bodies aren’t women, I came across a web post by Thorin25, a man struggling against the temptation to cross-dress. I felt his insights were significant since dressing in clothes associated with the other sex is the gateway to the transgender world. He wrote:

Recently I’ve been pondering the nature of cross-dressing desires and have become convinced that a significant component of cross dressing is envy or coveting…

What are cross-dressing desires if not envy?  We want what females have, things that do not properly belong to us.  We envy the beauty of females.  We crave and desire that beauty.  We want it for ourselves.  We want to be as beautiful as the women we see or imagine.  We envy the feeling of “being beautiful.”  Is it any surprise that cross-dressers are so vain?  We spend hours in front of the mirror striving for perfection in our beauty and admiring ourselves.

We envy the feminine experience.  We want to experience what it is like to be a woman or a girl.  We want to experience how men treat women or how they treat beautiful women.  We want to be treated chivalrously.  We want to experience the freedom women have to give in to specific emotions or behaviors that our culture tends to not be so accepting of with men.  We envy that women get to feel sexy, sensual, spontaneous, daring, free from responsibility, provocative, cute, free to giggle, be expressive, vulnerable, sensitive, flirtatious, or gentle.  We improperly think that we shouldn’t show these feelings as much as men, so we envy women being able to have these feelings, and when we cross-dress we then feel free to give in to these feelings…

We envy the soft or silky feel of the clothing.  We envy the beautiful colors of the clothing.  We envy the beauty of the feminine face with makeup.  We envy the beauty of shiny painted nails.  We envy the cool look of high heels.  We envy what we perceive as the ability to dress in a sexy way.  We envy the female clothing that we perceive as more comfortable.[2]

 As I read this, as a woman, I could not identify with this man’s idea of what it means to be a woman. I found it demeaning. Where was women’s intelligence, competence, power, motherhood? His envy driving image is not the heart of the feminine experience. I don’t spend hours in front of a mirror striving for perfection. I just try to cover up the obvious flaws, before I face the world. I certainly don’t feel free from responsibility, as a mother (even though my children are grown) I still feel responsible. This is a male illusion of what it means to be a woman and doesn’t match the reality of women’s lives.

The antidote to envy is trust. If we trust God the father, we believe that he will give us what we need. Unfortunately, the transgendered have trouble trusting their heavenly father because they don’t – often for understandable reasons – trust their biological fathers. Some of the transgendered go so far as to claim that God made a mistake that they should have been born with a woman’s body. Some deceive themselves into believing that they can change their sex with clothes, hormones and surgery. They can’t. Our sex is written on our DNA, wired into our brains.

Envy is the sin of wanting what you don’t have and what someone else has. The person who envies is unhappy and imagines that if he has what the other person has it will make him happy. He creates a fantasy, and then tries to make it real. Even if he were allowed to change his documents and be recognized legally as a woman, he wouldn’t be a real woman, only a simulation of a fantasy. Passing as a woman requires wiping out his past and living a lie. Society is under no obligation to give the envious what they covet.

According to the DSM-5, envy is one of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.[3] Narcissists are “hungry for adoration , admiration, acceptance , approval and any other kind of attention… Narcissists are, at times, suicidal and are always self-destructive.[4]

Why does this matter to us? Because Narcissists’ needs can never be completely satisfied. No matter how much adoration, admiration, acceptance, approval and attention they receive it will never be enough. They will notice the smallest slight, the tiniest criticism, the inadvertent rejection and they will demand groveling repentance. If they don’t receive it, they will react with narcissistic rage. According to Heinz Kohut, the narcissist experiences a:

…need for revenge, for righting a wrong, for undoing a hurt by whatever means, and a deeply anchored, unrelenting compulsion in pursuit of all these aims…. There is utter disregard for reasonable limitations and a boundless wish to redress an injury and to obtain revenge…. The narcissistically injured on the other hand, cannot rest until he has blotted out [the]…offender who dared to oppose him, [or] to disagree with him.[5]

 Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in their blue print for gay activism After the Ball could not help but notice that a significant number of gay men fit the clinical description for narcissistic personality disorder.

If even only a small percentage of the LGBTQ community is pathologically narcissistic, according them legal protection will give them a weapon to use against anyone who so much as looks at them cross-eyed. People of faith who refuse to compromise religious principles are being dragged into court and charged with discrimination. Even those who support their agenda can be targeted, as the case of J. Michael Bailey, author of The Man who would be Queen demonstrates. Several members of the transsexual community were offended by Bailey’s treatment of his subjects and launched a vicious smear campaign against him, his friends, family, coworkers, and casual acquaintances. A comprehensive review of their attack by Alice Dreger was published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.[6]

Narcissistic rage may also explain the LGBTQ activists’ demand that therapy for same sex attraction and gender identity disorder be made illegal. Gerald Schoenewolf, in an article entitled “Gender Narcissism and its Manifestations,” discussed the problem of narcissistic rage among some of his clients:

A number of both female and male homosexuals had politicized their feelings about homosexuality. Not only their gender was idealized, but also homosexuality as well. Homosexuals, they held, were more sensitive, more humane, more refined, and more moral than heterosexuals. “If straights were as peace-loving as gays, the world would be a better place,” was an often expressed sentiment. Underpinning this grandiosity was the narcissistic rage. If I did not mirror their idealization, I would quickly experience this rage in the form of character assassination, threats, or hasty terminations. [7]

If a person who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, or transgendered seeks help with other psychological difficulties (which, as numerous, large, well-designed studies have shown, are more common among LGBTQ self-identified persons) and is challenged by the therapist to explore the roots of his problems, the person may react with narcissistic rage, going so far as to demand that the therapist be punished.

Anne Lawrence, a post operative male to female transsexual, in an article entitled “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism,” acknowledges the problem of narcissistic disorders among transgendered and warns therapists to be sensitive lest they trigger “narcissistic rage.”[8] All therapy with members of the LGBTQ will be compromised because a soon as the therapist touches on the key issues, he risks becoming a target.

Adding “gender identity and expression” to anti-discrimination laws cannot satisfy the envy that drives narcissistic rage, but will force the entire society to walk on eggshells for fear of being labeled homophobic, heterosexist, transphobic haters.

[1] Anne Lawrence, “Becoming what we love: Autogynephlic transsexualism conceptualized

as an expression of romantic love,” http://www.annelawrence.com/twr/becoming_what_we_love.pdf

[2]Thorin25, “Crossdressing is about Envy,” http://healingcd.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/crossdressing-is-about-envy/

[3] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, p.670.

[4]Sam Vaknin “Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited, “ http://samvak.tripod.com/faq18.html

[5] Heinz Kohut, (1972) “Thoughts on narcissism and narcissistic rage,” Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 27, 360–400.

[6] Alice Dreger, (2008) “The Controversy surrounding The Man who would be Queen, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37: 366-421

[7]Gerald Schoenewolf, “Gender Narcissism and its Manifestations,”

http://www.narth.com/docs/1996papers/schoenwolf.html

[8] Anne Lawrence, (2007) “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism,” http://www.annelawrence.com/twr/shame_&_narcissistic_rage.pdf

 

Preventing Poverty

May 21, 2014

 

Helping the poor is a Christian duty, and the Catholic Church has always been a leader in the works of charity. However in this country we have the opportunity to do more than offer charity, we can be leaders in preventing poverty. This is a task for which the Church is particularly suited.

Experts tell us there are three things which taken together dramatically decrease the chance a person will be poor.

1) Finish high school

2) Get a job

3) Get married before you have a baby.

1) Education.

While college is not essential, a solid high school education is the minimal requirement for most employment, particular a job, which can lift the graduate out of poverty and into income security.

Catholic schools have for generations provided the quality education, which helped the children of immigrants move out of poverty. The problem is that, as the Catholic educated moved up, they moved out of the inner city neighbors and into the suburbs, leaving the parishes and schools, which had helped them achieve their success, without local support. Many dioceses have devoted resources to keeping these schools open, but much more can be done. While it would be great if the government-instituted voucher programs or if additional charter schools were available to provide quality education for the poor, we shouldn’t hold our breath. There are poor children out there right now who can’t wait. They need better schools now, and this is a task at which the Catholic Church has excelled. All Catholics need to commit themselves to supporting schools that serve the poor. These schools serve the double task or evangelization and preventing poverty.

2) Jobs

Welfare programs are a safety net for those who need emergency relief or have suffered unforeseen losses, but permanent welfare is a poverty trap, which leaves generations of mothers, children, and grandchildren dependent of government handouts. The way out of poverty is not welfare or charity, but a job.

My daughter is a teacher at Lexington College, a small Catholic school in Chicago, which prepares young women for jobs in the hospitality industry while at the same time providing spiritual formation. The school focuses on the theology of service. Graduates are in demand. A good paying job with one or the leading companies in the field is virtually guaranteed. We need more institutions that prepare students for careers and scholarships for needy students.

3) Marriage

We should sell the importance of marriage before babies. Our children need to be told about the link between marriage and poverty. Those, who follow the Catholic teaching on waiting until marriage to engage in sexual intimacy, aren’t going to have a baby outside marriage and among many other positive benefits have a better chance of avoiding poverty.

Sex makes babies. Every baby has a biological father and mother. Separating a child from one or both biological parents is perceived by the child as a loss.

Parenthood is a job designed for 2 people – specifically a father and a mother. A single parent must work twice as hard to do a job designed for two parent and is therefore more likely to fall into poverty.

The Church needs to encourage marriage and challenge some of the current customs, such as couples living together before marriage. Young women need to be disabused of the idea that living together is the path to a successful marriage. It may serve the male desire for easy sex and free housekeeping while not having to make a real commitment, but the young women need to be told that they are not a pair of shoes ordered on approval and returned if they don’t please.

Also it might be time to question the ever-increasing size and cost of weddings. There is no evidence that spending two years and thousands of dollars for an extravagant wedding will insure the marriage will succeed. Shorter engagements and smaller weddings may be a wiser course.

Also the fear of divorce and marrying young has led to some parents to discourage marriage when pregnancy occurs before marriage. It used to be that there was pressure on the young man to do the right things and marry the young woman he had impregnated. Today many parents discourage marriage even when the couple desires it. Contrary to modern fears, many of these ‘forced’ marriages prove to be very lasting. Everyone needs to remember that once a child is conceived the couple is forever linked to each other through their baby.

Jesus told us that the poor will always be with us and always need our charity, but that shouldn’t prevent us from doing all we can to prevent poverty.

Forgive us as we forgive

May 21, 2014

Every time we pray the Our Father, we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us.” And just in case we miss this clear command, Jesus repeat the admonition, “If you do not forgive you brother from you heart neither will you Father in heaven forgive you.

If we don’t forgive we are like the unforgiving debtor, who having been forgiven all his massive debt, refused to forgive someone who owed him a far smaller amount. The unforgiving debtor was handed over to the tormentors until he paid every penny.

Unfortunately, our sympathy for the victim can make us reticent to challenge them to forgive. We forget forgiveness is the path to healing. Those who do not forgive the people who have injured them remain in bondage to their wounds. They are captive to their pain, when forgiveness could free them.

Many people are afraid forgive. Some think forgiveness excuses the injury, and means it was no big deal. It is just the opposite. We forgive precisely because we have been injured and we matter. It is a big deal. The more serious the injury, the deeper the wound, the more we need to forgive. The first step in the process of forgiveness is to acknowledge for full extent of the harm suffered.

Some say I can’t forget. Of course you can’t. Your brain doesn’t work that way. Our memories of injury are stored in our brains and serve as warnings to avoid future harm. Jesus doesn’t expect you to forget, but forgiveness can be the first step in a healing of the memories.

Some worry that, if they forgive, their oppressor will just do it again. Jesus doesn’t expect us to trust the untrustworthy. We are never obliged to allow ourselves to be victimized when there is a way to escape without dishonor. Forgiveness often allows us to find that path and can give us the courage to stand up against the oppressor. Love means wanting what is best for the other. It is never best for a person to injure others. Therefore resisting oppression is an act of love for the oppressor.

Some think forgiving lets those who hurt us get away with it. They forget that God is just. Everyone must at the end face the just judge of all the world. Those who have repented will receive mercy, those who haven’t will be judged

There are only four possible scenarios.

  1. We forgive and the person who injured us repents. The angels in heaven rejoice.
  2.  We forgive and the person who injured us doesn’t repent. We are free and our oppressor still has to account to God for all their other sins.
  3.  We don’t forgive and the person who injured us doesn’t repent. We remain captive to our pain and the one who injured us still has to account to God.
  4.  We don’t forgive, but the person who injured us repents and is reconciled with God. He is free and we are turned over to the tormentors.From this you can see that refusing to forgive is a very bad choice.
  5.  

Unfortunately, we are captives of a culture that encourages victims to hoard the wounds, cultivate grievances, and never forgive. While this lets victim-advocates feel virtuous, it traps the wounded in the bondage of resentment and prevents healing.

Certain constituencies have a vested interest in keeping the wounded unhealed. Activists drag victims before legislators and reporters to bolster their demands. Lawyers looking for big settlements and prosecutors of criminals want to present permanently damaged victims to juries. The jailers guarding the prison of victimhood need to showcase raw and still bleeding wounds. Those who have forgiven and found healing don’t count.

This is tragic. If we really love those who have been harmed, we recognize the harm done and work to prevent future harm, while at the same time leading victims to healing through forgiveness.

                                                                                                                                                                                

Judge Not

May 21, 2014

 The media were shocked when on the plane from Brazil back to Rome Pope Francis was asked about homosexuality and responded “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Had the media covering the Holy Father known their scriptures, particularly St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, they would have not been surprised, because Pope Francis is following the prescription against judging laid out by Paul.

In Romans 1:18 St. Paul writes “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” He specifically mentions homosexual temptations, tempting his readers to smug self-righteous self-justification, for how many readers of this section focus on sexual temptations and ignore the other sins catalogued by Paul: greed, envy, strife, deceit, malice, gossiping, slandering, boasting.

But in the first verse of the next chapter St. Paul challenges his readers to look inward: “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Who of us can say that we have never committed any of these lesser included offences?

Why does the Lord tell us not to judge? A judge hears the evidence, renders the verdict, and passes the sentence. Only God can justly judge the individual soul, because only he knows all the circumstances and all the inner decisions a person has made. While we are called to know the law, unless we are legally appointed to be judges, we must refrain from passing judgment.

How easy it is to feel self-righteous when one doesn’t engage in certain sexual sins, not because we have heroically resisted temptation, because we have never been tempted in these areas.

I have spent 20 years reading the stories of persons with same-sex attraction and been saddened by the suffering they have endured. Pope Francis undoubtedly has a far deeper insight into such persons for he has heard thousands of confessions. He knows that sin is never simple.

I don’t know the story of every person who falls into sexual temptations. Perhaps some have freely embraced evil, I cannot say, but I think it is highly likely that many have been deeply wounded by childhood experiences. Based on the stories I have read I am not surprised that the sexually abused child becomes involved in prostitution, promiscuity, and pornography; that the boy whose caregiver dressed him in girls clothing is confused about his sexual identity: that the boy whose mother demeans his masculinity or the girl whose father ridicules everything feminine imitates the other sex; or that the child deprived of love from the same-sex parent interprets that deep unmet need as sexual attraction.

Pope Francis calls us to descend into “people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost” and to proclaim God’s saving love. How do we do that? Certainly not by projecting a façade of moral perfection, but by sharing our struggles, by loving those who struggle and those who have given up struggling against same-sex attractions and embraced an alternative life style, by praying for them.

I know that when I write on this subject I am likely to be attacked from both sides. Those who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or transgendered know they have suffered, but believe that if only the world — and particularly the Catholic Church — accepted same-sex attraction as normal for some people and changed the definition of marriage, they would be fine. They insist they don’t need healing, that they don’t need our prayers, but we must pray anyway.

It is harder to respond to those who see Pope Francis’s decision not to judge as being easy on sin – letting them get away with it – surrendering to the world, but they are wrong. This is the great and glorious paradox of Christianity. We see it over and over again in the teachings of Jesus, the reconciliation of mercy and justice. God’s mercy can be freely given because justice has been paid for on the cross. Each of us is a sinner in need of forgiveness and therefore must stand beside other sinners.

There are those who say this is too difficult, that it is impossible to reconcile clarity on the law and charity toward the person, that we must choose one or the other. But that is exactly what we must not do. Instead we must trust in grace, for it is only by God’s grace can the words of the psalmist be fulfilled: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.”

 

Tolerance

May 21, 2014
tags:

“And so were some of you”

August 29, 2013

If we are going to save our culture, it is important that Christians change their approach toward homosexuality. Fighting the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) agenda in the legislatures and courts will not succeed as long as the GLBTQ activists define the debate. We must treat same-sex attraction and sexual identity disorders (the so-called transgendered and queer) as what they are –preventable and treatable problems.

Such a change in attitude has happened before with alcoholism and abortion and needs to happen again.

In the 19th century alcoholism was considered an untreatable and deadly condition that destroyed lives and families. Many people came to believe that prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages was the only solution. The 18th amendment passed, but failed to achieve its goal. After repeal, alcoholics were treated as a joke in films or even heroes, but a quietly growing movement – Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12 step program based on spiritual insights – provided the answer. There are still alcoholics and drunk drivers, but now there is hope and help. Millions of men and women are living full lives in recovery.

Before Roe v. Wade, pregnant unmarried women were treated as pariahs, hidden away in shame until they delivered and surrendered their babies for adoption. Such treatment drove some to seek illegal abortions. After the Supreme Court’s decision, the pro-life movement was formed. At first many pro-lifers categorized the women having abortions as selfish and heedless, but soon the movement’s attitude changed. The pro-lifers realized that the mothers were the second victims of abortion — driven by fear, pressured by others. They needed help. A network of pregnancy help centers sprang up across the country. Sidewalk counselors stand outside abortion clinics to be sure that every woman contemplating abortion knows that real, practical help is available. Post-abortion counseling groups minister to women traumatized by their abortions. Those involved in the abortion industry, those who saw the carnage and emotional damage first hand and repented of their involvement, are speaking out against it. The pro-life movement now presents a message of mercy and love, not condemnation and shame.

A similar change of attitude is needed as regards same-sex attraction (SSA) and sexual identity disorders. Before GLBTQ activists began to demand full legal and social acceptance for their agenda, including the redefinition of marriage, persons with SSA or sexual identity disorders were either ignored or treated as comic relief – stereotyped as limp-wristed fairies. Society saw the problem but didn’t ask and those with SSA were not supposed to tell. The Church told them very clearly that what they were doing was wrong, but didn’t offer a path out of their problem. This in spite of the fact that a small group of therapists were working on understanding the causes of same-sex attraction and using various types of therapy to help those experiencing these problems to change their behavior and in some cases their sexual orientation.

Had these efforts received the kind of attention they deserved a great deal of suffering could have been avoided, however instead the GLBTQ movement grew and now besides demanding the redefinition of marriage, they are pushing for legislation to prevent treatment.

However, in spite of the lack of support, progress in the understanding of SSA has been made. While there is no single cause for SSA or sexual identity disorders, there is no evidence that people are born that way and can’t change. Cases histories reveal similar patterns of early attachment disorders, failure to identify with same-sex parent or peers, traumas, and deficits, and a high rate of childhood sexual abuse. There is nothing compassionate about an attitude which just leaves such persons alone to act out, while their underlying problems go unaddressed. Those with SSA and sexual identity are far more likely to suffer from other psychological disorders, suicidal ideation, depression, substance abuse problems, relationship instability, victimization, and for the men sexually transmitted diseases. Although one hears about it less frequently and in spite of advances in treatment, the AIDS epidemic continues unabated among men who have sex with men. ‘Transgendered’ males, that is men who want to be or think they are women, are at the highest risk.

Therapy is not about pushing down same-sex desires and trying to stir up other sex attraction, rather therapists help their clients discover the roots of the problem. According to Joseph Nicolosi, a leader in the field and author of Shame and Attachment Loss: The practical work of reparative therapy:

“We do not accept the fatalism of the “born that way” concept. Instead we propose an alternative model – addressing and resolving the underlying conflicts that have, in our view, laid the foundation for the symptoms of same-sex attraction.”[1]

Just as there are AA groups in every community, pregnancy help centers in every city, and sidewalk counselors in front of every abortion clinic, there need to be support groups and therapists in every part of the country dedicated to helping men and women with SSA and sexual identity disorders find their way to freedom.

Pope Francis sought to address the problem of how to deal with a priest with SSA. He said that he couldn’t judge. If a priest or indeed anyone is living chastely in though and deed, even if tormented by temptation, then we should not condemn him for his temptations, particularly when these spring from childhood traumas and deficits, but the problems faced by persons with SSA are not restricted to disordered patterns of sexual attraction. A man who is sexually attracted to other men will often have problems with authority. If he has not forgiven his father, he may have problems understanding what it means to be a father to all. He may be prone to non-sexual self-comforting behaviors. His attitudes to the Church’s teachings on sexual sin may be distorted.

While persons with SSA didn’t choose their temptations, there is nothing merciful about leaving them to struggle with such temptations alone, or pretending that resisting them is easy. Such men need specific help. If the Church has failed in the past to provide such help, we need to repent and remedy the situation. We should be praying for those struggling with this problem. They are not our enemies, but our friends, relations, and co-workers.

We can do so with assurance and if we do our part the grace will be given. In the 6th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul lists the various sexual sins including, but by no means limited to those promoted by GLBTQ activists. To those who committed such sins, he offers a sure hope:
“And so were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”[2]

Published in Crisis , August 27, 2013


[1] P.17

[2] I Cor. 6 :11

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers