“There Are No Homosexuals”

Many of our opponents are starting to deny homosexuals exist.

Matt Barber of Liberty University threw a fit because Prop 8 Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, but he didn’t call the judge a homosexual. No, he called him “an active practitioner of the homosexual lifestyle,” and said, “Judge Walker apparently chooses to engage in homosexual conduct,” and wrote of Walker’s “alleged lifestyle choices.”

The Mormon Church, according to one LDS website, says to use “homosexual” only as an adjective, never as a noun. It prefers the increasing popular phrase, “men with SSA [same-sex attraction].”

NARTH co-founder Joe Nicolosi has reportedly said there are no homosexuals, just heterosexuals with a homosexual problem.

It wasn’t always this way. Conservatives used to be certain we existed. Educational films warned kids about homosexuals. The State Department refused to hire homosexuals. Anita Bryant spread the word that homosexuals are out to recruit kids (since we can’t reproduce, you know).

So why does the far right now insist there’s no such thing? The Family Research Council reveals the answer.

[H]omosexual conduct is not comparable to other characteristics usually protected by civil rights laws (“race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”). Protection against private “discrimination” has historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution-yet none of these describe homosexual behavior.

See? There’s no discrimination against homosexuals because there are no homosexuals. Just homosexual conduct. Homosexuality isn’t a state of being — it’s merely a set of actions. Hate crimes against homosexuals? No! Civil equality for homosexuals? No! Anti-bullying laws to protect young homosexuals? No! None of these things are necessary if there are no homosexuals.

This thinking is important when it comes to the “immutability” argument in Constitutional law.  Is homosexuality a choice?  Our opponents say that deciding to engage in homosexual acts is a choice, and people can stop being gay just by giving up gay sex.  That makes sense, though, only if homosexuality is nothing more than same-sex sex.  Obviously, though, it’s a great deal more — I was gay before I ever had sex, I’m gay when I’m not having sex, I’m gay right now as I type this (and there’s no man in sight).

Want to see their strategy in action? Here’s that godawful liar Concerned Women of America spokesperson, Janice Shaw Crouse:

Homosexual activists argue that they were born that way. That they cannot change. Actually, scientific research does not agree. They say some individuals have vulnerabilities, but acting on them is not inevitable. Other factors have to weigh in, such as parental disapproval, not being accepted socially, or a situation where the child doesn’t get the appropriate affirmation of their gender identity as a male or a female. In other words, vulnerability alone does not determine a person’s sexual preferences; external factors have to tip the person in the direction of homosexual behavior. Thousands of individuals can testify to the transforming power of their Christian faith that released them from the bondage of sinful behavior and brought them new life, peace, and joy.

First, scientific research isn’t on Crouse’s side (thanks to goodasyou.org).

But more importantly, note what Crouse does not say. She does not say that people can change what they feel. Only that they can change their actions. In fact, she uses “preferences” and “behavior” as if they meant the same thing. Her point is that we can change our behavior (true) and this will mean we are no longer homosexuals (colossal failure of an untruth!).

Note one more thing: even with all her slippery, squirming, greasy word-weaseling, she still can’t get away from the idea of a characteristic that we can’t change. Instead of calling it sexual orientation, she calls it “vulnerability.” I don’t see how that alters anything. Are some people born with this vulnerability? She conveniently evades that. Can people change this vulnerability? She evades that too, merely saying they can choose not to act on it. But vulnerability is just a code word for sexual orientation: some people are “vulnerable” to same-sex attraction, some to opposite-sex attraction, and some to both. Not even an ex-gay group like Exodus claims they can change that.

Language matters. Orwell taught us to be wary of political language that “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Janice Shaw Crouse is pure wind. The claim that there are no homosexuals, just homosexual conduct, is pure wind. The assertion that “gay” is something you do, but never something you are, is pure wind. And it’s a dangerous wind, at that.

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33 comments to “There Are No Homosexuals”

  • 1
    BradP says:

    Ugh. The only scientific studies they ever cite to are the FRC’s (and similar ilk’s) junk science, never to any respectable peer-reviewed journal.

    And honestly, the only people who ever say it’s just conduct and not immutable are straight people (apart from a few super-tortured christians who’ve convinced themselves not to be gay and are miserable).

  • 2
    Uki says:

    Ehm….yeah, well, unfortunately, many gay militant activists, do believe that Homosexuality is a ‘conduct’ and it’s not inborn, just as heterosexuals do.

    They rely on the Gender and Sexuality theories which basically says that all men and women are genderless and sexless when they are born. As they grow up, their gender and sexuality are being shaped.

    In Indonesia, every activists I know believed in these kinds of theories. And thus, many people do not want to be involved in gay activism, because the origin of this sexual orientation itself, is already something they disagree with.

    I’m having a hard time convincing those activists that being gay is not a choice, and it’s not something you ‘study’ as you grow up. I give them scientific evidence about it, and even give them testimony from people. But they are so proud of the knowledge they got, that they think, I’m the one who is stupid.

    :( *sigh*

    Everytime I went to a meeting with the activists attending, they keep saying that “This is our choice, we don’t hurt anyone”.

  • 3
    Bobby says:

    Sorry to discredit them, but I’m a gay, 40 year old male, and have never had sex with a female, ever. I’m basically as gay as the day is long. Always have been. Always will be.

  • 4
    Ben in Oakland says:

    I have you beat, bobby. I had sex with two wommen (admittedly 30 years ago) and I am still just as gay aas I was before, during, and after.

  • 5
    Martin says:

    Serious question, no heckling: Why does it matter if it is a choice? Because either way I fail to see any argument why one shouldn’t be free to make it. Why does same sex love (and same sex sex) have to justify itself?

    From all I’ve read and from the various people I talked to, it seems to me that either the exact reason for and mechanism of sexual orientation is still rather poorly understood, and that a lot of different theories compete with equal validity… or that there simply are different routes that lead to similar behaviour. Yeah, the Catholic Church I believe for a long time now has held the position, that while homosexuals have no choice about their desires, they do have the choice about acting upon them. Which sounds to me like, I don’t know, stealing. You may not be able not to want having it, but that still doesn’t give you the right to just take it.

    But they fail to explain why having consensual LGB sex or consensual LGB relationships is bad. And while it may well be that people don’t have a choice about how they feel, using that as the main argument sounds to me like comparing it to kleptomania, like saying: Yeah, it may be bad, but I don’t have a choice, so cut me some slack.

    In short, using the “I have no choice” argument, if true or not, sounds like hiding to me, like you are secretly admitting that you would choose differently if only you could. That if there was a pill against it – if a “choice” could be created, you’d be thankful and accept that. That while inexorable, being gay was still admittedly somehow bad.

    But it isn’t. Even someone born straight should have the right to have gay sex, shouldn’t they? Someone born gay should have the right to have straight sex. Not the obligation, of course, just the right to do whatever they please as long as it doesn’t immediately hurt anybody. The reasons to do so aren’t anybody’s damn business!

  • 6
    New York, NY says:

    Would these same people be willing to exclude religion as a constitutionally protected classification? Because I’ve known people who spent time “shopping” for a religion; I’ve never known anyone to “shop” for a sexuality or a gender identity.

  • 7
    pbateman says:

    1. It matters a great deal if its a choice. If sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic then it is wrong to stigmatize those who “are” either straight or gay. This makes it like race or gender. If it is merely a choice to engage in certain behavior, then there is absolutely no reason to respect or otherwise approve of “homosexual conduct.” That is, unless you take the position that noone can ever disapprove of anything that someone else does, which is a rather tenuous position. For example, there are men who get sexaul satisfaction by dressing in diapers and having women powder them and treat them like babies. I think this is horrific and would lose all respect for someone who I found to be “into” this. If homosexuality were merely a choice to engage in certain sexual conduct, people should be free to condemn or approve of it just as any other area of human choice (e.g. political positions, fashion choices, attitudes towards gender roles, religion, etc.)

    2. Although I believe that there are people who are 100% attracted to men and 100% attracted to women, I also believe that there are a significant number of people who would engage in heterosexual and homosexual conduct if society were more permissive of homosexuality. Any study of ancient Greece and, somewhat less so, Rome, would learn that those societies had a much different view of homosexuality. Their view was actually much more in line with that of the Christian organizations cited above, in that they merely saw homosexual sex as another form of sexual conduct which one could chose to engage in or not. As they were not disapproving of homosexuality, so called “homosexual conduct” was much more widespread and was enjoyed by those who would not fall into the category of “born gay.” This fact was influential in the writings of Gore Vidal, who was a big supporter of ending discrimination of homosexuality, but who himself (having had both straight and gay sex) viewed it as merely a choice of conduct not an immutable “orientation.”

  • 8
    Geoff Burbridge says:

    Congrats on being quoted on Andrew Sullivan this morning!


  • 9
    Doug says:

    I always figured those who argued so passionately that “it’s a choice” are convinced of that because it reflects their own experiences as they might be bisexual. It’s only natural for small-minded people to assume that their own experiences can be projected onto everyone else, because they think everyone is the same.
    So when they make these arguments about homosexuality being a choice, perhaps they really, truly believe it because for them, it was a choice.

  • 10
    Christopher says:

    Martin, while I don’t think sexual orientation is a choice, I do think that, as long as organizations like the Family Research Council exist, and, for that matter, as long as there are people who argue that sexual contact between two people of the same gender is wrong, it does matter whether or not it’s a choice.

    Notice that the Family Research Council justifies discrimination because anti-discrimination protections have “historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution”. Their claim is that it’s okay to discriminate against LGBT people because same-sex attraction is not inborn, involuntary, or immutable. I don’t know what “innocuous” means in this context since it seems like any characteristic that’s innocuous shouldn’t require the protection of anti-discrimination legislation.

    And of course they have to throw in “and/or in the Constitution” because religion is not inborn, involuntary, immutable, or innocuous, but it is protected by Constitutional guarantees.

    The biggest problem is a question I think lawyers and scholars are always wrangling over, particularly in cases such as this: whether there’s a Constitutional right to privacy. It seems here that the Family Research Council is taking the position that there is no such right, although that attitude might change if someone started prying into what they do in the bedroom. Admittedly they’d probably just say there was a right to privacy that covered them but not anyone else.

  • 11

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mitra G, Jonathan Sheir. Jonathan Sheir said: “There Are No Homosexuals”: http://j.mp/d1RlL6 […]

  • 12
    Mistereks says:

    The next time someone claims sexuality is a choice, ask them if the same logic applies to people who are left-handed. The behavior is clearly out of the norm, and no one HAS to use their left hand to write or throw a ball – it’s a “choice” one can make or not.

    No one knows precisely what causes a person to be left- or right-handed, but it’s generally believed to be a combination of genetics, hormone levels in utero and reinforcement of cultural norms in early childhood. If you’re ambidextrous, but have right-handed parents, it’s more likely you’re going to be encouraged/supported to become right-handed. And since the world is generally set-up to support righties (there wouldn’t be special stores — http://www.leftyscorner.com/ — that cater to lefties if it wasn’t), you would likely allow yourself to approach the world as a righty.

  • 13
    BobN says:

    [H]omosexual conduct is not comparable to other characteristics usually protected by civil rights laws (“race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”). Protection against private “discrimination” has historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution-yet none of these describe homosexual behavior.

    I swear, their entire goal is just to wear us down with repetition.

    One more time… RELIGION is entirely mutable characteristic.

    P.S. Glad to hear that Concerned Women for America finally hired an actual female!!! Progress, I suppose.

  • 14
    John says:

    Martin, you’re absolutely right. But your being right has to be beside the point for the moment. The first order of business is to establish that there are such things as people born homosexual (I think we all agree that there are). Once that fact is accepted in society at large, then only good things can come from it: ending of discrimination of an immutable class, etc. AFTER that happens we canwork toward propagating the more sophisticated notion that, at least in this case, the difference between “choice” and “orientation” is irrelevant.

    But again, you are correct, sir. Hopefully one day everyone will share your viewpoint.

  • 15
    Martin says:

    @ Christopher: Hm, okay, I see the legal problem in the battle for protection under dscrimination laws. But is there really no other way? The German constitution grants the “the right to free development of his
    personality”, and the US Declaration of Independence extolled the right to the pursuit of happiness. It seems weirdly arbitrary to make discrimination a matter of only biology or religion. Because I still think it’s a risky way to go, as far as the argument goes, because it comes dangerously close to implicitly agreeing with the bigots that being gay is somehing akin to an illness, something maybe inevitable, but undesirable.

  • 16
    Steve T. says:

    Mistereks: Interesting analogy. My father, who is 85, once told me that he was born left-handed, but because of the prejudices of the time was forced to train himself to be right-handed.

    He thinks it did him a whole lotta harm.

  • 17
    Mistereks says:

    Steve T: My ex-father-in-law faced the same issues. He had his left hand tied to his desk in school.

    All you have to do is replace “left-handed” for “gay” or “homosexual” in pretty much any writing, and you can see the parallels. In the middle ages, left-handedness was seen as a “sign of the devil.”

    Lefties do some very important things in the exact opposite way that the vast majority of people, and occasionally accommodations must be made (on both sides). Lefties have certain advantages, primarily in sports, but they also tend to die younger and have more accidents.

    I hope we can get to the day when a person’s sexuality is of no more consequence in the social and political realm than their handedness. It will be something one notes as different (I never think about Obama being a southpaw until I see him signing something or shooting hoops), but we won’t judge their character based on it. We used to. Left-handedness was at one time a “sign of the devil.” The terms “sinister” and “gauche” both derive from terms meaning “left” and both have negative connotations. Sort of like “that’s so gay” does today. “Dextrous,” on the other hand, has positive connotations.

    So when people bring up the “you don’t HAVE to act on your gay impulses,” ask them to try using their non-dominant hand as their dominant hand, just for a day. Most people wouldn’t even last an hour.

  • 18
    Richard says:

    So as long as you don’t indulge in homosexual behavior, you’re not a homosexual.

    Does that mean that men and women who join Catholic holy orders and voluntarily choose to not indulge in heterosexual behavior cease to become heterosexual?

  • 19
    Lee Harris says:

    Yes. We are still having to battle the old nature/nurture/choice questions. And, I sort of like the idea that the homophobes and bigots all switch to the “homosexual conduct” argument. Then, we all say in unison — homosexual conduct is not illegal. It is settled law. So, STFU and leave us alone.

    Then, let them explain why discrimination continues against folks that are breaking no laws……

  • 20
    Regan DuCasse says:

    A straight person arguing with a gay person that it’s a choice…is like a man arguing that HE knows what childbirth is like with a woman who has given birth.
    In other words…
    Straight folks don’t know shit about it. And look stupid arguing as if they did.
    The closest a heterosexual could come to understanding what sexual orientation is like and changing it, is to ponder the notion of what it would take for THEM to turn homosexual.
    If, for a second, it finally occurs to them that they’d rather be set on fire, and being dragged behind wild horses over broken glass wouldn’t make them gay, then their answer is right in front of their noses.

    Sometimes, our Creator DOES give us ample opportunity to NOT be a complete stupid horse’s butt.
    However, some people are determined to be just that, and God herself couldn’t help them.

  • 21
    BradP says:


    Alas, the problem is that the FRC isn’t science and isn’t credible but they have alas credibility. It’s the media’s fault, I think. The media here almost always give X and Not-X equal validity. In a rational world, the media would say “FRC is universally discredited as junk science.” It doesn’t. In the US, a group could say “the world is flat” and the media would report “A new research group claims the world is flat. Here are two pundits to discuss this interesting new controversy.”

  • 22
    Christopher says:

    @Martin, sorry for getting back late, but I want to clarify that I agree with you completely. I’m just trying to articulate and understand what I think is the FRC’s position in order to argue against it more effectively. And I may be wrong but it seems the more I try to understand it the crazier it seems. Especially since the FRC doesn’t just think protections should be granted on the basis of biology or the Constitution. They also mention characteristics which are “innocuous”. I still have no clue what this refers to, although maybe the FRC thinks that people who, for example, like to read on the bus might be discriminated against. Reading on the bus is a choice, and it’s not protected by the Constitution, but it is innocuous. So if you should ever be discriminated against for reading on the bus you can thank the FRC for standing up for your right to do so. That’s how silly and arbitrary their argument seems to me–they have to reach really far in an attempt to make sure everything but homosexuality or bisexuality is covered. That allows them to claim–falsely–that they’re really against discrimination.

    @BradP–thanks for the laugh, although it’s sad that you’re right on the mark. I think I saw that discussion regarding the Earth’s flatness on CNN the other night.

  • 23
    Martin says:

    What… the earth ISN’T flat???

    Nonsense. The Australians would all fall off it then…

  • 24
    Bob says:

    Well I guess NARTH’S friend George Rekers is a “heterosexual with a homosexual problem!”

  • 25
    Bill says:

    Straight folks should really be better to their LGTB children. Or figure out a way to stop creating so many of us.

    Seriously, whether gay children are created by NATURE or NURTURE, both nature AND nurture are the responsibility of heterosexuals. So why make your LGTB children pay for your mistakes, whether those ‘mistakes’ are caused biologically (nature) or are caused by how you raise your children (nurture)?

    Heterosexuals have always asserted that gayness is either caused by nature or nurture. But they have never really acknowledged the fact that they are responsible for BOTH of those things.

    Kind of unfair not to acknowledge your role in this, no?”

  • 26

    […] Your Actions vs. Choosing Your Orientation Regular readers know how aggravated I am by the right-wing line that there’s no such thing as homosexuality or a homosexual — there’s just […]

  • 27

    […] Homosexual Thanksgiving Behavior (and a recipe!) As you all know, there are no homosexuals, there is only sinful homosexual behavior.  And I’m afraid I’m at it […]

  • 28

    […] you all know, there are no homosexuals, there is only sinful homosexual behavior.  And I’m afraid I’m at it […]

  • 29
    Steve says:

    They are right. There is indeed only homosexual behaviour. So fucking what? If people want to behave homosexually, let them behave homosexually. Let them behave sexually however they want, so long as all participants are consetning and of age. Jesus.   

  • 30

    […] More Sinful Homosexual Behavior I’m afraid I did it again.  I committed more of what the far right calls sinful homosexual behavior. […]

  • 31

    […] and one more delicious bit: Antigays love to say there are no homosexuals, just homosexual behavior. You see that in Brian’s wording: “Harris Interactive […]

  • 32

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