Writing about an organization called Courage International, Richard G. Evans has some advice for his fellow Catholics on how to overcome same-sex attraction.
Evans himself admits to same-sex attractions, but he maintains that he’s celibate and therefore a Catholic in good standing within the Church. As you can probably expect, his “advice” is rooted in falsehoods about what causes homosexuality and how it can be “overcome” (spoiler: it can’t).
Andrés’s wounds began even before he was born. He was the middle son of three. His father had hoped for a daughter. My friend’s father had spent much time speaking to and of him while he was yet pre-born, calling him his princess and other endearing but clearly feminine names and pronouns. Science cannot definitively tell us how much unborn children can understand but it is known that they feel pain and clearly can sense the mood of their mother and other loved ones. My friend believes he was already unconsciously rejecting his own masculinity before ever making his earthly appearance in 1991.
After he was born, his mother was overprotective. The intent was a genuine maternal instinct, but the effect was that Andrés did not identify or connect with his dad. In addition, his father worked long hours and, as he puts it, “couldn’t give the love he didn’t get.”
That’s… not how this works. At all. Your parents can’t turn you gay while you’re in the womb, much less turn you straight outside of it. And not connecting with your father isn’t a cause for homosexuality.
It’s such a laughably bad argument, it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. And yet Evans keeps writing…
As time went on, this young man’s gentle and sensitive nature became the brunt of jokes, cruel pranks, and sexual harassment by other children. They sometimes bullied and touched him physically which further damaged his sense of masculinity and self-respect. He became more solitary until one day, at the tender age of 13, someone in school showed him some pictures of profane sexuality. In his words, these images “broke the innocence” he had. I too had a similar experience around the same age. Andrés says, “All of this (aloneness) built up within me, and in light of it, the only ‘faithful friend’ who always was there to ‘liberate’ my pain was pornography.” An addiction was born.
Porn addiction is real — no one’s disputing that. But this story implies either that gay porn is what makes you gay, which is blatantly false.
The article goes on to describe Andrés’ unhealthy relationships with older men as a substitute for the love he wasn’t getting from his father — a trope so worn and tired that it’s just cliché at this point. Nothing makes you gay. You are or you aren’t. You have as much power over your sexual orientation as you do your eye color or left-handedness.
The only choice you get to make is whether or not to suppress those desires — as Evans did — and pretend there’s something wrong with you for even having them. If you prefer to go through life unhappy and constantly on edge, so be it. You’ll get to think of yourself as a martyr for the cause.
It certainly makes for a more compelling religious narrative, even if none of it is accurate.
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