Sexual orientation:Critiquing the theories, looking at the realities
By Rev. Stephen-Claude
THOUGH ASPECTS of the various theories have already been critiqued during the past few weeks, there is still need for a general critique and a look at the facts. According to Eloise May in an article, "What the Bible says about homosexuality", scripture has been misrepresented in a bid to condemn homosexuality and homosexuals. May suggested that translations often time gave the wrong interpretation of a text. She highlighted the popular passage in Jude 7.
According to May, Jude speaks of those who 'indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust'. The New Revised Standard Version, she tables, has a footnote that says the literal Greek is 'went after other flesh'. The question she asks at this point is - Does other flesh connote not human? I am speechless with respect to this point, may be some theologian knowledgeable in the Greek language can help us here.
The truth is that many may not embrace what May has posited; however, whether it is accepted or not, it is still something we have to grapple with instead of ignore, as this is a fundamental point. This therefore casts doubts on the validity of the interpretation of the Christian scriptures, well anyway, as far as this passage is concerned.
According to the biological viewpoint, it is being suggested that homosexuality is not just a result of conditioning and inculcation, but also a direct result of genetics and heredity. Based on the material presented over the past few weeks, it is being submitted that some people may be born homosexual as a result of genes passed on to them by one or both parents, or a result of happenings in the prenatal stage of development.
The truth, however, is that many of these biological theories are inconclusive also, and are therefore just as shaky as the spiritual model. The theory posited earlier with respect to the discovery regarding the similarity in brain size, as been seriously challenged. The man described as the one who proved that homosexuality is genetic, ironically is the one refuting this claim. Simon LeVay states categorically, that the test carried out to determine if homosexuality has a gene, has some major flaws.
It was LeVay, a neuroscientist, who conducted the study on the brain of individuals who were professed homosexuals and those who were professed heterosexuals. According to LeVay these flaws are as follows:
(1) In comparing the size of the INAH-3, he presumed that the 16 'heterosexual' males tested were in fact heterosexual. Only two of them denied homosexual activities, while for the rest, their sexual histories were not available;
(2) The volume of the INAH-3 may not be a relevant measure;
(3) When different laboratories measured the four areas of the INAH (including INAH-3), their results conflicted. This means therefore, that at least some of the tests, which were thought to be valid with respect to the biological theory, were misrepresented. How can we therefore be certain of the findings of this or other biological tests, when they also remain inconclusive?
Another area of concern for me has to do with the cause of abnormalities during the prenatal environment. Why is it that some are born hermaphrodites, some eunuchs, while others are born with other abnormalities, bearing in mind that an abnormality is anything which deviates from the norm? What would we suggest that the sexual orientation or preference of a hermaphrodite should be?
When and how do we determine which is the dominant gender in the individual? It has been noted that some children were considered to be a particular gender, and grown as such, be it male of female, then at puberty it is discovered that there is really more of the other gender present. How do we accommodate the sexual orientation of these individuals, or do we condemn them for something entirely out of their control?
My major concern at this point is that the various theories which have been posited, have all come up wanting. They are all inconclusive with respect to understanding sexual orientation. As far as I am concerned, it would be irresponsible both ways, for us to cast aspersions and judgments about people's sexuality, without first seeking to understand same.
Remember, this is a quest for knowledge, not a means to judge and condemn. We all need each other's views in order to effectively grapple with this issue.
* Rev. Stephen-Claude
Hyatt is guidance counsellor at Jamaica College. Join the debate; send
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