As young people mature, all over the planet, they gradually become aware of their sexuality, some sooner, some later. Ideally, their parents will discuss the matter with them, as with any other aspects of reality. However, we know that many, many parents do not do so, either for cultural or religious reasons, or out of embarrassment about the topic.
Thus, many young people are thrown on their own resources to find out what it is all about — this is more the case with boys than with girls, as when girls’ periods start, Mom has to do some explaining.
Whereas in the past, young people entering puberty often learned about their sexuality from their more knowledgeable peers, now Internet pornography might fill that vacuum, so it is often very difficult for young people to get a balanced view of their sexuality and what it means.
When it comes to relationships with other humans, whether social or sexual, the difficulties of attaining some sort of balance are multiplied, This is most especially the case with that minority of humans, LGBTQ people, who find, at whatever age (some even before puberty, others much later, but the majority during the puberty years) that they are, somehow, outside what most others consider “the norm.”
They find that what they are experiencing as normal for themselves, a homosexual attraction, is very often looked down upon and rejected by the heterosexual majority. This causes tremendous suffering.
The reality is, I suggest — well, I am convinced, that very few humans are, in their sexual orientation, 100 percent heterosexual/”straight” or 100 percent homosexual/”gay,” or even 50-50 for that matter.
Here, aside from straights, I mean to talk about the “L” and “G” of LGBTQ; bisexual, transsexual/transgender and queer folks of all sorts have their own specific challenges, but all have to face the reality, eventually, of their sexual orientation, so I would say that most humans are either predominantly straight or predominantly gay, with, for the preservation of the human race, the majority being predominantly straight.
The predominantly gay (whom I will subsequently refer to as simply “gay,” which term I use to include both female lesbians and male gays) will always be a minority.
Sexologists differ widely on how many gay humans there are at any given moment — some say as many as 25 percent of the human race; the majority put it at somewhere between 5 and 10 percent.
For the purpose of this piece, I will put it at an extremely low rate of 1 percent. One percent of the current human race would amount to about 70 million people.
What kind of socio-sexual relationships are these 70 million human beings going to have in their lives? As with all young people to some extent, so with gays of any age, there are but 3 options: celibacy (no sex at all), promiscuity (sex with a number of different partners), or “marriage” (a forever commitment to one other person).
I put the word marriage in quotes because for many gay people around the world, even those partners who have been faithfully together for many years, same-sex marriage is not legal in their country; in some places, same-sex partnerships are legal, but under another term, not “marriage.”
Way back when, I was personally in favor of these latter arrangements; but then I discovered that in almost all of these cases, the gay couples were actually second-class citizens. Let me give just two of many examples of this: not being allowed to legally inherit a dead partner’s assets and not being allowed to care for a dying partner in the hospital (sometimes not even allowed into the room!).
In these cases, the rights concerned were often given to the partner’s blood family members, who had in many cases years before rejected the dying partner and thrown her/him out of the family. So I, reasonably I believe, began to support same-sex marriage as the only fair way for a society to recognize gay commitments.
I find it interesting that some of the most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage are religious groups, some of which hold that all gay people — all 70 million of them — must remain celibate for life. This is rather unrealistic, to put it mildly.
Even, for the followers of Jesus Christ, the Master said very clearly: “Many are called, but few are chosen,” and here he was referring to a primary commitment to himself, which today is most often expressed through celibacy, among other things.
Even many religious documents state that celibacy is a gift, exceptionally given by God to but a few. So, one can get from this that the churches opposed to same-sex marriage are somehow supporting promiscuity. Of course, they will deny this, but look at the reality, folks.
Another argument often used by religious, and other groups and individuals is that same-sex marriage would destroy heterosexual marriage and the “traditional” family. This is speculation based upon scant, if any, evidence. Nonetheless, it rings true for many listeners.
There are, and always have been, many instances of “non-traditional” families — for example, single-parent households where one spouse has died or left — and many of them thrive. The greatest challenge to heterosexual marriage and the family in our age might be the ease of divorce in many societies on our planet.
There are, for sure, cases where divorce is really justified, but “divorces of convenience” ought to really be questioned. Yes, some churches have spoken out against the latter, but fairly lamely, I would say.
The available evidence, on the contrary, is that same-sex marriages are just as successful as, and pose no real challenge to, heterosexual ones, including those where the same-sex couple is raising children (often filling in the gap where heterosexual couples refuse to adopt orphans).
MT Young has been a teacher, social worker and counselor for many years. A native of the US, he has lived in Asia for more than 40 years and is now a permanent resident of Taiwan.
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