Go Read This

I was up late at the Underground Meeting last night. All I can tell you now is that the secret handshake is undergoing revisions to accommodate “L”, who lost his right ring finger in a barbed-wire-evasion training session. The good news is that everybody has settled on their code names.

Anyway, since all my attention was on cabal building, I did not complete the post on the latest admission of bloodlust from our progressive pals. Stay tuned for that tomorrow.

But to entertain you until then, and if you have the nerve, go and read this piece by David Benkof: Nobody is ‘born that way,’ gay historians say.

A very sympathetic but sobering review (the authors he cites are themselves mostly gay and lesbian).

Full of tidbits like this: “scholars of gay history and anthropology. They’re almost all LGBT themselves, and they have decisively shown that gayness is a product of Western society originating about 150 years ago.” This: “But no society before the 19th century had a gay minority or even discernibly gay-oriented individuals.” This: “According to the experts on homosexuality across centuries and continents, being gay is a relatively recent social construction.”

What about all those Greeks? This: “scholars don’t think the ancient Greeks had a gay minority.” And this: “It’s tempting to look for versions of our own lives and identities in other eras, but responsible history tries to understand the past on its own terms.”

And so on and so forth. As all serious scholars have long recognized, sexual “orientation” is a recent invention. And this being so, we should be especially cautious about rearranging all of society. It’s best to have an understanding of what is true and not what we hope is true (this does not argue, in the least, for a “return” to the “way things were”).

As regular readers know, getting people to consider arguments contrary to their beliefs is like getting an English professor to stop listening to NPR. So I don’t actually expect everybody to read Benkof’s article. Nevertheless, feel free to comment on the subject. It makes for a more florid and stimulating conversation.


The books to read are When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe is False by Stephen Goldberg and The Politics of Deviance by Anne Hendershott.

When I have the time, I’ll put up some relevant quotes. Meanwhile, try books.google.com and Amazon’s “look inside.”

Update From Goldberg, p. 49 (the problem with quoting this guy is that he is so lucid and writes so tightly, there is no better summary than his own words); nevertheless…).

However, it is worth nothing that a poll of thousands of APA members taken after the APA vote found that two-thirds of those polled feel that homosexuality is a disorder. The difference between the original vote and the poll may merely reflect a theoretical distinction between two types of abnormality; if this is the case, then—despite the fact that the APA vote is invariably invoked as evidence that the members fine homosexuality normal—the original vote did not indicate that the members considered homosexuality normal. More likely, the difference between the vote and the poll indicates, as Arno Karlen has suggested, that many members publicly argued that homosexuality is normal (and voted this way) while privately believing homosexuality to be abnormal. Many members do, in fact, admit privately that they did this. They justify this in terms on humanitarianism. It used to be called lying.


  1. Sheri

    “But those who demand social or political change because gays are born that way just don’t know much about history.”

    People don’t remember that the reason homosexuality was removed from the list of psychiatric diseases was due to the protests of homosexual psychiatrists who could not practice homosexuality and psychiatry both. The society voted to remove the “disease”, not because it was innate or any such thing. It was inconvenient. And much of this did begin with Freud, whose psychiatry was obsessed with all that is sexual. That which he either did not approve of or did not understand, he labelled as a mental illness. Not a great boon for society, it seems.

  2. Ken

    Many twin studies show a ‘straight/gay’ correlation comparable to other diseases where genetic & environmental factors interrelate.

    E.G., one of many such reviews: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_caus3.htm

    Maybe not “born that way” …however… the evidence repeatedly indicates that something happens to produce the orientation and that something is observable by puberty. A genetic predisposition to develop into being gay–in the presence of the right environmental factors (e.g. same family with same mix of toxic psychological dynamics) is also observed.

    Which raises the related issue this blog, once again, appears to be trying to sidestep: Whatever the causal factors/causes, this is something beyond control — NOBODY CHOOSES TO BE GAY and NOBODY HAS CHOSEN TO BE GAY.

    RE: “As all serious scholars have long recognized, sexual “orientation” is a recent invention.”

    That is utter BS…ancient Greeks & Romans, for example, incorporated gay practices & even marriage (e.g. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome).

    By “all serious scholars” Briggs apparently means “those who think like I do (and who are willing to ignore historical evidence to the contrary to retain a mindset & belief of particular viewpoints).”

  3. Briggs


    On your “nobody chooses”. This is false. As in false.


    For example, historian Dr. Martin Duberman, founder of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, said “no good scientific work establishes that people are born gay or straight.” And cultural anthropologist Dr. Esther Newton (University of Michigan) called one study linking sexual orientation to biological traits ludicrous: “Any anthropologist who has looked cross-culturally (knows) it’s impossible that that’s true, because sexuality is structured in such different ways in different cultures.”

    If I’ve got the right URL:


    P. 154:


    More later…

  4. Steve Crook

    Ok, I did the unthinkable and read the article.

    At the end of which I was left thinking pretty much what I’ve always thought which is that some are homo, some hetero and there’s a range between. In modern times ‘gayness’ has arisen from a combination of a cultural disapproval of homo sex and the rise of medical diagnosis that has provided an opportunity for those who’d like to ‘cure’ homo sexuals.

    We’d all probably be better off if we had no expectations and let people sort it out for themselves. But that’s never going to happen…

    @ken. Agreed. It seems likely that there’s no single determining factor in sexual orientation. Probably a combination of parental genes and environmental factors in the womb along with a slew of things that happen during childhood.

  5. Sheri

    Steve: Yes! Someone else actually read the article!

    Ken: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/truth-about-sexuality-ancient-greece-and-rome261012 from the “gay” community itself. Also, check Wiki on the term “penetrance”–on the low end, it says it’s difficult to distinquish from environmental.

    If we really want to blame genetics, then every single person on this planet has a genetic predisposition to murder. Saw it in the first two siblings and we’ve seen it throughout history. All humans are born with the urge and some learn to control it and some do not. Blaming genetics pretty much means we can’t condemn people for committing homicide except that homocide is chaotic and probably not a good way to run a society. Some use it, some don’t. But it’s not our fault because we were born that way, right?

  6. Ray

    “They justify this in terms on humanitarianism. It used to be called lying.”
    I thought that lying for a good cause was praiseworthy. That’s because all of my causes are good.

  7. The original Mr. X


    “RE: “As all serious scholars have long recognized, sexual “orientation” is a recent invention.”

    That is utter BS…ancient Greeks & Romans, for example, incorporated gay practices & even marriage (e.g. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Greece & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome).”

    Maybe you should try reading the article. It specifically points to the Ancient Greeks as an example of a culture which had socially-accepted same-sex sexual activity without having any concept of sexual orientation.

    Also, the idea that they had gay marriages is completely false.

  8. Russell

    so why do gays stay in stable relationships for long periods of time?

  9. Russell

    and why did pray away the gay fail so badly

  10. Sylvain Allard

    One has to be very careful in reading such a text in not providing desired outcome on what they read.

    Here are a few conclusions and commented excerpt taken from the article:

    1) “Homosexuality was created 150 years ago”: True. I have mentioned in other thread before that homosexuality, as well as pedophilia, were created with the development of psychiatry in the 19th century.

    2) There were no homosexual minority before recent time: True again. In ancient times homosexual were considered normal, they were not treated differently than other peoples who were not. There were only people and what sexuality they had had no influence on their daily lives

    “(There weren’t straight people, either. Only our society believes people are oriented in just one direction, as gay history pioneer Jonathan Ned Katz, formerly of Yale, explained in his book The Invention of Heterosexuality.)”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/19/nobody-is-born-that-way-gay-historians-say/#ixzz2wXrBqNK2

    3) “Sexual orientations cannot be innate”. Unknown, nobody knows how or why certain qualities appear in human. No one knows why 90% of the population is right handed and why 10% is left handed with a mix of ambidextrous in between. There are identical twins that have 1 left-handed, and 1 right-handed and the same is seen concerning sexuality. If identical DNA can provide different outcome then the solution is unlikely to be found in heredity. But being raised in the same family also doesn’t give much credence to the sexuality is acquire the ideology. Are left-handed people diseased because they do not conform to the majority? Certainly not., but still they were stigmatize at school by religious teacher which impaired there learning ability and the majority of those who were force to write from the right hand did very poorly in their life.

    4) “Few scholars with advanced degrees in anthropology or history who concentrate on homosexuality believe gays have existed in any cultures before or outside ours, much less in all cultures. These professors work closely with an ever-growing body of knowledge that directly contradicts “born that way” ideology.” There were gay relations at every time in society throughout history, though it is well known that big urban center makes it easier for gay to find other gays.

  11. Paul W

    “so why do gays stay in stable relationships for long periods of time?”

    Loving someone and lusting after someone are two very different things. Pope John Paul I wrote some pretty interesting stuff about how heterosexuality is just as sinful as homosexuality. The idea being that love is between people. Heterosexuality is the desire for the abstract idea of the opposite sex So, if male, you describe yourself as heterosexual or attracted to those attributes that are the essence of the female- breasts, hips, other feminine naughty bits, etc. That desire for the parts that make the opposite sex and not for a person being the basis for addictions to the adult entertainment industry. Love is replaced by the desire for the abstract femaleness and that is just as sinful as homosexuality when described as the desire for same sex attributes. Loving a person is not sinful. Acting on lust, with either sex, can be.


  12. Barbara

    Hey, didja ever consider that “sodomy laws” might be a rather large part of the reason that gay people rarely made themselves known publicly before the 19th Century?

    Most sodomy laws in Western civilization originated from the growth of Christianity during Late Antiquity.[11] Note that today some Christian denominations allow gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.[12]

    In England, Henry VIII introduced the first legislation under English criminal law against sodomy with the Buggery Act of 1533, making buggery punishable by hanging, a penalty not lifted until 1861.

    Gee, what an odd coincidence that once they stopped hanging people for homosexual sex right there in the middle of the 19th Century, a few gay people started to feel safer to identify themselves as such….

    (And BTW, are you guys just getting around to noticing this fact? Gay folks have known this for decades.)

  13. Barbara,

    The point is that people in the ancient world did not identify themselves as “homosexuals” or “heterosexuals”. This whole notion of “identity” is a result of psychiatry in large part. People were people, and they did actions, and those actions were considered right or wrong. Sure, people have predispositions, but no one has a static “orientation”, which seems more an attempt to justify behavior than to explain its origins.

  14. The original Mr. X


    “Hey, didja ever consider that “sodomy laws” might be a rather large part of the reason that gay people rarely made themselves known publicly before the 19th Century?”


    “Gays in other cultures couldn’t come out because homosexuality wasn’t accepted. But we have loads of evidence of same-sex intercourse and love, which would be unlikely if the problem was homophobia. We have no convincing evidence that the people leaving such records were unresponsive to the opposite sex or considered themselves to be oriented differently than those who expressed passion for opposite-sex individuals.”

  15. Ken

    Briggs – RE: “On your “nobody chooses”. This is false. As in false.”


    Even the most cursory skimming of commentary reveals time & again how this or that kid or young adult struggled with coming to terms with their actual feelings vs. their parents & societies expectations.

    There is no “choice” there.

    As you undoubtedly ignored my reference to twin studies and ALL the implications — yes, many twins do & don’t become gay, indicating an absence of a strong genetic component.

    But just because there’s no genetic determination doesn’t mean, therefore, that someone “chose” to be gay. It’s not an “either-you’re-born-that-way” versus a “you-choose-to-be-that-way” tradeoff!

    The evidence has always pointed to environmental factors, emotional/psychological (e.g. stress/toxic parenting/emotional abuse) driving the development of psychological defense mechanisms that lead to the orientation, AND, with & without therapy, to a gradual change toward more heterosexual orientation (sometimes the “conversion” is total, often not).

    Of course, with your aversion to “psychology” the issue is simplified to an either/or trade-off, with genetics ruled out leaving conscious choice the only alternative.

  16. Ken

    My gosh…mention a couple of ancient examples & some people react as if that was the entirety…

    In the ancient world the tolerance of homosexuality (& other orientations) was MUCH more liberal than today. And the ancient world includes a lot more than Greece & Rome — a couple of quick examples.

    Not until ~342 AD did Rome outlaw same-sex-unions … so those must have been occurring (no point in outlawing something that wasn’t happening)… Things weren’t so intolerant in Assyria, Mesopotamia, China (some places) and on & on…

    Which just illustrates the flawed logic applied by much of the ilk frequenting this site: Pick an example then find its flaws and then conclude that the topic the example was exemplifying was all wrong. The flaw being that the example is not representative as its portrayed (usually by implication). Much of that derives from self-inflicted ignorance — ‘I don’t know, therefore it didn’t happen (and there’s no way I’ll do even a cursory bit of research to shake me from this comfortable, to me, mindset).’

  17. Ken

    History of Same-Sex-Unions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    Rome: Nero married a boy (for awhile).

    Gay marriage — it happened in the ancient world and is not some new invention. Maybe they didn’t use labels & so on like society today…but back then they weren’t such prudes to need such labels & make such classifications.

  18. Ken

    FROM: Catholic World: “Gay Marriage — Nothing New Under the Sun; Gay marriage and homosexuality were part of the moral landscape faced by the first Christians in Ancient Rome.”


    Long essay; one excerpt: “What Christians are fighting against today, then, is not yet another sexual innovation peculiar to our “enlightened age,” but the return to pre-Christian, pagan sexual morality.

    “So, what was happening in ancient Rome? Homosexuality was just as widespread among the Romans as it was among the Greeks (a sign of which is that it was condoned even by the stolid Stoics). The Romans had adopted the pederasty of the Greeks (aimed, generally, at boys between the ages of 12 to 18). There was nothing shameful about such sexual relations among Romans, if the boy was not freeborn. Slaves, both male and female, were considered property, and that included sexual property.”

    That’s a rather different perspective than:

    “As all serious scholars have long recognized, sexual “orientation” is a recent invention. And this being so, we should be especially cautious about rearranging all of society on this shifting figment.”

  19. Sheri

    Ken: The Mayor of New York’s wife is a former lesbian.

  20. Sylvain Allard


    It just means she was bisexual to begin with.

  21. Briggs


    Interesting that some of us are willing to throw out (without due consideration) the work of avowedly “gay” and “lesbian” scholars simply because the theory of “orientation” is just too beguiling.

  22. Briggs


    Are all necrophiliacs—or should I say, those boasting of necrophiliac orientation—“born that way”?

  23. The original Mr. X


    “Rome: Nero married a boy (for awhile).”

    Which was held up as an example of his utter insanity and depravity. Also I seem to recall that he had the boy castrated first of all to try and make him into a woman.

    “FROM: Catholic World: “Gay Marriage — Nothing New Under the Sun; Gay marriage and homosexuality were part of the moral landscape faced by the first Christians in Ancient Rome.”


    So let’s see, we have the existence of homosexual activity (which is correct, but irrelevant — homosexual activity is not the same as gay marriage), two Emperors who were widely held up as the epitome of debauchery and insanity, a couple of satirists and a bit of the Theodosian Code which supposedly outlaws same-sex marriage, but which we can’t actually check because the author doesn’t quote or cite the relevant section. Sorry, it’s going to take better evidence than that to prove your point.

  24. Sheri

    Of course, Sylvain, the poor woman was just confused and you know so much more about her than she knew about herself. Technically, everyone is probably bisexual, which is where that “choice” comes in that liberals and gay advocates so hate. If we all are bisexual, then it IS a choice, isn’t it?

  25. Ken

    At Mr. X:

    ….the idea that they had gay marriages is completely false.
    ….homosexual activity is not the same as gay marriage),…it’s going to take better evidence than that to prove your point…

    THAT just re-illustrates the underlying point–cherry-picking and selectively ignoring facts to hold a cherished belief.

    Rome outlawed, 342 AD, via the Theodosian Code (9.7.3) gay marriage. One can choose to believe that the law did not address actual arrangements and was only pre-emptive… And one can ignore many other examples of gay marriage in history in many cultures (even American Indians). But beliefs do not change facts…though self-imposed ignorance is bliss [apparently]…

  26. Sylvain Allard

    Definition of sexual orientation:

    sexual orientation
    one’s natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.

    Medical Dictionary
    sexual orientation n.
    The direction of one’s sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. Replaces sexual preference in most contemporary uses.

    The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
    Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

    Cultural Dictionary
    sexual orientation definition

    Preference for sexual activity with people of the opposite sex, the same sex, or both. ( See bisexuality, heterosexuality, and homosexuality.)

    Where does it mention necrophilia?

    Are left-handed person born this way?

    Why some male have 2 XX chromosome and some female have 1 X 1 Y chromosome (about one in a million)?

    No one knows how or why some people are left-handed. The same no one knows why some people are gay.

    History cannot answer if people were born this way. But we know that there were gay relation when the torah (which means the law in english) was first written 1000 bc, since it necessitated the inclusion of sodomite provision in the ancient testament.

    I don’t ignore these scholars but I do think that there word have been twisted.

  27. Briggs


    Ah, a nice circular definition. “What is homosexuality” “It’s defined as sexual orientation.” “And what’s sexual orientation?” “Well, that’s homosexuality.”

    Why, I wonder, are you so anxious to avoid discussing the other ‘orientation’?

  28. “Nice summary of “biblical marriage” — too bad Jesus didn’t take a position on marriage…presumably because the old ways in this area (unlike an eye-for-an-eye giving way to turning-the-other-cheek) remained ok.”

    Something tells me you really aren’t interested in what “Biblical Marriage” might be…

  29. Sylvain Allard


    Why didn’t you answer the question about left-handers? Are they born that way?

    There are no other orientations. What you are talking about are fetishes.

  30. Briggs


    Circular definition. What proof have you that they are not born that way?

  31. The original Mr. X


    “THAT just re-illustrates the underlying point–cherry-picking and selectively ignoring facts to hold a cherished belief.”

    No, it just illustrates that I’m unwilling to believe the claims of a random ideologue on the internet without good evidence.

    “Rome outlawed, 342 AD, via the Theodosian Code (9.7.3) gay marriage.”

    Let’s see what the relevant section actually says, shall we:

    Cum vir nubit in feminam, femina viros projectura, quid cupiat, ubi sexus perdidit locum, ubi scelus est, id quod non proficit scire, ubi Venus mutatur in alteram formam, ubi amor quaeritur nec videtur?—Jubemus insurgere leges, armari jura gladio ultore, ut exquisitis poenis subdantur infames qui sunt vel qui futuri sunt rei.

    When a man marries a woman, the woman is going to reject men, what would he desire, where sex has lost its place, where there is that crime which it is not good to know, where desire is changed into another form, where love is sought but not seen?—We order that the laws arise and the statutes be armed with the sword of vengeance, so that those infamous men who are or shall be guilty undergo exquisite punishments.

    Now what exactly is it about this law that makes you think that (a) it’s referring to homosexual activity at all, and (b) it’s referring specifically to gay marriage rather than just gay relationships in general?

  32. Sylvain Allard

    Because just like left-handedness we don’t know why they are that way.they just are.

  33. Briggs


    I hope you realize you’re not answering the question. And then we haven’t even brought up the No True Scotsman fallacy that’s lurking in this discussion.

    But then never mind. It seems all the evidence contradictory to your belief isn’t budging you (I mean the evidence from the sources cited; forget me). I suggest writing the scholars the author cited (after you read their papers, of course) and then tell them how they have it wrong. They’ll appreciate it, I’m sure.

  34. Sheri

    “3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19)'” (No mention of a man/man relationship. One would think he would have mentioned that if it were really important. It’s really quite clear: man/woman)

    Leviticus 18:22-30
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.

    Then there’s Noah and his wife, sons and their wives and not Noah and his multiple wives. Again, one man, one woman. As my niece once noted, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Peter. I would add: not Adam and Eve for procreation and Peter for recreational sex.

    Sylvain: There have been murders since day one, prostitutes, theives, etc. Are you saying we should not ask why people do these things and just let everyone do as their natures dictate? Oh, of course not if you find it personally offensive. Again, Sylvain, the arbitrator of morality (that law that makes a legal person). Even a mind reader now. (Reminds me of the early definitions of autism. It was incurable. If the child was trained out of it, then he never was autistic.)

    (By the way, left handed people can often change to the right hand, as can right-handed change to the left hand if injury prevents use of the dominent hand. So there’s a lot of environment in handedness.)

  35. Sylvain Allard


    How can one answer the question are they born this way if we don’t know what make them what they are? You can say whether a characteristic is innate or acquired.

    We know that in identical twin you can have one left-handed and one right-handed. The same goes with gays where you have one straight and one gay in identical twins. Evidently, some component of our character are not determined by our DNA.

    I hope you realize that you didn’t answer my question yourself?

    BTW I actually agree with almost every quote cited in the article. What I don’t agree is the interpretation of those quote to suite your view.

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