Is Homosexuality A Disability?



Guy’s walking along, innocent like, when, lo, he has his “nuts bit off by a Laplander“.

Perhaps needless to say, his young wife is distressed over the incident. What goes through the poor man’s mind, as you men out there will understand, is easy to guess. But, more importantly, can we say the man now has a disability?

You bet we can.

Suppose instead that, from before birth, a genetic anomaly, the feared Lapinkoira Suomenlapinkoira syndrome, causes the man to be born without the extremities so enticing to the aforementioned hound. He still have a disability?

Yes, and the same one.

And would it also be a disability if the syndrome did its number on only the first of the pair of pertinents? Yes. Not firing on all cylinders is a disability. Not all disabilities are as disabling as others: disabilities have gradations.

Now suppose another man, by whatever method, by choice or by biochemical means as yet undiscovered, despite an intense search and lack of plausible mechanism, acts exclusively on his self-declared same-sex attraction. He have a disability?

He does. It is effectively the same disability as the man who met the dog. The second man cannot reproduce, and, with trivial and known qualifications, not being able to reproduce is a disability.

But wait. This is the modern world, and what was trivial and obvious to our ancestors is hidden and difficult for many of us. A prepubescent male is unable to reproduce, but his inability is not a disability, because—and be careful agreeing with me here, for that will have deep consequences—it is not in the nature of prepubescents to be able to reproduce.

Being stuck on a desert isle—or in a Womyn’s Studies Department, which is a near equivalent—is also a bar to reproduction, but it is obvious that it is not a disability, just the lack of chance for an ability.

Choosing not to reproduce is also not a disability, but the refusal to use an ability. The man who has same-sex attraction is only refusing to use his ability to reproduce in the most trifling sense. It is exactly the same sense when a normal man refuses to use his ability on any but his own wife: he could, but he chooses not to (“desert-isle” circumstance may prevent him even if he chooses to).

No. We are told, and supporters are adamant, that same-sex attraction is not a choice. It is therefore a disability, because the lack of the ability to reproduce is a disability. And this is so because it is in the nature of men to reproduce. Ask your father for verification.

The only possible objection to this is to deny the nature of man. If you do that, you also deny the nature of prepubescent males. You must even deny the difference between males and females, for to recognize any distinction is to recognize human nature, and if you recognize human nature the only questions left are what characteristics are proper to man’s nature and which are accidents. But if you insist same-sex attraction is not a disability, then you are are left arguing that reproduction is not natural, which is absurd.

The conclusion is that (exclusive) same-sex attraction is a disability, and a major one. Of course, lacking a foot or having congestive heart failure are also disabilities, not necessarily to reproduction, but to health in general. Having a disability is not therefore in itself a judgment on a person’s morality. Acts are always reason for a judgment on a person’s morality. And there we leave it.

This is but an introduction to the real story, which is this: Christian Organization Apologizes After Keynote Speaker Argues That Homosexuality Is a Disability.

Michael Rea, president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, apologized Saturday to anyone who may have been offended by a recent presentation by leading Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne at the 2016 Midwest Society of Christian Philosophers in which Swinburne said homosexuality could be considered a disability.

More about it here: ‘Shut Up, Bigot!’ The Philosophers Argued. Another attendee, one Hackett, said, “My response was mixture of abhorrence and overwhelming anger”, which only proves he doesn’t get out of the house enough—or that he is willing to use hyperbole to advance a fallacy.

Rea’s and Hackett’s conclusion is that a (most mild-mannered) Christian speaking of the historic and accurate interpretation of Christianity at a Christian philosophy conference now requires apology.

Reportedly, Swinburne also said same-sex attraction is “incurable”, a mistake and false in fact. There have been many men who reported prior exclusive same-sex attraction but who were able to lose their disability.

Regular readers will recall the prediction that the time is soon coming where the culture will demand not only that you not disavow homosexual acts, and not only that you not just tolerate them, but where you will you be required to say they are in some sense superior to heterosexual acts. Claiming, what is true, that homosexuality is a disability will be classed as “hate speech”, and will be proscribed.

Bonus A Georgetown University academic philosopher says Swinburne and his supporters, whom she labels “douche tankards”, can, she says, “suck my giant queer [go and find out which learned word she used].”

Categories: Culture, Philosophy

40 replies »

  1. The analogy strikes me as being false. In a world in which it is forbidden to do anything with your left hand, being left-handed is definitely a disability. But some people might be surprised that just because you yearn to live in a society that makes any attempt to write, use a screwdriver etc with your left hand a crime, you think it is a fact of inevitable logic that being left-handed is a disability. They might think that actually it is your brain that is disabled: incapable of thinking beyond prejudice and habit. That lame brain, to them, seems to be incapable of imagining a society in which it is normal and permissible for some people to be left-handed despite the fact that such societies have existed and exist.

  2. Stephen,

    Thank you. The counter-example fails because that some behavior was wrongly proscribed, it does not imply all behaviors are wrongly proscribed. If in your example it were not possible to build any mechanism for the left-handed (everything was for whatever reason right ‘oriented’), then being left-handed would be a disability. Acting on the disability wouldn’t be immoral, though. Having a disability and whether acting on it is immoral are, of course, separate questions.

  3. One really has to admire how quickly any pretense of a debate is shut down with vile name calling. I would appreciate an effort that earnestly and philosophically defends SSA as an ability, as commonly understood. Also of interest is precisely when did our ancestors develop a misunderstanding that led to an undervaluation of the gifts and qualities of SSA. What were the obstacles that prevented enlightenment?

  4. My analogy does not necessarily fail. I never maintained it necessarily succeeded. Surely, you don’t maintain that your does? The issue is whether my analogy or yours is closer. I maintain that mine is closer and you may maintain that yours is, but I think you are wrong and furthermore you started the analogy game. It is you that has to prove yours has a necessary connection, not I. You should apply the same standards to your own arguments that you apply to others. I was merely copying your mode of arguing to show a counter-example. (One that does not need dogs and mutilation and is much more direct and simple – it simply uses a minority but not rare human condition.) I maintain that my counter-example shows that your analogy is far from being compelling and that’s the point.

  5. This story is indeed mostly about the “tolerance” of the Left in matters of sexuality. However, readers may be interested to know more details about Swineburne’s position, and how it fits into the traditional ethic / Thomistic framework.
    Philosopher Lydia McGrew at W4 has a discussion of his ideas from his book, which were the same presented at the conference:
    The full talk was recently posted to First Things, if you want to see the original material:

  6. Stephen,

    Analogy game? Well, analogies in philosophy aren’t that uncommon, no?

    The percent suffering from a disability does not change whether the affliction is a disability or not. If ISIS chopped everybody’s right hand off tomorrow, then all would suffer from a disability, because it is natural to have use of our right hands. Just as it is natural to procreate. If something in the body of a man (or not, in the case of the dog, in the body) impedes procreation, it is a disability.

    Some people have brains which lead them to psychopathy, a rare condition, and surely a disability. And this is because psychopathy is not normal. Whether a person acts on the psychopathy is, again, a separate question. Some people have desires to simulate sex with animals (which is legal in some countries), and this is surely a disability. It is the same disability as same-sex attraction if the attraction people have for animals is inborn (as people claim same-sex attraction is) and exclusive (as people claim same-sex attraction is), and if because of this attraction they cannot (and not will not) seek normal procreation.

    I think Anon makes an excellent point. If homosexuality is not a disability, then is it an ability? If so, an ability for what? Not for procreation. And then we’re right back to human nature.

  7. We are told, and supporters are adamant, that same-sex attraction is not a choice. It is therefore a disability, because the lack of the ability to reproduce is a disability. And this is so because it is in the nature of men to reproduce. Ask your father for verification.

    Regardless of whether same-sex attraction is a choice, sexual attraction is not required for human reproduction. Same-sex attraction doesn’t make a man’s gonads inactive or sperms unviable. Ask your father for verification.

    If same-sex attraction is a disability, so what?

    The practice of labeling people or calling people names is commonplace in the blogosphere. Don’t let such practice disable your life.

  8. The fundamental problem I have with all these various notions of Homosexuality is that I don’t believe same sex attraction is anything more than a fetish. Its no different than an attraction to midgets or bondage or feet or any other kink.

    Where we as a society have gone off the rails is assigning greater meaning to this same sex attraction fetish. There is zero reason that the specific methods by which one “gets off” should alter ones speech patterns or taste in music or interest in interior design or the myriad other outward signs of “homosexuality” that have nothing to do with sexual function.

    You don’t see people who are into BDSM walking around making it the totality of their identity (or when you do we all acknowledge that these people are freaks and perverts). Why are we not just allowing, but encouraging people with this one particular kink to allow it to define who they are in totality?

    As for it being a disability because it interferes with reproduction; back when gays were in the closet, most of them married, bred and just engaged in their fetish quietly on the side. So it only interferes with reproduction when you pretend its more than a fetish and let people be openly defined by it.

  9. Once again I seem to read the words incorrectly. For me, our hosts prose is attempting to tell a story about pointing to the obvious thing that we cannot directly point at. Without extreme intervention, having a woman and a woman make a child isn’t possible. (Artificial insemination IS NOT extreme intervention because a man was still involved… ) Making it so that two men have a baby would involve even more extreme intervention.

    It does not bother me to have two men raise a child. Nor does it bother me for two women to raise a child. Two parents are better than 1. If I make a chart of parent possibilities the charts of Man/Woman, Woman/Woman, Man/Man would overlap heavily. We might eak out a little “extra” benefit from one type versus another, but to do so IS ABSOLUTELY #(@)$U*@$) IDIOTIC. No matter what happens, a child enters the world, that child has a probability of 1. There is no juggling of events for this one child. Not having parents is a huge $#(#)#$ deal. Having parents is also a huge benefit. The difference between having parents and not having parents is huge. The difference between having 1 parent and not having any parents is HUGE. The different between having 1 parent and having 2 parents is noticeable and obvious. The difference between different the various 2 parent situation is indistinguishable when compared to the difference in 1 and no parents.

    2 parents win.

    Getting a baby out of Male/Male or Female/Female couples IS NOT as easy as getting a baby out of Male/Female couples. The Female/Female couple can cheat. The Male/Male couple cannot.

    This may still sort of miss Herr Briggs point.

    I have a Red/Green color deficiency. Lots of men do. I could probably claim some sort of benefit from this. Somehow. I have learned to compensate. I don’t go throwing it around trying to make people feel bad because they pick colors I don’t see very well. I do suggest that people not use me to pick colors for anything. I am not disabled.

    A guy in motorized wheel chair drove by my car in the parking lot the other day. His 12 pack had fallen off his lap. He was having difficulty picking it up. I stuttered in my seat, but managed to get out. I offered to help. He said “no, I can do it”. I let him do it. I was torn while attempting to help. It was a matter of a second for me to pick it up. It was more like 30 for him to leverage it properly. I didn’t want to appear uncaring. I didn’t want to let him stumble forever. I probably hovered a little longer than I should. I hope he can forgive me my imperfect execution of intervening and not intervening.

    He was compensating adequately with a real disability.

    A gay man can compensate without much difficulty. He can get involved with a woman. A gay woman can compensate in the same way.

    The ADA was not meant to make it so the disabled were perfectly helped.

    It was there to help make it so they could compensate a little more easily.

    Apologies if I completely misunderstood. That happens.

  10. BRIGGS – “… if because of this attraction they cannot (and not will not) seek normal procreation”

    The implication is unmistakable — buggering, etc. Well, if NOT “normal procreation” (not to mention other much more routine acts that cannot lead to procreation) is the criteria …and… heterosexual couples engage in some-to-all-those as well [and many do…even exclusively], and thus do not/cannot “procreate,”doesn’t that indicate they are similarly “disabled”?

    We have to concede that both straight and bi-sexual couples, per the particular criteria presented, aren’t all that distinguishable!

    Briggs – “Acts are always reason for a judgment on a person’s morality.”

    On THAT theme:

    Uh Oh…

  11. A potential attribution error… The ‘suck my queer […] quote seems to be from a woman, Rebecca Kukla, Ph.D.

  12. Steven,

    A gender typo placed by my enemies! Should have read—I think: I didn’t check with Kukla—“she” and not “he”.

  13. Briggs argument here is I think correct. In the case of females I think it’s an attitude problem based on pride and or a phobia. It’s just what I think.
    Men, I think, as prime movers so to speak, must be burdened with responsibility to ‘perform’ so to speak. A low or non existent libido coupled with having to deal with a complicated creature might be enough to cause a problem for more effeminate men Other types just like male company and I’ll stop right there.

    Brad did right. Everybody feels uncomfortable and that’s just life. Being angry for the discomfort is no good, in particular when there is no one at fault.

    It’s important to let people help sometimes because that’s what they want to do. It can be very awkward. Saying no seems rude even if you don’t need it. You just have to say thank you for asking. Learning to accept help graciously is important too. I don’t use a stick because I don’t want the drama.

    I was once told off severely by a London cabby at 6:30 in the morning at Waterloo which is a dreadful time to be involved in a frank exchange of views. I had coffee in one hand, iPod on and was getting out I fumbled for only about ten seconds being also a bit distracted, just mentioned that I couldn’t see properly because people can’t tell, sorry for delay, and all that. Oh, when I reached the window to pay:

    “you make ME feel bad, you make yourSELF feel bad, You make EVERYbody feel bad! You should be ashamed of yourself not carrying a white stick!.”
    All I could think to say except to laugh to myself was,
    Well I was feeling fine, actually, but I’m sorry if my not having a white stick makes you feel bad.”

    A cute soldier that day who had a stammer asked how my day had gone so far. “I’m okay, just had a run in with a cabby on the way here”.
    “well people tell me off for stammering too. When I order a beer I can’t say ‘Stella’ because it caused a stammer previously so he told his mates they could have what they wanedt as long as it wasn’t stella…one becomes a walking thesaurus when one has a stammer.’
    “For God’s sake just spit it out!” the bar man had said to him in the Duke of Cambridge. There are always ignoramuses who think it’s tough to deliberately jab those who are less fortunate than others. Nobody who is well adjusted expects special treatment but common decency and innate sensitivity are not gifts given to everybody. It’s as well to mind that then it doesn’t matter as much..

    Quite by chance I saw G again who was standing in for Father Christmas at the Albert Hall. What a lovely coincidence.
    The barman is still pulling pints at the Duke.
    Too bad the barman couldn’t play French horn.

  14. By your logic, being a conservative would be a rather severe disability, as obviously there is some kind of serious cognitive problem with you guys. Why would you even want to assign disability to homosexuality? Why can’t they procreate? Have you been living your entire life under a rock? Lot’s a gay people have kids. And what the hell is your fascination with other peoples sex lives? And why are you so focused only on the sex? Have you ever been married? Was marriage nothing but a sex-arrangement to you?

    WTF man?

    “Disability,” Briggs, you goofball, is a relative term. It depends on what you want or need to do. People don’t have to do everything. They can’t. So we do the things we can. When we can’t do something we must do – like earn a living, bath or feed ourselves – then we are “disabled” in the common parlance today. But if we do not need to do something (we don’t all need to have kids), then the term “disability” is moot, and would only be used as an adolescent term of abuse.


  15. I’m just still waiting for Biggs to post the scientific evidence (resurrection, et. al) for Christianity. Please, Biggs, you have it in your back pocket, just reveal it. Just blow our atheist minds.

    Cue Ye Olde Statstician to argue that the Latin meaning of ‘left’ and ‘meaning’ proves its validity, and the burial rituals of medieval Spaniards somehow validates all of it.

  16. I think that there needs to be a distinction between chosen perversity/disorder and unchosen defect/deformity that results in disability.

    The queer birds around here who are slaves to the rampant Materialist ideology (obvious mental disability) irk me considerably with their irrational pontifications and gratuitous assertions.

    Jersey, cobber, your continuously harping against “conservatives” does not apply to me. I claim that conservatism and Christianity are mutually exclusive. One cannot “keep everything as it is” and proceed to proper purpose end simultaneously.

    The difference is that your conservative evolutionism implies that there is no proper end (final cause) for people and things. Radical Christianity, on the other hand, implies that there is a proper end for all contingent things… and success or fail… and that we are our brother’s keeper… and that truth is good. None of which is, of course, acceptable to the average, common, garden variety, smarter-than-God, egomaniac.

  17. Hans Erren,

    The really strange part of the report is that while all of this was going on, he apparently continuously consulted his watch and recorded the time. There are a couple of photos including one of a live mallard standing next to a dead one but oddly none of the actions he describes. Why not provide actual proof instead of mere testimony? After all, this is Science!

    Red flags everywhere.

  18. JMJ,
    I think a certain somebody had hoped to cause irritation.
    If some of us weren’t prudish there’s be no jokes to make!

    Cricket et als:
    Enough of the half hearted efforts.
    Check out Jonathan Agnew innuendo Bingo. That’s how the true Professionals do it.
    Go on! blow a few cobwebs away!

  19. Sorry, but this post is just mixed up. For a start, homosexual behaviour has been observed in literally hundreds of animal species. Unless you’re going to argue they all chose their behaviour, you’re going to have to concede that sexual behaviour is sometimes (maybe often) motivated by factors other than pure reproduction. This doesn’t look much like any sort of ‘disability’ to me.

    Also, your binary division of characteristics into ‘human nature’ *or* ‘disability’ is unnecessary. Many characteristics are clearly compromises, even such basic factors as physical size – bigger is better because you’re safer from attack but worse because you need more energy, for instance. Similar observations apply to almost all aspects of nature.

  20. Evidence boy,

    I’ll post the scientific evidence for Christianity (besides the obvious empirically observed resurrection) as soon as you post the scientific evidence for the validity of mathematics.

  21. A trombone is a thing that can make a terrible racket if it doesn’t know a tune or play in tune.

    If you are going to take the activities of non-sentient animals as a standard of “normality” then we chuck out all notions of what’s good or bad behaviour. For example there are plenty of “noble savages” in the animal kingdom that eat their young if they don’t get away instant. (I had a pig once that decided that piglets were good to eat; and I shot the bastard). Theft, murder, pillage, child rape, everything that any half-decent human finds abhorrent is suddenly “good”.

    If anything characterises Materialists it is irrationality and inconsistency. They incessantly demand “rights” for everything that ain’t right and demand that everything that is right is “repressive” and should be eliminated.

    Phew! I’m ever so glad that I’m not smart enough to be that blardy stupid.

  22. Where’s the E:
    What exactly do you want–the Resurrection replicated or the account of it published in a respected scientific journal?

    No, it can’t be done. There can be no scientific evidence. Can we scientically prove who Jack the Ripper was. Can we get DNA evidence? Can we place Jack at a certain place and time? No. It’s based on eyewitness accounts a long time ago. We can have let’s say, theoretical evidence, we can establish some certainty if evidence comes to light. But scientific evidence, no.

    I guess you can have ‘theoretical’ or ‘philosophical’ evidence of God, sure, we can quibble over what the original latin meaning of science is, or produce scientific proof of mathematics. But to just say, unqualified, there is scientific, in the sense that most people understand, evidence and then to say, ’empirically observed resurrection’, which is eyewitness evidence. The police won’t go on that solely if it happened ten minutes ago because eyewitnesses are unreliable, never mind if it happened two thousand years ago. No, I don’t think ’empirically observed resurrection’ two thousand years ago is ‘scientific’, and nobody else would either.

  23. Evidence boy,

    I’ll post the scientific evidence for Christianity (besides the obvious empirically observed resurrection) as soon as you post the scientific evidence for the validity of mathematics.

    I can’t, science and mathematics are unprovable, and therefore based on faith alone, so all the quibbling on small p-values and statistics and everything that goes on here is a complete waste of time. Statistics is based on faith – post the scientific evidence to prove me wrong. It all comes down to eyewitnesses and faith.
    I have scientific, empirically observed scientific evidence of climate change:

  24. @swordfishtrombone

    “For a start, homosexual behaviour has been observed in literally hundreds of animal species.”

    so has blindness, your point? In fact I recall a dog trying to mount my leg one time or another, hmm I guess humans simulating sex acts with dogs must be “normal” as well and defended as a “natural right”.

    “you’re going to have to concede that sexual behaviour is sometimes (maybe often) motivated by factors other than pure reproduction.”

    Except the word sex literally exists only in relation to reproduction, something is sexual because it is related to reproduction, if reproduction did not exist neither would sex, or sexuality.

    People like you really don’t get it. Let me make it simple. An orgasm is not the purpose of sex but a side effect to encourage mating, much like how hunger and the ability to taste food encourages us to eat. It is very possible for something to satisfy our hunger and even our taste without being able to properly nourish our bodies and sustain our metabolism.

    Likewise because orgasms satisfy urges and feel good, both animals and people may seek them as an end unto themselves however this does not change the nature of why they exist and what the sex act is for. Thus looking at the behavior animals or people may engage in to satisfy certain urges does not necessarily inform us of the purpose of those behaviors.

  25. @ Oldavid: “If you are going to take the activities of non-sentient animals as a standard of “normality” then we chuck out all notions of what’s good or bad behaviour.”

    The argument put forward in this post is that homosexuality can be viewed as a disability because it prevents conception. It has nothing to do with “good or bad behaviour”. As homosexual behaviour is common amongst animals, it must have evolved and cannot be viewed as a disability. Do I have to add that human beings are animals?

    “Phew! I’m ever so glad that I’m not smart enough to be that blardy stupid.”

    Why do you find it necessary to be so pointlessly rude?

  26. @ Eva:

    (An aside: Are you named after the robot in Wall-e?)

    “so has blindness, your point?”

    It’s pretty simple: homosexuality has evolved. It’s natural. It serves a purpose. It isn’t a disability.

    “Except the word sex literally exists only in relation to reproduction, something is sexual because it is related to reproduction, if reproduction did not exist neither would sex, or sexuality.”

    Obviously, sex exists in the first place because of reproduction but are you seriously going to try arguing that the whole cultural edifice of human sexuality is “literally” only about reproduction? That is clearly not true.

    “People like you really don’t get it. Let me make it simple. An orgasm is not the purpose of sex but a side effect to encourage mating, much like how hunger and the ability to taste food encourages us to eat.”

    By “people like you”, I assume you mean intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate and creative people?

    “Thus looking at the behavior animals or people may engage in to satisfy certain urges does not necessarily inform us of the purpose of those behaviors.”

    Nor does it inform us that those behaviours are morally wrong.

  27. Mr. Trombone,
    It’s not that I find it necessary to “be so pointlessly rude” it’s that I don’t find it necessary to be sycophantically politically correct as in that “you must not say anything that might offend a culture/civilisation wrecker who doesn’t know what they’re talking about”.

    Eva, that what you said is well said. However, I suggest that the purpose of sex is not purely reproduction… the mutual gratification of husband and wife can be a great strengthening to the bond that makes them “one”… a unit that is not like any other unit or composition. Not just a matter of convenience or pleasure or social advantage… a real “one thing” consisting of two individuals inextricably combined for a purpose beyond themselves individually.

    Anyhow, as the Trombone declares: “Nor does it inform us that those behaviours are morally wrong”. Dead right! The behaviour of beasts (human and non-human) does not create morality, or tell us what morality is, nor does it determine what is moral or immoral. Morality is, like truth, intellect, life, love, a metaphysical “stuff” or “thing” entirely incomprehensible to a Materialist except as a cultural convenience or nuisance to be used or abused.

    I still haven’t got that political correctness thing, eh?

  28. @ Oldavid:

    In my book, calling someone ‘stupid’ is just rude, not an example of a heroic stand against political correctness. As for “culture/civilisation wrecker”, I think you’ll find that homosexuality has existed in all civilisations without any apparent negative consequences. (Which is more than you can say for religion.)

    With regard to morality, like it or not we’re all animals and our behaviour, both good and bad, is rooted in that fact.

  29. Interesting article:

    1. I did not choose to be born with a disability. I in fact have a disability. The government says I’m not disabled enough to collect disability which is text book discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    2. One being LGBT is a choice they make, and yet some how the government wants to make them a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which defines both medically and legally the term “Sex” is defined as male or female genitalia or genetic difference.

    I was born with a genetic disability. So the government discriminates against me, because I’m not worse off than someone else with my un-diagnosed disability.

    LGBT’s choose to be the way they are, and that is now considered a disability to which they have legal representation?

    I do not think so.

    I did not choose my disability.

    How about those LGBT’s were they born that way without given a choice?

    The only protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be Hermaphrodites. They were born that way without a choice just like me being born with a disability without a choice.

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