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  1. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Commiting forum suicide

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by yagr, Sep 15, 2014.

    Evocative enough of a title for you? I didn't want to hijack the transgendered thread and so I'm starting my own regarding issues of sexuality - specifically homosexuality and the issue of choice.

    Social lefties insist that sexuality is something one is born with. Social righties insist that sexuality is a choice. If you find an exception to this, than I'll amend my phrasing to say 'most' - I'd hate to contend on this thread so early.

    Personally, I'm all for gay rights - equality in marriage, adoption, etc. I also think that people are born gay or straight. I also think people can choose one over the other. I'm in the 'both' camp. It's kind of lonely over here.

    Last evening my wife and I attended an event that had a speaker who shared with us some of her horrific (straight) sexual abuse growing up and into her twenties. She identifies as gay. I am not convinced that she began that way. In fact, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts (which was a much better deal back when that saying first came out), that she chose homosexuality as a way to escape her past. That I think this makes no difference to her - nor should it, but it is my belief nonetheless.

    I've had a full and varied life. I'm not proud of everything I've done and mention the following with reservations but because I think it is germane. I used to manage a couple of strip joints. I got to know the girls quite well over my time there. I don't know a single one who was not sexually abused growing up. I've heard that the percentage of LGBT people in terms of general population as being anything from 1-10% over the years, but somehow within the confines of the strip clubs it was in excess of 90%.

    I've also worked in the human trafficking field (preventing). The numbers are disproportionate to the general population there as well. It seems unreasonable to think that some people aren't making a choice to live a homosexual lifestyle. Too, there are some who use sex as a way to punish and self-sabotage the way some use alcohol or drugs. For these folks, the more depraved the act, the more effective the sex is in terms of their original motivation. I know that there is very little could mess with my head more than homosexual sex.

    I just wonder that if the left considered this as a possibility, if the right would be willing to consider that some people truly are born gay.

    Yeah, me neither, but I am always looking for a way to promote understanding instead of divisiveness.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, the whole debate feels like a red herring. I mean, I understand that in the US, with the excessive influence of fundamentalist Christianity, there needs to be some sort of argument to counteract the "you're displeasing God" arguments.

    But, honestly, for anyone but biologists, I think the right answer to the nature or nurture question on homosexuality is "who the hell cares?"

    If it's a choice, if it's biological, if it's brought on by childhood trauma, if it's caused by solar flares... who cares? It's none of my business what a consenting adult does with another consenting adult. It's none of my business why someone prefers the type of partner they prefer. It's not my business why some people prefer tall dark and handsome while others prefer blond and compact.

    Trying to decide whether homosexuality is nature or nurture, to me, is framing it as a pathology. Needing to understand the cause of it feels too much like trying to cure it, or else like admitting that it can't be cured because it's innate.

    I think it would be a lot healthier to not worry so much about 'why' and just relax about it all. Some people are attracted to other people of the same sex. Big deal. Let's move on.
     
  3. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Right. And I'm from the US.

    I do. Not to make some grand sweeping over-arching rightness or wrongness statement but because I like to understand the human condition. Sexuality is something that effects me. When I see how trauma (for instance) can effect others in this arena, I can often gain insight into how my own trauma has effected me. Like most people, I am willing to judge others far more impartially than I can judge myself. By examining how events effect others I sometimes can see things without the shield of defensiveness that I put up when I view myself.

    I do, only to frame myself - not others.

    I can see why you would say that - and I think it makes a good deal of sense to a certain type of person. This is probably going to be a bad example... but I also like to think about whether my 'masculine attributes' are nature or nurture as well. I'm not trying to cure masculinity because I (unlike all the people who are about to disagree with me) I don't view masculinity as a pathology either. But I like thinking about it. :)
     
  4. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I started a thread a while back (http://www.writingforums.org/threads/freedom.133845/) which basically proposed that people don't have the freedom of choice they imagine they have, but are instead, compelled by their own personal history and nature. If someone's gender preference changes because of traumatic personal history, this is hardly a choice. As soon as you say that this is not a choice but the outcome of forces beyond the individuals control (either nature or nurture) then it can not be considered as a sin, which would cause religious people a big problem.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I expected to find a thread about people who announce they are leaving the forum and disappear.
     
  6. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I just figured I'd be ostracizing myself right out of here with such a thread. :)
     
  7. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Human sexuality is just that sexuality. With whom or what they do it with makes little difference and I really think trying to sort out it's origins is akin to trying to make one part of that spectrum somehow wrong. It helps me to realise that probably some form of bisexuality is quite usual, more so than either homo or hetero (what people will openly admit is another thing entirely). Homo and hetero only exist as concepts norms because of people's need to polarise subjects with either love or hate. Acceptance has never been a well practised human trait. Far easier to demonise those who are different to yourselves.
     
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  8. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    If this were a Christian forum I believe that I would tend to agree. If it were a Buddhist forum, I believe that I would strongly disagree. I think it depends upon the pov of the person asking the question. In Buddhism for instance, we recognize no concept of sin. We're kind of wishy-washy on the whole idea of right and wrong or even duality as a whole. Recognizing where my thoughts come from, how they are formed, how they impact me - and who me is anyway...this is all very relevant to me and Buddhists in general. Asking this question then, for me, has nothing to do with right or wrong.

    As I said in my original post
    The subject on the way home for my wife and I then became: Do we have any such beliefs about ourselves that are so deeply entrenched that we would do damage to our sense of self to see it? For instance, could it be that most of us are born bisexual (as you suggested) and I simply don't see the social norms and mores as having molded me into a heterosexual? If so, how deep is this illusion that I call my life if something so intrinsic to who I am has been hidden from me?

    Again, there is no right or wrong to this for me. I did consider the same position as you at one time (that most are born bisexual) and held that view for a few years. I no longer hold that view but understand where it came from (at least for me).
     
  9. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Not really sure how religion came into this, as I am not religious in the least. Sure ask away, never said that was a bad thing. But the OP seemed to heavily focus on this link between sexual abuse and homosexuality that it seemed laden with trying to attribute someone's sexual preferences to trauma and abuse. I am not an abused person (not sexually anyway) and I get sick of people trying to attach my sexual preferences to some trauma etc. No, how about, they are just my sexual preferences because that's what they are. Why can't I just be me without this incessant psychoanalysis that tries to make people defective rather than accept that they are different.

    But hey, if it's more a personal question of who you are, then ask away and feel free to ignore opinions that don't help you answer that question. It's all cool.
     
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  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    If I had a choice of how to commit forum suicide, I think I would choose suicide by moderator. I couldn't actually pull the trigger myself, I would make someone else do it.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think part of the problem is that the question is so politicized. So instead of being an interesting voyage of self-discovery, it feels like part of something larger and possibly sinister.

    Like if a person wants to study their family genealogy because of an interest in history, that's a nice hobby. But if a person wants to study genealogy to prove that they are a member of the master race, then the research gets pretty nasty. And the innocent family historian may kind of get swept up in the mess.

    Does that seem like a reasonable parallel? I'm not sure.

    But I do think that a question can be asked in innocence and still contribute to something ugly. So your Buddhist question, asked in a nation dominated by Christians, will not likely stay purely Buddhist, not if it's asked out loud.

    The answer can't be that we should silence the questioners. But I think the questioners should make sure they're aware of how their questions may be used and twisted.

    (You seem to be anticipating a negative response to your post - I can't figure out if you're looking forward to it, like you WANTED to stir things up, or if you're just being sort of pre-emptively defensive. And I'm not sure how that ties in to anything else I'm saying. Hmmm.)
     
  12. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Sorry PensiveQuill, I didn't mean to muddy the waters by bringing religion into it - in fact, I didn't even mean to bring religion into it per se. It was just an example that got carried away. Mostly I was just saying that asking such questions about the nature of self and all it's 2000 parts (of which sexuality is one) is part and parcel for some folks (and Buddhists came to mind, probably because I'm Buddhist and it fit my frame of reference) while for more fundamental types (of which some Christianity came to mind as an example) it is a matter of right and wrong. Anyway, poor choice of examples perhaps. Oh! And I am the OP. :)

    It really is about discovering who I am but hate to ignore anyone. I don't know if you saw my post on another thread here in the Debate forum today, but I referenced an episode of Star Trek as getting me to think carefully about my own sexuality. This is just an extension of that.

    You are, from what I've seen around here, far from defective and if my post appeared to call that into question, please chock that up to my poor writing skills. You rock!
     
  13. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Sincerely, I did not want to stir things up. Like you said earlier in your post:

    and
    It was for these reasons only that I took a defensive position. Politicized and polarizing with a side of used and twisting.
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually only hear the choice vs. not a choice debate in the context of politics and religion. In this case, I would argue that this issue doesn't matter. Even if I could choose the color of my skin (for example), why should I be denied certain rights?

    Other than that, I'm not sure sexuality and abuse are even correlated. Out of the people who were abused, I'm sure some of them are gay, some are bisexual, some are straight, etc. I suppose the first thing to do is to see how the percentage of, say, gay people who were abused compares to the percentage of gay people in the overall population.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    And then sort out cause and effect. Depending on the timing and the form of the abuse, it may have happened because the person was gay, rather than the other way around.
     
  16. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think from my education on the matter, you are going to find a high number of sexual dysfunctions after abuse, but the number of gay people that are abused because of being gay isn't going to be much different than the number of heterosexuals that are abused. We as a society just single out those moments because it is a subgroup that we see as protected. The funny thing is, I would venture to guess if you asked a lot of gay people, they would prefer not to be referred in a sense that they are a group that needs 'protection.' They just want to be equal.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this would depend on the age of the gay people. Check out these stats from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/lgbtq.html (bolding mine)

    • 20% of homeless youth are LGBT. In comparison, the general youth population is only 10% LGBT.
    • While homeless youth typically experience severe family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before the age of 12.
    • LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth
    • LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth
    • LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%)
    I don't know what the stats are for gay adults. But I think gay youth have a hell of a time.
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Those are very significant numbers, but I think the root problem lies in the family dynamic and the lack of acceptance from the parents, not actual victimization. Just like in anything else, the only solution is going to be education and acceptance by parents of their children. So many times homelessness comes from broken homes and poor parenting.
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really get the distinction. Oh, you're saying that the kids don't leave home because of actual abuse, but rather because of an unwelcoming environment. Okay, maybe. But for whatever reason, they're more likely to become homeless, and then once they're homeless they're more likely to be abused.

    I would also hypothesize that the unwelcoming home environment, social stigma, and possible peer conflict would combine to hurt their self-esteem and make them unhappy about their sexuality, which is a state of mind that I would think would make them more likely to be victimized because they wouldn't have the self-confidence to say 'no'. And then the abuse would hurt their self-esteem and make them even more unhappy about their sexuality, which would make them even more vulnerable to abusers...

    It's a all a big, tangled, miserable mess. Which means that even if there is a correlation between abuse and homosexuality, we can't draw a clear cause-and-effect relationship.
     
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  20. jazzabel
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    Just because most prostitutes/strippers were sexually abused, doesn't mean that all women who were sexually abused became prostitutes/strippers. Apart from that, what you are saying is a well-established fact in psychiatry, and it has absolutely nothing to do with 'right' or 'left'. Unfortunately the voices of people with political agendas are much louder than expert opinions, who nobody seems to give a damn about, especially those who choose to cling to outdated prejudices.

    Sexual ambivalence is a symptom of several psychiatric conditions, and you raised the issue of childhood sexual abuse, and it being extremely common in sex workers. This is intimately connected with the personality damage that early sexualisation and abuse cause, and the disorders we would be thinking about in such a context are borderline personality and histrionic personality. If you google either, you can read about it. However, you can have exactly the same type of trauma and upbringing, and one person will turn out gay and the other straight. This does away with any unequivocal conclusions that one 'causes' the other because it could just be that people focus on it when they see the two co-exist. In other words, while I wouldn't say there was never a living gay person who choose to be gay (there are no absolutes, in medicine or in life) all medical research and clinical practice indicates that such instances are very rare. Also, a lot of gay people point out that if they could choose, they certainly wouldn't choose to be different and abused by the majority. And if the society didn't enforce the message of having to be attracted to the opposite, their inclinations would feel the most normal thing in the world. We've known that homosexuality isn't a disease but a natural variation on a continuum of human sexuality since the early seventies, which isn't to say that homosexuals can't have a disease. Certainly, the ill treatment the get from the society from the early age can cause a lot of grief, anxiety, depression and issues with low self esteem, especially for those without adequate support.

    Illnesses such as schizophrenia (which is now known to be caused by genetic mutations) have ambivalence at its's core. Ambivalence, alongside with apathy, emotional autism and blunting, is among the eso called 'negative symptoms' as opposed to 'positive' ones such as delusions and hallucinations. There are many other mental health issues that will result in confusion, difficulty with organising thoughts and relating to people, and libido being our core driving force (libido represents sexual desire but also motivation, our passions, interests, anything we derive pleasure from), it gets affected.

    Despite the above, it's been noted that up to 10% of humans, and many animal species, have individuals who are born attracted sexually to the same gender. Studies looking at differences in male and female brains, found a greater crossover to the opposite gender in LGBT people. Again, sexuality appears to be affected by a variety of factors, brain anatomy, hormonal levels, environment, psychology, but if genetics underpin all of this, as they appear to based on clinical evidence, then the environment and psychology can only affect it, not determine it in any fundamental way.

    It's like you can get a heart attack because you have a genetic predisposition and an illness that generates the abnormality, or you can smoke, drink, eat bad foods, live a stressful life refuse to do anything about it and eventually end up with a heart attack. Both are the same outcomes but with very different causes. Homosexuality is nowhere near as 'preventable', generally speaking (if at all) than the cardiovascular disease, and therefore obsessively looking for one cause, one explanation (one cure?), is a pointless endeavour.
     
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  21. Lae
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    The choice stuff i do not get. When i see a naked man i do not get aroused, doesn't really matter if i wanted to or not it just doesn't happen. It's not conditioning, i'm just not that way inclined. The same applies for women, if i see a attractive naked woman it happens without a choice.

    Some people might say "how do you know its not conditioning? blah blah" but that's a dead end of a debate. There is no proof either way, all i can say is that as i am now, been raised or born whatever it might be, i cannot be attracted to a man.

    The stats stuff is all so misleading, correlation is not causation.
     
  22. Kekec
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    It is interesting that no one cares about the children in these situations, thinking only how it must be better for the child because they are a well-off couple and they'd be able to provide the child with everything it needed. For my part, I'd rather grow up in a home than be brought up by two fathers who are not my blood. Conversely, if I was unable to have children, I would never adopt and raise a child that is not my blood. As a matter of fact, I'd be downright murderous if I found out that my straight parents weren't my blood, even if my real parents turned out to be junked up morons who left me in a dumpster to die as a baby.
     
  23. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where do you get the idea that "no one cares about the children"? You understand that children aren't being ripped away from their birth parents, right? These are kids who need a family.

    As for the rest of your post? As a member of a family formed through adoption, I'm going to refrain from telling you exactly what I think of your ignorance. My parents didn't raise me to cuss out strangers.
     
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  24. Kekec
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    What ignorance? You may love your "parents", but not all adopted children would agree with you.
     
  25. 123456789
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    @BayView


    OK, I think now is a good time to be offended.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
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