Not caring about what happens to gay men is like not caring about prison rape. Prisoners are our brothers, too, and so are gay men. We must care deeply about the abuse of our brothers in prison and we must care deeply about the lives led by our gay brothers.
Prison rape seems a world away from us, a subject we try not to think about, yet it is rampant, dehumanizing and deadly dangerous. In the same way, we avert our gaze from the lives led by gay men. Certainly ignoring the lives of gay men is what the paladins of the gay movement want us to do. If others peek behind the curtain of the white-picket-fence-homosexuality they have built up for public consumption, support for the movement would wither and probably die.
I do not equate sex between gay men and prison rape. I draw the parallel simply to compare how we look away from certain things and act as if the subjects of those acts are not part of us, part of society, part of the human family. The active gay man and the prisoner are our brothers and we have to be concerned with both. But we quite deliberately look away from the reality of both.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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But look we must, particularly since we are being asked to consider that homosexuality is on par with heterosexuality, that same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage can be the same, that gay sex can in fact be spousal.
The arguments made by our best defenders of man-woman marriage focus almost exclusively on the definition of marriage and the rights of children to have both a mother and a father, and they explicitly say their arguments have nothing to do with the underlying question of homosexuality. Their arguments are very effective and I do believe they are making converts to the pressing cause of marriage. But in those arguments, one of the things lost is the real lives of gay men. It is as if we really do not care about them.
This is a difficult topic that no one wants to talk about. Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage tells me that these arguments are not effective during active political campaigns. These arguments can backfire in those situations. Even so, we should show greater regard for our gay brothers by paying more attention to their lives.
Recently I was reading an excellent manuscript of an upcoming book by long-time Crisis Magazine contributor Robert Reilly on how the gay movement has moved through our institutions and our culture. He references a 2006 essay by a man named Ronald G. Lee who described himself as “a refugee from the homosexual insane asylum.”
Lee lived as an out and active gay man for going on three decades and what he describes is not only insane but also deeply heartbreaking. Lee was lied to before he came out of the closet. He was lied to the whole time he lived the gay way of life. He was lied to each and every day. What was the lie? That gay men are interested in sexually monogamous relationships.
Lee writes about a gay bookstore in Austin, Texas called Lobo’s where if you look in the front window you see bookshelves full of books, gay books certainly but books. In the back, behind a curtain was a section on pornography. No one could be seen among the stacks of books, everyone was in the back room. He said such an arrangement was perfect for the big lie that active homosexuality was normal and non-threatening to any straight person looking in the front window. The reality, though, was that everyone was in the back room with the porn. This was the reality of his life and the lives of gay men.
Lee wanted love, gay love to be sure, but love that fell in line with Christian sexual ethics, that is to say a lifelong emotional and sexual bond. His whole life he looked for that. He read the influential 1976 book The Church and the Homosexual written by a Catholic priest that explained how the Church wrongly interpreted all those references in the Bible condemning homosexuality. The book explained that monogamous same-sex couplings were consistent with the teachings of the Church. Lee says the book by Father John McNeill made him “justified in deciding to come out of the closet.” Father McNeill later wrote an autobiography in which he explained he lived a widely promiscuous gay life far removed from any notion of Christian sexual ethics, gay or otherwise.
And that was the reality Lee discovered as he began his search for gay monogamy. “For twenty years I thought there was something wrong with me,” Lee writes. “Dozens of well-meaning people assured me that there was a whole, different world of homosexual men out there, a world that for some reason I could never find, a world of God-fearing, straight-acting, monogamy-believing, and fidelity-practicing homosexuals.”
Lee got a computer and continued his futile attempt to find gay monogamy. He joined a Yahoo group loosely affiliated with Dignity, the “Catholic” organization that affirms gays in their active homosexual way of life. A young man posted a note asking if “any of the subscribers attached any value to monogamy?” He received “dozens of responses, some of them quite hostile and demeaning, and all but one—mine—telling him to go out and get laid because that was what being gay was all about.”
Lee got an AOL subscription and wrote a profile describing himself “as a conservative Catholic … who loved classical music and theater and good books and scintillating conversation about all of the above.” He said he wanted to meet other homosexuals like him for “friendship and romance.” Within minutes the first response he received was “How many inches?” And it went downhill from there.
The ugly reality Lee discovered his whole gay life was that this way of life is almost wholly about sex and plenty of it. Even supposedly stable relationships, the ones we read about in the New York Times, are largely facades. A gay man once told me he was in a long-time relationship but they never had sex anymore, just masturbated in front of porn with lots of action outside the relationship. He said this was typical. Lee says so, too, and so does the research.
In his excellent manuscript, The Gaying of America: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything to be published next March by Ignatius Press, Robert Reilly lays out the horrific numbers. Keep in mind that even repeating these numbers opens you up to a torrent of vitriol. You will see in the inevitable comments below that even mentioning them is hate speech, no more than lies, myths on par with the oversexed black man. Other than invective and charges that the studies and their authors have been “discredited,” the numbers are unassailable. And they are supremely important for a young man considering taking a peak outside the closet door.
This is the door he is about to walk through.
Reilly writes: “one might ask how typical anal intercourse is in homosexual behavior. Is it fundamentally characteristic, or anomalous? Some claim that homosexual behavior does not necessarily mean that male couples engage in anal intercourse. The answer, however, is that it predominates.”
Reilly quotes psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Santinover in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth that “The typical homosexual (needless to say there are exceptions) is a man who has frequent episodes of anal intercourse with other men, often with many different men. These episodes are 13 times more frequent than heterosexuals’ acts of anal intercourse, with 12 times as many different partners as heterosexuals.”
Reilly goes further. “The most rigorous single study—the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study —recruited nearly 5,000 homosexual men and found that: ‘a significant majority of these men … (69 to 82%) reported having 50 or more lifetime sexual partners, and over 80% had engaged in receptive anal intercourse with at least some of their partners in the previous two years.’”
Such relationships are not spousal in any way, shape or form and this is what Ronald Lee found in his decades long search for real love, for a relationship that would fit into any notion of Christian sexual ethics.
Studies show gay men are remarkably promiscuous. Dr. Santinover cites a study by two homosexual researchers that found that out of “156 couples studied, only seven had maintained sexual fidelity; of the hundred couples that had been together for more than five years, none had been able to maintain sexual fidelity.” They said, “[t]he expectation for outside sexual activity was the rule for male couples and the exception for heterosexual couples.”
Reilly cites a 1997 Australian study that showed “only 15% of the men reported having fewer than 11 sex partners to date, while on the other end of the spectrum 15% had over 1,000 sex partners. A whopping 82% had over 50 partners and nearly 50% had over 100.” The research goes on and drearily on.
Some have said gays act out promiscuously because they have internalized homophobia, that they were “forced to look for love in dimly lit bars, bathhouses, and public parks for fear of harassment at the hands of the homophobic mainstream.” Lee answers, “But 35 years have passed since the infamous Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York…. During that time, homosexuals have carved out for themselves public spaces in every major American city, and many of the minor ones as well. They have had the chance to create whatever they wanted in those spaces, and what have they created? New spaces for locating sexual partners.”
I will give the final word to Ronald Lee from his magnificent essay.
When the young man from the Yahoo group got all the hostile response from his query about monogamy, “He did not know what to make of it because none of the propaganda to which he was exposed before coming out prepared him for what was really on the other side of the closet door. I had no idea what to tell him, because at the time I was still caught up in the lie myself. Now the solution seems obvious. What I should have written back to him was, ‘You have been lied to. Ask God for forgiveness and get back to Kansas as fast as you can. Auntie Em is waiting.’”
Editor’s note: Riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York City, in June 1969. The event is considered the birth of the gay rights movement.