Homosexuality: A Chosen Harm

G. Stolyarov II

A Journal for Western Man-- Issue XXXV-- May 26, 2005

          My aim here is neither to coerce nor to persecute. I have no personal hostilities toward homosexuals, any more than I have personal hostilities toward casual marijuana users. I believe that both practices ought to be legal and free from state intervention, but that both are colossally deleterious to the health and moral integrity of the individuals practicing them. I shall seek to persuade, civilly and rationally, as befits intelligent debate, of the verity of my three-pronged thesis: that homosexuality, in every variant thereof, is a practice volitionally chosen by the individuals engaging in it, and is harmful to its practitioners both fysically and morally.

            First, homosexuality is a practice that those engaging in it undertake of their own free will, and not an orientation that is somehow inherently pre-determined. The very nature of the human mind will imply such a conclusion. In his 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the British filosofer John Locke, whose theories were fundamental in the creation of the American Republic, wrote “No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience." This implies that, until an individual has experience with the reality in which he lives, he cannot have any knowledge. Until he has any knowledge, he cannot have any principles or inclinations, for those are themselves formed only through the use of the knowledge that the individual has already gained, as well as the principles of reasoning that he has discovered through his exposure to the external world. In other words, man’s mind must be born tabula rasa, a blank slate, incapable of any innate “orientations” whatsoever. Therefore, one cannot be a homosexual, a heterosexual, a basketball enthusiast, or exhibit any other personality, behavior, or inclination without having at some point acquired this trait. Nobody is born desiring to have intercourse with members of the same gender; as a matter of fact, just about every child anyone has ever known was not born with any desires for intercourse whatsoever!

            If homosexuality is not innate, how do people become homosexuals? Again, this is a question of the defining qualities of human beings. According to the novelist and filosofer Ayn Rand, man is fundamentally a “being of volitional consciousness.” While he is born tabula rasa, he does have an inherent capacity that distinguishes him from all other creatures, the freedom of the will and the ability to always choose the manner in which he interacts with his surroundings. In her 1956 masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, Rand described man as a “being of self-made soul.” In the realm of acquiring knowledge, man always has a choice of whether or not to focus on the data which reality presents before him. In the realm of acting on that knowledge, man always has a choice of whether to take it into account or to evade it. No amount of bad parenting, poverty, or political oppression can ever deprive him of this prerogative. Just as we cannot apologize for the behavior of an alcoholic because of alleged powers greater than himself, neither can we apologize for the behavior of a homosexual on the grounds that “he could not help it.”

Opponents of the volitionally chosen view of human behaviors will contend that homosexuality is an inextricable and, moreover, desirable part of the practitioner’s nature. This notion, however, is absolutely false. The filosofer Reginald Firehammer writes in his 2004 book, The Hijacking of a Philosophy: Homosexuals vs. Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, “This idea goes further than the idea that homosexuality is an involuntary attribute of one's nature. It supposes that sexuality is predetermined, and that it, at least in part, defines individuals’ ‘nature,’ that is, ‘who and what they are.’  The idea also implies that [intercourse] is a necessity, and furthermore, that some particular sexual practices are necessitated by one's ‘sexual orientation…’ Many people, for both physiological and other reasons, some rationally chosen, live completely successful; happy lives without any [intercourse] at all. Food is essential to man's life and happiness; [intercourse] is not.” Empirical examples ubiquitous in our world show that, not only is it possible to avoid homosexual intercourse if one so chooses; it is possible to avoid intercourse altogether. Whether or not it ought to be avoided should depend not on the false presumption of some primal “drives,” but rather on reason and the deliberate evaluation of whether or not such conduct will benefit the individual. Mr. Firehammer contends that deliberate “repression” of desires to have intercourse is not at all improper, but rather a necessity for moral conduct. He writes, “Anything anyone has ever done that is self-destructive or wrong, he first had the desire to do. Anyone who has ever overcome a desire to do what is self-destructive or wrong had to refuse to submit to that desire. That is what the psychologists call a harmful thing, as though anyone suffers because he repressed a desire to do something self-destructive or that goes against his own values, his own self-interest.” Thus, if reason proves that homosexuality is indeed self-destructive, it is morally incumbent upon the practitioners to repress the desire to engage in such conduct. 

It is such a rational examination that I intend to undertake in order to show that homosexuality is fysically harmful to those who practice it. The scientific evidence supporting this assertion is overwhelming. Mr. Firehammer writes that “Michigan's statewide 'gay' newspaper, Between the Lines, reports the risk of anal cancer 'soars' by nearly 4,000% for men who have [intercourse] with men. 'The rate doubles again for those who are HIV positive.' Between the Lines admits there's no such thing as 'safe [intercourse]' to prevent this 'soaring' cancer risk ...” Even a publication devoted entirely to a homosexual readership is willing to admit that the disparities in disease contraction between homosexuals and heterosexuals are enormous. The Medical Institute of Sexual Health reported in 1999 that

- "Homosexual men are at significantly increased risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections as a result of their sexual practices."
- "Women who have intercourse with women are at significantly increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer than are heterosexual women."
- "Significantly higher percentages of homosexual men and women abuse drugs, alcohol and tobacco than do heterosexuals." It seems that there is a correlation between the choice to pursue homosexuality and the choice to pursue other self-destructive behaviors as well, since the initial barriers of rational and moral restraint to the deleterious undertakings of those individuals have fallen.

The harm posed by homosexual practices to quality and length of life is indeed broad and all-encompassing: Oxford University's International Journal of Epidemiology reports: "Life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continues, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 will not reach their 65th birthday." Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan comments on this data that, “judging by the number of years at risk, homosexual activity is up to three times deadlier than smoking.” Furthermore, homosexuals serve to transmit venereal diseases at alarming rates. According to Glenn,  “The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report that men who engage in homosexual behavior are 860% more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), increasing up to 500% their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Men who have [intercourse] with men ‘have large numbers of anonymous partners, which can result in rapid, extensive transmission of STDs,’ the CDC warns… Another CDC study ‘confirms that young bisexual men are a 'bridge' for HIV transmission to women.’" If we might look back to the 1980s, and wonder how AIDS, which had first been known predominantly as a “gay cancer,” was spread to the general population, we will find the culprit: the misguided behaviors exhibited by bisexuals. A modicum of self-restraint and repression of such attitudes would certainly have mitigated the proliferation of this disease.

Furthermore, the very nature of the human organism as an entity whose properties have evolved over time will point to the harms of homosexuality. Evolution, as postulated by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book, The Origin of Species, entails a natural selection of those traits best suited to an organism’s reproductive fitness, or the ability to pass on its genes. Through millions of years of natural selection in favor of organisms with the capacity to reproduce heterosexually, the mechanisms of heterosexual reproduction have become effectively safe, of course, when not taking into account environmental factors such as STDs. As Mr. Firehammer writes, “The natural function of the genitals… is their use by one man and one woman for sexual intercourse. Physiologically, those organs have the exact characteristics required for carrying out that act successfully, including the fact that it is simultaneously beneficial, enjoyable, and harmless.” Evolution has not made the same provisions for homosexual intercourse, since it is irrelevant, if not deleterious, to reproductive fitness. States Mr. Firehammer, “The only way the genitals can be used outside the heterosexual context is in some way that contradicts their natural function and is both dangerous and harmful. For an explicit example: the walls of [a certain female organ] are several cells thick, ‘designed’ for sexual intercourse. On the contrary, in a common practice of male homosexuals, [an organ] is involved whose walls are only one cell thick, and easily damaged. This is not a sexual organ and has one specific natural function, the dispelling of waste. Intercourse involving [this organ] is an opposite, contradictory, and harmful use of it, and a totally abnormal use of the male [genitalia.]” It is, moreover, a practice guaranteed to be evolutionally selected against, resulting in shortened lifespans and immense suffering for those undertaking it.

The fysical harms of homosexuality, however, are not the extent of its damage. Even more fundamentally, homosexuality causes devastation in an individual’s moral life. As Firehammer contends, to have anything but a platonic love for another of the same gender is to debauch the very significance of such a relationship. Of men who share a high degree of friendship and values, he writes, “It is not possible that such men would be tempted homosexually… That kind of love does not allow itself or the values that make it possible to be sacrificed on the altar of whim or desire or passion, and that knowledge makes any such desire itself impossible.” How can an individual truly care for and value his relationship with another, if he simultaneously urges that other to commit actions deleterious to his health and inconsistent with the nature and functionality of his organism? Homosexuality is, furthermore, morally damaging because it substitutes hedonism and the pursuit of carnal gratification for reason, prudence, and calculated judgment. Psychologist Dr. Neil Whitehead of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality writes, “A strong case can be made that the male homosexual lifestyle itself, in its most extreme form, is mentally disturbed… Rotello, a gay advocate, notes that ‘the outlaw aspect of gay sexual culture, its transgressiveness, is seen by many men as one of its greatest attributes.’ Same-sex eroticism becomes for many, therefore, the central value of existence, and nothing else--not even life and health themselves--is allowed to interfere with pursuit of this lifestyle.” Embracing homosexual practices implies individual acceptance of a whirlpool of whim over reality, for reality is comprehensible only through reason, and, in a rebellion against reason, the homosexual cuts off his only means of efficaciously living in this world. It also implies an obsessive inclination on the part of the practitioners to block off any voices of reason that might inform them of the undesirability of their actions.

This is the reason for such slurs as “homofobia” directed by gay activists against anyone who disagrees with their agenda. Such a tactic is a prominent feature of the moral depravity that some homosexuals venture into in their gratuitous attacks on others. Writes Mr. Firehammer, “The purpose of vilification is not to eliminate disagreement by convincing argument, but to eliminate disagreement by silencing those who disagree… The method involves two different approaches: overt accusations and innuendo… The overt approach works by applying certain pejorative terms… Anything that expresses an individual's objective judgment of homosexuality is ‘hateful.’ Any opinion that suggests  homosexual practices are less than ‘marvelous’ is ‘homophobic.’ Anyone who suggests individuals ought to be in control of their passions, not the subjects of them, is a ‘prude…’ Anyone who has a genuine concern for homosexuals who desire to free themselves from this addicting, self-destructive life-style and attempts to help them is ‘abusive…’ Innuendo is much more subtle and much more insidious. No specific accusations are made. ‘Possibilities,’ are merely, ‘suggested.’ One of the most common examples is the absurd ‘suggestion,’ that strong opposition to homosexuality is the result of the ‘latent homosexual’ in the opposer.” Surely, someone who has a healthy moral life will not engage in such smear-hurling and attempts to poison the well against the opposition. 

Furthermore, Mr. Firehammer argues that many homosexuals are profoundly impacted by a pervasive sense of guilt concerning their practices. He writes, “’It is me,’ is not an answer to the question, ‘on what grounds am I justified in enjoying this pleasure; how have I earned it; why do I deserve it; in what way am I worthy of it?’ But for homosexuals, ‘it is me,’ is the only answer available. Unless they can justify that answer, every homosexual pleasure they enjoy is a source of guilt, a value unearned and a pleasure undeserved. Since that is the supreme pleasure of their lives, the dominant emotion of their lives is a supreme sense of guilt.” This sense of guilt is recognized implicitly by the practitioners, and is a fundamental motivator for some of them to seek to pre-empt any attempts to prove the harms of their practices. A life lived morally ought not be permeated by guilt, and, thus, it follows that the life of the homosexual is not lived in full morality.

The fact that homosexuality, like all behaviors, is volitionally chosen, does, however, offer a viable alternative for all those engaged in it. They are not fated to be self-destructive and can at any time choose to renounce the fysical and moral harms associated with their habits. This is the moral imperative behind my argument, to seek to persuade such individuals and the general public that the abandonment of homosexuality, brought about by the spread of information and individual action, will serve everybody’s best rational self-interests.

Sources Used:

Firehammer, Reginald. “What’s Wrong with Homosexuality?” The Hijacking of a Philosophy: Homosexuals vs. Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. 2004. http://usabig.com/autonomist/hijack/hijackhomobad.html.

Firehammer, Reginald. “Repress, Repress, Repress.” The Rational Argumentator. Issue XXIX. December 25, 2004. http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/repress.html.

Glenn, Gary. "Compassionate Society Should Discourage Deadly Homosexual Behavior", State Director, American Family Association of Michigan. March 19, 2001. http://www.afa.net/homosexual_agenda/ha031901.asp

Whitehead, N.E., Ph. D. “Homosexuality and Mental Health Problems.” National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. September 19, 2004. http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead.html.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent filosofical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician and composer, contributor to organizations such as Le Quebecois Libre, Enter Stage Right, the Autonomist, and Objective Medicine. Mr. Stolyarov is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator. He can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

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