The Homosexual Condition: Can It Be Changed? Prevented?

March 1999By Mary Meehan

Mary Meehan is a Maryland writer who has been published in many periodicals ranging from The Human Life Review to the Washington Post.

Suppose your teenage son haltingly tells you, “I’m gay — and I hope you won’t hate me for it.” Or a young woman tells you of lesbian temptations that she is experiencing, hoping for your advice. Or suppose you experience homosexual desires of your own. In any of these cases, you may be bewildered, even desperate. What do you do? Where do you look for help?

There is a network of people and groups dedicated to helping those with same-sex attractions — and their parents and friends — to face the condition, understand it, and change it or control it. They say that properly handled efforts to change the homosexual tendency — especially in teenagers — have a much higher chance of success than the public realizes. They also suggest ways to prevent the condition from developing in the first place, an approach that can save much heartache all around.

Many of these people, including former homosexuals both male and female, took part in an important conference sponsored by the American Public Philosophy Institute in Washington, D.C., in June 1997, which managed (despite noisy protests outside and shouts of “homophobia”) to have in-depth discussion of the issue. Although there were no speakers defending the “gay rights” position, homosexual activists were vocal in the question-and-answer sessions. The dialogue was respectful on both sides.

Some conference speakers suggested that criticism of homosexual behavior should be offered with humility, given the undeniable evidence that heterosexuality, too, is out of control these days. Some also stressed the need to respect homosexuals as human persons, for they cannot be defined by sexual behavior alone. “Your brokenness is not who you are,” ex-lesbian Jane Boyer told the conference, echoing what Fr. John Harvey says about the Christian with a homosexual tendency in his book The Truth About Homosexuality: “In no way is his orientation the most important part of him. He is…capable of transcending this difficulty and leading a full Christian life.” Still, homosexual feelings are a disaster to many who indulge them.

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