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Sunday, June 14, 2015

To sleep, perchance to dream

I awoke this morning remembering a few details of a dream I had just been involved in.  Basically, I was considering the similarities between alcoholics and homosexuals.  Both groups are disparaged in the Bible.  Both have had widespread misconceptions by the public in general about their condition or illness.  Both homosexuality and alcoholism are conditions that may be “lived with” so long as basic considerations are adhered to. 

While alcoholism is a genetic condition, defined as a “disease” by the AMA, homosexuality has not received a similar blessing.  Possibly the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s in addition to bringing the possibility of a control, if not a cure, to this condition gave it the impetus needed to gain sufficient study to achieve a determination of its basic cause.  With homosexuality, I will use the term “condition” in deference to the homosexual’s understanding that their condition is normal, at least for themselves.  The alcoholic, if he is knowledgeable about his situation, understands his condition to be a disease.  Science has found it has its roots in the genetic makeup of the afflicted individual.  Maybe, given the strength of the LGBT community today, a similar determination of cause for homosexuality may be found in (hopefully) the near future.  One thing is sure concerning alcoholism:  It is a disease that may be lived with so long as one simple thing is maintained:  Sobriety.  Homosexuality is similar in having its musts:  One must confine one’s sexuality strictly to the like-minded. 

So long as these two directives are observed, alcoholics and homosexuals are more than welcome in the greater sphere of society.  Virtually nothing is denied to either group so long as the prime directives are maintained and their conditions are not advertised.  If there is a group like Alcoholics Anonymous that applies to homosexuality, I am not aware of it (although Google does provide a number of possibilities.)  A similar group would seem to make sense, in any case.  AA allows alcoholics to know each other and discuss problems of (and solutions to) alcoholism in an understanding environment.  The misconceptions of the general public are not found in AA meetings. 

And what are some of these misconceptions?  Well, the main one with both conditions is that the condition is a matter of the will of the individual.  If they would just stop drinking, or moderate their drinking is the thought of the “normal” individual when it comes to alcoholics.  To many, if not most “normal” people, the alcoholic is just a weak-willed person with a lack of self control.  As for weak-willed, just try to tell an alcoholic he has a problem with alcohol and needs to quit drinking.  All of a sudden you will find a person with a mission.  That mission is to tell you he has no problem whatsoever.  He can quit whenever he wants to and, if his drinking (which is nobody’s business but his own) is hurting anyone but himself, that’s not his fault.  Weak-willed?  Hardly!

I can only guess at what a “normal” person might think of homosexuality.  It would seem to be a simple matter of rethinking the whole sex/procreation requirement to realize how absurd homosexuality really is.  If there is a genetic component to this condition, surely it would self-eradicate in a matter of a couple of generations.  It hasn’t, so genetics can’t be the only answer.  Surely a psychiatrist could get through to them.  Isn’t there something called “reprogramming?”  If the “normals” are religious, they might find that place in the Bible where homosexuality is called an “abomination.”  Sodom and Gomorrah are prime examples of God’s will concerning this condition.  Of course, in the Bible, the only homosexuality mentioned is that of the male variety.  Seems females were not considered when it came to this condition.  Do you suppose this is more an example of man’s inclusion of his own biases in what is supposed to be divinely inspired writing than an example of the attitude of God towards some of his creatures?  He created all of us, did he not?  He made each and every gene found in we human creatures, including those which undergird the alcoholic and, potentially, the homosexual.    

Ten years ago, or so, I was working in a local hotel.  The lady who relieved me spent much of her free time on the internet researching questions of homosexuality.  She was a bit younger than me.  Still, she had a daughter who was about twenty years old from an early marriage.  I found all this curious and asked her about it.  She explained she had married young and was happy to be out of that union.  Her homosexuality was something she realized about herself later in life.  One comment she made that has stuck with me was, “it’s not something I would have chosen for myself, it’s just the way it is.”

When I was in high school, I had several friends who later determined they were “gay.”  They were fine folks when I knew them.  I had a friend whose parents were from Indiana, as were mine, and he was, seemingly, “as gay as they come.”  Still, he was a friend.  In college he studied art and design.  Afterwards he opened an interior design studio in Aiken.  He spoke with a certain accent that many would find common, though not ubiquitous, in the gay community.  Still, as far as I can discern, he fought it all his life; he even married, late in life, and maintained that union with his lady until he died. 

My friend’s sister married an uncle of mine.  They had three terrific children.  One son is gay.  He has lived in Europe most of his life.  He is a very successful artistic director.  My personal experience, you see, is that homosexuality may well be a genetically determined condition.  My personal experience with alcoholism is the same (there is alcoholism in my family tree) with me being one prime example of an alcoholic.  I tell you this to assure you my assertion of these two conditions as being genetic--the disease of alcoholism and the condition of homosexuality--is bolstered by personal anecdotal knowledge if not by scientific evidence.  Hopefully, one day science will obtain sufficient funding to come up with a reason for homosexuality as it has for alcoholism.  Since no specific substance is involved, it is quite possible the reason(s) behind this phenomenon will be a bit harder to come by than was the case with alcoholism.  One thing’s for sure, though—there is a reason for everything under the sun.  Finding those reasons is what keeps scientists busy.

In the mean time, those of us who are blessed to live in societies where free expression of thoughts is an option should learn to live and let live to the best of our abilities.  The best way to do this is to teach the children what love is really all about and what the word “inclusiveness” stands for.  

Given love, inclusiveness can follow.

SVG  14 June 2015



  

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