I have adjusted to a mute default on issues that has to do with the LGBT community for a while now. I learnt from experience. Lost couple of good friends of mine in the past because I decided not to pull back on intellectualizing my arrogance. Indeed I have come a long way in my relationship with some of my gay friends and taken a long walk in virtue as I tried to explore life from Iris Murdock’s (1970) lens of exploration which she calls “just and love gaze” upon the “self”. Having a loving gaze on life allowed me to see the people’s experiences––albeit unconventional, in more positive terms, as refreshingly simple and agreeably direct. John McDowell (1979) and Philippa Foot (1988) consider this posture of accounting the human experience into writing as one that enables the writer to have an internal insight to virtue. Having a virtue portrays benevolence that allows a writer to have a distinctive perspective on human experiences or ‘the lived world’ of others in a certain, justway. Such mental posture of manifesting an internal virtue, is prima facie evidence that I therefore become, at least to some loving extent, relative to the internalized situations of the lives and experiences of our homosexual ‘others’, therefore a lovingperson. This somewhat spiritual expedition has allowed me to give my reasoningsome chance to grow in order to understand and learn what I was arrogantly ignorant of in the past.
I start by pointing to John Bowlby (1988, 1969) and Anna Ainsworth’s (1991, 1978) attachment theory. Although the theory has been use in discussing relationship orientations in relation to religious and close ‘others’, i feel the theory can also apply to homosexual relationships. Attachment theory enthusiasts argue that early bonds shape people’s behaviour. In other words, it is an assumption that the close emotional bond between parents and their children is responsible for the bond that develops between adults in emotionally intimate relationships. Attachment theory is mainly focused on the bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners. John Bowlby describes this bond as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.”
As I have learned and studied, I came to an understanding from an attachment perspective that led me to categorize homosexual relationships within three inter-related but distinct dilemmas, or cases if you like: Perversion, Separation and Orientation. From this light, I have tried to understand three homosexual cases from both the Correspondence and Compensation hypotheses, as I argue for homosexual relationships as a case of early childhood abandonment confliction.
#Case 1: Homosexual by Perversion
Perversion is understood generally as a curve that reverses the direction of something. What we don’t often say however is how this automatic but somewhat attachment-related curve or turning kick starts. Attachment psychologists would associate this turning to be influenced by an attachment figure or factor acquired through specific situational bond or through frequent repetition of a motivational habit that manifests the attachment figure as a target for proximity seeking, safe haven, secure base, and a response to separation and loss. They would argue that this turning was a necessary journey to correspond to the attachment bond they had with their early caregiver or compensate for the attachment bond they never experienced. But since I am not interested in writing an academic essay I will just say it as it is. A huge percentage of those with a particular kind of sexuality arrived at such sexual curve simply because of an attachment bond with someone very close to them, who perhaps may have initiated such pattern of sexuality by manifesting the potentials of an attachment figure. For instance in boarding schools, prisons and places where same-sex genders are domesticated, there is a tendency for individuals within such placements to develop an attachment bond or sexual curve that would satiate their momentary sexual or attachment needs. When such kind of emotional delight is experimented over and over again, chances are that it becomes a curve and a case of attachment cum addiction and the struggle continues for this group of individuals even when they leave those places. At this point their sexual orientation towards their same ‘others’ becomes enveloped into a sexual condition markedly different from the norm, although not always.
#Case 2: Homosexual by Separation
On the other hand, we have people whose homosexual tendency was initiated because they emotionally separated themselves from the opposite sex. In response to their emotional separation, they developed an attachment bond for a same-sex ‘other’, in most cases a close friend. Most lesbians fall within this category. It starts because some of them were hurt and abused by men in the past and as a result developed some sought of emotional disconnect for men, which in turn affected their emotional bond (for men) generally. Their emotional disconnect only reinforces, most times, when they get on an intimate level with a guy. Their disgust for the pain caused by a man or men who might have hurt them in the past often lead them to associate more and often with people of the same sex. In most cases, rape, domestic abuse, unfaithful relationships and heart breaks can often lead to this emotional disconnect. As a result, victims of rape, domestic abuse, or unfaithful relationships get their comfort and safe haven only from the embrace of someone who is within their gender order, leading to an emotional bond. This attachment bond often grows to a point it becomes unmanageable. As a result, they hang around their friend(s) most of the times, and not necessarily for homosexual relationships but to grow and heal each other’s separation or loss; only to realise that they are in for the long haul and really can’t do anything without each other. This state of psychological connectedness often leads to experimentation of intimacy and romance, which triggers emotional unrests on both parts to quench whatever sexual needs they’ve wrought on themselves. It gets to a point where they get used to being around each other, leading to a bond that becomes an emotional relief they can’t do without. Thus such attachment bond becomes an addictive fire too hot to quench.
#Case 3: Homosexual by Orientation
However, the last case is of people that are born with a particular kind of sexual orientation often different from the accepted norm and does not necessarily suggest an attachment bond. Their true sexuality is often hidden within them as opposed to their outward make up. People placed within this category may have the full features of a gender that is not in any way related to their emotional, sexual and physiological being. They look male or female but they are opposite on the inside. Some even have an opposite sexual organ, in most cases. Transgenders, tom-boys, girly-boys, even some gay men and women might fall within this category. And since our society is yet to open up to them you will discover when you get closer to them that the inside of their closets is as mixed up as the inside of their head. Indeed, there are human beings like that whose outward appearance does not necessarily suggest, in anyway, their inward endowment, and that does not mean there is something wrong with them. They are just people like you and I with sexual orientation. They are everywhere. Look around you. You don’t need to look too far to see them. For some of them, they have decided never to get married, never to experience what it feels like to be loved by someone if they choose not to seek an attachment relationship. Whilst the people within this category have a natural disposition of homosexuality, such orientation however is likely to remain dormant for some until is activated by experimenting an attachment romantic relationship from a candidate within their same-sex order, though often not guaranteed due to people’s homophobia. I met a guy at an airport in Johannesburg last year. We got stranded waiting for our flights and decided to have some chat. And when I said I was a pastor he started by telling me how wicked we are, but later decided to share his story with me, as he noticed I sometimes reason from the back side of my brain. He told me how he has suppressed his emotional needs and embraced celibacy because nobody wanted to be his friend due to his effeminate disposition. I was broken to pieces not because of his situation but because of my arrogance all those years. Some of them feel is their destiny to stay single perhaps until God sends their way someone that would share in their uniqueness and embrace them for who they are. Well, others are bold enough to flaunt their true self image regardless of their attachment needs and the demeaning whiff of insignificant insults thrown their way.
A Tolerance of Hope
Jurgen Moltmann engages Christians in his Theology of Hope to regain the leading role of Christianity where he notes that the Christian faith expectations would “remain a piece of sterile theologizing if we fail to attain to the new thought and action that are consequently necessary in our dealings with the things and conditions of this world.” This makes so sense for the future of the church. In our dealing with the conditions of this world, our hope of change must embrace and transform the thought and action of men, otherwise our hope remains “topsy-turvy and inffective,” Moltmann writes. Drawing from this light i think a tolerance of hope which does not reflect on the static view of things but must introduce a tolerating tendency into our hope in our thinking, and thought towards the actions and conditions of our dynamic world which is always plunging toward the future.
Who are we to judge anyone! I choose to accept people for who they really are but mostly to love always. Love is tolerance. Tolerance not because we are right and others are wrong but rather tolerance as a way of living and respecting human dignity in our today’s dynamic world. I would say, a tolerance of hope. It is all about human dignity and replacing our static view of reality with a dynamic way of thinking so as to tolerate one another in hope of a good, expected end.
In any case, I am not saying that all cases cited are entirely sin-free although the three cases correlate and predict each other simultaneously. Some of the cases can be traced back to an addiction problem borne out of an abandonment confliction which needs to be dealt with, whilst some stand out for its authenticity. The challenge is to ask what Christ would have done in those specific situation. This actually puts the whole concept of love to the test. But when carefully observed you will realise that abusing a women, raising a child out-of-home, isolation, rape, domestic abuse, unfaithful relationships, emotional heart breaks—or any kind of abandonment abuse, are all possible predictors which could lead to a homo-sexual turning, the same way child-abandonment by a caregiver affect the child’s social relationships even unto in adulthood. Our lives are determined by the turnings we allow to shape who we will become. Without love and respect for human dignity we are nothing. Love is the only compass that can guide us through all of this hopeful tolerance, as the Holy Scripture directs. The way Christ interpreted the law and prophets are also very informative and helpful in this process. However, it is not us to judge anyone for being homosexual, avoidant, or anxious towards close ‘others’ due to an attachment-related curve. Instead it is our responsibility to love and tolerate in hope, as Christ would have done to give hope to our ambiguous, dynamic world by healing those who are hurting with love.