As theological and scientific understanding of homosexuality grows more sophisticated, it is clear that a distinction and clarity of terms is crucial. These new concepts must be incorporated into current debates. These ideas and words were not available in biblical times, and indeed, are new to the modern world. There are important differences between sexual orientation, sexual behavior and sexual identity which cannot be overemphasized.59 Sexual orientation, like gender, is that which human beings are--indelible some time in very early human development. Sexual behavior is that which human beings do to find sexual pleasure and fulfillment. Sexual identity is that which we tell others about ourselves. The examples below are useful.
Given societal prejudices about homosexuality which are typically more strident in Christian communities, gay men and lesbian women may confidentially admit their sexual orientation to an empathetic researcher--but for the sake of survival, tell everyone else that they are heterosexual. Thus, their sexual orientation is homosexual, but their sexual identity remains heterosexual. This scenario gives one insight into the complexity of homosexual research, the possibility for bias, and the root of recent controversies regarding the "real" percentage of gay men and lesbian women in society at large (challenging earlier estimates). In this example, a person of homosexual orientation portraying a heterosexual identity, is said (by common vernacular) to be living in the "closet." Many gay men and lesbian women find living in the closet to be very stressful and unsustainable in the long-term. In many cases, gays/lesbians will marry and have families in an attempt to comply with societal norms and standards, but they remain homosexual. Particularly in the past thirty years, there has been a movement among gay men and lesbian women to live more honestly and openly. A person of homosexual orientation portraying a homosexual identity is said to be "out"--and the process of honest integration of sexual orientation with sexual identity is known as "coming out (of the closet)."
In another way of considering homosexual orientation, the definition given by Christian author, L.R. Holben, from his book, What Christians Think About Homosexuality, gives a thoughtful reflection:
Referring to gay, lesbian or homosexual persons, I will not have in mind mere erotic itch, what “turns one on” physically and nothing more. Rather, I will be speaking of a person in whom not only the sexual drives but also the deepest emotional and psychological urges for self-revelation, intimacy, connectedness, bonding, closeness and commitment —all that we call romantic/erotic love — find their internal, spontaneous fulfillment not in the opposite sex but in the same sex.60
|Última actualización en Viernes, 14 de Septiembre de 2012 20:50|