Dr. Charles Socarides argues that the unreflective acceptance of homosexual behavior by medical professionals has had devastating consequences for individuals and society.
Homosexuality cannot create a society or keep one going for very long. It operates against the cohesive elements of society. The sexes are driven in opposite directions, and no society can long endure when either the child is neglected or the sexes war with each other. Those who reinforce the disintegrating elements in our society will get no thanks from future generations.
A significant portion of society today holds the belief that homosexuality is a normal form of sexual behavior different from, but equal to, that of heterosexuality. Many religious leaders, public officials, educators, social and mental health agencies--including those at the highest level of government, departments of psychiatry and psychology, and mental health clinics--have been taken in by a wide spread sexual egalitarianism and by accusations of being undemocratic or prejudiced if they do not accept certain assertions that are thrust upon them, as if they were deprived of all intellectual capacity to judge and reason.
This revolutionary change in our sexual mores and customs has been ushered in by a single act of considerable consequence: The removal of homosexuality from the category of aberrancy by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. It is, furthermore, a fateful consequence of our disregard for established psychoanalytic knowledge of human sexual behavior.
This act was naively perceived by many psychiatrists as the "simple" elimination of a scientific diagnosis in order to correct injustices. In reality, it created injustices for the homosexual and his family, as it belied the truth and prevented the homosexual from seeking and receiving help. At the social, group, and community level, it proved to be the opening phase of a two-phase sexual radicalization; the second phase being the raising of homosexuality to the level of an alternative lifestyle--an acceptable psychosexual institution--alongside heterosexuality as a prevailing norm of behavior.
The motivating force behind this movement was the wish to protect the homosexual against injustices and persecution. This could have been legitimately effected by the demand for equal rights for the homosexual, a demand arising from the humanitarian philosophy so deeply embedded in our humanistic science. Instead, the false step of removing homosexuality from our manual was substituted. This amounted to a full approval of homosexuality and an encouragement to aberrancy by those who should have known better, both in the scientific sense and in the sense of the social consequences of such removal.
To many American psychiatrists, this action remains a chilling reminder that if scientific principles are not fought for they can be lost--a disillusioning warning that unless we make no exceptions to science, we are subject to the snares of political factionalism and to the propagation of untruths to an unsuspecting and uninformed public, to the rest of the medical profession, and to the behavioral sciences.
The devastating clinical fallout from this decision was yet to follow. Those who would prefer to retain homosexuality as a valid diagnosis have been essentially silenced in lectures, meetings, and publications; a silencing that originates both within our association and from other sources as well. Political parties and religious leaders have been utilized to reinforce this silence. The press has been influenced in addition to the electronic media. Television and movies promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and censor movies that might show homosexuality as a disorder. Homosexual sex education has entered our schools and colleges; pro-gay activists--homosexual or otherwise--portray their way of life as normal and as "American as apple pie," while intimidating those with different views.
In essence, this movement has accomplished what every other society, with rare exceptions, would have trembled to tamper with: a revision of the basic code and concept of life and biology, that men and women normally mate with those of the opposite sex and not with each other. This psychiatric nonsense and social recklessness bring with it many individual tragedies, as men and women who no longer appreciate their own appropriate sexual roles create confusion in the very young for generations to come. Gender identity disturbance is bound to increase, and more true homosexual deviations result as parents distort the maleness or femaleness of their infants and children.
Young men and women with relatively minor sexual fears are led with equanimity by some psychiatrists and non-medical counselors into a self despising pattern and lifestyle. Adolescents, nearly all of whom experience some degree of uncertainty as to sexual identity, are discouraged from assuming that one form of gender identity is preferable to another. Those persons who already have a homosexual problem are discouraged from finding their way out of self destructive fantasy, discouraged from learning to accept themselves as male or female.
The forces allied against heterosexuality are formidable and unrelenting. Charges of being "undemocratic," "cruel and inhuman," or "irresponsible, homophobic, and prejudiced," are leveled at those who would question the normality of homosexuality. These accusations are then reinforced by the media and motion pictures, and render the ordinary citizen who disapproves of such practices (as well as faint-hearted members of the psychiatric and psychological professions) mute before their onslaught.
The counteraction for such forces is the knowledge that heterosexuality has self-evident, adaptive value. Man is not only a sexual animal, but a care-bonding, group-bonding, and child-rearing animal. The male-female design is taught to the child from birth and culturally ingrained through the marital order. The male-female design is thus perpetually maintained and it is only overwhelming fear or man's false pride and misdirected individual enterprise that can disturb or divert it.
Dr. Charles W. Socarides is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He is president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
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