19 December 2008

If There Were a Pill...

...which was proven to "cure" homosexuality in one dose (AKA dissolve your homosexual/homoromantic feelings/desires/inclinations/passions and replace them with matching heterosexual/heteroromantic ones), and it was offered to you for free, would you take it?

Someone's statement today resurfaced this question for me. It reminded me of several months ago when my mom asked, "Wouldn't you rather not be same-sex attracted if you could help it? Wouldn't life be easier for you if you weren't torn between what you want and what you believe is appropriate to act on, or to feel more able to find a wife and start a family?" She seemed a little surprised (I hope not devastated) when I said maybe, but I wasn't so sure that I would. How I am is what I know, and it's hard to not want what you want (or not to believe what you believe). Yeah, it's a conflict, but I just don't know if I would take that pill. Maybe. Some days I'd be more inclined than others, perhaps.

Some of my reasons for reluctance towards said hypothetical pill are personal. Some may be very much emotional and possibly not logically defensible. Some I'm not sure I can even identify. But it's an interesting question to ask myself from time to time. Makes me pause to reflect on and assess a few things.

I admittedly worry for people who would stubbornly decry the very existence of the pill and would refuse to even consider taking it because "change" is another word for "dishonesty" and "hatred". But just as much, I worry for people who would be overzealous in their eagerness to take it to become "normal". I worry their attitude will lead them to miss out on the opportunity to love themselves as they are before moving on and to use that love in understanding others. I worry they're trying to skip learning to live life deliberately, to bridle their passions, to see beyond the "monster" they've created in their minds. I even worry they'd be overly confident that all of their problems would be solved by becoming heterosexual and life would be a cakewalk from that point on. I can't say I'd totally blame people for being first in line. But I would (or do) hold back and let the eager masses go first while I figure out if I really even hope to say goodbye to this part of me once and for all. Even if it seems obvious it could resolve certain conflicts for me, it's not a comfortable prospect to shift an entire paradigm and approach life from a very different angle.

Is it possible I've become addicted to or dependent on "the conflict"? It is, after all, certainly a puzzle. I like puzzles. OK, I obsess over puzzles. And it does make me a bit of an oddity, though the high number of LDS SSA/gay/struggler bloggers cropping up are beginning to make me feel annoyingly non-abnormal. Dang. I enjoy the self-flattery of fancying myself to be an anomaly of sorts. I do hope I don't have so much energy and identity tied up in the "conflict" that I wouldn't know who I am without it, that I wouldn't know where life's next mystery is if I were to let go of one side or the other.

Maybe I'd sample the gradual change pill. You know, out of curiosity. Maybe one that would make me "straight" just for a day. See how I like it. Then back to the safety net of neurotic, repressed mohoness to which I'm so affectionately accustomed.


Samantha said...

I've often thought of the statement made by a some church leaders that when we're resurrected we will no longer experiences homosexuality (paraphrasing, of course). It scares me--a lot. I would really rather not be attracted to men. I'm only now learning how to enjoy their company without feeling threatened (okay--enjoy the company of gay men, because let's face it, completely non-threatening). The thought of feeling sexual attraction to random men does not appeal to me in the least.

It would be nice to feel physically attracted to Darrin--but only him.

Yeah, I think God and I are going to have to have a PPI before that resurrection thing. I'm also ordering some extra height, and I'd like blue eyes.

Kengo Biddles said...

I have a friend with congenital hearing loss. I asked him once if he would genetically engineer his kids if he could and remove the gene that caused his deafness. He said that he would, without question.

Not that I'm comparing our Moho-ness to a disability, but I am comparing it to something that affects every aspect of your life, and there's nothing that it doesn't affect.

I think that for my friend, knowing his life, he would trade it, and, as you say, there would be those that would be first in line to have that change made and done.

At the same time, I'm afraid of what kind of person I would be if I were to take such a pill. I'm afraid I'd lose my sensitivity, my love of the arts and the "finer" things of life that those who I'm trying to become like don't seem to notice. (Thanks, John Wayne.)

It's tough to say. Maybe I'd become like Frasier Crane. But I'm afraid I wouldn't, and I like those parts of me too much to just give them up. I think I'd be for the gradual change pill, just like you...

Chedner said...

A few years ago, I would've said, "Absolutely, I would take the pill!"

Now, my response would be, "I'd have to pray, fast, and meditate about it."

I mean, I've sincerely begged God for my homosexuality to disappear, and He didn't take it away... so, it sort of stands to reason in my mind that there's a purpose for it.

And although I have my personal believes as to the purpose (and 'cause' in a sense), the fact is I am gay, and there is no current scientific 'pill' or what-have-you to make me otherwise (i.e. I am going to continue to be gay); therefore, it's a waste of time thinking about the what ifs when I should be thinking about the what nows.

Abelard Enigma said...

There was a time when I would have answered "Yes!" to the hypothetical 'straight pill' question without a moments hesitation.

Now, I'm not so sure. As I've explored my sexuality, I've come to understand that it's not all about sex. My gayness permeates my entire being and is a factor in all my likes, dislikes, talents, challenges, etc. If you were to remove the gay then what would I be left with?

btw, there is a film that deals with this very topic called "Hard Pill" which I felt handled the issue very well, looking at all sides of the issue. Although, I will warn you that is' "unrated" and does contain some scenes you may not want to see (you can watch and edited version of it on logoonline.com)

Ezra said...

I actually discussed this on monday with my therapist.

I told her after some thought that I didn't know. I supposed that if somehow all it did was change my sexual desires, but keep everything else about me the same, I'd probably do it.

However, my homosexuality influences every other element of my life, affecting my personality, my tastes, my behavior and interactions with men and women, etc. I wouldn't be Ezra without my sexuality, any more than I'd be a man with out my... well, you know :)

Seriously though, it's a tough question. It's like the X-men... the only reason something like that would be invented because of fear and disgust for who we are--and that's reason enough to reject it.

It's cliched to do this, but if there was a pill that turned your skin from black/olive/red/blue etc to white, do you think people would take it? That they SHOULD take it? Yeah, their life might be easier without discrimination, but they'd be living a lie...

invisible said...

There is actually a movie about this where a man does take a pill to become straight. He then goes into dating and as the movie develops he is left to decide if he like what he has become or who he was. When I find the title for it I will give it to you if you want. It came on LOGO a few years back.

Original Mohomie said...

Interesting comments, all. Thanks for piping in.

Samantha, I really, really enjoy you.

Kengo, love the Frasier mention.

Chedner, I like the "what now" vs. "what if" turn of phrase. Most times, I've been disgusted by these silly "what if" scenarios people pose, pining away for what "might be" or dealing in hypotheticals when they could be determining their responses to what's here and now. I think certain questions and evaluations that are valuable for one person aren't necessarily so for another.

The value, to me, in asking myself this question is that, in a way, it gets to the meat of a few things, some of which are not just hypothetical: there are many out there offering supposed pathways to "change" to at least some extent. Do I even care? Where is my focus? What are my priorities? I think those kinds of assessments are crucial to determining the "what now".

It looks like we have two recommendations for Hard Pill, both made before I published the comments.

I do question how much one's traits and sexual orientation are inextricable vs. how much they're correlated. Incidentally, cut off my genitalia, and I daresay I'll still tell you I'm a man. And I'll show you the scars to prove it, baby.

Wait...would it be indecent exposure if you had no genitalia? Oh wow...you could have all kinds of fun testing legal loopholes. "Why no, officer, I have no exposed genitalia." Could you walk around naked with impunity during the summer time? Am I demented for asking such questions?

Jay said...

I don't think I would take the pill. I like who I am, I worked hard to get here. I think dealing with this issue has made me a better person, more tolerant, less judgemental, more accepting. I guess if I were to choose to take the pill the choice would be made for others in my life, not me

J G-W said...

My answer is the same as Chedner's and Abe's... I once would eagerly have gulped that pill down without even thinking for a moment. Now I would feel obliged by my sense of personal dignity and morality to refuse it.

I guess what intrigues me is those folks who've posted who are opposite-sex married or celibate who have admitted that even they would not take the pill. That really bamboozles me...

Maybe that has something to do with the inherent dignity that comes in freely "choosing" a hardship that is essentially unchosen. In being willing to learn from that hardship whatever learnings come as a result of it.

Or is it something deeper, as Chedner suggests? Is it that we sense, at some level, that the hand of God is in this, that to choose to be straight is to deny his creation in us?

playasinmar said...

I too saw X-Men 3.

How'd that work out for Rouge?

Bravone said...

Interesting post. I agree with some that I might have earlier, but am now comfortable with my sexuality. Having said that, it might be tempting some days.