Monday, October 09, 2006

The Talking Begins

Understanding Homosexuality meets Straight Into Gay America: (Post #2)

Here is Dr. David Glesne’s response to Lars Clausen’s request for a conversation. (October 3)Subsequent to this letter, Dave and Lars agreed to conduct our dialogue on this blog in order to enjoy a wider participation.

From now on we’ll be posting directly as we write our responses to one another. Thank you for comments to our first posting. I hope this will be a useful dialogue for many of us. If you know of others who will benefit from this conversation, please invite them to check in here at the blog. I hope to have my response by Wednesday or Thursday. Lars (Oct 9)

Dr. David Glesen agrees to conversation and addresses,

  • early abuse leading to homosexuality.
  • statistics about the gay "lifestyle."
  • the reality of a gay agenda.

Dear Lars,

Your book and letter arrived a couple days ago. First of all, thanks for a copy of Straight Into Gay America: My Unicycle Journey for Equal Rights. I am looking forward to carving out some time to sit down and read it. I have asked my assistant to send you a complimentary copy as well so hopefully within a week or so you will be receiving a copy.

I very much appreciated the sincerity and tone of your letter. I am always a learner and I sense that you are as well. As you know, the homosexual issue is an extremely complex and emotionally charged issue. I always welcome honest dialogue and conversation.

Your biographical information was very helpful - thanks. It gives me a little glimpse, at least, into you as a person, your approach to life, and your experiences.

Perhaps the best way forward is for me to begin by responding to the specific questions you voiced. Since we have the use of cyberspace, we can go back and forth more readily.

Your first question has to do with the common assertion that LGBT people develop their orientation because of early abuse. First of all, a couple clarifications that may be important. The book centers predominantly on homosexuals. I do not take up the matter of bi-sexuality or transgender issues. I realize these are related to homosexuality but the distinction needs to be made. Second, the book is not asserting that all - or even a majority - of homosexual persons develop their orientation as the result of early abuse. As stated in the first paragraph of chapter 2, honest researchers are not really sure what causes homosexuality. However, they have been able to identify evidence pointing to contributing factors. Among those contributing factors is early homosexual experiences. On pages 37-38 I reference four studies that give evidence that sexual early homosexual experiences are such a contributing factor. On pages 39-41 I try to point out that contributing factors, however, vary from individual to individual. There are homosexual persons who have had no negative childhood homosexual experiences but rather a combination of other factors, etc., etc. The quote from Jeffrey Satinover on page 39 is about the best description of the complexity of the causes of homsoexuality that I have come across. (I realize you may have to wait for the book to arrive for you to check these pages if you have already returned the other copy.)

Again, a clarification. I do not address the matter of whether or not LGBT parents abuse their children if that is what you are saying. Maybe I am misunderstanding you here. I am not asserting that LGBT parents abuse their children. The studies referred to on page 38 speak of being abused by older men. They don't identify these older men as the fathers of these children.

Your second question challenges the statistics about the gay lifestyle on pages 44-46. As referenced there, the statistics come from a Dr. Stanley Monteith on the video commentary The Gay Agenda: The Report by Ty & Jeannette Beeson, 1993. Obtaining wholly accurate figures for such behavior is always going to be questionable but a second set of figures compares reasonably close to Monteith's statistics. One of the largest surveys ever conducted of homosexual sex practices was published by two homosexual researchers in 1979. In The Gay Report by Jay and Young, they reported that 99% engaged in oral sex; 91% had anal intercourse; 83% engaged in rimming; 22% had done fisting; 23% admitted to public or groups sex; 73% admitted having sex with boys; and 4% admitted to eating feces. [Reported by the Traditional Values Coalition in an article, "Homosexual Behavior Fuels AIDS and STD Epidemic". Website: Address: 139 C. St. SE, Washington, DC 2003] When you compare the two sets of figures they compare reasonably closely.

Now let me say a word of clarificaton. I need to make clear that I am not saying that all homosexual persons participate in these practices described by Monteith and Jay & Young. And I am not saying the figures are representative of the overall gay population. Both Monteith's figures and The Gay Report's figures, if I understand them correctly, would be descriptive not of the overall gay population but of that segment of the gay population that is involved in what they themselves refer to as "the gay lifestyle". At least, that is the way I am using them in the book. I surely don't mean to imply that all homosexual persons are involved in the gay lifestyle

As Gregory Rogers in his report on "The Gay Report" states, "It needs to be said that we are not asserting that all, or even a majority of gays partake of the above practices [referencing the figures in The Gay Report]. Indeed, as the study indicates, many such practices are condemned by many gays - but also openly praised by many [his italics]. If public opinion felt that all gays so partook, it was indeed in error." (

Also, Dr. Monteith's figures are based, as I understand it, upon the research done by Paul Cameron who has been criticized by some scientists as not doing reliable research. It is hard to put a great deal of weight on their criticisms. They might be right but figures like Monteith's and Jay & Young are the best figures we have and those who criticize them need to come forth with better and more reliable figures. That is what we all are after, after all, the best and most reliable figures. Can it be that the reason so many researchers refuse to study homosexual behavior and its frequency is because it is not politically correct to do so? It is not enough to criticize without providing better statistics.

Thirdly, you question the reality of a gay agenda. I would encourage you to read After the Ball by Harvard graduates and homosexual activists Marshal Kirk and Hunter Madsen (1989) and the 1987 article titled "The Overhauling of Straight America" by Kirk and Erastes Pill, who sell out very clearly the homosexual agenda for America. This is an agenda that comes from homosexual activistis themselves. I would also recommend The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today by Alan Sears and Craig Osten.

You also ask for clarity regarding ex-gay programs and their success rates. There are numerous testimonies of those who knew themselves to be gay and who know equally that their sexual orientation has changed. For someone to say that they weren't really gay in the first place just rings hollow and, it seems to me, betrays a bias that change is not possible. On pages 29-31 I point to biblical teaching, scientific studies and human experience all testifying to the reality that homosexuals can change. I would recommend going to the NARTH website as well for evidence that change is possible.

These are brief responses, but I hope they can move the conversation along.

Dave Glesne


SJR said...

To Mr. Glesne:

If indeed "not all, or even a majority" participates in the behaviors you list, why do you include them so prominently in the book? To me, it seems little more than an attempt to arouse the ignorant with tales of those supposedly wicked homosexuals and all the evil things they do!

Which could explain why some of our outspoken ELCA pastors seem to be obsessed with the intimate details of homosexual behavior -- which is probably why one of them has been spotted in a local gay bar. Often. Without his wife. But I'll save THAT for the Bishop's office to address.

May I ask that you provide the same details/data on heterosexual behavior? Research with integrity and honesty would warrant it. Perhaps your next book should be
Understanding Heterosexuality."

I too received a free copy of your book sent by an ELCA congregation that refuses to identify itself. So I'm asking you to please share the name of that parish here. I can't imagine why you couldn't. Since they have my name and address I would simply like theirs. Thanks.

btw, I am a gay Lutheran pastor actively serving a congregation with my Bishop's full knowledge and support.

Am I being flip or angry? Not really. Just tired of how many in the ELCA have replaced the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the twisted notion that somehow sexual orientation is THE central doctrine of the Church. I look forward to how this conversation unfolds.

Hats off to Lars for not only initiating the conversation, but for being so bold as to actually DO SOMETHING to raise awareness.

Anonymous said...

The research used by Dr. Glesne is dated 1993, 1989, 1987 and 1979. The world and our society has changed several times over during that time. Statistics gleaned from more than 13 years ago to more than 27 years ago (the studies had to be conducted and researched prior to publishing them) is eons from the present. The use of those data, in itself, is a distortion of information and does a disservice to all of us, LGBT and straight people alike. cg

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear or read "Not all...", I remember people saying, "Not all Jews are pushy or control the money of the world..." and "Not all Negroes (the word they used for African Americans) are lazy or shuffle their feet or love watermelon...." and "Not all doctors are in it for the money..". Prejudice says, "We love the sinner but hate the sin."

sjr said...

still waiting to get the name of the ELCA congregation that sent copies of your book to all of us.

DawnL said...

May I please take this moment to remind everyone that Mr. Glesne has willingly agreed to engage in dialog? Let's keep it respectful, share our stories, provide our insights, and refrain from both defensiveness and offensiveness so we can keep this dialog going. I would like to see a productive movement foward. I appreciate Lars and Mr. Glesne for engaging in this discussion for all to read, and believe they have set a good tone and model for how this discussion should proceed... Thanks!

Tim Fisher said...

Dear Dave,

I'm wondering what you make of the APA's (American Psychological Association) stance on "change therapy"? The APA's stance is two-fold:

1) that it is unethical for a "change therapist" to offer therapy with the assumption that homosexuality is pathological (since the great majority of the scientific and professional community has determined otherwise)

2) that it is unethical for a "change therapist" to tell clients that there is solid scientific evidence that supports that changes in sexual orientation have been achieved (since the great majority of the scientific and professional community has determined that no such evidence exists)

When I say "the scientific and professional community," I mean such organizations as: the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, The Interfaith Alliance, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and National Education Association, and a Surgeon General of the United States.


Tim Fisher
Minneapolis, MN

Dave Glesne said...

In response to sjr:
The name of the Colorado ELCA congregation that gave the financial gift for sending the books is Grace Lutheran Church of Englewood, CO. If you desire to contact them, however, you will be disappointed. They disbanded in 2005, sold their property, and it was from that sale that they were able to provide the funds for the book sending.

Anonymous said...

My compliments to Lars Clausen and Dr. David Glesen for the fascinating discussion. Many churches other than Lutheran are conflicted about the subject of homosexuality, the gay "lifestyle" and the gay agenda. The tone established by the two of you allows us to feel this is a reasonable discussion perhaps headed toward new understanding rather than wider divisions that became evident after from many hotly debated sessions I have witnessed.

In reviewing the letters the two of you wrote to begin this discussion, quesions came into my mind re: the validity of the statistics:
* How were the persons who became the statistics identified and invited to respond to the surveys that they answered?
* Were the surveys oral or written? .. given individually or in a group setting? .. in one particular locality or across a wide geographical region?
* Are the questions they were asked available to be published here?

As to the "success rate" of ex-gay programs:
* How long after entering or completing a program was the "success" declared? .. by whom? .. and against what standard?
* What is the definition of "success of an ex-gay program"?
* Have those who claim "change" agreed on a definition of their "change" and what is the definition?
* Are there plans to follow up on the same people with the same survey at any time in the future?

Again, I appreciate the obvious expertise of both of you and especially appreciate the tone of this discussion.

Karin K. Ramsay
Denton, Texas