|Being gay is a choice|
“Being gay is a choice”
by Andrew Lansdown
Many people believe that homosexual behaviour originates from a homosexual orientation over which a homosexual person has no say. According to this view, a homosexual is either born or bred “that way”. Homosexuality is determined by nature or by nurture—it is in the genes or the upbringing—and either way, it is beyond the homosexual’s control. He or she “can’t help it”.
Homosexuals themselves have fostered this deterministic view since the mid-1980s, when the existence of AIDS became known to the wider community. It was part of their strategy to escape blame for their major role in the spread of AIDS through their unhygienic sexual practices. However, they did not always hold this view. During the heyday of the Gay Liberation movement in the 1970s and early 1980s homosexuals vehemently opposed the notion that homosexuality was determined by biological or psychological factors. They scoffed at attempts to find a “cause” for homosexuality, and insisted that they had freely chosen to become homosexuals.
Early testimonies of choice
In 1979/80, for example, the NSW Planning Committee of the National Summer Offensive for Gay Rights produced a Gay Information Kit, in which the writers state: “Lesbians at some stage of their life make a choice about whom they most feel attracted to i.e. women. They make such a choice at age 10, or 50, sometimes even at 75. They make such a choice consciously, sometimes unconsciously.”*The writers then imply that most lesbians are superior to most heterosexual women because they consciously and deliberately choose their sexual identity, whereas heterosexual women unthinkingly adopt the sexual identity that society offers them.
In 1978 the Melbourne Gay Teachers’ and Students’ Group published a book for use in schools called, Young, Gay, and Proud. The authors tell high school students: “If you find anal intercourse a little hard, it may be because it is not your thing. Or it might be that you need to practice a bit for the pleasure to come through just like anything else that’s new.” These homosexual authors, who presumably know what they are talking about, leave us in no doubt that homosexual sex is a learned and chosen behaviour.
Writing in the homosexual magazine OutRage in June 1985, “Graham” proudly describes his experience of “getting started” as a homosexual. As he plainly indicates, he was not driven by an inborn homosexual attraction:
I began doing the beats [i.e., loitering in public toilets for sex] when I was about 15. What had happened was that I’d gone around to a girlfriend’s place, and she’d refused me. I was on my way home, feeling depressed about not getting off with her, and I went to a toilet-block in Cheltenham. I was sitting in the cubicle, when this guy pushed open the door [and we had sex] …
When I’d done it all, I felt really horrible. I pushed the guy away and walked out. When I got home I washed in Dettol! After that, I didn’t do anything for two years, although every so often I’d drop into a toilet-block out of curiosity.
When I was 17 … I used to take days off from work and go to the beach. This was in winter, and the only people hanging around were other perves and people looking for sex. I’d wander through the bushes and someone would flash at me or something, and I’d always have in the back of my mind did I want to do something or not?
But I always refused, until one day … I went down to Mornington. I saw a toilet-block where cars were coming and going all the time. I went in and sat down in a cubicle … After a while another guy offered me money … [We had sex] and I thought it was wonderful. …
So after that, I used to take at least one day off a week, and go and do the beats. Eventually I was taking so much time off that I lost my job …
I found the whole toilet-block thing really exciting … In the morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to get out and start looking for men. I did it from dusk till dawn. …
I think to myself from time to time, “Am I gay or am I straight?” I have sex constantly with men, but … I’m very attracted to girls. …
I think that if there was a toilet-block full of women, where you could go in and look through a hole in the wall, and then go in the cubicle and [have sex with] them, I’d prefer that. But sometimes, if I pick up a girl in a pub or something, after I’ve had sex with her, I’ll go to the park and look for men. … Gay sex is great because once it’s done it’s all over. But I could never live with a guy and fall in love and that sort of thing. If I had a girlfriend that I could have good sex with, I think I’d give it up.
Graham’s story clearly illustrates the voluntary basis of homosexuality. While it is true that he did not choose his initial homosexual encounter, it is also true that he did choose to allow it to proceed. Afterwards, he chose to exchange an instinctive revulsion for an active curiosity. Then he deliberately chose to frequent places where that curiosity could be fed. At last, he chose to abandon himself to homosexual activity. The reason he made these choices was because he wanted sexual gratification. And while he would have preferred to get that gratification from women, he got it from homosexual men because they offered it without the quibbles and scruples that heterosexual women usually have.
Homosexual sex is easy, uncomplicated and immediately gratifying—and that is why many men choose it.
Some people—and this seems to be especially true of women—choose to experiment in homosexual sex for ideological reasons. In one student publication (Sexuality, 1977), for example, several women writers claim that they changed their sexual behaviour from heterosexual to homosexual (lesbian) because of the influence of lesbian and feminist ideas. Their choice of ideology affected their choice of sexual identity and activity. They declare:
The gay movements and the Women’s movement provide political and emotional support for women to collectively explore their own sexuality … And some women who may never otherwise have thought of relating sexually to women but are women-identified and communicate primarily with women have realised the contradiction involved in not sleeping with the people they love most. But it takes time to change your head, to sort out your reactions to men, to begin to trust women and see them as total, sexual people.
Because of their ideological perspective, these women came to believe that it is a contradiction for a woman to relate primarily to other women and yet stop short of sexual intimacy. So they made a prolonged and conscious effort to change the way they naturally thought and felt on sexual matters. They worked at seeing other women in sexual terms, and so began to turn themselves into lesbians. And not content with their own conversions, they wanted other women “who may never otherwise have thought of relating sexually to women” to begin to think about doing so. They wrote to encourage other women to “change their heads”, too.
Writing in Gay Community News (October 1981), one woman outlined her gradual conversion to lesbianism over several years as follows: Firstly, she read Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, “which,” she claims, “had an electrifying effect.” Secondly, to explore the ideas generated by Greer’s book, she enrolled in “a women-only course on Women and Society.” Through the course she was “exposed to more ideas on women’s liberation and introduced to gay liberation.” Thirdly, she joined the Women’s Liberation Movement. However, at this stage, she declares, “Gay Liberation I didn’t see as an option, my feelings about my sexuality were both repressed and confused.” Fourthly, she attended a Women’s Liberation conference, where a paper on lesbianism challenged her to examine herself. “The conference,” she says, “was the beginning of my activism and the beginning of my awareness of myself as being a lesbian.”
In another issue of Gay Community News (July 1981), a high school teacher explains how she was converted to lesbianism by a potent combination of ideology and role modelling. In Year 10, at a time when she was sexually active with several boyfriends, she became friendly with a lesbian teacher, who took her to feminist seminars and introduced her to feminist literature. She states:
With [my teacher’s] encouragement (and to my parents utter dismay) I attended a few seminars on “girls in education”. I also eagerly devoured The Female Eunuch … My rapid politicalisation made me examine my own life more and more. In International Women’s Year I began going out with her. We went to meetings, me as her little shadow, and out to tea. I especially remember the day we were at her friend’s house. The subject of homosexuality came up. I raved on about how “they” were perfectly OK, but I was a bit scared of meeting one. Everyone started laughing and when I innocently asked why, a woman remarked “But everyone here is homosexual!” …
I became really interested in homosexuality and was always asking her who “was” and who “wasn’t” …
Over the months I realised that I was becoming increasingly preoccupied with my teacher. She popped into my head at every minute, even when I was [having sex] with some bloke. Finally it dawned on me! I was in love with her! …
I told her that I thought I was a lesbian and I really, really liked her. She was great! She was really supportive, hugged me, kissed me and promised to see me when I liked …
We went out often, and by [Year 12], I wanted to spread my wings a bit. My [female] biology teacher was incredibly beautiful and very, very friendly. … Eventually it happened—we started an affair at school. We even slept together on a school camp when EVERYBODY knew that we were on together …
It’s the fact that I was confident and exposed to lots of proud homosexuals that gave me the chance to examine and feel secure in my sexuality. It was only the fact that I had access to so much positive material and resources via the women’s movement that gave me the courage to “come out” in school.
This young woman was not troubled by homosexual desires: she was tutored by homosexual ideology and tantalised by homosexual role models. She was originally attracted to men and, by her own account, was sexually active with them. With the encouragement of her teacher, she deliberately shifted her sexual desires to women. Then her actions followed, and she became a lesbian.
In a booklet titled Sexuality, published by the Australian Union of Students (1977), one woman offers advice on how to get started with homosexual sex: First, she writes, “decide whether this is what you really want to do in your very inner self … Second, understand that this may be not where your guts are at yet, so go in stages that are fast and risky enough so that your feelings can actually change, but slow enough that you don’t scare yourself so badly that you want to give it up.”
In another publication by the Australian Union of Students titled Homosexuality: An action and resource guide for tertiary students (1977), a male homosexual explains how he is troubled by the fact that “My mind’s eye still views me as straight much of the time.” That is to say, he still has heterosexual desires—women are still sexually attractive to him. To solve this problem, he says, “I need to feed it new material to help change its outlook—say through pictures of myself making love to a guy.”
It should be evident from these accounts that, in the main, homosexual behaviour is a chosen behaviour. Certainly, some people lust to be homosexuals, while others learn to be homosexuals; but all in the end elect to be homosexuals. At the height of the Gay Liberation movement, homosexuals were quite clear and quite vocal about this.
However, when news of “the homosexual plague” began to break in the wider community in the early 1980s, and when people (such as haemophiliacs) in the wider community began to die from the disease, homosexuals began to retreat from their insistence that they choose to be homosexuals. But not all joined the retreat.
Ongoing testimonies of choice
In his book AIDS and the New Puritanism (Pluto Press, 1986), for example, the prominent homosexual activist and academic Dennis Altman states: “To be Haitian or a hemophiliac is determined at birth, but being gay is an identity that is socially determined and involves personal choice. Even if, as many want to argue, one has no choice in experiencing homosexual desire, there is a wide choice of possible ways of acting out these feelings, from celibacy and denial … to self-affirmation and the adoption of a gay identity” (p.98). Even though he wrote his book as a homosexual partisan to promote the homosexual cause in the face of AIDS, Altman refused to sing along with other homosexuals who were changing their tune on the origin of homosexual behaviour. Instead, he insisted that “being gay is a choice” (p.188).
Writing nearly eight years after Altman, another committed homosexual, Camille Paglia, derided the notion that homosexuals “can’t help it”. In her book Vamps and Tramps (Vintage Books, 1994), Paglia states:
Current gay cant insists that homosexuality is “not a choice,” ... but there is an element of choice in all behavior, sexual or otherwise. It takes an effort to deal with the opposite sex; it’s safer with your own kind. The issue is one of challenge versus comfort.
Homosexuality is not “normal”. On the contrary it is a challenge to the norm … Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. … No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous … homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait …
I have written repeatedly about my theory that homosexuality is an adaptation, rather than an innate trait, and that it is reinforced by habit. With its cant terms of “oppression” and “bigotry,” gay activism, encouraged by the scientific illiteracy of academic postmodernism, wants to deny that there is a heterosexual norm.
Denis Altman and Camille Paglia are by no means alone among homosexuals who refuse to back away from choice as an explanation for their sexual behaviour. A significant minority of homosexuals still proudly insist that they choose to be the way they are, as the following examples demonstrate.
On a still-active website run by, dedicated to and named after homosexuals who claim to be “queer by choice”, one 20-year-old man introduced himself (on 2 May 2004) with these words: “Hi, I am Aniruddha, I am gay and am so by choice. I have also been attracted to girls so could have, maybe, got myself into a heterosexual relationship”.2
Also on queerbychoice.com, in a post dated 3 February 2002, a woman named Asrai explained that she “decided in a very short time” to turn to homosexuality after meeting a lesbian who flirted with her:
I never thought about choosing queerness until i met gayle. I choose to be bi, because I met this amazing woman who was. And she intrigued me and it came down to “well, why not?” It took me some time to get used to it, but now it’s just there. …
I was hetero until I met this woman. I never thought about being gay or bi, never thought you could choose such things (until I chose it).
In another post on the same website on 6 May 2001, a woman named Clare explained how she chose to engage in homosexuality. Describing herself as “a ‘queer by choice’ person”, Clare claimed that she had been exclusively and promiscuously “straight” until “about age 30”. At that time she began to cultivate various sexual fantasies, including lesbian ones. She states:
I envisioned a fantasy scene around this idea [of fooling around with another woman], and to my surprise I was actually turned on by it! So, that began the beginning of my exploration of my bisexuality. I confirmed that, yes I did like women “that way” and that I was happier being open to the possibilities of dating women. But, since I had led a straight life ’til age 30, and never felt any “gnawing need” to date women, I feel that through self exploration I discovered my capacity to love women. I never had to act on this capacity; I was just very happy to discover a whole new avenue of romantic and sexual attractions to explore! I effectively chose to be bi, and prefer it this way. … it was definitely my choice to actively seek it out and explore it. I still mostly date men, but sometimes I meet a special woman who affects me “that way”, and now that I’m aware of and open to my possibilities about women, I am very happy to date them too.
In a post on the talk.politics.misc website (on 18 April 1993), Elf Sternberg boasted: “Of course, I’m that most awful of perverts. I chose, I gleefully admit that I was heterosexual until I met the right man and chose to indulge in my homoerotic potential.”
In an article titled “The ‘Born That Way’ Trap” published in Ms in 1991, Lindsy Van Gelder claimed:
I personally don’t believe I was “born this way.” … Until I was in my early thirties, I fell in love with men, took pleasure in sleeping with them, and even married one. But like most women, I experienced most of my closest emotional relationships with female friends. … at some point I got curious about lesbian feminist claims that it was possible to combine that intense female intimacy with good sex. The good sex part turned out to be vastly easier than I anticipated. Even so, there was no immediate biological reason to stop having sex with men or to start living as a lesbian. Coming out was, for me, a conscious decision—every step of the way.
In July 2001, the American homosexual journal, The Advocate, published the results of a survey on the question “Why Are We Gay?” One reader responded:
I am 46 years old. I am female. I was married for 26 years and have three children and two grandchildren. In my case it was definitely a choice. When I was 35 or so, I met this woman, and we became friends. In the manner of teenagers, and at her suggestion, we decided to “experiment” sexually. I laugh now, to think back on it. I was petrified at the thought, but one day I looked at her and said, “OK, kiss me.” We looked at each other and laughed, and she did. My response was, “Well, what the hell, the sky didn’t fall! Do it again.” … I made the choice to be a lesbian.
In the book Straight With a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality, which was edited by Calvin Thomas and published in 2000, one lesbian made this statement (p.262):
[O]ne of my goals in the women’s studies classroom was to convert someone to lesbianism in the course of the year—and I was always successful at this, just by talking about how sexuality is a construction and heterosexuality an institution and by simply posing the question, by asking my students: How do you identify yourself sexually? And if they would respond: I’m heterosexual, then I would ask: How do you know? How can you be so sure? thus provoking them to question their sexuality in certain fundamental ways. Result? Conversions right and left.
In an interview published in November 2000 in the Sydney homosexual journal Capital Q Weekly, homosexual activist and author, Graham Willett, stated:
I think the idea that sexuality is genetic is crap. There is absolutely no evidence for it at the moment, and I think it is unhealthy that people want to embrace this idea. It does reflect a desire to say, “it’s not our fault”, as a way of deflecting our critics. We have achieved what we have achieved by defiance, not by concessions. I think we should be recruiting people to homosexuality. It’s a great lifestyle and something everybody should have the right to experience.
These and many other homosexual activists agree that homosexuality is not inborn. They rightly reject the idea that homosexuals have no choice in experiencing homosexual desire or in engaging in homosexual activity.
For the sake of argument
But let us assume for the sake of argument that someone could be born with homosexual desires. From a Christian perspective, our natures are biased towards sin because of the Fall. So perhaps it is possible for someone to be born with a bias towards homosexual sin. Such a situation, should it exist, would not invalidate the argument that “being gay is a choice”. The hypothetical man who is born with unbidden homosexual desires still has a choice whether or not to nurture and enact those desires. He still has a will and a moral sense, and so he still has a power and a responsibility to resist doing evil. We do not excuse other people for doing wrong simply because they are troubled by unsought temptations. We do not, for example, excuse a paedophile for engaging in sex with a child because he claims (as some do claim) that he has an inborn sexual attraction to children.
Another example may be helpful. Most men are powerfully attracted to women. This sexual magnetism is God-given and natural. It is genuinely a case of an innate, inborn attraction. Yet no man is permitted to gratify that attraction unless and until he is married, and then he may do so only with his wife. The fact that he is by nature sexually drawn to women does not give him a licence to be a lecher or a fornicator or an adulterer. Even though his desires are inborn and powerful, he can and must control them. In the same way, a man “born with” homosexual desires (if such a man exists) can and must control them.
The Bible confirms choice
However, like Altman, Paglia and Willet, the Bible gives no credence to the notion that some people are born with homosexual desires. It does not speak of homosexuality in terms of dispositions and compulsions, but in terms of passions and actions. It situates homosexuality not in a person’s nature but in his or her will.
From the beginning, the Bible makes it plain that no one is homosexual by nature. Genesis 1:27 states (and Matthew 19:4 reiterates) that God created human beings “male and female”. God created two genders, not three. And the gender assigned to us is not limited to our genitals, but is embedded in the chromosomes (XY or XX) of every cell in our bodies, and affects everything we think, feel and do. God made us male and female. One reason he did this is so that we might enjoy sexual intimacy with one another in marriage and thereby become “one flesh” (2:24) and “be fruitful and multiply” (1:28).
Every human being is by nature either male or female. And it is in the nature of a male to be sexually attracted to a female, and vice versa. Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans 1:26-27 when speaking of the “dishonourable passions” of homosexual men and women: “Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men”. It is evident from these comments that heterosexual desires and relationships are natural (that is, they are in accord with our God-given nature), whereas homosexual ones are not. It is also evident that people do not enter homosexual relationships because they are incapable of heterosexual ones: rather, they deliberately exchange, they wilfully give up, natural relations in preference for unnatural ones. Homosexuality deliberately perverts the sexual needs and wants that are innate and proper to men and women. Far from being natural for some, scripture insists that homosexuality is unnatural for all—because all are made either male or female.
Interestingly, scripture also indicates why people choose homosexuality. In a rare agreement with the early Gay Liberation activists, the Bible identifies lust and ideology as the primary motivations. Concerning lust, Romans 1:24 speaks of “the lusts of their hearts”, while Romans 1:27 speaks of homosexuals being “consumed with passion for one another”. Concerning ideology, Romans 1:21 states that “they became futile in their thinking”, while Romans 1:27 states that “they exchanged the truth … for a lie”, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 says that homosexual behaviour (like other sins) is “contrary to sound doctrine”.
The Bible’s teaching shows the futility of supposedly “scientific” attempts to find a genetic basis for homosexuality. In the 1990s, three studies were conducted in an attempt to prove that homosexuality is inherited. One study tried to show that homosexuals have a smaller hypothalamus than heterosexuals. A second study claimed a greater incidence of shared homosexuality among identical male twins than among fraternal twins. A third study claimed to have found genetic markers on the X-chromosome of homosexuals that account for their homosexuality. However, all these studies were conducted by homosexuals who, it seems, hoped to find some biological cause for homosexuality in order to justify homosexual behaviour and to advance community acceptance of those who practice such behaviour. They were flawed in their methodology and biased in their conclusions. None of the studies has been accepted as valid by the wider scientific community, and none give any sound reason to believe that homosexuality is inherited. There is no such thing as a “gay gene”. This should not surprise Christians. For the God who created humankind male and female, the God who knows everything and so cannot be mistaken about anything—this God has made it plain in his word that homosexuality is an evil choice, not an inevitable condition.
The significance of choice
It is important to understand the truth about the voluntary nature of homosexuality for five reasons.
Firstly, it is crucial to understand that homosexual behaviour is a chosen behaviour in order to assess its moral nature. For the question of morality depends upon the question of choice. If homosexuality is closed to the will, then it is also closed to moral debate. For a man cannot be condemned for being what he is or for doing what he must. If a man cannot control his sexual urges any more than he can control his eye colour, then plainly he cannot be condemned for those urges any more than for his eye colour. However, if homosexual behaviour is a chosen behaviour, if it is subject to the will, then it is open to moral evaluation. If homosexuals choose to do what they do, then non-homosexuals have every right to debate the rightness or wrongness of their choice, and to hold them accountable for it.
Secondly, it is essential to understand that homosexual behaviour is a chosen behaviour in order to be fair to homosexuals themselves. Nothing is more cruelly dehumanising than to say that homosexuals cannot help themselves. This may exonerate them from blame, but it also removes them from humanity and makes them akin to animals. For the ability to choose, the ability to exercise the will, is a distinctive characteristic of our shared humanity. Homosexuals may be wrong, but they are not sub-human. Like ourselves, they are human beings who make choices in sexual matters. To be fair to them, we need to recognise this. For while we have every right to condemn a person for behaving in a wilfully evil way, we have no right to dehumanise him.
Thirdly, it is necessary to understand that the homosexual lifestyle is a chosen lifestyle in order to safeguard non-homosexuals from it. If “being gay is a choice,” then it follows that people can be swayed to make that choice. They can be influenced by pro-homosexual propaganda and positive homosexual role models. Teachers who are “open and honest” about their homosexuality, for example, are not role models for gay kids—they are role models for all kids. If homosexuality is not confined by nature to some, then it is open by choice to all. It follows, therefore, that the more it is promoted, the more it will be desired and embraced. There is no escaping the fact that if homosexual behaviour is learned and voluntary behaviour, then the incidence of that behaviour will increase in proportion to the publicity and approval it receives.
Fourthly, it is important to appreciate that homosexuality is a choice rather than a condition in order to help people who are troubled by homosexual temptations. Some people have assumed that they are homosexual simply because they have experienced same-sex desires. On the basis of this mistaken assumption, they have either given themselves over to homosexual behaviour or carried an unnecessary burden of fear and guilt. I am homosexual, they think, so what’s the use of resisting it? Or, I am homosexual, so I am guilty of, and bound to, this shameful thing whether or not I actually practice it. But once let a person understand that a homosexual is someone who chooses to engage in homosexual acts and such concerns die away. The man who has experienced a temptation to commit adultery need not agonise over whether or not he is an adulterer. He must resist the temptation and move on. In the same way, a man who has experienced a temptation to commit a homosexual act need not agonise over whether or not he is a homosexual. If he resists the temptation, he is simply a man who has to his credit triumphed over evil. If homosexuality is defined by homosexual behaviour, and if such behaviour is chosen, then there is nothing inevitable about being homosexual. This is a deeply liberating truth for those troubled by homosexual temptations. Once people know that being gay is a choice, they can gladly choose not to be gay.
Fifthly, it is imperative to understand that homosexual behaviour is a chosen behaviour in order to offer hope to homosexuals themselves. For if homosexuality is innate, then it is also inevitable. If a person is homosexual by nature, then he or she can never get free of it. But if it is chosen, it can also be forsaken. If people can choose to go into it, they can also choose to come out of it.
This is truly good news, because the homosexual lifestyle is deeply degrading and destructive, as many reputable, “non-judgmental” studies have inadvertently demonstrated. In his book Straight and Narrow? (IVP, 1995, p. 127) Thomas Schmidt summarises the findings of these studies in the following illustration:
Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a group of ten randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties... [T]he relational and physical health of the group would look like this.
Four of the ten are currently in relationships, but only one of those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year. Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years. Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to men.
Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have history of alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, eight currently carry infectious pathogens, and three currently suffer from digestive or urinary ailments caused by these pathogens. At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS.
The upside of choice
It is wonderful to know that no one has to be locked into such a lifestyle. For, as already noted, if people choose to go into homosexuality, then it follows that they can also choose to come out of it.
Indeed, this is the testimony of many people who once were homosexuals. Dawn Killion, for example, totally submerged herself in a lesbian lifestyle from the age of eighteen. “I loved being gay,” she recalls, “but down deep inside, I wondered if living like this was right. Of course, I didn’t think there was any way out … I mean, I was born this way, right?” Then one day another woman who had “become a Christian and had given up being gay” witnessed to her. Shortly afterwards, she began to read the Bible and came under conviction. “I knelt beside my bed and asked Jesus to come into my heart and to forgive me of my sins, including my lesbian involvement. Now I wanted only his will. My life changed radically. I said goodbye to all my gay friends, including my lover, and began devouring the Bible.” For a period after her conversion, Dawn continued to experience some homosexual temptations. But now she is free even from these: “Today I consider myself to be fully heterosexual; I no longer have a lesbian identity.” Dawn uses her new-found freedom to help other women out of the lesbian lifestyle: “There’s nothing more exciting than watching Jesus set another captive free!”(The full text of Dawn’s testimony can be found here – sodominfo.tripod.com/dawn.html.)
Along with the experience of many others like her, Dawn Killion’s experience gives new vitality to the apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” The homosexual who abandons his or her sin and embraces Christ is cleansed, liberated, and re-defined. He or she ceases to be a homosexual. “Such were some of you”, Paul says. “You were homosexuals, but you’re not any longer! The description homosexual no longer applies to you. It has been rescinded, repealed, revoked!”
Ultimately, the most powerful proof that “being gay is a choice” comes not from those who have chosen to adopt homosexuality, but from those who have chosen to abandon it. Numerous former-homosexuals testify to the fact that change is possible, especially with God’s help.
This is the good news we have to share with homosexuals and with people troubled by homosexual temptations: “Being gay is a choice. So you don’t have to be gay. God will set you free, if only you choose to ask him and to rely upon him.”
When we think about, or have dealings with, homosexuals, we should avoid two extremes. On the one hand, we should not think their sexual behaviour is excusable or acceptable. It is not all right: it is all wrong. On the other hand, we should not think their behaviour excludes them from any hope of salvation. They are people for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died; and they will be cleansed and delivered if only they turn to him in repentance and faith.
When I was working in Fremantle Prison as an education officer, one of the students in my TEE English class was a flagrantly effeminate homosexual. Towards the end of the year he brought up the matter of homosexuality during a class discussion. I responded that, as a Christian, I believe that homosexual behaviour is absolutely wrong for anyone anywhere anytime. He looked at me defiantly and said, “I’m a homosexual, you know!” “Yes,” I replied, “I know that. I’ve known it all year.” As I said this, his expression changed to puzzlement, and he asked, “Then why have you always been so fair and friendly to me?” This young man was astonished to realise that someone could utterly condemn his behaviour yet genuinely care for his well-being. But this is the Christian way: never to compromise on either our condemnation of sin or our compassion for sinners. May God help his people to follow this way as they defend the Faith and share the Gospel in the difficult times ahead!
This article is a revised and extended version of a pamphlet by the same name published by Life Ministries in 1999.