I am in a Theoretical Foundations class and the NARTH quote discussion reminds me of a lecture we had on Friday. There are a lot of factors playing into this situation. First, people's ideas of homosexuality are shaped by moral systems, and the dominant moral system in the country has condemned homosexuality (in the current translation of the Bible as we interpret it) for hundreds if not thousands of years. At the same time, we are gaining scientific knowledge that is changing our ideas about homosexuality. But scientific knowledge is specialized knowledge, it is not accessible to all people to the same degree.
NARTH quote continued...
A lot of people don't even have the knowledge framework to be able to think about what it means that there are a wide array of chromosomal genders. Also, scientific knowledge is changing over time, and many believe that the moral/spiritual knowledge espoused in the Bible and other spiritual books (in their current, and some very educated people would argue, flawed, translations) is absolute/unchanging. Scientific authority changes over time as we get new knowledge. The DSM justed changed the classification of homosexuality in the latest revision. Can you understand that some people may have a hard time trusting the authority of a book whose knowledge and classifications are changing, when they have the option to believe in one of the various religious books whose knowledge they are told is absolute/unchanging?
We in the GLBT community also need to come to grips with the fact that we make assumptions about what is means to be human that other groups/people do not make. Because we are a part of a marginalized group, it is easy for us to say that all people deserve a meaningful existence, to be safe, supported and loved, and to reach his or her potential in a supportive environment. It is obvious, based on the Federal Marriage Amendment and other denials of civil rights to GLBT people, that these assumptions about GLBT humanity are not made by many many people in our country.
My overarching point is, as we strive to be understood and to gain self-actualization and meaning within our culture, let us also try to understand from where the people who deny our humanity are coming. How many days do you struggle and wish there were easy answers to all of life's questions? Most humans do. For most, they answer life's questions with moral/religious/spiritual texts that tell them that there are knowable, easy answers to complex questions. Let us not deny that easy answers bring comfort to many people, and it makes this crazy life easier for them. Many people in the GLBT community, because we were born in the "gray" area, recognize that there is a lot of moral ambiguity in most situations. At the same time, we need to recognize the humanity even of the people who deny ours. If not, we are practicing the same behavior that we experience and abhor as GLBT people.
So as not to plagarize, many of these ideas were ignited by the class discussion on Sept 1, 2006, of Dr. Jeffrey Crabtree, Indiana University Department of Occupational Therapy.