While the middle road is the best in many things for humans, they often tend to go to extremes, not just in their private habits but also in public policy. Thus when economic inequalities become extreme in capitalistic societies they cry out for communism whereas the best course is perhaps somewhere in the middle where neither an unnatural equality is enforced nor is unfettered greed allowed to flourish. However, the present note is on human sexuality and presently let us confine our attention to this topic. Here too, it seems, human beings are swinging from one extreme to the other. Whereas homosexuality was prosecuted and criminalized in most of the world a century ago, now we find that it is being glorified in some parts while gay marriages are being legalized. While the debate continues as to what the best approach is in much of the world, there is a need to add some commonsense to it and that is what this note is about
Is homosexuality natural or a choice?
Often in debates on the topic this author has noted that there is a group of humans that says it is a matter of choice and that it is the wrong choice while another group says that it is something inherent from birth and not a matter of choice. What exactly is the truth?
Referring to data from various sources, it seems that human sexuality does not exist in clear shades of black and white but sexual preferences vary widely. As regards sexual preferences perhaps approximately human population is divided as follows
This is only a rough estimate and errors may be as large as +/- 5% at the lower end and +/- 10 % or more at the upper end. Nevertheless even this approximate data is enough to answer our question. While there is no choice in the matter for some of the population, they being so inclined by birth, there is a choice for the majority. Therefore when some say that gays have no choice in the matter and some say they do, they are both correct but speaking like blind men and the elephant, each correct in his description.
As regard the 50% in the middle, it is likely that the majority i.e. as many or 40% prefer heterosexual interaction whereas a minority of 10% prefers homosexual ones. The reason for homosexual interaction being so common in prisons or military camps where the opposite sex is not available is this bisexuality among humans. This data also suggests that bisexuality may be more normal amongst humans than pure homosexuality or pure heterosexuality while social training and customs likely tends to reinforce their heterosexual leaning and when it does not they at least compel most to hide their homosexual side. Historically, it was natural for society to encourage heterosexual love and union because it is only through that the human race could be perpetuated.
Is criminalizing homosexuality same as criminalizing love?
In countries where homosexuality is still criminal, the argument is often advanced by gay groups or their sympathizers that criminalizing homosexuality is criminalizing love that is natural and inherent to their makeup. Is this true? NO, it is a blatant lie. No human society anywhere on the planet criminalizes love unless love is euphemism here for love-making i.e sexual acts.
Even when it comes to a sexual interaction in private between persons of the same sex it is not criminal anywhere in law although some societies frown upon it if discovered. What instead is criminal is anal intercourse and that is far from criminalizing love. To say that love is being criminalized is to demean it to the level of an anal intercourse.
But what about anal intercourse? If we set aside any moral, social or religious stance on it because these vary with time and place on the planet, just commonsense as well as medical data reveals that not only is the practice unhygienic, it is also physically harmful. Depending upon the situation, the harm could vary from perhaps mild to severe. Therefore, if it is looked down upon, that does seem to be the right attitude. In the Greek Athenian society where homosexuality was openly discussed and even glorified, anal intercourse was regarded as something that should be avoided. However, the practice must not be uncommon among gay men seeing a joke about it this author encountered, it defined a homosexual as a person that widens the circle of his friends.
However, the homosexuals may have a point if they say that what might be bad but is in private between consenting adults should not be criminalized. Consenting adults indulge in a lot of other activities like wrestling, boxing etc that too can lead to grave physical harm but are not criminal and as regards an act in public there are other obscenity laws that apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. The homosexuals have a point in this and it does seem that there is a need for the state to get out of such matters and focus on crime that affect society at large.
As regards two persons of the same sex marrying, it does seem extreme. It is strange that they should want to do so when even many heterosexuals would prefer common law living in order to escape the force of law. Society has designed and sanctified marriage to provide a secure home for children and no such need exists for persons of the same sex. It would be far better for two persons of the same sex not to copy the concept, while seeking any legal protections their union requires in other ways. If they wish to have a shared life partnership, a way can be found for two adults of same sex to create a legal life partnership in the same way as business partnerships so that all their personal assets can be split equally with help of law if the need arises.
But some homosexuals say that why should they be deprived of religious sanction and blessings since it is God that made them that way. No doubt they have a right to the same but it would be much better if they invented a new name for it such as Blessed Brotherhood or Blessed Sisterhood rather than marriage.
It is for the majority community to respect the differences of a minority community, differences that are as natural as the differences between various kinds of flowers that grow on the planet, and for each group to show compassion and understanding for other groups in order to become humans that are worthy in the eyes of Nature and the Lord.
A Spiritual interpretation
This blog has many a topic on spirituality and for those who might be interested in the spiritual or mystic interpretation of the topic, the following has been added. Those who have no belief or interest in the mystic side may skip the section. According to eastern mysticism a soul goes through many births and the soul arising from God has inherently no sex of its own just as God does not. It is neither He nor She but an individual soul takes on the colors of the psyche of the body it occupies.
The male and female body and union are created from a necessity of maintaining genetic purity. At birth, a new life has to choose between the two X or Y chromosomes that decide if the new born shall be a male or female and that is what most humans become (aside for some rare exceptions) either male or female in their physical make up. The genetic code from two different beings has to be compared and set side by side to weed out errors before a new life is created while also creating variety so necessary for development of a species and society. A sexual union attended by procreation is nothing more than bringing together these two copies of the genetic code. Once created a new life that starts as a single cell has to grow inside a womb before it develops enough to live independently and one of the two parties has to be chosen for it hence a distinct male and female biology. However the soul itself has no essential necessity to choose so quickly between male or female and takes it own time to gradually transform from male to female and female to male through its many births leading to an entire range of inner leaning and resulting sexual preferences.
In the ultimate analysis, everything that happens in the universe is because the universe has permitted it so as its Ultimate Creator. While it is easily understood why sexual attraction between opposite sexes is required, one wonders what the divine deliberations may have been behind permitting such attractions between the same sexes too. It serves no purpose of procreation. Perhaps the only purpose one can deduce is that the intention was to promote brotherly love amongst men who are not brothers in blood and sisterly love amongst women aside from the natural love each has for the opposite sex., for while sexual reproduction is necessary to perpetuate a race, co-operation amongst its members is necessary to protect it and necessary for progress of a species as a whole. While the love conceived must have been of a non-sexual nature the universal intelligence may have realized that few humans come up to standards to promote such love exclusively but require more basic things like sexual attraction as catalysts for it. If this be so, societies that try to victimize love between the same sexes are transgressors in the sight of this divine will.However spiritual traditions do assert that any sexual interaction that is not for procreation even between married couples is merely lust which like physical violence is after all only an animal thing and a weakness worth conquering amongst humans, that without conquering it, substantial spiritual growth is not possible. The wise Saint Kabir has said - Where there is love, there is no lust; where there is lust, there is no love.