Interview With Simcha Fisher

I keep meaning to tell you, I had a great time being interviewed by Simcha Fisher the other week about the closing of Exodus, the possibility of orientation change, and who would want that anyway. It’s in two parts, and the first one is here.

Bits I liked:

There are two propositions that you can’t hold at the same time: that homosexual acts are disordered, and that the desire for homosexual acts is not disordered.

I’ve been meaning to say that for a while. Maybe I already did, somewhere. While I’m setting things straight (heh), this is something I’ve found myself saying a lot lately, too, to people who don’t understand what the big deal is:

The fact that I’d be interested at all in having sex with a man is not some strange, isolated quirk. You can’t have someone who’s just like a straight guy in every other way except that he wants to be having sex with a man…Who you’re sexually attracted to affects how you relate to both genders on an everyday basis. Or the other way around: how you relate to people affects who you’re attracted to.

As a celibate gay man, I seem to spend half my time telling secular people that I’m just the same as other men, and telling Christians that I’m extremely different from other men. The truth is in the mean, I guess, but sometimes to make the stick straight (heh) you have to bend it too far in the other direction.

And then this part took me by surprise when it came out of my mouth, but I think I agree with it:

See, that’s the whole reason this “gay thing” is such a big deal—because it brings the paradoxes of human experience right onto the surface and makes them unavoidable. It’s why people can’t stop talking about it. It makes it impossible not to talk about the relationship between sex and procreation, or the difference between love and friendship. It makes these things pressing concerns; it makes them so explicit.

Sometimes I think that, no matter how big a deal homosexuality is to people like me, people like me actually make up a pretty tiny segment of the population, so maybe we are all, like Morgan Freeman says about racism, talking about this stuff way too much.

But on the other hand, it seems to have become the locus of the whole battle about everything, call it Culture Wars or call it the battle against the Spiritual Powers of Wickedness in the High Places or call it whatever. Is that making it too big a deal? I’m not sure. Gil Bailie says that, as history progresses, things aren’t getting better or worse, but they are getting clearer. Homosexuality seems to be one of the dividing lines along which this clarity is happening.

Anyway, it’s my Writing Day and I have a lot of irons in the fire. If you don’t read Simcha Fisher already, shame on you! Any time I write something kind of funny or beautiful, I think to myself proudly that I may have caught an echo of the kind of thing Simcha does all the time. I barely did anything last Friday because of a cracked engine block and some intransigent DMV officers, so I’m hoping this Friday’s a little more productive.

8 Comments on “Interview With Simcha Fisher”

  1. We’ve been reliably informed that confusion around SSA and Church teaching is the number one barrier to the New Evangelization. Those who are affected by SSA and support chastity probably can’t talk about it too much, at such a time as this. Thank you, Steve (and Simcha)!

  2. Joe Bruce says:

    These are really important points and I’m glad you made them.

  3. March says:

    I remember in a philosophy class a professor once addressed why people focus on details so much. He explained, and I hope I do it justice, that people tend to understand general concepts. At the core, at least. Application to the practical or specific is difficult though. Clarifying details helps bridge the gap. Its what St. Thomas does in the Summa Theologica. He takes a general concept people generally understand. Then he raises objections. The objections focus on details, but affect the concepts to the core. As he clarifies the details, the rest becomes better understood. Maybe the issue of homosexuality and homosexuality activity is that detail which is challenging our general understanding of love and relationships.

  4. Courtney says:

    “Who you’re sexually attracted to affects how you relate to both genders on an everyday basis. Or the other way around: how you relate to people affects who you’re attracted to.”

    I totally agree with this. It’s really hard for me to share my thoughts on this in a brief way, but basically with gender we fall in love with what we think we’re lacking. Usually that involved falling in love with the opposite sex. Our friendships with those of the same sex should reinforce our good feelings about our gender. In a sense I think it is natural to be “attracted” to someone of the same sex, in the sense that you meet someone and see qualities in them you wish to have in yourself. But if you are insecure about your gender and your place among others of your gender, you will start to see yourself as lacking what other people of your gender have, and you will develop a sexual attraction to them. I doubt these ideas are new to you, but I rarely share my thoughts on this subject with anyone, and it feels good to say something.

    I am a woman who struggles with SSA (if I had to label myself I guess I’d be bisexual) and gender identity issues. I used to be very liberal, very pro gay rights and even wanted to act on my homosexual desires, but I have changed over the years and have made really good steps in reducing my SSA by addressing the underlying problems. The gender identity issue has only been around for the past 3 years, but I have made very significant strides in healing that issue as well. I feel very proud of this and I know it’s made me a stronger person.

    I guess you don’t need to know all of this, but I don’t have anyone I can share it with except for my husband. Like I said, I come from a very liberal background and mostly all my friends are pro-gay and my church is very pro-gay/pro-trans and I can’t talk to them about this. They wouldn’t believe that I’ve been able to change. I’m also Pagan, and Pagans are a group that are generally very homosexual/trans friendly. So I just don’t have anyone in my circles who would agree with me on this issue. I think I’m a bit of a rarity.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and hearing your thoughts on SSA. It makes me feel better about my beliefs and choices on the matter. I wish I could meet you. I’d give you a big hug.

    1. Joan says:

      I can identify with a lot of what you say, Courtney. I’ve had sexual dreams about women since I was a teenager. I can’t remember ever having one about a man – not a pleasant one anyway. I think this is because of deep peer rejection in childhood – I develop very deep attachments to women who I perceive to be more confident/ popular than me. This has lessened as I’ve got older and more confident and I’m now married.

      Basically, though, this is something that’s never bothered me overly much. When I told my husband he said ‘I’m a very accepting person. You can have a girlfriend as long as I get to watch’. I suggested that might be against the catechism (it’s somewhere in the small print I think! 😉

      I don’t talk about this generally because I don’t want people to try to make me ‘come out’ on the one hand or try to ‘fix’ me on the other. I just see it as part of being human. And I’d much rather this than be one of those women that’s constantly sleeping with the wrong men and getting hurt – to have that kind of need for men would be really painful and can take much longer to heal from. But when people talk about gay love coming from painful childhood experiences I can sympathise. It’s difficult that you can’t talk about these things in the current atmosphere – you’ll be branded a bigot and a homophobe. But you can talk to God in your heart.

      To finish my rambling. I really appreciate your blog, Steve. It’s so important that people talk about these things (anonymous is fine – a bit like confession!). But I sometimes think you’re too hard on yourself. Being gay is no more broken than anybody else. I know men who need to sleep with more than one women in a night to feel good about themselves. They may have proved their heterosexuality, but they are far more in need of healing than you or anybody in a loving gay relationship – though healing is needed. Seek healing, but don’t wish you were like other people – it will make you very depressed.

      1. Joan says:

        P.S. Just realised you deal with some of the stuff in my last paragraph in your Simcha interview. Sorry if I sounded patronising!

  5. Monica A says:

    @Sheepcat You are exactly right. I’ve been sensing the same thing, and thus working with great urgency to promote the apostolate of Courage in our diocese and all the good stuff that comes with it.

    To the extent that the Church’s teaching is seen as “hateful” and “outdated”, the Church will be increasingly despised and marginalized. As it stands, we are quickly losing the entire upcoming generation on this issue. Even homeschooled, passionately pro-life Catholic young people think the Church has this wrong. My loved-one with SSA predicts that this issue spells the demise of Catholicism as a viable institution.

    To the extent that the Church’s wisdom on homosexuality can be seen as Good News that it is in the lives of those with SSA, the Church remains not only credible, but can be seen as perhaps the only feeble light remaining as our culture is lost its moorings in a turbulent, dark sea.

    Your voice, and those of folks like Mr. Sheepcat and Dan Mattson, etc. are inestimably important. God be with all of you!!! You are in my daily prayers.

    Now that you have taken off your mask, Joey, let the Holy Spirit fall on you in superabundance for the greater glory of God!!!

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