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08/20/2007

If your straw man's gone missing, search Kevin McCullough's brain

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  McculloughLast week, we directed you to an ABC News piece which examined bisexuals and other label-rejecting women who do not define their "more fluid" sexual orientation with the typical L or B designators. Well, now uber-conservative columnist Kevin McCullough (pic.) has eschewed the traditional leap in logic in favor of a full-bound record-setting high jump, taking that same ABC News piece and trying to make it look as if it's an admission that being gay is a "choice." He does so by basis an entire argument on these words from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Roberta Sklar:

"These young women see sexuality as a fluid thing," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spokeswoman Roberta Sklar. "It's not just between your legs. These relationships are physical, emotional and intellectual, and the boundaries are not hard set," she said.

Sklar said a growing number of young women have a "more flexible view" of their sexual partners, and their early choices of gender may not be a "fixed path."

"I know a woman who had relationships of depth with members of both sexes," said Sklar. "She didn't put a tag on what her sexuality identity was. Recently, I saw her at her wedding to a young, lovely man. In no way does she deny her history or say she has found her true sexuality. It was all her true sexuality."

McCullough says of the above:

Checkmate!

Sklar loses, here's why:

For the past thirty years radical homosexual activists have sought out a way to justify their desires and behaviors beyond pure human choice. And by all measure they have been quite effective - at least in moving public opinion - though they've made little headway on fact. They have sought from science a biological explanation of their sexual behavior. They have sought to find medical, genetic, even DNA related origins. These searches have been in vain as there is still no biological, genetic, or cellular explanation for their sexually related behaviors.
...
Long explanation short is - if homosexuals are not biologically compelled to act on their urges, but rather make them based on choice - then the discussion is over. The "born that way" argument is dead, and does not apply. And if THAT is true - then the debate about marriage is equally already settled. Marriage is a sexual union that God has established, and that society has recognized as having certain benefits. Homosexual unions by their design don't measure up - because they are missing the key ingredients.

But here's the key ingredient that Mr. McCullough annoyingly, conveniently overlooks: Ms. Sklar and the ENTIRE ABC NEWS PIECE are speaking specifically about one particular sect of the population. In fact, the subject of the article is one particular subset of not just the human population, but of the bisexual population. Ms. Sklar is talking about those young women who clearly have some sort of an internal attraction to other women, but who reject the traditional labels that would try and define them as "bisexual." It is no more reasoned to use these women to represent the entire LGBT rainbow than it is to use them to represent the entire spectrum of femininity!

Mr. McCullough argues, "if homosexuals are not biologically compelled to act on their urges, but rather make them based on choice - then the discussion is over." We take a match to that straw man and say: "if 'homosexuals' were the group about which Ms. Sklar was speaking, you might have some beginnings of a rational basis. As the reality of situation stands however, you have only further demonstrated how eager your side is to twist words and scenarios so that they more conveniently fit your myopic, persecutory world views!"

Kevin, continuing to his latest copy of Theories Convenient For Conservative Columnist Monthly for talking points, goes on to say:

What was shocking about Sklar's comments is that in her eagerness to appear uber-tolerant to the very sexual chic movement of the day (bisexual twenty somethings) she passes condemnation on her own "belief system."

With sexual relationships being "more fluid" with no "boundaries that are hard set", girls with more "flexible views" towards their sex partners, gender choices not being on a "fixed path", and woman who are leaving their lesbian amores for the security of a traditional marriage - Sklar is arguing choice, not biology.

In doing so she is arguing for the foundational view that we humans choose to control who we engage in sexual acts with. And in arguing that she ends the debate on the radical agenda she has been working towards for the last three decades.

The jig is up.

Game, set, match.

But again, Mr. McCullough is arguing against a point that Ms. Sklar never made! He is making it sound as if bisexuals are a representative sample for the gay population. As someone who has tested the waters of male-female intimacy, this male writer can tell you that such an orientation is NOT for everyone. But for some, it is. If one feels an internal sense of attraction to both sexes, then yes they do have some degree of choice in the gender of their sexual partners. But in saying that, we are not at all making an argument "for the foundational view that we humans choose to control who we engage in sexual acts with." We are saying that the parameters of attraction are set differently for everyone, not that any of us have the ability to choose the settings!

The truly insulting thing here is how aggressively ignorant Mr. McCullough is with all of his "game, set, match," "checkmate!" rhetoric. It's as if he learned high-minded debate tactics from this guy:

But no matter how steadfastly he tries to close the case and claim a victory for his team, it is highly unlikely he will ever reach his goal post. After all, it's easy to pull a sound bite out of context, misconstrue the point, and convince a choir of already gay-unfriendly social conservatives with some anti-gay preachings. It's far more difficult to "choose" that irrefutable, immutable, unchangeable concept known as truth. And we a "choose" to believe that actuality it is now and forever on our side.

"GAME, SET, MATCH," "EAT IT," "TAKE THAT," "THE JIG IS UP," "WE SUNK YOUR BATTLESHIP," "CHECKMATE!" "TRY THAT ON FOR SIZE," HOW YOU LIKE DEM APPLES?"

Radical Gay Activist: 'We Lose' [TownHall]

**UPDATE, 8/21: We have shared this back and forth with Mr. McCullough:

"Wow... Jeremy - you are the first "gay" blogger who has shown even a modicum of civility about the matter.

Bravo to you!

Yes - we disagree.

I POINTED OUT IN THE FIRST LINE OF MY COLUMN, That the quote was lifted from an article written about bisexuality.

But bisexuality by difinition is "part time homosexuality" and homosexuals activists reject all forms of choice about one's "fixed path" claiming "born that way".

The fact that bisexuals even exist - condemn the major argument activists have used to prop up the "civil rights" aspects of the argument.

Jeremy - no one is telling you what to do or not do when you have candles lit in your bedroom at night.

What I am arguing for - steadfastly - is that there should be no allocation of special rights based purely on such behavior. With no genetic origin of homosexuality - there is no analogy to the civil rights movement. (THAT's what was checkmated by Sklar's own words.)

If sexuality is fluid for some... then it is for all. That's why molestation at a young age can have such impact on how a child thinks about himself sexually.

All sorts of things can impact why a person is sexually attracted to or aroused by any number of sexual thoughts on the entire spectrum...

Sklar admitted it. I pointed it out. AND I disclosed where her comments came from...

Yes - we disagree.

But thanks for the civility just the same...
"

Our reply:

See though, again, you're setting up a straw man argument. Bisexuality is not "part time homosexuality." Bisexuality is an orientation, just like homosexuality or heterosexuality. And it is grossly unfair to say there is no genetic origin for sexual orientation! While such factors have not been pinpointed, you have no right to definitively make such a claim (no more than I have the right to definitively say there is no bio-genetic root) At this point, we only have our beliefs systems (culled from research and life experiences), and it is intellectually dishonest for you to put a concrete NO BIO ROOT label on this matter!

But yes, we will just disagree on this, as we clearly never will see eye to eye.

-Jeremy

Kevin:

Let me rephrase:

All science and research to date seem to support the lack of any genetic, DNA, or cellular origin for homosexual behavior.

Though much has been sought.

If such a root is ever discovered - we would then have a very different discussion.

For the days we live in however - choice - is an overiding origin for every consensual sexual encounter that has ever occurred.

And it is not possible for you to argue otherwise.

G-A-Y:

Kevin: One thing that I ask is that you please try and curb the aggression. "It is not possible for you to argue otherwise." -- that is not high-minded debate.

I'm glad you have rephrased, but that's just the thing -- your words are very important. Had you written the same in a column, I doubt you would have rephrased it if someone complained. But it is FAR DIFFERENT to definitely say that there is no bio-genetic root and that there is not found at this point. Accuracy matters mucho.

Personally, I could not disagree more that "all science and research to date seem to support the lack of any genetic, DNA, or cellular origin for homosexual behavior." In fact, I think there is much to suggest otherwise. And there is also my own life experience, wherein same-sex oriented thoughts root back to age four and are all that have ever been present (despite MANY teenaged dalliances with women). So yes, it is absolutely possible for me to argue otherwise that "choice" is an overriding origin.

-Jeremy

Kevin:

No one's "experience" is credible evidence for objective, definitive, science.

It is your experience, opinion, view point - fine.

And "suggesting otherwise" is not the same as genetic proof.

And as far as aggression goes - I'm one of the least aggressive people you'd ever meet.

No one makes you read my column. No one forces you to agree with it. But it is the activist of your community who are attempting to squelch my ability to express my opinion - or in your case play games of semantics to please your own worldview.

A worldview that has no objective truth to it anymore than anyone elses.

Lastly - even your own daliances with females demonstrate that you prefer to engage sexually with men. Hence you are making the choice to do so.

G-A-Y:

Kevin, you're spinning. We're talking about the situation as it pertains to me and you, not anyone else. And I never once said my personal experience is "credible evidence for objective, definitive, science." I said that it is flawed to say definitively that there is no bio root. Then I said that my own reserach, coupled with my own life experiences leads me to personally believe that there is. However, in professional dealings on the matter you will NEVER hear me try and make it seems as there is a 100%, lock-solid bio-genetic basis for sexual orientation, as such has not been absolutely pinpointed. All I ask from you is the same courtesy in terms of the way you express your personal feelings (as opposed to factual science).

You very well may be non-aggressive. I don;t know you. I'm only referring to your words in your column (all that "check mate," "Jig is us" nonsense), as well as your brazen claim in your last email that "It is not possible for you to argue otherwise." These are aggressive words.

I've never understood why those on your side of the debate think that by reacting to your columns and presenting our side, we are trying to squelch your ability to state your opinions. You must understand that these "issues" are deeply personal and often hurtful to us. So we respond, give you the opportunity to do the same, and so on and so forth.

It is EXTREMELY unfair to trivialize all that I have said to you as "games of semantics to please [my] own worldview." In your piece, you use comments about one subset of bisexuals and try and parlay them into a representative study of the entire LGB population. And then you have in these exchanges stated that there is no genetic link to homosexuality (which we've already quasi-agreed is a matter of opinion). This is not a simple "semantics" situation. This is me disagreeing wholeheartedly with how you have tried to make a point to the public at large. It's not just the words you have chosen to use, but the entire crux of your argument that I am speaking on. Disagree or agree, please don;t make it sound as if I have a mere problem with your terminology.

Lastly -- my own dalliances with females demonstrate to me that I am ONLY meant to engage sexually with men (one man, to be more specific). Unless you were in that bed with both my female companion and my flaccid penis, I do not feel you to be more an expert about my bodies desires than myself! The only choice I made was to recognize what my body was telling me and live my truth!!!

Be well,

-Jeremy

Kevin:

Whatever... there is no known genetic link, cause, origin - though many have looked - every search has come up empty.

No gene. No civil rights issue. THATS the crux.

I do hear you. It's not that I don't.

I believe that you are wrong.

I believe this based on available information - and my experiences and conversation with those who engage in heterosexual and homosexual actions. Comparing the human behavior side by side - identifying the similarities.

And yes you still tried out both sides - and choose to be with men.

Not to be graphic - but if you closed your eyes and had a woman, then a man perform the same sex act on you - orally speaking - there would be little difference in the ultimate reaction of your biology given enough recovery time in between the two episodes.

YOU KNOW this to be true... and so does every other male on the planet.

Hence why heterosexual men turn to homosexual practices in prison.

To argue otherwise is pure foolishness...

It's not that I don't weigh the claims of your arguements. It's that I find them so utterly weak compared to testimonials, studies, first hand accounts, not to mention thousands of hours of interviews with people as to the predictability of human behavior.

I'm not attempting to contemptable. You just grow impatient at the fact that I do not accept your presuppositions - thus - you feel "unheard" or that I distorted a position.

A lesbian commenting on sexual behaviors of young girls who have engaged in lesbian acts - and asserting that they had a choices in such actions - was worth commenting on. So I did. Especially when those girls who engaged in such lesbian acts reverted to traditional marriages.

Was Anne Heche a bisexual when she was with Ellen? No - she was engaging in lesbianism. Was she bisexual when she married her husband? No she was engaging in heterosexual practice known as marriage.

Your attempt to force bisexuality into its own orientation gives you a "get out of the arguement free card" particularly when your identity is defined by what kind of sexual practice you desire, are inclined to, or engage in.

And trust me - for every "agressive" adjective I've ever invoked there have been multiple dozens of far more hateful things said about Christians from those in your community.

Fine, you don't accept my presuppositions, nor I yours.

Life goes on.

G-A-Y:

I will say it one more time: There is a HUGE difference between "no gene or combination of genes have been 1005 determined" and "no gene. no civil rights issue." That is a major problem our side has with yours -- you seem so willing to make this bold assertion when you don't have truth to back it up. You state emphatically what cannot and should not be claimed in such a manner. And then you completely close yourself off to what millions of actual gay people tell you.

As for this:

"
Not to be graphic - but if you closed your eyes and had a woman, then a man perform the same sex act on you - orally speaking - there would be little difference in the ultimate reaction of your biology given enough recovery time in between the two episodes.

YOU KNOW this to be true... and so does every other male on the planet.

Hence why heterosexual men turn to homosexual practices in prison.

To argue otherwise is pure foolishness...
"

This just might be one of the most absurd statements I've ever heard to refute gay orientation. A blind stimulation of the genitals is not an accurate measure of one's true desire. A machine could bring a man to orgasm. That does not mean he is mechani-sexual! I'm telling you that when my eyes are fully open and my awareness fully engaged, it is only the male of the species who has ever given me an erection. And I only mention that I have tried both, because I truly think it gives me more logical basis to speak on these matters than someone who has only tried one or the other. I knew from the earliest of ages that I was not attracted to girls (though you will obviously deny that), but due to societal pressure, I gave them the "old college try." It was an experiment that failed, and the only way I was able to get through the deed was by closing my eyes and imagine the guy we had seen at the club earlier that night. Perhaps this is how heterosexually-oriented get through their prison sex. But the ability to clumsily get through the motions of sex does not mean that is where the truth and desire are oriented for that person. I never for one second doubted that the heterosexual intimacy was unnatural to me. I have never for one second had that feeling since I've been true to myself.

Also, I'm going ask you to stop making claims about me other than what I have given you! You say that I "...grow impatient at the fact that I do not accept your presuppositions - thus - you feel "unheard" or that I distorted a position. Kevin, I don't expect you to EVER accept my side's arguments. But that doesn't stop me from speaking out against the flaws I see in your logic. Not so much so that you will ever come around, but so that those impressionable minds who might search your words will hear another side.

Oh, and please, spare me with the "gays say hateful things" line. While I don't deny that you have had some words of hate directed at you, you are far from alone in that. My physical safety has been threatened by "Christians," so an attempt to put all of the haters on my side 100% falls on deaf ears with me.

Be well.

-Jeremy

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

He seems to see the whole gay rights movement as being won or lost based on whether or not being gay is a choice. I say, who cares? In the great nation of freedom (well, in what used to be...), shouldn't I be free to choose my marriage partner...regardless of whether or not our genitals go together like cable wires? Even if it somehow turned out (and I don't see how this is possible based on my own biology) that it is all a choice, I still say people shold be free to marry whomever they want.

And his statement that, "Marriage is a sexual union that God has established," is total BS. I don't remember anywhere in Genesis a passage that went, "Now, by the power vested in my by...well, Me, I now pronounce you sexually united."

Posted by: Jessica | Aug 20, 2007 12:47:25 PM

Jessica: The entire "pro-family" movement depends on gay being a "choice." On the religious front, it allows them t o "love the sinner, hate the sin." On the socio-political front, it allows them to position equal rights for humans as "special rights" for behaviors. It's all part of their game.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 20, 2007 12:51:40 PM

I agree with Jessica. After all, I seem to recall another matter of choice (religion) being protected. Personally, I've never felt comfortable with how we as a community have allowed ourselves to be pulled into the right's whole dichotomy that the question of choice actually matters when it comes to civil rights.

Posted by: Jarred | Aug 20, 2007 1:28:26 PM

Jarred: I'm not disagreeing with Jessica or yourself. The issue with the Kevin McCullough piece is not "nature vs. nurture." It is that he is using one certain bisexual subset to represent every LGBT person.

Personally, I feel that there is a strong bio-genetic root to orientation. However, it were ever proven otherwise, it wouldn't change my belief in civil rights for LGBT individuals (who have realistically existed for all of time, regardless of "reason.")

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 20, 2007 1:32:46 PM

I don't understand this whole choice business. Is he saying basically no one has any sexual orientation until we "act" on a desire? So I wasn't heterosexual until I had sex the first time with a guy (I'm a girl)? I don't understand--homosexuality isn't specifically and entirely about sexual acts. I don't think they seem to get this. It has to do with, as Jeremy said, desire, wants, loves, sexual desires...all of that. Just like heterosexuality. When I was 14, I had my first kiss. I was attracted to a boy, not a girl. Just because I wasn't full on "choosing" to have sex right then and there with the boy doesn't mean I wasn't having heterosexual desires, attractions, and interests. Obviously everyone (hopefully, anyway) chooses who they have sex with, when, where, etc. But you do not CHOOSE who you WANT to have sex with, who you DESIRE to have sex with, who you are attracted to, who you fall in love with; I desire to have sex with men (specifically, my boyfriend). I CHOOSE to have sex with him, to actually engage in the act of sex; but I do not CHOOSE to be attracted to him anymore than I CHOOSE to not be attracted to some other guys and/or women. It just happens. I don't understand why this is such a hard concept, unless these people seriously wake up everyday and think "hmm, today, I'm going to feel heterosexual. I COULD be attractd the Bob, but I feel like being attracted to Nancy." In which case, I feel like I'm living in a science fiction novel.

Oy.

Posted by: Stef | Aug 22, 2007 3:32:07 AM

Jarred,

I also like your point; religion is a choice, yet it is protected in America to practice that choice. Special rights for a "choice" of religion, of believing one way and not another, for not being sexular or atheist?

Ooo, I feel a good argument boiling there. I like it.

Posted by: Stef | Aug 22, 2007 3:33:48 AM

Something that leaves me scratching my head: McCulloch proposing a hypothetical scenario involving oral sex to support his position. Sounds like an endorsement of 'sodomy' if you ask me.

Posted by: George | Aug 23, 2007 5:34:15 AM

Oh, don't even get me started on the whole oral sex exchange! I'm sure it sounded rational in his head, but GOOD LORD it's nutty. And so many ways you can go with it. For instance, what about the desire to PERFORM oral sex on a male or female (very different acts)?

I feel somewhat sorry for the "pro-family" side, as the only arguments they have in their arsenal are flawed. That's what happens when you are on the anti-truth team.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 23, 2007 8:29:04 AM

I thought there was lots of evidence for gayness having a genetic origin, or at least to be influenced by events 'in utero'. Kevin ignores the body of evidence showing correlation of sexuality to factors such as number of siblings. eg, With each son a women bears, the likelihood of each successive one being gay increases by a statistically significant amount. eg The third is much more likely to be gay than the first. This suggests that a man's sexuality may be formed in utero.

Another factor he ignores is the stats showing that sisters of gay men on average produce more children than sisters of straight men. As with the stats in the previous para, this applies even when the siblings are brought up separates - it's not a product of upbringing.

I know this thread is almost 2 years old, but Kevin still pumps out these kind of articles now.

Posted by: Andrew Ryan | Jun 11, 2009 10:26:35 AM

Andrew: It's never too late to comment. We monitor them all :-)

And you're of course right about all of the evidence. And I would add to it the evidence that comes from mere perception. Spend some time in the company of hundreds of gay men and women, and you will see some undeniably shared traits.

Now of course that's not to say that all gay people act one certain way, or that stereotype defines our community. But it is certainly true that we, as a collective, show many common sense reasons to believe that there is some bio-genetic something something going on.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 11, 2009 10:45:04 AM

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