Summary of address given by Doctor Linda Stalley at the seminar The Christian response to the gay agenda, hosted by Cost of Conscience and Reform on Tuesday, 16 September 1997. As a Christian and a medical practitioner I am passionately concerned with the truth and I do believe, as Jesus stated, that the truth sets us free. The Christian Church has access to the Truth through Gods Holy Spirit and is its custodian. It is important to establish scientific and medical factual truth with regard to a subject such as homosexuality. The message resulting from scriptural and moral teaching of the Church is entirely consistent with the available medical evidence concerning the homosexual lifestyle. There are two main areas of information regarding homosexuality where the claims of the pro-homosexual lobby must be challenged: firstly, the claim that homosexuality is an innate or genetically determined condition and, therefore, a variation of normal sexuality and secondly, that it is a fixed condition which cannot be changed. As a medical practitioner I observe that there is a clear and consistent pattern of biological life in the whole of the created order. A fundamental function of the plant and animal kingdom is that of procreation and in the context of this there is complementarity of the male and female of each species. Same-sex sexual relationships are not observed within the plant and animal kingdom with the exception of human beings and this type of relationship is actually life denying. Some would suggest that, as we live in an imperfect world, there are variations of male and female sexual expression and thus propose that homosexuality is innate. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that homosexuality is due to organic or genetic factors. In March 1993, two psychiatrists of Columbia University reviewed studies purporting to find a biological component to homosexuality. They concluded There is no evidence at present to substantiate a biologic theory (Byne & Parsons. Human Sexual Orientation: The biological theories reappraised; Archives of General Psychiatry; Mar 93). Lawrence Hatterer, the American psychiatrist, states Homosexuals are not born but made and genetic, hereditary, constitutional, glandular or hormonal factors have no significance in causing homosexuality. Dr. Frank Lake, psychiatrist, discovered considerable evidence of the significance of disorders in infant years being directly related to the homosexual condition. This conclusion is supported by many other specialists in psychiatry, including Dr. Charles Socarides, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and Dr. John Money of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Some have stated that even if homosexuality is a matter of personal preference, the individual should be free to pursue their chosen lifestyle. It is important to continually assert that the truth matters. From a medical point of view this is important because there are clearly significant implications for individual and public health resulting from a homosexual lifestyle. The medical profession has a corporate responsibility to advise the public on the risks of certain lifestyles, whether this relates to smoking or alcohol consumption or the risks associated with certain sexual practices. There is significant misrepresentation of facts in the statistics quoted by the pro-homosexual lobby regarding the prevalence of homosexuality. They generally state that 10% of the population is homosexual. The truth is, according to studies carried out in the USA and the UK that a consistent figure of less than 1.5% of the adult population has been found to be actively homosexual. One of most detailed UK studies showed only 0.4% of the male population to be exclusively homosexual (Welling K., Field J. et al, Sexual Behaviour in Britain; The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles; Penguin 1994.). Another survey in the UK sponsored by the Welcome Trust reported 1.4% of males having had a homosexual partner in the previous year. The report stated its findings were consistent with those from other recent studies in Europe and the United States. Similarly, a British survey in 1990 to 1991 (among 19,000 men) found that 1.1% had had homosexual partners in the previous year. (Johnson A.M. et al., Sexual Lifestyles and HIV risk; Nature; 360, Dec. 3, 1992) The health risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle must be seen in the light of lifestyle characteristics and common homosexual practices. By way of introduction to this it is helpful to understand a little of the anatomy relating to the rectum and anus in contrast with that of the vagina. The female vagina is designed to receive an erect penis during sexual intercourse and also to be the passageway through which a child is born. As such, the lining of the vagina (mucosa) is several cells thick, providing appropriate protection, and also secretes chemicals which afford further protection against organisms such as bacteria. The anus is a tight muscle which is designed to close tightly in order to prevent the leakage of rectal contents but which can also relax in order to void these contents appropriately. The lining of the rectum is only one cell thick, unlike that of the vagina. During the act of anal intercourse extremely high pressures are needed to insert the erect penis through the anal sphincter into the rectum. This inevitably causes trauma to the anal muscle, the rectal mucosa and to the penis. It is for this reason that relaxant drugs are frequently used by homosexuals. In addition to this the chemicals contained within semen actually digest the thin rectal mucosa making it porous and thus permeable to bacteria present within faeces. Anal intercourse, therefore, is neither a natural nor healthy sexual activity. This true for both male and female partners. From this point the issues discussed relate to male homosexual activity. The vast majority of male homosexual relationships are temporary. Long term, stable, and single-partner homosexual partnerships are in the minority. One of the characteristics of the emergence of the gay culture has been the open promotion and encouragement of a high level of promiscuity which is a feature of male homosexuality. Some studies cite men having up to 25 sexual partners per day. In an American study in 1978, 74% of male homosexuals reported having more than 100 partners during their lifetime, 65% reported having sex only once with more than half their partners, 28% reported having more than 1,000 partners. (Bell and Weinberg, Homosexualities; a study of diversity among men and women, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978). An earlier study found that 7% of male homosexuals had a relationship lasting longer than 10 years and 38% had never been in a relationship lasting longer then one year (Saghir and Robins, Male and female Homosexuality: a comprehensive investigation - Baltimore: William Wilkins, 1973). In Denmark, a form of homosexual marriage has been legalised since 1989. By 1995, less than 5% of Danish homosexuals had married and 28% of these marriages had already ended in divorce or death. (Wockner; Advocate; 726, Feb. 4th 1997). In Holland, 69% of male homosexuals live together in a marriage-type relationship. The average number of outside partners per year of marriage was 7.1 and increased from 2.5 in the first year of the relationship to 11 in the sixth year. (Deenan et al., Archives Sexual Behaviour; 1994, 23). It is important to have knowledge of male homosexual practices in order to understand the enormous risk of infection and other diseases which are incurred. There are three main homosexual activities which the majority of homosexuals engage in: 95% of men engage in oral-genital contact (mouth-penis), 85% engage in oral-rectal contact, known as rimming (licking and insertion of the tongue into the anus) and 80% engage in insertive anal intercourse. (Bell and Weinberg, Homosexuality; 1978). In addition to this, 35 % practice fisting (thrusting of the fist into the partners rectum). Insertion of other foreign bodies, such as tumblers, beer bottles, and even gerbils into the rectum is widely practised. Semen is ingested in approximately half the cases of oral-genital contact. (Corey and Holmes, Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A in homosexual men; New England Journal of Medicine; 1980). In the largest survey of homosexual behaviour undertaken, 23% of men took part in golden showers (drinking, or being splashed with, urine ) (Jay and Young, The Gay Report, N Y: summit 1979). In addition to this ingestion of faeces is not uncommon and a proportion of homosexual men practise sadomasochism. The medical consequences of the homosexual lifestyle can be divided into categories. It is important to recognise that most health risks arising from this type of lifestyle are rooted in the widespread promiscuity and consequent propagation of disease as well as the type of activity engaged in. 1. Homosexual lifestyle is strongly linked to premature death, life expectancy being reduced by an average of 25 to 30 years. One study found that less than 2% of homosexuals survived to old age i.e. 65 or older. Premature death is due to a variety of diseases including, but not solely due to HIV/AIDS. Violent death has been found to be strikingly high: compared to similar-aged white males, homosexuals were 116 times more likely to be murdered and 24 times more likely to commit suicide. (Cameron, Playfair and Wellum, The longevity of homosexuals: Before and After the AIDS epidemic; Omega; 1994). 2. Traumatic disease is largely due to the act of anal intercourse and also to the use of the fist or other instruments inserted into the rectum. Douching agents also cause mucosal damage. This type of trauma may actually cause serious damage, including perforation of the rectum which necessitates at least temporary use of a colostomy. About one in three men who regularly engage in anal intercourse suffer from dysfunction of the anal sphincter, resulting in faecal incontinence (Miles et al., Effects of ano-receptive intercourse on ano-rectal function; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; 86 Mar. 1993). 3. Infection is very common in sexually active homosexual men, thus making them a potential health risk to their sexual partners. In highly promiscuous men, live bacteria and viruses are literally transmitted from one rectum to the next. 75% of homosexual men currently carry one or more significant pathogens. (Quinn, Clinical Approach to intestinal infections in homosexual men; The Medical Clinics of N. America; 70,3,1986). Condoms should not be seen to be reliable protection against viral infections. This fact is openly admitted by the manufacturers, especially when the condoms are used for anal intercourse. The use of condoms is notoriously inconsistent, as evidenced by the high unplanned pregnancy rate of those using this as the sole means of contraception. The types of infection contracted include local infections of the anus and rectum in the form of ulcers and abscesses. Similarly, local infections of the penis may also occur, sometimes with rare organisms such as amoebae. Sexually transmitted diseases are particularly common among the homosexual community. 75% of homosexual men admitted to having had such an infection at some time. (Bell and Weinberg, Homosexuality; 1978: 336). Male homosexuals are the main reservoir of syphilis infection in the United Kingdom. Numerous other organisms are transmitted which cause significant diseases and Infertility may be caused by transmitting these infections to females in bisexual activity. A new condition called gay bowel syndrome is now recognised in the homosexual communities, characterised by abdominal bloating, cramps, nausea and diarrhoea. It is caused by bowel infections, usually contracted through oral-anal contact or oral-genital contact following anal intercourse. The types of infection now being seen were previously extremely unusual. Blood-borne infection is potentially the most serious type of infection transmitted by homosexual activity. The two main infections are hepatitis and HIV which themselves give rise to other systemic diseases. Hepatitis B may be life-threatening in its acute phase and frequently causes chronic liver cirrhosis. It is also associated with liver cancer. In 1987 a study found that 40-75% of homosexual men had been exposed to the hepatitis B virus. (MacPhail Alberta Report Oct. 14 1996). HIV/AIDS is the major cause of premature death amongst homosexual men. It is estimated that a 20 year old male homosexual faces a 30% chance of being HIV positive or having AIDS by the time he is 30 years old. HIV is predominantly transmitted by insertive anal intercourse. Passive or receptive anal intercourse carries a 30 fold increased risk of anal cancer compared to controls; it is thought that this may be related to the strong link between ano-rectal cancer and the wart virus (Voeller, Ano-rectal cancer and homosexuality; Journal of American Medical Association; Maine 1983). As well as the physical health risks there is significant psychological morbidity associated with the homosexual lifestyle. In addition to the high rate of suicide encountered in this group a medical survey showed that 47% of male homosexuals had a history of alcohol abuse compared to 24% of comparative males and 51% had a history of drug abuse compared to 7% of comparative males. (Williams et al. Multi Disciplinary Baseline Assessment: 127). 40% of male homosexuals had a history of major depressive disorder compared to 3% of males generally. (Rosenberger et al., Psycho Pathology in Human Immuno-deficiency Virus infection: lifetime and current assessment; Comprehensive Psychiatry; 34, May/June 1993). It is important to recognise that the health risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle do not only affect individuals who choose to engage in this kind of activity. This choice has an effect on public health and upon the lives of children. Issues which are relevant to discussion include the proposals to allow homosexual couples to foster and adopt children. The question must be asked: should children be placed into a relationship which is likely to be unfavourable and temporary? For the same reasons there must be serious questions asked about the legitimacy of artificial insemination by donor and surrogacy as a means for homosexuals to have their own children. It should be born in mind that between 20 and 40% of cases of paedophilia are committed by homosexuals. Medical professionals, whilst not seeking to make any moral judgments have a duty, to protect society from anything which would threaten its health at large. A homosexual lifestyle should not therefore be condoned or encouraged in an individual and certainly not promoted as a normal or healthy lifestyle in the general population, especially amongst children and adolescents during their vulnerable years of sexual maturation and personal development. The second lie which is propagated by the pro-homosexual lobby is that homosexuality is a fixed condition which cannot be changed. Within even Christian circles there has been anger at the suggestion that there is need for healing. It is widely acknowledged that human beings have the capacity to change for good and this occurs aside from a Christian conversion experience as well as being a result of it. It is well documented that people who were formerly engaged in a homosexual lifestyle have changed and taken up a stable heterosexual relationship. The motivation for change within a individuals life is usually related to the influence of individual relationships which affirm that which is good within the individual. Human beings are searching for intimacy but above this are searching for belonging and a discovery of their identity. The danger of the lie promoted by the pro-homosexual lobby is that someone who believes themselves to be homosexual finds a place of belonging within the homosexual community even though they often remain unhappy. It is noteworthy that in a SIGMA study in 1992, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health, 34% of homosexual men freely expressed regret at being homosexual and the authors purported that possibly more than this proportion felt regret but did not express it. Sexuality is part of the expression of an individuals identity. Our identity does not change but our perception of our identity and the way in which our identity is expressed does change, usually according to the influence of key individuals and sometimes as a result of events. It is not my intention to enter into detailed observation and/or explanation on this subject but the simple truth is that the two relationships which have most influence upon an individual are those with their mother and father. A mothers influence is particularly important during the first 5 years of a child's life, especially in the development of personal security. A father's influence is thought to be most important during early teenage years, especially in affirming sexuality. At different times of childhood development there is a variable male/female emphasis expressed, sometimes more obviously than others. All of these phases are simply stepping stones along the path to maturity. trauma, of any variety, may interrupt this progression and thus result in a halting of the maturation process. Any difficulty in the area of sexuality is really an issue of immaturity due to deficient or dominant male or female influences. Thus Dr. Elizabeth Mobberly, psychologist and authority on homosexuality, defines homosexuality as essentially a state of incomplete development or of unmet needs, rooted in same-sex psychological deficits, arising from difficulties in the parent-child relationship, especially in the earlier years of life. The unmet need is perhaps the reason for the multi-partnering seen so often among homosexuals. One man, when trying to describe his homosexual feelings, said that he longed to be held in a mans arms, but that he was still searching for something - he had not known his father. Arguably, the most traumatic event in the life of a child is inappropriate sexual interference. These need not be physical sexual contact alone, but may also be due to inappropriate verbal innuendo or visual abuse such as pornography. There is a move by a small but vocal minority (predominantly homosexual) to abolish the age of consent, thus allowing adults to engage in sexual activity with children and already inappropriate influences are being presented in schools under the guise of sex education programmes. This will inevitably cause major damage to the personal development of our future generations. There are many engaged in the Christian healing ministry who have witnessed and experienced the true liberation which comes from the discovery of ones true identity and place of belonging. Sadly, this ministry is severely criticised by the homosexual community, perhaps because it is seen to be judgmental. As Christians, we must recognise that we all need healing and that it is God alone who can do this. The message of Jesus does not permit us to judge one another but does commission us to be ministers of His healing grace. We are called to proclaim a Gospel of Truth, but emphatically we are called to live the Gospel of love. Recommended Reading Schmidt, T; Straight and Narrow?, IVP, 1995. Payne, L; The Broken Image, Kingsway, 1981. Payne, L; Crisis in Masculinity, Kingsway, 1985. Torrance, D; God, Family and Sexuality, Handsel, 1997. Homosexuality - The Medical, Social and Religious Implications, statement published by the Maranatha Community.