I am happy — really happy — with something the state of California has done. It is a very, very good thing. They have become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight. I am armed with subjective histories. My heart, if not my brain, goes to them first. My first private office in California was in San Diego and just happened to be near the center of the alternative lifestyle community of that fine burg. I heard tear-stained stories from gay guys whose parents had “suggested” therapy of this sort. One man, who saw me for treatment of a physical pain syndrome, told me how his parents wanted and believed in a heterosexual son. He cried as he told me about their “Christianity” and their desire for him to father a family. They would even try to encourage him on dates with girls when he felt “less than nothing.” Curiously enough, I remember him as being part of one of the most highly committed and long lasting dyadic relationships I have ever known. He had a loving male partner who brought him to every appointment and waited in the waiting room. When I approach a situation, I do not start with subjective data, however emotional. I look farther.
I know that the searchers of the human genome for markers for homosexuality have come up empty. This seems to mean that homosexuality is probably not genetic. It does not mean it is not biological. Last time I tuned in, people seemed to believe that homosexuality — at least in males — seemed related to stress during pregnancy. I was still back in Europe when I read that the largest number of gay males ever born in a similar set of circumstances were the male children born to women who had been incarcerated in concentration camps. Read more on Good for California! “Straightening Out” Gays Is Now Illegal…
Well, it’s about time the military took its head out of the sand regarding homosexuals in the ranks. I could never see the reasoning behind someone considering gays inappropriate for the military. The opposition had been saying things like this would “undermine order and discipline and unit cohesiveness.” Of course, I cannot find a single article or source to support these fanciful statements. People abandon reason when it comes to finding ways to endorse previously existing prejudices. The military — in the U.S. at least — has been a haven for discrimination. I dare anyone to tell me it isn’t. It has been 25 years since I served my hitch, and during that time, I heard enough of people feeling hurt and abused by statements perceived as racial slurs, as well as actions that ranged from hostile to physically violent. Sometimes these affronts came from peers, but more often from people of higher rank.
Yes, as a woman, a Jew and a psychiatrist, I had my share of harassment. It was bad enough coming from among the ranks but I even heard an unforgettable anti-female slur from my Jewish chaplain — a real live ordained rabbi in uniform who had had a camouflage yamulke and liked to jump from airplanes. When I told him I was heavily trained in Jewish liturgy and wanted to contribute to the ritual any way I could — including teaching others — he told me that there plenty enough men to fill ritual needs and so it was not necessary for him to do anything with a woman. The military was to me a place where civil rights were stripped from you. The idea of the military taking time to comply with this new ruling — well, the bigger and the more unwieldy the bureaucracy, the longer it takes to do things. But when it bucks longstanding, pre-existing prejudices, it can only take longer. Read more on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Will The Military Adapt?…
“I’m heterosexual and proud of it. Do you need a reference from my husband?”
Such was my response to a drop-dead-gorgeous male transvestite who sidled up to me once, at one of the unusual affairs my husband and I were accustomed to attending at the time, and wanted to know if I had been born male.
Oh, there were a couple like me, she said, and even if I were a lesbian, it would be so wonderful to have someone like me, a “professional” woman, for a friend.
Oh, there were a few like me, she said, who did not care as much as they ought about appearance, and she wanted desperately to have an opportunity to make me up a bit, and maybe even lend me some clothes.
I declined, as politely as I could. I actually gave her a card, told her we could have lunch, if she wanted. She (I had learned to call people by their publically identified sex) told me she had run out of cards. I told her to just call, and I would be available for lunch, and I was certainly open for friendship.