Sexual Identity and Preference

Issues relating to sexual preference and identity.

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Sexual Identity and Preference Diversity at SAC

This section is for discussion of issues relating to Sexual preference and identity.

    Questions to discuss might include:
  • Is SAC tolerant of gay or lesbian or bisexual students? Have you experienced intolerance? Is there a difference between how tolerant students are and how tolerant faculty or administration are?
  • Are attitudes towards gay men, and lesbians, and bisexuals different? if so, why are the treatment of these groups different? Should they be?
  • Are you aware of the new inclusiveness policy for LGBT persons on campus? What do you think of it? Does it go far enough? Does it go too far?
  • How are diversity issues relating to sexual preference different from those relating to race or gender? Should they be?
  • Catholic moral theology  finds homosexuality to be a disordered form of sexual relationship. Can a Catholic community still be welcoming and respectful of homosexuals? Can Homosexuals be comfortable in a community that officially disapproves of their behavior?
  • Is inclusiveness for forms of sexual behavior different or harder than other kinds of inclusiveness? Do we apply the same standards to heterosexual and homosexual behaviors?
  • Is homosexuality a matter of sexual preference or cultural and personal identity? Do LGBT people you know define themselves according to the typical gender roles for their gender? Should they? Does that affect how easily they are accepted? Is intolerance of homosexuality due to the sexual behavior or the violation of typical gender norms?

Feel free to respond to this or register for the site and post your own thread in this category.



*     TO LIVE IN CHRIST JESUS, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1976:

“Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic.
human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship and justice. They should have an
active role in the Christian community.”

Washington State Catholic Conference, 1983:

“Church teaching is positive with regard to homosexual persons considered in the totality
of their beings…Church teaching does not morally condemn homosexual orientation…,Nor .
are homosexual persons to be blamed for not changing their orientations…Church teaching
. indicates that even with regard to homogenital activity no one except Almighty God can .
make certain judgments about the personal sinfulness of acts. ..the prejudice against
homosexuals is a greater infringement of the norm of Christian morality than is:
homosexual orientation or activity.”

Congregation of the Doctrine of the
Faith, 1986:

“It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the objects of violent malice
in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors
wherever it occurs…The particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin.”

Conference, 1987:

“Those who are gay or lesbian…should not be objects of discrimination, injustice or
violence. All of God’s sons and daughters, all members of our society, are entitled to the
recognition of their full human dignity.”

United States Catholic Conference, 1990:

“Sexuality..,is a fundamental dimension of every human being. It is reflected physiologically,
Psychologically, and relationally in a person’s gender identity as well as in one’s primary
sexual orientation and behavior. For some young men and women, this means a discovery
that one is homosexual, i.e., that one’s ‘sexual inclinations are orientated predominately
toward persons of the same sex.’”

“We call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about

homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons.
We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain
and issue related to self-acceptance without society adding additional prejudicial,

“Educationally, homosexuality cannot and ought not be skirted or ignored. The topic
must be faced in all objectivity by the pupil and the educator when the case presents itself.
First and foremost, we support modeling and teaching respect for every human person,
regardless of sexual orientation. Second, a parent or teacher must also present clearly and
delicately the unambiguous moral norms of the Christian tradition regarding homosexual
genital activity, appropriately geared to the age level and maturity of the learner, Finally,
parents and educators must remain open to the possibility that a particular person, whether
adolescent or adult, may be struggling to accept his or her own homosexual orientation.
The distinction between being homosexual and doing homosexual genital actions, while.
not always clear and convincing, is a helpful and important one when dealing with the
complex issue of homosexuality, particularly in the educational and pastoral arena.”


“(Homosexual persons) must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every
sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity.” “Chastity means the successful integration of
sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.”

Cardinal Basil Hume, London, 1995:

“Friendship is a gift from God. Friendship is a way of loving. Friendship is necessary for
every person. To equate friendship and full sexual involvement with another is to distort
the very concept of friendship. Sexual loving presupposes friendship, but friendship does
not require full sexual involvement. It is a mistake to say or think or presume that if two
persons of the same or different sexes enjoy a deep and lasting friendship then they must be
sexually involved.”

NCCB Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family, 1998;

“This child, who has always been God’s gift to you, may now be the cause of another
gift: your family becoming more honest, respectful and supportive…It seems appropriate to
understand sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) as a deep seated dimension of
one’s personality and to recognize its relative stability in a person…Generally, homosexual
orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore,
a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to

choose….God loves every person as a unique individual. Sexual identity helps to define the
unique persons we are. One component of our sexual identity is sexual orientation..,All
homosexual persons have a right to be welcomed into the community, to hear the word of
God, and to receive pastoral care. Homosexual persons who are living chaste lives should
have opportunities to lead and serve the community.”

“You are always my child, nothing can ever change that, You are also a child of God,,
gifted and called for a purpose in God’s design,..In you God’s love is revealed.”


“It is important that Church ministers listen to the experiences, needs and hopes of the persons
with a homosexual inclination to whom and with whom they minister. Dialogue provides an
exchange of information, and also communicates a respect for the innate dignity of other -
persons and a respect for their consciences.”

Pharr–Homophobia as Weapon of Sexism

Pharr–Homophobia as Weapon of Sexism

The author utilizes homophobia, heterosexism, and sexism, as variables in this article with the purpose of exploring their interconnection and relationship with one another. She does this by breaking them down into seven specific sub-topics: Homosexuality and the Bible, Homophobia and Heterosexism, Lesbians and Gay Men: A Threat to the Heart of Sexism, Lesbians and Heterosexual Women: A Measure of Social Control, Sexual Identity, The Cost of Homophobia, and The Elimination of Homophobia. Before she begins she defines homophobia for the readers and describes briefly how it has been viewed in the past as well as her own experiences with homophobia.

She begins with the topic of Homosexuality and the bible or what she refers to as “the bible theory.” She points out that the bible is frequently used as a reference point and as validation for the persecution of Gays and Lesbians. She specifically identifies several passages that have been used to justify homophobia. In response to those arguments, she provides current counter-arguments in an effort to make the reader aware there are current scholarly debates on the issue of these citations and condemnations of homosexuality found in original biblical texts. The author then addresses the issue of the link between Homophobia and Heterosexism.

She indicates that “Homophobia is an effective weapon of sexism because it is joined with heterosexism” (3). She states that it assists in creating the belief that, “the world is and must be Heterosexual and its display of power and privilege” (3). It is in this section the author touches on the issue of socialization of Heterosexism as children through adulthood, which establishes and builds the link between sexism and homophobia.

In the next section the author uses the example of Lesbians to illustrate the response of the patriarchal system (see end note #1). Lesbians step out of the traditional role established for wimmin and resist the “sexual and economic dependence upon men.” She goes on to illustrate that homosexuals are perceived as a threat to the established essence of society specifically, family, male dominance and control, and “the very heart of sexism.”

The examination of the premise that homophobia is used to “wield the power over women.” The author suggests this is commonly done through “lesbian baiting.” The author asserts that women may be controlled through their fear of being labeled as a lesbian. This labeling occurs because individuals exhibit behavior outside traditional gender roles. She purports women who believe in and work for women’s rights avoid labeling themselves as feminists for this very reason.

Sexual identity is discussed and the author asserts that the interest in identifying the cause of the development of sexual identity is, “to discover how lesbian and gay identity develops so they will know how to eliminate it” (4). The author states that homophobic people make statements such as “it’s a choice, etc.” She responds by asking that heterosexuals not to talk about their ” sexual identity, including not to act out their sexual activity, but heterosexual social interconnections and heterosexual privilege.

Finally the author examines two interrelated issues: the costs of homophobia and the elimination of homophobia. She breaks the costs down into employment, family, children, the lack of Heterosexual privilege and protection, Safety, Mental Health, Community, and Credibility. The author indicates that homophobia will not be eliminated just through “tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance, or benevolence. She states, “these are favors granted to the less fortunate” (4). She states, “the elimination of homophobia requires that homosexual identity be viewed as viable and legitimate and as normal as heterosexual identity. . .It does not require tolerance; it requires an equal footing.” (4)

By: Okey J. Napier

Masculinity as Homophobia

Masculinity as Homophobia–Kimmer

Codifying Discrimination?

Schedule of Events on Sexual Identity Inclusiveness Feb. 14-18

Last semester, we updated you on the work of the Inclusivity and Sexual Orientation Task Force.  In that correspondence we announced that we would have presenters on campus in February.  It is hard to believe that this time is upon us already.  During the week of February 14-18,  Jim Schexnayder, SJ, Resource Director, Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry will be on campus.  Fr. Jim regularly presents at national conferences and has provided support, training, and resources to countless colleges and universities, as well as several Catholic parishes and diocese.    While here at Saint Anselm, he will guide us in conversation and lead us in presentations regarding inclusion and the needs of  LGB members of our community.  Our aim is to ensure that  Saint Anselm College is a welcoming community regardless of sexual orientation.

During Fr. Jim’s visit we many things planned.  Throughout his stay, Fr. Jim will be meeting faculty, staff, administrators and students; and with the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students and the Inclusivity and Sexual Orientation Task Force. Our hope is to engage a large cross-section of our community in dialogue.

Highlights for Faculty include:

With the Ear of Our Heart” – presentation by Fr. Jim and panel sharing by LGB  members of our community –  Tuesday, February 15th at 4:00 p.m. in the North Lounge

Breakfast sessions w/Faculty:

  • Tuesday, February 15th at 8:30 a.m. (pre-registration required)
  • Wednesday, February 16th at 8:30 a.m. (pre-registration required)

Afternoon tea session w/ Faculty:

  • Wednesday, February 16th at 3:00 p.m. (pre-registration required)

We encourage you to participate in the opportunities listed above.  To pre-register for one of the sessions identified above please reply to this e-mail with your name and contact information, as well as the session you wish to register for.

We look forward to working with all members of the college community as we together progress toward our goal of ensuring all people are respected and feel welcome at Saint Anselm College.


Maria McKenna                                             Susan Gabert
Associate Professor of Psychology             Director, Campus Ministry
Co-chair, Inclusiveness and                         Co-chair, Inclusiveness and
Sexual Orientation Task Force                    Sexual Orientation Task Force

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Special Comment

What follows is a special comment on the status of homosexual students at Saint Anselm College following the Statement on Inclusiveness and Sexual Orientation originally published on the cultural online magazine 7 October 2010.

N.B.: It is likely that the four months and 1200 miles that separated me from graduating from Saint Anselm gave me the candor to write this, for I discuss topics I found made me squirm in my seat during my time there; I know I was not alone when I found the topic of homosexuality taboo at Saint Anselm.  Feel free to leave in a comment a suggestion for a better title, in addition to any positive or negative feedback.

* * *

I. Why the new policy on sexual orientation should be an expected and welcomed addition to the Saint Anselm mission of Inclusiveness

The statement itself makes clear that it is a logical extension of Scripture, the Catholic Catechism, the Rule of Saint Benedict, and existing literature on Inclusiveness. It therefore can be no surprise that the College officially “condemns any and all direct or indirect harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any person in regards to sexual orientation.” Nor should it come as any surprise that the statement was apparently passed by the Monastery unanimously. Such a logical extension can only be expected from an institution of higher learning.

What’s more, it should be a welcomed addition to the explicit policies and manifest behaviors of the Saint Anselm College Community. Frankly, and above all, openly homosexual students have made a significant contribution to the College. Indeed, this creative outlet,, owes its existence–to considerable extent–to openly homosexual students and supportive peers and faculty.  In sum, Saint Anselm has seen a Student Government Association president, various club representatives and leaders, scholars, artists and modest innovators from its openly gay population, and these have come only in the four plus years that I have been a member of the Saint Anselm Community.  One can only naturally assume that the College owes much to its closeted gay population as well.  It is about time that the College formally recognizes the dignity of these active members of its past, present and future community.

Finally, as a Catholic college community, Saint Anselm is responsible for the psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of its students. This is affirmed by the character of the Task Force assembled by the President and his Cabinet: representatives from the Psychology and Sociology Departments, Campus Ministry, Residential Life and Education and Student Activities, among other significant departments.

II. The problems the statement poses

There is an obvious difficulty in sincerely upholding this “twofold teaching of the Church with clarity and compassion” apparent to anyone with significant common sense and foresight; putting this into practice is much more complicated than the ideology, which is consistent in its terms, suggests. This is why the President and his Cabinet have formed such an impressive set of minds to sort out its implementation, and it is my hope that their combined expertise will be fruitful.

In my time at the College, I formed relationships with students, faculty and staff whom I found to be open minded and accepting: people who would have accepted me as homosexual even if I never outright told them that I am gay. (Not that I advocate a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, but barely anyone ever informed me that they were straight; likewise I found no need to announce my own sexual preferences.)

There are thus many authentically accepting individuals among the faculty, staff, and student body. However, I do not doubt that there are members of the community who do not share this mentality, even if they make claims to the contrary or are unwilling to make an open admission of their own oppositional views. The role of the faculty is of particular interest to me, for their lectures and published work directly affect the intellectual life of, quite literally, thousands of young minds.

Emphasizing the need for sex (and therefore love, according to some) to remain between a married man and woman implicitly highlights homosexuality as particularly deviant, and therefore the statement—while progressive—is inherently self-defeating.Sex remaining between a married man and woman is not “good news for everyone,” as Professor Dale Kuehne has published and said publicly. It is certainly not good news for me, as I would be condemned to a life of either self deception, celibacy, or both; I am in his eyes doomed to a loveless life characterized either by an endless pursuit of self-gratification or the repression–likely resulting in psychological damage–of my authentic sexual preference.*

Given that a qualitative difference between man and woman in terms of substantial personhood cannot be established beyond such accidents as the organization of hormones, neural tissue, genitalia and the like, why emphasize sex and love between a married man and woman? Why is my particular brand of sin always going to be highlighted—directly or indirectly—by Christians?^  It’s said around 5% of the population is homosexual. By and large, the 5% of the student body that are homosexual ain’t gettin’ any come Friday night. I can guarantee that from experience. And the 95% of the students who are straight? There are more than a few rooms breaking parietals on any given night, if you know what I mean. Sex in a committed relationship regardless of gender should be emphasized on a college campus, for at a place like Saint Anselm it’s the straight students who fornicate in mass numbers each weekend. Faculty and staff to whom it concerns: even your favorite students have dirty hands, notably on Mondays after a good weekend; I’d wash yours before going home to your families.

III. Why it is important that more progress occur in the future, namely in the formation of an authentic Gay/Straight Student Alliance (GSA)

By now the reasons for the necessity for more progress should be effectively demonstrated given: (1) the responsibility of the College for its students discussed above and (2) the obvious aggression and suspicion I harbor after four years of being openly gay at Saint Anselm that is present in section II. The time has come for a serious discussion between all members of the community on this important subject, for the answers to the questions that many have will not be found by turning to the literature handed down by thousands of years of religious tradition.

Moreover, I’m sure that—in a certain light—there have always been GSAs at Saint Anselm. In the past, it has been precisely the extant, unofficial “GSAs” that have brought openly gay students and their supportive peers and faculty together in an enriching environment. In the past these have been fruitful, and have led to the benefits that the College has reaped described above at the end of section I. However, it is now time that the College Community discuss homosexual issues; at my time at Saint Anselm I had to discuss art, creativity, learning and dialogue and tried to fit homosexuality within these contexts. Now that I am gone, I would like to see that the next generation of strong, Anselmian homosexual and bisexual men and women have the right to openly discuss their concerns, insecurities, and—above all—their pride and self-esteem in an accepting forum.

IV. Why does the author even care, and why is he writing this?

It is my hope that my Alma Mater does me proud, affirms the values I have learned and ensures that the modest and mostly unseen accomplishments of myself and others have not been in vain. To care, after all, is to realize that you turned out well, and had it pretty good, but someone further down the line could turn out even better.

On the Status of the Dream

It is appropriate that this forum, “The Shape of Diversity,” is a project of art and of artistic visualization, for the future progress of American and global civil rights will originate in the collective eyes of the artists of our time.
It is in Vision–the vision of the Artist–in which the Shape of Diversity will be revealed; it is in the recognition of the shades of diversity unseen by the many in which the equality of mankind will eventually be realized.

This dream will not necessarily come from those who claim to defend the innocence and dignity of the “children of God” of our country.  For, politically and socially speaking, many on the Christian Right have not the sensitivity to see truly those whom they should defend; their definition, “children of God,” has become narrowed. No longer do they stand for the breadth of all children of God, but they defend to the death the values they deem most beneficial to their own racial, economical, and moral cause.

Indeed, the political and social agendas of our day, spanning all degrees of the ideological sphere, obfuscate the the goal of true recognition of diversity’s value and of the achievement of universal civil rights.  These political and social groups suffer from a respectable, forgivable ignorance.  This ignorance will be cured by those who have the dream that there may come a day when none discredit the dignity of one’s life nor the dignity of one’s love.  When none discount the value of a human life because of race, religion, sexual orientation, class or habits of behavior.  These dreamers are precisely the Artists to whom I have referred above.

Likely, it will not be in our time that our goal is reached. For cultivating a love for the diversity that is our country and is our globalized world is to come to know and love something so remote and outside of ourselves, that somewhere within us stirs the inclination to refuse it the designation, “humanity.”  Directly or indirectly, too many of us, the world over, refuse to honorably name the other “human, equal.”  So too, human as we are, our vision is humbled by our overextending minds; our ideals are ever out of reach.  We see points and the dream is a line; we see lines and the dream is a square; we see squares and the dream is a cube; we see cubes and the dream is a tesseract.

Our nature is to struggle to achieve new levels of understanding in this progressive fashion.  One generation’s unimaginable dimension becomes the level ground of the next generation.  An interracial, heterosexual couple expect to be married in the sixties given their mutual love and devotion?  Status quo rejects them.  But can one locate a discernible difference  between their union and a union of whites?  Generally, the status quo of our day declares wholeheartedly, “No!”

In the 21st Century, man and a man or a woman and a woman expect to marry given their mutual love and devotion. Can a single difference be given between their mutual devotion and that of a heterosexual couple? Can one discern a difference between these unions that does not arise from whence the myths of the virtuous murder of infants and the abstinence of pork and shellfish arise?  Diet, cleanliness, and the moral structures of civilizations of millennia past aside, our concern should be the human life and love of our era.  We are speaking of the emancipation of the human spirit and of human love, predicated upon the achievements of civil rights victories of decades past.

This week pundit Rush Limbaugh made racial slurs about the Chinese.  California State Senator Leland Yee, of Chinese heritage, called for a boycott of Limbaugh’s advertisers.  In response, Limbaugh intensified his hate speech, focused it at Lee, and consequently his listeners have sent their opinions to the state senator.  Death threats and violent words and images–”Rush will kick your–”, “Die, you Chinese–”, our president in a noose–have been received by the state senator’s office.  Evidenced by this localized case and the multitude like it, the challenges to our dream of true equality are as alive now as they ever were.

We have indeed made progress and, arguably, ours is among the most integrated and free societies the world has seen.  But we have reached no apex, nor have we reached the end of any arc of history.  We have now a president who has fulfilled one aspect of the dream, but we must ask ourselves: “Can we seriously imagine a woman president?  an Asian American or Latino/a president? a homosexual president? Are our elected leaders truly representative of the diversity of their constituents?  Have there been any true shifts and sharing of power and authority?”  If these can’t be imagined now, they will never come to pass.

This forum and others like it are vital for our imaginings to become articulated thoughts and definite actions.  Forums such as this will unite the strategic thinking of individuals, sewing together these threads into the united ideals of an authentic movement for the equality of which we dream.