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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 10. 1967.

Student Counsellor Write On Homosexuality — Don't make scapeg of lam mino

Student Counsellor Write On Homosexuality

Don't make [unclear: scapeg] of [unclear: lam] [unclear: mino]

Letters to the Press and reported extracts from addresses in various parts of the country do not necessarily reveal that degree of academic scholarship and distance that the subject of homosexuality merits.

Extreme reaction against homosexual law reform is compounded of ignorance, scorn, derision and a misplaced appeal to authorities.

There is no evidence to show that elsewhere homosexual adults have diverted their attention to younger age groups when they have been relieved of their fear of criminal prosecution.

It would be surprising if they were to do so—there tends to be as specific a factor of attraction between homosexuals as there is between heterosexuals. Homosexual behaviour between adults and minors would continue to be an offence.

The particular legal restriction that is at present in question only came on the UK Statute Books in 1885.

There is no evidence to suggest that the homosexual behaviour that went unpunished before that time led to the destruction of society. One would have to look hard for the decadence of those countries where there are no laws operating against the homosexual behaviour in private of consenting adult males.

Shady characters

If society condemns adult homosexuals, it may be using them as scapegoats, and it may be giving more consideration than is their due to those who extort, blackmail, or assault them. Some homosexuals are shady characters, but so are some heterosexuals, and the group cannot be condemned for the criminal and unstable behaviour of some of its members.

Homosexuals are not all alike. Those who are frequently convicted for offences with adults are different from those who are not convicted but seek treatment, and from those who assault children.

Those who fear that liberalising the law for consenting adults in private would lead to the contamination of minors may be reassured. Minors would still be properly protected by the criminal law.

Many people are earnestly concerned about some tolerant interpretations of the scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality.

This is an area in which eminent theologians are presenting liberal opinions while others who have not perhaps devoted such time and scholarship to the problem present more reactionary views.

In New Zealand, the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches have expressed moderate opinions, urging for toleration rather than castigation, and opinion among Roman Catholics seems to be following this general trend. None has yet gone so far as Dr. Bailey, who suggests that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been quite misinterpreted and that the original texts are capable of other explanations.

Research into homosexuality must be pursued with objectivity and integrity without seeking to relegate homosexuals to the position of second class citizens in which they do not merit the serious consideration of their fellows.

On the matter of causation of homosexuality most of the myths are remarkably persistent. Many people declare that homosexuals "are born that way," and that their condition is due to some glandular disfunction, but what is the best available evidence on this subject?

Money, Hampson and Hampson, in their extensive study of hermaphrodites evolved seven variables of sexuality:

• Sex chromatin pattern.

• Gonadal sex (morphology).

• Hormonal sex and associated sex change.

• External genital morphology.

• Internal accessory reproductive structure.

• Sex of assignment and rearing.

• Psychologic sex or gender role.

Even with extensive biological incongruity, hermaphrodites do not display more aberrant sexual behaviour than one can expect from a normal sample of human beings. In fact, the researchers report that there is insignificant homosexual behaviour among those with marked genetic, hormonal and anatomical ambiguities.

The Hampsons comment:

"There does not seem to be a valid basis for the endorsement of any theory of a simple and direct hormonal determination of human sexual behaviour, either typical or atypical.

"In the past several years there is increasing evidence from psychiatric and psychological research to support a view that homosexuality and certain other disorders of psychologic sex have their origins in social learning."

Organic structure

Others have looked more closely at the organic structure of homosexuals, and none of the genetic studies nor hormonal studies supports any theories that homosexuals are a form of intersex.

page 7

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[unclear: As] homosexuals are con- [unclear: cerned,] more biological am [unclear: biguities] yet to be found, but [unclear: there] some interesting [unclear: research] by Eva Bene on the [unclear: psycho] importance of both [unclear: parents] particular, the [unclear: father—)] the mother, for a [unclear: change—] influencing homo- [unclear: sexuality]

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[unclear: What] know from research [unclear: into ho] so far? Homo- [unclear: sexuality] psychosexual condf- [unclear: tion that] in the inter- [unclear: national] of Diseases [unclear: and D] as a behaviour [unclear: disorder.] escribes the relatively [unclear: permane] national relationships [unclear: that obt] between men or be- [unclear: tween w]

[unclear: If the] for the United [unclear: States ar] kited Kingdom are [unclear: anythin] guide, we can expect [unclear: to find a] four per cent [unclear: of adult] are homosexual [unclear: in New] much larger [unclear: numbers] been involved at various stages of their lives to lesser degrees.

Homosexuality is also known among women, although the actual number involved is smaller than that of men and it could be that their tendency for sexual deviation finds other outlets that are not available to men.

Social control

The best available evidence to date suggests that some homosexuals can be treated in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and behaviour therapy. But the outcome is variable and depends much upon the motivation, intelligence, degree of sexual involvement, financial status, the social advantages that patients would have from undergoing such self examination, and the availability and skill of the clinicians who set out to help them.

I remind you of the carefully documented statement that was prepared by D. L. Mathieson, of the Law Faculty of Victoria University in which the various legal and moral issues are disentangled and in which conclusion have been drawn that might appeal to many.

Beyond that statement, we often forget that the law is only one form of social control and there is every reason for regarding the Statutes as setting the lower limit below which no man may fall without fear of penalty, rather than setting the highest goals of human endeavour.

There will be no dire consequences from extending what I consider to be justice to consenting adult homosexual males who share their affections in private.

Society has a right to endorse heterosexuality, but not at the expense of making scapegoats of that substantial minority of its members who by nature of their upbringing are unable to share the heterosexual ideal.