Homosexuality not learned or unlearned, it simply is

Jan 22, 2014
Following Sandusky news from 2,000 miles away has its benefits. I can keep up with local news, turn off the computer when I’ve had my fill of snowstorms, and be grateful I relocated to Arizona.

One storm I have not been able to turn off, however, at least in my mind, is the one surrounding the resignation/firing of St. Mary Central Catholic High School band and choir director Brian Panetta.

I have read the stories and opinions regarding the legality, morality and outrage surrounding the issue. But, in sifting through the bluster of emotion and opinion, I realized something important was missing throughout this discussion: The impact on students, especially an often overlooked group of young people who hide their homosexuality or who silently struggle to make sense of their sexual orientation.

An ongoing debate in any community is whether or not homosexuality is a choice. If one asks gays or lesbians when they “became gay” most will explain they knew from an early age they felt different from others even before they understood why. That “feeling” was not a choice; it was as much a part of them in childhood as it is now. Only when they learned the terminology and heard about what is “normal” and “not normal” did they discover they failed to fit into the described norm, heterosexuality.

I understand the issue is not necessarily that Mr. Panetta is gay. The issue is that by announcing his plans to marry and, thus, become physically intimate with another man, he violated the terms of his employment agreement. This violation led to his resignation/firing, and it’s obvious the community feels the impact.

This is when I noticed that missing from this discussion was the potential impact this situation has had on those silently struggling students. As I thought about them, my attention drifted back to my own experiences.

In school, gay classmates were harassed and shunned. I saw their pain and tried to ignore the fact that I could relate so well to them. I feared someone might see what I was trying to suppress even from myself, and I hid behind schoolwork and tennis.

It wasn’t necessarily because I enjoyed those activities; they kept me safe. The more desperately I tried to change the “different” feeling I had known since childhood, the more I grew to detest myself. I fell into a long-lasting depression almost hoping that my selfhatred would destroy me.

My high school guidance counselor accepted me unconditionally, however, and that connection saved my life. She was not gay, but I saw kindness and traits that inspired me to keep going. Without her presence, I might have given up.

Life experience has taught me that homosexuality is not banished by fervent prayer. It is not something that can be turned on or off. It is not learned or unlearned. It simply is.

Reaching that understanding takes time and support.

I do not know Mr. Panetta but, from what I understand, he did an outstanding job and inspired excellence. He used his God-given talent to help students tap into their own gifts. And, yes, he violated his employment agreement in the interest of being true to himself. Whether or not you agree with how he chooses to live his life, it is his life.

When this story fades, SMCC will still have its employment policies and Mr. Panetta will have moved on. However, the young people silently struggling with their sexual orientation and their fears of the consequences of not fitting the norm will remain.

This is the most salient facet of the SMCC/ Panetta storm. I noticed that concern for them was absent from the inches of opinion published these last few weeks. Not because I was looking for it, but because I sensed the void.

I believe we must do what we can to reach these young people, support them, accept them, and help them to reach their potential as they walk their personal path. Each one is important and each one belongs to us. The storms of life will come and go, and all of us deserve to feel accepted both internally and among others.

Tiffany Gray, M.S., ACSM-CPT, is an adjunct faculty member in the Exercise Science department at Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona, where she teaches introductory courses in wellness. She also›owns and operates Gray Wellness Consulting LLC, and serves as the exercise specialist for the Family Wellness Program at St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix. Gray formerly worked for The Sandusky Register as a news clerk



A few sane comments, the rest? Bigots and mouth breathers.

John Harville

But bigoted idiocy IS learned. Witness:


"Gays cause autism". Such idiocy is 'here' too. Believe it.


The problem with this article is that that author fails to recognize the fact that there ARE choices when it comes to attractions. Attractions are, for the most part, learned. That being the case, all kinds of behavior is learned, even wrong behavior. If it is learned, it can be unlearned. There are lots of things we all may want to do, but choose not to. The child who is sexually abused may undoubtedly be damaged, but he or she is not doomed to repeat the crime. People make choices to become victims of their circumstance or victors over their circumstances. Propensities are not doomed to become lifestyles. We are humans not animals. We have the ability to reason and justify. It is sad that too many take the easy road to blame someone else and justify instead of overcoming.

John Harville

FIDDLE... unless you personally have experienced any of the things you mention, you cannot speak empathetically about 'overcoming' - anymore than anyone who has not faced cancer or heart disease can empathize by telling those who are/have faced such to "get over it".
"People make choices... to be victims or victors"... "propensities are not doomed to become lifestyles".
With love and sympathy from noble persons like yourself, your statements can be true. In what agencies do you volunteer to help with the overcoming?

John Harville

"WHY DO YOU KEEP POSTING HERE?" It's a question I've gotten several times here. In answer, and trying not to sound noble, I submit that without perseverance on serious issues such as this (note schools across the country which are facing bad headlines and falling contributions) it will continue.
How many times do you think women working to get the vote were asked why they persisted? Probably almost as many as those today who are working for ordination of women deacons and priests.
Why did Blacks continue marching in spite of firehoses and mean dogs - and Catholic Church that treated them as 'lesser'?
Why did Mr. and Mrs. Loving go to the Supreme Court and change the law preventing interracial marriage?
I believe God expects perseverance and loyalty to Jesus' command. This SCCS action is just a small part of a larger picture of discrimination and practiced misunderstanding.
John the Dwarf is best known for his obedience. The most famous story about his obedience is that one day Saint Pambo gave him a piece of dry wood and ordered him to plant and water it. John obeyed and went on watering it twice a day even though the water was about 12 miles from where they lived. After three years, the piece of wood sprouted and grew into a fruitful tree - the Tree of Loyalty.
KING DAVID of Cornwall.

John Harville

SANDUSKY MOM. I stand corrected, the Diocesan Superintendent of Education Christopher M. Knight is not the one about whom I conjectured.
Are you then verifying for us that THIS Christopher M. Knight is the same one listed on the SCCS Board of Directors?
Are you then verifying for us that THIS Christopher M. Knight is "the person form the Diocese" who came to tell Mr. Panetta of his termnation?


I posted some links and information here for discussion. My opinions are the following:

If somebody is not harming anybody, why should I care?
I have nothing against gay people unless they put the make on me or my loved ones. There are theories about what make a person gay. I don't know which theory is correct because I am 100% straight. Even as a child, I was attracted to the opposite sex. I really cannot provide an answer to what makes a person gay, bisexual, a pedophile, having sex with animals or being sexually attracted to urine and feces.

I am a former Catholic who married outside of the church. I tried to go back but was told I had to go to a bunch of classes and somehow get permission to return. I decided against it. I do not follow any specific religion. I pray to God often and ask for help or inspiration.

I have very little against gay people. I stopped associating with known gays for a few reasons. Not so much the gay people but the straight people who accused me of being gay simply because I was in the company of gays or I hugged someone of my own sex.


Ah, I see. Being gay is so awful that you can't stand the thought of anybody even THINKING it's possible that you could be gay yourself!

I have no certain idea how God feels about homosexuals who live good and decent lives, i.e. treating others with love and respect. I DO have a pretty good idea, though, what God thinks of those for whom appearances count more than love, honor, or loyalty!


You don’t know how God feels about homosexuals who live “good” and “decent” lives?? Well, let me take this opportunity to enlighten you. Pay attention please, there will be a short quiz at the end of class.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

OK, now for the quiz.

Which individual demonstrates the greater love to practicing homosexuals?

A) The moral relativist, who in spite of God’s clear teachings against homosexuality, preach acceptance of this perverted lifestyle, knowing the eternal consequences.

B) A Christian who speaks the truth about homosexuality, doing so with their best interest at heart. Not only in this life, but for the life to come.

(Hint) The answer is B


Oh, gosh, I'm so sorry. Perhaps I've misunderstood every sect of Christianity out there when they ALL preach that merely accepting Jesus as your Savior isn't just ONE path to Heaven, but the ONLY path to Heaven!

Thank goodness you're here to set everybody straight (no pun intended).


No need to apologize, I’m there for you Sammy!

Jesus not only loved us enough to die for our sins, so that those that believe may be saved, but he also loved us enough that He provided a way for us to overcome our sins, through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

Once we are born again our old self is no more, it has been crucified with Christ and the result is that we are no longer enslaved to sin, but rather alive to God in Christ. Even still, we must fight the desires of the flesh. We can’t do this by tolerating or justifying sin.

John Harville

I guess you overlooked yourself in the list...

Revilers... "To reproach; to treat with opprobrious and contemptuous language."

Opprobrious...disrespectful, causing shame.

Contemptuous... well, even you know what that is.

Guess we'll see you in Hell.



John Harville

CENTAURI. every Catholic knows there is nothing such as a 'former' Catholic. "Runaway". "Fallen Away". "Disillusioned". But Catholic is Catholic is Catholic is...

I always heard that having to proclaim one's 100% straight status was a big rainbow flag.
"Even as a child..." you were a pedophile? (See how words can be misinterpreted).
Do you have anything against straight people who put the 'make' on you or your loved ones?. Every hear of 'just say no'?

How about association with 'unknown' gays... or do you have special gaydar?

In the company of gays? Does it bother you in a bar if people think you're an alcoholic?

You really are a piece of work. Hope I haven't accidentally been in a group with you cuz I'd hate people to think I endorse your attitudes.


John Harville,

ONE QUESTION: Are you a gay person or bisexual?

I really don't care.

Do know this.

I have been attacked by gay and bi-sexuals, straights, Christian, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists and others and religions, Republicans, Democrats and many others too many too mention.

I guess that I do not fit in because I am on the side of TRUTH and expose the LIES.

Anybody can answer.

Where should I go if everybody wants me to go away?


Another one man show, like Nemesis, to set us all on the right path! To think I may have never found my way without these great and righteous people. lmao

John Harville

ASEXUAL due to a painful and unfortunate accident. Now you have something else on which to pin your indications of my damaged psyche.

But with all those people who have attacked, you certainly have more than sufficient reasons for your misguided and hateful positions.


I've heard the terms you use before, and they're accurately descriptive of many. Me? I personally prefer "recovering Catholic," LOL!

It's my understanding that once you've been baptized Catholic, you remain Catholic (at least in the eyes of the Church) forever and ever, amen. In the eyes of an individual, however, I don't know that "former" is necessarily incorrect.


"Ah, I see. Being gay is so awful that you can't stand the thought of anybody even THINKING it's possible that you could be gay yourself!"

"THINKING"????? Your word, not mine. The Puritans THOUGHT that some people were evil. Even those people who associated with the "witches" were punished.

The gay people that I know understand how I feel. Maybe my definition of "associating" is different from yours. Perhaps you could have asked me to define "associating". There are some really hateful so called christian fanatics out there who would just love to harm a gay person, even a perceived gay person.

I don't associate with known drug dealers either because I don't want to get shot (gangs).

Here are some links about fanatic christians and how they treat gay people.


Some of the biggest christian bigots that spoke out against gay people are themselves are gay and cannot accept it.

Ted Haggard


SamAdams, I would like to continue but I am very busy. It is bad enough that I am targeted for assassination, threats of violence against me and my family and false arrest. I don't need to add to the powers that be list another list of christian fanatics who want to harm gay people.

Sam, I didn't have a chance to read all of your comments about gay people. One thing that I don't like is a gay hitting on me or others who are straight. I don't want any gay person to try to convince me and others that gay is the way. To each their own. Whatever floats your boat.

"birds of a feather flock together" is not always true but some narrow minded people seen to think so.

QUESTION: Why do gay people get mad if they don't get their way? I tried to help the gay people to be united if they didn't use the word "marriage" but some other word for a legal union. They refused my help because they are hell bent on the "marriage" word.


No "associating," eh? Well, then, here's something else you might want to google: Martin Niemöller.

As for not liking to be "hit on" by a gay man, how is that any different than the circumstances most of us WOMEN deal with on a regular basis? So what if a guy "hits on" you! If you're interested, keep talking. If you're not, you say, "No, thank you." It's really bizarre how a little honest politeness handles such terrible situations!

Targeted for assassination? Threatened? False arrest? Either you're Edward Snowden, or you've got a pretty high opinion of yourself! I haven't read about ANY of those things concerning ANYbody in the area.

ANSWER: Ask yourself why do black people get mad when they don't get their way? Why do women get mad when they don't get their way? Why do Democrats get mad when they don't get their way? Wait. You mean I'm generalizing? That ALL black people, women, or Democrats aren't like that? That MOST are perfectly reasonable people, no different from you and me? Huh. Learn something new every day...


Be calm. Relax. Come back another time when you put logic ahead of your emotions.


"Either you're Edward Snowden, or you've got a pretty high opinion of yourself!"

How about CIA, FBI and wars based on lies? How about BIG PHARMA when I expose them?

How about if I expose the LIES and the TRUTH?

It is all of the same. Exposing the truth comes with a big price.

Settle down SamAdams. I can help people like yourself. Do not get too emotional. Know this. There is no duplicate of each person on this Earth. Each person has but one life on this Earth.

There is only ONE of YOU. I try to help each person.


What does that have to do with the claims you've made here? Or are you now claiming you had something to do with "wars based on lies" or exposing same? Big pharma? Really? Maybe Dick Tracey has it wrong and YOU'RE Elsebeth in disguise!

If you genuinely want to help people, you can start by doing what you claim you're already doing: Telling the truth.


I'm curious. Dick Tracey is wrong. However, is your statement to Centauri "You're Elsebeth in disguise!" in the context you placed it intended to portray Elsebeth Baumgartner as a person who makes false claims or wild conspiracy theories?


SamAdams, Do know that God loves you just the way that you are.

John Harville

Wow. He's a piece of work, isn't he?


You can't compare women being approached by men with men being approached by men. That's unfair.

Have you ever been aggressively approached by a young, powerful dominant Lesbian? One that won't accept rejection but keeps physically pushing you. That might be a fairer analogy (and a common male fantasy ).

Why do you think you would read or have knowledge about people that question government abuses and are endangered by that work? You cited a Lutheran Pastor above and his point was people generally don't speak up for those who are targeted by abusive government or a police state because it doesn't affect them. It then becomes too late to save a nation from tyranny.

Finally you agreed that the Church had the right to terminate Mr. Panetta's contract. Yet what we read in the comments boards are overwhelmingly hostile and ignorant comments about the Roman Catholic Church almost exclusively from the homosexual community and supporters because they won't accept the fact that the Church acted within its rights.

Centauri's statements may have contained hyperbole. However one could argue based on the comments here, that there is a lot of hate and anger emanating from the homosexual community towards anyone that disagrees with them.

I've respected your posts in the past but you engaged in the same sort of unjustified personal attacks on Centauri that you deride in others.


"You can't compare women being approached by men with men being approached by men. That's unfair."

No, it isn't. Same thing. EXACTLY. (And yes, I know from experience.)

"Have you ever been aggressively approached by a young, powerful dominant Lesbian? One that won't accept rejection but keeps physically pushing you. That might be a fairer analogy (and a common male fantasy )."

Yes, in fact I have. She didn't assault me, but she didn't give up easy! On the other hand, I've had worse problems with men who are "aggressive, dominant, won't accept rejection, and keep physically pushing" me. I fail to see the difference here: You're either interested in whoever is propositioning you, or you're not. Some people take rejection better than others. That's not exactly breaking news!

"Finally you agreed that the Church had the right to terminate Mr. Panetta's contract."

Of course I did. That's the salient point, isn't it? The fact that it was badly handled by the school doesn't negate that fact.

I can't disagree that any number of comments have been hostile to the Catholic Church. At the same time, I've seen some pretty anti-homosexual comments here, too.

Centauri's hyperbole isn't the issue. It's his off-the-subject delusions of grandeur, persecution complex, and paranoid conspiracy theories that opened him up to criticism which is ALSO unrelated to the topic at hand but which remained entirely responsive to his particular claims at the moment.

Now, I've answered your questions, so here's one of mine: Why are you defending Centauri? He typically does just fine on his own. You're not here defending anybody else (except, as usual, the infamous Elsebeth), so what's up with that?


So now you're a psychiatrist qualified to diagnose an anonymous poster.

Centauri and I both have spoken up for others that were unfairly attacked by self aggrandizing posters such as yourself. (Didn't cite any facts but were intellectually dishonest in that you made a sweeping generalization to suit your purpose)

You cite Niemoller. You seem to me like a person who would cheer if the police came for someone who disagreed with you.

You can't cite any objective moral code other than don't hurt other people but you hurt people on here with false statements of fact if it suits your purposes and diagnose people you do not know from anonymous comments.

But Centauri has delusions of grandeur and you're not a moral relativist?

John Harville

have you ever been approached by a 'young powerful dominant Lesbian" (in the vernacular a "bull dyke")?