Celebrants exalt in gay pride
at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco City Hall, on Gay Freedom Day (aka
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride) in 2002.
Opponent Undaunted while
'Homosexuals' Celebrate Pride & Freedom
by Hank Donat
Hank Donat: How do you feel about gay pride month, and
gays coming together all over the country saying, "We're gay, we're out,
and we're proud?"
Lou Sheldon: Well, I certainly
can appreciate the fact that people would like to celebrate their lifestyle
and what they consider their behavior, but I would say that basically
the deep-rooted problem is that there is an unhappiness underneath. Homosexuality
often times arises out of a traumatized condition. We know that from studies,
80 percent of lesbians are lesbian because they were molested, a tragic
and unfortunate experience in a young girl's life, especially if it's
a loved one or a grandfather or even a father in some cases. So my response
to the gay pride month is that the reality of it is that there is really
not a lot there to be happy about when you mirror it against the true
feelings of homosexuals.
HD: So gay pride is a defense mechanism to hide pain?
LS: Yes. I think that what we have is the fact that homosexuality
isn't so much something to be celebrated, it's something to come out of
and develop into heterosexuality. Our society doesn't lend itself to help
people do that. You know, if it feels good, do it.
HD: Then you still believe that homosexuality can be
LS: Yes. With reparative therapy. There are many, many
homosexuals who have come out of homosexuality, as Masters and Johnson
said in one of their most popular books. The word they've used clinically
is "reconverted." For our purposes we divide the homosexual community
into three groups: the very militant politicized homosexuals, that is
a very large portion, and then you have another larger portion which is
the ones who are still suffering and hurting with their gender identity
conflict, these are the ones being forced, so to speak, in the outing
process. The third group is the recovered homosexuals or the ones who
are in the recovery process. Well, the third group has been viciously
persecuted and has been put down and really come against by the first
group, the militant ACT-UP group. This is basically how we view what has
happened as far as the minority status is concerned.
HD: And yet you've said that gays aren't entitled to
a minority status such as blacks.
LS: Yes. There's a phrase that I use that the freedom
train to Selma did not stop at Sodom, the freedom train to Selma has been
hijacked. The Supreme Court clearly said in the Bowers vs. Hardwick case
that homosexuality as a lifestyle is not constitutionally protected, and
then the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco reaffirmed
that same decision, saying that homosexuality is a behavior, not an insular
and discrete minority. So blacks are truly an insular and discrete minority,
as Asians are and Hispanics and the handicapped. But those who have a
behavior or desire are not to be true minorities.
HD: And the cure?
LS: It's not easy to bring about. Those that desire to
come out need constant reinforcement. What was it that caused you to go
into it? Was it a dysfunctional family factor? Was it some kind of hurt?
Was it a molestation if you're a lesbian or even as a young gay you may
have been molested by an older person...so it varies. The reparative therapy
process goes on probably with, I would say, fifteen or twenty of the recovered
homosexual groups in America, Exodus International, Love In Action, Beyond
Rejection, Homosexuals Anonymous, those are some of the different groups
that we have networked with.
HD: And for those gay people who would say no thank you
to a cure?
LS: Then that's their choice and their right. I mean
if they don't want to, believe me, I would have no desire or interest
or recommendation to anyone to go into a gay bar or a gay parade and think
there at that particular event you would want to proselyte. It would be
the wrong thing to do.
HD: Gays say you preach hate and bigotry, you say what?
LS: Well, no, I don't preach hate or bigotry. I just
oppose the lifestyle as a viable life alternative and especially in terms
of education, you see. Homophobic is a buzzword to confuse the issue.
I don't use the word heterophobic. Because we oppose a lifestyle, this
would be viewed in the same way that smokers do not take off against non-smokers.
We now have that law banning smoking on flights, and it's simply the law.
You don't have the smokers rising up against the non-smoker. But that
is the same kind of a lifestyle, ah, it's a behavior. It's simply name
HD: Being gay is a behavior like smoking, not a birthright?
LS: That's right. The jury is still out, but studies
point to environment as much as they do to anything else. There is no
biological conclusive evidence or hormonal or genetic that points to a
person being born that way.
HD: Is your goal to eradicate homosexuality?
LS: Well no, no. The issue that we have with homosexuality
is of a public policy nature which impacts on schools, which impacts on
marriage, which affects our civil code, which impacts on the special gay
rights ordinances up and down the state and across the nation. As far
as trying to eradicate, no, I don't think that is so much the issue as
the role it is trying to play in public policy.
HD: So gays can do whatever they want but keep it out
of public policy?
LS: Well, yeah. As individuals they can do exactly what
they want. It's seeking to move it into a protected classification.
HD: And you say?
LS: And I say that's where the line is drawn and we have
to speak out and do something.
HD: Do you think your teachings are inciting anti-gay
LS: No, I think the same example would be like Sam Donaldson.
Can you say that because he was very, very critical of President Reagan,
that was the reason for the attempted assassination in the early days
of this administration? Do we blame Sam Donaldson or Dan Rather from that
People will not tolerate what the skinheads did [when they beat gays]
in Laguna Beach, and I don't think they should. I support every bit, what
the law enforcement agents did and what the judge did in sentencing them.
No one should be under physical attack.
HD: What do you see as the future of the gay movement?
LS: I believe it will come to a pinnacle in the mid-nineties,
in the next three to five years, when the statewide gay rights statute
is put up to a referendum vote. And I believe that will then heighten
the homosexual activity. Most people think that homosexuality is something
that is still a private matter, but they don't realize there is a strong
agenda for public education with the whole Project 10 philosophy, and
the gay and lesbian educators organization. People don't realize that
this is not just in the privacy of a person's bedroom. This has moved
now into City Hall and into the rank and file of our politicians and public
policy. When that referendum passes that could be the high tide water
point for homosexuality in California, and for the nation.
HD: So you see the movement succeeding?
LS: Up to that point. When the referendum passes, that
will put it up to a statewide vote - that is when I think it will fail.
The heterosexual ethic has never lost when put to a popular vote. So I
think (the gay rights movement) will continue to grow in the next few
years, yes, but then I think you'll see it recede. Because people do not
like to deal with homosexuality. It is not normal table talk, any more
than any aberrant behavior is.