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Gay or Straight: can you really “Change”?
At age 20, Ashish didn’t want to deal with the fact that he might have a problem. Although he was getting married in a few hours, he had spent the previous night in bed making love to his best friend. Ashish pulled himself together and went through with the marriage ceremony.Gay or Straight For 25 years he slept only with women. He fathered two sons and eventually left his wife for another woman. When that affair ended, Ashish, now 48, finally told his family and friends that he was homosexual.“I desperately wanted not to be gay”, Ashish now freely admits, “so I had convinced myself that I wasn’t”. But when his last relationship with a female broke up, he realized that he had no desire to date other women. He also realized that he did not want to be alone for the rest of his life. “I realized”, he said, “That I had to sit myself down and deal with my sexuality”.

At the time, Ashish felt he had only two choices: he could admit that he was gay and live the rest of his life as a homosexual or he could kill himself. “I wanted to live, not die”, he said. “Given that choice, I had nothing to lose”.

Gay Gay The difference between orientation and behavior.
The transformation in Ashish’s life underscores the issue of whether sexual orientation is a choice or a predisposition–a topic that invokes passionate debate among health care professionals and religious adherents. Sexual orientation is defined as “An emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to individuals of a particular gender”. But, sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior. Sexual orientation is merely an innate attraction. This doesn’t mean that people will express their sexual orientation in their behaviors. In other words, it is possible to be attracted to the same sex without acting on it.

How people develop a particular sexual orientation is not well understood, according to the American Psychological Association. However, many scientists share the view that for most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age by a complex interaction of various factors.

Homosexuality–can it be treated ?
Is homosexuality a mental disorder?
Does it need to be treated? There is a sizable group of religious leaders, as well as a number of mental health professionals, who believe that reparative therapy, also known as conversion therapy, can change a person’s sexual preference from homosexual to heterosexual. And one group of about 500 mental health professionals, educators, and public officials–the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)–asserts that homosexuality can be treated by addressing “Unwanted” homosexual feelings. Many claim that the mental health profession has abandoned the treatment of men and women who are attracted to the same sex and are unhappy by that attraction. It’s his belief that when these people enter therapy, they are told to blame their unhappiness on society’s homophobia, not on their homosexuality.

A study says that extensive psychotherapy can help homosexuals realize why they have homosexual feelings, understand their relationships with their parents, and overcome what he believes is their fear of heterosexual contact. He also believes in encouraging an intimacy between men that has no sexual basis, such as joining a sports league or a men’s group, in order to develop relationships with straight men.

Behavior or Orientation– what needs changing ?
From a practical standpoint, it’s much easier to be straight rather than gay. And many homosexuals go through a period of wishing they were straight. Though these men and women might even try to change their behavior, they probably never really changed their sexual orientation. Although a gay person may abandon homosexual behavior, there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change sexual orientation. If homosexuals are happily married with a wife and kids and they don’t feel any conflict with their homosexuality, one may call it repression, it can also be termed as a healthy adaptation to a heterosexual world.

Honesty with one’s self
Mohit is a case in point. He had been raised in a “Fairly religious, conservative” family in India. A virgin when he married, he had never been excited about dating women. Although he was married for 14 years and had a child, he didn’t feel particularly close to his wife. Mohit s that coming out was a seven–year process that began after he attended a lecture given by a gay woman. Something just clicked, “He now but, not at first. In the beginning he was reluctant to admit, even to himself, that he might be gay. He was raised believing that being homosexual meant you were mentally ill”.

Unlike Ashish who knew, Mohit tried to repress the fact that he was attracted to men, he says that he was unaware of his homosexual orientation. He just knew something wasn’t right. What finally made Mohit recognize his sexual orientation? “I realized that I needed to acknowledge who I am”, he says, &ld I wasn’t comfortable with living that other life”. Today Mohit says that he’s at ease with himself, having found joy and normalcy in his life.

Comfortable at last
Ashish and Mohit are both finally comfortable with their homosexuality, and both believe that sexual preference is not something that can be changed. They both insist that the lives they lead are perfectly normal. I go to the movies, pay rent, and love my partner, just like heterosexual people do, Ashish insists. As for Mohit, it’s all summed up in one sentence, “I don’t have a lifestyle”, he says. “I have a life“.