Ron Schlittler reacts to my article about Sheryl Swoopes

Ron Schlittler of PFLAG reacts to an email query about my article on Sheryl Swoopes. I was cc:ed in this exchange. I have removed email addresses.

—–Original Message—–
From: Andy Derksen
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 3:16 AM
To: Ron Schlittler
Cc:
Subject: RE: “Becoming out”
Dear Mr. Schlittler,

Hello. Please tell me how you compare the remarks of basketball player Sheryl Swoopes and Focus on the Family’s Bill Maier, re. the origins of individual homosexuality. I note from the article copied below that you disparaged Maier’s comments, but have apparently said nothing about Swoopes. How do you explain that?

Thanks and regards,

Andy Derksen

(This is Mr. Schlittler’s reply)

Hello Mr. Derksen,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

I have always maintained that women appear to have a bit more fluidity concerning their sexual orientation than men, as an honest interpretation of the research suggests. That, however, is not the same thing as “conversion” through the “therapy” advocated by religious ideologues.

Men, almost without exception the research also finds, experience their sexuality as hard-wired one way or the other.

So, it is disingenuous and self-serving of Warren Throckmorton to suggest that the Swoopes story is evidence that sexual orientation can flip like a switch.

I also have always maintained that some people are gay, some are lesbian, a few are bisexual and most are heterosexual. These are natural, healthy, normal variations of the human experience – also evidenced widely in the animal kingdom. And though individuals may
shift how they self-identify and express sexuality over time, as the evidence also indicates, basic innate sexual and affectional attractions do not change.

Though Throckmorton seems to insinuate I’ve been caught in an inconsistency by not commenting on Sheryl Swoopes, the fact of the matter is that I’ve simply not been asked – by him or anyone else until your note arrived.

Regards,
Ron Schlittler
Deputy Executive Director
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
1726 M Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
202-467-8180 ext. 226
www.pflag.org
“You Have a Home in PFLAG”
Join PFLAG today and help us make the world a better place!
Make a Contribution to PFLAG!http://www.pflag.org/donations.htm

After Mr. Schlittler’s response, Mr. Derksen answered some of the points as follows:

Schlittler: So, it is disingenuous and self-serving of Warren Throckmorton to suggest that the Swoopes story is evidence that sexual orientation can flip like a switch.

Derksen: Why should you assume Mr. Throckmorton is “self-serving” because he stands up for his convictions? Couldn’t I just as easily assume your email to me is self-serving? Why is pitching an argument self-serving on the other side but truth- and freedom-serving on *your* side? Are you suggesting the world’s selfless people are lined up on your side, while the other side as all the self-serving people?

Schlittler: These are natural, healthy, normal variations of the human experience
– also evidenced widely in the animal kingdom. >

Derksen: There are some animals that eat their young as well. Would you be okay with me killing and eating my baby (if I had one)? Why should we presume to take our moral cues from the animal kingdom?

Schlittler: And though individuals may shift how they self-identify and express sexuality over time, as the evidence also indicates, basic innate sexual and affectional attractions do not change.

Derksen: Isn’t it self-contradictory that you base part of your stance on what men “experience,” while at the same time refusing to consider the experiences of those who are now ex-gay? Isn’t that self-serving?

For the record, I do not know Mr. Derksen. I may have met him at a conference but I cannot place which one.

If anyone cares to take up the dialogue, feel free. I thought it was an interesting exchange.