HOME Raymond  

What's Normal?

I had the maid make up some cream cheese and olive sandwiches for our luncheon date on Friday. Raymond loves cream cheese and olive sandwiches. The reason for this visit was to answer Ray's last question, why I think homosexuality is not normal. He came forearmed.

"Do you know Doctor Hurd?" he began after our lunch.

"Who?" I asked brilliantly.

"Doctor Michael Hurd, the psychologist."

"Oh, yes," I said. "Perhaps the only psychologist whoever speaks sense, but still a psychologist. I'm sure you like him since he's an Objectivist."

"Oh yes. I love to read his columns. I don't understand what you have against psychologists. He's very good."

I wasn't interested in following that digression, so asked him why he mentioned Hurd.

"Well, because you were going to tell me why you believe homosexuality is abnormal. Can I read you something Doctor Hurd wrote about normality?"

"Sure," I said.

"This is from his article, "Are you SURE you want to be 'normal'?," he began.

"'The true, literal meaning of "normal" is nothing less than (and, regrettably, nothing more than) "average." Why does everyone want to be average? I can understand how being average is better than being below average. But if you happened to be below average, wouldn't you simply want to...become better?'" he read.

"Then Doctor Hurd agrees with me that homosexuality is not normal. If normal only means average, since homosexuality is certainly not average—less than two percent of the population is homosexual—it cannot be normal."

Raymond was frustrated by this obvious argument. He realized that was not the point at all, but did not quite know how to get around his own use of Doctor Hurd's argument.

"Alright, forget Doctor Hurd," he finally blurted out.

"Gladly," I said.

"You know that is not what is meant by homosexuality being normal," he said somewhat indignantly.

I thought, but did not say, 'yes I know it, but apparently you and Doctor Hurd do not.' What I said was, "yes, because normal, in the context of biology, psychology, and human behavior does not mean average, it means, 'unbroken, correctly formed, without disease, and in proper order.'

"Abnormal in this context means broken, diseased, disordered or malformed. Normal means, 'true to nature,' which is not to be confused with 'natural.' Everything that exists, especially living things, have a particular nature that determines what is normal for every kind of creature. Within the scope of what is normal, there can be great variation, but the limits of that variation are determined by an organism's own nature. For example, it is normal for mammals to have two eyes. There is great variation in the size of the eyes, the color of the eyes, even the position of the eyes, but so long as there are two eyes, whatever the variations, it is normal. One eye, no eyes, or more than two eyes are abnormal.

"Abnormal behavior in most animals leads to death. This is often true in human beings as well, but not always. Eating is the normal means of nourishment in human beings, and the variety of foods human beings may eat is very broad, and sometimes very strange, but perfectly normal. That does not mean eating just anything is normal. Eating things like string, bits of metal, ashes and hair is abnormal. It is called pica.

"When I say homosexual behavior is abnormal, I do not mean it is not average, but that is contrary to the nature of human beings—it is contrary to the nature of mammals, which human beings also happen to be.

"It is an organisms method of reproduction that determines the kind of reproductive organs it has, and how those organs function normally, and that normal function is not at all complicated. For every organism that reproduces sexually, the normal function of the genitals is one female with one male, and the structure of those organs is perfectly adapted to that function.

"All animals, except human beings, do not need to discover what the use of their genitals are, or how to use them, or when. Instinct provides them with the automatic sexual behavior appropriate to their nature. Human beings have no such instinct and must discover the appropriate use of their genitals and then must choose to use them that way. The discovery is not difficult, and most humans learn at least the basics of sexual functions from others. Like everything else, of course, one can be taught what is not true, or even be mistaken in their own discovery process, but in the case of sex, the abnormal use of the genitals is pretty obvious. The structures are obviously wrong, as are the functions involved for any relationship but male to female. There is no rational reason for choosing homosexual behavior, because it is obviously abnormal, just as eating string is abnormal, or wanting to cut off a limb or otherwise mutilate one's own body is abnormal, though all these abnormal desires are well known.

"Once the normal sexual relationship is worked out, there is the almost infinitely complex nature of the relationships between men and women to be learned, the most important of which is romantic love. Romantic love is only possible between a man and a woman because only a man and woman compliment each other in every way, including sex. Of course, for those who have not even worked out their sexual nature yet, love is out of the question."

I'm not sure Ray really understood what I was explaining to him. His knowledge of homosexuality was second-hand, and I think, like most people, he tended to evade the details. Still he had questions.

"I know you are not saying the only purpose of sex is procreation, Regi, but it seems almost like that, doesn't it?"

"Not to me, Ray. I'm only pointing out the reason we have the genitals we have is because of our nature and how that nature determines how we reproduce. If we produced some other way, we'd have different organs. You cannot separate how humans reproduce from the nature of the reproductive organs. Obviously we have them so we can reproduce, and that is obviously their function, and that function is only possible between a man and a woman."

"That's true," Ray agreed. "Why then do so many people have homosexual desires. Why are they homosexuals?"

"Well, first of all, there are not as many as you have been led to believe. The main reason people practice any abnormal behavior is because they have a desire to. You know, Ray, beyond hunger and some other very basic biological urges, all our desires have to be learned and developed. The short answer to your question is that many people make mistakes when developing their desires, and never make an effort to correct them while they are still correctable. This is true not only of homosexual behavior, but all other kinds of abnormal behavior human beings engage in from pica to pedophilia.

Ray was suddenly in a hurry. "Thanks for the explanation, Regi. Not sure I understand it all yet, especially the last part about desires. I want to ask you more about that sometime. I'm late for an appointment. Have to get going." And he was out the door.

I shrugged and said to myself, "your welcome for the lunch." And he was gone.