Why Gay ‘Marriage’ Has Not Cured Gay Loneliness

By Michael Brown Published on March 5, 2017

In 2014, a gay activist in England addressed the disproportionately high rate of drug abuse in LGB circles, asking, “Why is drug use higher in the gay community?” His answer: There are negative aspects to the LGB lifestyle that contribute to it. Now, in 2017, a gay writer has addressed “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness,” asking why gay “marriage” has not cured gay loneliness (among other problems in the gay community), especially among gay men. His answer: “minority stress.”

Strikingly, the 2014 article in the UK’s Pink News did not mention “homophobia” once, while the 2017 article in the Huffington Post, amounting to nearly 7,000 words (and worth reading in full), mentioned it only twice. In other words, neither writer blamed these gay-related behavioral problems or social issues on “homophobia.” Rather, the fault lay with certain realities within the LGB community itself — to which my biblically-grounded, conservative friends would say, “But of course!”

Michael Hobbes and the “Epidemic of Gay Loneliness”

Michael Hobbes, the author of the article on “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness,” writes with complete candor, noting that, “I’m not going to pretend to be objective about any of this. I’m a perpetually single gay guy who was raised in a bright blue city by PFLAG parents. I’ve never known anyone who died of AIDS, I’ve never experienced direct discrimination and I came out of the closet into a world where marriage, a picket fence and a golden retriever were not just feasible, but expected. I’ve also been in and out of therapy more times than I’ve downloaded and deleted Grindr.”

But his experience, he claims, is hardly unique, noting that, “For years I’ve noticed the divergence between my straight friends and my gay friends. While one half of my social circle has disappeared into relationships, kids and suburbs, the other has struggled through isolation and anxiety, hard drugs and risky sex.” And this has continued, Hobbes observed, even though “the gay community has made more progress on legal and social acceptance than any other demographic group in history.”

Could it be that, generally speaking, there’s something intrinsically unfulfilling about homosexual relationships? Could it be that, by divine intent, ultimate relational fulfillment for human beings can be found only in heterosexual marriage?

Yet, he laments, “even as we celebrate the scale and speed of this change, the rates of depression, loneliness and substance abuse in the gay community remain stuck in the same place they’ve been for decades. Gay people are now, depending on the study, between 2 and 10 times more likely than straight people to take their own lives. We’re twice as likely to have a major depressive episode. And just like the last epidemic we lived through, the trauma appears to be concentrated among men. In a survey of gay men who recently arrived in New York City, three-quarters suffered from anxiety or depression, abused drugs or alcohol or were having risky sex — or some combination of the three.”

Can this be blamed primarily on “homophobia”? Hardly.

Hobbes cites Christopher Stults, “a researcher at New York University who studies the differences in mental health between gay and straight men.” Stults stated that, “Marriage equality and the changes in legal status were an improvement for some gay men. But for a lot of other people, it was a letdown. Like, we have this legal status, and yet there’s still something unfulfilled.”

Relationships Intrinsically Unfulfilling

Could it be that, generally speaking, there’s something intrinsically unfulfilling about homosexual relationships? Could it be that, by divine intent, ultimate relational fulfillment for human beings can be found only in heterosexual marriage?

I’m sure many gay readers will say to me, “Obviously, you don’t know me or the relationship I have with my spouse. How dare you make such a generalization!”

But I’m merely asking questions based on: 1) the data being presented here; 2) biblical reasoning; and 3) testimonies from ex-gays, who have spoken to me about the qualitative differences between their old, homosexual relationships and their current heterosexual marriage.

God didn’t design men to be with men or women with women — and that holds true biologically as well as socially and emotionally.

Interestingly enough (and sadly enough), Hobbes explains that, “This feeling of emptiness, it turns out, is not just an American phenomenon. In the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal since 2001, gay men remain three times more likely to suffer from a mood disorder than straight men, and 10 times more likely to engage in ‘suicidal self-harm.’ In Sweden, which has had civil unions since 1995 and full marriage since 2009, men married to men have triple the suicide rate of men married to women.”

Of course, Christian conservatives (and others of like moral values) have pointed to such studies for years, arguing that it is homosexuality itself which is problematic, simply because God didn’t design men to be with men or women with women — and that holds true biologically as well as socially and emotionally. Why should this surprise us?

This is not to deny, however, that there are well-adjusted gay couples and poorly-adjusted straight couples, nor is it to deny that there are gay couples who are deeply in love and straight couples who commit serial adultery, nor is it to deny that many LGB’s have suffered painful rejection by family and friends, contributing to their depression and substance abuse. And certainly, I do not write any of this in a gloating way, since as a follower of Jesus, my goal is not to say, “You see! I told you so,” but rather, “There really is a better way!”

Looking back to the mid-20th-century, Hobbes notes that initially, researchers in the ’50’s and ’60’s attributed the mental and emotional problems experienced by a large percentage of gay men to “homosexuality itself, just one of many manifestations of what was, at the time, known as ‘sexual inversion.’” But, he continues, “As the gay rights movement gained steam … homosexuality disappeared from the DSM and the explanation shifted to trauma.”

In short, gay suicides and gay depression and other emotional (and physical and social) problems were believed to be the fault of a homophobic society. But as Canadian researcher Travis Salway reviewed the data, he realized that, “The problem wasn’t just suicide, it wasn’t just afflicting teenagers and it wasn’t just happening in areas stained by homophobia. He found that gay men everywhere, at every age, have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, incontinence, erectile dysfunction,⁠ allergies and asthma—you name it, we got it. In Canada, Salway eventually discovered, more gay men were dying from suicide than from AIDS, and had been for years.”

Indeed, says Alex Keuroghlian, a psychiatrist at the Fenway Institute’s Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, “We see gay men who have never been sexually or physically assaulted with similar post-traumatic stress symptoms to people who have been in combat situations or who have been raped.”

“Minority Stress” and the Better Way

These researchers describe this phenomenon as “minority stress.” As Hobbes explains, “In its most direct form, it’s pretty simple: Being a member of a marginalized group requires extra effort.”

Hobbes points to clinical trials where gay men who are taught how to deal with “minority stress” are showing improvement in many categories, yet I’m not going out on a limb when I say: Don’t expect to see dramatic, large-scale, positive change in LGB circles in the days to come (I’m speaking in terms of relationship satisfaction, substance abuse, and physical and emotional problems.)

Gay sex will always have more health risks than straight sex (speaking in general terms, since there is obviously overlap in some of the practices and habits), gay couples will never have as many children as straight couples (which has many other social implications), and two men or two women cannot possibly experience the fullness found in a healthy male-female relationship. It simply the way God made us, and it makes perfect sense.

And why is it that there are other sub-groups in our society that would seemingly experience high levels of minority stress due to their numbers, their isolation, and their social status, and yet experience few of the emotional or physical traumas experienced in the LGB community?

Hobbes closes his article with these words: “I keep thinking of something Paul, the software developer, told me: ‘For gay people, we’ve always told ourselves that when the AIDS epidemic was over we’d be fine. Then it was, when we can get married we’ll be fine. Now it’s, when the bullying stops we’ll be fine. We keep waiting for the moment when we feel like we’re not different from other people. But the fact is, we are different. It’s about time we accept that and work with it.’”

With compassion for Paul and for Hobbes and for every LGB person reading this article, I say again: God does have a better way, and your ultimate help will not come from the society around you (or even from within yourself) but rather from above (from the heavenly Father) and then, with the Lord’s help, in your own life, from the inside out.

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  • Autrey Windle

    There is a distinct difference between ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’. ‘Alone’ can be a joyful state if a person has the company of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. ‘Lonely’ is a dark absence where all the monsters live under the bed or in the closet and there is no one who can make them go away. There is no comfort or protection in the ‘lonely’ life. There is a worldly asset to doing things as God intended for His children to live; it involves opposite sex marriage and children. To be ‘gay’ is to put man and separation from God on some kind of equal footing with God’s design of the family. If all were gay, there could be no children and soon mankind would cease to exist. For ‘gay’ people to be ‘gay’ is to exalt themselves above anyone who isn’t ‘gay’; then they demand we pay homage to their ‘specialness’ as being somehow worthy of praise and acceptance. Your article is a very cogent presentation of the results of their plight , but unfortunately I suspect they will not see themselves in any new light as a result. ‘Minority Stress’ is just another buzzterm to avoid the truth as laid out clearly by God and to distract the afflicted masses from actual rescue from the enemy. I sincerely hope that truth; of how stinky the alphabet soup is as it burns dry on the forgotten burner left on; will be acknowledged by all before judgement renders it too late to say the truth.

  • Gary

    The perverts are lonely? That’s so sad! (sarcasm) I could not care less.

  • blackfeather

    …and may I get my crying towel now?

  • anne55

    I know many straights that are also lonely.

    And, the non-acceptance of gays by many people could certainly make one lonely. Correlation does not equal causation.

  • anne55

    Dr. Brown,

    I feel most people on your site are like-minded. You need people with differing views here (hence, why I write). Many of your posters have written back to me and have joined in a discussion. You, however, have not. I would like to see that.

  • Mike Painter

    The whole premise that it is being gay in and of itself that causes loneliness and emotional problems is false. Otherwise, there would be no well-adjusted gay people at all. Let us not forget that marriage was always open for heterosexuals, and yet even with heterosexual relationships being not only accepted, but celebrated, straight people still have relational problems, still abuse drugs, still have risky sex. Why is that? Could it be that these problems have nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation and everything to do with their self-esteem being shattered by people telling them they are worthless? If you tell a kid he’ll never amount to anything, he’ll internalize that and act out and end up depressed and lonely. Same thing here. Brown doesn’t want people in gay relationships not because he cares about gay people, but because it makes him upset to see men hold hands and kiss…and for no real, rational reason. Brown may talk of meeting “ex-gays,” but if these people were not satisfied in same-sex relationships, they were never gay to begin with. And if he says some gay couples are “deeply in love,” why does he oppose them? Dismissing love is not something someone who knows God would do. It’s shallow and materialistic to think that good relationships are built on nothing but men and and women having sex. There’s nothing “Godly” about such a cold and superficial view.

    • Triple T

      I don’t think most people think gay people are worthless. I would venture a guess that most conservatives can be respectful of them as human beings like any other, without acceptance for anything and everything that
      they do or think.

      To use myself as an example: I have a gay co-worker. She has become a good friend of mine in the building. But had she invited me to her “wedding”,I would not have attended.

      • Mike Painter

        Ask yourself this: If it were a wedding for a straight co-worker who had been married multiple times, who you somehow were aware had a penchant for having “non-traditional” sex, who doesn’t intend to have kids, and who has a reputation for never holding onto a partner for long, would you put quotation marks around their wedding? Would you not attend their wedding? It is not all so black and white as “straight is good, gay is bad.” It isn’t impossible for a same-sex relationship to have just as much merit as any heterosexual relationship. I don’t see how you can be friends with someone and dismiss their relationship solely on the grounds that it is same-sex. Do you have a relationship? Do you think it is valid, fulfilling, and good? How would you feel if someone callously dismissed it? How would you feel if someone you thought was your friend didn’t come to your wedding for so superficial a reason as they didn’t like the gender of your partner? Wouldn’t that make you feel worthless? You may be quick to pat yourself on the back for not overtly hating your gay co-worker, but you really aren’t being kind or understanding at all.

        • Triple T

          Ok, now let’s ask you some questions. Do you blindly approve of every single thing every one of your friends does? Would you stop being friends with somebody if there were one thing about them that you didn’t like? If the answer to those questions is “no”, and I suspect that it is, I don’t see where you get off criticizing me as not being kind or understanding because of this.

          • Mike Painter

            I don’t blindly approve of every single thing every one of my friends does. But I don’t blindly disapprove of the things they do either. I also would not stop being friends with somebody if there was one thing about them I didn’t like, but I would have sensible reasons for not liking that one thing. If my friend drinks, that’s fine. Maybe I don’t drink because I think alcohol is bad for you. Just because I don’t like alcohol doesn’t mean I don’t like my friend. But someone’s relationship is not similar to alcohol. And someone’s love for their partner is not similar to drinking. If someone is in an abusive relationship, gay or straight, I’d express concern. But if someone is in a happy relationship, who am I to disparage that relationship and skip their wedding if they invite me? Even if I don’t like the person they’re marrying for arbitrary reasons, I’d still go, because that’s what a friend does. I think of them, I don’t think of me. I’d suggest you try to put yourself in her shoes and consider her feelings rather than refusing to budge on your black-and-white, “gay is bad, straight is good” way of thinking.

          • Mike Painter

            Don’t know if my first reply was removed for whatever reason. But I’ll say it again succinctly: Yes, don’t blindly approve of everything your friends do, but don’t blindly disapprove either. How will you ever know a same-sex relationship is as awful and as invalid as you assume it to be unless you witness it yourself? If you don’t go to her wedding, you won’t learn anything about her that your current preconceptions are preventing you from seeing. And you may very well hurt her.

          • Megan Gibson

            Let me ask you this. Why do you believe a marriage and/or relationship is invalid because they are the same gender? If I were your gay coworker, I wouldn’t even remotely like you let alone want to be friends with you. In fact, if I were any coworker I wouldn’t want to be. Shouldn’t you be glad for her because she is with someone that she loves? And support her no matter if you agree with the lgbt community or not? You said “She has become a good friend of mine” and a good friend should always support their friend, no matter who she loves, because you’re her friend, and she has to feel supported by you if you are such “good friends”.

          • Triple T

            But you’re not my co-worker, and as such, I couldn’t care less if you like me or not. Aren’t you being just as judge-y as you’re accusing me of being based on this one thing about me you don’t like? The only thing about me that you know, for that matter? What a hypocrite you are.

  • Gary

    Someone removed my post from this morning. ` I assume the comment was deleted because it was unfriendly to homosexuals. Brown lives in a fantasy that homosexuals can be “won to Jesus” if Christians will only be nice to them. It is a fantasy that God does not participate in. And neither do I.

    • eddiestardust

      But it DOES occur.

      • Gary

        I disagree.

    • Jim Walker

      We are ALL sinners. They have homosexuality, we got our own sins too.
      No one is perfect.
      Jesus says it clearly, the healthy don’t need to see a doctor, the sick do. Was he mingling with nice people ? He was with the “scum” of the earth mind you.
      If you want to be more like Jesus, cutting these people off you list won’t do…

      • Gary

        Jim, I do not care how much like Jesus YOU think I am. If you want to hang around with queers, go right ahead. But I don’t want to.

        • Jim Walker

          I’m not asking you to be with them, I’m asking you to stop your hatred from within you, its choking you of the blessings that God has for you. We are to embrace every good thing the bible teaches, especially with Gal 5:22~23 : love joy peace patience kindness goodness self control , apply it to everything you do, with everyone you meet, in every way you can.

          • Gary

            I am very well blessed of God. Mind your own business.

          • BroFrank

            Yes, bless you Gary, for your commitment to Christ. –And bless you, Dr Brown for keeping these
            matters front-and-center in a society increasingly decadent, and drowning in “doctrines of demons.” We are obviously on the short end of the stick, approaching judgment. However, I must thank brethren like Dr. Brown for calling my attention to the fact that homosexuals are PEOPLE. Christ died for them, as well, and to deny that is to say that sin is more powerful than our Lord, and God. He has purchased us . . . with His BLOOD (Acts 20:28)!

            As the apostle Paul notes about those “Corinthians” (a virtual cuss word, in Paul’s day, Corinth was a sort of a Las Vegas of the Roman world) –the unrighteous will not make it into Heaven, neither “fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, or thieves, nor covetous, . . .” and then Paul notes of some within that church body: “and such WERE some of you.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Whether homosexuals, bullies, or an ex-spouse, it sometimes becomes difficult to forgive, or to accept, another person. However, Christ says that as God as forgiven us, we MUST forgive and LOVE our enemies and those offensive to us. (Matt. 6:14,15, 5:43-48). There is no other way for sinners saved by grace.

      • Triple T

        Love the sinner, hate the sin

        • Thisoldspouse

          It is nowhere said in scripture. The sinner SINS.

    • DCM7

      Homosexuals can be (and often have been) won to Jesus, whether you believe it or not; that’s clear from scripture. Of course, we all know it’s not just a matter of “if Christians will only be nice to them”; that’s a straw-man.

  • Otho Cooley

    Very plainly the scriptures declare in I Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers now swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed , you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This passage of scripture reveals several truths.

    First, sin will separate people from God for eternity. This deals with a litany of the description of various offenses before the Lord. The people who practice sin will not inherit God’s kingdom.

    Second, the Apostle Paul declared that many of these people in the Corinthian church had a lifestyle of ungodliness. However, there had been a glorious transformation. This includes the former homosexual lifestyle. God’s grace was greater than all the lists with its rebellion and emptiness. These were now testimonies of the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

    Third, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) The Lord awaits the opportunity to help the repentant person whether it’s idolatry, stealing, homosexuality or any other vice that is ensnaring the soul. Praise God that the blood has never lost it’s power. Those who are bound can be set free as others have also experienced. Those who know people languishing in sin must point to Christ alone who will provide abundant life for all those who call upon Him. “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

  • RoundRocker

    So Mr Brown thinks one article by one sad, lonely gay man is a reliable report of how all LGB people feel? By that metric, we could point to one article by one sad, lonely straight person and say “See- straight people are all sad and lonely”. His precise is absurd. Now a news flash- “Minority stress” is a more PC way of saying “homophobia”. Just because LGB people now have marriage equality doesn’t mean discrimination against them doesn’t still exist. It doesn’t mean LGBT young people aren’t being kicked out of their homes by parents who don’t accept them, or LGBT people aren’t turning to alcohol and drugs to salve the pain of rejection and discrimination. If that sort of discrimination were to vanish and LGBT people were wholeheartedly accepted as the valuable, wonderful, unique individuals they are and the problems persisted, I might give credence to Mr Brown’s premise. Until then, Brown is still full of hot air.

  • llew jones

    From a biblical perspective there is little doubt that homosexual acts are a perversion of God’s creation ordinance.

    That some in the homosexual community want their unions to be made equal to heterosexual marriage is a powerful
    indicator of that perversion.

    But that doesn’t let us who are Christians and heterosexual off the hook. Adultery in terms of unmarried professing Christians living together as well as divorced and remarried couples living together in a sexual relationship is
    certainly on the increase in our Evangelical churches. That is also a cause for concern and repentance.

    For those of us Christian men who are married and to all outward appearances are faithful to our wife how do we measure up in terms of this word from the Lord? Jesus said that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. Have I signed over my rights to God’s sovereign right over my heart and mind?

    There is little doubt that unrepentant homosexuals will come under God’s righteous judgment and suffer from his wrath but let us as believers not come into condemnation because we harbour in our heart that which God calls adultery.

    That may mean not looking at some magazines and TV programs etc or not succumbing to that second look. God the Holy Spirit is the great enabler and does give us strength to obey the Lord and thus to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Saviour.

  • llew jones

    Probably more relevant to the topic of Gay Marriage and Loneliness, I remember some years ago reading on an Aussie website that homosexual males have many partners. If I remember the period of time correctly the highest number for one homosexual man was over 1,000 partners in a year. The following is from the comments page on a body building site. So it probably does not have an anti homosexual bias. What it does indicate is that some if not all homosexuals “cure” their loneliness (one can only assume) with many partners. Perhaps as Autrey mentions a husband plus wife plus children is one secret for curing loneliness. Gives a bit more to think about as hetero means different (more interesting). Homo means the same (more boring):

    Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime:

    The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year.

    Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners.

    In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul

    Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.” In
    addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.

    A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than one hundred sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than one thousand sexual partners.

  • DCM7

    Heterosexual relationships are not the answer; a relationship with the Creator is. That may or may not lead to a heterosexual relationship, but it will lead one to stop expecting sexuality — including the “gay” kind — to meet needs that it never could meet.

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