How does one state in no uncertain terms that an entire segment of the population suffers from a mental disorder and be welcoming, just, nondiscriminatory, tender, and inclusive to that same segment of the population, when all respected medical, scientific, sociological, and psychological evidence reflects that that entire segment of the population is not suffering from a mental disorder? Ask Pope Francis because that is his stance, and he is not just anyone - he is the head of the Holy See, the Roman Catholic Church's central government.
Pope Francis has consistently "stood by Catholic teaching which believes that homosexual acts ... are 'intrinsically disordered.'"
The American Psychiatric Association has stated that for someone to be "intrinsically disordered," the individual must suffer from a mental disorder. When it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity, the Association has stated as follows:
“[T]he latest and best scientific research shows that different sexual orientations and gender expressions occur naturally and have not been shown to pose harm to societies in which they are accepted as a normal variant of human sexuality.... There is no scientific evidence that either homosexuality or heterosexuality is a free-will choice.... It is important to recognize that there is no evidence that attempts to change people’s sexual orientation have ever been successful, even when the subject sincerely wants to change.... It is the position of APA that there is no rational basis, scientific or otherwise, upon which to punish or discriminate against LGBT people.”
Now, in all fairness to Pope Francis, he does not appear to believe that LGBTQ+ people are "intrinsically disordered;" rather, he is following the Church doctrine, which believes that engaging in homosexual acts is "intrinsically disordered." That is a very important distinction because a homosexual person who does not engage in homosexual acts is apparently not considered "intrinsically disordered."
The problem with that distinction is that "the latest and best scientific research" shows that homosexuality is a "normal variant of human sexuality." One could logically argue that it is "intrinsically disordered" for a heterosexual person to engage in homosexual acts and for a homosexual person to engage in heterosexual acts. Of course, this fails to take into account bisexual people, those people who are naturally sexually attracted to both males and females, to some degree or another. For bisexual people, it is not "intrinsically disordered" for them to engage in sexual acts with either males or females because that is consistent with the normal variant of their sexuality.
One of the issues with human sexuality is that whether or not people are open about it, each person knows their own particular "normal variant of human sexuality," and people self-label. What that means is that nobody else knows for certain another person's "normal variant of human sexuality." Instead, what other people know is what they speculate from observation and any information conveyed by any given person about their particular "normal variant of human sexuality."
For example, on April 10, 2015, Ian Stulberg LCSW gave a presentation to the members of the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association titled "Seeking Reflection: Gay & Lesbian Identity Formation and Clinical Issues." One of the points he made was that sexual orientation is subjective, depends one one's definition, and is a relatively new concept. He gave an example of a same-sex male couple that married, even though one of the spouses self-identified as straight and made sure that everyone knew he was straight. Under his subjective definition of sexual orientation, what determines someone's sexual orientation is not the gender of the person with whom you are having sex; rather, it is about who does what to whom sexually. Under his definition, he is straight and his male spouse is gay.
If someone's "normal variant of human sexuality" is that they are exclusively sexually attracted to members of their same gender, not engaging in sexual acts means that they live their entire lives celibate, even though they are not asexual, meaning a natural lack of sexual attraction, interest, or desire to engage in sexual activity with anyone.
Considering that the Catholic Church has its priests and bishops take vows of celibacy and the Church has consistently been in the news all over the world for sexual abuse at the hands of its clergy, this is a tough sell. This is not to associate the Catholic Church and the vows of celibacy its clergy take with pedophilia and child sexual abuse because the research reflects that other religions have the same issue to the same degree, which means that it is not caused by their vows of celibacy. Since it is abnormal for people whose "normal variant of human sexuality" is anything other than asexual to live their lives celibate, it is far from uncommon for Catholic Church clergy to break their vows of celibacy with other adults, assuming they are not exclusively pedophiles and child sexual predators.
Moreover, when Church clergy break those vows, it may or may not be consensual on the other party's part. "A growing chorus of nuns is speaking out about the suffering they have endured at the hands of the priesthood, including rape, forced abortion, emotional abuse and labor exploitation." Church clergy who break their vows of celibacy do not limit themselves to nuns or even to females. If the clergyman who breaks his vow of celibacy is homosexual and not a pedophile or child sexual predator, he will break it by engaging in homosexual acts with other adults. If the clergyman who breaks his vow of celibacy is bisexual and not a pedophile or child sexual predator, he will break it by engaging in either or both homosexual and heterosexual acts. For goodness sake, late last year, news broke that the late Rev. Louis R. Gigante, a Roman Catholic priest, left his multimillion dollar estate to his 32 year-old son.
Related hereto, it is important to note that while "polls indicate a significant minority of the population believes otherwise, gay people are not more likely to be predators than straight people." It is a myth that gay men and other LGBT people are more likely to be pedophiles or child sexual predators than are cisgender straight people. "According to the American Psychological Association, children are not more likely to be molested by LGBT parents or their LGBT friends or acquaintances." Only 7.1 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBT and only 1.5% of the U.S. population identifies as gay. What that means is that for every one LGBT person who is a child sexual predator, there are fourteen cisgender straight child sexual predators, and that is of all LGBT people, not just gay men.
In any event, if so many Church clergy who take vows of celibacy are unable to keep those vows because they go against their "normal variant of human sexuality," what makes anyone believe that LGBTQ+ people who do not take such vows can or even should live a celibate life? Furthermore, even if they were to take such vows, the Church itself has demonstrated time and time again that many members of its clergy break them.
Circling back to Pope Francis and the Church's belief that people who engage in homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” it is essential to understand that classifying LGBTQ people as being mentally ill has historically been a very effective means of justifying denying them rights. If LGBTQ+ people are "intrinsically disordered," their would be proof that their sexual orientation could be changed, and no such proof exists. The facts, research, and evidence do reflect that while it may be possible for people to repress and suppress their "normal variant of human sexuality," it is not possible to create sexual attraction that does not naturally exist in any given person. Therefore, causing a homosexual person who is exclusively sexually attracted to members of their own gender to hate their "normal variant of human sexuality" so much that they do everything possible to repress and suppress it does not cause them to become straight. Rather, it causes them to try and live an unnatural celibate life. There is nothing welcoming, just, nondiscriminatory, tender, inclusive, or loving about such a thing - quite the contrary.
Calling it a sin for someone to act in accordance with their "normal variant of human sexuality," which harms nobody seems incredibly sinful, especially considering all the harm it has caused to LGBTQ+ people, not even considering the impact it has had on their families, loved-ones, and friends.
Additionally, according to scripture, it is sinful to engage in sex with anyone outside of the context of marriage and with anyone other than your spouse. Denying gays and lesbians from marrying means that under scripture, any sex they have in accordance with their "normal variant of human sexuality" is sinful. Talk about a rigged system, even when the marriage is a civil and not a religious marriage.
In 2013, Pope Francis said, "Who am I to judge?" Exactly, Pope Francis, who are you to judge? Isn't such judging supposed to be left to God on each person's judgment day?