Is identifying as homosexual a sin?

Figured I’d post this separately because while another poster has asked “if identifying as transgender is a sin”, I don’t think the principles involved in transgenderism are quite the same. I’ve noticed many Catholics accept the idea of trans-genderism, including “trans” individuals who are sexually active with those who are anatomically the same gender, but still think that a “cis” homosexual individual who engages in same sex sexual acts with other “cis” homosexuals are sinning.

Anyway, to the main topic. I have in the past noticed that many CAF posters assume that anyone who states they are “homosexual” (or “gay”, “lesbian”, “Queer”), etc., that means they MUST be sexually active and/or is a supporter of the “Gay Agenda”. Even when posters have stated that they are chaste, it seems many people here seem to think that “if someone REALLY believed the Catholic teachings about this issue they wouldn’t even identify themselves as homosexual”.

So, is it actually a sin to identify as homosexual? Or as bisexual? I get a feeling some people think a “bisexual” should instead identify as a heterosexual who bears the cross of “Same Sex Attraction”?

I am not BTW talking about people whose identity as “homosexual” seems to dominate their self identity to the exclusion of other aspects such as religion, race, ethnicity, culture, etc. We could argue that is unhealthy. But it seems many Catholics (at least on CAF) frown on anyone who identifies as “homosexual” at all.

I think your right on the whole about the attitude from some (by no means all) on CAF. Although to be fair, I am not reticent about my own homosexuality and I’ve not experienced this kind of attitude personally…but I have observed it…maybe it is more directed at men rather than women though so maybe that’s why…

Anyway, it’s certainly not a sin to be homosexual at all (or to identify as one gender when this doesn’t match your biological sex). You could identify as a Martian for all it would matter…it’s about what you do with that identification.

Needless to say homosexual “activity” (ie. sex) constitutes sin which is something you arrive at through a number of different avenues.

There is a very active (and increasingly vitriolic) thread stemming from the Caitlyn Jenner episode partly about where the line is drawn in sin in cases like hers - to drastically mutilate the body for cosmetic reasons is probably clearly sinful but this is in response to a mental medical condition so it’s more complex… (Jenner isn’t Catholic so the personal stuff directed at her is particularly unreasonable IMO)

I can’t speak for everyone in my position, but I identify as a Catholic first, woman second…probably my nationality third (British) and only then getting to my homosexuality. Now there would be nothing wrong with considering oneself a lesbian catholic as opposed to a catholic lesbian, but leaning too heavily on any of these identifiers if not sinful is probably, as you say, unhealthy.

This is a very simplistic answer, but no; identifying as homosexual is not a sin. Acting on it; however, is. But that’s no different than me identifying as heterosexual. When I acted on my sexual urges (I’ve never been married), that’s what made it a sin.

“Identifying” means to inform others of a status.

This may be necessary at a homosexual social function but I find it odd in any other circumstance.

It would be odd if I introduced myself…“HI. I’m Zoltan Cobalt. I’m a heterosexual man. I am attracted to women. In fact I am married to one and we have sexual relations.”

I have met only two homosexual men. One is a firefighter the other is an interior decorator. Neither told me they were homosexual. (Oh, sure, it was fairly obvious by dress and mannerisms of the interior decorator.) Both “identified” to me as to their professions. They did not add…“oh by the way, I am gay.”

I think this subject of “identifying” is related only to those you describe as “whose identity as “homosexual” seems to dominate their self identity to the exclusion of other aspects”

Sitting here reading this, trying to figure out why our label isn’t just Catholic and our one perfect love is with God. Any other relationships are our vocations.

Thanks for the well-thought out replies so far. I think this issue gets even more muddled because some people say “homosexuality is a sin”, but use the word “homosexuality” to mean homosexual behavior as opposed to identity or “orientation”, and assume everyone else uses it the same way. Hence the misunderstandings that can develop when a poster states they are “homosexual”.

Most gay men would not say to a complete stranger, “Hi, I’m X, and I’m gay/homosexual. I am attracted to other men.” But they might say, “My name is X and this is my partner Y”. Or if someone asks, "Are you married? " or “Do you have a girlfriend?” they might respond, “No, I’m not married, but I do live with my partner Y.” If Y’s name is male, the other person is, of course, going to know that they are gay/homosexual.

Or a gay man might march in a gay pride parade one day a year just like Irish people might march in a St. Patrick’s Day parade one day a year. This gay man’s identity is probably not dominated by his sexual orientation any more than an Irish American’s identity is dominated by being of Irish heritage. In both cases, it’s just one small part of who that person is. :shrug:

It’s not a sin as it’s not really an action. I think it’s a mistake, but not a sin.

I’m 99% only attracted to men, my own sex, but I identify that as a feeling I have, not a thing that I am, like race, species, or gender. I consider the gay identity to be nothing more that a social construct that entraps people with my attractions into trying to make themselves feel special.

No. But it’s probably not a smart thing to do. For one thing, it will probably send the wrong message to most people - people tend to label themselves as things that they are proud of being, or are important about them. If you identify as homosexual, you are probably going to give a lot of people the impression that you therefore approve of homosexual activities, regardless of whether or not you actually do.

It’s not something that you have to keep to yourself, naturally, but it’s not something that you should label yourself as being.

You don’t label yourself as being a sinner (or at least I wouldn’t), even though you might admit that you do in fact sin. Similarly, I don’t think you should label yourself as a homosexual (or a heterosexual or any orientation, for that matter), even though you might admit that you have SSA.

But, no, it’s not sinful - it’s just not a good thing, either.

I am not gay or trans so to be honest, I don’t necessarily understand the issues. Here are my simplistic takes on things.

Being gay, not a sin.
Coming out of the closet, not a sin.
Sex outside of marriage, a sin.
Same sex marriage, invalid, illicit, sacrilegious big sin.

If you’re gay and out, you’re still my friend/family member.
If you want to get married, I am not coming to the wedding, not baking the wedding cake or making floral arrangements.

I’m also not going to say sorry.

Us Lutherans do. We say that we are “both righteous and a sinner” (“simul justus et peccator”). :slight_smile:

To announce that one experiences a predominate sexual attraction for the same sex is not itself a sinful thing to do. Whether it is may depend on what motivates the statement, and or the context in which one says this. [And btw, this remark can be said of almost any act - even a good concrete act such as giving money to the poor is immoral if done for a wrong purpose eg. to attract acclaim.]

If someone experiences unwelcome SSA but also seeks to live a chaste life, I don’t know exactly why they would announce their SSA to another person, but I can well imagine contexts in which that’s a reasonable thing to do.

Whether a person in using the term “homosexual” means to imply they embrace the object of their desires - the same sex sexual acts - is not clear simply from that word. Some understand it to mean that, and others understand it to refer only to the direction of sexual attraction.

More than that, identifying as gay even when you are chaste, can cause people to tempt you to sin. One has to be picky about who they are out to.

I do not consider it a sin to identify as gay. I do not even consider it unhealthy. The reason for the latter is that accepting my sexuality was something I needed to do to be able to fully embrace chastity around it and to find peace in doing so. That may sound strange but it’s true none the less. When I was fighting my sexuality, I was a lot more tempted to act on it than I have been since accepting it. It’s part of who I am and that isn’t about to change.

Yet, I am careful about when I identify as gay. I am out to my family. They are not Catholics but they are Christian. They will support me in my decision to remain chaste. They won’t encourage me to sin.

I am out on this board. As someone who is gay I can give a perspective on homosexuality that isn’t always said (although there are people who do a much better job of this). Whilst this board isn’t always a safe place to be gay (people can be very very nasty and it still hurts), it isn’t unsafe because people disagree with chastity. Very few people here are going to encourage me to act upon my desires.

I am not out at work however. There, people will assume that I consider homosexual activity to be ok. If I was to state that I am homosexual but chaste then efforts would be made to convince me I am wrong. To tempt me to sin. Even worse, if I had a weak moment it gives me people I could go to who would support me in sinning. None of that helps me in my walk of chastity so I stay silent.

Identifying as gay is fine. It’s part of who we are and can be part of the journey towards been chaste. One should be careful about when and who they tell to make sure they’re not put in a position where others will tempt them to sin.

That seems very rational to me.

In the not so distant past, homosexuality was universally defined as same-gender sexual conduct and a homosexual person was defined as anyone who engages or desires to engage in such conduct.

Homosexuals embraced this definition, in which the term “homosexuality” had meaning only in relation to same-gender sexual behavior.

After 1986, gay activists began to redefine homosexuality as equivalent to heterosexuality, a state-of-being completely independent of conduct.

Somewhere along the line the Catholic Church picked up on this concept and teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered but the inclination is only objectively disordered.

Frankly, the inclination may not be a sin but to accept it as normal is like giving a six year old a loaded gun and telling him that it is alright to play with it as long as he doesn’t pull the trigger,

. The Problem is it is hard to determine whether somebody is talking about same-sex attraction or homosexual behavior when they use the word homosexual .

The discussion isn’t about “normalcy”. I didn’t see any post proposing that one should “play with it”, (though I’ve seen that suggested in other threads, and thought it dubious).

Until there is a “cure” (if ever) his only option is to live the best life he can. Acceptance should not be confused with being pleased with the status quo, but it does mean aiming to avoid a constant state of distress and self-loathing.

What you are missing is that for those who carry this cross, it is our normal. Should we spend our life denying something we live with every single day? To what end?

Zoltan (I think) is concerned that accepting SSA as normal will lead to a comfort with it, and ultimately a conclusion that the ends to which it is directed must also be fine. But as I said, the discussion was not about normalcy.

For the person experiencing SSA, I think that is all academic. They experience it and must deal with it. All that matters is how they conduct themselves to live good and positive lives. I don’t see what role “denying” anything has in that.

There is no such thing as “your normal” or “my normal”. There is only “normal” as in functioning according to nature or design… and abnormal.

Your cross that you carry is abnormal. If it were normal it would not be a cross…right?

An alcoholic can feel very normal by drinking himself into a stupor and spending the night in the gutter. But it would be very wrong for me to leave him there because some people considered that normal for an alcoholic. It is not a normal condition and requires care and treatment.

My apologies to Rau. He is right to say that this discussion is not about normalcy…and I have again gone off on a tangent…sorry :o

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.