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Andrew Sullivan: A Gay Intellectual’s Coming Out Story

A number of weeks back I was granted permission by the philosopher John Corvino to republish on my blog his coming-out story.  I indicated at that time that I had also requested permission to do the same with the stories of other prominent gay persons. This post will republish the story of Andrew Sullivan, author of “Virtually Normal”, blogger at http://dish.andrewsullivan.com, debater and proponent of the public, legal acceptance of homosexual relationships. Andrew Sullivan is no intellectual lightweight being an Oxford university graduate and also a Ph.D. from Harvard in political science.

Dr Sullivan has granted me permission to republish a short portion of his story here.This reproduction is of necessity highly truncated and many elements that may be considered important components have been omitted. The following excerpts come from Mr Sullivan’s book “Virtually Normal” which can be purchased from the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Virtually-Normal-Andrew-Sullivan/dp/0679746145/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372231308&sr=8-1&keywords=virtually+normal

One of the things that I hope comes across from what I have reproduced here is the fact that the homosexual orientation is not something that was desired by some homosexual men when it was forming. It is not something that is a conscious choice to rebel against social norms and to pursue another path; instead sometimes there is an attempt to suppress these feelings. I also hope that this post helps to make the inner struggle of some of those who are gay become clearer.

Dr Sullivan’s story does not in any way, in my mind, affect the morality of homosexual relationships one way or the other; it does however put a personal face on a debate that is often characterised by a lack of compassion and empathy.


Coming-Out: A Gay Philosopher’s Story

Whilst liable to attract criticism from some in my religious circles, I have desired for some time to help people understand the stories of those who have come out as gay.  My desire to do this was occasioned through reading books written by gay men, listening to their lectures and hearing their testimonies in debates.  This process highlighted to me just how little I understood the emotional impact of this process, even though I have read many scientific studies on the aetiology of sexual orientations and knew that it was not an orientation that many wanted to have.

  I need to be clear, these personal stories do not have any direct bearing on the morality or immorality of homosexual relationships. I am not publishing these stories to challenge people’s views of the morality of homosexual relationships. They do however need to be understood and heard, especially by those who believe (against the overwhelming majority of the social-scientific evidence) that the homosexual orientation is something that people choose to have.  Those who believe that the homosexual orientation just needs to be repented of and that a decision to be heterosexual chosen.


  I have provided below a rather condensed excerpt of the philosopher John Corvino’s story, with sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs omitted. This has in places affected the flow of the story. Where this has occurred I have indicated it through the use of ellipses (…).