This is the sixth “vacation” post, revisiting some of the more important articles to have appeared on my blog over the years.
The original post and comments is here.
Is scientology homophobic?
There has been considerable discussion about this. In today’s world, where it is no longer socially acceptable to be anti-gay, scientology has taken steps to attempt to portray itself as tolerant and welcoming of the LGBT community. But similar to scientology’s claims that disconnection “doesn’t exist” or is simply a “personal choice,” the PR smokescreen hides an ugly and unpleasant reality.
At its heart, scientology IS very homophobic.
Here is the truth as I experienced it, growing up in scientology and then being a senior official in the church for many years.
Let’s start at the beginning, where all else starts in scientology, with Hubbard’s Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health.
This is perhaps the first statement by Hubbard about homosexuality:
The sexual pervert (and by this term dianetics, to be brief, includes any and all forms of deviation in Dynamic II such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc. and all down the catalogue of Ellis and Krafft-Ebing) is actually quite ill physically. Perversion as an illness has so many manifestations that it must be spread through the entire gamut of classes from (1) to (5) above.
But the concept of the sexual pervert was expanded in his next book, Science of Survival, where homosexuality (sexual perversion and deviation) was placed on his Tone Scale at 1.1 “Covert Hostility.”
1.1 people are the scourge of society according to SOS.
In the book is this infamous passage:
There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the tone scale, neither one of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the tone scale by un-enturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow. Adders are safe bedmates compared to people on the lower bands of the tone scale. Not all the beauty nor the handsomeness nor artificial social value nor property can atone for the vicious damage such people do to sane men and women. The sudden and abrupt deletion of all individuals occupying the lower bands of the tone scale from the social order would result in an almost instant rise in the cultural tone and would interrupt the dwindling spiral into which any society may have entered. It is not necessary to produce a world of clears in order to have a reasonable and worthwhile social order; it is only necessary to delete those individuals who range from 2.0 down, either by processing them enough to get their tone level above the 2.0 line — a task which, indeed, is not very great, since the amount of processing in many cases might be under fifty hours, although it might also in others be in excess of two hundred — or simply quarantining them from the society. A Venezuelan dictator once decided to stop leprosy. He saw that most lepers in his country were also beggars. By the simple expedient of collecting and destroying all the beggars in Venezuela an end was put to leprosy in that country.
Though I don’t believe you should read this as a literal admonition to eradicate those “below 2.0” – it does inform scientologists in how to think about such people. According to Hubbard, they should be treated like lepers. They are certainly not “the able” which, according to Hubbard, is who scientology is for.
And let’s not forget that the words of L. Ron Hubbard in the eyes of scientologists may NOT be changed or even queried. Everything he says is accepted unthinkingly as truth. To doubt the veracity of his statements is to put yourself into a “lower condition” and be treated as an “enemy.”
He shortly thereafter published Handbook for Preclears in which he explained homosexuality thusly:
Homosexuality comes from this manifestation and from the manifestation of life continuation for others. A boy whose mother is dominant will try to continue her life from any failure she has. A girl whose father is dominant will try to continue his life from any failure he has. The mother or the father were cause in the child’s eyes. The child elected himself successor to cause. Break this life continuum concept by running sympathy and grief for the dominant parent and then run off the desires to be an effect and their failures and the homosexual is rehabilitated. Homosexuality is about 1.1 on the tone scale. So is general promiscuity.
This is the first reference to “auditing out” homosexuality and perhaps the only place where he specifically states homosexuality is about 1.1 on the Tone Scale.
This is the genus of the concept that homosexuality can be “handled in auditing.” It is no longer considered acceptable to say such a thing, but it is how scientologists view the world. Being below 2.0 on the Tone Scale is non-survival. Auditing will raise you on the Tone Scale and rid you of your “negative emotions” and “irrational behavior” — very specifically including your tendencies towards perversion. I am aware of more than one person who has been given an auditing program to “address their homosexuality.” (Some may argue that this is what the pc or pre-OT “wants handled” and it is not up to the auditor and C/S to determine the morality of such things, but the very fact that this is the “think” — that homosexuality CAN be addressed with auditing — demonstrates it is considered to be an “aberration.”)
For many years, scientology made little or no attempt to defend these fundamental beliefs — because they were not really an issue. But over the last two decades there has been a lot more pressure to accept homosexuality and afford gay people the same rights as everyone else.
Scientology, and scientologists, have sought to change their image on the subject to appear to be “gay friendly.” They will try to explain that it is natural that Hubbard put gays into the 1.1 band as back in the 50’s they could not be “overtly” gay — they had to be “covert” and hide their identities, and thus they were “covert.” But it does not actually explain the entire concept of 1.1 which is covert HOSTILITY and ‘sexual perversion” – rape, child molesting and other things. Homosexuality was labeled a 1.1 trait not because they were hiding, but because they were “perverts” engaged in sex for other reasons than procreation. Nor does it explain why the statements have not been removed from the books like some of his other things (marijuana is safer than alcohol for instance).
There are plenty more references to homosexuality in the scripture of scientology:
HCOB 25 FEB 1960 THE MODEL SESSION
To get the pc over any condition or aberration that he is agonizing to get rid of, find a terminal that adds up to it and run single confront on that terminal.
Example: If the pc is sick, the process would be “What about a sick person could you confront?”
If the person is homo, it’s “What about a homosexual could you confront?”
And of course, the infamous (and still very much used) “Joburg” sec check, including all questions about sexual activities to give a flavor of where homosexuality was placed in the pantheon of bad sex acts:
HCOB 7 APR 1961 JOHANNESBURG CONFESSIONAL
Have you ever raped anyone?
Have you ever been involved in an abortion?
Have you assisted in any abortion?
Have you ever committed adultery?
Have you ever practised Homosexuality?
Have you ever had intercourse with a member of your family?
Have you ever been sexually unfaithful? Have you ever practised Sodomy?
Have you ever consistently made a practice of sexual perversion?
Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another colour?
And the same with a standardized sec check that was published a decade late:
HCOB 24 DEC 72 THE BASIC INTEGRITY LIST
Have you ever raped anyone?
Have you ever been involved in an abortion?
Have you ever committed adultery?
Have you ever practiced homosexuality?
Have you ever had intercourse with a member of your family?
Have you ever been sexually unfaithful?
Have you ever made a practice of sexual perversion?
Hubbard never changed his attitude towards homosexuality. Homosexuals were depicted as degenerate perverts in his last fiction writing Mission Earth.
His attitude about sex in general became even more strident and bizarre in virtually the last HCOB (26 August 1982) he wrote for scientologists which is entitled Pain and Sex. This writing is not presented as figurative, it is intended to be taken literally, and is based on L. Ron Hubbard’s vast knowledge of all things.
Destructive creatures who do not want people big or reaching—since they are terrified of punishment due to their crimes—invented pain and sex to shrink people and cut their alertness, knowingness, power and reach. Thus you see people who are «experiencing» either pain or sex introverting and not producing much.
Pain and sex were the INVENTED tools of degradation. Believe it or not, a being can be so overwhelmed by either, that he or she becomes an addict of it. Priests become flagellants and cut themselves to pieces with self-whipping. Torturers drool over pain. Lovers are very seldom happy. People do the most irrational things when overcharged with sex and prostitutes use it as a knowing stock-in-trade. Combined, pain and sex make up the insane JackThe-Rippers (who killed only prostitutes) and the whole strange body of sex—murder freaks, including Hinckley, and the devotees of late night horror movies.
Under the false data of the psychs (who have been on the track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe) both pain and sex are gaining ground in this society and, coupled with robbery which is a hooded companion of both, may very soon make the land a true jungle of crime. Go into an asylum or a prison and look at the increasing institutional population and know what you are looking at. In the main, there are pain and sex addicts, decadent and degraded and no longer capable.
But, let’s turn to the practice of the church.
You probably recall the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California was the beginning of the end of Paul Haggis in scientology. That in turn led to a piece in the New Yorker, and thanks to Tommy Davis’ deft handling of the matter, to a book by Lawrence Wright and from there the film Going Clear. Paul Haggis discusses these events in the film, but in far more detail in the original Lawrence Wright piece in the New Yorker. It was all about his disgust that the church was supporting a proposition that discriminated against gays.
But what about what goes on behind the facade the church presents to the outside world?
Here, to borrow a favorite expression of an old friend, the cheese becomes more binding.
You are not qualified to join the Sea Org if you are gay. Period.
You are not qualified to join the Sea Org if you have an “extensive history” of “homosexual acts” even if you claim you are not “gay.”
In fact, this is so well known that people have blown off Sea Org recruiters by claiming they are gay. They are dropped like hot potatoes.
Actually, they are dropped if they have “gay thoughts.”
Used to be “I’ve taken LSD” was the instant Get Out Of Jail Free card with SO recruiters, but LSD has fallen out of favor and recruiters figured out how to ask a ton of questions and determine “that wasn’t really LSD you took” in their desperation to get people signed up and routed onto the EPF. Nothing you can do about someone who is gay “well, we have determined the other person was not really male/female”?
Lesbian/Gay (let alone Bi/Trans) are absolute SO non-starters (fortunate for them).
If you are IN the Sea Org and profess to be gay or have “homosexual tendencies” it is a one way ticket to the RPF (or out of the SO altogether). Nora Crest has told her story, there are dozens of similar ones. Again, the concept of sending someone to the RPF for “being gay” is based on the idea they can be “rehabilitated.”
But this is not limited to the Sea Org.
Executive and HCO qualifications in any scientology organization require that you have no history of “perverted 2D activities.” And that most definitely includes “homosexual activities.”
And finally, there is this.
The self-titled ecclesiastical leader of the scientology religion, and the biggest being and bestest scientologist in the whole universe, is viciously homophobic.
David Miscavige relishes denigrating gays, one of his favorite terms of hatred is “faggot.”
For at least 20 years he has accused senior scientology officials (most often Marc Yager and Guillaume Lesevre, but many others too) of being “butt fuckers” and “cocksuckers” and loves to regale his circle of sycophants with extremely graphic and lewd descriptions of the sexual activities they supposedly engage in. He delights in doing this especially when the people themselves are present, and he talks about them to the others gathered around “oohing” and “aahing” as if they were not present. One of his favorite things to say to Marc Yager when he stumbled or mumbled a response was “get Guilluame’s cum out of your mouth and you might be able to talk better.” And of course, there his now infamous “code” he texted me: YSCOHB.
You may wonder if I am exaggerating. Not in the slightest. In fact, in an effort to maintain some decorum, this is a VERY mild version. There are plenty of people who have witnessed this numerous times including Jeff Hawkins, Amy Scobee, Tom DeVocht, Dan Koon, Marc and Claire Headley and a LOT of others.
It is simply impossible for scientology to be tolerant when it’s undisputed leader is perhaps the worst homophobe I have ever met.
PS: I should add that though I grew up with the idea that you should always be wary of 1.1s and the easiest “1.1s” to spot were homosexuals, I have a very different view today . I have quite a number of LGBT friends and they are among the most creative, compassionate and genuinely nice people I know. And they are uniformly oh so NON judgmental about the personal choices of others. Discrimination is a pet peeve of mine I hate it in any form. I grew up in the 60s with the stigma of being a scientologist when it was about like being gay. Funny how I resented being treated differently but had the mindset that others “deserved” it….
Joe Benton says
Reading this post really just echos a lot of what I went through while I was on staff in San Francisco.
I knew from a very early age that I was gay. Of course, being a Scientologist, let alone on staff, this was a big No-No.
From the time I began my career (at the young age of 13), I had to hide anything and everything possible that may have shown I was gay. Yeah I was fooling around at a young age, but if anyone in the church found out, let alone my parents, I knew that would have been the end for me.
Fast forward a couple years and I’m going through hell and back, lower conditions, ethics interviews, being transferred out of HCO and into another division, all because I had messed around with another young man around my age.
It didn’t stop there. FPRD auditing (auditing which is supposed to get rid of your evil intentions… in this case, my evil intentions against women that were making me gay), more lower conditions, and more “handlings” to get me to “change my ways.
This went on and on for years until finally it all came to a head and I was Comm Ev’d off my post and literally humiliated in front of all my students in the Academy while I was on post. Steve Latch, who some of you may know, literally walked in and made a huge announcement taking me off duty (to the dismay of my students and other staff).
I’ve been told that the church has not been homophobic for a long time. Honestly with what I went though, I highly doubt anything has changed.
Thanks for reposting this article, Mike. Everyone should know that this church is beyond homophobic and anyone who is gay and on staff will go through hell and back more than once, when the church is trying to “fix” them.
My Scientology-learned homophobia started to break down when I became good friends with a gay woman. I spent months working with her, and one day, she revealed that she was gay. She was very private and didn’t present as gay. She was in no way “1.1”. I had been declared and was out, but still considered myself to be a Scientologist. I had to reconsider what I thought about gay people.
I still fight that prejudice today, but it’s waning, thankfully.
The attitudes of societies change over time. At least when Hubbard was alive he didn’t have to consider trans genderism. Asking the questions, “Can men become pregnant?” and “Should biological men be allowed to compete in women’s sports?” would have given him a lot more to write about.
When I was studying at ASHO in the late 1970s I did a lot of co-auditing with a gay guy. His simple explanation for why he was gay, not that any explanation is necessary, was that he picked up the wrong body type this time around. He even had a description of how the mix up occurred. I suppose many “wog” gays would just say, “I was born this way.”
Fred G. Haseney says
Hi, Mike. Today, I reread your earlier post as well as a good portion of those comments. (You had your work cut out for you, to say the least.)
In 2015/2016, I spent a considerable amount of time at Scientology’s West Coast headquarters, PAC Base. I turned my findings of scientology’s weirdnesses into a blog. Seeing “Scientologists do what Scientologists do,” helped me get over having been “one of them.” (I had been a Scientologist for 37 years.)
In addition to often daily walks up and down L. Ron Hubbard Way with camera in hand, I did a lot of protesting at scientology orgs in Southern California as well as at many of their special events. And at nearly every scientology location I went where I also saw one or more of their security guards, I heard them say not-so-nice things about me to my face.
I suppose they meant to introvert me. Based on what they said, how they said it, and how often they said it, their message had but one meaning: sex. After a while, it became quite obvious that someone had access to my PC folders and Ethics folders.
Some of the security guards obviously hadn’t done their homework, since they accused me of deviant sexual behavior that I had never done. Nevertheless, someone had combed through my folders and had gotten the “dirt” on me, and were attempting to use it as a weapon.
I remember one such incident at an event. A security guard bullbaited me on stuff that had obviously been retrieved from my folders. I even called him out on it. At one point, he faked wanting to give me a handshake. When he suddenly pulled his hand away from mine, he said something like, “Eww! I don’t know where you’ve been or what or who you have touched!” Security Guards at Celebrity Centre also seemed to think they knew all about my sexual past, but they didn’t, not quite. I wondered how they could be so certain of their “source.”
The bullbaiting proved to be ineffective. I suppose that after a lifetime of bullbaiting, I’ve become somewhat immune to it.
Scientologists need our acceptance, compassion and understanding, because we know where they’re coming from, even if they can’t see it.
What a wonderful post!
I DO like how thorough you are: Go Mike!!
This reminds me of a friend of mine who is from Chicago, as am I. He is a former gang member, the C-Notes. (very badass). He does not think very highly of scientology: in his world, everything was decided with a gun. Tolerance?? Laughed at. It was decided at Ohio and Leavitt.
Be very careful who you trust and tolerate..as Mike so beautifully put: it could be your new best friend.
Angry Gay Pope says
This despite the face that C-O-B is G-A-Y and I’ve seen piles of Gays/Lesbians in the SO. Likely candidates: Angel the guard at the Christie Hotel, Parker Osmon the guard at Big Blue, Donatella Kevenaar of the GO/OSA. Among public Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley come to mind but they have money and are famous so they don’t count except for being blackmailed.
Guilt + Gay = Religion. Guilt is the main motivational currency of many religions.
Thanks for reposting!
Nah, I see Davey more as hetero and a golden showers guy (bottom). Slightly indecent and eccentric, and “baaadass” from his fucked-up narcissistic yuppie perspective, but not “really” dirty, nor dangerous. That’s just the thing for him.
How I know? Instinct? BDSM expertise, personal statistics of matching characters/appearances with later revealed fetishes?
Not kidding tho, I really think that might be his thing (and yes, it’s with zero evidence, I’m just guessing).
Angry Gay Pope says
No he is Gay.
LRH would likely hate this. (Apart from the Joking and Degrading thing)
Ironically there have been long term followers of Scientology who were gay, and they stuck by Scientology for the longest time, some possibly even to this day.
So, I’ve always felt that the beliefs of Scientologists might give a clue as to why a person who is gay could still be a follower, despite the harassment and nastiness that some of Hubbard’s rules and regulations and writings dump on them.
How I interpreted one of Hubbard’s key most “spiritual” concepts, is the concept that the soul (Hubbard’s “thetan” is a soul, one is a soul), and that the soul is the person and the soul transmigrates lifetime to lifetime.
This concept, when you meditate or think about it, is what provides possibly some solace.
Just knowing that one will live future lives, and that one has lived past lives, can possibly provide solace from the current life one is living.
The beliefs of Scientology were what caused me to stick by the movement, despite the horrible abusiveness baked into Scientology by Hubbard.
And I’d say what most distances my interest in Scientology today, is that the beliefs fall apart, or fell apart, for me.
The abusiveness of Scientology baked into it by Hubbard’s massive regulations and prejudices, I could always dodge away from mentally, just separating them as “rules” and then the beliefs.
If we are souls that lifetime to lifetime transmigrate, and the universe is a big big thing that’s ongoing, then if the beliefs are legitimately a strong likelihood of being true, then they provide a type of solace to whatever predicament one finds oneself in, that’s how I used the soul/thetan in this universe belief framework of Hubbard’s.
The “tech” of Hubbard’s, I took as merely a pseudo-therapy to explore one’s past lives, kind of a karma alleviating past lives therapy. I never got to the exorcism five secret “levels” or stages of upper secret OT 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Scientology.
But just knowing them in line with the Hubbard lower levels beliefs, the exorcism steps of upper Scientology would to me today, just stripping everything down, would mean to me just further soul karma alleviation steps, since by exorcizing these supposed surplus souls (Hubbard’s taboo word “body-thetans”) off one’s body doing the OT 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 exorcism steps, one alleviates from oneself any leaking “case” those body-thetans are leaking onto one.
I wish only that Scientology be also very upfront about expressing their Scientology in simpler language like I just did, and I wish they’d do this at the start.
it would give people a better way to understand them.
The horrible Hubbard list of “Crimes, High Crimes, Suppressive Acts” is an abomination of Hubbard’s prejudices, which alone might not completely put off some people, I can see.
Choices that people interested in supposedly addressing their past lives karma with the Hubbard Scientology pseudo-therapy and exorcism, I can see how people might still wish to do just that pseudo-therapy and the exorcism, and skip all the Hubbard nasty backfiring regulations on each other and on themselves.
That’s how I always framed this anti gay Scientology movement attitude.
Famous gay Scientologists have put up with Scientology’s anti gayness.
The Scientology beliefs I think are a factor why they do.