Q. My wife and I have two sons: one biological and one adopted. Turns out both of them are gay. Go figure! My wife, who recently read “The Secret,” keeps saying she’s sure they could be straight if they’d just choose to believe they were. Somehow I don’t think so but I can’t be sure.

A. Being “different” in this culture, perhaps in any culture, is often a difficult life. Being “different” in a family system or in a religious organization can be even more challenging. The degree of angst the individual experiences likely is the result of a whole host of factors. Some people have found the whole experience so stressful and wounding that they have gotten involved with addictive behaviors in an attempt to feel better. Some have disassociated themselves from family or organization. Still others have just given up and checked out of life—metaphorically or literally.

What would your wife’s response be if your sons revealed they had kidney stones or sickle cell anemia or schizophrenia? Would she tell them to just choose to believe they didn’t?

As an old Scottish proverb goes: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Were people able to alter their sexual orientation by choosing to believe they were straight, some might have done so in response to the enormous pressure they faced to fit in with the majority and/or with expectations. Simply because some marry a member of the opposite gender (typically unsuccessfully) in an attempt to "hide" who they are innately—especially when they live in environments that are unaccepting if not downright punishing—doesn't appear to alter their innate preferences.