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Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

The following are thoughts from the outside.  I apologize for the length.

Voters in the state of California recently passed Proposition 8, a ballot initiative amending their state constitution and legally defining “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman.  This bill was, obviously, the center of much controversy, as California was previously one of the few states in which homosexual couples could be married under the law.

While the purpose of this post is not to comment on Prop 8 or to share my thoughts on homosexual marriage, I will say that I think the passage of this measure (and the ideology reflected therein) will go down in history as one of the great fuck-ups of our generation.

With all the attention that was paid to Prop 8 in the weeks leading up to and following its passage, I began to ruminate on the subject of homosexuality.  I will begin with a few comments about sexuality in general.

Sexual activity serves a number of purposes in the animal kingdom.  Among these are relational bonding, play, and, obviously, reproduction.  It will surely come as a surprise to some that “homosexual behavior has been observed in 1,500 animal species,” and that, “no species has been found in which homosexual behavior has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis.” (1)  (The Wikipedia page on this subject is interesting and informative as well.)

With that said it is hardly surprising that homosexual behavior is found in humans.  (So much for the absurd idea that homosexuality is a choice.)  What is surprising, however, is the rather odd stance humanity has taken with regards to homosexuality.

Or is it?  A quick Google search for “percentage of people that are homosexual” and a skimming of a few of the results turned up estimates identifying between five and ten percent of humans as homosexual.  (I’m going to assume that these estimates are accurate.)  Have non-normative minorities not been pushed to the outskirts of society throughout history?  The Jews, African-Americans and other ethnic minorities, a number of religious groups, and women (specifically with regards to occupational opportunities) immediately come to mind, though there are undoubtedly other examples.

In America homosexuality is a taboo subject.  However, In recent years, as post-modernism has started to sink in and the first generation of children born in the “information age” has matured, the topic has become more accessible in public discourse, though it is not yet safe to say that homosexuality is “out of the closet.”  One reason for the hesitance with which the subject is approached is the overbearing influence of Christianity in the United States.

One unfortunate consequence of Christianity’s stranglehold on the American consciousness is the introduction of political action against homosexuals.  In 1996, Bob Barr (R-GA), introduced the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to Congress.  It was made into law on September 21st of that year.  When President George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004, he secured the support of a large percentage of religious voters by promising to push a constitutional amendment through Congress that would have been very similar to Proposition 8, if it had passed.  Currently only four states allow same-sex couples to marry or participate in civil unions (though several others will recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions established in other states). (2)  With the odds heavily stacked against homosexual individuals, is it any wonder that a number of them have responded as they have?

This last statement requires explanation.  In situations involving the persecution of one people group by another, one generally finds that members of the groups under attack will respond in one of two ways.  First, they will quietly absorb the persecution and try their best to live a happy life under the circumstances.  Or, second, they will adopt a kind of “fuck the establishment” mindset and begin to accentuate the differences for which they are being marginalized in their behavior patterns.  When it comes to the public perception of the group at the receiving end of the blows, the stereotype is often defined by those individuals who have chosen to “fuck the establishment.”  Such is the case, or so it seems, with homosexuals.

As a result, in some ways, homosexuals may be responsible for the position they find themselves in.  (Not that homosexual people are responsible for instigating their ostrazation, but that they don’t do much to help the case against their aggressors.)  Sexuality, contrary to popular opinion, is only one aspect of being human, but many members of the homosexual community wear their sexuality on their sleeves instead of incorporating it into the rest of their personality (this is, of course, assuming that sexuality does not define personality).  Like I said when I began, these are thoughts from the outside, but it seems to me that gay-pride parades, flamboyant clothing, and drag shows are not necessary parts of a homosexual lifestyle.  Why must being homosexual include participation in these activities when they only serve to perpetuate and reinforce the negative stereotypes some people have about them?  Granted, not all homosexual individuals participate in drag shows and parades, but those who do affect the way those who are more moderate are perceived.

I realize that these issues are likely reflective of the wider trend in American society towards sexuality as a public interaction.  There is also a good chance that, because I am on the outside, I do not completely understand the homosexual lifestyle, possibly rendering my questions inane.

But hey, I thought I’d at least put it out there.

Void damn the distance.

References:

(1) http://www.news-medical.net/?id=20718

(2) http://gaylife.about.com/od/samesexmarriage/a/legalgaymarriag.htm

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