What's wrong with homosexuality I:
prelude with Apostles' Creed
(I wrote this in installments in 2007)
“What’s wrong with homosexuality?!!”. Aha! See! Now the self-loathing, the deep internalized homophobia of the rightwing faggot comes out. We knew it. Self-hating. It was just a matter of time…
When I was in theology grad school, a colleague was about to make an appreciative presentation of the determinist behaviorism of BF Skinner. He decided to assure our class and prof of his orthodoxy by reciting beforehand, in its entirety, the Apostles’ Creed. This post is my Apostles’ Creed.
I am familiar with the moral, religious, psychological, even some of the medical and scientific arguments about homosexuality, including the ideas of them what are agin’ it.
[BTW, despite a plethora of theories, no one knows, that is can scientifically prove, not only what factors cause same-sex desire, but what factors cause opposite-sex desire! Have all the pet theories you want, but so far, --even assuming that there is a single phenomenon at issue, with a single causal mechanism--no one really knows.]
In the final personal analysis, none of the negative arguments against homosexuality have made a dent with me for one reason: they simply do not match my experience. Despite my severe level of over-education, this is an issue on which I grant highest privilege to personal experience. I am well aware that I am one human among billions and am as epistemologically and morally challenged as the rest. But my experience has been that male-with-male sex is wonderful, sometimes unspeakably wonderful. Not only wonderful, but so deeply congruent with who I am that there is nothing in this world that feels more natural to me.
I tend to get a little dissatisfied now and again and fantasize alternate lives for myself. For example, “food critic for the New York Times, with the metabolism of a greyhound”: indulging my most ancient vice, making a living at it, and without undesirable consequences at the waistline. I am thus capable of imagining the impossible. But I never imagine me straight. I tried once, and I can’t do it. I would be unrecognizable to myself. I would disappear.
I sometimes opine, with an air of playful exaggeration, that when I am in the midst of fine fine sexual engagement with another man, that it is then I know why God created the world. I am far more than half-serious. Sex is not just “sex” for me; there’s a mystery in it, mysterium tremendum et fascinosum. Sweet or raunchy, it’s sacred.
All intellectual bells and whistles aside, that’s the real beginning and end of the story for me. Is it always wonderful? Of course not. This is planet Earth. But when it's been flawed or flat or, in hindsight, a mistake, it's not the samegenderishness of the participants that made it so but our membership in the species homo not always so sapiens. To use the phrase of the execrable Gore Vidal, I am a fully initiated, enthusiastic and committed “homosexualist”.
If anyone wants to read self-loathing into this so far, be my guest. I’d be fascinated.
World without end. Amen.
The problem with homosexuality? Continue reading.
What's wrong with homosexuality II:
what the Dodo Bird said
So, if male/male sex is wonderful, congruent and natural for men who are built that way, what’s the problem?
First, this is primarily about male homosexuality. The problem that I see is in fact very much connected with the rest of the so-called LGBT “community”, --in fact the very existence of this Balkanoid acronym is a symptom--but let’s face it: gay men are the issue, the hotbutton, the fulcrum, the flashpoint. In terms of numbers, influence, visibility, vocality, anxiety, and sheer cultural crazymakingness, it is pretty well all about us.
Here goes. I’ll just state my conclusion and do the inductive stuff afterwords. This is the problem with male homosexuality:
Gayness in men has become bound up with a social and political agenda that seeks to remake America into a society without any real men at all.Feminists and gays are allied in naming the real man, aka the “straight” or “conventional” or “traditional” male, as the oppressor. (While at the same time contemning the very idea of a "real" man.) In regard to gays, his crime is to exclude homosexual males from the circle of men. The feminist gay response here is to deconstruct, marginalize, pathologize and render laughable and antique the very idea of manhood. Just mention “the patriarchy” and, magically, having dismissed all of human thought and history before the last ten minutes, you don't have to think anymore.
In order that gay men should be included in a diverse and sensitive concept of what a man is, the concept of manhood needs to be emptied of anything like a standard or a requirement. Lewis Carroll’s "LGBT" Dodo Bird proclaims, “All have won and all shall have prizes!”.
Men-who-love-men have allowed themselves to be recruited into a war on masculinity itself. With the eventual inclusion of the T in the "LGBT" construct, what holds these groups together is not share same-sex erotic orientation, but a shared rejection of gender as anything other than a "social construct" to be manipulated at will. The deadly irony here is that gay men collude with man-hating feminists to erase the very object of our erotic desire, the man, so that we can be included in the emptied circle where he once existed.
But the problem is this: if anyone who wants to can claim to be a man, then there are no men left at all.
What's wrong with homosexuality III:
the end of manhood
From my viewpoint and experience as a gay man, one who understands his homosexuality as central to his identity and has no wish whatever to alter that, I am exploring what I take to be the down side of gayness. It is not sexual orientation or activity itself which is the problem, but something else: the "LGBT" culture that has grown up around it and the use to which it has been put.
Gayness in men has become bound up with a mostly feminist social and political agenda that seeks to remake America into a society without any real men at all (like Europe). In order that gay men should be included in a diverse and sensitive concept of what a man is, the concept of manhood needs to be emptied of anything like a standard or a requirement. And if anything is true, cross-culturally and historically, it's that manhood is not a private opinion about oneself, it is something socially achieved and it is constructed hierarchically. Even when one proves oneself a man, all men are not equal.
But if anyone can be a man, just by saying so,
then there really are no men at all.
then there really are no men at all.
The post-modern sensibility that informs the progressive agenda holds that any definition of a dominant group which excludes the “other” is oppressive by nature and is actually nothing more than a construct designed to dominate. For example, to try to define “manhood” is seen as inherently oppressive, politically self-serving and exclusionary, as well as merely social. Who is anyone to say, for example, that a gay man is not really a man? Or a drag queen? Or a transsexual?
I recently saw an otherwise affecting film in which a female-to-male transsexual asserted that “what your genitalia look like has nothing to do with being a man.” Read that again. This is the level of ideological un-reality you wind up dealing with. And it is a commonplace taunt of drag queens under attack that “I’m more woman than you’ll ever have and more man than you’ll ever be.” Despite their prima facie oddness, --not to say craziness--these unlikely statements are met with satisfied approval by high-minded progressives, including many gay men.
A stunning example. Each spring the International Mr Leather contest is held in Chicago. It is gay-male celebration of muscular masculinity in the form of leathersex, which combines hierarchy and ritualized violence. In 2010, they named as Mr International Leather a transgender male who was born a female. This was considered a noble breakthrough and anyone who demurred was immediately cast out as a bigot and a "hater."
So the issues that are coming to the fore now are: what does manhood mean and, what are men for? What is, in fact, the end, the purpose, of manhood? And what might the answer to that question say about the drive to bring about the end, the disappearance, of manhood? No small undertaking.
Just the briefest sketch for now. There are clearly varieties of adult males who might claim the title of “man”. (And the fact that this is a title which must be claimed says much about its meaning). So I view manhood as a region of human nature distinct from womanhood and transcending boyhood. The image I am using of late is a constellation (Orion, at left seems an appropriate example) . It takes several stars to make a constellation, but not all of them are equally bright or central.As for the end of manhood, its purpose, nature created sexual differentiation and continued it through the mammals and the primates and homo sapiens. Adult male humans have a role to play that is archetypally theirs: fatherly procreation, protective and competitive fighting, providing food and resources through skill. Reflecting on that will be a good place to go next.
PS My position, by the way, should be quite clear. I am a gender conservative. I believe that there is such a thing as manhood and that it is a fundamental good, essential to the survival and health of any society and to the race as a whole. I also hold that gay men can lay claim to inclusion in the constellation of manhood and ought not be coopted into attacking it. That, too , later.