There are some things that I will just never be able to understand. One of these is homophobia. I really and honestly do not understand it. And I am not talking about the various cultural and psychological reasons that are generally used to explain this phenomena, or abomination if we want to be a bit more precise, I get those. I understand what they are trying to get at when religion is brought into the picture and I understand what the whole threat to established gender identities theory is about. What I don’t understand is why anyone even cares in the first place. Why does it matter? How can it be that important what gender people are attracted to? Why on earth does anyone bother to care about that? Why is that particular preference given such a determining value?
I was reading a blog post by a mother whose son dressed up in a woman’s outfit for halloween and how that caused people to express a concern that he might grow up to be gay. Say what?! Apart from the fact that I really can’t see any issue what so ever with someone being gay, why would dressing up in women’s clothing make someone gay? How the hell would that causality work? It’s just beyond stupid. You don’t become gay, you are gay. Just like you are straight. Or bisexual. And gender identity has very little to do with that. A gay man is no less male than a straight man, just like a lesbian is no less female than a straight woman. Your gender or sexuality is not tied to your level of masculinity or femininity. But this line of reasoning does put focus on the problem of gender identity itself. Why is it so important that a boy sticks to the attributes assigned to his male gender? Why does him dressing up as a girl become such an issue? And why is the immediate fear that he’ll grow up to be gay? Why is the transcending of the gender roles perceived such a big threat even when it’s a 5-year-old boy doing it? I find that really scary. And what I find even more scary is that the majority of the reactions actually came from adults. Adults imposing their understanding of the world and their prejudices onto children, that’s poison. And I find it very scary and very disgusting. We feed our kids intellectual poison. We teach them alienation and hate. There is nothing wrong with being gay. Nothing at all. And there’s nothing wrong with wearing a dress. Regardless of your biological gender. If we could just get that into our heads I think we would all be a lot happier. If we could all just learn how to live and let live we would spare ourselves and the people around us a lot of suffering and grief.
In fact, what is a man? What is a woman? What is the definition? Anyone who has ever tried knows that it’s actually not easy to determine this, not even on a biological level. And then there’s culture. Sure we all have a general idea, but once you start to really dig deeper it becomes quite difficult. And the startling realization that it’s actually determined by other people’s perception more than our own occurs. Because today being male or female has more to do with how the world perceives you than how you perceive yourself. It’s the way in which you are treated that teaches you your gender role. Because that’s what it is: a role. Something you learn how to play. And that’s why people get scared of homosexuality when a five-year-old dresses up in women’s clothes. Because that’s how homosexuality is constructed, as something not male. A real man doesn’t wear a dress and he doesn’t fuck other men. But why? In ancient Greece a real man wore a thing very similar to a dress, peplos or chiton, and he fucked younger men. So apparently the gender roles are flexible. As well as sexual identity.
There are those who claim that homosexuality is corrupting society, that for instance giving homosexuals the same civil right regarding marriage and parenting would undermine the whole concept of family. Well, takes one to know one, or? Because that’s the only way to understand that argument – the fear is based in self-knowledge. They are doing all they can to preserve the institution and undermine anything that doesn’t fit the norm, so of course they would assume that’s the exact motive of their “opponents”. But hey people, news flash, not everyone has evil motives. In fact I think the gay rights movement mostly has to do with being protected by the laws of society. It’s what the laws are there for right? To protect its citizens. All of them. But ok, there are several of us who actually want to see the current structures crumble, who are longing for a society with room and freedom for everyone, not just the majority. But that doesn’t mean that we want to destroy the lives of the majority. They can go on living like they do for all I care. I’m fine with their lifestyle. As long as they keep it for themselves and don’t try to impose it on me. But they don’t exactly do that do they? No, instead of just learning how to mind their own business and realize that it doesn’t actually have anything to do with them, these conservative, conformist, homophobe idiots also feel the urge to voice their opinions, not stopping for one moment to think just one tiny step further. Seriously, who are you to take it upon yourself to tell me what I can wear or who I can love? What gives you the right to judge me? In fact, what gives you the right to even have an opinion about it?! That’s what I have a problem with – I don’t really like to be told how I should live my life. And I really don’t get people who take it upon themselves to pass judgement on others for their lifestyle choices, especially when it’s not necessarily a choice in the first place.
I want to live in a world where none of this matters. Where gender and sexuality doesn’t matter. Where it’s about a person, not a gender. Where we care about people, not roles and labels. That would be true freedom for everyone. Even conformist straight people.
feed the heads of others:
I wrote about the controversy over gay marriage in a blog entry last year. http://lunarmovements.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-same-sex-marriage-threat-to.html When I started writing it, I too simply could not understand why anyone would care who someone else loved or what the gender was of the person they were attracted to. It literally boggled my mind that someone would find another person’s choice of sexual partner or life mate a threatening idea. In the end, I decided that it was a left over, deeply entrenched, notion that sex was about procreation alone. It wasn’t until romantic love came into the picture that sex had any other purpose except making babies.
In the blog I came to the conclusion that “traditional” marriage was about procreation and property inheritance, and that romantic love was a greater threat to the institution of marriage than homosexuality ever was or will be.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that life not be about roles or labels, but about the people we actually are.
sorry for taking so long to respond, but i read your post and all i can say is great! love your conclusion at the end! i think, and above all I hope, that we’re right now nearing the point, in western society, where we’ll actually have to re-define some of our established social institutions such as marriage. the concept of the nuclear family a fairly new invention that grew out of the older extended family concept and it seems like it’s slowly proving to not be all that good, for society or individuals. hopefully we can soon move on to a different and more flexible way to structure the way we live together that’s not only based on procreation or romantic love.
again, thanks for the link and for a good read!