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Homophobia: Institutionalized Bigotry, Cultural Phenomenon
JDHURF
There is no longer rational argument regarding whether homosexuals choose to live a “gay lifestyle” or whether being homosexual is the inevitable product of ones biological nature. All the relevant organizations are in agreement – the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Psychologists, etcetera– homosexuality and bisexuality are just as much natural manifestations of human sexuality as is heterosexuality. While it is true that there is no conclusive empirical evidence that homosexuality is genetic, it is also equally true that there is no conclusive empirical evidence that heterosexuality is genetic; what is evident from the relevant scientific studies is that homosexuality is no more a conscious choice than is heterosexuality. The most obvious and easy to understand study concerns homosexual and heterosexual reactions to male and female pheromones. The studies findings illustrate that homosexual men and heterosexual women are attracted to male pheromones, unconsciously, which supports the hypothesis that sexual orientation is ruled, not by free-choice, but rather, by ones biological constitution.

That aside, there remains a significant percentage of the population, certainly in the United States, who are convinced that not only is homosexuality a choice, but, it is an immoral choice that leads to moral depravity. Thus large segments of society are motivated to seek political means of disenfranchising the rights and humanity of homosexuals. The violent animus with which homosexuality is subjected to in America is, in large part, animated by the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and the synthesis of this extreme religiosity with radical conservative politics. However, religious and political extremism alone do not fully account for the sweeping homophobia manifested in American culture.

There has always been and is now a resurgence of what is referred to as the “cult of masculinity” in American culture; this phenomenon being most explicitly manifested within the religious right. This cult, much like the woman-hating “cult of domesticity,” begins by indoctrinating the young. Young boys are bombarded with hyper-accentuated and unrealistic views of what “being a man” consists of and how to go about becoming a man; they are indoctrinated with unnatural and unhealthy definitions of “manhood.”

Current research demonstrates that males, during the course of a week, experience a wider range of emotion, typically, than do females, and young boys demonstrate conclusively that males are just as subject to feeling and expressing emotion as any female. Yet, through the cult of masculinity, young boys are taught early in their development that to experience certain emotions and, even further, to express certain emotions which are viewed as being effeminate and thus weak - the cult of masculinity being as it is a residue of the nefarious ideology which viewed, and still in large part continues to view, women as inferior, weaker, less intelligent and ultimately subservient is why emotions and behavior associated with feminine attributes are automatically deemed “unmanly” and “weak” – is wrong, unnatural and unmanly. Thus for a young boy to cry is unacceptable, the boy must be chastised for “acting like a girl” for “not being a man,” the boy should just “suck it up like a man” and pretend as though he were an unemotional and static organism without feeling.

Another scientific study demonstrated that homophobic men, being shown gay pornography, inordinately become aroused. It is also an objective fact that an overwhelming preponderance of anti-gay bigots who spend considerable energy combating human rights are, in fact, themselves gay. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Queen Gertrude, in response to a character in a play repeatedly professing loyalty to and love of her husband, says “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” This is equally true of a majority of the most persistent and vitriolic anti-gay bigots, such as the now notorious Ted Haggard. When the anti-gay bigots expend such an inordinate amount of time and energy railing against homosexuality and homosexuals I say, “they doth protest too much, methinks.”

In order to resolve the violent anti-gay bigotry festering in the American culture we must not only oppose the Jim Crow-like laws which disenfranchise gays - treating them as unequal, less deserving of fundamental human rights and without dignity - we must not only oppose anti-gay bigotry being both cynically and sincerely implemented, malevolently, as a political policy used to stir up and rally those whose primary concern is eviscerating gay-rights and, no need to be confused, gays themselves; but, we must go further, we must also actively and persistently combat the nefarious “cult of masculinity,” which is poisoning our societies children at this very moment. We must teach our children, most conspicuously young boys, that to be emotional and to show emotion, even to others of the same sex, is only human, it is our nature. We must teach our children that to seek deep and sustained emotional and sexual relationships is a defining characteristic of the human species and that the seeking of such relationships is natural and healthy, regardless of the sex of those in the relationship.


-------------------------------

I believe I may have posted this on the old site, so some of you may have read this already, but I thought it deserved to be here in the offical GLBT section.
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seeker
The thing I've always wondered is what the percentage of people who are homosexual or bisexual would be if there weren't cultural barriers. Something tells me that it would be pretty significant, especially given the over-reaction so many have to the whole matter.
 
Cynic
To a large extent I think such figures would be masked by labling errors (like we see with polls to determine who is agnostic and who is an atheist -- people don't know). Take Lindsey Lohan for example. She's been shaking up with some chick for a while now, and recently she announced that "she's not a lesbian, but might be bi".

So what have we learned?
 
derF
JDHURF wrote:

I believe I may have posted this on the old site, so some of you may have read this already, but I thought it deserved to be here in the offical GLBT section.


Not a problem JD this is one of those topics that you and I are in total agreement over. I have and will continue to do everything in my power to support gay rights.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
JDHURF
derF wrote:
JDHURF wrote:

I believe I may have posted this on the old site, so some of you may have read this already, but I thought it deserved to be here in the offical GLBT section.


Not a problem JD this is one of those topics that you and I are in total agreement over. I have and will continue to do everything in my power to support gay rights.


That's awesome derF, I absolutely respect that.
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JDHURF
seeker wrote:
The thing I've always wondered is what the percentage of people who are homosexual or bisexual would be if there weren't cultural barriers. Something tells me that it would be pretty significant, especially given the over-reaction so many have to the whole matter.


I've read somewhere that something like 10% of the population is gay.
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seeker
JDHURF wrote:
seeker wrote:
The thing I've always wondered is what the percentage of people who are homosexual or bisexual would be if there weren't cultural barriers. Something tells me that it would be pretty significant, especially given the over-reaction so many have to the whole matter.


I've read somewhere that something like 10% of the population is gay.


My point though (and Skeeve's it seems) is that the 10% figure is based on how people self identify but those numbers could be highly skewed downwards simply because its not culturally correct to identify oneself as gay. The 10% really only reflects the number of people who are gay and feel free enough to publicly identify themselves as gay.
 
Skeeve
seeker wrote:
My point though (and Skeeve's it seems)


I'm awesome that way...interjecting myself into a thread without actually being here. GrinGrinGrinGrinGrin

But, it IS my thought as well.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
JDHURF
seeker wrote:
JDHURF wrote:
seeker wrote:
The thing I've always wondered is what the percentage of people who are homosexual or bisexual would be if there weren't cultural barriers. Something tells me that it would be pretty significant, especially given the over-reaction so many have to the whole matter.


I've read somewhere that something like 10% of the population is gay.


My point though (and Skeeve's it seems) is that the 10% figure is based on how people self identify but those numbers could be highly skewed downwards simply because its not culturally correct to identify oneself as gay. The 10% really only reflects the number of people who are gay and feel free enough to publicly identify themselves as gay.


Well, the percentage is drawn from past societies as well as all existing societies that can be researched and I was led to believe accounts in some fashion for variables such as homophobia and gay people therefore remaining in the closet and so on. In any case, were the percentage to be a bit higher than 10%, I wouldn't be surprised.
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derF
What does science know about this condition. I have heard those who oppose gay marriage use the excuse to the effect of "Well I was born black I can't decide to change may skin color'. By this I suppose they think that gays and lesbians made a conscious decision to become the way they are.

My question is, are homosexuals the way they are due to genetics, outside forces or from deciding to be homosexual on their own? Haven't heard much discussion about this subject anywhere.
Edited by derF on 11/12/2008 19:40
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
JDHURF
derF:

It is unclear as of now, scientifically, whether or not sexual orientation is at base genetic. As I said in my OP:

While it is true that there is no conclusive empirical evidence that homosexuality is genetic, it is also equally true that there is no conclusive empirical evidence that heterosexuality is genetic; what is evident from the relevant scientific studies is that homosexuality is no more a conscious choice than is heterosexuality.

Science can't tell us for sure why homosexuals are homosexuals are why heterosexuals are heterosexuals.

But is clear that neither is a choice - do you recall choosing to be straight? - and my citation of the research regarding pheromones supports this.
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Skeeve
Try to wrap your head around this:

http://www.slate....d/2194232/

The study's press release concludes that "homosexuality should not be viewed as a detrimental trait (due to the reduced male fecundity it entails), but, rather, should be considered within the wider evolutionary framework of a characteristic with gender-specific benefits."


The study was published in June, but I this is the first I've heard of it. Fascinating stuff.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
derF
Thank yo JDHURF and Skeeve for your timely posts. Very interesting article Skeeve. Who would have thought that male homosexuality would prove beneficial to women. Go figure!
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
JDHURF
Skeeve wrote:
Try to wrap your head around this:

http://www.slate....d/2194232/

The study's press release concludes that "homosexuality should not be viewed as a detrimental trait (due to the reduced male fecundity it entails), but, rather, should be considered within the wider evolutionary framework of a characteristic with gender-specific benefits."


The study was published in June, but I this is the first I've heard of it. Fascinating stuff.


Fascinating. Thank's for the link skeeve. I'm going to try to find the study in the journal it was published in (never mind, the article links to the study).
Edited by JDHURF on 11/12/2008 22:11
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Bob of QF
The real problem with the whole "is he gay?", as I see it, is the oversimplification of what it is to be human.

Sexual identity is not a simple, "I'm a man" or "I'm a woman". What does that statement really mean, anyway?

It's easy to say, but very, VERY difficult to define, without resorting to "bootstrapping".

In reality, a person's sexual identity is not simple at all, but very, very complex-- it's akin to a continuum, and a person does not remain static ON that continuum, either.

If sexual identity is so difficult, how much more so is one's identity for what they consider "opposite"? That is, what sort of person do individuals routinely identify as a suitable partner(s)?

Again, a simple answer is: "I'm heterosexual" and "I'm homosexual".

But in reality, those words do not cover everything, nor do they explain actual human behavior.

It is, again, a continuum. At least this one is a bit easier: Imagine a simple square.

At the top, we label this as "very strong sex drive".

At the bottom, we label this as "very weak, or no sex drive".

On the left, we label, "complete homosexual". On the right, "complete heterosexual"

If we were going to cover it all, we would need two more dimensions, for the physical attributes, but I'll skip that.... hypercubes are too hard to visualize. Grin

In reality, few if anyone exists exactly on any of the square's edges. Nor do people remain static, once they find their location on the square, either. An amobea-like puddle or pool would be better, but still not cover reality.

But, let's assume that we are able to make a "snapshot" of a typical person, and locate them somewhere on the square.

What would it mean?

One ramification, is that everyone, no matter what, has some aspects that could be defined as "homosexual". Just as everyone, no matter what, has some aspects that could be defined as "heterosexual".

Couple these aspects with "strong sex drive/weak sex drive" and you begin to get the idea.

By that, I mean, that someone might have some nebulous feelings that could be labeled "homosexual" but coupled with "weak sex drive" and the result is that they never act on those feelings. These feelings may never emerge into the conscious level, but only manifest in dreams, quickly forgotten.

Humans are far, far too complex to simply tag, "yur gay, man" or "yur such a stud, man". Silliness.

And I have completely ignored the fact of culture pressure: humans are social animals, and we use cultural references as behavior cues.

Thus, a person might have stronger sex drive/homosexual feelings, but these are suppressed consciously or unconsciously by cultural cues.

A person may in reality be firmly in the center between gay/straight, but the sex-drive components of each are skewed by culture cues, thus they act on their straight feelings, but only dream/fantasize about their gay ones.

.....

Yeah, I've devoted a great deal of time on the issue. Think of it as a serious hobby. Grin
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
neilmarr
This topic is pretty close to home in my own immediate family and we're all very, very comfortable with it. I honestly can't remember how I felt about homosexuality when the subject didn't seem to be hot in my teens (I probably didn't realise it actually existed outside smutty jokes), but I've certainly been a supporter of gay freedoms social respect for gays as long back as I can effectively recall my thoughts, and I've come to understand it to a large extent over the past twenty years or so.

So please appreciate that this question is asked purely for information I don't have and that there is no ulterior motive (and -- although I've not seen it asked or answered before -- I'm sure it's not original):

We can safely say that not a single one of our ancestors -- way back to the very first sexually reproducing creature in life's long history -- was ever exclusively homosexual, otherwise not a single one of us or any other living animal would be here ... so how can homosexuality be inherent in surviving genes? Although I appreciate its social value, I cannot understand its place in physical evolution.

Bestest. Neil
 
JDHURF
Neil:

skeeve's link to recent research addresses that 'Darwinian Paradox'. It appears that the same genes that are associated with male homosexuality are also associated with female fecundity.
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neilmarr
Thanks, JD and Skeeve. That's fascinating stuff, but it raises as many questions as it tries to answer.

It seems the research may have identified a pattern that suggests that male homosexuality is compensated for by increased reproduction in the female relatives of homosexual men. Why should this be? There seems no evolutionary benefit in wasting useful female reproductive stimulators (andropiliacs?) on males. Surely evolution would be more selective so that such compensation is unnecessary.

Also, the research doesn't even attempt to answer the 'why?' of lesbianism.

I'm afraid the article doesn't begin to satisfy my curiosity. It does, however, pique it. I must put in some reading and get back with whatever I find.

I do notice this closing to the article: ***But the word consequence suggests a sixth, less happy implication: How would gay men see themselves and be regarded in a society that understood their condition as a side effect of female evolution? Would male androphilia be treated like sickle-cell anemia—the unfortunate cost of a genetic mutation that's beneficial in other people? We medicate sickle-cell anemia. Would we medicate homosexuality?***

For myself, I don't see that the discovery of a genetic basis for homosexuality and the removal of personal choice from the equation should make the slightest difference to the rights of gays in society. They should not require it to be afforded acceptance and respect.

Bestest. Neil
Edited by neilmarr on 11/13/2008 04:50
 
JDHURF
I don't think anyone argued that homosexuality required a genetic basis to be accepted, or that a genetic basis was required for there to not be a personal choice. My OP itself assumed no genetic basis yet argued for gay rights and acceptance nonetheless.
Edited by JDHURF on 11/13/2008 06:16
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neilmarr
Exactly, JD. Neil
 
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