Thursday, December 29, 2005

Making Homosexuality Human

  Problem: Some people believe in a conspiracy, or agenda, to promote homosexuality in order to destroy 'family values'.
  This problem is more than just "there are some people who do not like gays", or even "who would kill a homosexual". This is more on the par of popular Jamaican dancehall tracks demanding murder, except that this murder is the killing of culture, of society, of human possibility. Some would take their hands and grab at the throat of love, and choke it for being wrong.

  Let me try to set out the argument, then.
  1) Homosexuality is bad (against the bible, against nature: some sort of argument that I am tempted to call superstition)
  2) Whatever is bad or unnatural is a corruption or disease (echoes of St Augustine's solution to the problem of evil, i.e. that evil is the absence or privation of good caused by human free will)
  3) The acceptance of homosexuality is therefore endorsing corruption
  4) All acceptance of homosexuality is designed to bring about corruption
  5) Those who tolerate gays are therefore part of a willed agenda or conspiracy

  Parts one and five are both obvious in the 'literature', for example the essay linked to in the previous post. I have had to assume parts 2, 3, and 4 in order to make the argument coherent.
  Where I and people who think like this differ starts in point 1 and continues through to the last. I do not believe that homosexuality is bad or unnatural. I do not think it corrupts. I do not think endorsing homosexuality is bad or unnatural, or willed to do so. And I do not accept that tolerance for homosexuals is an agenda to destroy.
  Accepting homosexuality, to me, is an agenda alright. It might also be a conspiracy. A conspiracy to allow people to be free to love and have sexual relationships, no matter what orifices must be used to allow penetrative sex. Homosexuals do not make me feel disgust or fear. They make me feel something complex and subtle - the sort of feeling you get when you meet people and try to understand them. I take them as people, people who may like to have sex a lot or not much. Or who might think of sex very little, even not at all. Just people.
  (Note: it is interesting that those who dislike homosexuality find it necessary to sexualise and feminise them so much, not for them a pleasant gay chap with a nice handshake who listens to rock music and watched Hollywood blockbusters on DVD while drinking lager after working in a normal office job. Gay people are taken to appear and be horribly gay, revelling in their own evil. Gay people are not people, they are gay.)
  Again: gay people are people first and foremost to me. They also enjoy sexual/emotional relationships with people of the same sex. Perhaps their relationships are not exactly analogous to heterosexual relationships, then again two heterosexual relationships are not exactly analogous.   Their sexual practices are barely different from mine.
To those who despise them, gay people are gay. It is all they are, they are human-shaped but composed entirely of the element Gay.

  Questions I must ask people (and will ask) who profess that acceptance of homosexuality is an agenda to destroy the world:
  Why is homosexuality 'wrong', 'bad', 'unnatural', 'immoral' etc?
  If you base this idea on the texts of the bible, how do you choose what is right and wrong from the bible, for you evidently do not follow it to the letter?
  How do you explain the vast numbers of Christians who are gay, or who accept gays?
  What should a Christian parent do if one of their children was to come out as gay?
  What evidence would or could show that homosexuality is natural?

  These questions deal with the first point of the argument I attempted to set out above, and examines the perceived badness of the gay. These are pretty stupid questions, really, as the answers are scripted and obvious. Still, we must ask.
  The second point of the argument must be questioned like this:
  What IS 'gay'? (How can one choose to be 'wrong'?)
  What is love between gay people? Does it exist?
  Why is it not possible that gay love is as legitimate as any love?
  Is gay love a corrupted and evil version of 'normal' love?

  These are interesting questions, I suppose, but again will not go very far to yield illuminating answers. I am much more compelled to ask questions relating to the last three sections of the argument:
  What is wrong with accepting that gay love is 'normal' love?
  If a Christian parent has a gay child, and comes to feel that their child is just as good in the eyes of God as their others, how can you explain this?
  Is acceptance of homosexuality always an agenda or conspiracy?
  What do those who take part in any agenda wish to destroy?
  What are family values, and how does homosexuality go against them?
  What is marriage, and how does homosexuality go against it?
  Why could you not accept gay families, or gay marriages?
  Are those who campaign for 'gay rights' part of an agenda to destroy your values?
  Is it not possible that homosexuals and those who think they deserve every right that any other citizen has is not part of an agenda to destroy, but one to protect their own values?
  Are homosexuals deserving of 'human rights', or rights of any kind?
  Are homosexuals not human? What of them is or is not?
  What would happen if we were to stop opposing this conspiracy?

  The Christian 'anti-homosexual' who complains of a conspiracy to destroy 'Christian Values' is denying the very existence of 'Homosexual Values', or even 'Human Values' that includes the homosexual as human and necessarily requiring those values.
  Quite a fiery form of rhetoric, I feel! The discourse of 'unnaturalness' that they have wrapped homosexual up in, that it has always been wrapped up in, like a chipolata, obscures the possibility of:
  The humanity of the homosexual (or at least the part that is homosexual, for it is sin)
  The existence of gay rights

  We must keep on probing and attempting to understand this mindset, and trying to destroy it. We must make gay human, an expression of human love and desire, merely 'switched' unchoosingly to another outlet of love. This will automatically make gay Godly, part of the design of the world, part of the expression of love that is supposedly the most important link in the chain between us and the heavens.
  If gays are human, and gay love is human love, automatically they deserve what all other people who love deserve.
  The psychology of this belief is fascinating, and I would love to be able to observe it further.   Any suggestions as to how this could be done, how this belief could be understood and further rationalised, how it could be further questioned?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Intellectual bigotry.

  There is, amusingly, a site called "intellectual conservative". Please judge its intellectuality for yourself.
  On it was a pro-life man being anti-gay, although being anti-gay isn't really pro-life at all in my eyes. ('Why are they called 'Politicians'? They are never very polite!')
  I like gay people, they sing well and wear good clothes. So I replied, fuelled mainly by Christmas presents, Christmas chocolates, and Christ, who regularly fondles me full of beyond-the-grave sexual potence.
  Please read my reply, without giving up halfway through to abort a baby in anger with this man.

  Hello! I was searching for the term "intellectual", as I was interested in the roots of the word after reading the autobiography of Stephen Fry. [Note: I did not need to mention that Stephen Fry is gay. I am above such things.]
  I came across "intellectual conservative", and read your story. There are some things I must ask you about.

  1) 'Talk about your obvious agendas. For the last month the press and the public relations types having been pushing this movie called, Brokeback Mountain...'
  Is it therefore true that 'pushing' a story or other form of entertainment featuring heterosexual love is also an agenda? I am interested in what your concept of 'agenda' is.

  2) '...a story about two "gay" cowboys and their "love" and "loss."'
  You are bunny-earsing in a fascinating manner. Evidently gay persons are not capable of love.

  3) 'And if you do not like the movie or the subject matter, then the critics call you a bigot. So much for tolerance.'
  This, again, is endearingly fascinating. I would take great pains to examine your concept of tolerance - perhaps imagine the gadfly Socrates questioning you. Is tolerance defined as the acceptance of some normalised facet of human behaviour - in this case erotic homosexual relationship and love - rather than its denial etc., or is tolerance to be defined as the quality of allowing people to not tolerate something? That is evidently quite a linguistic twist to make, that tolerance must itself be employed to tolerate intolerance, and that intolerance must therefore trump tolerance. Surely bigotry, as defined, is the broad and baseless denial of a normalised behaviour, and not the intolerance of intolerance?
  It would enlighten me if you would help me understand your take on this.

  4) '"A love story" the critics call it. Actually it is called sodomy; and adultery; and destructive behavior. Yet these are the actions that form the building blocks of a healthy relationship according to the movie critics and the Hollywood elites.'
  If you were having trouble defining bigotry, sir, I think this would be a good place to start. If I were to say, "heterosexual relationships are all based on the ravaging of the vagina, the rape of the womb, leading to the destructive birthing of needless human babies who cannot be properly controlled, who take up too much space, who consume too much," I believe that would be bigotry, but it is in effect what you are saying about gay relationships.

  5) 'So here is the question. Why? Why is there this push from every quadrant of the entertainment world to force upon the American public the notion that homosexual behavior is normal? Why is there the effort to have such behavior intrude into every aspect of everyday life? Why can I not open up the newspaper without having to read about it every single day? Why do I have to screen the newspaper before I can let my ten year-old son read it?'
  The equivalent question is "why must you preach that it is abnormal? Why must we allow bigotry to be part of human speech?".

  6) 'I am reminded of the story of the frog and the boiling water. The heat is put on very slowly so that the frog does not realize it is getting cooked until it too late.'
  I have rarely, if ever, been cooked by news stories of gay love. Usually they leave me in an entirely raw state, inedible to all but the most starved human.

  7) "The AIDS crisis was just one example of the deadly effect of homosexual behavior upon a society."
  It seems to me that all sexual behaviour spreads AIDs. It would be more accurate to talk about semen as diseased butter. Is your semen diseased butter?

  8) 'The man is a priest and he is supposed to have put aside his old self and become a new creation in Christ. But apparently, Christ is not enough for the fellow. He has to be "gay" as well. Now perhaps I am a little dense, but if the fellow is suppose to be chaste, why is it important that he announce to the world that he is "gay?" It seems like the man is more interested in putting himself in the center of his world than in being a priest and putting Christ in the center of his life.'
  The very thing that stopped me from putting Christ "in the center of my life" was that it seemed a bit gay. Does it not seem so to you? Perhaps Jesus has put you, like a frog, in a big gay pot, and you are not realising that all around you there is cooking.

  9) 'Perhaps this appears judgmental and strident. But there are some truths that cannot be denied. First is the purpose for which certain parts of the human body exist and their mode of operation.'
  The penis exists to be stimulated and produce semen - it does this in all sorts of contexts, with all sorts of mechanical help. The hand, the trousers, the very imagination can cause it to become engorged and ejaculate. Does it not seem a legitimate purpose for the purpose to be used orally, anally, or digitally?
  Plus, you cannot deny the prostate. Apparently it is the male g-spot. I would suggest that you try anal stimulation first to see if you like it. It seems to me a perfectly useful and beneficial mode of operation, which is perhaps why so many people do it.
  That and it doesn't cause babies. Sex often does not cause babies, with or without contraception. Must we condemn all sex without babies? It would be quite a hit-and-miss affair then.

  10) 'Second is the relationship of men and women in the natural order of things. Human beings are made male and female.'
  Human beings are also made male and male, and female and female, and male and male and female and male and female and female and female and male and female and male. They come in all sorts of orders.
  Relying on the 'natural order of things' is pretty odd, too. We don't live in trees anymore - are our houses natural? Are movie matinees natural? Is John Wayne natural? The natural order of things appears to be that we do whatever seems best. (This, if you haven't noticed, is where you and others are disagreeing.)

  11) 'Trying to force the average fellow to accept aberrant human behavior by setting it in the context of two cowboys is not going to work. Most people just do not want to think about it. After all to quote one of my older sons, "That's just nasty."'
  Speaking for most people is always a tricky thing. Maybe you could conduct a survey, "do you want to think about gay sex"? Or perhaps your son would then pronounce you 'nasty' as well.
  Aside: may I ask what you would do if one of your children 'came out' as gay? Would that be sufficient to change your mind, or would you have them shot?

  12) 'The problem is that we cannot ignore it because such constant bombardment is meant to wear us down into first acceptance and then affirmation. The "homosexual" agenda being fanned by the leftist elites and the ACLU types is not just about live and let live. It is about destroying marriage. It is about forcing us to accept their "behavior" as legitimate and equal to normal male female relationships.'
  "This article is also part of a constant bombardment - to wear us down into denying humanity, denying love, to seek acceptance and affirmation of hatred and disgust. The "anti-homosexual" agenda is being fanned by the rightist elites to not just be about live and let die, but about promoting marriage, and forcing us to accept their "behaviour" of hatred as legitimate and equal to normal, loving human relationships."
  Sir, you are not speaking for heterosexuality, or love, or marriage. You are reacting against, forever against, against love, the love which makes both hetero- and homo- sexuality both right and normal, that makes marriage possible. Please feel free, of course, to hoist your own petard.

  13) 'This message will not endear me to those who see nothing destructive about homosexual behavior.'

  14) 'Because only in truth can one truly be free. Unfortunately many do not realize that their actions can be enslaving and self-destructive. Having counseled and advised countless people over the years whose lives cascaded out of control because of addictive behavior, this plea for awareness and response is borne out of a genuine concern for the human person.'
  Now you rely on pseudo-science, particularly pseudo-psychology, which is already so much of a science-meets-humanities that you are rending it into a homeopathic version of science - one molecule per Olympic swimming pool.
  I am a trained psychologist, teaching students (in our second year, we do relationships, and ask them to consider that gay love is normal. Students are overwhelmingly in favour of such an idea), and it would be most beneficial if you could post any evidence for homosexual love as an addictive behaviour. If it was nothing but this, of course, I would be able to deny it was love.
  Unless, of course, the data you have found would just as easily show that any 'love' can be defined as 'addictive behaviour' if you wish to disallow it. But you are too clever to allow that!

  15) 'Each of us is made in the image of God.'
  Well, then, a bit of God is gay. Not a surprise considering God is everything. Makes me much more amenable to him.

  And that is what I wrote.
  If you would like to know more of the widespread fear of the gay, there is stuff like this book on the 'six-point' plan to make gay OK! With the consequence of destroying the world.
  Of course, there IS a plan of sorts to make gay OK, which is the same as it always is in any situation requiring vast change of human opinion - waiting for the idiots to die and their children's children's children to learn enough to change their minds. And people DO want to make gay OK, so on these points the book is right.

  What really angers me about this man, however, is the lying and subterfuge used by such argumentation to conceal what they are really saying.
  It is bad enough to say that "Jesus hates fags", or such hateful religious messages. But at least this would be a display of honest opinion - 'I am a Christian, and I take the bible to mean that Jesus hates fags'.
  What this man is doing here, my friends, is even more thoroughly odious. Not for he the simple explanation of his own feelings about the gay community and the gay individual, he cloaks his simple and simplistic idea in the rhetoric of conspiracy. Not only is gay bad, gay-is-good is a vast Satanic campaign against family values.
  This is not amusing, and this is not just silly. It is the main - almost the only - rhetorical device deployed by conservatives nowadays. When there is everywhere a common consensus that is tending towards the liberal, it is denounced as an 'agenda'.
  Love is not an agenda. Repeat this after me - it is not. Sexual lifestyle or choice are also not agendas, but they're not as nice as love, so let's get back to that. Love is not an agenda. Gay people who want to form a relationship are not:
  • Rabidly fighting normal heterosexual urges in order to degrage marriage
  • Attempting to shock young Christian children to such levels of shame and disgust that they abort their unconceived children out of their ears
  • Degrading family values with the acid of sodomy

  Gay people are having relationships. Some are in love, some are sleeping around. Some are HIV+, some are not. Some are unpleasant, some are lovely. They are as complex and wonderful a group as heterosexual people, they are as simple and dull a group as heterosexual people, they are as progressive and conservative etc. etc. etc.
  They are people, they live, they breath, they are part of our grand civilisation that endlessly goads itself towards failure - towards the edge of a precipice beneath which lies division and destruction - but never seems to quite get there. And to take their experience, their life, the phenomena of their very humanity and to call it an agenda, a willed thing that takes all the individuality and possibilty of free will and consciousness out of each of them to make them a sniping and bitchy whole attempting to degrade America... to do this is to deny their love, their feelings, the possibilities of their existences.
  There is no conspiracy to destroy any values. There is only a conspiracy - an unwilled and surprised conspiracy - of people who have an unusual identity but who still want to be people and do people thing in people places. A 'conspiracy' of furthering their own lives so they can live them in the way that they think is well, which is exactly what our current system is supposed to be based on, for better or worse (often the latter). The gay conspiracy, the gay agenda, is to expand values, so that they fit more people and allow for more happiness.
  Values are not meant to divide people into healthy and unhealthy, fit and unfit, human and inhuman. They are meant to keep us together, to keep us close, to prevent division; for we are not amoebae. We are us, altogether us.
  And, really, this is what I must say to this man - but he would only deny it, and put conspiracy into its place. He would deny humanity, and put conspiracy into its place. And he would wonder why we feel sorry for him, and feel uneasy that he has children.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Taking part

  Sometimes, I see the human project - the task of being alive - as fixating on some problem and attempting to find its solution. The dowdy cousin of this particular idea is the sad psychological 'truism' that we are all coping with the effects of being alive, but this does not impress me so much. Of course we must cope, but if life is to do nothing but cope, what about when there is nothing to cope with? What happens then?
  So this is what I believe, in many of my spare moments: that we are beset with problems, and we find some especially vexing, and we either unravel them or let them unravel us. Coping only comes in at the moment when we decide to destroy or be destroyed, it is not our main fixation at all.
  This is an interesting idea as it helps me continue in the face of adversity, for it is some sort of moral and spiritual ideal to tackle these problems; it is what being alive is about. And also it helps me explain to myself the limits of my own perceptions and possibilities. I do not find much of the world particularly edifying - much literature and fiction, much music and art (actually, pretty much all art), much cinema and culture - it just does not enlighten me or endear itself to me. It is often that I worry that either I am missing out by ignoring these vast facets of human existence, or everyone else in under the spell of something pointless. Perhaps the problems that are being tackled by much of fictional literature, by art and etc., do not meet up closely enough with my own? I am not interested in beauty and its representation, in visual aesthetics. I do not care about the technical demands of directing cinema, or the possibilities presented to us through the medium. I have my own interests.
  All very well and good, you think, he has interests. The real point I wish to make is that, without these interests, I do not know what I would be. What if I cared about and for nothing? What would life be then?
  My students, I fear, do not often care about much. I see them in class, bored. I ask them about their lives, and their lives bore them. They feel sad and lonely and oppressed, everywhere oppressed, their main feelings ones of dislocation. They do not know where they fit or why, or for what reason they are here, or the reason they have been brought here. Their rebellion is fuzzy and weak but tries to repel almost everything.
  How can I make them care? How can I make them think, life must be solved, I must be solved, there are problems out here and I can make something of them for myself and others? What is the secret of this alchemy?
  I feel very sorry for them. They seem so lost, and in my job I do little to help them. All I can tell you is this - if you are put in an unhappy world, such as ours, problems seem so insurmountable that we do not see the value of attempting to solve them, we merely wish to cope with their demands. And so we slide into our sorry, self-flagellating states, needing to boost our 'self-esteem' - as if we are not selfish enough already! - needing to submit to therapies and interventions, needing the approval of others as we have not found how to give it to ourselves. We willingly give up the possibility of our understanding of ourselves if others make it easier for us, so we can slide into a young senility of inaction and steadily consume.
  But you cannot consume understanding and meaning, you must find it. My students, overwhelmingly, have not learned this. They have been hurt, so many of them, and they are bored and listless and traumatised by what this world has done to them, and they do not want to take part in the human project anymore.