Social Question

HungryGuy's avatar

Most people agree that it is wrong to discriminate in commerce, employment, and housing, but is it wrong to discriminate in personal intimate relationships?

Asked by HungryGuy (15944 points ) December 3rd, 2011

Most people agree that it is wrong to discriminate against people due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. in housing, employment, commerce, etc.

But what about personal intimate relationships? Is it wrong to reject someone as a possible sex partner for reasons of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, even if you otherwise believe in equal rights and equal opportunity in employment and commerce?

For example, is it wrong for a heterosexual male to reject a homosexual male as a potential intimate partner? Is it wrong for a Christian to reject a Jew as a potential intimate partner? Is it wrong for a cisgender male to reject a transgender female as a potential intimate partner? Is it wrong for a white person to reject a black person as a potential intimate partner?

I.e., should people be allowed their personal biases in intimate relationships, that are not (and should not) be tolerated in public business relationships?

Donning my flame-proof undies now :-p

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40 Answers

wilma's avatar

I don’t think it’s wrong to be free to choose intimate partners by whatever criteria that you wish. If you don’t have intimate feelings toward someone, then why would you want to have that kind of relationship with them?
I actually think some people would be wiser to be more discriminate in their choice of partners.

marinelife's avatar

Certainly not. Would it be wrong for you to have intimate relations with someone who didn’t appeal to you? It doesn’t matter why they don’t appeal to you.

zensky's avatar

I have to agree with the above posters – this was a a stretch @HungryGuy. We don’t even know exactly why we are attracted to one type of person or another. It’s not a conscious discrimination most of the time; it’s biology and chemistry.

HungryGuy's avatar

@zensky – It’s not so much of a stretch to some people. From my experience, most transgender people vehemently disagree with the above posters. A couple of years ago, I was viciously attacked by the transgender community in another question, called hateful and ignorant, for no other reason than because I answered that I (a straight male) am not attracted to transgender females, even though I said I otherwise believe in equal rights. Furthermore, almost all the transgender people sided with the person who attacked me or stayed silent, and none sided with me.

Of course, this question isn’t specifically about the cisgender/transgender rift. It’s about personal preference in intimate relationships across all types of personal bias. But that incident a couple of years ago is what prompted this question to sit in my notepad for the past year or so.

zenvelo's avatar

Discrimination amongst personal relationships is different from discrimination of public accommodation or public access.

Mariah's avatar

I feel weird about discriminating for things that aren’t a person’s fault, but if you’re not attracted you’re not attracted.

zensky's avatar

@HungryGuy You asked whether it is wrong to discriminate in personal intimate relationships. I think the question is misguided, and explained as much. Without going into whether Jewish is a race or simply a religion (you gave Jew as an example) I stand by the fact that our choice of partner is based on a lot of nature and nurture – and ultimately we make a chemistry/biological based choice – with some room for philosophy and intellectuality. But I would not call this discrimination. I might call this selection – but then, I have no problem with this term (despite the Holocaust connotation) for a private club may “select” whom to admit. You don’t like it – go elsewhere, I say.

Regarding the transgender comment – this is between you and whomever you had an argument with – I’d have to see the exact transcripts. But if you’d like my thoughts on this – then I think a transgender person can be, or not be, a potential partner for someone – and they don’t have to explain why or why not they are attracted or not.

An interesting question on this might be – what if a transgender person did not reveal they were indeed transgender – and the partner, thinking they were not only discovered this afterwards. That would be something to debate.

I have expressed my views on the subject over the years. I am no more or less prejudiced than the next guy. I try to be as colourblind to races and colours as I am actually colour blind. I am fine with Gays and Transgenders and everyone in between – because we do not choose these things – and who am I to judge anyway? God makes no mistakes. We are all just complex, silly little humans – trying to make a life for ourselves in this silly little world.

I don’t think I’ll debate this further – to each his own.

HungryGuy's avatar

@zensky – I asked the question because there are people who do believe that it’s wrong to discriminate (or select) in personal intimate relationships (and my mention of that past experience was simply to point out how I know that there are people who believe that it’s wrong, not to open old conflicts). Therefore, because there are people who believe that it’s wrong (even if they’re a small minority), I think it’s a reasonable question to ask and a reasonable issue to explore. That’s all. Peace :-)

cazzie's avatar

If there is one place you should be particularly discerning it is in who you select as an intimate partner.

NOTE: I said ‘discerning’.

I find some guys hot and I have no idea why. Some are Indian, black, brown, white with blue eyes…. I don’t have ‘a race’ that I find sexier than another. I have known people who do have that as a particular ‘prerequisite’ and I find it distasteful, but to each their own taste, said the cow as she licked her nose. (another saying from my Dad.) You know what, I said guys, but you could probably throw a few women in there as well. There are women that I am drawn to sexually and I don’t know why either.

I don’t think one should have many ‘prejudices’ in any thing they do. We discern. We have our own tastes. I think discriminating means excluding a particular group, beyond any reason, and it is different from being discerning which has more to do with taking something or someone as it is, and deciding upon it individually. (does that make any sense?).

wilma's avatar

Yes @cazzie and I like your term “discerning” better than “discriminating”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

We can try to regulate that kind of thing in the other arenas you mention. Not on the level of the individual though.

martianspringtime's avatar

Discrimination in employment (or housing, or anything else like that) is denying someone in a certain group (or groups) an opportunity that is afforded to all other people, not on the basis of them not being capable of handling it, but on the basis that they belong to said group.
Discrimination in intimate relationships is picking someone who you are attracted to and who you feel comfortable with. Not everyone in the world is going to be eligible to fill your standards (...probably). Not because they aren’t capable, but because they don’t attract you. You need to be attracted to a partner in an intimate relationship, but not in a professional one.

cazzie's avatar

@martianspringtime brings up a perfect point.

If I opened up myself to everyone with equal opportunity, that would make me one hell of a slut. And I’d have no time to myself. I’d be exhausted by the third day.

cazzie's avatar

I’m laughing, by the way.

Sunny2's avatar

Chemistry between people is somewhat of a mystery. It isn’t necessarily controllable. I think discrimination that is denied in the public arena is very different. You may not deny any one housing, opportunity, etc based on race, religion, etc. That is under your control. And you shouldn’t make decisions based on those factors. Face to face, considering a personal relationship, your gut feeling will be much more important, whatever it’s based on.

cheebdragon's avatar

Intimate relationships require attraction, you can’t control who you are attracted to, so how would that be considered discrimination?

flutherother's avatar

There is a difference between our private lives and our public lives. In our public lives we have to consider what is expected of us. We have to be seen to be fair. In our private lives we can do and be what we want.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I’ve always gotten the impression that certain things aren’t ok. Like when John Mayer said “My d*ck is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f*ckin’ David Duke c*ck.”, I didn’t get the impression that almost anyone was like “eh, you like what you like, and you can’t do anything about that, because, biology”. People seemed to react more with “dude, that’s kinda racist”. And maybe where on the Kinsey scale one lies is biological, but how one prefers pubic hair to be styled sure isn’t, and I’ve never gotten the feeling that it was at acceptable for people to say “that’s not how I like it styled, so we will not be having the sexy times”, so there is some line in which it’s not just biology forcing us against our will to be attracted to various things. I have gotten the impression that some people believe that it might be totally bigoted or discriminating or whatever to have these preferences, but that there’s not a whole lot anyone can do about it and the situation isn’t made better by forcing someone to be with someone whom they aren’t genuinely attracted to in the name of tolerance and acceptance (nor is it fair to the other person in the relationship to have to be with someone who isn’t attracted to them), but that’s a bit different from it not being bigoted or discriminating.

KoleraHeliko's avatar

I think the difference here is that someone’s livelihood doesn’t depend on me fucking them.

garb's avatar

I think all forms of discrimination should be allowed accept for those that do physical harm (violent attack). The line should be set at this point only.

HungryGuy's avatar

Ooooh! There’s somebody ^ who needs flame-proof undies around here :-p

cazzie's avatar

@HungryGuy .. haha.. I’ve got my flamethrower started already. This garb character thinks he can have it so that his children only live in a heterosexual world. Have you ever heard the likes?

HungryGuy's avatar

@cazzie – Yeah, I just saw his comment in Simone’s question. A hard-code Randian. Oh my!

garb's avatar

I’m not sure why you having such a fit over my personal choices which don’t affect you. It’s pretty creepy.

HungryGuy's avatar

@garb – I’m not having a fit. I merely observed that you’re a hard-core Randian, which you seem to be. Nothing wrong with that. As a former hard-core libertarian myself, I understand your views and your underlying logic. As you’re finding out, there are people here who will call you hateful and ignorant for opposing government coercion upon people acting peacefully and consensually. Now, as a pragmatist, I don’t totally agree with you. Recent events have demonstrated that “government coercion” is necessary, at least in commercial activities. It’s likely that you’re heard the phrase, “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.” IMO, some government regulation is necessary to block those wolves (Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and their ilk) from voting for what they want to have for lunch (various minorities).

garb's avatar

Oh, I was referring to cazzie.

I see what you mean though.

I disagree with you here. I think government coercion was the cause of recent events, and recent events were an example of the failure of government coercion.

bkcunningham's avatar

EDIT: Funny thing is , @HungryGuy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are private citizens and you advocate “some government regulation” that is necessary to block their ilk. That is scary.

HungryGuy's avatar

@bkcunningham – Aren’t Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum American right-wing politicians who vehemently oppose equal rights for LGBT folk under the law? That’s what I meant.

Or are you on @garb‘s side, and you think it’s scary to believe in equal rights?

cazzie's avatar

I think Hungryguy was talking about those men acting in their capacity as politicians and government officials.

bkcunningham's avatar

They are private citizens, former politicians, who are running for the Republican nomination for POTUS. I believe they both oppose federal legislation making same sex marriage legal in all states.

HungryGuy's avatar

@bkcunningham – Okay. So they’re private citizens at the moment, but they’re seeking positions in American government with the power to deny certain minorities equal rights under the law. I stand by my comment!

garb's avatar

What about the democrats that seek to deny wealthy folks equal rights under the law?
hint progressive taxation hint

Or how about affirmative action? That’s a two way street of discrimination. It’s implying that minorities are too dumb to get good jobs and pass requirements, and it also discriminates against whites who are more qualified for the job, but are denied due to the lack of minorities at the work force.

I just read an article not to long ago about minorities complaining how hard the mental and physical tests are at the fire-department. The state forced the department to lower testing standards so that minorities can pass, and even if they were unable to pass, a certain amount had to be present in the departments to avoid discrimination.

So instead of having the best man for the job, you have the worst man for the job, but at least we’re equal, right?

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t think their main goal is to deny LGBT or other minorities their rights, @HungryGuy. They are elected officials. Not everyone agrees with every representative’s agenda or goals. That is why we have elections.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@garb So, if all forms of discrimination should be allowed save for those that cause physical harm, why isn’t it ok for gays to discriminate against your rights as a wealthy person, but it is ok for you to discriminate against their rights as retaliation?

garb's avatar

They can, doesn’t mean I can’t fight back. However, if they want a truce, if they want to squash the battle, then they need to stop violating the rights of others. They cannot demand rights if they’re at the same time violating some other rights.

cazzie's avatar

Troll! I call troll. (I call young troll not out of high school yet. oh.. sorry.. PRIVATE high school yet.)

Aethelflaed's avatar

@cazzie I’m thinking, college frat boy who ran out of beer and needed entertaining.

zenvelo's avatar

@bkcunningham Santorum doesn’t oppose federal legislation making same sex marriage legal in all states, he (and Bachmann) actually want to pass a constitutional amendment that denies those rights even in states that recognize marriage equality.

Go google Santorum and click on the first link, you’ll see!

HungryGuy's avatar

@garb – Oh, how my heart bleeds for the billionaires who pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes so the rest of us don’t live in squalor.

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