Social Question

DominicX's avatar

Do you truly believe that gay people are equal to straight people in terms of their being?

Asked by DominicX (28777points) August 23rd, 2009

Odd question, I know, but bear with me; this is something I really want to know. A lot of you preach honesty, so I hope I get 110% honest answers to this question.

One time on AIROW (a site many of you have heard mentioned before), someone said something to the extent of “I wish I could round up all gay people and put them on an island and nuke it” due to their frustrations with flaming gay people. I thought the comment was appalling and spoke out against it. Almost everyone, including those who had shown themselves to support gay rights and equality and such, didn’t mind the comment and said I couldn’t take a joke.

In my darkest moments, bad thoughts about this kind of thing enter my mind. I remember in response to their response, I said “no matter how supportive straight people claim to be, they’re all still a little homophobic on the inside”. I didn’t mean that, of course; I was angry and hurt and I think stuff like that when all odds seem to be against me. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it’s something that happens to me sometimes and it’s something I have to fight. Similar to the urge to insult ad hominem. But I just want to know: do you truly think gay people are no different from straight people or does a small part of you think it’s wrong or weird or something along those lines?

This is not a flame question. I really want to know this.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

135 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

does a gay man or woman feel love in any different of a fashion as their straight counterparts?

it’s a non issue with me.

trumi's avatar

I think that personal issues we have with our own sexuality can make us homophobic, and that men especially are guilty of this, but that doesn’t mean we are all naturally homophobic. Hopefully a time will come when we can view all sexualities as acceptable natural phenomenons and not resort to taking it so personally.

drdoombot's avatar

Coming from a traditional upbringing, yeah, I think it’s a little disconcerting. But so what? I’m sure if I had a gay friend or two, any lingering feelings of weirdness would melt away. Gay people should have the same rights as everyone else and shouldn’t be heckled. And goddammit, give the orphans to the gay couples! Having two fathers or two mothers is infinitely better than not having one of either!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I try to treat everyone the same. If I have a dislike for someone, whether they are gay, or Mexican or black or white or whatever, it isn’t because of their race or their sexual preference, or whatever defining trait one would think it the root of my dislike, it is because they are acting in a non-likable way. They are behaving like jerks.

Some Christians I like, some I wish would just die or at least move to the southern hemisphere (someone tell them Antartica is nice this time of year~). Some atheists I like, some I wish would just shut the fuck up already.

I have been called racist for not liking my Mexican neighbor, but his Mexican-ness isn’t what I don’t like about him, what I find disagreeable with him is that he is an asshole that has let his house become a run-down shack, but he has a very nice car with expensive rims and a thumpity-thump stereo that had to cost thousands. I get along just fine with my other two Mexican neighbors, so obviously, there is something other than race involved.

Some women I like, some I think are C***S, some guys I like, others I can’t stant to be around at all, and some gays and lesbians I like, some, not so much. It just varies.

I really try to treat everyone equally, unless they piss me off, then I just say fuck ‘em.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Of course they are! I’ve never understood the vehemence against gay people. It’s like if everyone was up in arms about people with freckles. Some people naturally have freckles. What is the big deal? Why take so personally things that have no bearing on one’s life?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@aprilsimnel but don’t you know, people with freckles will recruit all the young children to have freckles, and then they will outnumber us non-freckled folks, and when they are in the majority, they will take our right to be non-freckled away. If God wanted people to have freckles, Adam and Eve would have been Irish!

wildpotato's avatar

I believe in what Kinsey wrote: that sexuality is like a scale from 0–6, 0 as pure hetero; 6 as pure homo. He said that from his thousands of sexual history interviews, that the vast majority of people fall somewhere in the middle. From Wiki, Kinsey wrote: “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.” So I think that there is no clearly defined line between the categories “gay” and “straight.”

At any rate, I find it hard to think about the question in the way you have framed it – the way I’m looking at things, equality between groups can’t really come up if those groups are like a mostly overlapping Venn Diagram.

As to whether people who believe that they fall firmly into the latter category think that what everyone else does is immoral – that’s based on the false premise that you apparently? also take to be true: that the groups are clearly defined. “Straight” people have no business applying labels and then either enforcing or denying rights based on those labels. It reminds me of something I was just reading in a Derrida text: “Within the history of rights or law and the concept of the legal subject, the subject of rights and duties, within the history of the concept of the subject that is inseparable from it, one particular sequence is decisive for our time…That sequence…turns out to have determined a certain concept of the subject, which, while founding law and right, will have led at the same time to the denial of all rights…or rendered radically problematic any declaration of rights” (The Animal That Therefore I Am, p. 88).

rooeytoo's avatar

Yep I think they are equal and no different than any other human being, some I like and some I don’t.

I do think though there are a lot of people in this world who don’t share that opinion. But you know what honest Abe said, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. So don’t worry, there are some you wouldn’t get along with no matter what.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

It isn’t false. I am attracted to males. I have never been attracted to females. I cannot see myself in a relationship with a female. Therefore, I have a right to call myself gay.

@rooeytoo

I agree with that and I know I can’t please everybody. I just hope that as time goes on, more and more people will accept it. I was mainly referring to the hypocrisy (yep, there’s the H-word that I hate more than anything else in the world) of people who claim to support gays and then turn their back on them when a gay person annoys them or something along those lines. It’s fickle half-assed support.

@aprilsimnel

I don’t understand the vehemence against gay people either. Sometimes it just really gets me down. Why do people care whom I’m attracted to?

Jeruba's avatar

What? Yes, of course. I can’t say “no different” because the difference is exactly what you’re asking about. But equal in personhood and the fullness of humanity, yes, beyond any doubt.

I understand your dark thoughts, though. Sometimes I harbor such worries in other regards. For instance, a strain of anti-intellectualism seems to cut across all ethnicities and sexual orientations. I remember how intellectuals were condemned in Nazi Germany, rounded up and shot in Cambodia. I could cite other examples, but one is enough. Even though there’s been no systematic persecution or legalized discrimination, it can be subtle and just as insidious.

However, for the most part I do treat those as dark thoughts and don’t let them guide my everyday interactions. Individual specimens notwithstanding, I do try to sustain my faith in humanity as a whoile because I don’t know how we’d function without it.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

“Equal” to straight people? In that they are every bit as interesting, valuable, intelligent, commonplace, ignorant, biased, stupid, selfish, reasonable, ugly, low-brow, beautiful, clever, expressive, demanding, outspoken, and ostentatious as straight people?

Yes.

DominicX's avatar

@Jeruba Same, and I am generally an optimistic person.

@Jeruba @peyton_farquhar

And I know the difference is what I am talking about, the sexual orientation. I meant “no different” and “equal” as in not inherently wrong or weird because of their sexual orientation.

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX Sorry, I think I may not have made myself entirely clear. Added a few things to my first paragraph; perhaps that may show better what I meant. I had absolutely no intention of saying that the labels gay and straight ought to be done away with. It’s possible that one would have to be acquainted with the ideas behind Derridean and Levinasian concepts of doing violence to concepts to understand what I am saying; my bad.

the really short, bastardized version: I meant that the application of said labels involves appropriating the Other in her independent existence as wholly Other. Otherness means that another person is not totally knowable and conceivable by you. To categorize someone as anything is to do violence to them, to say that they _are conceivable by you, for the purpose of controlling them in some way.

I was trying to emphasize that sexuality is a continuum, and doing a bad job of it. I do know that we call males that are attracted to other males and not females gay. I just mean that human sexuality is infinite in it’s variation, and is infinitely malleable. There are purely straight people and purely gay people – I think I have met 2 or 3. Or maybe I just went to a really, insanely wild college where everyone was coincidentally bi – to me, it just seems like, from what Kinsey says and from a good deal of personal experience, that sexual categories are pretty squiggly.

All this is to say, yes of course, anyone who identifies as gay is absolutely equal to anyone who identifies as straight. It’s baffling that people who identify as straight should be able to poke their noses into issues like marriage and child adoption. What damn business is it of anyone else’s?

dalepetrie's avatar

I believe as humans with a particular amount of intelligence, skill, and unique human perspective, who you find yourself sexually attracted to is no more than a feature like hair or eye color. I believe that homosexuals often display certain characteristics which make them stand out in qualitative ways, usually in regards to their interests, mannerisms, etc., but that’s the same way women stand out from men in qualitative ways. For me to think gays were better or worse than straights, I’d have to also believe that men were better or worse than women.

I don’t think sexual preference is “inherently wrong” if it is not the societal norm. Homosexuality manifests itself in the non-human animal kingdom all the time. I simply think there are psychological aspects to sexual attraction which vary from person to person, the same way skin, hair and eye color, bone structure, height, weight, etc. vary from person to person

augustlan's avatar

A resounding YES.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Personally, I could care less if anyone is homosexual or heterosexual… I don’t think it defines who a person is at all. My denomination believes it is wrong, but I personally feel it is blown out of proportion sometimes within the church. Because also in my denomination, a “small” sin by human standards is equal to a “large” sin by human standards in the eyes of God.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

@DominicX Love between two people on equal terms is never perverted.

As an aside, do not take what this internet person said seriously. People say things they would never say in public or to anyone’s face without the veil of anonymity the internet provides. It’s easy to say inflammatory and politically incorrect things in a chat room just for the lol’s. Many people in this room are guilty of it.

DominicX's avatar

@peyton_farquhar I know, I just don’t like it when people turn to generalized insults when one person from a “group” annoys them, such as what @evelyns_pet_zebra said about the Mexican neighbor he doesn’t like. Some people would take that annoying Mexican neighbor and turn it into a statement against all Mexicans or something.

Anyway, thanks for your guys’ answers. This has been my last question asked as a child. Three years of being on sites like these as a kid come to an end. Tomorrow is my 18th birthday and I’m actually going to leave right now with my friends and do a few last things. :)

Keep rockin’.

-Dominic Dimitar Insertlastnamebutnotgoingtoforsecurityreasons. :)

augustlan's avatar

Happy Birthday, Dominic!

rooeytoo's avatar

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR DOMINIC,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

AstroChuck's avatar

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Dominic!

(Your birthday is already half over where @rooeytoo is.)

peyton_farquhar's avatar

HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

where in the world is @rooeytoo?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Happy birthday, Dominic!

Nially_Bob's avatar

I would not refer to myself as having conciously ‘accepted’ homosexuals so much as simply having little care about the entire matter of homosexuality. Should a person feel sexually attracted to the same sex then so be it, so long as such does not and will not interfere with my life in any negative vein I cannot comprehend a rational reason to take issue with it.
To more directly answer the question, yes, it seems disordinary to me to think otherwise.

Jeruba's avatar

@DominicX, I gave you 100% honesty, as requested. Now I’ll give you the other 10%.

The attitude I have now, which I expressed above, is not the way I always felt. As you may know, I was your age quite a long time ago. As I was growing up, in the normal homogeneous white suburbia of the American Northeast, there was no help with understanding such differences. When I was in high school the term “gay” had not even come into popular use, although it was known in some subcultures. Homosexuals were perverts, blacks were Negroes, it was ok to make jokes about people of any minority, and women were supposed to stay home and be mommies. Educating an entire culture in seeing our similarities more than our differences has been an enormous task and has actually made phenomenal progress in these few decades. My own understanding has advanced a little faster than that of the average citizen, perhaps, but I think our culture as a whole has come a very long way in a relatively short time.

The first time I met a woman I knew to be gay, I was frightened and sickened, and I thought she might somehow contaminate me. By a couple of decades later, as many people came out into the open with their sexuality, I knew so many gay people of both sexes, of all ages and backgrounds, both single and in relationships, that there was no longer an “us” and “them” in my mind. It was easy to see that we were all the same, all just people, different in this way and that, alike in the other. No more education needed. But it wasn’t instantaneous; it did take some time as I unlearned the biases I was brought up with.

Sometimes we do have to give people time to get used to things and treat them kindly as they go through their changes.

rooeytoo's avatar

Yep it is Monday the 24th 4:12 pm. I am at work and I have a fresh cold so I am taking antihistamines which tend to make me even crazier than usual. They make me sleepy and restive at the same time. I just sneezed so loudly I scared my dog!

Can you imagine catching a cold in the tropics????

@peyton_farquhar – I am in the Northern Territory of Australia, the land where crocs rule and women glow and men plunder or chunder or something like that!

MissAnthrope's avatar

Uh, yes. We are all human beings; the same species, the same general makeup, capable of feeling the same things. No one is less or more because of skin color, sexual orientation, intelligence, culture, whatever.

Honestly, the things humans do to other humans, I find appalling.

Jack79's avatar

“do you truly think gay people are no different from straight people or does a small part of you think it’s wrong or weird or something along those lines?”

If you put it this way, and since you asked me to be 110% honest, then yes, a small part of me thinks they’re weird, and doesn’t get the whole thing. But the big part of me thinks that, as long as they’re not harming me, what they do in bed is none of my business.

You see, I don’t see gay people as defined by their gayness. Honestly. One of my best friends is gay, and I never think of him as “my gay friend” unless questions like yours come up. I don’t think of him as “my friend who is a Taurus” or “my friend who’s a receptionist” either. I think of him as my very intelligent and witty friend, who also happens to be a series of things, including gay.

I also have another friend (not as close) who used to be a drag queen. He is defined by his homosexuality. When people think “gay”, they think of him. He talks about nothing else than sex, the whole time. Now that guy is weird. If he were a woman he’d be a slut. So yes, in that case I cannot help but think of him in terms of his sexuality.

I think that, as a society, we make a big deal about all this, and create a vicious circle. We define gay people as “gay” (rather as “people”), and in turn force them into defining themselves as “gay”. We do the same with other groups too: the foreigners, the blacks, the blind, the mentally retarded…the list is endless. Everyone in fact is defined by their individuality. And this eventually leads to the self-awareness of that individuality.

You are a typical example of this. You even mention it in your profile, iirc. And half your questions here on fluther are about that. If you (and everyone else who happens to be gay) were always discussing football, politics, cooking or religion instead, people might forget you are gay. But as I said, you are brought up with that label, and you spend the rest of your life re-attaching it.

PS: hey! Happy Birthday! :)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

For a large segment of society, there is a need for homogeneity. If you’re like me, and think like me then I’m okay. This explains in part the need for organized religion, and certainly explains both the popularity of Sarah Palin, and the revile of Democrats for neocons. People want to belong to some form of collective think, because belonging to a group makes you “okay.”

For people who are strongly heterosexual, the idea that someone could be sexually attracted to someone of the same gender is unfathomable, and therefore “wrong.” It’s a sorting process—like me/not like me. This is at core the vestiges of tribalism.

Do I personally think gay people are equal to others in their being? Absolutely. People belong to more than one group in the sorting process, and sexual orientation is the least important characteristic or trait that defines a person.

noodle_poodle's avatar

what a mad question..in my opinion all people are equal unless they try to forcibly take choices away from others….oh and cross stitcher’s ..they arnt people at all and should be shunned accordingly

dynamicduo's avatar

Yes, I truly believe that all gay people are equal to straight people. In both groups you find annoying ones, smart ones, loud ones, quiet ones, et cetera. I do not believe that one’s sexuality makes them in any way lesser people.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Why should it make someone any less than another? We’re all different.

MissAusten's avatar

Agree with all of the above! ^^^^^^ I can’t say it any better than it’s already been said!

Also, Happy Birthday Dominic! I hope you get to enjoy it fully.

breedmitch's avatar

Gay people are not equal to straight people.
We are superior!~

casheroo's avatar

To me they are equal. It’s honestly not even something that crosses my mind, until I come across someone that doesn’t view them as equal..and it just boggles my mind. I mean, people are people. It’s painful to know people can be so hateful.

happy birthday!

Quagmire's avatar

Sad truth be told, the only way you will ever find out what people REALLY think with certainty is if you learn to read minds. You (as well as others, gay or straight) will someday probably appear before a hiring manager who, because it is against the law for him to be racist, or prejudiced, or whatever, will never admit to it but will still act on it and not hire you for the job for all the wrong reasons. Ask ANY minority member.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Yes, I truely believe that we are all equal. My best friend came out as a lesbian when we were 16 years old (we are now 23) and she went through A LOT of shit because of other peoples pathetic opinions. She fought through and stood up for what she believed in and now (for the most part) she is a happier, stronger person for it. Because of this I have an added respect for her that (although she has been my friend since we were 8 years old) I didn’t have for the first part of our friendship.

I probably shouldn’t say this and I don’t want to offend anyone but I often find that gay people (and I know A LOT!) are the most genuine of all the people I know

Like @casheroo I am appalled when I come across someone who doesn’t believe that gay and straight people are equal to each other.

KatawaGrey's avatar

First of all, happy birthday! 18 was a good year for me and I hope it will be for you as well!

I think that how people feel about anything out of the ordinary can be traced back to upbringing and environment. Two examples to illustrate what I mean:

My mother spent all of her summers growing up on Fire Island. For those of you not near New York, it is a glorified sand spit just South of Long Island and it is very much like the East Coast’s San Francisco. Almost every community is defined by the large gay population. Because of this, my mom didn’t realize that it was socially unacceptable to be gay until she was in college. Needless to say, she thought it was absolutely ridiculous and didn’t understand why. I believe this is because she had been so exposed to a gay-as-positive-and-normal environment growing up.

My second example:

As most of you know, I am a gamer. I play Magic the Gathering chiefly and there is this one card shop in particular my boyfriend and I go to on a regular basis. Well, we had heard about this one guy that nobody really liked and we were wary of meeting of him. He’d been described as annoying and loud and generally unpleasant. finally, we met him. He was no louder than anyone else who frequented the store. Nor was he more annoying or less friendly or any of the other things he’d been described as. When my boyfriend and I left, neither of us could understand why this guy wasn’t liked. Well, it turns out he’s gay. I believe this made these other guys uncomfortable because nerds tend to be somewhat insecure about their own sexualities. A gay man most certainly would make them call their own sexuality into question.

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

You’re making the fatal assumption that I don’t want to identified as gay and I want people to forget it. That is false. Because that would mean that people can just ignore the issue and forget that we don’t have equal rights. That would mean that people can just ignore the fact that we are treated as second-class citizens by many people and there are still those out there would love to kill gay people if they had the opportunity. It’s nice to ignore the problem, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Since there is still a problem, there is no way people can ignore it. I am interested in the issues that homosexuals face since I am going to have to be dealing with them the rest of my life and so that’s why I discuss them. There are people who would see me and my boyfriend in public and think “how disgusting” or think that we’re flaunting our sexuality and shoving it down people’s throats just by coming out in public. And why would I care to take advice from someone who still thinks it’s weird? It’s not weird and that shows that your mindset is still a little bit backward. No offense, but it’s true. I’m going to be honest too.

@everyone who said Happy Birthday

Thanks to you all! :)

DominicX's avatar

And furthermore, I shouldn’t have defended the type of questions I ask because I don’t have to defend the type of questions I ask and neither does anyone else here. I ask what I’m interested in and I assume that’s what everyone else does as well.

@Jack79

Additionally, I also mention classical music, dancing, geography, linguistics, mountain biking, and all the other things I am interested in. But you don’t care about that because all you can see is the “homosexual” part and it immediately turns you off. I’m sorry I don’t impress you, but you don’t impress me either.

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX I think @KatawaGrey gave a great example of where you live many times has an influence on how people think. Not sure where you live, but if there seems to be many people who are not accepting, you might want to consider moving to a place that is. If you don;t live around many gay people it is very a different, a different life, when you are surrounded by people who are similar to you.

DominicX's avatar

@JLeslie

I live in San Francisco, the most liberal city in the world. I was referring to this nation in general and this world in general. In Iran, you are executed for homosexual activity. Just because I live in a liberal area and spend time on a liberal site, doesn’t mean I’m going to be fooled into thinking the rest of the world is like this and that homosexuality is a non-issue. It’s not a non-issue. It’s an extremely important and vital issue.

ubersiren's avatar

I absolutely think gay people are equal. I don’t know if it has anything to do with growing up around gay people my whole life. My absolute 2 best friends on Earth (with whom I share stories of poop, financial struggle, and masturbatory habits) are gay. It doesn’t even cross my mind that they, or any other homosexuals would not be equal to me. We’re all equal. I have a hard time understanding how people don’t think so. It makes my brain explode.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@ubersiren It becomes easier to understand when you live in a conservative society. I’m raised in a conservative society, and there are times when I hear my sister go that somethings “so gay”, then says “Ewwwwww….”. The world needs a lot more understanding, IMO.

DominicX's avatar

@Saturated_Brain

I agree completely that the world needs more understanding.

@ubersiren

I’m glad you grew up like that and believe me, sometimes it feels like my brain just wants to explode as well. I didn’t even grow up around gay people. I just had the pleasure of turning out gay.

Unfortunately for some people, what we have in these liberal areas is “good enough”. It’s not good enough for me. I remember someone asked a question about what you would die for and I said “nothing”. That is no longer true. I would die for this cause and I would die protecting people like my boyfriend who is innocent and completely harmless and just happens to be gay. I can’t even picture him discussing this subject like this.

tinyfaery's avatar

Most people say they aren’t racist or sexist or homophobic, and consciously they are not, but many people harbor old perceptions, and many are just not aware of how some of their opinions and attitudes are offensive to others.

My best friends and family still say and do things that are discrimanatory and prejudical. The only way to combat it is to call people on it. Unfortunately, those who are not LGBT don’t always have the desire or the ammunition to confront others
on their prejudices. A lot of times, there is too much at stake.

Jack79's avatar

@DominicX this is what I meant about society sticking that label. Each and every one of us has several. If I see you in the street walking with your boyfriend, I might find it weird, because I haven’t seen it all that much. I might also find it cute. And yes, if I see you kissing, I might find it disgusting, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a homophobic, because I might find it equally disgusting to see you kissing a girl. I might also find it weird to see a woman with a lot of facial hair (and might even stare) or someone extremely tall. However, I would not want to kill any of these people, and certainly not you.

As for extremists: yes, they do exist. And you cannot ignore them if they really exist in your area. The other day I was walking down the street and got beaten up by four people, in broad daylight, in the middle of a busy road. I went to the police station and nothing happened. I am not gay, I am not black, I am not particularly “different” in any obvious way. What I mean to say is shit happens, and of course we should be aware of it. The problem was not that I was gay. It was that these people were violent. Perhaps if you lived in my neighbourhood they would have picked on you instead, and used your homosexuality as an excuse. But still, they are the problem, not you. (incidentally those same people attacked an Albanian a couple of years ago, because of his nationality)

Should you ignore real problems that you are faced in your everyday life as a result of your sexuality? No. But overall, should this be the only defining characteristic of your whole personality? You contradict yourself, when you say you mention other things in your profile, yet want to be defined by homosexuality. I did not say you don’t mention other things in your profile, and as I have told you in private, I also like you as a person and think you are interesting and intelligent. What I am saying however is that this whole issue for me is social, rather than biological. And I sometimes feel that gay people are allowing themselves to be victimised by making their sexuality a big deal (which is exactly what the “enemy” wants).

So what’s my stance? I disagree with Milk (there was a scene in the film where there was a huge discussion about whether gay rights are human rights). I agree with Freddie Mercury, and his attitude of being first and foremost a good singer, and not making a big fuss about his sexuality (but at the same time he never hid it). And I am not going to allow anyone to call me a “homophobe” for this. All I’m saying is that if I were gay, I’d be more like the latter than the former, that’s all. But I’m not gay so it doesn’t matter as much for me.

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

I didn’t say I wanted to be defined by my sexuality. But you’re acting like I should just hide and act like it’s no big deal because it’s a non-issue. It’s not a non-issue. The fact that gay people are still looked on with contempt from people because they are gay shows that it’s not a non-issue. What of Matthew Shepard? What of the fact that gays are still not allowed to marry in most places in the world? What of the fact that in places like Iran, people are executed for homosexual acts? What of the fact that there are people who won’t hire me because I’m gay and there are people who don’t mind straight people holding hands in public but are disgusted by the sight of two men doing it?

I’m just saying I disagree with you. I’m allowed to disagree with you. I have my own opinions and they’re not the same as yours. I’m gay, I live it every day, it’s not the same as someone who isn’t gay. I’m not about pleasing the enemy. I’m not about calming the enemy. I’m about destroying the enemy (no, not killing, I mean making it so that there aren’t going to be anymore people who hate gay people because they’re gay or prejudge them because they’re gay).

You are defining me by my sexuality. Choose to do that if you wish, you but you are making a grave mistake.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I truly believe that we’re all equal. If I had my way… Bigots wouldn’t exist anymore. I’d like to take them to an island and nuke them. But, one can only dream.

ubersiren's avatar

@DominicX : The “good enough” attitude that some people have is not good enough for me. I cringe when I hear our leaders say that they are for “civil unions.” I cringe when I hear people say “I don’t have anything against gay people as long as they don’t ____.”

@Saturated_Brain : They society I grew up in was actually quite conservative. Hillbilly and backwards as they come, actually. I was just lucky to have found my friends early in life, and discover that they were gay while my opinions of things were still being realized. It was a huge struggle to be accepted in my town for hanging with the gays. I moved to Baltimore over 5 years ago. I had been working in my hometown as a bartender. The owners were sad to see me go, and tried to get me to stay by saying “You know how many black people are in Baltimore? In the summer their stink blows all over you. And all the bars are AIDS bars.” My leaving was justified after that. My parents never gave me an opinion on people one way or another, and I didn’t fall into the hate crowd growing up.

Jack79's avatar

@DominicX It’s fine to disagree, what would this world be like if we all agreed? Besides, the arguments I am making are valid arguments that have been made over the years by many people within the gay community. I don’t think that they are invalidated by the fact that I’m not gay, and I don’t think that any of the gay people who would agree with me should be kicked out either.

I think that you’re confusing two different issues. The issue of violence is real, and I never said you should ignore it. But violence in society is an extreme act that is directed towards people who are considered “different” and sometimes not even them. It has nothing to do with homosexuality. Yes, you are targetted “because of your homosexuality”, but the issue of violence should be addressed anyway, and it exists everywhere, and is directed at various people. Here in Europe (or at least the places I’ve lived) I’ve never heard of a hate crime against homosexuals, but violence is just as real (and usually directed towards immigrants).

The fact that you are discriminated at work, or overall lead a life that is not in every way equal is an entirely different issue. I never said you should hide your sexuality. But guess what? I don’t walk around holding my girlfriend’s hand either. And I don’t make a fuss about it. It’s not about that at all. The question of identity is a personal and social issue, and even though it might seem to be loosely connected with social violence, in fact it isn’t. In a society where everyone was straight, the violence would still exist. In a society where everyone was gay, the discrimination wouldn’t.

As far as I’m concerned, you can do whatever you want with your life. I’m not against you, in fact I sympathise with your cause. I’m not trying to shut you up or make you disappear. What I’m suggesting (exactly because I don’t have to face your problems, and therefore can see things more objectively) is a route that I believe would work better from all sides. I think the problem of labelling someone as gay (I choose to call it a “problem”, you can call it a “trophy” if you want) is that it ignores all other aspects of their personality, and sees the person as flat. The implication of this (and nobody dares say it out loud, but let’s be honest finally) is that people who are gay should supposedly be “ashamed” of this label. And I’m sure a lot of gay people have felt that way in their own families (maybe even you, Dominic). As a reaction to this, the gay community has gone to the other extreme of being “proud” to be gay, even having such things as a “Gay Pride” parade, which to me is defeating a series of arguments made for gay rights over the years. If homosexuality is an achievement, then this automatically means that it’s a choice, which it isn’t. Because if you could choose to be gay or straight, I’m pretty sure you’d rather be straight (unless you enjoy discrimination, violence and teasing, in which case stop complaining). You see, this whole argument leads us down a dangerous path. And then you ask something like “are straight and gay people equal?”. Hell no! Gay people are “proud to be gay”. Or are we going to say “proud despite of being gay”? Which again would mean that homosexuality is something to be ashamed of? Tricky eh?

For me (and most biologists) homosexuality is something you’re born with. It exists in the animal kingdom, and nobody’s 100% sure how it works but it’s probably hormonal. It’s not something you can really change. Sure, you could choose to have sex with women, but you’d never be entirely happy. So there. Also, some people are born with black hair, like me, others are blonde. I could probably dye my hair, but I wouldn’t be happy either.

Is it the same? No, I agree it’s not. There are blonde jokes, but none as nasty as gay jokes. And very few people have been attacked (or lost jobs) because of their hair. So I agree with you that on a personal level it is something that worries you. And of course I couldn’t care less because I don’t have to deal with it (instead, I have to deal with a bunch of criminals who kidnapped my daughter, so you’re welcome to swap places with me anyday). But as a heterosexual I’m interested in the long-term social implications of all this. I’d like to see a world where your choice of sexual parters (men, women, blondes, fat, tall…) would not affect how I see you. And above all it would not affect how you’d see yourself. I’d like to hear people say something like “hi, I’m Dominic. I’m a republican, I like pizza, I play football and like skiing and horror movies…oh and I prefer to have sex with men”. Not hide it. But not let it consume you either.

tinyfaery's avatar

Heteros are the norm. They do not have to admit to what they are. And don’t think that a picture of your opposite sex partner, wedding ring, using the term fiancé doesn’t denote your sexuality. You don’t know what it’s like to be invisible regarding your sexual preference.

Jack79's avatar

@tinyfaery I’d think the problem would actually be to be visible?

btw I agree marriage laws are not fair – marriage should become illegal for straights too ;)

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

Uh huh, and the arguments I make are just as valid and there are many gay people who would agree with me. You assume that it consumes me, but it doesn’t. The problem lies with the way you see me and other gay people. You assume that because I choose to put that I am homosexual in my profile that it consumes me. But that is not true. On my profile on AIROW, I included also that I had blue eyes and blond hair. That was before I posted a picture of myself and I wanted people to be able to picture me without me having to post a picture of myself as I was concerned about security. I took that portion of the description out because it’s no longer needed now that I use pictures of me. I also described how I was short and small. That was in the description not too long ago. I took it out because Fluther doesn’t allow a very long description of yourself, a mini-bio is supposed to remain mini.

So instead I choose to include what I view are the most important things about me. Instead of having people wonder if I’m gay or not, I just decide to include it in my profile to remove all doubt associated with that, since before on websites that I have been on, a girl was surprised to find out after a couple months of knowing me that I was gay; I hadn’t included it on my profile on that website.

Walking around holding your partner’s hand is a choice that you make. I have every right to make that choice. I enjoy walking around holding my boyfriend’s hand. I see straight couples do it all the time and it does not bother me. I’ve seen gay couples do it before (I do live in San Francisco, remember?) and it does not bother me. I am not squeamish when it comes to PDA. That’s just who I am and I can’t change it. I’m not “supposed” to be bothered by people expressing their love in public. I’m not even bothered by people making out in public, though I wouldn’t do it myself. But I should be able to hold my partner’s hand if I want to and I do. My problem is the hypocrisy of thinking that a straight couple holding hands in public is okay, but a gay couple doing it is wrong or “flaunting” as I’ve heard some people put it. That is something that I want to eliminate; that is part of my “cause”.

I am not speaking of random violence; I am speaking of violence against a person because they are gay. Which does happen. In a world where everyone was openly gay, there wouldn’t be violence directed against people because they are gay. I am speaking of hate crimes, of people who hate people because of their sexual orientation and react violently to it.

Labeling someone as gay does not ignore all other aspects of their personality. That’s where we disagree. You may ignore all other aspects of a person’s personality when they label themselves as gay; I do not do that. For me, it would be like someone saying they were bisexual, bi-polar, blond, married, etc. I am not ashamed of being gay and I do not care if other people find out. Like I said, I am trying to placate the enemy, I am trying to obliterate the mindset that they have.

Topics relating to gays are things that I am interested in; I enjoy discussing them and I enjoy fighting for their rights. For them and for other people, I let people know that I myself am gay and that I have personal experience with it, which, like it or not, is different than someone without personal experience with it.

Gay pride is not about claiming that being gay is an accomplishment. Do you know what “black pride” is? Black pride was created because of the fact that black people were being legally discriminated against and illegally discriminated against in this country. Black pride was a way to show people that they should not be ashamed of being black; it was a way for them to feel good about themselves and stick together. The same thing goes for gay pride; it’s not about accomplishing anything, it’s about feeling good about yourself and not being ashamed. Pride is the opposite of shame.

I do not know where homosexuality comes from; it has not been proven. But I know it is a not a choice. I chose nothing. Being proud of being gay doesn’t mean that you’re glad you made the right choice, it means that you are not ashamed of it. Pride in opposition to shame. It means that you feel good about yourself despite the fact that there are plenty of people out there who want you to feel bad about yourself because of the fact that you are gay.

I refuse.

casheroo's avatar

@tinyfaery :( That doesn’t seem fair at all. I’m sorry.

Jack79's avatar

My opinion about “black pride” is exactly the same. You said it yourself, that “pride is the opposite of shame”. That’s exactly the point I was making. You just flip the argument on its head, but it’s in reality the same argument. This is where we essentially disagree. Because I don’t think gay people should feel pride, shame, guilt (or eventually fear and frustration) for what they are. And the rest of us should feel neither disgusted nor amazed. You are no more a freak show than you are a wonder of nature. Nothing to fear or ridicule, but also nothing to admire. It is only when you are seen as “normal” (and you see your own self as “normal”) that there will be true sexual equality. Because let’s face it, it’s not really about the hate crimes. It’s about the everyday “background” nastiness, the weird looks when you’re walking down the street, the whispering behind your back, the odd feeling when you walk into a supermarket. I don’t have to be gay to know all this, I’ve been a foreigner anywhere I’ve lived and know what I’m talking about.

As for your profile, you are just making assumptions about me making assumptions about you. You don’t have to prove anything to me. I understand perfectly well where you stand, I also understand why it’s normal for you to answer questions about homosexuality. Hey, I keep answering these questions even though I’m not a homosexual (for me they are interesting because I see them as questions of social identity). You are the one that stated it defines you. What I said is exactly what you mentioned in your last post: that it shouldn’t. That it should be one of many characteristics. Not that it should be hidden, not that it should be focused on. Your profile is fine as it is, I’d probably write the exact same things in your position. When we are asked to define ourselves, we have to pick 5–10 words to describe a complex human being. There’s nothing wrong in starting with “gay, tall, drives a truck”. I’d probably write “dad, artistic, currently depressed”. I never said you were doing something wrong. What I said is that society (and NOT me as you imply) forces you to wear that label above everything else throughout your life, and then you fall into that trap by making sure it doesn’t ever fall off. Which is not the same as saying you should tear off all labels, or stop describing yourself.

To go back to my two gay friends: the one has chosen a more low-tone approach. I never know who he’s dating, even though I see him all the time (I know most of his gay friends, but he never tells me whether the guy he’s going to meet is just a friend who also happens to be gay or his current boyfriend). He chooses not to talk to me about sex, and I never ask. He hasn’t officially told his parents, though I’m pretty sure they know by now. He works as a receptionist, dresses like a man and talks like a man. Ok, I guess in a way he’s hiding it. Not in the paranoid sense of pretending to like women or denying it, but he probably wouldn’t hold hands in the street.

The other is extravagant in every way. He is very theatrical, often talks and dresses like a woman, keeps mentioning his sexuality every chance he gets, makes constant sex jokes and is full of innuendos. He makes a pass at any guy he meets, straight or gay, and changes partners as often as possible. My problem with him (apart from the fact that he keeps making passes at me when I’ve made it clear I’m not interested) is that all this makes him flat. The glare of the huge neon lights shouting “gay” doesn’t allow you to see anything else he might have to offer as a person. All conversations with him end up being about homosexuality (whereas conversations with my other friend are about everything else except that).

There is a third guy I know which could be considered somewhere in the middle. He worked for my dad. He told his family about it, but not my dad (not that it would matter, and my dad is not that stupid anyway). My dad owns a school, and all the students knew about this guy, which was a bit problematic in the sense that kids didn’t respect him as much and made jokes about him. Of course a much bigger problem was that he was simply crap as a teacher, and nobody passed their exams. He lost the job exactly because of that and not his homosexuality (my dad is very cool about such things, and school policy was to punish any student who showed disrespect towards him). I think he also knows that he was not discriminated against by the school, but at the same time the kids themselves may have been pretty nasty at times (each carrying the family’s prejudice to school everyday). His biggest problem of course is that, even though his mum accepted his individuality, his older brother didn’t (they don’t have a dad). There is a huge fight in that family because of that.

None of these people have been particularly targetted socially, though the second guy gets teased a lot, especially when he dresses up as a woman.

(sorry that this was longer than I originally expected, I hope it’s not too boring)

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

And I like I said, I disagree. There is nothing wrong with feeling pride about who you are and about the facets of who you are. Pride in the sense of gay pride and black pride serves a function beyond that, though. Black pride’s function was to hold black people together and to show that they shouldn’t be ashamed in the face of discrimination. Gay pride has the same function. Gay pride especially has the ability to spread awareness when many people are ignorant about homosexuality and homosexuals. If no one cared about whom people attracted to and if no one discriminated against homosexuals, there wouldn’t be gay pride. Anyway, like you said, we disagree on that and we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

I did not state it defined me. We can argue about this all day, but I did not state that. I said it was an important part of me and it is an important part of what I am intersted in and therefore I feel I can include in something like a profile online. I did not state it defined me.

I don’t think I should tear off all labels because labels are a way of putting order into a chaotic world. I don’t want it to fall off; I am gay. I will go to the top of a skyscarper and shout it. I don’t care who knows and I don’t want it to fall off. Language is a series of labels. I’m a linguistics person, I function in labels. I’ve designed my own language, for crying out loud. I designed labels for things. I designed labels for things that we take many words to say in English or things that we cannot easily define in English. For example, gendorias = a feeling of sentimentality or false nostalgia brought on by dreams of fond or foreign subjects. I use them to describe things that I feel and are important to me. Same with “gay”.

I do what I like to do. I have feminine interests. I like musicals, I’m into fashion, I like cooking and cleaning, I like interior design, I like discussing gay topics, and I like holding hands with my boyfriend. I’m not trying to be anything other than what I want to be on the inside. Those are just some of the things that I am interested in and there’s nothing I want to do to change them. It’s me.

Jack79's avatar

Fine by me :)

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX Re:You’re making the fatal assumption that I don’t want to identified as gay and I want people to forget it. That is false. Because that would mean that people can just ignore the issue and forget that we don’t have equal rights. That would mean that people can just ignore the fact that we are treated as second-class citizens by many people and there are still those out there would love to kill gay people if they had the opportunity. It’s nice to ignore the problem, but that doesn’t solve the problem.

Let me begin by saying that I think Jack79 and I are making similar points about labels though I do not ally myself with his views on violence, his notion that you self-identify primarily/wholly as gay and not as anything else, and his characterizing of all instances of gay pride as something political rather than pure, spontaneous, true pride. I am not trying to say that homophobia is a non-issue; I think that he is not either. I think that what we were both trying to get across is that all use of labels deepen and extend the equality gap between the groups that they label. His statement that “I think the problem of labelling someone as gay (I choose to call it a “problem”, you can call it a “trophy” if you want) is that it ignores all other aspects of their personality, and sees the person as flat” is an admirable way to talk concretely about what I meant in my second post when I said that labeling does violence to the concept of a person as a full person, “equal in their being” to any other person again, this is different from the type of violence Jack is describing.

Your point about black pride is right on the money – I was thinking about PMing you with the comparison on my train home tonight. And it shows very well exactly why Jack and I were both overlooking the point you make admirably – that labeling goes both ways; it has both pros and cons. The cons are what Jack and I have been talking about; the pros (that one gets to have a way to not be ashamed, a way to self-identify in a positive way about something) are also important. Thinking back on my own experience was what make me realize I had neglected the pros in my answer to you. A few years ago, I thought idly to myself, well maybe I’m asexual. Then I felt like I’d been struck by a thunderbolt, sat up and thought about it a lot more. Suddenly knowing that I could apply that label to myself was a freeing experience, in that it helped me realize that it might not be that there’s something terribly wrong with me; it might be just that I’m not a person who’s meant to ever feel sexual attraction (at least, in the way that everyone else seems to feel it). It was really nice to be able to re-categorize myself; it made me feel a lot better about not feeling that much sexual attraction to anyone, ever. Like I wasn’t a freak so much as just different. I’m guessing that the moment when you knew you were gay might have felt similar (I’m guessing this based both on my own experience and because when my brother realized he was gay last year, that’s how it felt to him), and that’s why the label is important to you. I would never want to take that importance away from you, or my brother, or myself. But the cons do still stand – labels ultimately make people percolate into more separate groups, and this reiterates the cycle of prejudice. To extend the analogy with being black, I’m reminded of something I heard a comedian once say: the solution to racism is inevitable; it’s simply that everyone will keep fucking till one day we’re all the same color. To apply the idea to sexuality: one day everyone will just be seen as “normal,” with none of this stuff about being exclusively hetero or exclusively homo crossing anyone’s mind. As Jack put it, “It is only when you are seen as “normal” (and you see your own self as “normal”) that there will be true sexual equality.” In the meantime, you may be right – the labels may do us more good than evil. I love being alive right now, don’t you? The world seems to be getting a lot better already.

You make some very interesting points when you say “Language is a series of labels. I’m a linguistics person, I function in labels. I’ve designed my own language, for crying out loud. I designed labels for things.” The philosophy of language (this is different from linguistics; sometimes it’s known as semiotics) is a huge, awesome topic, and I think you might want to look into it. I can’t think of anyone just now who holds the view that you do, that language is a series of labels – I think that most everyone would say that it’s too simplistic, but I’m sure that you’d have more to say about it than what you did just then, at any rate. Two really good books on what language is and how we use it are Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (it’s in English) by Wittgenstein, and How to Do Things With Words by J.L. Austin. I’ll get back to you with more. The other stuff you might want to check out is Frantz Fanon’s, Jacques Derrida’s, and Emanuel Levinas’ writings on labeling and violence, and difference and violence. Derrida predicates all philosophical thought on the notion of difference, actually – see his essay Differance.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

I do see myself as normal; that’s the problem. You guys think I don’t, but I do. I am normal. I am also gay. “Gay” and “straight” are not the opposite of “normal”. They are simply descriptors intended to further describe someone who is already “normal”. They are there to describe your sexual orientation. I have a sexual orientation. I have never been attracted to females and I am attracted to males. In the English language, the word “gay” describes that sexual orientation. I place that label on my sexual orientation because it matches it and that is the correct label for it. Calling myself asexual, bisexual, etc. wouldn’t be right because it doesn’t match.

Like I said, I disagree with your view on labels. I don’t think they take anything away. They don’t take anything away from anyone. All they do is describe one part of a person. ONE PART. The word “gay” describes my sexuality. That is one part. The word “blond” describes my hair color. That is one part. The word “male” describes my gender. That is one part. The word “blue” describes my eyes. That is one part. These are all parts of a person and they are all true. You cannot deny that any of those labels apply to me. They describe a certain part of me. The sexual orientation is differentiated because historically, people weren’t discriminated against for hair color or eye color and such. But they were discriminated against for sexuality and they still are today. That’s why that label stands out more than the others and since I am interested in topics relating to homosexuality, I bring up that certain label a lot. But it still just one part.

And I don’t really care if linguists would dismiss my “theory”. All words in the English language can be categorized into parts of speech. Maybe I should have said “words” instead of “language”, since language is the system of the application of words and sounds. Words are labels. Nouns describe what we see and feel and perceive with our senses, verbs describe what we do and what happens, adjectives add further descriptions to nouns, adverbs add further descriptions to verbs, etc. We create words so that we may label something, be it an object, a person, a concept, an action, a direction, a feeling, etc. When we see something, when we hear something, when we think of something, we think in terms of language and we think in terms of labels. It’s easy to simply say “don’t label”, but those labels are still there even if you don’t say them. I am not of the school who believes that labels are always harmful. People use them for their advantage and that can often be for doing bad, but that is not my problem. I am gay. People can do whatever they want with that. I will not recant it.

tinyfaery's avatar

@casheroo Thanks for understanding. It’s a issue not often addressed. Being invisible is not good. Becoming visible is what has given us the rights we do have. It’s easy for a hetero woman to put a picture of her hubby up, no one thinks a thing, but if I put up a picture of my wife it’s an issue. It causes discomfort and unwanted questioning. When I can display my picture with the same nonchalance as any other married woman, then I will no longer need to have PRIDE (not the definition, but the movement) in my sexuality.

DominicX's avatar

@tinyfaery

The things you are saying are reminding me of the book “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX Woah, is it just that you want to fight or something? Please try to realize that I’m supporting your right to call yourself whatever you want, and saying that I was wrong to have not thought about things the way you seem to be thinking of them in the first place.

Also, I never said: that labels take anything away I said they add too much, that I think you don’t see yourself as normal such a thought honestly never crossed my mind, and I don’t think that I implied that I thought that by anything I wrote. In fact, my saying that being able to apply the label “asexual” to myself made me feel more normal ought to have tipped you off that my thoughts are definitely not that people who think themselves queer also think themselves abnormal, that you should call yourself by any other label my whole thing against labeling ought to have given that one away, that labels describe more than one part of a person well, duh, dude, or that you should recant the label of “gay” I stated exactly the opposite clearly in my last post. Also, I never said anything about what linguists would or wouldn’t think I took 1 linguistics class several years ago, and it was great, but we didn’t talk about anything like the matters we’re discussing here. As I said, what we’re talking about is called semiotics or philosophy of language. It’s called close reading, my friend. Please employ it.

I like your first paragraph; I think it shows well what we (as in you, me, and Jack) have been trying to say – that being gay should be thought of as being normal – perhaps a better way to put this is to say that we ought to try to think of it as a sub-category of “normal.”

I’m really disappointed that you didn’t read my post carefully or answer it with anything other than a reiteration of what you said to Jack earlier. It makes me feel like I wasted a bunch of time being thoughtful and solicitous.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

I say things so that I can cover possible issues before they become an issue. In case you had any questions about whether I do consider myself normal and how I use labels and such, I clarified all that. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t address it, I will address it. I address what I want and it’s not restricted to what you said in the previous reply. This response of yours doesn’t add anything new to the discussion except for your second-to-last paragraph, which I agreed with already. Gay is a subset of “normal”. But you did say some of the stuff I accused you of: Jack’s quote says that labeling ignores all other parts of a personality and shows the person as “flat”. You didn’t say you disagreed with that. I disagree with that and I was merely clarifying that I still disagree with it. Labeling doesn’t ignore all other parts of a person’s personality, it is simply labeling one part of a person’s personality in the first place.

In summary, gay people are equal to straight people in the same way that blond people are equal to red-haried people. Yes, there are differences: blond haired and red haired people look different from each other; gay people and straight people are sexually attracted to different people. But in terms of their status as humans and in terms of whether one of them is “wrong” or “weird” by default, they are the same. That’s what I was referring to when I wrote this question.

I just thought I’d say that this discussion has taken a lot out of me, kind of zapped me of my energy and such. I don’t feel much like continuing it. Anything more I could say would simply be repetition. I’ve said all I need to say; it’s all there. Do what you want with it. Take it in. Love it. Hate it. Throw it out. Copy it. I’m not trying to get everyone to agree with me; that wouldn’t make any sense. I just want people to understand me. When people don’t understand me or when people refuse to listen to me, I get depressed. But I don’t think I need to explain anything further; I’ve said all I need to say. I need to take a break, catch my breath, and do something else for a while. I’m done for now.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

And personally, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to say. I’ve already said what I think about what labels do and how I use them and how other people use them, I’ve talked about what I think of the issue of homophobia and violence, I’ve discussed gay pride, I’ve talked about what I’m interested in, I’ve talked about what I’m attracted to. What more am I supposed to say? What do you want from me?

I already said what I wanted: to be understood. I’ve already explained all of my feelings and thoughts and they’re there to be understood.

Zuma's avatar

@DominicX I too grew up in San Francisco, and I know what you mean about living in a kind of bubble—being glad for the insulation, but being unsure of the world outside.

In a perfect world, we would all be who we are, like what we like, and do what we do without having to feel we owe anyone else an explanation or an apology (as Jack79 seems to suggest). In the ancient world there was no distinction between “gay” or “straight.” It was considered perfectly normal for you to sleep with either sex. But we don’t live in such a world.

When I was your age (in 1965), a man having sex with another man was considered a felony, punishable by 3 years in prison. It was also considered a mental illness; so you could end up in a mental hospital if your parents were sufficiently freaked out about it to have you committed. People didn’t talk openly about their sexuality; consequently, most teenagers didn’t even know that masturbation was normal, let alone homosexuality. Despite having clear indications in my senior year of high school, it took me until I was 22 to come to terms with it, and many years more to come out to other people. Had it not social attitudes toward homosexuality not been so negative, this would not be so.

Are gay people equal to straight people? Theoretically, yes, we are all created equal in the eyes of God, and we are all equal under the law—except, of course, in California where the Supreme Court has ruled that we are second-class citizens who are not allowed to marry like other people. And, we are not equal in the military, where mere knowledge of our sexuality constitutes grounds for dismissal and loss of companions and livelihood. So, in reality, we are only as equal as others will accept us as equal.

It literally makes me sick to hear ignorant louts say things like “round em all up and nuke em.” Even though I know intellectually that this is their pathology speaking, I still find it emotionally toxic. Despite my intellectual defenses, I somehow can’t shield myself from the emotional brunt of their viciousness, and the reason, I think, is because I worry that they are expressing the views of a substantial subset of the general population, who hold me in contempt, and who would do violence to me if they could.

That is the whole point of such speech. It is a form of verbal terrorism. And, as such, it is supposed to send chills down your spine, and to make you feel as though you have been emotionally punched in the gut. I am also an advocate for prisoner’s rights, and I see this same kind of moralistic bashing when people bash “criminals” or “illegal aliens” or Muslims, or racial minorities, or “liberals,” calling them “scum” and “human garbage,” and “traitors.” I find it ironic when such people get on their moral high haunches and start blithely advocating the most depraved acts of cruelty and mass murder.

So, what I am saying is, that you should at least know on an intellectual level that this really a kind of collective tantrum that a beleaguered and reactionary minority is engaging in. And that they are doing it because they that “their America” is being “taken over” by people don’t regard as “real Americans”—namely women, gays, minorities, non-Christians, secularists and “others.” Obama’s election was a tacit affirmation that mainstream America wishes to put racism behind us, and turn the page on other forms of discrimination as well.

This is a tactic of the weak and the desperate, and it can only succeed if it is allowed to pass itself off as mainstream thinking. This is not a time to throw away labels, to “turn down the flame” and disappear into the melting pot. It is a time to step up and tell these thugs and assholes that their time has come and gone; we’re gay, we’re not going away; get used to it. This is what the generations of gay men and women who have come before you have done to get things to this point, and now we pass the torch to you. We are proud and very, very honored to have you to carry on the cause.

Perhaps some day the distinction between “gay” and “straight” will whither away, but that day is not today. There are two main tasks that remain undone: We can not rest until gay marriage is a reality, because until our right to marry the same way everyone else does is recognized, gays in relationships will not, and can not, be afforded full legitimacy (a fact recognized by the California Supreme Court when it struck down the Legislature’s ban on gay marriage). Domestic partnership contracts are a separate and unequal form of marriage and are not acceptable.

The second task, is securing the right to serve openly in the military. Until that right is recognized, we are nonpersons in society. This is how every other group in society proves its worth and earns its acceptance.

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX Well I wanted you to read what I had written, think about it, and then type out what you thought. Ideally, I was hoping that you might give a few minutes to the idea that labels might be a very interesting, layered phenomenon of both language and society. There’s a lot that’s involved when we label, or when we even speak about anything in a prepositional manner (“A is B”): it’s one of the ways to characterize what defines us as human, and you’re right, we do it casually, all the time, every day. But it’s something to think about – the power of it. We create our own world to the extent that we infuse it with significance, and we do that with prepositional thinking – labeling. I’m serious when I say that there’s a huge body of scholarship on this; I’m really not talking out of my ass here. Basic civility would have been awesome, too.

Now, however, I don’t particularly want anything of you.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

And neither do I want anything of you. I never disagreed with any of that you just said about labeling. It is powerful. I don’t know what more there is to say about it. I simply explained the labels that I use for myself and why I use them.

Sometimes I wonder why I even ask questions like this. They always end the same way. I’m tired of trying, honestly. I give up.

@MontyZuma

Thanks for your answer. It’s all entirely too true.

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX OK, let me make this real simple. I’ll break it down: you just asked me a question – “What more am I supposed to say? What do you want from me?” To ask a question is to want an answer; therefore you wanted something from me. I obliged you by answering. Now you come back with a “And neither do I want anything from you”? Ah, no; I’m gonna call that a swing and a miss.

I’d like to point out that “I never disagreed with any of that you just said about labeling. It is powerful” is the very first thing you’ve said about the point I’ve been trying to make this entire time. ”You don’t want anything of me?” Fluther you, man. Please don’t act like I don’t even have any reason to continue defending myself. Huh, it just occurred to me that that’s kind of another type of ‘hitting below the belt,’ argumentatively.

Yeah, I was wondering about your motives for asking this question, too. I know what you said in the details section but this doesn’t seem like a “I really want to know this, guys” sort of attitude – it seems like you were looking for an excuse to flame shout down others who disagree with you, or even just those who take a slightly different view on the matter. I’m open to being shown otherwise – as I keep trying to point out, we are not disagreeing about much substantively at all, but more about how to think about it.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

Yes, and I got the answer to the question. I meant, after that, I wasn’t really interested in anything more because I don’t have much to say on the topic. And I wasn’t looking for an excuse to flame others who disagree with me; where did I “flame”? How come when I express my opinions and disagreements, it’s “flaming”? I’M ALLOWED TO DISAGREE WITH YOU AND OTHERS. I asked the question to find out if people truly believed gay and straight people were equal or if they still harbored a feeling of “wrong” or “weird” against those who are attracted to the same sex. Only two people said they still occasionally thought gay people were weird. Sure, I disagree with them, but I didn’t say anything against them. All this other stuff about labels isn’t in direction relation to the specific question that I asked. I have my own opinions about it. Expressing my opinions is not “flaming”. I haven’t insulted anyone.

And the reason why I said I didn’t have much to say on the topic is because I’m not a philosopher. I’m a kid who just turned 18 today. All I did by saying “it is powerful” is restate what you said because I do agree with it. But I don’t know how to add more to the discussion. I haven’t even begun my higher education and my studies of linguistics. I have a lot of life ahead of me. I’m smart, but I’m smart to an extent and it ends at that extent. I’ve already said all I can come up with. I don’t know how to come up with more. Maybe when I’m older and I’ve had more experiences and I’ve learned more, there will be more for me to say. But at this point, I’ve said all I can say. I’m being 100% honest.

All I know is that I’m tense right now, my heart is beating quickly, and I’m not relaxed and I don’t feel good even though it’s my birthday and I’ll be going to a party in half an hour. I don’t like that; makes me question whether I should really be here or not.

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX 1st paragraph: good point. Flame was a bad word, and I cross it out ^. 2nd: Irrelevant. You can still be polite, and you can still give the things I say a good read. I just reread what I wrote in my mini-philosophy lesson, and it’s hardly esoteric. It was just a bare outline of concepts that aren’t hard to understand if you’re a Westerner and you think about them for a few minutes. Then in my later post, when I got more specific, it was suggestions for further reading, and encouragement to keep thinking the things you’re already thinking about. I don’t buy it. 3rd: I’m sorry, buddy. I feel the same way – tense, quick heart, a little shaky. Forget me; you don’t really give a damn about what I say and why should you? I’m not any smarter than you, just a bit more well-read cause I’ve had more opportunity to be hell, Stanford didn’t want me for grad school :) Happy birthday.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

I do intend to further read about that stuff. But I don’t want to sound fake and sound like I’m pulling stuff out of my ass if I try and discuss that further without sufficient knowledge. I did read what you wrote. If I don’t respond to something, it means I agree with it completely and have nothing more to contribute because it would be nothing but restating it and I don’t think you need to have me restate what you just said just because I agree with it. That stuff about the pros and cons of labeling, the asexual thing, that I didn’t feel I needed to say more about because I had nothing to contribute since I agreed completely with it. The “normal” thing I was simply clarifying what I think in terms of me being “normal” and the part I disagreed with was what I already explained to Jack: that labels don’t ignore everything else. A person chooses to ignore everything else. The labels don’t do that by the nature of themselves.

And thanks. :)

wildpotato's avatar

@DominicX Ok, I see what you’re saying about not having to say anything about stuff you agree with…but I disagree. It’s important to say, at least briefly in passing, that you agree with some of what someone wrote if you’re spending the rest of your time strongly disagreeing with them. To not do so gives the impression that you 1) think that everything they said is wrong and 2) that you have no desire to be in a discussion, but only to state your own opinion.

As to what you say about labels – interesting weasel. I think it might be splitting hairs, but I’ll bite: your statement “labels don’t ignore everything else. A person ignores everything else. The labels don’t do that by the nature of themselves.” reminds me a lot of “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” – sometimes 2 things should be conceptually conflated. Labels are invented by people and artificially applied to things in their world. To speak of labels, of language, is to speak of the history of what we know something as. IMO, language/labels have no nature of themselves; they are an iteration of human nature itself. Ooh! I just thought of who agrees with you – Plato! Duh! He thinks that concepts and things do have an in-itself; it’s called the Idea.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

One day I’m going to read through this whole thread….

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

Yes, I realized that by not pointing out that I agreed with it, it seemed like I was ignoring it. It’s hard to think of it in terms of what other people think since I’m only thinking in terms of what I say and think. If someone else were to not respond to what I said, I would assume it was because they agreed with it. That might no be the best thing to assume, however.

Well, looks like I have one guy on my side, even if he is Greek and ancient…I’ll get back to you when I’ve studied linguistics and psycholinguistics more and when I’ve completed the grammar book for my fictional language. :)

Right now, it’s time to get blotto.

wildpotato's avatar

Check out one of your professors:

Alexis Burgess
Assistant Professor

AOS: Metaphysics, Language, Logic
Research Interests

I work mainly on issues at the intersection of metaphysics and language, especially those surrounding logical paradoxes. Of course, it’s hard to do philosophy of language without doing some philosophy of mental representation too. On the other hand, I seem to be managing with metaphysics sans epistemology!

here. (metaphysics = theories of reality; epistemology = theories of how we know about reality. Kinda hard to do the first without the second. Odd thought).

Are you going to be taking classes from these people?

I agree, time for another beer and some Mad Men. Ugh, its couchpotato these days.

Zuma's avatar

@DominicX I think @wildpotato is well meaning and trying to make some worthy points. The idea that labels are multi-layered and that they have pros and cons is worthy of exploration. But this is a somewhat academic discussion that is rather beside the practical problems you face, unless we get into a discussion of identity politics.

@wildpotato I have some slight acquaintance with the material you refer to. For example, the notion that Dominic advanced about words being labels, does have a respectable pedigree insofar as it appears in General Semantics; cf. S.I. Hawakawa’s book “Language in Thought and Action,” which was all the vogue in the late 1950s and early 60s but, after 50 years of linguistic and psycholinguistic research, not so much now.

I think you are correct that there are pros and cons to labeling, but the central problem homosexual face is that historically, when we have allowed others to label us, the label has carried a stigma (queer, faggot, etc). When we label ourselves (gay), we seize control of that process, and turn it against our oppressors. It’s a no-brainer for us. So what if gay has connotations of disco, brunch, coffee table muscle books, statues of David, and the rest of it. Its a far sight better than the alternatives, and at least we control the message.

wildpotato's avatar

@MontyZuma Good answer…but you ask me something that includes the phrase “in terms of their being,” you deserve to get an academic answer. I thought this was a discussion of identity politics.

Thanks for the book; I’ll check it out when I have time.

Great point, the turning-against-the-oppressors thing. I was trying to think of the counter-argument earlier; that’s totally it. Where do I find a coffee-table muscle book? That sounds like a wonderful thing to own.

Zuma's avatar

@wildpotato I took “in terms of their being” to mean essentially or intrinsically, which I took to be an ontological question than one of identity politics. We did veer into a superficial discussion of “gay pride” but that didn’t make any point that I could see. I found @Jack79‘s remarks about “gay pride” singularly uninformed and unhelpful, as if he were discussing a movie he’s only seen half of.

You can find coffee table muscle books here (for the history buff) or here (for the more thoughtful connoisseur of the male nude). These do, of course, fall into the “dead giveaway” category if anyone is scanning your apartment seeking clues to your sexuality.

Somebody else asked recently why is it when straight people pretend to be “gay” they lisp? I pointed out that this goes back to ancient times BC (before condoms, in gay reckoning), when the only people publicly identified as homosexuals were effeminate men who couldn’t hide it. So, they banded together for mutual protection and developed a subculture I call “camp culture” that seems to survive today only among drag queens. It was a form of exaggerated effeminacy, honed to shocking comic effect. See, The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp.

@DominicX, you may be interested in this, as well, since it is one of the time-honored classics of Gay Liberation, passed on to me, and now being passed on to you; see also Maurice , both of whom have been made into movies (perfect for watching with boyfriends)

The point of “camp” is to neutralize the stigma a gay stereotypes, using a grotesquely exaggerated parody of “spoiled” masculinity to attack the very core of the underlying taboo. The way boys learn to become masculine in our culture is by being homosocial; that is to say, through identification, association and closeness with other males. Males are socialized to be attracted to one another from an early age, and have all the emotional conditioning to become full-fledged homosexuals by age 12 or 13.

They very likely would become homosexual, the way adolescents commonly did in ancient Greece, but our culture puts the breaks on this attraction by convincing them that if they act on these attractions, it means that they are “queer” and unmasculine “in terms of their being.” The stereotype of homosexuals as effeminate queers, is designed to attack a man’s self-respect and self-worth. So, this stereotype has caused many a homosexual man to agonize over his masculinity and loath himself for not being a “real” man. Camp took this “spoiled” masculinity and turned it into a comic art-form, nullifying it’s effect.

Gay Pride came along in the early 1970s and encouraged everyone to come out of the closet. It soon became abundantly clear that homosexual men ran the full spectrum of masculinity, from the ultra-masculine leather daddies to their fluffy fluffers. It was this generation which finally put that stereotype to rest. It lives on in vestigial forms in gay men’s doubts, sparked anew in the taunt, “that’s so gay” (by which the speaker means “effete”).

This is why it is so important that gays be allowed to serve openly in the military, since this is the only way gay men can really convince straight men that when it comes to manhood they are as good as anyone else. I hope to see the day when some tourist goes to the Castro and asks, “Is this where the queers used to hang out?” And some guy will whip around and says, NO, THIS-IS-SPARTA!!” (and kicks him down a manhole).

As a student of semiotics, you may be fascinated to know that there is a “Gay Shame” movement in San Francisco. (I know, I was just as shocked as you.) They believe that homosexuality is best when it is hidden, illicit, furtive and taboo. Personally, I don’t think these guys have thought it through, because this is the way homosexuality is in prison. A friend of mine, who got busted for drugs, decided he was too pretty to go to prison, so he set me up to go instead.

There are straight men in prison who will have sex with men. They might cop to being “technically bi” but in terms of their preference and turn-ons they really are straight. They have no interest in guys. They aren’t turned on by guys, but if you ask em real nice and they’re in the mood, they will roll you over and fuck you like a hole in the mattress. They may even nibble your neck and reach around and give you a tug, just to show their appreciation, but these men are not gay, and are barely even “bi.”

The plight of ex-prisoners being a bleak as it is, one sometimes encounters these guys working as hustlers. You can take them home for sex, get them high and show them porno, but the only videos that excite them are the ones with women in them. So, there is a corner of the world where people can’t always get what they prefer, where homosexuality is a choice, where where “straight” and “gay” don’t necessarily apply. You can’t say that these guys are “really” gay or bi; they are pretty much what they say they are, and their response to porno pretty much confirms it.

Personally, I don’t identify as “gay” unless I am making a political statement. While “gay” does denote homosexuality in an acceptably positive way, it also connotes a great number of “gay lifestyle” things laid down in the Gay Pride era that mostly don’t apply to me—like hedonism, drugs, promiscuity, shallow living, narcissism, AIDS, and an artsy-fartsy style. I was married to a woman for 15 years, so I could claim to be “bi” but that isn’t me either. I really do like only men, and except for the marriage, pretty much always have.

One of the positive things about @DominicX‘s generation is that they are much more relationship-oriented than we were. And, as such, they are much more inclined toward assimilation into mainstream culture. Living within a conventional normative structure is probably more healthy than living with anomie and alienation. But, it is also the first step on the road to conservatism; so, there may be something to say for the transgressional after all. This is something @DominicX‘s generation will have to figure out.

Jack79's avatar

@Saturated_Brain more importantly, one day DominicX will read through this whole thread again ;)

I find the discussion in itself interesting for a different reason. So far I have not noticed any anti-gay views, yet it’s still heated. Even though we’re all more or less on the same side (wanting to see true equality one day), our opinion on the fastest way to get there differs. I don’t think my views on all of this would be any different if I were gay. Then again, I’m not, and DominicX is. And it is something that must be taken into consideration when reading his posts (and mine obviously). I bet that if he were black and this was a discussion about racism, we’d be having more or less the exact same thread.

I don’t even disagree with any of what he’s saying. But he thinks I am, which in itself is a point.

Incidentally I don’t agree with gay marriages, but if we start on that topic, we’ll never end! lol
But @tinyfaery I think you should put that picture up. It will raise some eyebrows at first, but you can’t blame people for noticing the unusual. Eventually they’ll get used to it (maybe not in your lifetime though). And other women in the future will be able to put up those photos of their wives without anyone caring anymore.

mattbrowne's avatar

To me jokes about nuking homosexuals are totally unacceptable. This reminds me about how gay people were treated by the Nazis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_homosexuals_in_Nazi_Germany_and_the_Holocaust

Quote: “Between 1933–45, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of which some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in concentration camps. It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 eventually perished in the camps, but leading scholar Ruediger Lautman believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors, and were also persecuted by their fellow inmates. This was a factor in the high death rate for homosexuals, compared to other groups.

After the war, the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries, and some men were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found during the Nazi years. It was not until the 1980s that governments began to acknowledge this episode…”

Vehemence against gay people is a special form of racism.

Zuma's avatar

@mattbrowne In my experience the people who talk about nuking others are not kidding.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@mattbrowne I’d seriously hesitate to consider anti-gay actions a special form of racism, because that then says that gays are a race of their own, which they’re not.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@tinyfaery Put the picture up, if other people can’t accept it, their problem!

mattbrowne's avatar

@MontyZuma – Well, those who are not kidding are worse than the ones who are. The Nazis weren’t kidding.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Saturated_Brain – To me homophobia and racism are closely related. Therefore I used the term ‘special form of racism’.

According to Wikipedia discrimination include ageism, classism, racism, religious intolerance, reverse discrimination, sexism, homophobia, speciesism, xenophobia. I think this is a good list.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am out, to everyone. It’s a political move.

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

One day you will read through it again. I don’t understand why I have to be the one who has to read through it again. My opinions are no less valid than yours. I have never even hinted that anything you said is less valid than what I say, but that’s all people have been doing so far to me. Why are people intolerant of disagreement?

And we’re not on the same side. We have different views about gay pride, we have different views about labels, we have different views about gay marriage; it is all very different. We’re on the same side in terms of the simple question that this question asks, but there were only two people who expressed any kind of differing opinion on whether gay people were weird or wrong because they’re gay and even their feelings about that weren’t very strong. The rest of this debate is beyond the question I asked.

Zuma's avatar

@DominicX I’m sorry you got so little out of it. (sigh.)

DominicX's avatar

@MontyZuma

Again. Intolerant of disagreement. And remember what I told @wildpotato, if I don’t respond to something, it’s most likely because I agree completely with it and any response would be nothing but restating what you already said. I haven’t disagreed with a single thing you have said so far, so I don’t understand what your problem is.

LexWordsmith's avatar

Answering the original Q : Intellectually, and pari passu as a believing Christian, i think that all humans are equally worthy of being and should be treated with the respect due to a child of God. Instinctually, i am the result of tens-to-hundreds of thousands of generations of evolution that selected for tribalism, so my first reaction is to hate and fear anyone who is different. As a mature, educated, 21st-century member of Western civilization, i see that i must examine my instincts and use my intellect to repress any negative consequences that they might cause. So, i’m always working on treating all people with equal basic respect. It’s a struggle, but giving up and succumbing to my instincts would make me think badly of myself.

In short, i see it as a matter not of what i believe, but of how i act.

DominicX's avatar

@LexWordsmith

I find your beliefs interesting, as I am a Christian as well. That was the only remaining thing that complicated my beliefs surrounding homosexuals and homosexuality. I had no issues with Christian beliefs before I realized I was gay; that’s when things started getting complicated and I started to drift over to the “agnostic” side. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but that is what happened to me.

mattbrowne's avatar

@DominicX – Maybe this article can help:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_Hermeneutics#Trajectory_hermeneutics

Trajectory hermeneutics or redemptive-movement hermeneutics is a liberal teaching in postmodern Christianity that parts of the Bible can have progressive, different meanings as a culture unfolds, advances, and matures.

One teaching under this view is that homosexuality was once a sin but has become acceptable due to cultural changes and advances in understanding of psychology and the social sciences. Proponents of trajectory hermeneutics may point to Romans 1:18–32 and explain that Paul has always been speaking to those who violate their sexual orientation, those that go against their natural desire. But a homosexual’s natural desire is for the same sex, which is now defended as natural.

LexWordsmith's avatar

Jimmy Carter once, notoriously, castigated himself for having (in his opinion) committed adultery by lusting in his heart after a woman other than his wife. I can’t see how doing so is sinful, if he did not act upon that desire. I can see praying to God to lift from my soul the burden of an urge to violate my promises to my spouse and to God, but i can’t see considering those desires as sinful, as long as i don’t act upon them.

Clearly, if you don’t act on your sexual inclinations, then they are not harming anyone (except perhaps by omission of the love that they could convey). If you believe, and can make a sincere case, that any resultant actions that you do take are not harming anyone, then i don’t see how you can afford to internalize other people’s views about whether such resultant actions are unChristian and sinful.

DominicX's avatar

@mattbrowne

I find stuff like that to be very interesting. I’ve read a lot about the Greek words used and the varying meanings they had. Lots of leeway in there.

@LexWordsmith

Yeah, I think about that as well. The Bible never really seems to condemn being gay as much as it condemns gay sex, specifically anal sex. I don’t know what the truth is, but I guess I’ll have figure it out on my own. Like I side, this is the one thing that complicates matters for me. I can’t just give up my Christian beliefs because of my sexual orientation.

Zuma's avatar

@DominicX “I haven’t disagreed with a single thing you have said so far, so I don’t understand what your problem is.” I guess I’m feeling insufficiently Lurved.

DominicX's avatar

@MontyZuma

(I just gave Lurve to your last long response). I read the whole thing earlier and it’s all very true. Like I said, if I don’t respond to something, it doesn’t mean I haven’t taken it in. But I can see that it’s not as easy to indicate that as I thought.

I haven’t forgotten anything Jack and the others have said to me. It’s not forgotten. And I hope they haven’t forgotten what I have said.

I just don’t like being talked down to (or seemingly talked down to). One of my responses to Jack got 5 Lurve. Obviously, 5 people felt it was valid enough.

DominicX's avatar

@wildpotato

I LOVE paradoxes. I remember when I was 12 my parents bought me this book full of logical and mathematical paradoxes and I was fascinated by it; I would look at it for hours along with my book of brain teasers.

And I’m sorry I don’t know who my professors are quite yet!

LexWordsmith's avatar

@mattbrowne : another reference that people often use is the first chapter of Corinthians, but they ignore the fact that the whole book was originally one letter, and the later division of it into chapters is arbitrary; if you read on into the second chapter, you will find it easy to re-interpret.

JLeslie's avatar

@LexWordsmith First a moment to say hello to you, I haven’t seen you lately where I have been “answering.”

@DominicX @mattbrowne The statement about anal sex being against Christianity and not specifically homosexuality. Just thought I would bother to let you all of you know that of all my girlfriends and myself, pretty much we would agree that at least 75% of straight men want anal sex, so every time I hear a straight man talk negatively, or as though they are disgusted by anal sex, I just think they are full of themselves. And they all want oral sex too…give me a break.

Jack79's avatar

@DominicX once again, you didn’t get it. Why will you have to read this again?
1) because you’re 18
2) because you’re gay

and before going all defensive again and thinking I’m accusing of something here, allow me to explain: being 18 means that you have a whole life in front of you in which all sorts of things will happen, and you may even change opinions on a variety of issues, including what is the best way forward for the gay movement. Being gay means that you care enough about this conversation. In any case, more than I do. And this is why you should think about it more, not because my arguments are any more valid than yours. You feel I’m attacking you, I’m not. Yes, perhaps I’m patronising, I’m willing to admit to that if you wish. But I’m twice your age and it’s in my character to be like that towards everyone (and perhaps it’s in your character to talk like you do), and I’ve been accused of it elsewhere. So maybe it’s true. But that doesn’t mean I’m out to get you or something. I’m only stating my opinion, which I never said is more or less valid than anyone else’s. And I’m trying to understand yours, yet I’m accused of “intolerance”. Why exactly? Did you not read my post where I actually said it is nice to disagree? So there, another reason for you:

3) because you didn’t read it properly the first time round

I think my opinion is epitomised in one of my earlier posts where I compared Milk with Mercury. Let’s assume for a minute that I’m gay. You agree with Milk, I agree with Mercury. Both were gay, both were working towards the same goal. Neither of them was a violent homophobe who wanted to nuke anyone. So forgive me if I believe they we’re on the same side. And guess what? Both had vaild opinions. I never said your opinions are invalid. I never even said they were wrong. And in any case, even if two people disagree, that doesn’t mean that either of them is necessarily wrong. In this case we both want to get to the same destination, and are disagreeing about the best route to get there, that’s all.

As for lurve, try to ignore it. I don’t think that if someone joined this thread and said “burn all gays” and got 24 lurve it would make that opinion valid, would it?

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

I get paranoid because of an instance that happened between me and a well-respected user on this site. I’m not going to name names. Basically, we were talking about spanking and I said it was wrong. His reaction was to insult me and say I was “full of bullshit” and that I was immature and couldn’t possibly have a valid opinion on it. He came out and said all that to me. It pretty much is what caused me to delete my old account.

Of course I know I have a whole life ahead of me; I stated that elsewhere on this page. Like I said, I haven’t forgotten anything you have said and I won’t forget it. But I have had people argue with me before and their response is in the end “you’ll grow up”; it sort of discounts what I’ve said before and makes it seem like everything I’ve worked so hard on saying is nothing but the words of a kid who doesn’t matter; a light-hearted joke. I understand, however, that you were not discounting what I said before.

My accusation of “intolerance” was pretty much left over from someone else here who said that I was only here to shoot down other people’s opinions, which is not true at all. I was simply sharing my own opinions, which happen to clash with several people here. Happening to clash isn’t shooting down other people.

And yes, those two people were working towards the same goal. I suppose we are on the same side technically, but there are crucial differences, especially gay marriage. Hell, my parents are 50 and they’re in support of gay marriage. I don’t know when the goal will be met if it even ever will be met, but I will continue to work towards it in my own way, which may change down the road.

And of course, I changed my mind about what I said in that last post, but this fucking site doesn’t let you delete your comments. I would’ve pretty much deleted it if I had had the chance, because I realized that you weren’t saying I was saying was invalid. But alas, I couldn’t delete it.

Jack79's avatar

No, I’m not discounting what you said at all, and all of the points you make are valid (and carry extra weight exactly because you’re gay). When I imply you might change your mind or position, it is not because it is currently “wrong” and later it will be “right”. It will not necessarily improve at all. In the last year for example I have come to accept violence as a valid means of defence, something I was dead against for the first 36 years of my life. I have also come to accept that “terrorism” is not always wrong, and that perhaps Communism wasn’t such a bad idea after all (and I’m a guy who grew up in the West during the Cold War). That doesn’t mean my new opinions are any better than my old ones, but simply that more experiences have made me alter some of my views somewhat.

Your own life will be very different if you live in an area with sexual tolerance and if you live in an area where you get beaten up every other day for wearing a pink shirt.

To clarify my opinion on gay marriage (similar to my opinion on gay pride parades):
1) I think ALL marriage as an institution is obsolete, and should be replaced by modern-day civil unions, regardless of gender
2) The original “Christian Wedding” ceremony that some people imagine was a ritual with a very specific meaning. Either you accept and respect that meaning (which nobody does anymore, not even heterosexuals) or you just don’t do it at all, and replace it with something else
3) If I were gay I would boycott a ritual and an official Church that does not accept me. Dressing up as a bride in a white dress and pretending to be a woman ridicules both the religion and the person himself. If you’re two men getting married, both of you should wear suits (and start by having a completely different ritual, designed for homosexuals)
4) the wording in the ritual is all wrong, because it implies (and was designed) for “man and wife”. I would design a completely new ritual that, among other things would talk about “two people” (not “man and man” either).
5) who needs a piece of paper anyway (other than the legal stuff that can be sorted with a civil union)? Take your boyfriend, invite a few good friends out for dinner and announce to them that you plan on spending the rest of your lives together. Get a couple of rings if you want. A marriage is about a lot more than just a stupid wedding ritual. I should know, I’ve tried it. I was never truly married to that woman. A true marriage is about love and trying hard every single day to make things work with the other person, male or female. And that’s all that counts. That’s why tinyfaery is a lot more married than I am, even though I have a stupid piece of paper with a stamp and she hasn’t.

DominicX's avatar

@Jack79

I don’t disagree with anything you said in the first two paragraphs. I have changed opinions too. I used to think that dying for a cause was a stupid thing to do. I don’t think that anymore. I’ve changed my opinions on Islam and abortion as well.

As for gay marriage, I completely understand why you’re not in support of it. The only qualm I have is that I believe in the United States, there are perks that married couples get (such as visiting someone in the hospital) that gay couples should be able to get as well.

Jack79's avatar

I know, that’s why I agree with civil unions. In Australia (unless I am wrong) you can have civil unions for both gay and straight people, which give you the exact same rights as a partner (you inherit property, adopt children etc). But I’m not 100% sure, so there could be differences I don’t know about.

So the reason I’m against gay marriage is that I’m also against straight marriage.

DominicX's avatar

Makes sense. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Jack79 In my Jewish wedding my husband and I said the exact same words to each other, and the wording certainly would work for two men or two women. I had a question a while back about calling all Marriages Unions and leaving the word Marriage for the “churches” but not because I think it is an outdated ritual, but because I want straight people against letting homosexuals use the word to take a moment and know what it is like to not be able to utilize the word thmselves, or to not have the government acknowledge you are married. I think in America we are screwed up on this partly because we let clergy perform the civil ceremony, they are empowered by the state, but in other countries it is a completely separate event (my in-laws have two marriage dates, civil and religious a week apart) I think many Americans think when you get married by the church you are married legally also, but it is two distictly different things. The Christian’s don’t own the word marriage, English is a language that has evolution over time, there is nothing wrong with expanding the definition. Gay means homosexual now, years ago it meant happy.

Jack79's avatar

I know what you mean, it’s actually the same everywhere. I didn’t even realise it until I got married.

We had all the mumbo-jumbo wedding (several hours of it), 3 priests chanting and all that crap. And then we had to go to this little office behind the church, where we signed a contract in front of two witnesses (the “best man” and “bride of honour”). My sister only had the civil one. She did the exact same thing as my second bit in that backroom office, except that she did it at the Town Hall, dressed in white, and the mayor said some nice words to them and gave them a paper that said something like “we wish you to always be happy and also become responsible and loving parents who bring up children that will eventually be useful members of our society”.

Mine took a whole day of preparations and a 3-hour ceremony (plus an 8-hour long ceremony with hundreds of visitors) and led to a failed marriage that wasn’t really happy for more than a couple of months. Hers took 10 mins tops, a nice BBQ back at her place with some 20 good friends, and a stable marriage with the man of her dreams :)

alive's avatar

@Jack79 how do you know you would not be flamboyant if you were a gay man?

why is everyone always hating on the flamers??? i have heard a lot of blame place on flamboyant gay men for “making other people not like gays”

the problem does not lay with the gay person (no matter how flamboyant he is). it lays with the person bothered by his gayness.

you can’t say i like manly gays that fit masculine stereotypes, but i don’t like those gay men who are so feminine. either you like gays or you don’t.

(and can i also add how annoying it is that anytime a question comes up about gay people everyone focuses on the gay MALES…. dominic didn’t day “gay men” he said gay PEOPLE.)

DominicX's avatar

@alive

In my opinion, a gay person has every right to be flamboyant. As long as they are being who they feel they are on the inside and are not trying to be anything, then what is wrong with it? There is nothing wrong with it. My feminine interests that I have are just part of me; they’re just what I like. I’m not pretending anything.

alive's avatar

@DominicX yes, i think anyone and everyone has a right to be flamboyant, gay, straight, or in between.

that might have been slightly unclear in my answer above. i forgot to put quotes around “i like manly gays that fit masculine stereotypes, but i don’t like those gay men who are so feminine.”

as in some people act like they are gay friendly, but don’t accept all gays. they are only ok with the ones that fit a certain kind of gayness (or gender role)...

another example is straight men who claim to “love lesbians” but think butch dykes are “gross”. they say they are gay friend;y, but they are not really accepting of who people really are.

i personally loooove flaming gay guys, and i totally respect the bears as well! <3

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

This has been an enlightening experience, reading this thread. And there is something I have noticed.

@Jack79 is probably around my age, if not a few years younger. When I grew up, gay wasn’t a word, unless one was talking about the 1890’s. People of a homosexual nature were fags, or faggots, or queers or homos. Being called any of those terms was paramount to being completely ostracised by your peers. I remember one guy in my high school that was openly queer, and he was flaming, his name was Monty. He took the role of being a clown to prevent being beat up. Imagine a clown gay person, very effeminate, and asexual because to show any interest in any other guy would result in a severe beating. He has grown up to be an old single and pathetic gay man, even ostracised by other gays. He is a sad little man who drinks to excess and probably engages in very risky behavior. I’m not even sure if he is even still alive, as the last time I heard anything about him was about eight years ago. A gay friend of mine described him as “scuzzy.” I am assuming that @Jack79 is from my generation, and is probably familiar with the ‘old’ way of viewing gay people.

And then there’s @DominicX, a young man of 18. He is thirty one years my junior. He is around the age my kids would be, if I had chosen to have kids. Today, being gay, or bisexual or anything except straight is far more accepted than it was when I was 18. Of course, we didn’t have the Internet back when I was 18. There are a lot of things that @DominicX and others of his generation take for granted that were pure science fiction when I was his age. The point is, (which I keep trying to get to here:-) ) of course you two are going to disagree, you are from different worlds. The advantages that gay people have nowadays were unheard of a mere 30 years ago. Where will it be in 30 years? Who knows, but I am willing to bet it will be as much a nonissue as inter-racial dating is today.

Change takes time, and I hope that someday, everybody sees gay men as equal to straight men, and transsexual people as no different than people who aren’t transsexual. Someday I hope that we humans find something else to disagree about, and hopefully it is something inconsequential, and interferes with no one’s right to happiness. Something utterly pointless like toenail length. :-)

Jack79's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I’m 37 to be precise
@alive the only reason I know for sure I’m not gay is that if I were, I wouldn’t be hiding it. I’d probably be just like that second guy I described (who incidentally went to school with me). I’d probably go around wearing dresses and wigs, and act even more extreme than he does. But that’s because I’m generally provokative and don’t care what people say. I’ve always dressed in a way some people find “eccentric” and followed non-comformist behaviour. But I would still boycott gay pride parades and wedding rituals. I’d probably hold awareness concerts instead (there’s a wonderful Greek song about homosexuality that dates back to the early ‘70s and I sometimes sing it in Greece, even though I’m not gay myself).

Since zebra mentioned that friend, I’ll tell you about that flamboyant hairdresser: when I met him a few years ago and he told me he was my classmate, I didn’t even remember him. I kept squeezing my mind, couldn’t recall a single thing about him. After a few days of hard thinking, some faded memory started to appear. That boy was truly invisible. He was extremely shy, hid in corners, walked with his head down. He never played with the rest of us during the break, and always walked next to the wall. Being extremely thin helped him disappear. I don’t remember him during the breaks, but I vaguely remember he had a desk just like everyone else, though it always seemed unoccupied unless you looked really hard. We didn’t tease him for the simple reason that we didn’t even notice he existed.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Jack79, just so you know, guys that wear dresses and wigs aren’t always gay. They are cross dressers. I know of a Canadian truck driver that goes by the name of Susan but is quite obviously a male. He is a heavy set unnattractive male, and makes an even more unnattractive female. I sort of feel sorry for him, because he so wants to be a woman, but there are so many persoanlity traits that keep it from being believable, not the least of which is a very deep masculine voice. He doesnt’ strike me as gay, and being bisexual, I have a pretty good sense for these things.

JLeslie's avatar

@alive I was wondering why people were focusing on gay men also, you’ll see in my earlier post I said my wedding vows would be fine for both men or women. Maybe we, as a society, notice gay men more, or maybe there are more gay men than women? I don’t know the stats. When I have lived in areas of the counry that had a lot of gay people, I must admit it seemed like there were mostly gay men around, or they were easier to pick out in a crowd.

All of these stories from years ago of gay men sitting in corners in school when they were young, or growing up to be kind of sketchy…depresses me to no end. A gay man in my family who is in his late 40’s hid being gay until he was almost 40. He revealed that he used to tape himself talking and play it back to make sure he sounded masculine, and his whole life was basically a secret. Just sounds awful to me, I have never felt like I have to hide things about my life, I can’t imagine it.

Jack79's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra yeah there’s all these weird shades of grey that make things even harder when it comes to definitions (or pigeonholing if you wish). But that guy was as gay as they come, whether he would be considered handsome is not for me to decide, but he’s your regular mainstream homosexual as far as his preferences are concerned (he doesn’t like women at all). I don’t really know if he’d like to be a woman ot have a sex transplant, but he’s quite feminine.

Jack79's avatar

@JLeslie yes there was a thread a while back about that. It’s true that unless a woman puts a huge sticker saying “lesbian” on her forehead, even kissing her girlfriend in the mouth goes unnoticed. Probably because straight women also show affection, so society as a whole is used to that. Also, a woman with a slighty deep voice and clumsy moves is not assumed to be gay, whereas a fragile man who talks like a girl is (and we’ve often been wrong on both counts).

A female friend of mine has a boyfriend who happens to have a high-pitched voice. She was dating him for months (I’d seen them together on several occasions), but even when she told me about her relationship with him, I still didn’t believe her. I always assumed the guy was gay, and even today can’t wrap my mind around the fact that a straight man can have a high-pitched voice.

Come to think of it, I’ve grown in quite a tolerant society. I’ve got an uncle who’s gay, and I know a lawyer too, both of them in their 60s, both very respected members of the society. They are mild-mannered but not particularly feminine (ok, maybe the lawyer is). I don’t recall them having any major problems with neighbours and so on, even though of course there has always been the odd joke about them. But they’ve also kept it low-tone and been discreet about whatever relationships they’ve had. One of my neighbours actually got married to a man. The only problem with that is that the guy he married was much younger than him and worked as his employee. It is frowned upon in the same way as it would have been if he had married his female secretary. It was obviously the talk of the town when it happened, because it was the first gay marriage in our neighbourhood. But still, nobody really bothered them. We just feel that the young guy is a bit of a slut that is only after the money (he is also known to be quite “naughty” and cheating and so on). And then there is a horrible little man (my lawyer’s ex husband) who had been hiding it for so long that it drove him crazy: he goes around on the bicycle making a complete fool of himself by flirting with every single man he meets, making embarrassing comments and offering money to underage boys if they’ll have sex with him. The worst bit is that he has a son, who is now grown and very ashamed of his father.

So there’s all sorts. But luckily no hate crimes yet. So maybe Dominic should move here :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Jack79 I have always lived or worked with many gay people. I would not say any of them are feminine, I would say that you can tell they are gay. I mean some of them do work in industries that I guess are more domintaed by women, but they are not especially feminine, if you did not know where they work you would still probably guess they were gay after spending some time with them, especially if you are around gay people a lot. It’s the same as if you spend time with me you would figure out I am Jewish, or have a pretty good guess that I am…the Christians out here in the bible belt never guess it, or think it, but if I am in Boca Raton FL, or NY it is obvious to everyone. Your point is correct about women, we are more affectionate and in each others personal space more than two men would typically be, so it is harder to tell.

Jack79's avatar

Yes, I also had a gay colleague once who was as macho as you ever get, so I guess you get all sorts.

tinyfaery's avatar

There is NO WAY you can predict how you might be if you were gay. You can never know. And you can never know what it’s like to be gay, so don’t offend those of us who have to live with it everyday by saying, I could be gay and I wouldn’t hide…blah blah blah.

Jack79's avatar

@tinyfaery ok, I stand corrected. Since I am not gay, and being gay would be part of my personality, I might be completely different overall. Perhaps being gay would have turned me into an overall shy person. Perhaps it would have made me more violent. And perhaps if you were straight you’d be a bigot and burn all those evil lesbians that have the nerve to want to get married.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think the reason people bag on flamboyant gay men is because their being unavoidably faced with an alternative sexuality makes them uncomfortable. The more masculine guys are okay, in this paradigm, because they seem like straight men and therefore their sexualities can be conveniently tucked away in a back part of the brain and then forgotten. Basically, these folks want no discomfort and want gay men to behave how straight men do (at least from their perspective).

I am a lesbian, in case anyone wishes to question my credentials in speaking out here. I really love me some gay boys and think the things they’re able to do (across the gender spectrum) are amazing and full of talent.

I grew up in San Francisco and the individualism thriving in the city has become an indelible part of my soul. I feel that everyone should be allowed to be true to themselves in terms of expression and being. Thus, I have absolutely no problem with effeminate or flamboyant gay guys, unless whatever persona they’ve adopted is not sincere (but I feel that way about straight people, too).

I understand fear being an important factor in the propagation of intolerance and hate, but seriously.. we are all people, human beings, we all feel, we all have the potential for the same range of emotions, and lastly, we are not that far off from one another in terms of DNA. So I don’t and will never understand why it’s okay to persecute or marginalize a section of the human species, when we’re all the same inside.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m bisexual, actually. And I’ve had more relationships with men than woman. I know what it means to be heterosexual.

LexWordsmith's avatar

@JLeslie : men are full of themselves? but they don’t want to be! they want you to be full of them! in every possible orifice! <grin> imagine how wrong-headed it is to think that, in his dreams, he’s just not that into you! (i can’t imagine what the moderators are going to do to my playful japes, here, but i suspect that it won’t be pretty!)

Jack79's avatar

@tinyfaery that sounds like me saying “I know what it means to be a lesbian” just because I like women like you do. You’re so funny sometimes :D

DominicX's avatar

Well, not quite. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to members of the same sex. A heterosexual is anyone attracted to the opposite sex. Additionally, the word “heterosexual” can be used to describe any attraction between two people of the opposite sex.

Jack79's avatar

I know, and a bisexual is someone who likes both, it’s not the same as straight. But hey, why should I care? If tinyfaery thinks she’s straight, it’s none of my business. People can identify themselves anyway they like. Besides, I think we’ve discussed this topic extensively. Not only did we answer the original question, but we tackled issues of identity, freedom of expression, even religious practices. You got more than 100 responses :)
Personally though it’s starting to become boring for me, so I’ll probably stop following it.
Interesting discussion though. See you around Dominic :)

tinyfaery's avatar

I thought I was straight for many years, and lived as such. It’s not funny, it’s fact.

alive's avatar

@Jack79 i hope you haven’t stopped following yet because you are talking a lot. but not listening.

Jack79's avatar

@alive I was asked a question, and answered it. That’s what I do here on fluther. Then there was an interesting discussion, which I decided to follow, giving my input, my thoughts and personal experience. I even ignored several attacks, just to let the discussion flowing and not get caught up in trivial name-calling.

Why do you hope I haven’t stopped following yet? As you said I talk a lot, so perhaps I’ve said enough. Or do you hope I haven’t stopped so that I can listen to people telling me I have no right to an opinion just because I don’t enjoy having somebody’s penis up my butt?

I’m interested in the sociological side of the discussion, not the sexual one. What people do in bed is none of my business. But a society divided into “straights” and “gays” is.

I don’t like this segregation. I agree that all people are (and should be) different, and that each of us has a unique personality, which consists of many different traits (including sexual preference). But I don’t believe in this “us” against “them” logic, and I personally think that it is perpetrated as much by homosexuals themselves as it is by bigots. People can disagree with me all they want, both on whether the society should be segregated and whether the right way forward is aggression against anyone who has a different sexual orientation than you. But I’m as much entitled to an opinion as anyone else. Tolerance works both ways.

And eventually everyone is judged by their own actions.

JLeslie's avatar

Among some of my closest friends there is little distinction between gay couples and straight. We all knew each others SO’s we all went to parties together and ate out together. It was a non-issue.

DominicX's avatar

“Or do you hope I haven’t stopped so that I can listen to people telling me I have no right to an opinion just because I don’t enjoy having somebody’s penis up my butt?”

sigh

Come on. Don’t take what one person who’s only been here for the last few comments said and reduce to saying these kinds of things.

alive's avatar

@Jack79 I am going to assume that even though you named me in your latest post you were not talking about me. I don’t think I called you any names, attacked you, or said that you don’t have a right to your opinion.

All I meant by my post was that maybe you should take some of these other answers into consideration. And perhaps be open to then enough to let them sink in before arguing back.

Obviously, we both agree that there should not be any segregation, or discrimination against gays (or anyone for that matter).

But as dominicx was trying to point out many people are still weirded out by the concept of being gay, and/or by the gay community.

I think that by being on the defensive (when some people were disrespectful to some of what you posted) you came off as even more homophobic.

The more you posted the more you came off as not-gay friendly. For example talking about all the different gay people you know or have ever known. When we are talking about race issues do you name all the black people you know just to prove you are not racist?

And saying things about your non-existent gay self, and what you would and wouldn’t do if you were gay. In a discussion about race with a black person who has lived through racism would you say, “Well if i was black i would _____” ?

As we both agree, gay people in our society face adversity, and we (gays) need allies in straight people. The last thing we want from our straight allies is for them to pretend that they know what it is like to be living as a gay, lesbian, bi, trans, (and etc) person.

I honestly am not trying to attack you, because I think you mean well. But I also think that in a way you proved Dominicx’s point about people’s deep down true dispositions about being gay. Even if you can agree that they are equal, they are still considered somewhat of an anomaly.

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