Monday, August 20, 2007

Homophobia: Institutionalized Bigotry, Cultural Phenomenon

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 comments:

melloncollie said...

This is one of the best essays I've ever read on the subject! You've managed to cover so much territory so succinctly, and you've summed up my exact feelings on the subject much better than I would have. Homophobia is ingrained in the minds of so many children, and this often results in bigotry among people who are straight, and repression and internalized guilt among people who are gay.

This country has a long way to go towards understanding orientation, and maybe even a longer way to go towards understanding sexuality in all its forms--gay and straight. But gay people will never have full rights in the U.S. until people put aside their pre-conceived notions and prejudices and start applying common sense and compassion to their ideas.

Quote: "We must teach our children that to seek deep and sustained emotional and sexual relationships is a defining characteristic of the human species and that the seeking of such relationships is natural and healthy, regardless of the sex of those in the relationship."

Beautifully stated!! If only more parents, educators, clergy, and politicans felt that way.

JDHURF said...

melloncollie:

I am glad that you so enjoyed the post. We obviously both agree that homophobia, the systematic socio-political bigotry against homosexuality so endemic to cultures which emphasis the role of male dominance and the hyper-accentuated and unrealistic machismo that is the dogma of the "cult of masculinity," begins with the maniacal indoctrination of the young, homophobia being a conditioned attribute as it were. This contrived bigotry then wreaks havoc on the lives of innocent human beings by way of hate and bigotry expressed by both heterosexuals conditioned to hate gays and virtually anything even remotely effeminate, and closeted and guilt ridden homosexuals themselves who are attempting to overcompensate for their innate being which they have also been conditioned to repress, negate and themselves hate.

It is a vicious cycle of indoctrination, hate and bigotry that can only be resolved through education, compassion, empathy and human solidarity. There is no doubt in my mind that human rights and human solidarity will in the end be triumphant. For in the face of social engineering and psychological conditioning, innate human capacities and fundamental elements of human nature, on balance, always and continuously free themselves from the shackles of tyranny, oppression and evil.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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