For decades, bigots objected to interracial marriage because the participants were too different from each other. But now the bigots are objecting to same-sex marriage because-get this-this participants are too much alike. Many of today's bigots are in the same demographic groups as the bigots back then, so I wish they'd make up their minds whether it is sameness or difference they object too.
Homophobes like to argue that if we legalize gay civil marriage it will lead to heterosexual polygamy. As usual with homophobes, they have things backwards. For much of recorded history, marriage was a man and a number of women, depending on the man's economic status. Any reader of the Old Testament knows this. That tradition continues to this day in Muslim countries and existed for several decades among Mormons in the U.S. So, as same-sex marriage becomes a reality, we can accurately say that polygamy preceded same-sex marriage, not followed as a result.
"Ex-gay" advocates and their fundamentalist supporters say that one of the reasons people "become" homosexual is that they were "molested" as youths. Since almost all molesters are men, that means that young males molested by a man develop a sexual desire for men, but young woman molested by a man develop a sexual desire for women. So molestation supposedly makes men's desires turn toward the sex of the molester, but women's desires turn away from the sex of the m olester. No one has explained this contradiction. And how do they explain the far larger number of male and female youths who were molested but did not "become" homosexual? What does that do to their theory?
Robert Cary, director of "Save Me," a small-budget fictional film about an ex-gay ministry said, "Many [ex-gay functionaries] genuinely believe that they are helping people to live good lives. But they believe that you're born with your religion and choose your sexuality, when that is the opposite of the truth."-The Times of London, Oct. 7, 2008.
It is interesting that Alcoholics Anonymous insists that people who used to drink a lot but now abstain continue to refer to themselves as alcoholics long after they have stopped drinking. By contrast, the "ex-gay" proponents insist that people who used to engage in homosexuality but are trying to abstain not refer to themselves as homosexuals. One of them is surely wrong. I suspect both are.
I am not sure that sexual orientation makes us a community. We may be what Kurt Vonnegut called a "granfalloon." I think I have more in common with the thoughtful heterosexual man who likes music and art and literature than I do with a gay man who loves drag queens, "divas," and hip-hop. As hostility to gays lessens and gay people's defensive clannishness declines, other factors than sexuality will become more important in our lives. Will gays then become completely absorbed into the mainstream? That's not likely; unattached gays will still want same-sex partners and seek out places where those are most available. That does have some social ramifications.
And finally, two belated notes for Gay History Month. First, gay liberation did not begin with Stonewall; one source was in the arts community. "As some of us would later learn, if we didn't know already, sexual preference did play a part in the politics of the New York art world. New York Surrealists like Pavel Tchelitchew and Eugene Berman belonged to a gay subculture that had found greater acceptance in the uptown worlds of ballet and fashion than in the downtown Cedar Tavern scene populated by Pollock, Rothko, and company." -Herbert Muschamp, "The Secret History," New York Times, Jan. 8, 2006, section 2, pg. 1.
Art journalist Calvin Tomkins agrees: "Quite a few of the sixties artists were either bisexual or homosexual, and not a bit uptight about it. The attention and money lavished on the newcomers led to talk if a 'homintern,' a network of homosexual artists, dealers, and numerous curators in league to promote the work of certain favorites at the expense of 'straight' talents." -Off the Wall: Robert Rauschenberg and the Art World of Our Time (1980), p. 260.
Second, it seems to me that sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey redefined homosexuality. Before Kinsey, the homosexual was the man who was penetrated, whether by bottoming in anal sex or by fellating a man. The man getting fellated was simply "trade" and could consider himself (and often was) heterosexual. But Kinsey defined homosexuality as having an orgasm with another man. So if the man getting fellated had an orgasm, Kinsey counted that as a homosexual act. And if the man doing the fellating did not have an orgasm, then he was not included in the count.