I am the Simon Jones of 2004 email@example.com who wrote Jews and gays – birds of a feather? It was very popular and the ideas in it have been percolating ever since. I had hundreds of replies 10 years ago and look forward to more.
I offer here more thoughts on the debate about whether ‘gay’ is a natural order, on whether there IS such a phenomenon in nature, or whether the term ‘homosexual’ is sufficient to describe the phenomenon of males having sex with other males, for whatever reason. Sex is far too complex to slap a artificial label like ‘gay’ on someone to slot him/her into a category which he/she doesn’t want or need. It is enough that we are human beings. The rise of gaylib in the past half century has had profound impact not only in the West, but around the world, and deserves an open, unbiased debate. My hope is to do this here.
There are six essays here:
1/ Gay—a mistake or an adaptation?
2/ Secondary sexual characteristics, pre/capitalist society, and Oedipus
3/ The 19th — 20th c rise of gay movement
4/ Gays, Hollywood and Glamor
5/ Gaylib and Religion
6/ Celibacy and friendship
I look forward to any thoughts of your own.
1/ Gay—a mistake or an adaptation?
This is part one of a series looking at the rise of the gay movement and what it means for society and the world at large.
‘Gay’ in social life vs homosexuality in nature and society
Simon Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
The traditional view about homosexuality is that in most cases it is an aberration, that while it may be an inborn phenomenon in some people, most exclusive homosexuality is a psychological issue, one which could be resolved, or cured if you prefer, by psychotherapy, if the person really wanted and was prepared to make the effort.
Homosexuality is a complex issue, as both pro and con factions will admit. The mind, with its long, slow development, its dependence on choice, its potential for osmotic or unconscious learning, and the unperceived influence of the subconscious on personal choices, makes any comparison of humans with fish, sheep or even baboons in their sexual behavior specious.
Central to the gay experience are the arts, where emotional sensitivity is vital. Whatever it is that turns sheep on has nothing to do with Sleeping Beauty. In Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, Simon Levay warns that “[a]lthough homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.” So while nature is interesting and instructive, it does not provide answers to the current dispute over homosexuality in humans, let along the legitimacy of the term ‘gay’.
There are many factors which could derail normal sexual development in a sensitive person—fears based on childish misunderstandings about sex; fear of the opposite sex’s mysterious genitals; an overbearing mother or father; shocking childhood encounters or traumas, such as sexual abuse; even revenge for real or imagined adult wrongdoings of a nonsexual kind. Self-esteem problems are yet another factor, such as fear of impotence, or the belief that one is ugly or undesirable.
Childhood experiences are the most important influence on a person’s character, and bad ones can traumatize the individual for life. In nature, the early experiences are called imprinting, as so starkly shown by the way a gosling follows whichever adult it sees upon first hatching.
So, is it right to ignore the complexity of factors that contribute to a radical divergence from normal sexuality, and tout homosexuality as really no different from heterosexuality? Dubbing homosexuals euphemistically as ‘gay’ (i.e., happy)? Or are some young people being misled down a path they had no need to follow? This is the conservative view.
The conservative acknowledges that there are fleeting attractions during puberty, especially in environments such as a single-sex boarding school or a broken home. Nervousness about the opposite sex and the sexual act and the fact that homosexuality is the easy way out in such contexts can result in a lifetime of homosexuality.
Using the word ‘gay’ to describe homosexuals supports the psychological case. Euphemisms are employed when people wish to avoid awkward subjects; or want to deflect attention; or seek to disguise their meaning, or don’t want to confront the truth about things. All of which issues are psychological at root. The pressure on media to stop referring to homosexuals and use the term ‘gay’ is intense. A google search of ‘gay’ gets 777m hits, while homosexual gets only 44m.
Here I will try to use homosexual for the most part, which I fail to see as disparaging, and use ‘gay’ to mean the contemporary movement to equate homosexual and heterosexual as both equally ‘normal’. I will also use msm to refer to males having sex with males, and sfs for females having sex with females. But gay is so widely used even by the scientific community that it makes more sense when quoting studies to use their terms, which generally means using gay when in fact what is meant is homosexuality.
There are no reliable statistics on life expectancy of gays vs heterosexuals (straights makes better sense than ‘gays’, so I will use it here). A 1997 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology examined how HIV affected the mortality of gay and bisexual men in Vancouver from 1987 to 1992 and found that life expectancy at age 20 among gay and bisexual men in Vancouver was 8 to 21 years shorter. But this was at the height of the AIDS crisis.
Researchers insisted this was not an adequate basis to estimate the true death rate comparison, but did not follow up the study. The new drugs to fight AIDS and the spread of AIDS among straights no doubt levels the mortality rates somewhat (though this sidesteps how straights came to be part of the epidemic in the first place). That said, homophobia is wrong, a direct violation of human rights, for right or left, anti-‘gay’ and ‘gay’.
A 1999 study found that suicide attempts were made by 28% of teenage bisexual/homosexual males (vs 4.2% for heteros), and 20.5% of bisexual/homosexual females (vs 14.5%). In addition, these youth are more likely to report engaging in multiple risk behaviors and initiating risk behaviors at an earlier age than are their peers. Respondents living in high-prejudice communities died of suicide on average at age 37.5, compared to age 55.7 for those living in low-prejudice communities, a difference of 18 years. “Male suicide rates were highest in the 45-64 age-group.” Gays in the stigmatizing communities had a shorter life expectancy by an average of 12 years.
Given the fluidity of the categories and changing mores, there probably never will be good statistics, but these grim figures are not optimistic. Statistics comparing homophobic communities to more neutral environments suggest that if you are ‘gay’ and grow up in a well-off, well-balanced family, and manage to finish college, you have an outside chance of achieving closer to a straight’s life expectancy. There are gays who live into their 80s and even 90s, though few, and they all have the above good fortunes, plus a ‘life partner’, but they are the exception that proves the rule.
Either God/ evolution produced this anomalous human behavior for some as yet inexplicable reason, or he/it was mistaken. It is anomalous everywhere in societies and nature. Homosexuals constitute approximately 2% of the human population. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and an Australian study found that 3% call themselves gay, lesbian and bisexual and 3.9 percent as “something else”. A 2003 Australian study found 1.6% were homosexual and 0.9% were bisexual. As with all things gay, it is hard to know the facts.
If homosexuality is a mistake in nature, then logically the mistake would have petered out. So we must conclude there is some reason for this behavior.
In recent years, there has been a veritable explosion of studies in biology about different homosexual behaviors in animals, and in anthropology about different cultural behaviors. For animals, its reason is clear. Studies have shown a wide range of homosexual behavior, especially in fish.
Joan Roughgarden’s Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People (2004), uses dozens of examples to show the importance of homosexual behavior from an evolutionary point of view, which can be used in support of the gay agenda. She argues for a new theory of evolution that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity.
She challenges Darwin who asserts that male/female obey universal templates—males ‘ardent’ and females ‘coy’ (they choose a mate for superior genes, i.e., best male vs best match). She says Darwin ignores social selection, where animals exchange help in return for access to reproductive opportunity, strive for mutual assistance with reproductive opportunity as the currency.
Organisms flow across bonds of any category. In biology, nature abhors a category. Roughgarden asserts a diversity-affirming theory of sex vs a diversity-repressing one (Darwin’s sexual selection).
North Sea pipefish have a complete sex-role reversal, polyandry, where a male harem looks after eggs. Female sex coloration is more ‘beautiful’ and females are larger than males. It is same with different birds (wattled jacanas in Panama). But not with mammals, because of high parental investment by the mammalian female (milk, pregnancy).
So there’s not much there for the gay agenda—a few fish and exotic birds. Vampires provide an interesting case, since they rely on mutual assistance/ reciprocal altruism (they can’t afford to miss a meal two nights in a row, hence food sharing). Animals with ‘nice’ reputations may be included in cooperative activities and ‘meanies’ left out, so strict gender roles are less important there.
Canary-bird fish have large male guards lording it over a big collection of eggs laid by 5 females, with smaller males who mature at younger age and are silent, not defending territories or fighting for the harem, but darting in to fertilize eggs being laid in the larger male territory. In sunfish, there is a similar complex relation between three different male types. In hundreds of fish species there are males in two or more genders. But none of this has any homosexual component.
Support for gaylib (gay liberation, though I like the catchy shorter version, actually the name of a French gay political party opposed to gay marriage) comes from the European flycatcher where the aggressive male courts a feminine male before the female arrives and encourages him to be a neighbor. Sexual attraction is used as a bonding mechanism, though the ultimate goal is male-female bonding and the relationship between the two males is strictly hierarchical.
Clearly, there is an important role for the homosexual in nature—as a social support mechanism in reproduction. So Roughgarden has a point in her critique of the Darwinian theory, which ignores homosexuality as an important element in many cases as helper/ cooperator/ friend/ guard/ teacher/ peacemaker.
Roughhouse sees Darwin’s broad emphasis on the strong, beautiful male—famously the peacock— as patriarchal. In addition to the pipefish and jacanas (rare), where females are larger, more beautiful, there are a very few instances where male-male competition seems completely absent. But there are no gay peacocks. In some fish, two males cooperate to build nests, court a female, with spawning in trios—a menage a trois, but this again is purely devoted to rearing offspring.
The logic for the female in choosing a mate is the totality of reproduction, including growth and protection of young. Copulation provides a shared paternity ‘staying incentive’.
Ruffs (sandpipers) mate in common lekking breeding ground. Birds have two male genders: The dark-ruffed controllers and white-ruffed assistants (who spend time with females off the lek), and jointly court and mate with the female. Females choose not great genes but well-connected genes. When female chooses a male with special colour on his tail, it is not for fashion but rather because she senses this will endow the offspring with a bodily marker of culturally inherited power, like the Tudor nose and/or the likelihood of delivering on promise of parental care
The most bizarre sexual configuration is perhaps the bighorn sheep, where the female is only receptive for 3 days. Almost all m have msm (men having sex with men) (genital licking nuzzling, and anal intercourse. The few males who refuse msm are labeled ‘effeminate’, living with ewes acting like females. But attempts by farmers to breed out the effeminates didn’t work, destroying the domestic social system, and they are left in peace now.
The best example for gaylib are dolphins where males bond in adolescence for life, sex occurs in 3somes and 4somes, more than heterosexual activity.
If homosexuality is not directly to further survival (the adaptationist position), why was it not bred out? The neutralist position claims that homosexuality is a neutral byproduct of evolution of other traits. Homosexual behavior is harmless so there is no need to remove it. Anything goes for pleasure as long as it’s not harmful. So if it enjoyable, it should last, even if it is for a small minority. One-zero for gaylib.
The primates are extremely diverse in msm behavior, and there are no clear rules about ‘keeping peace’ or guaranteeing parental care.
- Baboons indulge in much msm – diddling greeting behaviour, long-lasting coalitions, where 20% of mountings are between males and 10% between females. They have a notoriously violent social life. Same-sex courtship is used for coalition-building but powerful males can break up coalitions.
- Gibbons breed only every 2-3 yrs and nonabusive intrafamily (incestuous) same-sex behaviour is common. The male parent and offspring engage in penis-fencing.
- The gorilla has a range of family troops, ranging from one male with his females and offspring to coalitions of 3-5 males, where msm is common. Male mountain gorillas sometimes stay in their natal troops and become subordinate to the silverback. If the silverback dies, these males may be able to become dominant or mate with the females.
- The bonobo female ape is receptive continually and , and experiences earlier sexual maturity. Both msm and fsf are very common. Some fsf is for 15 minutes every 2 hours. The reasons are to facilitate sharing (sex before eating), reconciliation, integrate new arrivals, and form coalitions against aggressive males.
There are fascinating cases of traditional homosexual behavior and rituals among premodern human tribes. They always involving religious initiation rituals for boys making their transition to manhood. The only cases of long term homosexuality are shamans in Asia and the two-spirit people of some indigenous North Americans, who are considered women in male bodies. Again, the phenomenon is interpreted in religious terms. Homosexuality is a spiritual gift, rather than an excuse for indiscriminate erotic pleasure.
Evolutionary innovation that began around 50m years ago has created a startlingly complex array of societies in the animal kingdom, where homosexual behavior is condoned to manage both within- and between-sex relationships, which are facilitated by physical contact and bodily symbolism and behaviours. Gaylibbers can take comfort from both the adaptationists and neutralists (homosexuality is not a primary adaptation, rather merely for pleasure), but the complexity of human behavior and social relations requires something more than ‘scientific’ observation.
The case of human societies is very different from that of animals. The unique feature of human evolution is the highly developed brain, which allows reason to come to grips with problems around us, and which led to the development of language, spirituality and religion as guiding forces in our relations, including sexual ones.
2/ Secondary sexual characteristics, pre/capitalist society, and Oedipus
The evidence from nature is that homosexual behavior is useful in some species in ensuring group survival, lowering conflict among males, providing support to stronger males, gathering food for polygamous groups. Surely there must be a genetic foundation for this in nature?
Though not found, this idea has prompted speculation in recent years that there may be a ‘gay gene’ in humans too, though the comparative rarity of homosexuality in humans compared to, say, the pipefish or the bonobo, and the complexity and diversity of human behavior culturally does not support this.
Is there even a need to postulate a homosexual gene in nature? Nonbreeders in both nature and society have always existed, encouraged as a social evolutionary trait to ensure group survival through friendships and greater control of resources, even increasing fertility.
The cell is a partnership. To ensure fertility and survival social interaction is essential, even thought, and in humans, language and spirituality. Sexual characteristics do no always conform to the binary model (for example, the female dominant North Sea pipefish and the wattled jacanas in Panama vs the vast majority of animals—notably the peacock), so it’s logical that genders (behaviour) are also not binary. Sex roles in both nature and society can even be reversible (the house husband).
Mating in nature is a public symbol, managing and publicizing relationships, not a promiscuous anonymous act for mere fleeting pleasure. The female chooses for fertility and survival (she knows that knowledge without will/character is dangerous). A strong aristocratic male may be stupid, but he ensures good genes and survival of the offspring. A nice, friendly weak guy doesn’t usually make the grade. You need a balance of individual and social. Mating is not primarily for sperm transfer, though that is important.
Roughgarden posits that secondary sex characteristics are not just for heterosexual mating but .for same sex pleasure, though there is no proof of this. The fish with two males are clearly defined by nature as dominant and secondary and cooperate to ensure survival of offspring. The owner of the most spectacular secondary sex characteristic, the peacock, exhibits no msm behavior at all. The human fetish of body building and anorexic women is in contradistinction to nature, rather than supported by nature.
Sex in nature is pragmatic. Reproduce and protect. Romance does not enter the picture for the most part apart from a few birds such as the swan, which are monogamous for life.
Msm (male having sex with male) is to acquire and defend resources for family support, which the males pay out as their parental duty in care. Fsf (female having sex with female) is to acquire the circumstances in which they can safely rear the young under their control. Msm and fsf in nature are used to balance relations between sexes, and for the same sex to work together to provide food and safety for the young. Social evolution is turbulent and unpredictable, and even aggressive baboons follow their gentler bonobo cousins in practicing msm for safety. This is the template that can help us understand its role in human societies.
Genders emerge as occupational categories and settings for matings, raising young, and tending resources. Secondary social inclusionary traits (genitals on f spotted hyenas, sfs bonobos and macaques, human brain development, skin colour, body types) evolve fast because once a trait takes hold, anyone without it is excluded from the group. The male who is strong but obnoxious, without male allies, will never have chance to mate.
Monotheism, capitalism, and Freud’s musings
Premodern societies restricted homosexuality for the most part, only allowing it in conformity with strict tribal customs, sometimes proscribing it entirely. And for very good reasons. A society where homosexuality was seen as no different from heterosexuality wouldn’t survive. If it is not an essential attribute to survival, better to keep it carefully under control so it doesn’t interfere with survival needs.
With the invasion of capitalism, premodern societies that restricted homosexual behavior either were wiped out or became subject to extreme pressure to adopt western social mores. ‘Sex in the city’ implied increasingly random sexual behavior focused solely on pleasure, making sex purely an erotic activity, meaningless in terms of survival of the species or the observance of sacred rituals, like choosing a cucumber instead of a carrot.
It was not until the rise of monotheism—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—that homosexual behavior was strictly forbidden by societies now together following the new closely related religions, reflecting their rigorous asceticism. But it continued in the shadows, apart from occasional persecution for the obvious reason (seen as perverse, a sin against nature, etc), though there were few problems until recently.
Homosexuals learned to be discrete, or if they were rich and powerful, were able to intimidate people into accepting them. Only fourteenth-century English King Edward II‘s affair with Piers Gaveston resulted in his death, with the kingdom in disarray for his openly effeminate behavior, though it had been tolerated for decades. Other kings such as James I and Charles II lived and reigned quite happily, keeping their activities from interfering with the running of the state. The secret has always been discretion. No number of ‘gay rights’ would have made any difference. So what led to the gay revolution of the 1960s?
What did change in the recent past was the economic system. Capitalism is more focused on solving our problems through technology then on nature and custom. Initially it ran roughshod over nature, confident that technology would solve all our problems. Nature was not seen as a fit prescription for how to regulate society. It also quickly dismissed the customs (seen as prejudices) which various tribes and societies have built up over time to regulate sexuality.
At least in the rich West, people now living in urban centers were cut off from nature and the need to follow the rhythms of nature. Mass production now produced a glut of commodities to consume. And population growth means a glut of people, removing any need for sex to promote procreation.
With the advance of capitalism and its ideology of liberalism, we are all the same (only some are a lot richer), the logic proceeding relentlessly through the gamut of behavior.
The littler quirk of who you sleep with gained the attention of ‘scientists’, who were determined to answer all the mysteries of life with fine precision, whether or not some might just be unfathomable mysteries that have more to do with spirituality, an annoying relic of precapitalism that had no fit place in the sterile world of material things. A ‘gay’ had sex for purely sensual reasons, not as a way to achieve insight into the spiritual world.
Hence the smooth transition of former homophobes, as witnessed today in the US, into ardent supporters of gay liberation. For them, gaylib has nothing to do with true liberation, and everything to do with commoditization, creating uniform manipulable humans who accept the materialist ‘traditions’ of capitalism, which are the direct antithesis of liberation, and undermine the true value of homosexual behavior.
Elliott Management hedge fund’s founder and chief executive, Paul Singer, a billionaire and by no means a gaylibber, discovered his son was gay son, and when he married his partner in 2004, daddy hosted the ‘celebration. Since then Singer senior has become a gay activist too. In 2011, he helped enact the same-sex marriage law in New York and started American Unity PAC to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage.
In nature, homosexuality has a subsidiary, supportive role, presumably the result of genetic mutations (though imprinting in the young can continue the adaptive behavior without any special ‘gene’). In society, on the contrary, social factors are dominant.
Problems in humans only arise with unnatural imprinting when attitudes formed in youth make natural attraction (i.e., peer group male-female) difficult. Reverse sexual imprinting is seen especially in instances where two people who live in domestic proximity during the first few years in life one become desensitized to later close sexual attraction in general.
This has been labelled the Westermarck effect, and has since been observed in many places and cultures, including in the Israeli kibbutz system, and the Chinese Shim-pua marriage customs, as well as in biological-related families.
Westermarck’s sensible study undermines Freud’s more spectacular son-mother oedipal complex. Freud had a wet-nurse, and may not have experienced the early intimacy that would have tipped off his perceptual system that Mrs Freud was his mother. “The Westermarck theory has out-Freuded Freud.” (Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (1997).
Perhaps being smothered by mother/sister love creates homosexual sons. There are lots of instances of this documented, though in other cases, the son turns out heterosexual. There are no hard and fast rules.
What about Freud’s insistence that we are all bisexual? This hypothesis was based on the fact that initially the fertilized egg in the uterus was not differentiated between male and female, that the differentiation between male and female came as the mother’s hormones set to work fashioning male and female out of the fertilized egg. Freud speculated that there is a subconscious continuity (though with no scientific foundation): as adults everyone still has desires derived from both the masculine and the feminine sides of their natures supposedly found in the undifferentiated egg cell.
But the evidence of bisexuality is not convincing. Less than 1% of adults claim they are bisexual, even in this age of sexual liberation. Ironically gay activists argued prior to the mid-1980s, that there were only two sexual orientations: homosexual or heterosexual. One was either sexually attracted to the same sex or to the opposite sex. They regarded bisexuals as if they were really homosexuals who were not ready to come out of the closet.
There is some truth to this. A 2005 study at Northwestern University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto measured genital arousal in men and women while they viewed erotic movies. One of the authors, Gerulf Rieger, said, “Regardless of whether the men were gay, straight or bisexual, they showed about four times more arousal to one sex or the other.” So another elegant Freudian theory bites the dust.
The gaylibbers are not dismayed. Since the 1980s, the vast majority of homosexuals and gay-positive groups have accepted bisexuality as a separate, legitimate sexual orientation. The gay movement is officially Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT). Possibly the earlier resistance of gay activists to embrace the tiny bisexual coterie was due to gays who envied their quasi-straight comrades, able to enjoy both women and men in bed, have a family and the good life—eating their cake. Whatever. Now the movement has moved on to a new maturity, dubbed “pansexual” by Edmund White. Now it’s ‘anything goes’.
Bisexuality as an important feature of society has been documented only in the Sambia of New Guinea and other similar Melanesian cultures. What little evidence exists in the West suggests that bisexuals’ lives are unstable, psychologically stressful. Not an adaptive mechanism in nature or society.
But capitalism seems less interested in well-adjusted humans in a peaceful society than in devotion to creating money, in as straightforward a manner as possible. Marriage is a bedrock of society, so it is an integral part of this. So make it simple—make sure everyone can get hitched—gay or straight—and pursue the good life of commodity consumption in an every growing economy. This program has proceeded quickly in the past two decades, though the Catholic church and Islam have resisted this radical alteration of their beliefs. Protestantism on the whole has accepted this development. Already 32 states have legalized gay marriage.
3/ The 19th — 20th c rise of gay movement
4/ Gays, Hollywood and Glamor
5/ Gaylib and Religion
Homosexuality is a sin in all the monotheisms, or was until the protestants began their pilgrimage to gay rights in the 1970s. It is not hard to understand why, both socially (see above) and physically. Accepting the passive role in sex labels you a woman in the act, which is a violation of male activeness. The active partner is generally forgiven as being essentially straight, while the passive one is reviled publicly.
But the passive role is really an enactment of nature’s supportive role for homosexual behavior. The passive partner acknowledges his secondary role, his flawed nature, Gilgamesh’s Enkidu.
Malone’s problem in Dancer from the Dance undermining his struggle to achieve a gay romance was that he was religious—he didn’t believe that a gay romance was possible since it was a sin or at best unnatural. “As a child, he consecrated his life to Christ, as an adult to some adventurous ideal of homosexual love, both had left him flat.”
Catholicism took sex seriously, but was replaced in newly invaded colonies by Protestantism, precisely because Catholicism was more traditional, resistant to the needs of capitalism. Protestantism has now erased the very concept of sin for gays. Catholic priests say that ‘the homosexual is not a sinner, it is the acts that are the sin’, but the pressure within the Catholic establishment is to condone homosexuality, including the acts.
The lack of success in preventing abortion among Catholics is a harbinger of things to come for gays. This is not so surprising given that the Christian church has always been willing to bend the rules. It embraced pagan rituals as it became the religion of the Roman empire. Muslims see this as a condemnation of Christianity but many New Age Christians argue it was a good thing.
Some liberal Christians agree that stories like the virgin birth, bringing dead people back to life, the many miraculous healings, exorcisms, transfiguration, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Jesus’ anticipated return to judge humanity, etc. derived from pagan material that had been circulating for centuries, and cannot refer to real events in Jesus’ life.
Christian mystics (gnostics) developed the myth of a god-man savior not as a literal description of the historical Jesus, but as an understanding of their “inner mysteries”. The literalist Christians, being ignorant of the inner mysteries, and well-practiced in pagan cults, did not realize that the god-man story was only a legend about a mythical being, adapting it as a literal description.
If this is true, then other key Christian beliefs have to be questioned and perhaps abandoned. This is the belief of gay Christians.
Catholic art especially is bathed in sensuality, reveling in breath-taking scenes of martyrdom (of mostly beautiful young men) and exquisite Madonnas suckling the baby Jesus. Protestant art is more straight-laced, but it was based on bourgeois culture, i.e., making money, and when it prevailed by the 18th–19th century in Europe, it used its new stupendous wealth on the arts. As secularism took hold, this meant that art became more decadent, discarding for the most part the spirituality underlying the Catholic art of the Middle Ages.
Gays have traditionally been at the center of the arts, before and after the Middle Ages. Why?
Homosexuality is a radical departure from social norms, subversive of the social order. A ‘gay’ sensibility is one which is critical, more artistic, forced to observe society from outside. Hence the predominance of gays in the arts.
If you are an outcast as a simple worker, an integral part of straight society, it is necessary to prove yourself in other ways to justify your existence. There has never been homophobia directed at outstanding artists. They are embraced by society—as long as they keep quiet about their sexual lives and don’t rock the boat. Hence the tragedy of Oscar Wilde, who could easily have avoided a public scandal, but chose to defy society instead.
Islam and gays
We can never destroy HIV but we can keep it under control. HIV is a kind of anti-social warning about the dangers of discarding time-proven social mores. Just as a cure for AIDS has proved to be possible, and has given a new life to sufferers, so awakening to the moral degeneracy that provoked the AIDS crisis, and the links between the economic and social effects of capitalism can lead to a ‘magic pill’.
A tele-evangelist on 100 Huntley last night made the following remark: at a conference, an anti-religious academic told the audience he has spent his career studying the bible. The evangelist asked, “If you despise the bible, why spend your life studying it?” “Because our whole western civilization is founded on the bible,” the atheist shot back.
The evangelist failed to take this to its logical conclusion: that the atheist sees our civilization as a fraud. The atheist has a point. The bible is full of doctored texts, with the crucifixion and resurrection pagan myths, and the worship of Mary and Jesus tantamount to polytheism. Christianity is a distortion of Jesus’s message. Is it any wonder that protestant Christianity so cavalierly embraced gaylib?
Secularism promised gaylib these days as a way to tame the inherently subversive nature of homosexuality, incorporate it into the commoditized ‘me’ culture of secular capitalism, which promises ‘the individual’ fulfilment of his desires by submitting totally to the market. But gays are on the whole promiscuous—and with complete freedom in an urban culture and ease of travel, this led to the spread of sexual diseases, especially HIV, and wiped out a generation of gaylibbers.
While a gay can be ‘proud’ of his greater sensibility (a mix of feminine and masculine), giving him greater social insight and a career, say, as a pianist, he still will sigh with frustration for not being able to experience the full gamut of human relations, including having children and being ‘one of the boys’.
He can acknowledge it is wrong in a social sense, and keep it discrete (as do Muslims), or he can join the dominant culture in a monogamous lifestyle with a fellow gay, as a couple, trying to fit into the dominant culture in stable way.
Islam is not the deadend that western secularists suppose. Celibacy and/or merely discretion and acceptance of homosexuality as a sin which should be kept out of sight worked for a thousand years, and looks like the most logical social paradigm. If done discretely homosexual behavior is not punished, as the Quranic sharia law acknowledges when it insists on four witnesses to any such act, and allows the perpetrators leniency if they acknowledge their sins and (at least nominally) repent.
This modus vivendi worked well until capitalism and its secular gaylib agenda invaded the region. The Muslim family is far more secure and a much better model for how to raise children.
Politically, too, Islam has a lot to offer. It is a religion of peace. Even neocons admit now that the only way forward in Syria is for the US to pull out. That is Quranic whether the NYT columnist Ross Dohat believes it or not. Recall that the peaceful return to Mecca (629–630) involved no killing or plunder, and amnesty was granted to the Muslims’ enemies, leading to mass conversion of the Meccans and marking the beginning of the consolidation of Islam in Arabia.
This is the Islamic program, as it has been for over a millennium
Why is gay marriage so important to activists? Civil unions are perfectly adequate to cover the secular legal issues of divorce. Those who opt for marriage clearly must be religious (almost all protestant Christian), having accepted the Christianity as revised to airbrush sin out of the picture.
The legislative drive to legalize marriage is the secular establishment’s way to keep up the pressure to consolidate a revised version of all religions, forcing them to accept the secular establishment as the dominant force in society. Islam is the only real holdout.
That’s why gay marriage is a travesty not only for Muslims, but for those homosexuals who take pride in their radical, slightly subversive nature. Where would western civilization be without the (homosexual-driven) culture it produced? Culture means a critical analysis of society, or at least a reveling in beauty for its sake alone.
But gaylib is on board imperialism’s movement to undermine Islam. It is not easy to see the forest from the trees in Syria today, but the bottom line is the West has no right to impose its system on the Muslim world, including the gaylib program to impose the gay social agenda on Muslim societies.
It is incredible that western citizens, with gays in the forefront, condoned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which have merely added fuel to the anti-western sentiment in the Muslim world. Instead, gay groups are much more concerned with a handful of young Iraq/ Afghani men being persecuted as gays, something that would not have happened without the invasions. Sadly, gaylib has produced little of value, just as capitalism and imperialism have produced little of value.
How this will pan out is not clear. In 2011, Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier stated, “We have to carry on until Islam has been rendered as banal as Catholicism.”
Islam will never condone gay marriage and accede to the demand to revise Islam to eradicate the term ‘sin’ with respect to homosexuality. The fate of the Catholic church is less clear. But there is nothing remotely progressive about undermining a sacred rite in the name of a pro forma equality of sexes.
6/ Celibacy and friendship
Inspired by Stokely Carmichael’s “Black is Beautiful”, the term “Gay is good” was coined in 1968. The intent was to counter both social and internalized homophobia, but also to promote free sex and homosexuality as a normal and viable life style. It follows the communist intent on wiping out past traditions and building a supposedly rational culture, this time where ‘gay is good’ (whether or not it really is). Promiscuity among Baby Boomer of all stripes rose in the 1960s to 11 partners (from three partners pre-WWII). Among homosexuals, the figure is in the hundreds.
The sexual freedom from the 1960s on became the underlying cause of humanity’s greatest scourge. The World Health Organization estimates that at a total of least 117 million people will die from AIDS from 2006 to 2030. Currently ranked fourth behind heart disease, stroke, and respiratory infections, AIDS is set to become No. 3, say researchers in a new report. It exceeds all the deaths from wars in the 20th century, yet no one is held to blame. The only response is ‘safe sex’. A bit like ‘Be sure to wear your helmet when biking!’
The gay psychoanalyst Richard Isay doesn’t consider celibacy in his therapy but celibacy has long been revered as a spiritual path, one that is difficult but valuable. The conversion program of such groups as Homosexuals Anonymous is not so much to create more practicing heterosexuals, but to encourage abstinence. Homosexuals Anonymous’s modest success includes 3% conversions, and 8% celibacy, putting the ‘success’ rate at 11%. This could be a lot higher if the government replaced ‘sex education’ and free condoms for teens with innovative programs to encourage celibacy.
Many ‘gays’ (probably the majority) are celibate and are far from gaylibbers. Almost no boys who sense they are gay are happy about their sex life. Depression and suicide is higher among self-proclaimed gays than in the broader population. Embracing a lifestyle they despise should not be the only option.
Whatever the hormonal story behind homosexuality, Freud is still the best explanation that puts it in a social context. For most males, gay identity is fixated at an early stage of development, a wound, for some, hardwired from the womb, for many, because of inadequate parenting, peer bullying and sometimes molestation by an older male or school friend. Healing (whether gay or straight) for the latter requires struggle with childhood traumas in the attempt to establish a viable sexual identity, whatever the final outcome is.
Gay male couples are really just a continuation of the traditional male friendship, and as such should be seen as a model, whether or not the partners have a sexual relationship, in line with Gilgamesh and Enkidu, a story of comradeship, love and reconciliation with death. Aristotle: “The excellent person is related to his friend in the same way as he is related to himself, since, a friend is another self.” Most long term relations with a partner are soon sexless, which does not mean a failure. Rather it means a return to the traditional male bonding and restraint.
Channeling god’s trick
Homosexuality has different causes, but homosexuals have always had a place in society, be it on the fringe (or hidden). Homosexuals have traditionally had a special, slightly subversive role in society as creators of critical artistic culture, channeling their sexual energy, not into reproduction, but into cultural creation. EM Forster, Andre Gide, Jean Genet, Mary Renault—the 20th century’s greatest ‘gay’ writers—kept their sexuality private. The best gay novels are tragic, underlining the reality of homosexuality
While society has always tolerated these artistic gays as making a positive contribution, the essence of homosexuality in nature is the role it plays in protecting and supporting the reproduction of the tribe/ genus. Gaylib has little to offer here. But in Holleran’s Dancer in the Dance (1978), Malone realized he had ceased to be a homosexual, so much as he had become a pederast. “Now he recognized a young man’s beauty was just that—a fact: his beauty—and that he, Malone, could not worship it, possess it, consume it, digest it … handsome as a myth on the plain of Troy, an impersonal fact, as impersonal as the beauty of a tree. He watched boys playing soccer and when the game ended he rose and walked away, a calm spirit.
To do justice to the real reason behind God’s trick we must recognize the contrariness inherent in homosexuality and the try to understand and deal with it, not try to imitate straight family life.
Answers from Nature
Sex during the initial romance can reinforce male friendship, just as the sex hormones during male-female coitus reinforce their bonding in the interests of child rearing. During orgasm, both partners get a rush of oxytocin, associated with the ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, but women also get it when suckling the infant, contributing to mother/infant bonding.
Both partners get a rush of opioid (endorphins), the body’s natural painkillers, producing pleasure but less bonding. The lesson: It is more blessed to give (oxytocin) than to receive (opioid). Homosexual relations founder on the male’s addiction to opioids during sex.
In nature, there is only one documented case of pure homosexuality, which is indeed worthy of consideration. The female of the bighorn sheep is only receptive for 3 days. Almost all males have msm (men having sex with men) (genital licking nuzzling, and anal intercourse). The few males who refuse msm are labeled ‘effeminate’, living with ewes, acting like females. They are mounted by the males, much as gays generally take the passive role in sex. But attempts by farmers to breed out the effeminates (kill all gays) didn’t work, destroying the domestic social system, and they are left in peace now.
Note how complex this homosexual relationship is, and how intriguingly nature molded the relations to conform to the needs of the herd while providing an outlet for the nonconformists without upsetting the group survival. In humans, highly feminine males often find healing through transgender operations, but they are a tiny minority of gays, and not a threat to society. Much like the effeminate bighorn males, they mimic the female. The unquestionable 100% gays.
Male bottlenose dolphins engage in same-sex relations early in life and use the bonds they form to hunt for females as they get older. As they become ‘straight’ in later life, the dolphins work in packs to restrict the movement of female dolphins as they wait for them to become sexually receptive.
Gays can only envious this elegant bisexuality, which conforms to group needs naturally. Now that, in human terms, would make a ‘gay romance’ which straights could enjoy, as the homosexuality contributes to the normal sexual dynamics. It is not disruptive. Nature cannot abide a defiantly homosexual ethic, putting it on a confusing equal basis with normal sex, as it is totally selfish and would not contribute to reproduction. Nature is no help to gay marriage advocates.
Gay critics of the brave new culture
Duane Duncan argues that the primary identification of someone as gay ironically reinforces stigmatization by identifying him as primarily concerned with sex (as opposed to race, politics, religion). By remaining in the closet, gay people can more fully participate as citizens, without making who one sleeps with the main issue. “The irony is that gay people can be public—treated as full citizens—as long as they are not visible as gay people.”
The Queercore and Gay Shame movements critique what they see as the commercialization and self-imposed “ghettoization” of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex) culture. The LGBTQI community represents an artificial separation, estrangement from straight people, rather than one based on tangible customs or ethnic identification. Further, the movement is artificial, as it includes three groups involved with sexuality and one group exploring transexual/ transgender identity.
Harry Hay, the godfather of the American gay movement, was a founder of the “radical faeries” in 1979, a spiritual tribe of gay men seeking sanctuary in Mother Earth and rural enclaves, promoting environmentally sustainable technologies. The group was a reaction against the social emptiness that many gay men felt was present both in the heterosexual establishment and the assimilationist gay community. As one Faerie commented, in his opinion mainstream gay culture was “an oppressive parody of straight culture”, taking place primarily in bars and not encouraging people to “form bonds or care for each other.
Another way to understand ‘gay’ is as a disability similar to horizontal identities such as deafness (gays can’t ‘hear the call’ of male-female sexuality), identities which transcend vertical identities such a race and class. Deaf people and dwarfs in particular have asserted their civil rights recently through so-called horizontal identities. They affirm/ celebrate their disabilities (deaf/ dwarf/ gay is good), and are less fearful of public display.
Dwarfism is instructive for homosexuals. The only possibility for dwarfs to be normal is a painful and lengthy series of leg breaks allowing the bone to be extended (read: conversion therapy), and is not widely sought out. Bruce: “Sometimes when I watch another dwarf, I feel like we’re pretending to be adults. It’s a life’s project coming to grips with, really, how you look. If I could do it over, I’d want not to be a dwarf. It’s been too difficult.” (And he had accepting parents). Other dwarfs plunge right into normal society, comfortable with their dwarfism, marrying normally and living full lives. A lesson for gays who choose to put their sexuality in second place to joining the mainstream.
The computer age and technological developments makes it easier to find like-minded horizontal brothers (deaf, dwarf and gay alike) and reduces the need for organizations promoting these horizontal identities, prompting critics to predict the continued demise of these liberation agendas. With cochlear implants, the numbers of deaf people has dropped significantly, undermining their horizontal identity. Only gaylib has entrenched itself as a pillar of the mainstream culture. The most able of disabilities.
It is possible, through hard work, to rewire the brain to open up to a fuller life. Just as you can learn a foreign language, or conquer the obsessive compulsive disorder, you can find room in your brain to achieve greater social abilities (i.e., to overcome your disability). Gaylib has sought to rewire the brain into a sex machine. But just to have the goal of scoring the most tricks possible is ultimately empty. What is vital is that your goal is a spiritual one. Even pansexuality can be sought for within a spiritual quest. Or celibacy.