Friday, January 29, 2010

Homosexuality..As Seen Through The Looking Glass

For many people who think of themselves as "gay"...coming to that place of acceptance is a long and difficult process of soul searching and struggle. Our society has been such, that there is little room for middle ground. Even those who label themselves as bisexual can face resistance from both the gay and straight community, who have little tollerance for ambiguity. Also, those who refuse to label themselves at all still face all the same discrimination from a society that makes no distinction between self-identy and same-sex actions. Most of the time, we expect our world to fit neatly into the boxes that help us understand it ...and.... it may have taken us a lifetime to accept the boxes themselves. If something comes along that invalidates the way we categorize life, it can be a very threatening experience.

Case in point comes via a Queerty Write up on a Fox news article That I will now also discuss just to make sure there isn't a human being on the planet who hasn't seen it. The article discusses a recently unclassified Pentagon study of the sexuality of Pashtun men in Afghanistan. The study itself was a part of a military effort to "get to know the local population". What they found perplexes them...and if I being honest It messes with my perception a bit too...

The study points out that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men yet do not consider themselves "gay". The report cites a U.S. army medic who treated a group of Pashtun interpereters for anally contracted gonorrhea. According to the report, the interpereters...

"....refused to believe they could have contracted it sexually -- "because they were not homosexuals."

And how did they justify this?... being that they contracted gonorrhea whilst having anal sex with men? ...well...

Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot "love" another man -- but that doesn't mean they can't use men for "sexual gratification." far, so good...there is nothing terribly shocking least by my point of view. Because it happens here in the U.S. from time to time. Some men just see sex as sex and do not equate it with their identity. They find the desire to love another of their same sex as the true mark of "gayness", as if love somehow also carries the stigma of weakness. While I don't agree with it...I understand that some people feel this way.
But heres where we go through the looking glass....down the rabbit hole Alice....

The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man how to get his wife pregnant.

The report said: "When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked, 'How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.'"
Woah!...I think I just got verigo....thats a 180 from how it is here in the west....Here, I would get a hearty pat on the back for getting a woman pregnant...but you so much as wink at another man and you wear the label "deviant". I understand that in many cultures women are kept apart from men for reasons to numerous to go into here. Love and sexual relations between those of the opposite sex are meant to be within the confines of a religiously sanctioned marriage and offenders are prosecuted most harshly. The berka is a vivid symbol of the level of remove that women face from male society. Going out without one and a male family member, is enough to earn a death sentnce in some places. makes nothing but sense that men have such a knowledge gap when it comes to opposite-sex relations.

A queerty commenter laid it out in a way that made it even more thought provoking...

No. 14 · eagledancer

This is something I’ve been writing and lecturing about for years, and tried explaining to CDC when I was working with the agency regarding research on sexual behavior. “Gay” as many of the people on this board understand the term, is not used by many other cultures. Other cultures, btw, may have much more sophisticated and layered ways of classifying sexual interactions. When you work with cultures that have more than two genders, then even the concept of “homosexuality” (i.e., “same-sex”) gets to be a slippery slope, because a person might not be engaged in “same-sex” behavior, but is having sex with a member of a third or fourth gender.

As I have explained repeatedly—if you’re not from that culture—you don’t get to vote. To demand that a culture that’s been functioning for a lot longer than America’s been around change to meet your cultural bias is unrealistic as someone from that culture explaining to you that you really AREN’T gay, and you accepting their conclusion. As researchers we struggle to come up with terms that will both serve to comprehend how local communities conceptualize things, and how we describe them from a western science perspective.

This, by the way, is different than being in denial. If the culture sanctions the concept of more than two genders, or that a man is “only” a “homosexual” if he is in the “passive” position of anal intercourse, that’s very different than one of Queerty’s American members having sex with a man consistently, and refusing a “gay” (or bisexual) identity. This would be the individual in denial of his action.

“Gay” for a lot of other cultures has also taken on a very specific Western meaning. When I was on faculty for a Human Sexuality week long seminar at the Kinsey Institute, working with Japanese Sex Educators, my old friend (mayheresstinpeace) David McWhirter (he co-authored The Male Couple with his partner) introduced himself as a “Gay man.” When the translator shared that with the Japanese audience, they became agitated, and confronted her, saying she must have mistranslated, because David obviously wasn’t “gay” because he wasn’t wearing a dress.

“Gay” means different things to different audiences. This isn’t just true in other cultures—I read over and over again in contemporary forums of how men who self-identify as “gay” did not do so initially because the stereotypical media representations of gays, and the pejorative remarks made about gay behavior by their family and friends didn’t seem to “match” their own self-image of who they were. There are a number of gay identity developmental models that indicate how common this disconnect can be as people begin to feel out their sexual identity.

What we are getting a peak into here is not only homosexuality as defined by another culture...but also as it was defined by our culture 100 years ago. Even in frontier American days, situational homosexuality was not uncommon...but...that does not mean that those men had sex with each other solely becuase there was no women around. I'm sure more than a few found love and truth in the arms of another man along with a measure of freedom from societal norms on the frontier...and I doubt even they would have called themselves gay. The idea was just to foreign and the need to self label absent.

But does that mean that they weren't gay as we understand it?

Just because we deny calling ourselves something because we reject its societal implications, does that make it untrue? How many of these Afghan men would continue having sex with men, if religion had played no role in their lives? For that many more westerners would be comfortable identifying as gay if religion were not a factor in ours? I ask this not as a value judgement, but as a counterpoint to the commenters argument above.

I personally know...and have heard of many more self identifying gay men who were aware that they were different  from an early age. To me, its amazing to have that kind of self insight..because I did not. But they make a strong case that just because there was a time when people didn't "call themselves gay", it also didn't mean they weren't. Also, while the commenter above makes the case that our definitions differ greatly from many peoples perceptions of themselves. But my point of view is that no two people are alike, even two gay people and if self-identification is the measure by which we attempt to categorize the world around us, we will soon be lost in a world of labels. Homosexual orientation is more than a culterally enforced label in my opinion.

And doesn't this whole argument kinda play into the hands of groups like NOM that insist that sexuality is a choice and a mutable characteristic?

I have only my own sexuality to look to with any authority, and having been on both sides of the fence as it were, I know that heterosexuality...for me...was utterly false. I know that my primary sex attraction is to men without the foggiest of doubt. Insisting that it is merely a label that I have applied to myself seems to deny a fundamental facts abour myself that I know will not change. There may have been a period in time when I may not have grown up to call myself gay...I might have been born Pashtun in some other lifetime...but my gayness would be no less true.


  1. Sorry for the delay in posting was a supper busy day. I'm glad I got a post together at all.

  2. Labels are all variable too..if there was a society somewhere where the majority of people are gay, would it still be called gay? Or if there is a society where overweight people are considered beautiful (and those do exist) would it still be considered overweight? Or would those people be normal weight?
    There are many people who don't want to label themselves and I don't blame them...when I was first accepting myself for who I was, I felt pressure to decide what I was...and I later realized I didn't need to decide so soon, I am who I am.

  3. I don't think this is suprising, it seems many non western culters have more nuonset ways of dealing with things (even if they don't atribuet them to "siance") that over all, seem to be benifical untill the western ideas start to come in, and then things start to come unravled. You can even see this with the idea of mental health (they just had the auther of Crazy Like Us, on The Dayly Show, it seems western sociaty esicaly american western sociaty) Western socisity seem to have a tendency to lable things and aspects of people and then give them negative condonetiations, which they then use to justify shoveing those people to the frenges of "polite socity" or exploting them for profit.(not every thing is made up, but the tendency it to shove the labled to the side then exploit them once there) I cover this train of thought more coharintly in my bolg, now its tim to go back to bed, and try to get red of this cold as the screen seems to be drifting back and forth in space.

  4. Even though I've known that I was gay since I was a teenager, I've never had a problem with people who identify as bisexual. I've often talked with people about my views that sexuality isn't a choice of one of two's a set of scales where you can be anywhere from 100% gay to 100% straight and all levels in-between. My best friend first identified himself as bisexual to me, but he's been in a gay relationship for as long as I've known him and hasn't been involved with a woman for at least as long. It doesn't matter what you identify yourself as...what matters is the person that you love and being true to that relationship.

  5. This article is really good.

    I have spoken about this phenominon before IRL and have always found it amazing.

    Personally I think the sex habits of the Pashtun's (and many other Muslim nations) show just how sick a society can get when it has too much irrational religion.

    I have nothing against their casual homosexual sex. It is because the root of it being so wide spread is there treatment of women.

    Women are less than human, they are certainly not for having any pleasure with! A wife is something you have, a possesion, not a partner.

    When ever my brother in law comes back from Afganistan he jokes with my sister he is going to treat her like the Afgans treat their women. Sometimes things are so sad all you can do is laugh at them....

  6. Bryan,

    Nice article. The study on Pashtun men does not surprise me at all. I've worked in a variety of Islamic countries, where, by the way, there is little or no tolerance for pre-marital sex ( between a man and a woman). Unmarried men (being men) get sexually restless, and (some) seek the sexual gratification services of another man....because that does not break the rule against premarital "sex". These acts are not "mainstream" Islam, but, rather, local adaptations of the faith. On some small Indonesian islands that I have visited, some villages have a local man (most likely the village gay guy) whose purpose is to satisfy other (presumably straight) men who are not yet married, or whose wives are deceased, or for whatever reason.

    So, yes, these things absolutely happen in the world out there, and they are accepted practices in the communities in which they are practiced. These are also communities in which sexuality is not discussed, so it's not a problem because nobody is talking about it, and certainly nobody is seeking open sexual rights.

  7. A good friend of mine moved from Ohio to South Florida a few years ago. There is a large hispanic and Cuban population there. My friend says that so many of these men are married and would NEVER even consider themselves to be gay but they are always cruising other guys at the local gym. Your blog today reminds me of them...
    Could society be any more screwed up about sexuality? I think it is getting better but we have a LONG way to go...

  8. I love these thoughtful, complex topics. Great entry Bryan! I have a lot to say about this subject so I hope it doesn't annoy or bore anybody but I'm going to post a couple of times about this topic.

    1 of the most important concepts I've ever learned was that there are 2 main realities that we deal with. There is metaphysical/physical reality and social reality. Metaphysical/Physical reality is the way things truly are. How the universe works, the facts of what happens, or objective truth free from bias. These may not be the technical terms for it, this is just what I call it.

    Social reality is perception or what often people consider or take for granted as the metaphysical/physical reality. They call it "reality," but their perceptions about what is actually occurring is actually flawed or bias. This goes back to my entry on "bias". Basically, all humans are biased, not just for reasons of culture, but because our perceptive and cognitive abilities are limited. We are only able to perceive the universe through a human body which has limited senses and intelligence.

    For example, let's just say Reality (as in metaphysical reality) is that there are exactly 20 colors possible. I know there are more than that, but work with me! A hawk might see 17 perhaps. The average human might see 6. So here, the humans are flawed or wrong. But in the socially shared culture they live in, they have scientifically accepted 6 as "all the colors". This is social reality or reality taken for granted

    This happens ALL the time with every concept out there. Anything involving linguistics, labels, stereotypes, and understanding period is filtered with a bias. Whether that be a human bias, a culture bias, an education bias (school, homeschool, no school, religion, philosophy, science, etc.)

    My point is that while we do need categories/labels to make sense of the world, it's so important for people to remember or realize that at the end of the day they are limited, socially constructed, and biased. But so often we take those human-created words for granted as "fact" or "reality" despite all their flaws and ambiguity. We make policies, laws, judge people, make extrapolations, etc. on these shaky premises. And if you aren't specifically taught about all this, most people will never understand this or realize it

  9. Socially constructed reality is in many ways more important than actual reality. Because while actual reality is truth, everybody operates in the world of fiction (or at least half-truths) and treat it as truth. They just don't realize it. So it's not that "gay" is *just* a label. Quite the contrary, "labels" are of extreme importance. While the reality is that "labels" are arbitrary, there consequences are all too real and significant. And to an extent we *have* to rely on them to make sense of our complex world. Those "labels" make up all of social reality or what people consider to be reality

    It's not that actual sexuality is a choice and a mutable characteristic. It's that the word "sexuality" itself and the words associated with it are mutable and man-made. And the understanding and application of those words affect our choices. The key is the disconnect between reality, the language that we use to understand reality, and the role perception and understanding is shaped by a myriad of things like language (with all its flaws and ambiguity)

    Understandings of sexuality, ethnicity, masculinity, etc. are just some of the many concepts that are problematic, fluid, and misunderstood. They're complicated with words that are widely used but aren't specific or consistent enough to capture the deep complexities of these subjects.

    For example, I find the word "black" to be a historical linguistic relic. It kind of sucks as a word. It's a term used to describe Africans and their diaspora. The majority of people in the US use the word or at least understand what it means (or what they think it means). But are any Africans really the color "black"? And even if we know "black" means the color brown, how many shades of brown are there? On this surface this may not seem like a big deal. Oh, we know what it actually means people say. The problem is that there are always people who don't. And life gets increasingly more complicated when we add in assumptions associated with "black" or other words that are just as shaky as that like "race" and "ethnicity"

    In our case, I have major issues with the word "gay". It's an umbrella term for all kinds of complicated topics like sexual identity, sexual behavior, sexual orientation, masculinity/femininity, etc. As already mentioned despite what it actually originally meant, it's now being used all around the world in different ways and having different meanings. Then people don't accept or accept that word to different degrees. Add in a bunch of misinformation and incorrect assumptions to that word (i.e. gay people dress up like the opposite sex) and you have a hot mess. And it's not just the word "gay". I have lots of issues with lots of words.

    My personal issue with the word "gay" is that I struggle with the negative connotations that has traditionally been associated with the word. Even if I *know* what it means, I realize plenty of people don't. Do I want to deal with all that historical baggage? Do I want to brand myself under a misunderstood and villainized label openly? Do I want to be judged based on a label knowing that the majority of the population is ignorant? In my case, I've already privately accepted the label. I just don't know if I want to wear it outwardly in society. Now that people have reappropriated the word and may it less deviant and negative, it's not nearly as much of an issue for me but it's been a major reason why I've stayed in the closet for sure

  10. I know I'm going on but that entry really resonated with me. I've recently heard that the majority of guys are not heterosexual but bisexual. The source I heard this from cited Kinsey. While I have heard that sexuality is a continuum and had heard of Kinsey's studies before, I never paid special attention to the population of gays, straights, bis, etc. in that study. So I don't necessarily know how accurate that claim is, but I'm bringing it up for purposes of discussion

    So anyways, the claim that the individual makes is that according to Kinsey's results, that around 60% or something of guys are attracted to guys to some degree. Whether that be "gay" folk who are exclusively or mostly attracted to guys or those guys who are emotionally and sexually attracted to women, but will partake in a male/male sexual activities here and there. In the past I heard that about 10% of guys are gay, 1% are bisexual, and everybody else is straight. So it was quite shocking to hear this new perspective say that the majority of guys have some level of same-sex attraction, and that the bisexuals are a huge number of the population

    So what I'm not sure is how accurate the claim is. What I think is going on is that the individual is talking about the Kinsey results where the exclusively gay folk are about 10%. The guys who identify themselves as straight but who partook in at least 1 gay activity counted as "bisexual" (not to Kinsey but the other source who interpreted his results), and I guess that group made up about 50%. And the remaining 40% were exclusively heterosexual. If somebody could check the validity of all this, that'd be great

  11. So the source claimed that while the majority of guys have same-sex attraction, most don't act on them (at least openly) due to our homophobic culture. In other words culture is imposing itself rather seriously over our natural biology according to this individual. Do I believe it? I don't know, but it does make a lot more things make sense to me if I were to

    For example, in my own personal experience, I've seen a lot of guys who I'm pretty sure are straight seem to be attracted to other guys. Call it "appreciation" or just "male bonding" but on some level, I do believe there's a sexual attraction going on, even if the guy has no intention of having sex or relationship with another guy. The guy could be mostly straight with a tinge of bisexual/gay attraction

    The author points to different cultures (like ancient Greece), where homosexuality was prevalent and normal, and that's the biggest point in favor of his view. That really got me thinking, that maybe homosexuality (or at least homosocial) was not just normal but way more naturally widespread than I ever imagined.

    So hearing this Pashtun example is just another fascinating anthropological case that gives me insight into just how unique or normative or understanding of homosexuality here in the US is. The source would actually argue that the Pashtun's aren't just having sex with men, because of the cultural/religious segregation of men/women and the guys being horny. The source would say the guys are doing what many guys naturally want to do (but don't in our society due to our culture). It's just that in the Pashtun culture it's more acceptable to engage in gay sexual behavior and this time heterosexuality is being discriminated against in the environment

  12. "And doesn't this whole argument kinda play into the hands of groups like NOM that insist that sexuality is a choice and a mutable characteristic?"

    Coming back to this, "sexuality" is a problematic term because it denotes sex orientation, sex identity, sexual behavior, etc. A lot of problems come from those who are ignorant about these differences, or conflate the terms. Many heterosexuals take their sexuality for granted. They don't think nearly as much about it as those of us who've lived with a deviant status. So for them, they may think that everybody has a heterosexual orientation (like them), but if they do gay things it's not due to attraction it's due to perversion. Maybe it's culture, or somebody acting out of rebellion, but they genuinely think the person is choosing to be "gay". And they're not completely wrong, because sexual behavior is a choice.

    The problem is that they don't realize sexual orientation is NOT a choice (at least in my experience). And no so surprisingly our sexual behavior is a direct result of our sexual orientation. So while the behavior may be a choice, it's also sort of not due to orientation not being a choice. It's both at the same time, and that's where life gets messy. Most people operate in black-and-white and life is full of gray. Or since we're gay, rainbow colors lol.

    "Insisting that it is merely a label that I have applied to myself seems to deny a fundamental facts abour myself that I know will not change. There may have been a period in time when I may not have grown up to call myself gay...I might have been born Pashtun in some other lifetime...but my gayness would be no less true."

    I think it goes back to the linguistic and cultural relativity issue again. Like, in actual reality, you have a homosexual orientation. However the word "gay" is a socially man-made word that means all kinds of things. So it's not totally false when a Pashtun or even an American don't identify themselves as "gay". Because to them, "gay" might mean other things like, "pervert" or "deviant". There is a clinical definition of what gay means, but it's still man-made and subject to change. And certainly here, its use and application is fluid and full of controversy. Hardly universal and agreed upon. In the case of Pashtun's, the guys having man to man sex are engaging in "gay behavior". Their identity is obviously "straight". Their orientation? I don't know. 1 person calling them gay and another saying they aren't can sort of both be right at the same time. And therein lies the problem and limits of language

  13. part of my problem when people refuse to identify themselves as gay is that I feel that in essence they are judgeing those of us that do by saying they don't want to be associated with that....and the very real fact that, even if you don't consider yourself gay...if you haveing sexual encounters with members of the opposite sex, the rest of society will have no trouble labeling you gay anyway...and that puts you right smack in the same boat with us "self indentifiers'.

  14. I am a bit late writing on this blog but better late than never.

    I was raised in Saudi Arabia and I remember when I was going to school there was so much sex going on between boys but I won't say the majority of them doing it; only a small minority.

    I was considered a "pretty boy" then and I knew that I had to avoid certain places or I would be sexually harassed by those boys; for example crowded places will give the opportunity for these boys to come behind you and start fondling you.

    I know some gay Americans who told me they has more sex in Saudi than in the US but straight men would say it was difficult to ride on the bus because of it. Think of the jail environment and you'll get the picture.

    I have to say that it was a minority who were doing it and at the time the schools were mixed; rich and poor children went to the same schools.

    It was mostly the poor and the uneduated who did it.

    Now, rich families send their children to private schools and there is more openness between the genders and therefore less of "homosexual" sex between straight men.

    I do have to emphasize a very important issue; while I was growing up I never ever thought that sex between men is acceptable for whatever reason. I do believe when Westerners visit an Islamic country they exaggerate the whole "sex between men" phenomena and don't have a good understanding of it.

    For some reason, Westerners also don't seem to report on the "Western style" homophobia that exist in some Islamic countries.

    In Saudi Arabia, I see among the educated and "Westernized" Saudis, an attitude that we had in the US about 20 or 30 years ago.

    Any how, homosexuality in Islamic countries is very misunderstood because it's very complicated issue and it can't be discussed in few paragraphs. I've always felt that I should write a book about it.

    There is also another topic: Saudis who identify themselves as "gay" in the Western style of this label. That needs another blog.

  15. @gayfamilyvalues

    I have the exact same problem with people who say they aren't gay while being gay.

    I find it offensive.

  16. “part of my problem when people refuse to identify themselves as gay is that I feel that in essence they are judgeing those of us that do by saying they don't want to be associated with that”
    Are you talking about closeted people or just the guys that get caught red-handed in homosexual acts and still claim they are straight? Or both?
    I certainly think that happens. For some time, I was one of those individuals who judged the openly gay. Of course a lot of that was based on the fact that I was basing that on the stereotypical images of gays in the media and being sexist in terms of disliking effeminacy in guys. I felt that gays were open about their sexuality because they were too into sex or couldn’t hide their femininity.
    Of course, later I realized just how stupid this thinking was. Not only was it based on stereotypes but being overly judgmental and bigoted in any way is unethical and arrogant. I eventually matured and realized that many people like myself tend to put others down in our own minds to make ourselves feel better or superior. It happens when you lack self-esteem and you need to prop yourself up by putting others down. Fortunately I was never the type to call anybody fag or be homophobic. Some closeted guys do that to seem more straight, but personally I found that too hypocritical and disgusting. Being closeted and deceiving people about my sexuality was bad enough, but contributing to the oppression and just being hateful period never sat well with me. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t judge people in my own head to make myself feel better or to feel like I was special.
    Originally I truly didn’t want to be associated with gay people. Eventually, after seeing more gay role-models, and also maturing though, I don’t think that’s much of an issue. I eventually realized just how courageous the openly gay were and how much they were doing for all of “us” despite the complacency or cowardice of those of us in the closet or in denial. What IS an issue for me personally is not so much being associated with gay people themselves, but the label “gay” and all the negative connotations that come with it. And now it’s not because I think being gay or the label itself is bad, but just because I don’t want to deal with all the ignorant folk who are too brainwashed by hate who are bound to have knee-jerk hateful reactions to me because of it. I do realize though that people coming out and showing who they are will help change this, so I don’t plan on riding coattails on the out and courageous either. Currently my main thing is that I want to be financially independent before I come out. Less because I’m scared my parents will throw me out, and more because I want them to know when I’m already somewhat successful and “normal” instead of when I’m a jobless leech and dependent on them. I want to minimize the chance that they will associate “homosexuality” with anything negative. I don’t want to deal with, “You’re not well, let’s go see a psychologist” or “You are an immature kid. You are confused and you don’t know what you want” if I can help it
    So while I think there are definitely those that judge you guys, I think there are a lot of others who don’t but stay closeted or delusional for other reasons. I believe that some people actually don’t think they are “gay” based on their own definitions of what “gay” is. And I’ve learned a LOT of people lie to themselves all the time about different things. There were times that I’ve been so caught up in my “straight act” that I even forgot I was gay!

    Also there are bi guys who do gay things, but aren’t necessarily gay. And for practical reasons, they’d prefer to label themselves as bis or straight rather than gay or bi. Sometimes people will assume anybody who does a gay act is gay, but if that one source was right, we’re seriously underestimating just how many bisexuals are out there. It can be tough to discern who is actually bi, and who is pretending to be bi but are gay because they don’t want to be called “gay”

  17. “....and the very real fact that, even if you don't consider yourself gay...if you haveing sexual encounters with members of the opposite sex, the rest of society will have no trouble labeling you gay anyway...and that puts you right smack in the same boat with us "self indentifiers'.”

    Yeah I know what you mean. I don’t get why one would continue to deny they are gay once they’ve been caught. Being bi is one thing, but calling yourself straight after getting caught doing something gay?

    I think the main reason why people don’t own up to it (who really are gay and not bi) is branding – whether it’s because somebody doesn’t like being gay or doesn’t want to be associated with it, these people will avoid being known as “gay” at all costs. Even if they get caught, if they can fool a few people by lying and convincing them that it was a fluke or they were just getting pleasure, then they will continue to lie. Some lie to themselves because being gay is so bad to them, and so surely they can’t be bad/gay themselves. Coming out is not just a 1 time thing, so even if a person is caught in 1 group, he can just deny their gayness and still get through life in certain circles being “straight”

    There’s definitely gays out there who know they are gay but refuse to use that label. They also have formed their own definition of what “gay” is to disassociate themselves from other homosexuals who they don’t like for whatever reasons. Like effeminacy, lifestyle, etc.

  18. Second time typing this b/c my stupid internet cut out on the first submission.
    Yes the label 'gay' has unfortunate associations with it that makes it much harder to come out. When I finally became comfortable with who I am, I decided that the term gay means being attracted to/falling in love with a member of the same gender. The rest of society sees gay as being feminine and being good at fashion, etc. I wish the rest of the world would see the definition for what it is meant to be.

    I am still closeted, because of the negative associations with being gay. If I just had to deal with the whole "You're going to Hell" thing, I would be home free, because my immediate family would still love me and are not religious enough to tell me that crap. Even if I said "I don't like girls, I like guys," their mind immediately would go to the 'gay place' where they think about all the negative stereotypes and things that make me different, while I am actually the same person I have always been. There needs to be a public service anouncement that says that gay is what it is and not what the media makes it. It could have all different kinds of gays and lesbians that tell what their jobs are and what their favorite activity is or something like that. Whenever I go home from college (I live in the south) I'm constantly hearing "Thats gay" from my male friends on any number of things. Of course this is a different topic entirely.

    Last night I was thinking about ENDA and how the Republicans seen to vote down anything the Democrats introduce out of spite. This bullsh*t needs to end. I would understand if it was something spending trillions on an issue the GOP doesn't agree on, but ENDA is about basic human rights. The ONLY reasons someone should be fired from a job is is 1) they are doing something against company rules. 2) They are underperforming 3) Layoffs are needed due to the economy. I will not get into the marriage thing, but even Republicans should be able to see this is about firing people for no good reason which is discrimination. What these people do at home is their own business. We aren't even asking them to validate marriage on ENDA just end wrongful firings.

    Another ridiculous thing that the GOP opposes is the end to DADT. Gays have been serving in the military since militaries existed. For some strange reason they have this idea that when the men and women in the military come out, there will be issues with men checking out other men or worrying about how their uniform looks in the field instead of fighting or doing their duty. On a side note, most Spartans had gay relationships and they were the best fighters in Greece as not to be disgraced in the eyes of their lovers. And gays will not suddenly be entering the military and ruining it either as they still have to get through boot camp, and the negative stereotypes that many fear will destroy the military will not be possible. Men and women that go into the military are not the ones that fear breaking a nail or are afraid to shoot a gun or whatever else these bigoted minds think. These people are brave men and women that want to serve our country and that will not change when DADT is repealed. Also, ending the policy will save MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, since each person discharged costs thousands of dollars to do so. Isn't reduced govt spending exactly what the GOP wants? Our allies have done it, while we are stuck with China in the areas of gays in the military and gay unions such as marriage and they just took homosexuality off of their mental illness list in the last 20 years.

    Just a few things I wanted to say, I know it got a good bit off topic.
    I hope everyone has a good end to their weekend.

  19. @u3q2v

    "Are you talking about closeted people or just the guys that get caught red-handed in homosexual acts and still claim they are straight? Or both?"

    Actually, I say it because we got a very young youtuber that harrassed us in emails for a while during Jay's last feud with DaveyWavey (jay has about one fued a week with him). He claimed that younger guys are uncomfortable calling themselves anything and that we were bad for using that label...and my response to him was nice for you but also...screw you! What about the rest of us that had to struggle through all the bullshit so you could be comfortable in your non-labeled state. and I guaranty that the moment you have sex with another dude...the rest of the world will have no problem attaching the "gay" label to you..quite without your consent.

  20. I understand both sides and I think it's a tough issue. Like I think a lot of labels are not useful, outdated, and cause way too many problems

    That said, like you've articulated, that won't stop society from labeling us, and in the meantime, the out and courageous are shouldering the burden of this current Civil Rights movement. In the meantime the complacent and apathetic are just riding coattails on your efforts, and obviously that is the kind of thing that could easily sap anybody's morale.

    I can't really talk because I myself am currently riding coattails due to a degree of cowardice and selfishness. Although I do have intentions of helping out politically now that I've become more aware of how not-so-inevitable the Marriage Equality issue is. Before I was content to be a "straight" ally (or posing as one). It does seem we need more help in the front lines though

    What doesn't make sense to me is that even if say those individuals don't want to label themselves, attacking you or judging others who are out is just stupid and petty. Like fine, I get that you don't want to contribute to the labeling system and don't want to be rigidly defined by society. But don't hate on those that are still operating in society and ultimately trying to help you! I don't know if those individuals have truly thought through the situation of what's going on. They probably live in a self-indulgent bubble as many young people are.

    I myself tend to avoid politics, just because it's unpleasant and I often feel I can't make a difference. Fortunately I'm also aware that's a bad political attitude, because once you disempower yourself, you truly are disempowered. Also, regardless of whether I put my head in the sand or not, politics will still affect me and my life. That is why I am so thankful to you and your family's efforts. You're role-models because you guys are doing things I haven't had the selflessness and courage that I currently haven't had

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