19
   

Avoiding Heteronormativity

 
 
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 09:03 pm
@DrewDad,
Yep. It's hard to maintain a relationship. I've been with Mr. B for 25 years so I know that's true.

I just think it would be harder if we were the same sex.

And I know that if we were the same sex we would have never been approved to raise Mo.

And that alone is weird.
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:10 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

My impression, especially dominant in America but also present in Germany, is this: Parents tend to be deeply uncomfortable with the notion that their children have sexual desires at all. They tend to freak out at the thought that their child will seek to act on those desires by having a sex life of any sort. Child sex itself is taboo. More often than not, it's hard to have a grownup conversation about it. Compared to this taboo, the additional discomfort about children with gay sexual desires, as opposed to straight ones, seems minor to me.


I disagree. I agree with you that, speaking broadly, child sexuality is a difficult and squirmy topic for many parents....though I find many parents to be blasé about sexual activities their children undertake that are normatively unusual.

In my experience many more parents are very concerned if they think the activity suggests homosexuality. Especially fathers in my experience.


I think you are underestimating the effects of homophobia.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:22 am
@dlowan,
Yup. Gotta agree with that, d. Most of us here (on this site, I mean) have grown so accustomed and comfortable with the notion of homosexuality that we're positively blase about it. It's not like that out there in the real world, among the working stiffs. Homophobia is alive, well and rampant in most of the Western world (which is the only world I can claim intimate familiarity with). Especially when it comes to one's offspring, most parents get awfully up-tight at the very idea that their child might be somehow "different" from the two heterosexual parents who conceived her/him. Fear of kids experimenting heterosexually is a much milder concern.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:27 am
@Sturgis,
I think it makes a lot of sense, but I'm not sure it's all true.

A fairly constant theme in mental health literature based on gay people talking about what made their lives hard as kids and adolescents ( and remember we have a disproportionate percentage of young gay people taking their lives, becoming very depressed etc) is that of how hard it was/is to feel different in the face of a very monolithic set of expressed expectations that one would be straight.

In the training I have received from gay people, a prominent thread is the importance of not assuming that the client is straight....eg assuming that a relationship they name is heterosexual. The monolith extends to psychological tests I administer....while noting the heterosexual bias openly.

I feel that Soz is being criticized to some extent for actively opening space for gayness....which is something that I am informed is extremely important for young gay people. Not being gay, I listen to the advice I am consistently given and act upon it to the best of my ability.

I agree that things are....thank goddess...changing....but homophobia is still, in my view, rampant and very damaging. Well, in Oz it is...perhaps other countries are more enlightened.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:29 am
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

aawww, I only can imagine how hard it must have been for you back then when homosexuality was still a "bad" word.

As I said already, I've seen the boys my daughter hangs out with and how
it is a non-issue for them to openly profess their sexuality, but they might have very understanding parents and after all, we live in southern California and not in rural Tennessee or Kentucky.


I am so happy to hear that homosexual is not a bad word for many where you live!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:32 am
@Thomas,
Thomas....I am surprised by some of your incredulity.

Homosexuals, unlike redheads (to my knowledge) are a minority who have been killed, imprisoned, shunned, assaulted, fired, consigned to hell and generally persecuted in numerous cultures for millennia...and often times still are even in the west.

dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 02:34 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

So, do we agree that there's no essential difference between telling Sozlet that her potential crush might be gay and telling her that he might prefer redheads?


I think there's a MASSIVE difference. How great it is depends upon the particular circumstances of the local culture.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 07:10 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Homosexuals, unlike redheads (to my knowledge) are a minority who have been killed, imprisoned, shunned, assaulted, fired, consigned to hell and generally persecuted in numerous cultures for millennia...and often times still are even in the west.

You may want to read up on witch hunts. As we know today, none of the women burnt at the stake possessed magic powers. But they did commonly possess red hair. (At least in Germany, red hair was considered a tell-tale sign that you were a witch. Now that I think of it, I'm not quite sure how universal that was among 'witch'-burning cultures.) Redheads suffered exactly the kinds of indignities you describe. The only difference between them and homosexuals is time.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 07:15 am
@dlowan,
Thomas wrote:
So, do we agree that there's no essential difference between telling Sozlet that her potential crush might be gay and telling her that he might prefer redheads?

dlowan wrote:
I think there's a MASSIVE difference. How great it is depends upon the particular circumstances of the local culture.

In your opinion, just what is the massive difference? How are the consequences different between Sozobe telling Sozlet one thing and telling her the other?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 07:24 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
The only difference between them and homosexuals is time.


well, right now, the time is not good for people to speculate that someone else might be homosexual (at least not on my part of the continent - here it could still lead to a lawsuit).
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:10 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Our conversations about gayness usually go like this...

Mo: Do you think s/he's gay?

Me: It's none of my business.


Best answer.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:20 am
@Thomas,
While acknowledging that western European, christian societies are uncomfortable about children and sexuality, i'd like to point out that they do take heed that they might be. Statutory rape laws in the United States, for example, in most jurisdictions, make distinctions about age differences. If one child is 17, and the other is 20, the laws are far less stringent in such a case than would be true if it were a 17 year old child and a 40 year old adult.

There has been a fair amount written in recent years about the sexual glorification of children, both overt and covert, in centuries gone by. It would be interesting to know the origin of the contemporary discomfort with sexual children. I suspect it is the specter of exploitation which fuels it.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:23 am
@boomerang,
You and Mr. B hooked up when you were five years old ? ! ? ! ?

Wow . . . who knew?
Sturgis
 
  4  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:47 am
@CalamityJane,
Quote:
aawww, I only can imagine how hard it must have been for you back then when homosexuality was still a "bad" word.

As I said already, I've seen the boys my daughter hangs out with and how
it is a non-issue for them to openly profess their sexuality, but they might have very understanding parents and after all, we live in southern California and not in rural Tennessee or Kentucky.
It was an interesting time to say the least. I didn't consciously know of the word homosexual or homosexuality. As earlier indicated, there was gay, which a few of us used on another boy but even there I didn't have a full concept of what it meant. It wasn't discussed directly at home.

Home discussion with my parents, were nonexistent until a friend decided to bite me on the neck and it was revealed we were in the closet together and alone. He was obviously a bad influence and not well, because he liked males. There had been room for discussion; but, there never was, not even as I would steal my sister's dolls or put on my mother's dress. And this was in New York City.

Then again, my mother was raised primarily in New York City and mostly in Greenwich Village which had a large number of homosexuals and it didn't help her out towards acceptance even though her parents were accepting of all.

When in Vermont or when with my aunt and uncle, I didn't try stealing or wearing women's clothes...I mean did you see those outfits? I had class and taste even then.


Parenting/Guardianship is a bigger key to helping overall acceptance. I don't feel location is a much the concern these days given that the television in Harlan Kentucky shows programs seen in Chicago and in New York. How does the adult react when a gay character appears on the screen?

As I said, my mother had the Bohemian-type parents, lived in the big city and within a community with a lot of homosexuals; yet, she was not accepting. What creates acceptance? Is there even an answer?
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:51 am
@Setanta,
I know!

And they all said "They're too young. It'll never last."

We showed them.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 08:54 am
@boomerang,
Cool . . . you rock . . . even if you are a girl . . .
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 09:30 am
I think the issue here is the fact that Soz speculated about the sexual orientation of Sol's crush, er, "like," intimated it to Sol, and then sublimated her actions by tying them in to the homosexual awareness issues discussed in the article (which itself is problematic) that she posted. It seems that Soz took this boy's seeming lack of reciprocity of "like" to Sol as a personal affront to Sol, and rationalized that "this boy must be gay." Again, this boy's sexual orientation is irrelevant in regard to his reciprocity, or lack thereof, of "like" to Sol. It seems to be more a reaction of sour grapes, as it were.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 09:45 am
@InfraBlue,
I think you're WAY off base. I don't think you could be more wrong. I think soz's heart and mind were in the right place and it wasn't at all a "sour grapes" response.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 11:18 am
@sozobe,
I keep tripping over the apparent dichotomy between the first post

sozobe wrote:
" I've wondered if he might be gay."


and this from a later post

sozobe wrote:
"Avoid assumptions" is the message, not "affix labels."


It felt like you'd labelled to start with, and then moved to saying the important part was not to label, to remain open-minded.

I agree with the bigger message, have a big problem with what appears to have happened in real life. My initial reaction was quite similar to what Infrablue posted.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Apr, 2012 01:11 pm
@ehBeth,
Just here for a second, the kid is having medical issues today. (Ear thing.)

I don't think that's necessarily contradictory though.

I said from the beginning that this was a maybe. Could be, could not be. Idle observation, no value judgement. Because I see being gay as a neutral attribute. Not intrinsically good, and certainly not bad.

The complication is that of course it's not universally seen as neutral. While I see it as neutral and wish sozlet to see it as neutral, it's viewed by many as far from neutral.

But it seems hard to keep it neutral and not negative if it's never mentioned as a possibility, against the backdrop of assumptions that everyone's straight until they prove otherwise.

One thing I think I've figured out is that people thought I was dissing the kid with that observation. I really wasn't. I get that it could start rumors and that would be bad for him and that's not something I would want to have happen. Hence double-checking that sozlet wouldn't go talking about that, which I thought she wouldn't do, and which she confirmed.

But I think he's a great kid, and if he's not gay and becomes a boyfriend, excellent. If he is gay and turns out to be a close friend who is gay, excellent. If he turns out to be straight and stays a close platonic friend, excellent.
 

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