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Some Musings About Sexual Orientation and Stuff

 
 
snood
 
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 06:19 pm
I guess all the talk lately about gay marriage got me thinking about gender and orientation, and I wanted to share and see what you all thought.

About being homophobic: I think in the spectrum of the general publics’ ideas, I’m relatively enlightened and progressive. I admit there was a time I wasn’t as socially liberal, and I still have vestiges of that time in me.

I think that term - “homophobe” – can occasionally be used a little quickly and can sometimes be cast a little widely (probably the same way some conservatives think the word ‘racist’ is used).

Someone told me a story once that kind of captured how I feel. He said him and his girlfriend were at a hotdog stand on a street in NY, and two men just started making out fiercely in front of them. He made a “yuch” (like disgusted or creeped out) sound, and his girl berated him for the next two days about being a homophobe.

He assured her that he believes in complete legal equality and would never mistreat or harass anyone gay. But he also argued he knows for a fact that a gay acquaintance reacted just as creeped out and disgusted if he saw two heteros making out, so why does his reaction make him a homophobe?

I, like the guy in the story, would lend and borrow a cup of sugar from a gay couple who were neighbors and have dinner at their house and let our kids play together, but if they started swapping spit in front of me I would probably have to stifle a little “yuch”. Does that make me a homophobe?

Here’s another one: One controversy that seems to come up every so often is about whether sexual orientation is a choice or totally inborn – genetic. So as not to give the oppressors and “anti” forces any leeway, I generally side with those who say it is not a choice.

But I still have questions.
For instance, where in the argument do we include a woman who raises kids and grandkids and stays with the same man for 30 years, then “comes out” at the age of 55? Was she deceived through all those years with her spouse and family? Was she just “passing”, while knowing her true identity all along? Was she necessarily gay all the time, or did her orientation change?

Anyway, hope this doesn’t earn me too much derision – just thinking out loud for input from the A2K crowd…


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Type: Discussion • Score: 25 • Views: 8,761 • Replies: 129

 
boomerang
 
  5  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 06:39 pm
@snood,
I do the "yuck" thing whenever I see any couple, of any sexual orientation, making out publicly. I expect to run into it with teenagers once in while but really, if you're older than 20 you're too old to be doing your heavy petting in public.

I think until recently a lot of older people were heavily closeted. I have friends whose parents "came out" when we were adults -- so they (the parents) were seniors. I think it's safe to say they were passing.

I've also know two gay people who would describe their sexuality as a choice. Two of my very good friends are a lesbian couple. One of them was married and had kids and never ever (according to her) considered herself to be a lesbian. She was shocked when she fell for this woman who is now her partner. The other was a man I knew when I was younger. He said he had some bad sexual experiences with women and he just couldn't try that again and since he liked sex he decided to have sex with men.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  4  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 06:46 pm
@snood,
Sounds as though you are dealing with the same questions and considerations many people are dealing with, Snood.

I know I have.

I’m kind of a small guy…a bit scrawny…and when I was young, I had a “pretty” look to me. I was straight arrow…loved the ladies, but I could easily be mistaken for a gay, because “small and pretty” are what some straights call “a gay look.”

I was very, very touchy about it…and I am afraid there was a time in my life when I allowed my concerns about it to make me a bit homophobic…for real.

But at some point, I came to realize that the problem was with me; with my personal insecurities; was something I had to deal with…AND HAD NOTHING to do with any perceived problems I had for gay people. And for sure, it had nothing to do with gayness itself.

I managed to get through all the nonsense…and I think I am now as open-minded as any straight. Nancy and I have several friends who are gay…including three different gay couples who are either married (the female gay couple) or in dedicated long-term relationships (the two gay male couples).

Like it or not, America has got to get use to the fact that times they are a’changin’…and the door that has opened in this area will never be slammed shut again.

In my opinion, it is right that the door is open…it probably should have opened a long time ago.

At the same time, I think everyone should be aware that the change is not tolerated as easily by some as by others and ragging on people who are having trouble making the adjustment is probably as unfair as some of the ragging gays have had to endure. Everyone will eventually come around…beating people over the head for lagging is not wise.

We all should be heading toward: Live and let live—and give it some time to become the norm.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 06:47 pm
@snood,
I think having a "yuck" reaction can make sense, sure. I do it when I see straight people making out a bit too enthusiastically, too.

I don't think the choice thing is completely either/ or. (As in, either it's immutable or it's not, for everyone.)

The Kinsey scale has always made a lot of sense to me. A scale of 0-6, with 0 being completely straight and 6 being completely gay.

http://www.iub.edu/~kinsey/research/images/ak-hhscale2_clip_image001.jpg

In that case, a given person can be a 6 ("born this way" gay, not a choice at all), while someone else may be a 3 and has more of a choice, one way or another.

Additionally though, there is more research coming out (heh) about how the mechanisms behind homosexuality differ somewhat in men and women. That seems to indicate that women's sexuality is more fluid -- that is, some women aren't a 3 in an immutable way, and then make just make the choice to be gay or straight, but can vary on the scale between 0 and 6 within a single lifetime.

Male homosexuality seems to be more immutable -- you're gay, you're straight, or you're bi.
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 06:56 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:

I think that term - “homophobe” – can occasionally be used a little quickly and can sometimes be cast a little widely (probably the same way some conservatives think the word ‘racist’ is used).

I was unaware that only some conservatives think the word 'racist' can be prematurely utilized.

Quote:
Here’s another one: One controversy that seems to come up every so often is about whether sexual orientation is a choice or totally inborn – genetic. So as not to give the oppressors and “anti” forces any leeway, I generally side with those who say it is not a choice.

But I still have questions.
For instance, where in the argument do we include a woman who raises kids and grandkids and stays with the same man for 30 years, then “comes out” at the age of 55? Was she deceived through all those years with her spouse and family? Was she just “passing”, while knowing her true identity all along? Was she necessarily gay all the time, or did her orientation change?

Anyway, hope this doesn’t earn me too much derision – just thinking out loud for input from the A2K crowd…

The argument is a red herring. Using it doesn't magically make somebody else's sexual orientation anybody else's business.

Boomer covered the rest as far a the more general, indiscriminate icky factor of pda
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:07 pm
@sozobe,
Well, that's interesting, because I was about to say those very things.....including that I feel female sexuality is more fluid.

It'll be interesting if there DOES turn out to be a different mechanism, because I was going to wonder if the greater sense of fluidity was about male sexuality being more the subject of rigid indoctrination and social control.

I think female gender preference hasn't been all that important, genetically speaking, because we could have children whether we actually liked having sex with men or not and because (historically speaking) women often haven't had any real choice about whom they had relationships with. Also, women having sex with other women hasnt had any effect on whether a male believes his children to be his and thus hasn't been a subject of really rigid attempts to control.

Not that I think women haven't been persecuted for lesbianism, just that I see the societal controls as less rigidly enforced for women.

Anyhow, I agree with Soz that many more people could swing either way than actually do.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:10 pm
@thack45,
thack wrote:

Quote:
I was unaware that only some conservatives think the word 'racist' can be prematurely utilized.


I was unaware of having said "only".

In my experience, if someone has cried foul about the use of the word "racist" they've been conservatives. If that's not your experience , oh well.

Speaking of red herrings, your point that not only conservatives protest the use of the word is a non-sequitur in the context of this thread.

But thanks for sharing.

thack45
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:15 pm
@snood,
Hey now. I kept on track. You wrote it down... and responded to it.

I assumed the comment had to be a bit tongue in cheek. You don't really believe that every time a person is accused of being racist that that person must be, do you?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:22 pm
When I was a sailor (Mm, seafood - So said a man on the sidewalk, when I and a friend walked by on Market Street) I followed a girl into a spot one night in San Francisco. I was naturally trying to make time with her. After about ten minutes, she said, "This is a gay bar." I think she said gay. I looked around. She was right. We were the only straight ones in the crowd and I suddenly had doubts about her. I felt grateful nobody approached our table or even noticed us. The girl got up and walked out. I was about to do the same, when I saw two police officers parked in front of the window, looking in. I froze, not willing to take a chance the cops would pick me up for something. These were homophobic times. As I waited them out, I witnessed a great deal of humor and good natured banter between the more outgoing patrons. Many wore colorful character outfits. A young man asked a slightly older guy to dance. "What do you think I am? A fruit?" They danced and were pretty snuggly out there. I felt like smiling, but held it in. Finally, the police drove away and I could leave.

I have had a few experiences along these lines and have been fine with it. Where I have been uncomfortable is when I would be working a remodel job in a gay person's home and they make a move on me. I once contracted to do both interior and exterior repairs on a gay man's house. He was very nice and I still have a good opinion of him. He had a pretty young guy living with him. On my last day the man had gone to work by the time I arrived and his friend was home alone for the first time. I had just to finish the cove mold on a few soffits to be ready for the payoff. He saw me approach and stuck his head out the door. He asked if I would like a cup of coffee. I noticed right away that he wore just a towel. I begged off and went to work. I had to make a few trips past the door for the equipment to get set up. Each time I went by he tried to coax me inside. On the final trip by it was obvious he no longer wore his towel. I finished up on the side of the house and had one more piece left on the back. I started around the corner and caught a glimpse of the young man lying back there in the nude, reading a book. That's when I loaded up and went home. The man did not question me, but paid me off. In the months that followed he called me to make bids on more jobs. None of which materialized. I finally realized that he was taken with me and only called me so we could be together. I was a bit put out, because it was not a short drive. But I got over it. I think he did not know how his friend acted. I think he would have felt embarrassed.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:27 pm
@dlowan,
I wish I could remember enough about where I read the recent stuff about male vs. female homosexuality -- I'd guess NYT or New Yorker but a quick search was not fruitful.

Good points about the social elements of male vs. female homosexuality.

Meanwhile, another thought I had re: snood's original post is that I think "homophobia" is one of those words with a few meanings.

If the deciding factor in the "yuck" reaction is that it's two men, and not that the PDA is generally icky and you'd be as grossed out by a heterosexual couple engaging in it, I do think that's a kind of homophobia, yes.

However, "homophobia" more generally means "someone who dislikes gay people for being gay" with an additional connotation of "and would act according to that antipathy." So I think that many people who have an instinctual "yuck" reaction can also actually behave perfectly civilly, and aren't homophobic in that sense.

You, snood, don't strike me as being homophobic in that sense.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:51 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I wish I could remember enough about where I read the recent stuff about male vs. female homosexuality -- I'd guess NYT or New Yorker but a quick search was not fruitful.

Good points about the social elements of male vs. female homosexuality.

Meanwhile, another thought I had re: snood's original post is that I think "homophobia" is one of those words with a few meanings.

If the deciding factor in the "yuck" reaction is that it's two men, and not that the PDA is generally icky and you'd be as grossed out by a heterosexual couple engaging in it, I do think that's a kind of homophobia, yes.

However, "homophobia" more generally means "someone who dislikes gay people for being gay" with an additional connotation of "and would act according to that antipathy." So I think that many people who have an instinctual "yuck" reaction can also actually behave perfectly civilly, and aren't homophobic in that sense.

You, snood, don't strike me as being homophobic in that sense.


Thanks. Yeah, definitely wouldn't act on any negative thoughts. So, how does your paradigm explain when a homosexual is grossed out by heterosexual making out? Heterophobia?
snood
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 07:53 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

Hey now. I kept on track. You wrote it down... and responded to it.

I assumed the comment had to be a bit tongue in cheek. You don't really believe that every time a person is accused of being racist that that person must be, do you?


Dude. I didn't start the thread for this. Leave it alone, okay?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:07 pm
@snood,
Quote:
So, how does your paradigm explain when a homosexual is grossed out by heterosexual making out? Heterophobia?


By the first definition, yeah. Actually I think it'd be more of an opposite-gender phobia, though. (As in, a lesbian would have an element of androphobia, and a gay man would have gynophobia.) (Again in keeping with the first definition though, just in terms of the "ew," not in terms of how they'd act in general.)
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  6  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:09 pm
I knew I was going to be gay for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have a choice. It was who I was. Now I know others whom have gotten married and even had children and said they didn’t know they were gay at the time but later said they always knew just didn’t want to accept it.

The one thing that has always bothered me is when I meet a straight man that find out I’m gay and automatically he takes a dislike to me because for some odd reason he thinks I might hit on him.

It doesn’t work that way. I, like most gay men are not attracted to all men we see. Sure I might see men whom I think are attractive but that doesn’t mean I want them. Personally as a gay man I’m attracted to very few other men, I have certain a type I like and stick with it and that’s all. Of course shaved headed Puerto Rican’s have a soft spot with me.
Cool
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:11 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:
I think that term - “homophobe” – can occasionally be used a little quickly and can sometimes be cast a little widely (probably the same way some conservatives think the word ‘racist’ is used).

Not just "some conservatives". And, those people are right to think that.

Snood wrote:
He assured her that he believes in complete legal equality and would never mistreat or harass anyone gay. But he also argued he knows for a fact that a gay acquaintance reacted just as creeped out and disgusted if he saw two heteros making out, so why does his reaction make him a homophobe?

Well, you tell me. Suppose you made out with your wife in public, and some people went "yuck" about it because you're an interracial couple. Would you think of them as racists? What difference, if any, would it make to you if they were Black or White? The analogy with gay couples and homophobia is exact.

Snood wrote:
For instance, where in the argument do we include a woman who raises kids and grandkids and stays with the same man for 30 years, then “comes out” at the age of 55? Was she deceived through all those years with her spouse and family? Was she just “passing”, while knowing her true identity all along? Was she necessarily gay all the time, or did her orientation change?

Those are not the only possibilities. She could have been in denial all the time, especially if the subculture around her considers homosexuality a horrible, horrible thing. Or, she could have been bisexual all the time. It could be all kinds of reasons. You just can't tell in any general way.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:14 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:
So, how does your paradigm explain when a homosexual is grossed out by heterosexual making out?


if they're only grossed out by hetero spit swapping, it'd be some version off heterophobia



I always thought everyone was grossed out by public PdA's. It grosses me out regardless of who is doing it. Always has.

I'm pretty sure I'm not sex-phobic but I'm definitely PdA-phobic.
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:17 pm
I wouldn’t say I’m just grossed out by hetro’s making out, I feel the same way about gays. I know two guys who have been dating for almost a year now and when we see them out their making out, I think its gross, take it in the bedroom, straight or gay I don’t care to see it.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 08:35 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

snood wrote:
So, how does your paradigm explain when a homosexual is grossed out by heterosexual making out?


if they're only grossed out by hetero spit swapping, it'd be some version off heterophobia



I always thought everyone was grossed out by public PdA's. It grosses me out regardless of who is doing it. Always has.

I'm pretty sure I'm not sex-phobic but I'm definitely PdA-phobic.


This is actually educational for me. For some reason the thought that maybe everyone is more-or-less grossed out by excessive PDAs by anyone is something that hadn't really occured to me... Hmmm...

Well, one possible exception comes to mind right away. It seems that its sort of an acceptable, even appealing thing for a lot of men when two attractive women make out. Isn't it funny how that can be true, but the opposite isn't? Human behavior is so intriguing sometimes.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 May, 2012 11:45 pm
@snood,
Who says the opposie isn't?
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 May, 2012 05:37 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

Who says the opposie isn't?


My education continues.....

No, but seriously - to my anecdotal experience women don't generally regard male homosexual behavior as arousing to them. In fact, from what I've heard, women generally even consider male genatalia not as aesthetically pleasing as womens'. Is that not the case?

 

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