Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

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Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Altercator » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

So where does the root of homophobia come from?

While growing up in Malaysia, I had grown-ups; teachers, parents, relatives, so-called "experts" etc; telling me that homosexuality is unnatural just because the gay or lesbian couple won't procreate & have children. When bringing up the issue of sperm donorship, in vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination or other possible ways that science can help couples give birth to children, these elders around me will ask, "who's the father? will the child ever know her real dad? Won't it confuse the child when she finds out who's her real 'parents' are?"

The issues of procreation & parents keep popping up every time I discussed homosexuality with most people here.

So really, is the lack of procreation & issue of parentship the truly root cause of homophobia, or is there something deeper than that?

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby tKircher » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

So really, is the lack of procreation & issue of parentship the truly root cause of homophobia


It's a number of things, depending on who you ask. But yes, lack of procreation is a major component in most arguments against homosexuality. After all, it's a death sentence to any bloodline to have your child refuse to procreate, which defeats the purpose of survival. It's a slap in the face to have that same child follow the hedonist route of sodomy, rather than procreate. Shows a lack of realism and self-worth.

Most would say that procreation point this can be bypassed (see OP), but that's just not the concern. Lepers can procreate, schizophreniacs can procreate, the colorblind can procreate. It's not that it can't be done, it's that we've completely ignored "good evolutionary sense" by enabling these sorts of individuals to advance their genes.
The idea is, instead of just letting the diseased and ill reproduce, to cure them and let them be on their way. Thus, medicine. Cure the sick, let them go on to do great things. Don't just leave someone with a broken arm to fend for himself, fix it and let him go on to do what he does without the dead weight.


But there's plenty of other concerns about it too, such as the perspective of "what good does it do for anyone?" (utilitarianism, not the most personal argument, but still a position to consider) or "what ends do their means achieve?" (kantianism, could be the same as utilitarianism if you look at it sideways) or even "How does homosexuals reproducing affect their children" (more of a family-oriented way of thinking).


Part of the problem is lack of communication between pro- and anti-homo groups is not speaking in the same terms. Like above, the OP can't understand what the big deal about procreation is, because he hasn't made the connection to mental illness or evolution. Then you run into problems defining "mental illness," (which is determined by popular vote, rather than any scientific basis), and then defining "popular vote."

It's a pretty sticky topic to break into, not in the least of which because homophobia is considered a "bad" thing in most areas of the western world (and gets flamed pretty righteously). But hey, even atheism is in the same boat.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

The "pro- and anti-homo" don't get along due to a tendency by the "anti-homo" groups to distort facts and appeal to prejudice.

Dissatisfied with some outcomes in the U.S., anti-gay activists have sent groups to places like Uganda and Russia-- where violence against LGBT's is institutionalized-- to get off their kicks on persecution. Paul Cameron's pseudoscience ringing eugenics talk to impressionable religious folks directly prevents any communication.

Then there's also the issue of a majority of anti-gay groups being made up of religious zealots claiming to have any understanding of science. Look up Maggie Gallagher. Concerned Women of America. Focus On The Family. Look up at the qualifications and professions (and further look into those with titles to be officially certified; many "doctors" and "therapists" without actual licenses or support of their respective professional organizations) of these folks. Basically, they talk hot air and irrelevant hyperbole.

There's no speaking in the same terms, because the anti-gay side's terms are refuted. Nothing short of Christian supremacy coupled with picking and choosing certain aspects of biology.

As demonstrated in nature, many gay couples do adopt. Look up the gay penguins in a Chinese zoo. How is sodomy more hedonistic than recreational straight sex with condoms? How does it reduce self-worth or a grasp on reality?

Leprosy is a disease, as is schizophrenia, color blindness. Homosexuality is not a disease. Homosexuality is still a mystery in evolutionary understanding, as its workings are not yet figured out. There are studies pointing that mothers of homosexual offspring are more fertile. This offsets the lack of procreation in the past by these individuals. Now, with in-vitro and adoption available, the survival of the race is of no concern, especially in an overpopulated world.

There are plenty of studies on children being raised by homosexuals. Look it up. They do just fine.

As for what the roots of homophobia can be? This article certainly helps.

http://rictornorton.co.uk/homopho1.htm

A fear of the different and parting from the pre-established assumptions of what roles are to be had seems a good starting place as well.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Maurog » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

I always wondered how gays can be bashed for lack of procreation, while priests and nuns are somehow ok.

Where is nunophobia?
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

Maurog wrote:I always wondered how gays can be bashed for lack of procreation, while priests and nuns are somehow ok.

Where is nunophobia?


I was going to edit my post with that, since I apparently get my epiphanies in the shower.

Seriously, people are acting as if we had a set desire to procreate as the ultimate goal in our lives. It's always this naturalistic approach to human beings, which doesn't do justice to how distinct we are to the others in the animal kingdom.

If the need to procreate was so obvious, why do we have so many world religions and philosophies exploring abstinence, describing sex as filthy? Why is the majority of the sex we have specifically geared to exclude procreative purposes?

Why is the rearing of children and its pertinent terminology so centered in biology? How is adoption inferior?

And then there's the arrogance of thinking that you are the absolute standard to the world. That everything you come into contact with has to relate to you on your terms and experience. What do they mean when they say "real father"? For all intents and purposes, father is a male raising a child; mother is a female raising a child. Mother/Father is not essential, and many other setups have been demonstrated to be as competent (Go read some American Association of Pediatricians literature; American Association of Social Workers, as well).
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Carnildo » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:32 pm UTC

Altercator wrote:So where does the root of homophobia come from?
<snip>
So really, is the lack of procreation & issue of parentship the truly root cause of homophobia, or is there something deeper than that?


This is based entirely on my observations of people (among other things, seeing how people react to various types of trolling) rather than any formal study:

Most people have an instinctive "ew, yuck" reaction to any form of sexual intercourse that cannot lead to reproduction, be it homosexuality, pedophilia, or beastiality. There doesn't seem to be any objective reasoning behind this reaction; rather, when asked why they're reacting a certain way, people will come up with a variety of vague rationalizations, usually amounting to "it's disgusting". Only when pressed to explain why it's disgusting do explanations like "they can't reproduce" come up.

So yes, lack of procreation is the root of homophobia, but it's an instinctive reaction, probably with an evolutionary basis, rather than something based in logic.

This leads to some important results about dealing with homophobia. Since homophobia seems to be an instinctive response rather than a reasoned one, you can't argue someone out of being homophobic. Rather, you need to set up an evironment where being homophobic is unacceptable, so that they are conditioned to ignore the response.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

But there have been societies where homosexuality was widely respected, and these didn't come from an age of tolerance. So, how can you be sure it's an instinct, rather than a conditioned response?
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:42 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:But there have been societies where homosexuality was widely respected, and these didn't come from an age of tolerance. So, how can you be sure it's an instinct, rather than a conditioned response?
As a funny aside to this, the Greeks actually had a problem with homosexuality - it was so rampant that laws had to be passed requiring men to have sex with their wives, because the population was starting to dwindle.

So, yeah - there have been cultures that permitted homosexuality. At times, it's even been championed as superior to heterosexuality (although usually only the male variant - I've read precious few historical accounts of female homosexuality being championed by a society or culture).

Homosexuality challenges our standard cultural norms about what gender belongs where and who should be doing what to whom. That's basically all there is to it; people don't like having their preconceptions challenged. They respond viciously, brutally, and - quite often - violently.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Carnildo » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:14 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:But there have been societies where homosexuality was widely respected, and these didn't come from an age of tolerance. So, how can you be sure it's an instinct, rather than a conditioned response?

"Age of tolerance" is a pretty meaningless concept. It's quite possible to be tolerant of one behavior while being highly intolerant of others.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:33 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:
Lucrece wrote:But there have been societies where homosexuality was widely respected, and these didn't come from an age of tolerance. So, how can you be sure it's an instinct, rather than a conditioned response?

"Age of tolerance" is a pretty meaningless concept. It's quite possible to be tolerant of one behavior while being highly intolerant of others.


This does not address the central point.

To take it further, I can go to Germany, Denmark, and Spain (Barcelona is a favorite), and for the most part seeing two men kiss is inconsequential to many of the acquaintances I have there. There is no "ick" factor; the event doesn't even merit attention, as it does in the U.S.

In certain parts of MA, you can also see this. Amherst is a good example of indifference. Suppression of intolerance isn't even on the radar. It just becomes a natural sight.

This is why I question homophobia as instinctual. So much of our culture, starting in early youth, ascribes such negative reactions to homosexuality; and when it's not slandering the concept, it's censoring it; that no assimilation of homosexual expression takes place.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby hantzu » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:51 am UTC

Another interesting note, although in ancient Greece homosexual pedophilia was certainly condoned and even celebrated, it was sharply distinguished from marriage. If one had proposed to Socrates or whoever that men ought to marry or have some sort of sanctioned relationship, he would have laughed at you, because it was a different kind of relationship. If you were a citizen, you got married, and had kids. In doing so, you supported the economy and the army, and you strengthened and continued your line and clan. It's what you did, even if you had homosexual orgies every night.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:10 am UTC

hantzu wrote:Another interesting note, although in ancient Greece homosexual pedophilia was certainly condoned and even celebrated, it was sharply distinguished from marriage. If one had proposed to Socrates or whoever that men ought to marry or have some sort of sanctioned relationship, he would have laughed at you, because it was a different kind of relationship. If you were a citizen, you got married, and had kids. In doing so, you supported the economy and the army, and you strengthened and continued your line and clan. It's what you did, even if you had homosexual orgies every night.


It would be ephebo-philia, not pedophilia. The youth were still pubescent. And even then, the youth courted in these pederastic relationships were of the same average age that regular women were courted and married. It was the custom that there would be an older, financially well-off and wiser/stronger-- thus dominant-- male in any sanctioned relationship, and the beloved would be its dependent, young and inexperienced.

And that difference in treatment between homosexual and heterosexual relations wasn't so much prejudice against two men being romantic with each other, but rather the maintenance of a power system exerting masculine dominance. Marriage was a contract in which a man would obtain dominance over a woman. Being dominated was a feminine quality, so it was deemed acceptable for women. Greek society was extremely rigid in enforcing gender roles.

Modern homophobia has some of those lingering elements, such as the repulsion toward the prospect of being feminized by penetration.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby hantzu » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:01 am UTC

This understanding of marriage in Greece is oversimplified. The Greeks thought one of the great distinguishing marks between them and the non-Greeks was that barbarians treated women as slaves, while they treated them as free, fully rational, members of the city.

In the first place there must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; namely, of male and female, that the race may continue (and this is a union which is formed, not of deliberate purpose, but because, in common with other animals and with plants, humanity has a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves)...The female is distinguished by nature from the slave...The barbarians, in the other hand, have the same arrangement for female and slave. - Aristotle, The Politics, Book 1, Chapter 2


For, inasmuch as every family is a part of a state, and these relationships are the parts of a family, and the virtue of the part must have regard to the virtue of the whole, women and children must be trained by education with an eye to the constitution, if the virtues of either of them are supposed to make any difference in the virtues of the state. And they must make a difference: for the children grow up to be citizens, and half the free persons in a state are women. - Aristotle, The Politics, Book 1, Chapter 13


From these things it is clear that A: Women are free members of the state, and B: You marry them because you need the race to continue. That male-female marriage was held above homosexual relationships because they wanted some pattern of dominance to perpetuated is at least a gross oversimplification. The Greeks, like everyone, were pragmatists, they just wanted the state to remain secure and everyone to stay alive. It is certainly clear that men were always the governing force in a household, but it was not held to be one of domination. Again, the Politics,

One ought to rule a wife and children as free persons, though it is not the same mode of rule in each case, the wife being ruled in a political {as in an aristocracy}, the children in a kingly fashion. -Book 1, Chapter 12

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:10 am UTC

I also read that Sparta was the closest in treating women as equals. For example, they could participate in the athletic events. Disc throwing was allowed to them.

And while the females may be treated with some modicum of sensibility, they are still held to be the dominated party. Men still rule over women, and they are the ones to impart knowledge. This is domination. I don't know what you mean pragmatism by having males only govern the state and make the final decisions in the household; how is that pragmatic?

But the objection to same-status homosexual unions wasn't only because of the lack of procreative ability. It was a question of manhood. It was one thing to "mentor" a youth and have some fun with them; it was another to enter a male-female interaction presupposed by marriage with a male of your same status.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:40 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:And while the females may be treated with some modicum of sensibility, they are still held to be the dominated party. Men still rule over women, and they are the ones to impart knowledge. This is domination. I don't know what you mean pragmatism by having males only govern the state and make the final decisions in the household; how is that pragmatic?


Maybe because women are preconditioned to raising children because they carry the child and breastfeed, so the men have a lot more freedom from the household. Therefore it made sense for men to be the political leaders... this reasoning does, of course, fall apart when men become the only ones who can govern. There would be no practical reason I can think of that unfertile women or women with grown-up children couldn't participate in the politics of the state. I'm not sure what '[men] are the ones to impart knowledge' is meant to mean, I don't think husbands tutored their wives.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:01 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Lucrece wrote:And while the females may be treated with some modicum of sensibility, they are still held to be the dominated party. Men still rule over women, and they are the ones to impart knowledge. This is domination. I don't know what you mean pragmatism by having males only govern the state and make the final decisions in the household; how is that pragmatic?


Maybe because women are preconditioned to raising children because they carry the child and breastfeed, so the men have a lot more freedom from the household. Therefore it made sense for men to be the political leaders... this reasoning does, of course, fall apart when men become the only ones who can govern. There would be no practical reason I can think of that unfertile women or women with grown-up children couldn't participate in the politics of the state. I'm not sure what '[men] are the ones to impart knowledge' is meant to mean, I don't think husbands tutored their wives.


His second quotation. That's what I mean. Women and children are to be educated; notice the condescension.

And something I've noticed thus far is how this discussion has utterly neglected lesbians. Of course, if we are to follow the UCR's annual reports on anti-gay violence, the brunt of homophobia seems to rest on gay men, but lesbians face issues of their own. Not being taken seriously, "reparative rape", etc.

I believe most people would agree that male homosexuality is much less accepted than its female counterpart. However, it would be nice to gather some observations from the thread's participants as to why this might be the case; and in exploration of the instances where lesbians do face problems, point out if you've come across any particular argument dealing with lesbians.

For example, Southern Baptists voted for a measure declaring that all women should submit themselves to their husbands. Lesbianism could be interpreted as a rebellion to the order women are assigned. As much as it pains me to cite Oprah, the upcoming episode of women who have left their men for other women out of unhappiness feeds into the stereotype of lesbians being usurpers of the dominant male space.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby smw543 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:38 am UTC

hantzu wrote:This understanding of marriage in Greece is oversimplified. <snip>
Actually, I thought it was pretty accurate. Your view is the more simplified one (Aristotle=/=The Greeks. He didn't even speak for all Athenians.)

I'd also have to agree that homophobia is not instinctual, though it does trace back to the Greeks, in a way. Back in the 300's BC, Alexander the Great swept through Asia, bringing Greek culture along with him. Hellenism caught on big in Israel, and this made some elders very unhappy. In order to keep the young people focused on Judaism, certain scriptures were stressed to make the Greeks seem less favorable. (Many claim that homosexuality was never even banned in the original version of Leviticus, or at least the language wasn't so strong.) And when Christianity came about and dropped 99% of the other biblical laws, it made the one about homosexuality seem even more important. (I'm not so sure why it's such a big deal for Muslims, though.)

I'd say there's definitely an inverse relationship between religiosity and tolerance of gays, both in individuals and in a society.

Concerning the lesbian issue: I suppose part of it may have to do with the fact that, according to ScienceTM, women's sexual orientation tends to be more "fluid". That is, they are more likely to change their orientation. But this mainly falls under the "not being taken seriously" thing.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:09 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:I'd say there's definitely an inverse relationship between religiosity and tolerance of gays, both in individuals and in a society.
Only in so much as the homosexuality challenges the dominion of the religion - or the dominion of the culture that espouses the religion. Greeks, who didn't have much problem with gay sex (so long as you maintained your proper roles and place), could be very religious and dogmatic. I think the real issue here is simply a matter of certain types of actions challenging what society defines as a person's 'proper place'. "You should be busy making more mewling bratlings, how dare you pursue your own happiness," - etc. As it applies to women and men.

The lesbian issue - yeah. I mentioned there are no historical narratives I know of that champion lesbian sex (I think Hinduism might have a few?). This is basically because the vast majority of civilizations throughout history have always emphasized a woman's role in relation to a man - that is, a woman's purpose is to have children. Men have multiple purposes (fight wars, win riches, run the nation, etc), which may be why you see some leighway given towards male homosexuality (as it appears among fighting men, Greece, between student and teacher, etc). Because men could engage in homosexual sex without violating the function that society had assigned them - but if women did it, they were undermining the fundamental purpose their culture gave them ("make more citizens"). It could be seen as selfish, an aberration, example of mental illness, etc.

The narrative has changed significantly in the modern world - at least in America. Male and female homosexuality are completely reviled, now. I'm not entirely sure why this is - I'm guessing it has a lot to do with Christian fundamentalism feeling threatened and assigning homosexuality as one of the traits of the 'dirty, Godless liberals'. It might also have a lot to do with the masculine image of the American frontiersman from colonial times and beyond, although I don't see how this interferes with an image of homosexuality. I mean, the Spartans were hella bad-ass, and they didn't think gay sex was an aberration (as far as I'm aware, anyway).

Maybe a combination of these two themes - the Christian fundamentalism plus the frontiersman? They are joined at the hip in our history.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby hantzu » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:Actually, I thought it was pretty accurate. Your view is the more simplified one (Aristotle=/=The Greeks. He didn't even speak for all Athenians.)


That's true, but he does represent the pinnacle of Greek philosophy, and the most robust maturation of Greek thought. He also conveniently left plenty of documents stating the ways Greeks did (and ought to) behave, as opposed to barbarians. What concrete evidence is there that the Greeks married women in order to perpetuate some system of domination?

When I spoke of pragmatism, I meant that what they had foremost in mind was a system that they thought would be the most stable and safe. They might have been right or wrong, but I'm speaking about their intention. Again, Aristotle presents us with the only (as far as I know) articulation of this. If there are documents to the contrary, I'd be interested in them.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:51 pm UTC

hantzu wrote:That's true, but he does represent the pinnacle of Greek philosophy, and the most robust maturation of Greek thought.
Buh? That's wholly a matter of opinion. Just because Aristotle came after a lot of Greek philosophers doesn't mean he was significantly better. And even if he was the 'pinnacle of Greek philosophy', that doesn't mean he nearly came close to representing mainstream Greek thought.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby smw543 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:49 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
smw543 wrote:I'd say there's definitely an inverse relationship between religiosity and tolerance of gays, both in individuals and in a society.
Only in so much as the homosexuality challenges the dominion of the religion - or the dominion of the culture that espouses the religion. Greeks, who didn't have much problem with gay sex (so long as you maintained your proper roles and place), could be very religious and dogmatic.
I meant Judaism and its offshoots (Islam, Christianity, etc.) As far as I know, religious Hindus aren't particularly homophobic, but religious Christians definitely tend to be.

Another thing relating to lesbianism* is that, until recently, the idea that sex should be enjoyable for women was unheard of. Male homosexuality was okay for some cultures because, even though it wouldn't produce offspring, it was done as an acceptable means of getting off. Since women weren't supposed to be getting off (or at least, they weren't supposed to be concerned with it,) it didn't make sense for them to have sex that wouldn't lead to procreation.

*Will all the "lesbianists" please raise their hands?
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:
smw543 wrote:I'd say there's definitely an inverse relationship between religiosity and tolerance of gays, both in individuals and in a society.
Only in so much as the homosexuality challenges the dominion of the religion - or the dominion of the culture that espouses the religion. Greeks, who didn't have much problem with gay sex (so long as you maintained your proper roles and place), could be very religious and dogmatic.
I meant Judaism and its offshoots (Islam, Christianity, etc.) As far as I know, religious Hindus aren't particularly homophobic, but religious Christians definitely tend to be.

Another thing relating to lesbianism* is that, until recently, the idea that sex should be enjoyable for women was unheard of. Male homosexuality was okay for some cultures because, even though it wouldn't produce offspring, it was done as an acceptable means of getting off. Since women weren't supposed to be getting off (or at least, they weren't supposed to be concerned with it,) it didn't make sense for them to have sex that wouldn't lead to procreation.

*Will all the "lesbianists" please raise their hands?


Hinduism has depictions of twin lesbian goddesses. Certainly, the literature isn't backing homophobia. But the remnants of Imperialism left a social legacy of homophobia, nonetheless. Gandhi supported Nehru in the destruction of temple depictions of such lesbian goddesses. It has taken the Supreme Court of India to rule the criminalization of homosexuality illegal; and yet, not a peep from the legislative leaders in whether they will comply. The Hindu royalty has made its feelings on homosexuality known as well.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:04 am UTC

Altercator wrote:So where does the root of homophobia come from?

While growing up in Malaysia, I had grown-ups; teachers, parents, relatives, so-called "experts" etc; telling me that homosexuality is unnatural just because the gay or lesbian couple won't procreate & have children. When bringing up the issue of sperm donorship, in vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination or other possible ways that science can help couples give birth to children, these elders around me will ask, "who's the father? will the child ever know her real dad? Won't it confuse the child when she finds out who's her real 'parents' are?"

The issues of procreation & parents keep popping up every time I discussed homosexuality with most people here.

So really, is the lack of procreation & issue of parentship the truly root cause of homophobia, or is there something deeper than that?


Er, I don't think those are the 'roots' they're more like the symptoms. Those are just their bullshit 'justifications' for why they hate homosexuals. The real reason is unfortunately much more disgusting and simple; people hate people who are different.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:34 am UTC

smw543 wrote:I meant Judaism and its offshoots (Islam, Christianity, etc.) As far as I know, religious Hindus aren't particularly homophobic, but religious Christians definitely tend to be.
That... makes me suddenly very curious. Have there been any hard-line Christian societies or cultures that have been accepting - or even supportive - of homosexuality? The first thing that leaps to mind is the homosexual interpretation of Jonathan and David in the Bible; I know of a few historical Christians who are suspected to be homosexual (admittedly, that one's kind of bull-shitty - in that there's really very little substantiation for it), but has there ever been any Christian, Jewish, or Islamic cultural bloc that went "hey, gay, hooray"?

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby smw543 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:21 am UTC

Disclaimer: All anecdotal information is based on experience in the United States.

I've encountered several Orthodox Jews who ended up with a gay son or daughter and were supportive. Many Jews in general have been moving away from the whole anti-gay thing for a similar reason: they don't want to alienate people. Every Jew of less religious denomination (Conservative, Reformed, etc.) that I've met has been tolerant, or at least wasn't openly anti-gay. (Hasidic Jews are still pretty homophobic, but nobody really likes them, anyway.)

Unfortunately, many Christians who would take a similar position instead choose to believe that anyone who is gay isn't a real believer, because if they were, then the Holy Spirit would "cure" them*. (The phraseology varies from group to group, but the general idea is disturbingly common.) Another trend among some Christians is to simply ignore the issue altogether.


*Words can't describe how much I hate this. I'm not even gay, and it still hurts me when they say it.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:00 am UTC

The roots of homophobia really depends on who we're talking about, or in what way a person is homophobic.

There are many different reasons. Some individuals are simply insecure. This is both cultural and personal, but it amounts to insecurity. Some feel that homophobia is somehow an attack on their own sexuality and masculinity. This is often why its gay men and not lesbians that are concerned here, because lesbians aren't, for what ever reason, considered a threat. I think this is probably the most common reason for homophobia, but not the only reason.

Another reason is pure indoctrination. "Its wrong because its wrong because its wrong" is the line of reasoning here. It usually coincides with religion, but in some cases people are taught to hate by others and it simply sticks with them. In the end, they only hate because they were taught to hate, but they hate viciously. Consider the phelps family as an example (baring the original blind moron that started the whole thing, his hatred is probably more insecurity than anything else, and perhaps a method of control- giving his followers something to fight for... no less disgusting though).

I'm sure there are other reasons. Also note that there is a huge variation in the level of severity of homophobia among individuals. Some don't care enough to do anything about it, but feel uncomfortable around homosexuals (insecure) while others simply feel its wrong but would be fine with civil unions (indoctrination)(note that I view this as another version of "separate but equal", it's still wrong). Others either through indoctrination or insecurity feel the need to go out and actually harm innocent individuals, or harass people at funerals. And others still lie anywhere in between these, or even on outlying edges of these.

It needs to be recognized that in our day and age homosexuality poses no threat and causes no harm what so ever. We don't need to worry about dwindling population, and in any age there is no logical or rational reason to feel that homosexuality is a threat to morality. In fact, we as a society are better off being as accepting as possible. When we are we open our society to these individuals, allowing them to contribute more to society in general. Whats more the intolerance of something like this is simply detrimental itself. It causes more harm to society, and morality to not accept homosexuality than it does to accept it.
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*Words can't describe how much I hate this. I'm not even gay, and it still hurts me when they say it.
Same here. I cringe when I hear someone attempting to "cure" homosexuality. The idea suggests so many things I'd like to think we were done with. Its worse when you consider the fact that it only leads to self repression and self loathing, which is horrifyingly painful for anyone. Why anyone would think such an idea is "moral" or "right" is beyond me.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:55 am UTC

GoodRudeFun wrote:There are many different reasons. Some individuals are simply insecure. This is both cultural and personal, but it amounts to insecurity. Some feel that homophobia is somehow an attack on their own sexuality and masculinity. This is often why its gay men and not lesbians that are concerned here, because lesbians aren't, for what ever reason, considered a threat. I think this is probably the most common reason for homophobia, but not the only reason.
Although I agree that some part of this has to do with challenging men's sense of masculinity (although, again - I really have to wonder - at what point did homosexuality become a challenge to masculinity? There have been times when male homosexuality was accepted as a part of the masculine image, so I am immensely curious why and how it detached and became 'effeminate'), I disagree very strongly that lesbians aren't perceived as a threat. Lucrece has all ready mentioned the idea of reparative rape - a lesbian has parted ways from the standard sexual gender dynamic between a man and a woman - in a lot of ways, this can be perceived as undermining the most fundamental quality of male power (sexual domination). A lesbian is basically saying "No thanks, hold the penis" - which can be very threatening for some men.

How many times have you seen or heard of a man calling a woman a 'lesbian' or 'dyke' because she turned them down or otherwise expressed her independence? It's very common - and when men use the term in that way, they're making it very clear that being a 'lesbian' is a very negative thing. I'd say lesbianism is a fundamental attack on our cultural perception of malehood, and most certainly perceived as a threat. Of immense magnitude.

I think it's right to focus on the idea of homosexuality being a 'threat', anyway. It explains the vitriol - the violence, the sheer magnitude of the response against it. I used to view religious homophobia as kind of a religious functionalist thing ("Religious people are homophobic as a function of their religion"), but recent discussions and news (especially over the Prop 8 thing) have pushed me more toward the idea that homosexuality somehow fundamentally threatens our cultural narratives, and that religion just provides a useful framework for us to focus our vitriol through.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:33 am UTC

Penetration. A perceived feminine quality. Even in Greek culture, where homosexuality was common, it was very strict in who was to penetrate. It would always be the man of higher status; to be penetrated by someone of same or lower status was cause for scorn.

In the narrative of challenge masculinity lies the anxiety many straight men have over the idea of being penetrated. It's degrading. But gay men embrace it, in a sense celebrating a perceived degradation of what a man should be.

Just like the reaction to lesbianism, the challenge to masculinity view by some straight men deals with the transgression of gender roles.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:42 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:Penetration. A perceived feminine quality. Even in Greek culture, where homosexuality was common, it was very strict in who was to penetrate. It would always be the man of higher status; to be penetrated by someone of same or lower status was cause for scorn.

In the narrative of challenge masculinity lies the anxiety many straight men have over the idea of being penetrated. It's degrading. But gay men embrace it, in a sense celebrating a perceived degradation of what a man should be.
I see what you mean as far as narratives like prison-sex, being someone's 'bitch', so on - I can definitely see how the dynamic plays out. But beyond that? If our irreconcilability of the masculine, independent man with homosexuality was just over the idea of that man suffering penetration, why is the image endangered when he's the one doing the penetration?

Actually, thinking on it now, I can think of several narratives I've seen played out where the act of penetrating another man is meant to signify the dominance and strength of the actor. Usually, it's in comedy routines, though ("he's so manly he had sex with a bear!"). I think that penetration is probably a huge factor here - but there are other very significant factors muddying it up. I mean, homophobes don't get along with homosexual male bottoms or tops (pardon if that's not the right terminology).

Whatever is going on here, though, I agree that it's all about transgressions of gender roles.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby smw543 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:11 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I see what you mean as far as narratives like prison-sex, being someone's 'bitch', so on - I can definitely see how the dynamic plays out. But beyond that? If our irreconcilability of the masculine, independent man with homosexuality was just over the idea of that man suffering penetration, why is the image endangered when he's the one doing the penetration?
It isn't, at least not necessarily. To further what Lucrece was saying, there are actually many cultures in which the one doing the penetrating isn't even considered to be gay, while the one being penetrated is seen as having been feminized/dominated. This is even true in America, to some extent: there are men who to go glory holes and other such places to act strictly as a penetrator, and are not seen as gay, nor do they consider themselves to be gay. (There's even a term for them, though I can't remember it, and my textbook from Sexual Behaviors is in storage.)
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Sharlos » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:49 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Penetration. A perceived feminine quality. Even in Greek culture, where homosexuality was common, it was very strict in who was to penetrate. It would always be the man of higher status; to be penetrated by someone of same or lower status was cause for scorn.

In the narrative of challenge masculinity lies the anxiety many straight men have over the idea of being penetrated. It's degrading. But gay men embrace it, in a sense celebrating a perceived degradation of what a man should be.
I see what you mean as far as narratives like prison-sex, being someone's 'bitch', so on - I can definitely see how the dynamic plays out. But beyond that? If our irreconcilability of the masculine, independent man with homosexuality was just over the idea of that man suffering penetration, why is the image endangered when he's the one doing the penetration?

Actually, thinking on it now, I can think of several narratives I've seen played out where the act of penetrating another man is meant to signify the dominance and strength of the actor. Usually, it's in comedy routines, though ("he's so manly he had sex with a bear!"). I think that penetration is probably a huge factor here - but there are other very significant factors muddying it up. I mean, homophobes don't get along with homosexual male bottoms or tops (pardon if that's not the right terminology).

Whatever is going on here, though, I agree that it's all about transgressions of gender roles.


Well first of all you're assuming that one guy is always the 'penetrator' in a relationship. Something like that seems like a fairly baseless assumption.

After thinking about it for a bit though I think a lot of the issues many human cultures have with homosexuality is directly tied with their strict views of gender roles in society. Homosexuals fly in the face of all that is right and good and godly (/sarcasm). I imagine humanity will stop having such archaic views on sexuality the same time we stop having absurd views on gender roles.

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:02 pm UTC

Perhaps another cause for homophobia is that they exist inside the gender they perceive sexually. As in, 'a fag could totally stare at my junk when I'm taking a piss.' It's perceived as a hidden sexual threat.
The Great Hippo wrote:(although, again - I really have to wonder - at what point did homosexuality become a challenge to masculinity? There have been times when male homosexuality was accepted as a part of the masculine image, so I am immensely curious why and how it detached and became 'effeminate')
Let's make the assumption that one in ten men are gay (born gay, if you will) and that that statistic has largely been consistent as far back as civilisation goes. Taking Sparta, almost all men were gay as part of their soldier tradition (leaving aside those that were disenfranchised for whatever reason). It's more likely that they were socially conditioned to be gay than that they had a silly amount of 'gay genes' in their pool, or that they participated in homosexual sex despite being heterosexual. We could infer that under these circumstances, where it was the societal norm, homosexual relationships were viewed as masculine.

As far as modern society? Perhaps the concept of being gay for the sake of being gay is digested in a different way. There is also the relationship between 'camp' and gays that encourages the view of homosexuals as effeminate (here, I'm not suggesting being camp is a requirement of being gay).
Sharlos wrote:Well first of all you're assuming that one guy is always the 'penetrator' in a relationship. Something like that seems like a fairly baseless assumption.
Hippo wasn't really implying that, just that it's silly to judge gays as being the penetrated when they do their own penetrating, too.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Azrael » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:18 pm UTC

Replying to the offtopic stupid over and over and over again is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more annoying to me that the troll was because you should all know better.

Thank you for the report, but next time why doesn't everyone just leave it at that?

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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby GoodRudeFun » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:05 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
GoodRudeFun wrote:There are many different reasons. Some individuals are simply insecure. This is both cultural and personal, but it amounts to insecurity. Some feel that homophobia is somehow an attack on their own sexuality and masculinity. This is often why its gay men and not lesbians that are concerned here, because lesbians aren't, for what ever reason, considered a threat. I think this is probably the most common reason for homophobia, but not the only reason.
Although I agree that some part of this has to do with challenging men's sense of masculinity (although, again - I really have to wonder - at what point did homosexuality become a challenge to masculinity? There have been times when male homosexuality was accepted as a part of the masculine image, so I am immensely curious why and how it detached and became 'effeminate'), I disagree very strongly that lesbians aren't perceived as a threat. Lucrece has all ready mentioned the idea of reparative rape - a lesbian has parted ways from the standard sexual gender dynamic between a man and a woman - in a lot of ways, this can be perceived as undermining the most fundamental quality of male power (sexual domination). A lesbian is basically saying "No thanks, hold the penis" - which can be very threatening for some men.

How many times have you seen or heard of a man calling a woman a 'lesbian' or 'dyke' because she turned them down or otherwise expressed her independence? It's very common - and when men use the term in that way, they're making it very clear that being a 'lesbian' is a very negative thing. I'd say lesbianism is a fundamental attack on our cultural perception of malehood, and most certainly perceived as a threat. Of immense magnitude.

I think it's right to focus on the idea of homosexuality being a 'threat', anyway. It explains the vitriol - the violence, the sheer magnitude of the response against it. I used to view religious homophobia as kind of a religious functionalist thing ("Religious people are homophobic as a function of their religion"), but recent discussions and news (especially over the Prop 8 thing) have pushed me more toward the idea that homosexuality somehow fundamentally threatens our cultural narratives, and that religion just provides a useful framework for us to focus our vitriol through.


It seems to me that male homosexuality is perceived as a threat because, as someone above me mentioned, it casts aside gender roles. As male gender roles seem to be more important in our somewhat male dominated society, this is more threatening to some. I do agree that lesbianism can also be perceived as a threat, though it does not seem to be an issue that heavily discussed. For the most part, when you hear about homosexuality, it usually directly deals with male homosexuality, with lesbianism as a side issue. I think this might be due to the male domination of our society. Men are seen as more important, where as women aren't, so men generate more concern when they cast aside gender roles, while women only generate concern when their sexuality defies men....

The sad part is that the issue isn't just one issue. Already we have homophobia tying in with sexism. There are probably more issues tying in with this. It makes me wonder exactly how much more work people really have in fighting for equality.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:I see what you mean as far as narratives like prison-sex, being someone's 'bitch', so on - I can definitely see how the dynamic plays out. But beyond that? If our irreconcilability of the masculine, independent man with homosexuality was just over the idea of that man suffering penetration, why is the image endangered when he's the one doing the penetration?
It isn't, at least not necessarily. To further what Lucrece was saying, there are actually many cultures in which the one doing the penetrating isn't even considered to be gay, while the one being penetrated is seen as having been feminized/dominated. This is even true in America, to some extent: there are men who to go glory holes and other such places to act strictly as a penetrator, and are not seen as gay, nor do they consider themselves to be gay. (There's even a term for them, though I can't remember it, and my textbook from Sexual Behaviors is in storage.)


MSM, men who have sex with men. Pretty sterile, isn't it? In the black community, it's either that more clinical term, or "down low".

Also, anyone who has dealt with porn gay for pay and hustler industry is familiar with the strange limits set by straight hustlers as to what activities won't threaten their straight status, and which ones will. Receiving a blowjob, being SERVICED is not an issue. However, anal sex is pretty touchy. In the very rare instances when there's anal sex, only topping is accepted. NEVER kissing another male; that's "bitch stuff".

The running theme is that of doing the traditional sex role of a male. You get a blowjob, but you do not administer one. You will not engage in any behavior that a female would engage in a sexual situation. In a way, being a man boils down to being what a woman is not. That is, being a man is diametrically opposed to what makes being a woman. Being a woman is not desirable at all.

The Great Hippo wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Penetration. A perceived feminine quality. Even in Greek culture, where homosexuality was common, it was very strict in who was to penetrate. It would always be the man of higher status; to be penetrated by someone of same or lower status was cause for scorn.

In the narrative of challenge masculinity lies the anxiety many straight men have over the idea of being penetrated. It's degrading. But gay men embrace it, in a sense celebrating a perceived degradation of what a man should be.
I see what you mean as far as narratives like prison-sex, being someone's 'bitch', so on - I can definitely see how the dynamic plays out. But beyond that? If our irreconcilability of the masculine, independent man with homosexuality was just over the idea of that man suffering penetration, why is the image endangered when he's the one doing the penetration?

Actually, thinking on it now, I can think of several narratives I've seen played out where the act of penetrating another man is meant to signify the dominance and strength of the actor. Usually, it's in comedy routines, though ("he's so manly he had sex with a bear!"). I think that penetration is probably a huge factor here - but there are other very significant factors muddying it up. I mean, homophobes don't get along with homosexual male bottoms or tops (pardon if that's not the right terminology).

Whatever is going on here, though, I agree that it's all about transgressions of gender roles.


Depends on how the penetration is done. If it's done with the intent of domination, it's not considered gay/threatening. If it's done for the sake of enjoyment, then it becomes a problem; it implies you enjoy gay sex, and thus are gay. And many straight individuals carry the perception that gay men invariably get penetrated at some point. Gay men like to be penetrated, is the thought. Thorough generalization. The rule of thumb is that gay sex must be done with degradation of the bottom in order to be redeeming to the top.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby EnderSword » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

I find that something that tends to get ignored is the Benefits of being Homophobic to begin with, or more importantly downfalls of not being homophobic.

Part of your own sexual advancement is going to be based on people's perceptions of you, and one of the most obvious purposes of being against homosexuality is to indicate that you are not one yourself.

I had a friend for a while who was was gay, which I didn't mind for along time, because I already had a girlfriend who often accompanied us places, and if she didn't, it didn't really matter, I wasn't trying to meet anyone.
But once I broke up with the g/f and I was interested in meeting new people, he became a disadvantage. You end up getting painted with that brush by association and while I found it easier to talk to new women with a gay guy there, I found it many times easier to actually Attract new women while with a straight friend. Even just being asked 'Are you gay too?' Even after saying no, that attraction is usually made in the first 15 seconds, if they thought you were during those 15 seconds you can't re-do that first impression. Even if nothing about you looks or acts gay, being near someone who does, people will jump to a conclusion.

There's also the threat that as homosexuality becomes more accepted, people tend to classify previously 'manly' things as gay, which people don't like. I'm sure Wrestlers, Soccer players etc... don't like that their sports are often considered 'gay' or 'homoerotic' now when they would have been thought of as fairly manly before.

In a lot of ways I think openly rejecting homosexuals is just meant as a way of re-affirming that you are not and attempting to come across as an alpha male type and be increasingly attractive to women.

So I don't think the rejection is really out of hate for them, but hate for how what homosexuals do can cause other people to assume their actions are a reflection on you, thus lowering your attractiveness in the opposite sex.

I think the idea that it's a reflection on their procreation doesn't make sense, I wouldn't care if another person didn't procreate, but I care if I do. So I think it's a sense of self-interest driving it, not an actual interest in their well being or society's
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

But, again, manly and gay sports are not mutually exclusive. There are several gay sports leagues, and its members are stereotypically manly. You do not need to harbor attraction to females to be considered manly, from an objective standpoint.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby nightlina » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:51 am UTC

My father is slightly homophobic. His 'reason' is because his brother was gay, had unprotected sex with another gay man and got aids and, as a result, died.

I watched a documentary* about the gay culture and aids during the 60s & 70s a few years ago that was really interesting, and it seems that a lot of people started to hate gays at that time because there was a high chance (at that time) that someone who had been involved in a homosexual relationship might have aids, so as a result people hated the gays for giving them aids.

I think if it hadn't been for this setback then we may have progressed a lot further with our attitudes towards gays. It feels like only now is society starting to open up again and accept the presence of homosexuality.

*(The documentary was quite devastating - gays were losing their friends to aids, and then losing their other friends to gay bashings as a result of aids. The condom was introduced to specifically combat aids and assist the gays in being able to prove themselves 'clean', even though at the time there was actually very little documented proof that condoms were an effective barrier against aids... It's really very, very lucky that the condom was as effective as they hoped. If anyone knows the name of it, I'd be quite interested to watch it again.)
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby Lucrece » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:38 am UTC

nightlina wrote:My father is slightly homophobic. His 'reason' is because his brother was gay, had unprotected sex with another gay man and got aids and, as a result, died.

I watched a documentary* about the gay culture and aids during the 60s & 70s a few years ago that was really interesting, and it seems that a lot of people started to hate gays at that time because there was a high chance (at that time) that someone who had been involved in a homosexual relationship might have aids, so as a result people hated the gays for giving them aids.

I think if it hadn't been for this setback then we may have progressed a lot further with our attitudes towards gays. It feels like only now is society starting to open up again and accept the presence of homosexuality.

*(The documentary was quite devastating - gays were losing their friends to aids, and then losing their other friends to gay bashings as a result of aids. The condom was introduced to specifically combat aids and assist the gays in being able to prove themselves 'clean', even though at the time there was actually very little documented proof that condoms were an effective barrier against aids... It's really very, very lucky that the condom was as effective as they hoped. If anyone knows the name of it, I'd be quite interested to watch it again.)


Perhaps these people should think deeply how their violent suppression of homosexual expression left gay youth with no role models whatsoever, and how forcing gay men to be clandestine about their relationships only exacerbated promiscuity in the community.

They're blaming gay people for responding to the damaging system under which they were brought under, a system heterosexuals have created.
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Re: Roots of homophobia:Lack of Procreation?

Postby EnderSword » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:02 pm UTC

I think one thing that comes up, particularily regarding promiscuity, is that homosexuality can lose some of the barriers that prevents random sex in heterosexual communities.
It tends to be commonly thought that 'Guys are the gas, Girls are the brakes' Males would tend to be much more promiscuous than they are given the oppurtunity to be...(aka more girls saying yes)
There's also just less innate barriers in interaction..like a group of males and group of females meeting at a bar, you tend to be closer friends with your own sex, then going out to the other sex has some tension to it, there's more stark differences.
In a homosexual population that barrier is diminished, your friends are potential partners, and basically anyone in their extended network is as well, meaning you kind of have the ice broken for more potential partners.
Also again the male tendancy to be more open to anonymous or meaningless sex lowers resistance to that type of thing.

Some of the misgivings on homosexuality is how to kind of keep things 'seperate?' You put the girls in this locker room and the boys in this one, but what do you do when homosexuality is introduced? Do you just mix'em in and ignore it, or do you make a 'gay' room, but now you put everyone attracted to each other together and alone, which is basically the opposite of what you were doing before.
A lot of times guys are called homophobic because of things like that, they don't want to shower in front of a gay guy or something...But is that homophobic? Is a woman not wanting to shower in front of a a male stranger heterophobic?

Also you bring up role models to gay youth, but again we kind of hit a problem there. Are you going to want your 16 y/o emerging as gay son to hang around his 35 y/o successful gay role model any more than you want a 40 y/o man hanging around your daughter? Difference being the daughter might resist the idea and the boy often wouldn't.
I know you probably mean more like a role model on TV or something, but I think that demographic is actually probably over-represented in media, not underrepresented.

I think the attribution of AIDS and things like that, while certainly contributing, is more a symptom of a pre-existing repression, not the cause of it. They were already disliked to begin with, AIDS just became a good reason to bring up as problematic.
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