Here’s the first in a series on homophobia…
Homophobia is always one of the underlying elements in society that I am never the most proud of. Even growing up I always questioned a lot of the reasoning behind the need to deny rights of LGBTQ members of society. Aren’t they people like the rest of the populace whom identify as heterosexual? Aren’t they dealing with many of the same issues as we currently do?
What makes homophobia really dangerous is that some people who practice it cannot explain why they are doing what they are doing. The two things have stood out for me the most are the sexual arrogance and power that drives homophobia.
If one really examines the issue closely in terms of arrogance, the belief of some people who practice homophobia is just incredible. So you are telling me that every LGBTQ individual is running around, all sexed crazed, hitting on every one of the same gender that they are attracted to? Are they so starved for numbers that they have to use sex to “control and convert” all they encounter to “their ways of being”?
But, while we rage against such “openly sexually explicit displays”, there is one group of people for whom the action of chasing after anyone they are sexually attracted to is commonly accepted: heterosexual males. Huh? Isn’t unwanted an inappropriate sexual advance just wrong not matter what your sexual orientation is?
This sort of sexual stereotyping against LGTBQ individuals is so ridiculous, and can rear its ugly head in even the most inappropriate situations.
Such an inferred attitudes are why the whole Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy by the US Government shocked me, especially what it was implying from a sexual impulse standpoint. Now I am no military man, but I can understand in close quarter situations where people are showering and somewhat laissez-faire with clothing people have concerns. I can even understand with the idea that you cannot have people take extra risks in battle to save ones that they are intimately involved in, that’s why historically the military doesn’t encourage intimate relationships amongst its active soldiers. But to say that SEX is ALL that LGBTQ people think about – especially in service of their country with their own lives at risk – is just a slap in the face to them and to heterosexual folk as well.
I ask those who practice homophobia one question: you don’t think that LGBTQ folk have enough self-control to know when it is appropriate to pursue their desires? Hell, if that’s the case I might argue that based on all the inherent risks and social stigma issues they have to deal with, LGBTQ individuals are much more suave at picking the moments when it is safe and appropriate to pursue those urges.
Here’s what kills me the most about such a line of thought. We’ve seen a similarly hypersexually driven outlook used in efforts to discriminate against a group of people before – during the “chattel slavery” experience. Now, I am not sitting here and saying both the LGBTQ experience and the slavery experience are the same, but I will state that some of the parallels in the ideologies used to discriminate against both groups in terms of sexuality are similar.
You remember those nasty stereotypes about blacks (and now just as much, Latinos) that all they are good for is sex? Man, this sounds a bit familiar…kinda like the time when a Japanese friend of mine was talking about how this black guy was after her (and she likes black guys, mind you). In trying to pick my brain for some perspective, she was questioning deeply his ability to provide a meaningful relationship outside of great sex. Her comments were: “I want more than just good sex. I want someone who I can make a life with. All I see is these guys making kids and not being responsible.” I love her to death to this day but I had to light her ass up and remind her that there are many a black man who are handling their business and being responsible too. We are not SOLELY about the sex, although we CAN fuck with the best of them.
It’s the same idea here. Just as how we got force-fed these images that white women were to be protected from the virile black men and black women were throwing themselves at and tempting white males, we’re getting the same image that gay men are running around looking to penetrate any male orifice they can find, and lesbians are out there trying to take women away from men. So, how is it OK to call blasphemy to racial stereotyping but yet a HUGE problem to call out sexual orientation based stereotyping?
Just as how someone was playing on the perceived insecurities of the people in the “privileged position” – certain white folks in power during chattel slavery – someone is still praying on the perceived insecurities of the people – most heterosexuals who aren’t in positions of privilege – with these outlandishly sexual images of LGBTQ individuals. But, if one looks at the media, both heterosexual male and female are hypersexualized, yet we throw our hands in the air and make periodically uproars about how destructive and unhealthy these images are. But when we see images of LGBTQ individuals negatively distorted or vehemently ridiculed – in the case of the transgendered or androgynous – where’s the similar uproar and angst?
In order for any real headway to be made in the battle against homophobia, those of us who are in the heterosexual majority at some point have to step up. Heaven knows it’s not all peaches and cream in heterosexual society, especially when it comes to gender relationship and women’s bodies. But if we do not take control and ownership of the sexual images being put out there as society, for both heterosexual and LGBTQ individuals, we will always be viewed as over-sexed and stereotyped along racial and sexual orientation lines.