It’s no secret that access to women’s bodies has been at the crux of the issues we face in gender relationships. Feminists and many women in general in general will tell you that reclaiming and maintaining a woman’s governance over her own body is an ongoing effort, especially in the sphere of the media.
Still, there are a few LBTQ individuals who will make a similar claim that homophobic attacks have the underpinning of maintaining control of a LBTQ body by forced heterosexual means. I mean, one can lump both groups into the category of those being disenfranchised and subjected by the dominant heterosexual male archetype that litters society. But this archetype is most prominently reinforced by physical means in form of body control. Done by holding up the female body as an object for male sexual fulfillment and flooding us with images of how a heterosexual male should look and act physically, the good old boys are still reminding us of their preferred norms:
– A heterosexual male’s right to rule the roost
– A heterosexual woman’s place is behind the male in charge
– All other non conforming types – LGBTQ must be “turned to fit the role above” (lesbian women) or violently controlled (gay men).
To this end, one thing that gets me is this sexual double standard applied to gay men and lesbians. Yup, I’m talking about the whole “turning a lesbian straight business”. Ok, so if we follow “the logic” used from that perspective, we are defining the natural order of the universe to be “a man penetrating a woman”. Yes, the man’s penis (especially in the act of sexual penetration) is “the thing” to keep the woman in “her place”. So under that logic, since a woman cannot penetrate another woman, what a lesbian is missing is not being in her “right place” – which is being penetrated by a guy?
Are we really saying that all women, regardless of their sexual identity, are walking penis fiends that need their fix to be maintained and thus, kept into their “rightful place”? How is any of this ok? And you wonder why gender relationships between men and women can be so volatile at times, especially when men are trying to dictate or demonstrate power by accessing a woman’s body solely for THEIR own sexual desires.
Taking it a step further using this “logic”, let’s examine the possible fate of gay men. Since men cannot be penetrated by heterosexual men to be “converted” in a similar manner as a lesbian “could be”, then all bets are off. Bodily harm is “ok” because you’re trying to beat “the gay out of him” ; if you kill him “then it’s one less gay to worry about”. How twisted a viewpoint is that?
The fear of being perceived to be gay in large ranks can cause a man to become sexually disenfranchised in a social manner. Such a threat is often brandished at the drop of a hat by both other men and women alike, that gay men in more repressive cultures are forced to bury themselves deep within a no-win facade, banished to a fate that has no hope of escape.
Take a look at what the social implications of “lack of conformity” are in a more repressive culture. Once a male is “accused” as “being gay” – no heterosexual woman will have sex with him, and no man will respect him because he isn’t sexually exercising his “right”. Of course, this means open season on him for physical attacks or other ill forms of social discrimination. To cover themselves, family might distance or completely disown him. Let’s say that the allegations are “unfounded” – will someone ever come up to him and apologize? Of course not. He will more than likely be branded permanently, followed by whispers from those who believed that he really was gay.
And you wonder why the vast majority of victims of physical violence by men – OTHER MEN – often suffer in silence. It’s funny how we don’t talk about this as much even though heterosexuals experienced similar forms of discrimination – Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834) and the Salem Witch Trials (1692).
Even in the more forward thinking and supportive cultures, hate crimes towards LGBTQ are alive and well:
So what does this mean? How can we tackle this problem? Perhaps it means reaching deep down and rephrasing how we interpret some of the biological constructs that have gained distorted social meanings. In other words, violence against someone is never ok, especially when it is driven based on their sexual identity. Heterosexuals have more than enough to worry about body image wise than to be trying to go after those who are LGBTQ on those grounds. Perhaps the first step is for each person to take control of their body and how it is viewed by themselves and others so that homophobia can go the way of the dinosaurs.