Assimilation or Liberation (April 19, 2005)
Assimilation or Liberation? How homosexuals interact and relate to the society and culture at large has been a question that homosexuals have been arguing since the early 1950s. And they still cannot agree among themselves. But as long as there continues to be the assimilation of homosexuality into our society and culture there will also be liberation. So, what is sexual liberation for the homosexuals? And is it something that is good and beneficial for our culture and society?
For many homosexuals, gay liberation - and what it means to be gay - was inextricably linked to sexual freedom. The right to have sex anytime, anywhere, and with anybody they choose was, for them, inalienable. (Andriote, Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America, p.73)
In the 1960s and 1970s, the gay and lesbian movement had pursued many goals - the right to be open about sexual orientation and the right to be equal in the eyes of religious bodies and the law. But one of its earliest and most basic objectives, especially for gay men, was sexual freedom: the right to have sexual lives that were untrammeled by the conventions and limits of social norms. (Allen, The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present, p. 125)
Not all homosexuals advocate and support same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is one of several ways of assimilating homosexuals and homosexuality into our culture and society. The legally sanctioning of homosexual relationships as marriage in our culture and society will result in the continual normalization and legitimization of homosexuality, homosexual behavior. With this assimilation of homosexuality also comes sexual liberation.
Homosexuality, what one does, or who one is, a homosexual. The case is strongest for the former. This is perhaps the most important thing when discussing same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is homosexuality, homosexual behavior and not homosexual relationships that are being legally sanction with same-sex marriage.
The following three quotes are by individuals who self-identify as homosexual. Martin Duberman and John D’Emilio are university professors, of the authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen Ph.D., one graduated from Harvard University (Kirk, 1980) and the other was a professor at Harvard University. May it be concluded from their quotes that they too agree with the following? That is: Homosexuality is what one does, and not who one is, a homosexual.
It isn’t at all obvious why a gay rights movement should ever have arisen in the United States in the first place. And it’s profoundly puzzling why that movement should have become far and away the most powerful such political formation in the world. Same gender sexual acts have been commonplace throughout history and across cultures. Today, to speak with surety about a matter for which there is absolutely no statistical evidence, more adolescent male butts are being penetrated in the Arab world, Latin American, North Africa and Southeast Asia then in the west. But the notion of a gay identity rarely accompanies such sexual acts, nor do political movements arise to make demands in the name of that identity. It’s still almost entirely in the Western world that the genders of one’s partner is considered a prime marker of personality, and among Western nations it is the United States - a country otherwise considered a bastion of conservatism - that the strongest political movement has arisen centered around that identity.
We’ve only begun to analyze why, and to date can say little more than that certain significant pre-requisites developed in this country, and to some degree everywhere in the western world, that weren’t present, or hadn’t achieved the necessary critical mass, elsewhere. Among such factors were the weakening of the traditional religious link between sexuality and procreation (one which had made non-procreative same gender desire an automatic candidate for denunciation as unnatural). Secondly, the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the United States, and the West in general, in the nineteen-century weakened the material (and moral) authority of the nuclear family, and allowed mavericks to escape into welcome anonymity of city life, where they could choose a previously unacceptable lifestyle of singleness and nonconformity without constantly worrying about parental or village busybodies pouncing on them. (Duberman, Left Out, 414-415.)
I have argued that lesbian and gay identity and communities are historically created, the result of a process of capitalist development that has spanned many generations. A corollary of this argument is that we are not a fixed social minority composed for all time of a certain percentage of the population. There are more of us than one hundred years ago, more of us than forty years ago. And there may very well be more gay men and lesbians in the future. Claims made by gays and nongays that sexual orientation is fixed at an early age, that large numbers of visible gay men and lesbians in society, the media, and schools will have no influence on the sexual identities of the young, are wrong. Capitalism has created the material conditions for homosexual desire to express itself as a central component of some individuals’ lives; now, our political movements are changing consciousness, creating the ideological conditions that make it easier for people to make that choice. (D’Emilio, Capitalism and Gay Identity, p. 473-474 in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader by Henry Abelove, Michele Aine Barale and David M. Halperin)
In short, the gay lifestyle - if such a chaos can, after all, legitimately be called a lifestyle - it just doesn’t work: it doesn’t serve the two functions for which all social framework evolve: to constrain people’s natural impulses to behave badly and to meet their natural needs. While it’s impossible to provide an exhaustive analytic list of all the root causes and aggravants of this failure, we can asseverate at least some of the major causes. Many have been dissected, above, as elements of the Ten Misbehaviors; it only remains to discuss the failure of the gay community to provide a viable alternative to the heterosexual family(Kirk and Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of the Gay’s in the 90s, p.363)