drawn from Goode, 1994-2008
See the disclaimer)
Lots of Misunderstanding
THE WORLD OF HOMOSEXUALITY,
SOME RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Outweek's 1990 article:
"The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes." marked the beginning of the phenomenon
of exposing, against their will, the fact that certain supposed heterosexual
are secretly practicing homosexuals or "outing"
- Some gays consider
"outing" an outrageous invasion of their privacy
- Some gays approve of
the practice on the principal, arguing that secrecy about sexual orientation
hurts all gays and lesbians and helps to maintain a stigmatizing oppressive
system. "outing" provides young homosexuals with positive role models,
demonstrating that there are many successful famous men and women who are
gay and lesbian.
- A middle ground and probably
the majority opinion in the gay community is adopted by observers who feel
that "outing" is ethically justified when specific closet homosexual engage
in behavior that is harmful to homosexuals.
In "Sisters and Queers: The
Decentering of Lesbian Feminism" Stein argus that "queer" is a better term than
"lesbian" because it emphasizes what can't be assimilated.
- "Queer" emphasizes the
apartness and differences of gays and lesbians "You can't eliminate queerness
or screen it out. It is an affirmation that for thousands of years history
and literature have been seen though the perspective of heterosexual males;
gendering history and literature - uncovering the patriarchal, heterosexist
biases in past intellectual enterprises - will enable us to cast off oppressive
structures and liberate our true nature, enable us to be who we really are."
By adopting this theory homosexuals are throwing off the chains of gender
oppression and domination and are subverting patriarchy.
- The Queer Theorist want
"to emphasize the queerness of queers." They reject the idea that being a
homosexual is an alternative to being straight, parallel to it in every way.
- At present nearly all
who call themselves queer theorists are academics teaching in English, humanities,
of film departments
- In 1990, three states
Texas, Kentucky, and Michigan repealed their laws outlawing homosexual practices.
- By 2000 28 states, homosexual
practices are legal, six outlawed certain "deviate" practices - (sodomy).
- June 2003: 4 states
still criminalized homosexual sodomy
- June 2003: Lawrence
v. Texas- Supreme Court overturns 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick: States
cannot criminalize homosexual sodomy, specifically
- At the present time 87
cities or countries have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation.
- Nine states also extend
legal civil rights protection to gays.
- 2003: Canadian Parliment
"endorses" gay marriage. USA--evenly split?
- But, some jurisdictions
(Cincinnati) specifically prohibit laws from being passed that protect homosexuals
- Nationally, a majority
of Americans favor the passage of equal-rights laws protecting homosexuals
against job discrimination, by a margin of almost two to one - 62% favor,
- However, two-thirds (65%)
also believe that "too much attention is being paid" to the issue of homosexual
rights and less than half say that they would vote for homosexual candidate
(48%), allow their child to watch a TV program with a homosexual character
in it (46%), attend religious services presided over by gay clergy (42%),
allow there child to attend a preschool that had homosexual staff members
(42%) and see a homosexual doctor (39%).
SO: Most Americans are against
discrimination against gays, but admit they would practice it themselves.
Many homosexuals claim
that they have no more choice in becoming gay than heterosexuals did in being
straight, that is seems almost inconceivable that there is no genetic or hormonal
component in its etiology.
Studies in 1991,1992, and
1995, found anatomical differences were located in the brains of homosexuals
and heterosexuals. They claim that there is a 99.5% certainty that there is
a gene or set of genes that predispose men to become homosexual.
- A strikingly higher
proportion of brothers of identical twins of homosexual men (52%) to be
gay themselves than was true of fraternal brothers (22%) and genetically
unrelated adopted brothers (11%); this study argued for a possible genetic
origin of homosexuality.
BUT: this is controversial
because the brain studies relied on the organs of deceased AIDS patients who
were known to have engaged in homosexual relations; it is possible that the
disease generated the difference the scientist observed, not the homosexuality.
AND: correlation does not
demonstrate causality; it is entirely possible that engaging in certain sexual
practices trigger biological processes that influence cerebral structure.
BUT: some gay activists
have endorsed the findings, arguing that they show how unjust society's condemnation
of homosexuality is; while other gay activities reject this argument, claiming
the reasons why one seeks the companionship of same-sex partners should be
irrelevant. Thus, the involuntary character of homosexuality is quite beside
SO: The controversy continues.
During the 1992 presidential
campaign, homosexuality became an issue as never before in the nations
opposed civil right statutes that mentioned sexual preference status as defining
a protected minority. Democratic
Bill Clinton and Al Gore represented the most pro -lesbian and pro gay ticket
BUT: the family values
theme proved to lack appeal to the majority of voters who were more concerned
about basic meat and potatoes issues such as jobs and the economy.
SO: the stress on
family values backfired for the Republicans, it failed to catch fire in the
BUT: it remains absolutely
central in hundreds of local elections: "family values" candidates are most
likely to have a substantial impact on local school boards.
2004 election: "morality"
dominates electoral process. The pendulum swings.
Gays In the Military?
- 1980's - more than
15,000 homosexuals were dismissed from the military.
- 1994 - President Clinton's
"don't ask don't tell" - a compromise which made neither gays nor conservatives
happy - 5,976 military personnel were discharged for homosexuality; in 1997
the total was 996.
- Currently the issue of
gays in the military has reached something of a stalemate with neither side
achieving a clear-cut resolution
- "gay bashing" - the physical
attack on men and women specifically because they are thought or recognized
by their assailants to be homosexuals - rose in the 1990s.
- In a survey of five cities,
the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute found that anti-homosexual
Violence increased between 1989 and 1990 by over 40% and from 1990 to 1991
by over 30%.
- The number of documented
anti-gay murders increased the Institute said, from 3 to 8 in the 1990-1991
As a result of the Hate
Crime Statistics Act of 1990, the FBI has collected and recorded data on
hate crimes form law enforcement agencies around the country. The program
is voluntary and as of 1998 just over 10,000 jurisdictions whose populations
made up roughly 216 million Americans, complied by sending Washington the
- A total of 7,755
basis-motivated incidents were reported to the FBI. It is almost certain
that many more than half of the incidents that actually took place were
not reported. Of this total 1,260 respondents or 16% of the incidents
were motivated by hostility to the victim's sexual orientation. (2004
data table 15.4%)
- 20% vandalism
- 34% resulted from
- the rest were miscellaneous
- a total for 4 murders
- The most recent battleground
- in 1997 Hawaii made same-sex
marriages are legal
- Currently, 19 states
are considering legislation to deny government recognition to marriages that
they have taken place in that or any state
- Mo Governor Holdon recently
recants on his campaign promise to the Saint Louis Lesbian and Gay community
- Gallup poll - a clear
majority of the American public 68% opposes legal homosexuals marriages; 27%
- Gay marriage proposals
lose in 11 states during November 2004 elections.
Bride's magazine, article on homosexual weddings (covered
in The New York Times)
- 1970s "Marcus
Welby" versus "Queer as Folk" and "Queer Eye for the Straight
Essentialism vs. Constructionism
Disease analogy--yet saturates
- "Natural" category
- Exists before its defined
- Specific type of being
- Clear distinction between homosexual
- Reality rests in sexual orientation,
preference, feelings--erotic desire.
- "True" vs "pseudo"
- Search for causes and "cures"
- NOT universal, matter of definition
- NO absolute criteria
- Dimensions--vary cross culturally.
- Social Role: Being (expectations)
and to be (meaning) varies.
- Some cultures-same sex occurs,
but is not considered homosexual (Sambia). Appropriate partners, marriage.
- Prison: inserter not homosexual,
- Either/or ideology vs. Dimensions
- Psycho-sexual disorder?
- Heterosexual destiny?
- Anatomically determined?
- ? Desirability of heterosexuality=scientific
- ? Exclusive heterosexuality=inadequate
homosexual functioning (gays and heterosexual experience)
- ? Disorder--skewed sample
- Sexual Stigma
- Work--teachers ?
- As parents ?
- No to "gay marriage"
- Indirect/Symbolic Stigma
- Opinion Polls
- Public Figures
- Law enforcement
- Supreme Court: Lawrence v. Texas
- Popular opinion
- Displays situational nature of
- Social Construction of Self
- 37% males--at least once--orgasm
- 13% males urges/desires
- 69% adolescents-sex play
- 4% exclusive homosexual
- 50% exclusive heterosexual
- Perhaps an exaggeration, but still
indicates homosexuality is not a "fixed condition
- Female (Kinsey 1953): 20% of single
women, 5% of all women, at least one act leading to orgasm
Recent Studies: National Life and
Social Life Survey (1992), National Cancer Institute (1993)
- Males (past year): 2-3% (definitional
- Males (ever- past 18 years old):
- Define self as Gay or Bisexual:
- Female (1992 Study): 2% in the
- Female (1992 Study) 4% (over 18
years of age) ever
"Sex in America"
How many Homosexuals
A low level
of homosexuality was revealed:
- 2.8% of men consider
themselves as homosexual or bisexual
- 1.4% of women
consider themselves as homosexual or bisexual
- 6% of men were
attracted to persons of the same gender and 4% said that they found the thought
of sex with someone of the same gender appealing
- 4% of women were
attracted to persons of the same gender and 5.5% said that they found the
thought of sex with someone of the same gender appealing
- 2% of both men
and women said that they had had sex with someone of the same gender during
the past year
- 5% of the men and
4 % of the women had had sex with someone of the same gender since puberty
- There is no single
infallible measure of homosexuality as some essentialist researches have claimed,
homosexual sex is multidimensional.
- Homosexual expression
is a distinctly "gendered" experience; men and women have dramatically different
- Many more males
act on homosexual desires than females, especially from the onset of adolescence
to the age of 18.
- Many more women
who experience homosexual attraction and desire do no act on them. ( 59%
have experienced a homosexual desire without engaging in homosexual sex or
regarding themselves as lesbians)
- Among females
there is much less adolescent homosexual sex than among males.
- Males act on
their homosexual impulses earlier in their lives and with much less inhibition;
many of them experiment with homosexual behavior in adolescence and the give
- Women engage
in homosexual behavior for the first time much later in their lives.
BUT: the figures turned up by the "Sex in America"
survey, are much lower than the figures turned up by Kinsey's's research team
a half century ago. Why?
- Most observers and
commentators of homosexuality reside in the nation's largest cities and there
suburbs where homosexuality is vastly more common rather than in its small
towns and rural areas where it is exceedingly rare. (The % identifying themselves
as homosexuals or bisexuals varies form 9 % in the country's dozen largest
cities to 1% in rural areas)
- It must be recognized
that there is likely to be a political angle to the findings a survey on homosexuality
may turn up.
- The goals of
gay political activities are furthered by the finding that there are many
homosexuals in the population, since this means that politicians cannot
ignore a major segment of their constituency and must take their interests
and demands into account.
- A conservative
agenda is likely to be furthered by the discovery that there are few homosexuals
in the population. The smaller the number of Americans who engage in the
homosexuality the more plausible the claim that the vast majority of us
"would never dream of indulging in such behavior"
- The prevalence of
homosexuality in America depends very much on what homosexuality means in
the first place - how it is defined? Constructionist perspectives assumes
central importance. How should we define "a" homosexual?
Elements of Social Identity
- Subjective Behavior Judgment (George)
- Sexual Preference (partner availability)
- Sexual Arousal
- Public Definition
Becoming and Coming Out:
- Sub-cultural participation
- Behavior--Identity: variable
(average--6 years): Not simple social learning
- 1st define away--a phase
- Ambiguity--did it but not
a homosexual: no role acceptance, doing vs. Being.
- Persistence of desire/lack
of heterosexual desire
- Failure to explain away
- Meaningful experience
- Significant other: defines
for the individual
- Realization of normalcy of
- Anonymous-60% One time only
- 4/5's-longest affair lasted less
than one year
- Males begin earlier (60%@13)
- Process appears more patterned
- Fewer relationships
- Longer, more romantically involved
(60%--3 or fewer partners)
- Little "cruising", little
- Females-more heterosexual contact
(more likely than heterosexual females)
- Females: First experience typically
later in life (51%@20)
- Less of a structured Subculture
- Most "Happy and Satisfied"
with their lesbian role
Public Image--less fear and hostility
Males find lesbian sexual activity
- Impact on Subculture
- Spread within homosexual population
- Impact on societal image
Owner: Robert O. Keel firstname.lastname@example.org
Credits for this Page of Notes
Thursday, March 27, 2008 12:20 PM