Sunday, June 8, 2008

Is Homosexuality Obscene?

image Sirbrina Guerrero, decided to take part in a favorite American past time and go to a baseball game with her girlfriend.  Like any affectionate couple they exchanged a few kisses throughout the game.  There should have been nothing about them that stood out from amongst the large hot dog eating, beer drinking crowd that day.  What can be more American than baseball, and beer?  Well in our ever so inclusive society, you can only blend in if you are practicing heterosexuality. According to the Seattle Times, "an usher approached the couple, and told them that their kissing was inappropriate". In a family atmosphere, children could potentially be harmed by seeing two women kiss; whereas hours of simulated video game violence has no effect. 

"We have a strict nondiscrimination policy at the Seattle Mariners and at Safeco Field, and when we do enforce the code of conduct it is based on behavior, not on the identity of those involved," Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said earlier this week.

In the release, the Mariners said the women were told they could continue to kiss, but that they had to "tone it down."

Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

To their credit, the women refused to change their behavior. On a daily basis one can witness people that identify as straight exchanging affection.  No one is upset by a small kiss between a man, and a woman.  Often times it even elicits smiles from witnesses, or croones of that's so sweet. In the war of sexuality, heterosexuality is constructed as normal, and homosexuality as deviant.  Daily, heterosexuality is encouraged through positive reinforcement whereas gay acts of love are stigmatized.  To live openly as gay in this world is to risk isolation, threats, intimidation, violence, and death.  Mathew Sheppard learned that lesson when he was beaten to death.

Globally we constantly reinforce compulsory heterosexuality through social discipline.   President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad declared, “In Iran, we don't have image homosexuals, like in your country.” We may desire to laugh this statement off as being ridiculous, or condemn him for his obvious homophobic bigotry but we would be remiss if we do not recognize that in essence he is declaring a war on difference.  It is a war that is reified by the governments encouragement of gays and lesbians to have gender reassignment surgery.

According to the WIP (Womens International Perspective) Ayatollah Khomeini legalized gender reassignment surgery over 20 years ago for "diagnosed transsexuals.” While Islamic Religious Law allows people to change their gender if they are transgender, or claim to be – homosexuality is illegal. The idea is that transsexuality (and really homosexuality) is a medical condition that can be fixed. One cleric likens gender reassignment surgery to “changing wheat to flour to bread.”

Homosexuality then is the equivalent of a disease that needs medical intervention to be rectified.  The inability to separate the body from the act,  or to bifurcate gender and sexuality creates heterosexuality as compulsory.  The conflation of sexuality with gender reinforces the idea that bodies must continually conform, or be subject to discipline.   For a trans woman in Iran that means owning a subjugation that is applied to all women in an Islamic state. The body is then marked twice, once as a female, and second as a "former" homosexual.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, recently ordered all homosexuals out of the country.  According to, he "ordered any hotel or motel housing homosexuals to close down, adding that owners of such facilities would also be in trouble.He said the Gambia was a country of believers, indicating that no sinful and immoral act as homosexual would be tolerated in the country. Jammeh [has]vowed to "cut off the head" of any homosexual found in his country.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue.  I cannot understand the basis of this hatred, and the fact that it is globally universal is terrifying. With all of the horror in this world, love is construed as the ultimate evil,  a taint so dark that it damages all that come into contact with it.  Some believe that it is because homosexual love challenges our understanding of gender roles, and others cite various religious beliefs to justify their intolerance, and bigotry. Yet, I can think of no religion that does not encourage us to love one another.  I can think of no concrete evidence that would suggest that acts that are "perceived" to be homosexual change the way a person identifies with their sex role. 

We do not live in a gentle, and ordered world.  It is obscene to suggest that an act of love is threatening in any way.  Daily women are being raped in the Congo, Palestinian children are dying under Israeli colonialism, girls and young women are dying in honor killings, people in Haiti are eating mud fried with butter, and the US is still engaged in an illegal war of aggression.  The aforementioned are just a few of the horrifying acts that are occurring on a daily basis, and yet a simple kiss can be construed as patently obscene.  Where is the balance in this?

The saddest part of this, is the global discourse that love transcends.  Clearly for some segments of the global population the refrain "all you need is love" is non applicable. Yet if we were to truly embrace all of the soliloquies we have dedicated to love, would we not realize that love has the potential to elevate us beyond our baser instincts?  When we love in any form it has the potential to not only unite but to create a society of true equality.  When we approach with love rather than hatred each person can be validated, and that is something the world has yet to witness.  With all of our lofty enlightenment ideals, the greatest lesson we have yet to learn, and fully embrace is that love is the truest expression of the human soul.


ouyangdan said...

beautiful post!


heteronormalcy of our culture drive me insane.

i think there is a theme this week...that we aren't just dealing w/ labels and morals, we are dealing w/ actual people.

human fucking beings, and the shamers just aren't thinking about that when they open their bigoted mouths.

Queers United said...

as LGBT rights activists we sure have a lot of work ahead of us!

Glennisha said...

Well Said