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OrphanPip

Some questions for LitNet and some recent events.

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Well I haven't made a blog post in a long while, so I figured it was about time to do one.

The NHL season is about to start, just got home from a pre-season game, we beat Florida 6-2, but Florida's not a very good team to begin with. So far, I'm not sure we have a team much better than last season, we'll probably make the playoffs again this season but I don't see a cup coming, even if we made it to the division semi-finals last time.

Since my surgery, I'm back at work, and back to the monotony . That's about all I have to say about that subject. My jaw feels great, my muscles don't hurt anymore and I'm pretty satisfied with the surgery, 1500 dollars well spent I suppose.

I've bought a subscription to 3 of the 6 operas of the season. Next Thursday I'll be going to see Verdi's Rigolleto, and I also picked up tickets for Strauss Salome and Puccini's La Boheme. So, I'm looking forward to that next week. Got a great deal through my bank, they're trying to attract patrons under 30 so I got my tickets for around 40% of the regular price.

My mother will be having cataract surgery in the next couple weeks. She'll be getting two artificial lenses, she's looking forward to having her eyesight restored. It would have been earlier, but the surgeon broke her arm and my mother chose to wait rather than have it done by a doctor she doesn't know. In a similar vein, my father will be having heart surgery sometime in the next year to replace one of his valves. The surgeons want to wait as long as possible without risking a heart attack, to avoid having to do unnecessary surgery to replace the valve. I guess the hope is that he'll be dead before the artificial valve's expiry date. Hopefully, they'll both get through surgery without any problems. My mother's eye surgery in particular shouldn't be a problem since it's routine and there's no anesthesia involved. My brother is off in Europe for a conference in Amsterdam and then is off to Germany for Octoberfest.

That's about all the news of note about me and my family.

Now onto the other part of the blog post title. I've been reading a lot of Queer Theory lately, mostly Sedgwick and Butler, as well as some Foucault. Normally, I'm not so much of a constructivist. But, often with post-modernist thought I find it interesting, if not always convincing. What I'm really interested in, is not so much the validity of the ideas put forward by the aforementioned philosophers, but what the impact and prevalence of that kind of thought in our society is. I'm wondering if some ideas from 1980s gay philosophers (and some not gay ones too) has permeated the public's perception of homosexuality.

So, I've devised an entirely unscientific survey, I would like anyone willing to, whether your views towards homosexuality are positive, negative, or indifferent, to share their opinion. I don't have a problem with people sharing their opinions in this blog, but if someone just wants to PM me some thoughts to keep some level of anonymity, that would be fine too. Answering just one question would be worth doing because I don't expect too hefty a response.

Questions:

1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.

5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

6. What relationship do you think the development of cultural identifications, and developments of homosexual communities with organized political groups, has effected the perception of homosexuals in your society?

7. Any other thoughts, I'd like to hear anything about what people think.
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  1. JuniperWoolf's Avatar
    My boyfriend needs heart-valve replacements every five years or so, it's a scary procedure. He's lived through five of them though, so maybe I'm over concerned.

    Okay, let’s get cracking on this survey.

    1. I used to think that sexual preference was a result of culture, because I had a phase when I was about sixteen where I read a lot of heady psycho-analysis Freudian stuff. Then someone that I know got mad at me when I was going on about how some random childhood occurrence (say in the case of homosexuality, a feeling of arousal when you're tussling with friends of the same sex) which plants the seeds of association in your subconscious that might result in a fetish of some sort or homosexuality later in life. He seemed to think that if I associate sexual preference with childhood development, then that would mean that you can take a kid when they're little and shape them to be "not gay." He said that I was being homophobic, and that my ideas were too Christian. I respected him a lot and he scared me away from the developmental explanation for sexual orientation, but now I see that in all honesty we don’t have enough information to settle the environment/genetics argument.

    2. My behaviour and manner would be described as "masculine" more than "feminine," but I'm pretty straight. I've got problems with typical male and female roles, I think that it's likely that men and women model their behaviour to meet cultural expectations and that these personality traits that are commonly associated with gender aren't inherent at all. Sometimes, I'd say that they're in the eye of the one perceiving behaviour as well. Whoever said that women were gentle has never seen two chicks beat the hell out of each other over some guy, and whoever said that men were tough has never seen one with a cold. We shape ourselves based on what other people are and what we understand about the world around us. Maybe homosexuals are just filling the cultural role that they've come to associate with the way that they define themselves.

    3. This one's tough. It reminds me of something I read a while ago that said that lesbianism increases after menopause. The explanation proposed was that the thinning of the vaginal wall makes penetration sex unpleasant, so women turn to other women for... "external stimulation." Sexual orientation doesn't seem to be very consistent, at least in statistical terms. On an individual level... hmm... yeah, I'd say that sexual behaviour changes. What turns us on changes, people often aren't into the same things that they were into five years ago.

    4. It's like what I said in the first question, the guy that I talked to was genuinely pissed off that I thought that childhood was a determining factor when it comes to sexual preference. I've been thinking about this for years, and I've decided that while childhood development might really be a determining factor, to go on about it is dangerous because people really might see that as a reason to send kids to one of those camps where they try to "cure" gayness. On the other hand, people who argue that homosexuality is biological (something that you're just born with, it’s just what you are) then they’re going to come across the anti-homosexual crowd that argues that to be born gay is to be born flawed, like it's a form of regressive genetic disease like sickle cell anaemia or something. When it comes to acceptance, there are barriers on both sides.

    5. Haha, my friends are always saying "well, everyone's a bit gay." I could see that. I've seen women and thought "wow, she looks fantastic." If I were ditched on some island with nothing but females that I find attractive, then I could reasonably see myself re-defining my sexual orientation. As things are, I like boys much better - but the question asked about the capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. My uber-gay cousin has had sex with women. Most girls that I know have "experimented" with their friends. My dad's a prison guard in an all-male prison, and they go through condoms faster than band aids. Yeah, I'd say that the capacity is there.

    6. I think it's been pretty positive. I'd be beaten by many a house wife for spewing anti-gay hate in my home town, but no one really messes with my cousin anymore (except for the occasional rig worker or, for some reason, Lebanese guy). Most of the folks who would be all over me know nothing about the world except for what they see on daytime television, so I think that a big part of it is how gays are perceived in the media, and the media portrayal is influenced by homosexual communities and organized political groups.

    I don't have anything to say for #7, it'd just be questions about what you think anyway.

    ...By the way, what do you think? Care to answer your own survey?
    Updated 09-28-2010 at 02:12 AM by JuniperWoolf
  2. The Comedian's Avatar
    Questions:

    1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

    Tough one Pip. And I'm going to straddle the fence on this one and say, like most things, it's a bit of both. (I'm just guessing, though). Like most things we're probably born with a tendency, either strong or mild, toward a sexual preference and our culture either nurtures the progress of that tendency or it discourages it. And, depending on our characters, we either conform, revolt, or something else to the pressures of our natural impulses and social/cultural practices.

    2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

    Maybe a bit. But I don't really know enough to say either way.

    3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

    I don't really think so. But I'm just guessing.

    4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.

    Eh? Afraid I don't understand the question. Do you mean if a culture thinks that homosexuality is biological is it more likely to accept individual homosexuals? If so, then yep. I do.

    5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

    Not much. As a straight male, I feel that I can recognize when another male meets the male beauty standard of my culture. . ."He's a handsome guy" I say. And be I'd NOT be expressing some hitherto repressed sexual desire for that guy. Likewise I can tell when a dog is ugly or pretty, and I'm sure I'm not sexually attracted to canines.

    6. What relationship do you think the development of cultural identifications, and developments of homosexual communities with organized political groups, has effected the perception of homosexuals in your society?

    In my society. . .I think groups like that, homosexual or anything else, build both unity within the group and some animosity from many of those outside of the group. It's almost begging for an us/them division. Not that this is entirely bad. Sometimes groups need a strong sense of "us" even if it means the accompanying "them" issues associated with it.
    Updated 09-28-2010 at 07:45 PM by The Comedian
  3. L.M. The Third's Avatar
    I might PM you some answers, if that's okay and if you still want more answers. It will be interesting for me to organize some of my thoughts and questions, even if just for myself.
  4. OrphanPip's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf
    ...By the way, what do you think? Care to answer your own survey?
    Ha, yes I can do that. The main motivation for these questions was from a few ideas out of Sedwick's Epistemology of the Closet. I think, in general, Sedgwick is insane, but she makes an interesting proposition: universalize the debate around queer issues. There was a ring of truth in that for me.

    1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

    Well, coming from a science background, my opinion is a bit in line with TheComedian's. Evidence clearly shows there are physiological differences between self-identifying heterosexuals and homosexuals, but twin studies suggest that its not 100% genetically determined.

    2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

    This question is coming from ideas out of Foucault, who argued that the notion of the homosexual in our society developed out of ideas of gender inversion. There are obvious problems with answering this definitively. For one, what constitutes masculine or feminine behavior isn't so obvious, and how much is gender deviant behavior culturally effected by queer subcultures.

    3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

    This question is based on a claim by Sedwick that sexuality changes throughout ones life. That the sexuality of a post-menopausal women is different from her sexuality pre-menopause. Another problem for me is that I draw a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual behavior, which reminds me of a passage from Baldwin's Giovanni's Room:

    "He stopped. 'I perhaps don't like women very much, that's true. That hasn't stopped me from making love to many and loving one or two. But most of the time - most of the time I made love only with the body.'
    'That can make one very lonely.' I said."

    Key to an understanding of sexual orientation, to me at least, is that it is defined by the individual's relationship to their sexual behavior, rather than to the behavior itself. Thus, even if biologically, the wiring of those sexual behaviors in our brain don't change much, our understandings of what our sexual orientation is may change. To an extent, our preferences change too, sometimes we like blondes and sometimes brunettes, but I don't think we usually make very radical changes in preferences. However, how we think of our preferences can change radically over a short period.


    4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.


    This is a tricky one for me. In general, I think people do get a sense that showing that people don't really choose their sexual orientation some how magically makes it acceptable, but then like Jun said, that doesn't stop people from opposing homosexuality. This is where Sedwick's concept of universalization comes in, Sedwick tries to point out how much sexual diversity there is in what is defined as heterosexuality, and how sexual acts do not even have to be gendered. Her main point is that there is no sound reason to consider a category of "homosexuality" apart from heterosexuality, in particular that there is an illdefined continuum in between those definitions and several sexual practices that fall outside of gendered understandings of sex. Thus, everyone is queer or nobody is queer.

    The main problem with taking such an approach is that it distances itself from the reality of how people understand their own sexuality and the sexuality of others, and it ignores the fact that a net of cultural practices have arisen out of the exclusion of people who are sexual non-conformist.

    5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

    I asked this kind of in relation to that issue of universalizing understandings of queerness, but personally this conceptually doesn't ring too true to me from my knowledge of the scientific evidence. However, like I said before, I don't think sexual behavior and orientation are the same thing. Like those prisoners, some people will settle for sexual behavior which is not their preference, or has a different emotional resonance.

    6. What relationship do you think the development of cultural identifications, and developments of homosexual communities with organized political groups, has effected the perception of homosexuals in your society?

    Sometimes, I think I could write a book in response to this question. In the early days of sexual liberation, lesbians and gays used to be mortal enemies, well more so than they are today. This was primarily because lesbians thought gay subculture brought negative attention to them, and they became particularly upset after the Stonewall riots. Lesbians tended to align themselves with feminist activist instead of specifically organized gay rights activist.

    It's the AIDS epidemic in the USA that resulted in a rapprochement, lesbians began to see that the activism of some American conservatives, and the outright negligence of the Reagan administration in response to the epidemic, presented an equal danger to themselves. Thus, you get the development of the continually expanding GLBT community. As a sort of idea that expanding the boarders of the community to embrace advocating for issues of any sexual minority.

    Its a double edged sword, as Comedian expressed, these communities give voices to very small groups, like transgenders, and make a real difference. But, yes, it does reinforce that outsider status.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by L.M. The Third
    I might PM you some answers, if that's okay and if you still want more answers. It will be interesting for me to organize some of my thoughts and questions, even if just for myself.
    Of course it's alright, that's mainly the purpose of the exercise for me too, its always interesting to delve into what we ourselves think, which isn't always clear until we try to express it.
    Updated 09-28-2010 at 09:38 PM by OrphanPip
  5. DanielBenoit's Avatar
    My jaw feels great[.]

    That's what he said (Sorry I had to through in a gay joke in somewhere)

    I've been quite busy, so sorry if I haven't been able to msn you. Also, you're reading some po-mo's yay! lol. You'll probably think of Derrida as a sophist (judging from one of your posts) but I really like him and you should check him out, being a contemporary of Foucault. Baudrillard is also great if you want to understand post-Marxist theory. Lyotard and Barthes are also important thinkers as well (as I'm sure you know). Slavoj Zizek is without a doubt one of the most interesting thinkers alive today, even if some of his thought is just absurd.

    Okay enough rambling.

    Questions (GREAT ones btw)

    1. Considering that both culture and genetic inheritance influence not only who we are, but everything we think, say or do, I will say that both play a role in terms of sexuality; though I do think the latter is far more dominant in determining sexuality. As a matter of fact, I don't think anybody can really become gay or straight through cultural influence. If it does have an effect, it is either very very minor or plays a role in the induvidual accepting his or her own sexuality, instead of determining it.

    2. Hell no! Believe it or not straight guys, but not all gay men carry purses and have high-pitched voices :O

    Of course effeminacy is probably a genetic factor common amongst gay men (and vice-versa with lesbians), but it doesn't apply universally (would there be the gay leather culture if it did? lol)

    3. I think it depends on the individual. According to statistics, a surprisingly good number of self-identified straight men and women have admitted to having at least one instance of homosexual attraction in their life. This doesn't make them gay or even bisexual. I will say that for myself, being bisexual, go through fluid terms of hetero and homosexual attraction. Some weeks I'm all eyes on gals, while others I'm all eyes on guys. For many, both gay and straight, this is not the case and the thought of sleeping with someone of the sex they are not usually attracted to is unthinkable. It seems that most people vary from being fluid to rigid, and just like the Kinsley scale, some people's sexual attraction vary, while others stay commited to just one sex.

    4. Unfortunately (and naturally) there are always behavioral and characteristic standards set for any sort of minority group in society; it's just human nature to pose a single identity on a group of peoples different from the standard norm. In that sense too, within the group, people are expected to act certain ways. Of course there may be some genetic factors that confirm some of these assumptions (such as the prevalence of a good deal homosexuals having effeminate voices), but it is ignorant to assume that every gay man you meet is a fashion designer or that a straight man cannot have the same interests and still be straight.

    5. Not really. Like I said before, sexual orientation varies, and a good deal of people, if not majority, are very 'rigid' about their sexuality and could only imagine sleeping with the sex they are usually attracted to.

    6. Great question. It was only half-a-century ago that homosexuals were portrayed as evil little queens in films, and thus were perceived that way (i.e., the gay villian with the gay evil laugh). I think today that it is unfortunate and insulting that Hollywood is portraying gay men as just "that really nice friend who solves all my problems for me". Gay men in most Hollywood films are mere modern versions of Hollywood's old "magical Negro" in which there was always a black man who had no relevance to the story except to solve all of the protagonists problems. The same problem exists for the portrayal of homosexuals.

    As for the efforts of the LGBT community, I think the perception and tolerance of homosexuals have clearly improved in the last 20 years, though some cultural stereotypes still exist. For example, an aquaintance of mine was shocked to find out that I was bi because of the fact that I wasn't overly flamboyant and examining my nails every five seconds. (Yeah, them gays just can't control themselves sometimes and just have to be bursting with gayness constantly).
  6. OrphanPip's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DanielBenoit
    I've been quite busy, so sorry if I haven't been able to msn you. Also, you're reading some po-mo's yay! lol. You'll probably think of Derrida as a sophist (judging from one of your posts) but I really like him and you should check him out, being a contemporary of Foucault. Baudrillard is also great if you want to understand post-Marxist theory. Lyotard and Barthes are also important thinkers as well (as I'm sure you know). Slavoj Zizek is without a doubt one of the most interesting thinkers alive today, even if some of his thought is just absurd.
    Ha, I'm still an empiricist to the core and reject most post-modernist conclusions, when they bother to make any. Foucault made an attempt to ground some of his ideas in empirical evidence, but I don't buy most of what he says.

    That won't stop me from being concerned about what others think, and what effects those ideas can have. So, I'll suck it up and read the po-mos when I have to. And every once in a while they say something interesting, if not always useful.
    Updated 09-28-2010 at 10:02 PM by OrphanPip
  7. Dark Muse's Avatar
    1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

    I think the ones sexual preference is predominately biological. In many of the cases of the people who I know whom are bisexual or homosexual have had an awareness of where their sexual inclinations lay since an early age, and they were not necessarily raised in an environments in which they were frequently in contact with the homosexual lifestyle. As well there are many cultures which are severely opposed to homosexuality, and yet within those cultures there are still individuals who are homosexual. Homosexuals just as heterosexuals are born out of a wide variety of different cultures, backgrounds, religions, family experiences.

    2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

    No, I do not think so. When I first met my brother-in-law, (before he was my brother-in-law) back when I was still in high school, and to say the least did not have fully developed ideas about gender and sexuality I had thought for certain he was gay, because he was very effeminate, and many of his manumissions reminded me of my bisexual friend. I was actually surprised when I found out he proposed to my sister. And on the other side of it, there are homosexuals who are not the least bit effeminate, look at the whole don't ask don't tell issue with the military. I think most people can agree that gay or not, effeminate men are not likely to sign up for the military. And to address the female side of the question, I myself have a strong tendency towards the masculine, an in high school I was a real hard core tom boy, and while I do not strictly define what my own sexuality is, I can affirmatively say I am not a lesbian.

    3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

    This is an interesting question, though going back to may earlier comments, most of those whom I know who are homosexuals, and also most of those who I know who are heterosexuals, have been so for as long as they were aware of any sexuality, and have not fluctuated in their preferences, yet I do not know if I personally believe that it is always firmly fixed and rigid, to touch back to some of my own personal experiences, though I do not declare myself to be hetro or bi, it did come much later in my life that I began to consider the possibilities that I might have at least some sexual inclinations towards my own sex.

    4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.

    I would say that it does play a rather strong role, considering that those groups whom seem to be most strongly against homosexuality are also most adamant in their belief that homosexual behavior is a choice, and something which the individual has wilful control over and that it is within their power to change. I think if it were definitely proved that it was purely biological, while that may not change the opinions of some people, I think it would make it a lot harder for people to make discriminatory laws against homosexuals because than it really would be unarguably no different than discriminating against someone for their gender or ethnicity.

    5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

    To a certain extent I believe that this is true, I remember a psychology class I took once, in which we discussed this theory (I cannot no recall who came up with it) in which there was a scale between heterosexuality and homosexuality, and between heterosexuality and homosexuality there are varying different degrees. A person is capable of some attraction to the same sex without being strictly homosexual, or necessarily bisexual. It is not just black and white having to choose between on or the other.
  8. Virgil's Avatar
    First, I hope your parent's surgeries turn out well. Neither are high risk in today's world, though the heart valve would make me pause. They should both be ok.

    1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

    I was raised with the notion that sexual orientation was totally involentary. I suspect for most it is. You know it should be easy to assess if it's cultural through statistics of various cultures. If it's all the same, then it's genetic; if there is a bias, then it's cultural. I just have never come across those statitistics, if they even exist or if they do are reliable.

    2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

    I guess with some, but I had a close friend (we've lost touch in recent years) who was gay and he was masculine.

    3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

    Again I was raised to believe it was not a choice. Fluid would imply that you can change it and that would have all sorts of social ramifications. Still I find it amazing how there are a fairly large number of women who discover they are lesbians in their thirties and forties. Could they have never realized until that age? I would find that hard to believe. There must be multiple phenomena going on. I've never come across a man who suddenly discovered in mid life he was gay.

    4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.

    If it's biological, I think there will be a greater sympathy for homosexuals. If it's cultural, that sympathy may be less, and you'll find people trying to discover what cultural phenomena will cause it and how to avoid it for their children. The real social implications are if homosexuality is a choice, or some element of choice.

    5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

    I can only speak for myself and the answer to that would be no. I was raised to believe homosexuality was not a choice. I have never had any homosexual leanings.

    6. What relationship do you think the development of cultural identifications, and developments of homosexual communities with organized political groups, has effected the perception of homosexuals in your society?

    Not sure. Homosexuality on a societal level is pretty much accepted. The one issue that remains is gay marriage. To let you know up front, I do have a problem with gay marriage. But I would never support any form of discrimination, and no I do not think my position discriminates.

    7. Any other thoughts, I'd like to hear anything about what people think.

    I made the point that if homosexuality is fluid and a choice, that would have social implications. If you can choose, then there is no reason to tolerate something that seems to violate religious and traditional norms. And if you can change one's orientation, then one would expect that one change it to normal. Personally, except for these mid life exceptions (which i can't account for and i suspect come out of identity confusion) I believe it is biological.
  9. JuniperWoolf's Avatar
    I always thought that it was strange how people associated environmental explanations for homosexuality with "choosing" to be gay, as if we were able to choose the situations surrounding our development. Being a certain way because you were made that way is the same as being that way because it's written in your genetics. I'm almost certain that liking hockey is a cultural phenomena with me but that doesn't mean that I like hockey any less than I would have if it were written in my genetic code, or that I could change it on a dime and suddenly not like hockey because you can't find a chemical code in my DNA that influences my preference for the sport.

    Also, it's odd to see religious people arguing against homosexuality from a materialist's perspective. "You're gay? Prove it. Where's the gay gene?" as if the lack of one makes it any less true. Ironic.
    Updated 10-01-2010 at 05:20 PM by JuniperWoolf
  10. Dark Muse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperWoolf
    Also, it's odd to see religious people arguing against homosexuality from a materialist's perspective. "You're gay? Prove it. Where's the gay gene?" as if the lack of one makes it any less true. Ironic.

    Hahahahaha! That is great! I never thought of it that way before, but yes that is an excelllent point!
  11. OrphanPip's Avatar
    I think that whole choice or not question is important within a religious context for some from a theological point of view. The liberal wing of the United Church of Canada seems to defend the anointment of gay ministers and performance of gay marriage on the grounds of it being a product of God's creation, and thus good by definition.

    Although, personally I look around and I see countless things which are obviously choices, like religion, politics, hairstyles, and I think most of us would not support the proposition that we have a right to re-educate or limit the expression of those personal choices. I frankly can't see why choice should play any part in why something is tolerated in society. The same reasoning could be used to justify intolerance of religious minorities.

    When homosexuality was legalized in Canada, way back in 1968, P.M. Pierre Trudeau made the statement that "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation," a proper position for any liberal democracy. Of course, I take a hard line secularist opinion towards any matters of government.
  12. Dark Muse's Avatar
    Though based upon the experiences with people that I know, I am not inclined to think that it is a choice, anymore than being heterosexual is a choice, but I do agree that if in fact it were a choice, it should make no difference, and that it should be a choice that people have the right to make for themselves without being discriminated against or ill treated.
  13. Virgil's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip
    I think that whole choice or not question is important within a religious context for some from a theological point of view.
    I don't think it's just a religious issue. People who react to homosexuality on a gut level will be less understanding if it is a choice. Perhaps there are less of those "gut" reaction people than in the past, but in my generation the most anti homosexual arguments that I came across did not come from religious people. It came from men who I would never in a million years consider religious.
  14. OrphanPip's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil
    I don't think it's just a religious issue. People who react to homosexuality on a gut level will be less understanding if it is a choice. Perhaps there are less of those "gut" reaction people than in the past, but in my generation the most anti homosexual arguments that I came across did not come from religious people. It came from men who I would never in a million years consider religious.
    Yes, I agree that the choice question isn't just important to the religious. Though I think it is more understandable how it plays into why some more liberal sects of Christianity have come to affirm homosexuality. Likewise, there's probably a similar thought process in place to explain why Iran is so supportive of sex-reassignment surgery for transgenders (or at least for homosexuals afraid of death penalties).

    I'd agree there are larger cultural factors in play, many in the West are taught tolerance on the basis of some sort-of fairytale importance of innateness. I just don't think whether something is choice or not is even remotely important to why we should accept things. I do think you're right to say in practice that it does effect how many people think about tolerance.
  15. papayahed's Avatar
    1. To what degree, if any, do you think biological factors play in determining the sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals? And, on the other hand, to what degree, if any, do you think cultural factors play in determining sexual preferences and behaviors of individuals.

    I dunno, I think to a large extent biological factors play a role in sexual preferences. I really can't see cultural factors playing a role except to keep gays in the closet.

    2. Do you think homosexuality is intrinsically linked with gender deviance, i.e. to put it simplistically, do you think male homosexuality is linked to effeminacy in men, and the reverse with lesbians.

    No, it's a stereotype.

    3. Do you think sexual orientation and behavior is fluid throughout an individuals life, or is it fixed? This is not to ask if you think sexual orientation can be changed willingly, but if people's sexual preferences are fluid and change throughout their life, "subconsciously," so to speak.

    On a very basic level, such as orientation, no I don't think that changes but on a maturity level? Not sure that is the right term but as an example I don't go for the same type of guy I did when I was in high school.

    4. What relationship do you think perceptions of biological or cultural determination of homosexual behavior has to the permissibility, acceptance, or affirmation, of that behavior in society.

    Are you asking that if it was determined that homosexuality is linked to conclusively with biological factors would it be more acceptable? Tough call. Quite honestly I have no faith in the "christians" that I know to change their minds.

    5. A common alternate construct of human sexuality is that of the "universal bisexual," that is that everyone is born with the natural capacity for sexual attraction to others of the same sex. Do you think there is any validity to this idea?

    No, if that were the case I think you would see a higher rate of homosexuality/bisexuality.


    6. What relationship do you think the development of cultural identifications, and developments of homosexual communities with organized political groups, has effected the perception of homosexuals in your society?

    Here in my small southern town I don't think it has had much of an impact. I think most people try to pretend it doesn't exist. If it makes you feel any better they pretend they're not predjudice either.

    7. Any other thoughts, I'd like to hear anything about what people think.
  16. OrphanPip's Avatar
    I'll take the time now to thank everyone who took the time to answer, in the blog or by PM.