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07/31/2009

Intolerance, both lactose and whack-'mos

by Jeremy Hooper

Jeff-JohnstonProfessional "ex-gay" Jeff Johnston, working solely from secondhand accounts contained in Randy Shilts' The Mayor of Castro Street, has written a new smear piece that attempts to do nothing more than demean Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Harvey Milk. Johnston's basic gist: That because Harvey and other men in the 1940s and 1950s were forced to explore their sexuality in ways that might seem premature, risky, and/or out of whack with the heterosexual paradigm of that time, clearly -- CLEARLY! -- it was these actions that "turned" these men gay rather than the highly-demonized gayness that led them to these marginalized actions. Here's a snip:

Not only does Shilts casually describe Milk’s childhood sexual abuse, he also writes about the abuse suffered by several of Milk’s sexual partners – but he never calls it sexual abuse. Instead, he describes these boys as “discovering” their homosexuality – through adult sexual encounters.

Sadly, Milk and his many partners could be poster boys for an analysis produced by authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows the widespread degree to which men who have sex with men were abused as children.

Shilts also conveniently ignores the fallout that can follow when adult sexuality is imposed on children. Milk and his partners live tumultuous, painful lives, rife with anonymous sex, public sex, bathhouses, prostitution, drugs, depression, alcohol abuse, suicide attempts and multiple partners. The pain and confusion of childhood sexual abuse festers on as their lives unfold
...
But really, homosexuality is an innate, essence-based identity, something that’s good – not something learned from repeated experiences or that develops out of brokenness. At least this is what gay advocates tell us.
*FULL PIECE: Got Milk? [CitizenLink]

Yes, Jeff -- that is, essentially, what most gay advocates tell you. And despite your snark, you have done nothing to disprove that notion. You are using secondhand account of certain men's lives, completely overlooking the social realities that greeted their truths. This was a generation that had everything to lose by being gay, and who had no public option, as it were. Yet despite the almost unimaginable burden of being same-sex-attracted in a world that beat down gays in both literal and figurative ways, these men still struggled to figure it all out. Did they do so in ways that all of us, modern gay people included, consider to be perfect or even right? No, not always. Again: The situation was a major mindfuck, and the alienation led to some alienated behavior (as it has with many other persecuted groups). But it is beyond illogical to act as if they, the inhabitants of an era when "culture wars" revolved around whether the wife would stay home and vacuum in pearls or in diamonds and the idea of "liberal bias" around gay issues applied to those who would merely snarl at a gay man rather than punch him in the face, were "choosing" to be same-sex oriented! If anything, the continued existence of gays throughout history and its associated persecutions works to "prove" our side's testaments, not the "ex-gays" faith-based constructs!

**SEE ALSO: Let the Harvey Milk bashing begin courtesy of Focus on the Family [HB&HM]

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Your thoughts

I have one thing to say to this guy. I'm gay, 19 and a virgin. I have never had any sexual contact with anyone. So how come I'm gay? I discovered my homosexuality because while my straight friends were becoming attracted to girls, I was becoming attracted to guys. I was born gay. I wasn't "converted" by some older man. I'm saving my body for the right guy. I was also very close to both my mother and my father, as well as my grandparents. So no lack of male role models. In school I did choose to hang around girls more often in high-school, the reason being because I related to them better.

Posted by: Alexander Cheney | Jul 31, 2009 10:57:25 AM

damn bro, you can lay down a phat argument!

Posted by: fraggle rock | Jul 31, 2009 12:24:50 PM

Was Johnston sexually abused as a child? I didn't read the entire piece, but in skimming it I didn't see him suggest that his own homo-bent was "caused" by being molested. You would think that he would add his personal reference to substantiate his claim, if he had been. And, if he was never sexually abused as a child (I, similarly, was never abused sexually or in any other way as a child), then his entire thesis is invalidated. I knew when I was five years old that I was was same-sex attracted, and none of the "precursors" that these morons postulate were in any way relevant to my experiences.

It's also pretty telling that these guys suggest that the CDC supports their lying liar lies, and then they add links that suggest that they will take you to the CDC document that they distort. Of course, the link is only to another page of lies that they have written, and if they ever do positively link to a CDC written article, it is impossible to find it. At least in the minute that I spent looking for them, I was unsuccessful. Typical practice for liars.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 31, 2009 12:33:27 PM

If child molestation resulted in homosexuality, wouldn't that make at least 13% of the US population gay?

Posted by: ---- | Jul 31, 2009 1:14:51 PM

No, but it has made 13% of the population abusers.

Posted by: Michael | Jul 31, 2009 2:24:30 PM

I"ve not read The Mayor of Castro Street. How old were these "boys" when they had sexual encounter in the 60's and 70's with "adults".

Are we talking 16 year olds who had sex with a 19 year old?

And just for Johnston's reference, the 2005 CDC report (the real one, not the imaginary one he refers to) shows the following percentage of males report having had vaginal intercourse at age:

15 - 25%
16 - 37%
17 - 46%
18 - 62%

girls are sexually active even younger:

15 - 26%
16 - 40%
17 - 49%
18 - 70%

Using Johnston's ridiculously screwed up logic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows the widespread degree to which men who have sex with women (and vice versa) were abused as children. Heterosexuality is clearly something learned from repeated experiences that develops out of brokenness.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Jul 31, 2009 2:56:33 PM

Alienated Behaviors? I'm a very contented/emotionally astute sex pig and have been my entire queer life and I find the judgmental tone on offer here as revolting and insulting as the "analysis" of the right-god-wing asshole you're criticizing. Are we already at the "good fag"/"bad fag" paradigm? Now our side is supposed to applauding virgin homos who sit on it while waiting for "true love"? I must've blinked when the elephants flew...

Posted by: Michael Kirwan | Jul 31, 2009 7:19:35 PM

Oh spare me, Michael. That is not at all what I'm saying, and to suggest I am is to solicit a fight for the sake of a fight.

The stuff that Johnston is addressing, not just in this post but in his work in general, goes well beyond "sex pig"-iness. And yes, much of it is born out of alienation. But even so, I'm not shunning it. I simply said that not everyone, including some modern gay people, would consider some of the described activities to be perfect or even right. You might or might not. I might or might not. But it's a simple fact that not everyone finds all of the described actions to be their cup of tea. And since Johnston is using it against homosexuality as an orientation (as opposed to grown adults of their own sexual free will), it's pertinent to point out the lack of universal embrace!

But if you want to undermine my work and call me "as revolting and insulting as the 'analysis'" then please, feel free.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 31, 2009 8:15:41 PM

In all the talky, talk talk about causation, correlation and so on regarding homosexuality from the anti gay, their contentions are so conveniently centered around gender stereotypes and assumptions.
Note that lesbians, or women in general are virtually out of the equation.

Their chronic contention rests on four basics or variations. If one set of criterion isn't so neatly explained, they move on to the next thing.
If NONE of it fits, well then...they just pretend the challenge to their assumptions doesn't exist.

A prime example would be the weak/non existent father, too dominant mother criteria. Were this true, almost ALL black men would be gay!

Another example is the assumption of mental illness or emotional 'brokenness' among gay people. This still assumes that mental illness is sorted or cured through having sex or being married to someone who is the inverse of what you are.
No medical or psychiatric professional would say that such issues are cured with religious belief, nor sexual congress with anyone.
Sex and God themselves can become the object of mental instability and abuse.
But pointing to homosexuality as if the sign of an incompetent heterosexual, is to ignore inverses in ALL biological and physical spheres. The illogic of that is like saying someone who favors their left hand, is an incompetent right hander and so on.

Or let me put it another way. Anorexia has been recognized as a dangerous trend among young women. It's not especially new, but it's more widespread. Now, does this mean that having curvy, full fleshed bodies is abnormal? Or does this trend exist because unrealistic thinness is favored and supported?

I equate the anti gay attacking homosexuality as similar to the cultural attack on curvy women. With equally unnecessary and tragic results.

Homosexuality is as normal and natural as full fleshed bodies. Favoring heterosexuality doesn't mean it can't COEXIST with homosexuality. THAT is the point. To say one can't coincide to the same goal, is as irrational as saying curvy women can't coexist with thin women so therefore deserve to disappear if they can't meet our culture's bodily approval, however insane and dangerous.

I've known flawless Japanese women to want to surgically change their eyes, or other people with ethnic features to want to change them and go through all kinds of pain and expense to do so.
Doesn't mean their choice was a free one, but a matter of conforming to a cultural standard that doesn't approve, no matter how harmless this attribute.
Because our culture is so nuts and unrealistic about sexuality, it's no wonder they can't address homosexuality with anymore wisdom or compassion.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Aug 2, 2009 12:42:32 PM

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