How American Conservatism Tricks Us

“Homosexuals make their choice to be gay and they are damned to hell for it! Not to mention that condoning their lifestyles will forcefully result in our having to condone pedophilia, bestiality, or worse: polygamy.”

Arguments like this are common when talking about sexual orientation. Okay, not when legitimately discussing sexual orientation or research on the topic, but when religion or conservative politics come onto the field and begin dominating with cheap plays. We have to hear about how homosexuality is illegitimate because nobody is born that way (my bribed scientist said so, he’s way smarter than your couple hundred scientists!) and it’s just a gateway perversion (the same way marijuana has hooked me on crystal meth).

I’m not going to discuss the ways this argument is wrong though. Every logical person and their hopefully equally logical mothers can do that. Instead, I’m going to argue how the mentalities of pro-gay people have taken the bait, and perhaps backed themselves into a non-progressive corner.

Let’s consider the argument against choice. Now, scientifically speaking, there’s lots of proof that sexual orientation is a genetic predisposition. Well, okay, it’s been proven a lot in men. Women’s brains and biology work so much differently that, if there is a genetic predisposition, it’s not the same as men’s and yet to be found.

But also with women there’s an issue of sexual fluidity. A woman can enter her puberty straight as an arrow, but end up in mid-life or even later marrying a woman. Or start out lesbian and end up with a man. Sometimes she’s swinging to the other side of the pendulum, sometimes she’s just not as picky, sometimes there’s just one exception to the rule.

And we deal with those women in the complex and profound discussion of sexual orientation in politics … by not bringing her up at all, and making her experience invisible. Why? Because her existence would, to ignorant minds, disprove the already frowned upon scientific evidence that sexual orientation is genetically predisposed and be a huge hurdle in the fight for marriage equality and all forms of gay civil rights.

Because, y’know, if it’s a choice it’s against God and America.

Think about this now in comparison: since the Cold War era, communism has been argued to be the antithesis and ultimate evil of America and it’s democracy. Why is that? Because we have options. Instead of us all getting minimal success, some get huge success and others struggle in light of their bad decisions. There is a perceived balance there, even when it turns out that there’s no true balance at all.

But best of all, we have choices.

If you choose what shirt to wear in the morning, and it’s different than the choice your family or pastor would make, it’s American freedom. If your mom bought bananas, your pastor bought bananas, but you decided you were more of a grapefruit type, that’s American freedom. Your dad saw you being a mechanic, your mom saw you being a teacher, you became a musician? America. Fuck, yeah!

If you choose who to share your body, bed, and life with, that’s against God and America, but only if it’s not already chosen for you? When did America become a theocracy? Why are there so many things we’re allowed to make choices about in our own life, even if they are miserable and unhealthy, but this one we have to defend with science, while meanwhile making a common experience totally non-existent?

To flip the coin to the other side, another issue I see when debating sexual orientation. It’s common for religious types to pull into the argument “other” perverse sexual practices and ask how far we are willing to take this? Now, for me, the answer is this simple: I am willing to take rights on sexuality and love as far as every person in my country and world is free to make any decisions between themselves and consenting adults. That immediately rules out animals, children, and any who are mentally deficient; leaving only grown ass people who can make their own decisions. It also rules out sexual assaults (consent) but includes violence or strange fantasy (so long as there’s consent). Notice, also, it leaves room for how many adults are consenting.

But people fall into this trap too. “If we legalize gay marriage,” a republican douchebag talking head will proclaim, “we’ll have to legalize polygamy too!” And the well-meaning progressive insists, “no, no, no! They are not the same! That’s baaaad!”

Now, this is true. They are not the same. And one doesn’t necessarily lead into the other. But it’s not bad (so long as there’s … guess … consent!).

When the average progressive (I think) thinks of any sort of poly-relationship set up, they think of Mormons. Or, if their knowledge on Mormons is wrong, they think of women (often young women, almost children) forced to marry older men by the masses (less Mormon-y, more culteriffic).

When I think of a poly-relationship set up, I lean more in my mind towards polyamory, basically group relationships. But even if you do just have one person with multiple spouses, so long as they aren’t Elizabeth Smarts who have been kidnapped and forced into it, so what? So long as your relationship doesn’t become an excuse to exploit narrow-sighted tax laws, so what? The set-up is not inherently bad, the same way that being gay isn’t inherently bad or against God, choice or not.

I feel, as the LGBT community and it’s supporters, we need to stop arguing for our rights by throwing others under the bus because they aren’t convenient for the arguments conservatives want us to have. We need to start writing our own inclusive arguments.

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~ by Stefani Vonne on 01/14/2012.

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