Posts Tagged ‘Sexuality’

http://lawandsexuality.blogspot.com/2012/02/sexy-boy-and-treasure-island-media.html

Law and Sexuality Blog has an interesting article about a M/m porn company, TIM which has been marketing its wares with images of young boys.

You can read the whole article here.

In it Chris, an academic, writes:

‘there is the less radical, but perhaps no less controversial idea that children can be sexual beings.  This is the revelation that social media already offers to anyone willing to see it, and raising difficult social and legal questions about consent and contemporary domesticity.’

I agree. But I think as an expert in law and sexuality, who writes and blogs in part for an academic audience, he might have acknowledged where the ‘controversial idea that children can be sexual beings’ comes from: Freud.

Here is an extract from Freud’s ‘Autobiographical Study’ on the subject:

‘I have already mentioned that my investigation of the precipitating and underlying causes of the neuroses led me more and more frequently to conflicts between the subject’s sexual impulses and his resistances to sexuality. In my search for the pathogenic situations in which the repressions of sexuality had set in and which the symptoms, as substitutes for what was repressed, had had their origin, I was carried further and further back into the patient’s life and ended by reaching the first years of his childhood. What poets and students of human nature had always asserted turned out to be true: the impressions of that early period of life, though they were for the most part buried in amnesia, left eradicable traces on the individual’s growth and in particular laid down the disposition to any nervous disorder that was to follow. But since these experiences of childhood were always concerned with sexual excitations and the reactions against them, I found myself faced by the fact of infantile sexuality – once again a novelty and a contradiction of one of the strongest human prejudices. Childhood was looked upon as ‘innocent’ and free from the lusts of sex, and the fight with the demon of ‘sensuality’ was not thought to begin until the troubled age of puberty. Such occasional sexual activities as it had been impossible to overlook in children were put down as signs of degeneracy or premature depravity or as a curious freak of nature. Few of the findings of psychoanalysis have met with such universal contradiction or have aroused such an outburst of indignation as the assertion that the sexual function starts at the beginning of life and reveals its presence by important signs even in childhood. And yet no other finding of analysis can be demonstrated so easily and so completely.’

 

The Marvellous Slope Show is back! Season Two of the story of superficial, homophobic lesbians Desiree and Ingrid kicks off with a poignant (but hilarious) episode called ‘Taking Space’

http://theslopeshow.com/2012/02/14/season-2-episode-1-taking-space/

This reminds me of the song: Space, by Pulp. The lyrics of the album version begin:

You said you wanted some space …
Well is this enough for you? …
This is what you’ve waited for …
No dust collecting in the corners …
No cups of tea that got cold before you drank them …
Tonight … travelling at the speed of thought …
We’re going to escape into the stars …

 

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2012/01/30/Cynthia_Nixon_Being_Bisexual_Is_Not_a_Choice/

Cynthia Nixon, who I last week defended for stating her sexuality is her ‘choice’, has gone back on her word.

After a huge amount of hostility and pressure from gay activists and gay media outlets I might add.

Her revised statement reads as follows:

“My recent comments in The New York Times were about me and my personal story of being gay. I believe we all have different ways we came to the gay community and we can’t and shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one cultural narrative which can be uninclusive and disempowering. However, to the extent that anyone wishes to interpret my words in a strictly legal context I would like to clarify:

“While I don’t often use the word, the technically precise term for my orientation is bisexual. I believe bisexuality is not a choice, it is a fact. What I have ‘chosen’ is to be in a gay relationship.

“As I said in the Times and will say again here, I do, however, believe that most members of our community — as well as the majority of heterosexuals — cannot and do not choose the gender of the persons with whom they seek to have intimate relationships because, unlike me, they are only attracted to one sex.

“Our community is not a monolith, thank goodness, any more than America itself is. I look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when America recognizes all of us as full and equal citizens.”

Whilst I am gutted to say the least she felt the need to revert to the popular and pernicious ‘born this way’ stance, I do have some sympathy for the Sex in The City actress.

The current atmosphere amongst gay rights groups means that bisexual people are treated as if they are either gay, straight or lying. In comparison to the pure states of Gayness and Lesbianism, bisexuality is treated as the poor, and unwelcome relation.

Note Nixon used the word ‘legal’ in her statement above. She may have actually been avoiding legal action here, I wouldn’t put it past some gayist organisations to try and make out that claiming sexuality is a choice is against the law. She also is an actress, and theatre and Hollywood I expect are pretty conservative when it comes to sexuality. She may have been advised to couch her feelings in safer terms to avoid being penalised in her acting career.

The UK Daily Mail joined in the gloating about her change of tack, saying that bisexuality is a fact. Well, yes. But it is a fact we do have some agency over in our lives. Who we have sex with is still up to us as individuals.

The Advocate online magazine illustrated their update with a photo of Nixon bald, when she had cancer treatment. I can’t help but feel they were aiming to humiliate her just a little.

I still defend Cynthia Nixon but I am deeply saddened that she felt she had to go against her own instincts about her own sexuality to please the gay establishment.

A recent New York Times interview with Sex In The City star Cynthia Nixon, has caused a bit of a furore amongst mainly American gays. I first read about the story in Queerty, which is itself a VERY gay website. But I appreciated them running  it, and quoting Nixon at length and opening up the discussion to the commenters below the line.

Other publications/individuals have not been so generous, and have railed at Ms Nixon for what? For having the audacity to suggest she has some agency in her sex life and her love life? How very dare she!

One of the main criticisms from Teh Gays about Nixon’s statement is that she is playing into the hands of the religious right in America who claim homosexuality is unnatural, against God, and a sinful ‘choice’. One supergay article suggests:

‘she needs to learn how to choose her words better, because she just fell into a right-wing trap, willingly.  When the religious right says it’s a choice, they mean you quite literally choose your sexual orientation, you can change it at will, and that’s bull.’

http://gay.americablog.com/2012/01/dear-cynthix-nixon-hurting-your-own.html

Another gayist piece states quite baldly:

‘ the issue here is not the legitimacy or source of an individual’s sexuality. It’s a question of strategy. ‘

http://www.readability.com/articles/lfxvzpqn

This concept of ‘strategy’ relates to a theoretical term called strategic essentialism.

‘The term was coined by the Indian literary critic and theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. It refers to a strategy that nationalities, ethnic groups or minority groups can use to present themselves. While strong differences may exist between members of these groups, and amongst themselves they engage in continuous debates, it is sometimes advantageous for them to temporarily ‘essentialize’ themselves and bring forward their group identity in a simplified way to achieve certain goals.’

I oppose ‘strategic essentialism’ because I think it fails in its own goal of uniting ‘oppressed’ groups who have a common ‘enemy’ or oppressor. It serves to privilege (yes I can use that word too) one group’s identity and needs over other, less powerful ones.

In the case of the backlash against Cynthia Nixon, it is clear to me that (usually white middle class and often male) gays are outraged that their worldview and their sense of self, and how they were born this way, is not being prioritised. If sexuality is, to some degree, a choice, as Cynthia says it is for her, (note she is not generalising about other people), then gays lose some of their ‘victim status’ as these poor, beleagured people who are forced to live under the shadow of the heterosexual dominant group.

One of the comments that I found most troubling was this one:

It seems to be suggesting that bisexual people ‘choose’ their sexuality but gay people don’t! Apart from this not even beginning to make sense at a ‘scientific’ level – how are bisexual people ‘made’ so that they have the ability to make choices and gays are not? – it is politically quite worrying. I think what it is really saying is that bisexual people are ‘liars’. If sexuality is innate then people who ‘choose’ to go against their ‘natural’ sexual orientation, be it straight or gay, are a) lying and b) oppressing the people who stay in their ‘natural’ boxes by making sexuality look like less of a destiny.

One of the comments by Nixon that stood out for me was this:

‘I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.’

http://www.readability.com/articles/lfxvzpqn

My ex was/is bisexual. Though he rarely used that word to describe himself. Sometimes he took the Freudian label and called himself ‘polymorphously perverse’. And sometimes I have worried, since we broke up, that he might have ‘gone gay’. This has filled me with a sense of loss and rejection, because if he is now ‘gay’ then what does that say about our relationship that occurred (with some hiccups) over a period of over ten years?

I expect my ex doesn’t identify as gay, now. He was more Anti Gay than even the author of the book of that title. He taught me, long before I had heard of Steven Zeeland, that ‘sexual identity is a joke’.

But it’s not a very funny one. And I think people’s reactions to Cynthia’s open discussion about her own sexuality, are a sign of how we still haven’t reached ‘the end of sexuality’. Maybe one day, eh?

_______________________

 

Broken Record

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Blogging, Freud
Tags:

Someone called me a ‘broken record’ today. And I think they were right.

But I will keep repeating myself over and over, and singing this discordant song, and breaking myself over the turntable of your prejudice and willful ignorance, until I get my message across. Or give up. Or die. Whichever happens first.

So here are two of my favourite scratchy tunes from my most respected recording artistes, in the field of sexuality:

Mark Simpson on ‘The Private Lives of Dr Sex’ – a beautiful and rigorous defence of Kinsey and his refusal to be put into a box, or to put others into fixed categories.

Sigmund Freud’s Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality – a lesson in accepting how we are all a  combination of drives, impulses and indeed ‘neuroses':

http://www.magma.ca/~mfonda/freud07.html

Tell me when I have finished spinning and I will wind myself up and start all over again…

This is the list of entrance prices/membership fees for a ‘hedonists” ‘sex club’ in Toronto, Canada.

It is a very interesting example of the different values of men and women in the ‘sex’ marketplace. Even in the ‘recreational’ sex marketplace.

Why do you think it costs only $5 basic entry for a single woman and $80 for a single man?

I expect it is mainly because there are not enough women going to these clubs and so they need to give women incentives to go.

And because if there are too many men, the club will go from being ‘hedonist’ to being ‘homo’.

Also, single men are often treated, in the club scene, as predatory- see the sign at the bottom: NO touching without permisssion!, and the note saying ‘single gents will be admitted at the discretion of the management’- and kind of potentially ‘creeps’.

In some clubs there is a genre of man that regular clubbers call ‘the wanky man’. A man who does not take part in the ‘action’ but instead, stands around watching and probably masturbating. This is portrayed as unsightly, perverted and somehow aggressive to the other clubbers, especially women.

It is almost as if men themselves are seen as a problem, unless they play by the rules.

It’s no wonder many men go to all-male clubs, saunas and gyms. There may not be any women there, but at least they are not having their sexuality policed within an inch of its life.

http://sofiastry.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/a-stark-economic-visual-of-the-sexual-marketplace/

Mr Fuck Theory doesn’t like Mr Freud very much. And I don’t like Mr Fuck Theory. But I want to put our emotional responses aside to try and explain why I disagree with Fuck Theory’s ‘critique’ of Freud’s ‘conceptual violence’ in relation to femininity and homosexuality.

Here is Fuck Theory’s post:

http://fucktheory.tumblr.com/post/4070969035/the-blind-spot-of-an-old-dream-of-symmetry-the

‘The Blind Spot Of An Old Dream Of Symmetry

The implications of this conceptual violence proliferate in a great number of directions, all of which are best summed by Luce Irigaray’s typically dense and brilliant formula, “A man minus the possibility of (re)presenting oneself as a man = a normal woman.”

As is often the case in Freud’s reading of homosexuality, homos and women both lose out; homos because their object is a “false” object, a misdirection of energy “properly” directed to a vagina, and women because their anatomy is stripped of any specificity:  the only thing that matters is the penis doing the penetrating, whereas all holes are pretty much the same.’

———-

Basically FT is saying that Freud has decided that anal sex between men is simply (but also perversely) what men do in the absence of a vagina in which to put the penis. Because, as Paglia put it so succinctly years later, ‘Penis Fits Vagina’.  Freud is misguided, because the man whose anus is penetrated, according to critiques of  ‘Freudian’ theory, is presented as ‘the woman’. And this assumes only women can be penetrated. And that the act of sex is primarily penetration by a man of a ‘woman’.

Now, I need to go back to my Freud to demolish this argument effectively. And I don’t have his  Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality to hand. The main thing I noticed from reading that book was that Freud’s use of the term ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ or ‘active and passive’ did not necessarily relate to ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and that this is important!

But, the real reason I reject FT’s which is the basic ‘feminist’ critique of Freud, is partly, actually, due to those ‘emotional responses’ I mentioned before. As Freud has taught us, often our ‘gut’ reactions are the most significant.

Feminists’  ‘gut reaction’, their instinctive dislike of Freud, could be because he prioritises the role of the ‘phallus’ in sexuality and our psyches (which women, lest we forget, do not possess). Gay theorists such as FT may dislike him because they too prioritise the role of the ‘phallus’ and Freud’s analysis suggests that being gay means taking it ‘like a woman’ and losing the power of the…cock.

People think I am the one obsessed by cock. But whole analytical theories and political arguments and identity movements have been built up around this pink, squidgy (and sometimes not so squidgy) member. The thing I like about Freud is he doesn’t hide it. He says- look! Boys and Men have Cocks! They appear before them as babies and dangle infront of them and the women in their lives. They preoccupy their dreams, they wake with them hard, or leaking fluid. They see other men’s at the urinal and compare them. They build buildings in their image. They find that women (and other men)  can’t take their eyes off them. And women, they can only ever really, as  Julia Kristeva would admit if she were being honest, see themselves as ‘she who is without a cock’.

Philosophers such as Irigaray, and feminists, and Fuck Theory, are trying to supress the importance of the cock, by blaming Freud for noticing it. This seems so unfair to me. And if anyone is doing any conceptual ‘violence’ I think it is them.

I think Mr Fuck Theory can’t deal with the idea that if, (and it’s a big if) and when he bends over to take it, he may be somehow ‘emasculating’ himself, even for the briefest time. So he makes out the anus is this special hole, where special ‘manly’ things happen that is so different from the vagina, which is what girls have.

FT acknowledges that women can have anal and vaginal sex, but he does so to make the point that the anus and the vagina are ‘qualitatively distinct’, and that by implication gay men and women are ‘qualitatively distinct’ I can’t help but feel.  Now,  I am a woman who has had anal and vaginal sex. My experience is only one person’s. But I think personal experience, and Sigmund should agree, is valuable in discussing sexuality. Mr Fuck Theory never discusses his personal experience, beyond telling us he ‘fucks’ (theory and MEN’s anuses).

There are differences between vaginal and anal sex. One of the differences is I worry more during vaginal sex that it may lead to pregnancy. Another is that the anus is tighter than the vagina. And the man tends to seem to find it more ‘naughty’ to do anal. Also, I find it easier to do anal without facing my partner, and harder to have vaginal sex, without facing my partner. Sometimes I don’t want to see his face, or mine reflected in his. Another difference is it feels to me, in my body, that the route to ‘me’, to my self and my emotions, that vulnerable place inside where everything can come crashing down at any minute, is via my vagina. It came as no surprise to me, that after I had ‘escaped’ a violent (including ‘conceptually violent’) relationship with a man, that it was vaginal intercourse that could leave me frightened, crying, shaking, vulnerable, every time I ‘had it’ (because, boys and girls, being penetrated is something that ‘happens to you’ not something that you ‘do’) for months, or maybe a year afterwards. I have not spoken to men about this, but I wonder if there is a route that leads to their inner self? Because if it is not via my anus, could it be via theirs? (Maybe it is via their mouths – and we all have one of them).

But I can’t articulate these specific differences, or ask these questions, using the language of feminist and gay ‘anti-Freudian’ theorists. They are too busy both denying and thus reinforcing the ‘feminine v masculine’ ‘active v passive’ roles in sex that Freud identified.  Because if you deny something too heavily you end up just emphasising how important it is. Mr Fuck Theory is saying: Gay men are MEN, who don’t have VAGINAS who are DIFFERENT from WOMEN. They  are not women because they have a COCK! And really, who would want to fuck, let alone be a woman? I note with some amusement that though they share a critique of Freud, the feminists and the ‘gayists’ tend to use this critique to deny what they have in common: ‘we are not faggots’ say the feminists, ‘we are not women’ say the faggots. I suspect Freud might be amused by that too, if he were around to see it.

I think Mr Fuck Theory is proving Freud’s point. I think he is saying ‘suck my dick, Sigmund’, but the lady doth protest too much.

 

I found out that Gaga’s latest album and single were to be called ‘Born This Way’ towards the end of last year. My heart sank.  I knew it was going to become, if not a popular gay anthem, at least a symbol of the worst kind of essentialist thinking around sexuality. Unfortunately my fears have been proven right. The single went straight to number One in the American Billboard charts, and gay rights organisations and campaigns have been using it as shorthand, as way of securing the ‘gay’ identity as fixed and natural. We all know it is a crap song. We all know Gaga is looking a little less triumphant than she says she is feeling. But this doesn’t really matter. It is serving its purpose, ideologically speaking.

I’m beautiful in my way / ‘Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track, baby / I was born this way,”

If I have to see those words or hear them one more time I might just declare myself ‘straight’.

The most recent confirmation of the discursive power of Gaga’s lyrics, that she apparently wrote in five minutes flat, comes in the form of an article in Salon.

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0/21/is_lady_gaga_right_about_sexual_orientation_poprx/index.html

Ominously, the article is called ‘Fact Checking Lady Gaga’s Born This Way’. Because pop songs are now scientific papers that have to be ‘fact checked’? How very clinical.

Rahul Parikh, the author of the piece, quotes a psychiatrist, Ron Holt to support his view that we are all, indeed, ‘born this way’. Holt says that sexual orientation

‘refers to a person’s erotic response, regardless of the gender that evokes that response. Sexual orientation, he says, is fixed. This is in contrast to sexual behavior, which a person can alter. In other words, people can’t change their sexual orientation, but they can hide it.’

I don’t quite understand this paragraph, as I thought ‘sexual orientation’ was dependent on the gender that evokes sexual response. But anyway, Holt’s assertion is that sexuality is fixed. It is what we do with it that is open to change, or, as Parikh says, what we hide.

In a rather deft move, Parikh then goes to put Freud, the Grandaddy of modern theories of sexuality, up against Lady Gaga, a popstar, to show how the Austrian psychoanalyst and philosopher was surely lacking in his understanding, that he was wrong and Gaga is right, ’cause God makes no mistakes’. And Gaga, as a major 21st century celebrity is a kind of God.

‘Freud, unlike Lady Gaga, took the position that it was environmental, the result of child-rearing. If you were a boy, and your mother was overbearing or your father cold and distant, you were more likely to be gay. Freud’s view dominated medical discourse for much of the 20th century’.

According to this Salon article, the ‘constructionist’ view of sexuality which came from Freud, ‘may have led to various attempts by religious groups to try to “convert” gays “back into” heterosexuals’ . Because if something is not fixed but is dependent on environment, it can be influenced, tampered with, ‘cured’.

‘Science and sensitivity began to creep into that discourse’.says Parikh. Ah yes, because when it comes to studies of sexuality, science is known for its sensitivity isn’t it?

‘In 1973, the word “homosexuality” was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of psychiatry. The 1990s were an era of discoveries that began to point toward a biological basis for sexual orientation, including a then hotly discussed 1991 study showing differences in the size of certain parts of the brain between straight and gay men. Since then, science has built a case against Freud and in favor of Lady Gaga.’

The ‘hotly discussed 1991 study’ is actually a very dodgy piece of research indeed, which has been discredited. The idea of a ‘gay brain’ is a sort of Frankenstein sci-fi fantasy, that Mark Simpson demolishes much better than I could:

And yet, like a zombie rising from the dead, Simon Le Vay’s ‘gay brain’ is resurrected on a regular basis, not least by Salon itself. In 2010 Salon promoted a book by Le Vay which was really only rehashing his already proven to be wrong theories:

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2010/10/24/simon_levay_gay_brain

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Salon article then goes on to quote at length, another discredited ‘sex’ scientist: Michael Bailey. According to Salon, Bailey ‘is very confident that Lady Gaga is right.’ As if they have all had a conference together where Gaga has performed ‘Born This Way’ and had it approved by a panel of experts.

Even Bailey and Parikh  admit that ‘there are some subtleties you have to get through before you can understand that’ we are ‘born this way’. And by subtleties he means, ‘bullshit science’.

‘For example, if we are “born this way,” then why do studies of identical twins, some done by Bailey himself, reveal in many cases that one twin is straight and the other is gay? If they’re genetically identical, how can they be anything but the same in every way?’

The article does not answer this question satisfactory and starts using words like ‘speculation’ and ‘we don’t know’ and ‘may’  and ‘we are in our infancy of our understanding about sexual orientation’… to show that this is not a proven theory.

And that’s the thing. Nobody knows for sure how we come to ‘be’ who we are, how we come to have a certain sexuality. And nobody, not even God, or Gaga, ever will.  The key difference for me between Freud and Gaga and Bailey and Le Vay, is that Freud embraced how we did not know for sure how sexuality is formed. He did not use his ‘science’ to impose a dogmatic view of sexuality on everyone. He was far more concerned with individuals and how their development and experiences affected them emotionally. The others are trying to come up with an over-arching theory of sexuality, in order to moralise and police sexuality. In order to normalise it.

The context in which this ‘science’ is presented is America, where the ‘far right’ and Christian fundamentalists are pitched in a battle against gay rights campaigners. The gay rights lobby, and liberal America, presents sexuality as innate and fixed, because this counteracts the Christian right’s view that it is a chosen ‘sinful’ activity, or a disease that can be cured. If we are ‘born this way’ then surely God meant us to be like this? ‘Cause God makes no mistakes,right?

Except maybe he has. Because the article then goes onto mention ‘a major wild card in this entire discussion, one that puts to the test Ron Holt’s assertion that sexual orientation is fixed: women’. That’s right.  Half the population may actually not fit this scientific theory after all!

‘While most of the research has confirmed that men are “born this way,” Bailey says, there is an emerging view about women that is very different from men. “Leading researchers are beginning to believe that female sexual orientation is a bit more flexible than that of men,” he says. “Women have a higher rate of bisexual feelings than men. It’s not uncommon for a woman who has been in a lifelong heterosexual relationship to become attached to and develop a physical relationship with another woman.” ‘

But actually this attitude towards women’s sexuality being more fluid than men’s is just part of the same, ‘liberal’ conservative discourse, whereby it is actually men’s homo-sexualities which are being treated as ‘sacred’, fixed, and separate from men’s hetero-sexualities. Because it is homosexuality, and more significantly, male bisexuality, which threatens the whole concept of being a ‘man’.  Which, in America especially, is almost important as being Christian. Again Mark Simpson has written more lucidly than I can on the subject of the denial of men’s bisexuality by scientists such as Bailey.

I hope Mark might add something to this attempt at a take-down of Salon and its stroking of neuroscientist’s egos, because I know it is his field more than mine.

While I wait for his response, take a look at the photo at the top of this post. It  is from an American blog called ‘born gay born this way’.

http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-16T20%3A07%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=10

This is a site where people send in photos of when they were children, to prove that they were ‘born this way’. I find it quite heartbreaking. It is full of gorgeous pictures of cherubic kids, playing cowboys and Indians, dressing up in Mommy’s dresses, putting on make-up, having water pistol fights, dancing. Being children. And then accompanying the pictures are little essays explaining how these kids knew from a young age that they were ‘different’ from other kids, because they didn’t do what ‘normal’ boys or girls did.This is Amanda. Isn’t she adorable? Does she look like a lesbian to you? She looks like a kid to me!

I am depressed but also glad that Salon has produced such a blatant, disingenuous piece of journalism. And that Gaga has shot herself in the foot by making the worst and most sanctimonious pop song since —er—- Michael Jackson’s Earth Song.  Because it gives us a chance to challenge head on the ‘gay agenda’ and the ‘essentialist’ agenda of liberal America in particular.

Parikh ends his article even more cynically, by quoting The Smiths ‘what difference does it make? It makes none’. But if it makes no difference whether or not we are born or made into certain sexualities, why make so much effort to prove one or the other?

Gaga’s album hasn’t even been released yet. But she has provided the liberal ‘conservatives’ with some invaluable ammunition in their war against sexual choice. You know what? I’d rather be identified as a good old-fashioned pervert in the Freudian sense. At least then my sexuality could not be co-opted by the do-gooders and the God botherers.

SO this is for you Siggy. Touch Me, I’m Sick!

Q: Assuming that we aren’t doomed, chained to sex as our destiny: and from childhood as they say…

MF: Exactly; look at what’s happening in the case of children. They say the life of children is their sexual life. From the bottle to puberty, that’s all they talk about. Behind the desire to learn to read or a liking for comic strips there is still, always, sexualiy. Are you sure that this type of discourse is in fact a liberating one? Are you sure it doesn’t enclose children in a sort of sexual insularity? And what if after all they didn’t give a damn? What if the freedom of not being adult consisted precisely in not being subject to the law, the principle, the commonplace which ends up by being so boring, of sexuality? If there could be polymorphous relationships with things, people, bodies, wouldn’t that be childhood?  Adults call this polymorphousness perversity to reassure themselves, and in so doing colour it with the monotonous tint of their own sex.

From an interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, 1977, Reprinted in translation in The Oxford Literary Review, vol 4, no.2 1980

Image from Ma Vie en Rose: http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/mavieenrose/

“The intellectual was rejected and persecuted at the precise moment when the facts became incontrovertible, when it was forbidden to say that the emperor had no clothes. ”
Michel Foucault
 
 
‘Gay people are not sexually interested in straights…The subtext to a lot of homophobic thinking is the idea that gays will try to get straight people into bed at the first opportunity, or that gays are looking to “convert” straights. Freud called this concept schwanzangst; the U.S. Army calls it Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’
   –  OK Cupid
 
I am too tired and hacked off to explain properly. But the whole thing the shadow that is hanging over this ‘It gets better’ , ‘growth in gay suicides’ , ‘gay teens need help’, ‘gays are persecuted by society’…. the word that describes what is going on is:                                                                                                                                                                                                                
 
And when you pathologise you make it likely that the people you are pathologising are the ones who are going to suffer in social and mental health terms. I had a friend who was a very unhappy teenager. He held on and ‘toughed it out’ till he was 25, when he finally killed himself. He wasn’t ‘gay’. He had another label stuck on him like an unwanted Star of David: ‘schizophrenic‘. And once he had that label I don’t think he had much chance of finding a way to be ‘well’. You can’t be ‘cured’ of schizophrenia just as you can’t be ‘cured’ of being ‘gay’. 
 
But you can reject the terminology. Not just you. Not just the individual who is labelled. We. We can reject how people are pathologised in society by labelling them according to certain characteristics and behaviours that they display at any given time.
 
My friend wasn’t a schizophrenic to me. He was my friend, a freckled faced wild-eyed boy, an adventurer, a fantasist, a painter, a poet, a dickhead, a lover of Bob Dylan, a joker, a worrier, a tightrope walker, a drinker of  cheap cider, and briefly, tortuously a man.
 
Nobody is ‘gay’ to me. Nobody is ‘straight’. Nobody is ‘schizophrenic’.  It’s ok. We will still exist without those titles. I do. Or, as Gore Vidal put it more poetically, via the voice of myra Breckinridge:
…I am right, for it is demonstrably true that desire can take as many shapes as there are containers. Yet what one pours into those containers is always the same inchoate human passion, entirely lacking in definition until what holds it shapes it. So let us break the world’s pots, and allow the stuff of desire to flow and intermingle in one great viscous sea…’
(Myra’s wisdom found in Mark Simpson’s It’s A Queer World)
Post Script: It Gets Weirder: http://mediamatters.org/blog/201010130014 I think i found myself agreeing with the words of a right-wing Republican and homophobe… Not ALL the words obviously.