That kind of love.

Posts tagged ‘Homophobia and Polyamory’

Gay Marriage

One of the things I find illuminating about the way my gay friends live their lives is that they manage monogamy much more loosely than hetero-normative friends tend to. I don’t know if this is the often the case, so this is anecdotal, yet I get a lot from watching my LGBT friends deal with serious relationships.

Almost none of my LGBT friends could be described as monogamous. And yet, I just officiated at a wedding. If my group of friends hangs out, there will be fairly liberal flirting, some kissing amongst friends, and a even some mild sexual activity, mostly with clothes on, but there’s genital contact. Genital contact is my personal definition of sex. It seems like a good general way to talk about sex when making rules with partners. It’s certainly a sort of line in most people’s minds.

So the couple in question are probably the least monogamous amongst the group. They both don’t have external relationships, but they have sex with other people. They often have group sex. They are both young, attractive, and both of them are to some degree, bisexual, although they are both at very different spots on the spectrum of bisexuality. Anyone who spends any time with them quickly understands just how important they are in one another’s lives. They are both important pillars to each other. They build the social group they hang out with on the stability their relationships generate in their lives, and they are both very much aware of the fact. Hardly any of us in their social orbit would know one another without them. They spend a lot of time organizing events, throwing parties, and introducing folks to each other. The strength of their relationship affords a sense of community to all of us who know them. I can’t think of a better reason to cement a relationship with ceremony than those. I agreed to marry them, where I wouldn’t agree to marry most people, because I see the wonderful things their relationship brings to all who know them.

To some degree, it seems like how they have approached their relationship is a wise one. They’ve spent many years together before making the commitment. They heard very little social pressure, because they only listened to those that weren’t obviously homophobic. In the case of their families, that narrowed things down to a point where they could think about what they were doing without pressure. They knew, as most couples who get married do, that they loved each other. What their approach afforded them was disregard of negative voices, consideration of the social impact their marriage might have, and the ability to do it when it was emotionally and circumstantially best for them, and best for their other relationships too. That’s damn near unique. I envy them. My marriage did not occur under nearly the same circumstances. So many people get pressured into marriage.

I hadn’t really thought through the reasons that marrying them felt so right, and I’m glad I did. Let me know if this raises any questions in your mind. I’d love to hear from you, and what you think too.

It is easy to see expressed homophobia as an index of sex-identity confusion

Your family is awesome

Your family is awesome!

Let me break that title down a little bit. There’s lots of homophobia in the world. (For clarity’s sake, I’m defining homosexual here to only include men, for the simple reason that there is a distinct difference in American culture between male-male homophobia, and female-female homophobia.)

Homophobia is a complex fear, with several layers, several contributing factors. First off, and most generally, there’s the fear of other, kinda like a xenophobia situation: the hate is as simple as “they’re not my tribe”. Then there’s moral fear, wherein the homophobe thinks something along the lines of ‘the purpose of sex is reproduction. therefore, homosexuals are morally perverse.” (I’m not saying it’s this clear at all. There are many branches and variants of this thought, and most of the time it’s not exactly put in words, more like a tone in the brain.) Then there’s the fear of one’s own feelings and desires. The homophobe recognizes at best there’s not a lot of clarity of what they do not desire. The evidence of history seems to indicate that people are not born closed to new experiences, and if all of these sex polls are right, then many men have actually experimented with homosexual activity of some variety. But let me cut to the chase here. Most of this stuff remains implicit. But when this kind of mind-numbing, unenlightened, self-loathing, horse shit gets expressed,  it gets nasty quickly.

Usually there’s a lot of psychological force behind homophobic expression for a variety of easy to understand reasons. It is very tempting for the target of those expressions to think that the homophobe who is moved to express their fears is so moved because they are actually part of the LGBT community, and are in the closet, or in denial. That’s probably right maybe say, 20% of the time if we’re all being generous.

Not all the reasons people rant about teh gheys are because they are in fact, interested in the dick. It just ain’t the case. It’s likely that more people are not closed to the experience than say so, and it’s possible that the pressures in our society to forcefully deny homosexuality cause people to go the extra mile to do so. But it’s as likely that the majority of folks out there really aren’t gay. It’s not that they aren’t correctly sex-indentifying themselves. It may be more like the reasons for homophobia are so nuanced that there’s bound to be a lot of psychological force behind expression. Think about it in terms of a metaphor. There’s lots of steams and creeks flowing into Homophobic Lake. When the dam bursts, theys gonna be some floodin’ going on. Just because the force of the leak is strong doesn’t indicate something about the nature of the lake itself.

Which is good to remember when the hot guy at work cracks gay jokes all the time. 😦