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Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

November 6th, 2007 · 7 Comments

I’m mostly—but not wholly—inclined to agree with McMegatron. Excepting Republican elected officials, the idea that vocal homophobes are motivated by their own latent homosexuality is usually spurious, and it’s unhelpful on numerous levels to act as though “well, I bet you’re a big queer” is an effective response to such people.

I stop short of wholehearted agreement because there is, I think, quite a lot of truth in the related notion that homophobia is linked to anxiety about masculinity. I’m sure people with religious complaints against homosexuality are sincere enough, though there’s something a bit suspicious about the intensity of focus on the issue, relative to the scant attention it receives in scripture. But the emotional root of homophobia—and at least in the West, the most intense, visceral animosity has normally been directed at gay men in particular—has always been, in essence, a special case of misogyny.

Some years back, an old friend of mine came out to his very conservative Indian father. The paterfamilias went silent for a few days, during which time he apparently did some digging around on the Internet, and then finally—with great discomfort—forced himself to pose his son the all-important question: “Are you… top, or bottom?” And surreal as that must have been, it made a kind of sense: The ancient Greeks may have celebrated male-male romantic love, but it was considered ridiculous and degrading for the older partner to take the “submissive” or “feminine” position. So yes, a lot of anti-gay animus is rooted in anxiety, not about one’s own orientation, but about the fragility of gender roles and male dominance.

This is most obvious when you watch teenage males performing homophobia—since in this, in as other things, they’re not yet as practiced in keeping their emotions and motivations close to the vest. They clearly protest too much, but what they’re denying is not (usually) a hidden same-sex attraction, but the possibility of their own “feminiziation”—their penetrability, in other words. The pre-feminist literature of homophobia is (perhaps ironically, though for obvious reasons) much more upfront about this.

I still have my doubts about whether pointing this out in the course of argument is sound strategy: Accurately identifying an anxiety like this only seems likely to stoke it, and leveling it as an accusation still seems to reinforce the thought that there’s something shameful about being “unmanly.” But I have very little doubt that something like this is what drives a great deal of anti-gay animus.

On the off chance you live in a subterranean vault where fun is forbidden, the headline reference is here.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter K. // Nov 6, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I remember that Onion headline! They’re the best.

    A recent favorite: “Animal Planet Reality Show To Put Bear, Antelope, Hawk, Cheetah In Same House”

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/42597

  • 2 Adam // Nov 6, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Very well put.

  • 3 Adam // Nov 6, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    I also think a great deal of the confusion, discomfort, and hatred of homosexuality comes from the aspect that is different from the norm. So incredibly different.

    With religious/political opposers to homosexual behavior, it seems like they are just flabbergasted that gays and lesbians just do not care that much about predictions they’ll go to hell. This lack of a willingness to obey seems to drive much of the anti-gay vehemence.

  • 4 Randy // Nov 7, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Wonderful essay, Julian. Of course, inquiring minds want to know how he responded to his father’s question ;-)

    (BTW, your “Post a comment” directions to the contrary, TypeKey tells me I can’t use it, that “the blog has not authorized its use” or some such nonsense.)

  • 5 Julian Sanchez // Nov 7, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I believe his (quite apt) answer was: “Do I ask what you and mom do in the bedroom?” I’ll look into the TypeKey thing.

  • 6 Randy // Nov 7, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Good answer! Reminds me of the story of the father who asked his gay son what he and his lover do, and the son answered “You know all those things you’d like to do with mom but she won’t? That’s what we do.”

    (In RE: TypeKey – FYI, it is remembering me, I see, but that could be because I hit the “Yes” button earlier.)

  • 7 Roach // Nov 9, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    On discussing female priests and whether celibate gays can become priests, I noted the following in support of my argument that priests, to be listened to must be masculine and normal:

    Gay men are the epitome of the masculine antithesis, the man who plays the woman’s part in sex. In addition to this fact, there are also secondary characteristics, the foundation of gay “culture.” These are neither naturally masculine nor feminine, but a kind of stylized and child-like femininity. This is not news. Gay men are uniquely flamboyant, creative, artistic. (Need I point to examples?) These qualities lead to valuable contributions to the entire human experience. We cannot all be kings and cavaliers, we need our anti-heros, jesters, and critics as well. But for the same reason, gay men are often lacking in the classic male virtues of physical courage, self-control, and stoicism. Most men would not follow or listen to a message of humility and charity conveyed by men who do not exemplify traditional masculine virtues; when laymen suspect a would-be priest might be gay, their ears truly become closed. Men respect authority and bearing, and they pounce upon and do not listen to men they consider weak. This prejudice is likely deeply ingrained in our psyches, going back to premodern times when men individually and collectively had to defend vulnerable women and children from predators, including human ones. Weak men were dead weight, who neither bore children nor defended them.

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