Wednesday, January 16, 2008


This article highlights the visceral fear, if not revulsion, against symbolic references to genitals. Here is a brief quote from that article:

"State Del. Lionel Spruill introduced a bill Tuesday to ban displaying replicas of human genitalia on vehicles, calling it a safety issue because it could distract other drivers.

"Under his measure, displaying the ornamentation on a motor vehicle would be a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $250."

Even though Spruill knows that what he is doing is ludicrous in the eyes of many people, he's exhibiting what's in the hearts and minds of so many people who are seemingly afraid of things sexual; they immediately associate symbols of sexuality, be it in paintings, photographs, or with images of genitalia hanging from rear view mirrors, with "danger," "negativity" or even "immorality."

This fear of sexuality and its perceived representations, such as in the form of images, can historically be seen to have been coupled with misogyny and, of course, with variant forms of sexual expression, both heterosexually and homosexually.

The stereotypes of the dangerously seductive woman and the over-sexed Black man, and the violence that has been historically visited upon both women (such as those defined as "witches," and the very existence of sexism and other forms of discrimination against women) and Afro-Americans (such as the imposition of segregation, physical violence, and lynchings by White Supremacists), cannot be separated from each other.

One of the cruel ironies of what may be seen as the paradox of enticement/revulsion regarding things sexual or even perceived to be sexual, is that most of the institutional Church has spent an inordinate amount of time condemning the gift of our bodies and of our sexuality, the very gifts that God has given us.

The tremendous discomfort associated with sexuality likely reflects the condemners' own sexual repression and/or distortions, which manifest themselves in the condemners' paradoxically viewing things sexual, or perceived to be sexual, as both enticing and revolting at the same time.

This phenomenon can be seen in those who are sexually immature and/or sexually conflicted and/or repressed; this enticement/revulsion paradox may exist to such a degree that those so afflicted unconsciously and/or consciously feel the need to override this psychic conflict by seeking to impose their own "rules" regarding the gift of sexuality upon others.

When it comes to their view of LGBT people, they are viewed as "the other," as "sexual outlaws," those whose sexual expressions should not be protected by law, even when they are, in fact, protected by law, such as seen in Lawrence v Texas.

Given the (pardon the expression) push-pull of their attitudes toward things sexual, or perceived by them as sexual, even when certain forms of sexual expression are designated as "legal," deep down these people really believe that these forms of sexual expression should really be deemed illegal, immoral, and even disgusting.

This paradoxical enticement/revulsion on the part of homophobes, and all those who negate, through condemnation of sexual symbols and visualization of sexual behaviors (whether those behaviors are depicted or merely exist as images in that person's mind), the gift of sexuality, serves to create their deep need to condemn others who seem to them to be freer (and therefore very threatening), than the condemners are in their sexuality.

Therefore, the very existence of Gay people provokes such condemnation, as the enticement/revulsion paradox is brought into sharp relief by LGBT people's very existence, as when many, if not most, people hear the word, "Gay," they immediately think of "sex."

Last year, I asked my class to tell me the first word that came into their minds when I said the following word: I said, "Gay," and virtually everyone came back with the word, "Sex." Most people don't see LGBT people as being "fully human," or being comprised of many facets that go to make up a fully functional human beings but, rather, they have been conditioned by the paradoxical mind-set regarding things sexual, as honed to a fine art in most religious circles (and imposed on both religious and secular society), to think of LGBT people in terms of their sexuality, and nothing else.

Hence, the exhibition of images of genitalia is threatening to many people because it triggers their paradoxical enticement/revulsion concerning their own and others' sexuality, undoubtedly borne of their own distorted mind-sets regarding sexual expression and its often commensurate emotional fulfillment.

Therefore, when it comes to their view of Gay people, they can separate "sexuality," by which they solely characterize Gay people, from "emotional fulfillment," thus enabling an Alan Keyes to characterize Gay people as "selfish hedonists." He sees the pleasure of sex (Hence, his use of the word, "hedonist."), but seemingly fails to see the emotional component in same-sex relationships. Indeed, he might well be deficient himself in his emotional life, as he disowned his own daughter when she came out to him.

Moreover, even the image of secondary sexual characteristics can be too much for some people to bear, as seen when then Attorney General John Ashcroft covered over a statue of a semi-nude woman that's in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice. The image of breasts, not even of actual breasts themselves, prompted his undoubted enticement/revulsion paradox concerning things he sexualized that he sought to neutralize by putting a drape in front of that statue.

When the image of genitalia is enough to stimulate a person to present a bill against its expression, that act is merely a drop in the ocean regarding the enticement/revulsion paradox that exists in the sexually immature and/or repressed, and that characterizes the minds of so many people, and that makes homophobia such a difficult malady to overcome or to heal.
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