Friday, August 14, 2009

GAY DOES NOT ONLY EQUAL SEX MUST BE EMPHASIZED

A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit against Tennessee school districts that once blocked access to gay-themed Web sites. The schools already had agreed to remove the filters to the sites.

If that agreement is broken, the case will return to court, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which fought in favor of students suing the schools.

The suit that included Metro Nashville Public Schools and Knox County was over access to sites that were nonsexual.


[For the full article, see here.]

Given the sexual obsession of so many people, mixed with often "religiously" sanctimonious and negative messages to which we are exposed, any perception of adult relationships has "sex" as a major component, save for that of heterosexual marriage. For some reason, when one thinks of "marriage," sexual relationships are both taken for granted as well as virtually non-existent in the minds of those discussing marriage as a subject.

Therefore, since in the minds of many Gay=Sex, and that love is usually not even considered in same-sex relationships by homophobes, the very existence of same-sex marriage brings sex front and center in their minds; their often ambivalent, if not negative, view of sex connotes salaciousness that invades their comfort zones in this area of their lives.

When one hears homophobes rail against Gay people, they virtually always betray their own ambivalent, if not negative, views of sex and sexual matters; rarely, if ever, is love discussed in the context of same-sex relationships or in the struggle to legitimize same-sex marriage. Since sex is a subject with which many are uncomfortable, and that discomfort is highlighted by homophobes who emphasize that subject, Gay people have become both the target and the mirror of that discomfort; the attempt to prevent same-sex marriages can largely be seen to have its roots in the negative or ambivalent views of sex that so many homophobes have.

Since in these people's minds, Gay=Sex, anything that has to do with Gay people is seen solely in sexual terms by those who are uncomfortable with sex in one way or the other and, therefore, it is not surprising that internet sites that even have the word "Gay" in the title are viewed as inherently salacious, and there are attempts by those who feel they are "protecting the children" to seek to filter out anything that deals with Gay issues.

Indeed, a couple of years ago a friend of mine told me that he couldn't access this blog in his public library, as the filter the library used blocked it from access. He assured the librarian that this site was non-pornographic and the filter was removed.

One wonders how often this blog, and sites like it that have the word "Gay" in their title are inaccessible to young (and even older) people. The fact that "Christianity" also appears in the title of this blog was irrelevant, as the word "Gay" trumped all other terms and considerations and that fact can be attributed to the equation of Gay with Sex and little or nothing else.

All people involved in the civil rights struggle for full and equal LGBT rights must emphasize the emotional component of same-sex love and relationships; enable potential Straight allies to see that just as heterosexual relationships and marriage are seen as largely based on love, the same holds true of same-sex relationships.

By so doing, a lot of the stigma and perceived "deviance" of same-sex relationships held by many is likely to be diluted, with the goal of having people see that just as "love" is at the core of heterosexual marriage and relationships, "love" is also at the core of same-sex marriage and relationships.

Working toward this goal is crucial, as full and equal civil rights can only be achieved when potential Straight allies see same-sex marriage as being based on the same criteria as are heterosexual marriages, and the nonsense that occurred (and may yet occur) in Tennessee and elsewhere will be seen for the ignorance it displays.
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5 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

You're STILL on a roll; here's another very relevant essay that I hope you will submit for publication in Whosoever. This is a very serious problem! I think it's rampant, and I know I'm not exaggerating.

Nowadays, Gay people in the media are just as likely to sexualize Gay identity as Bible bigots are. How many LGBT blogs have I visited that had links to pornographic websites in their sidebars? How many "queer" filmmakers and "edgy" pop culture writers cross the line of decency in the way they portray Gay relationships? Even "mainstream" Gay media outlets like The Advocate will often post inappropriate adult-oriented content on their web pages (remember that magazine cover with the sex toy?).

The prurient association is so strong that National Public Radio, needing to book a Gay spokesperson for a feature on marriage equality, recently chose potty mouth sex columnist Dan Savage instead of a legitimate activist like Evan Woolfson. (I was outraged!) Gay = sex is an ignorance that's spread equally by those on the Left and Right Wing. Whatever its source, and wherever it's found, we must challenge it with the truth of our lives.

genevieve said...

This is a point I've been making. Many think TGLB people are only interested in sex. Sadly, much of the advertising and magazine contribute to this misguided idea that we're hedonists.

To show the hypocrisy of many anti-GLBT folks, it was recently revealed that the so-called red states viewed more porn than blue states.Go figure.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi genevieve: "To show the hypocrisy of many anti-GLBT folks, it was recently revealed that the so-called red states viewed more porn than blue states." As you know, that's no surprise! Also, it's tragic that many Gay publications also often play into the Gay=Sex mind-set and prejudices of potential Straight allies; frequently downplaying or ignoring the emotional component that makes people Gay just as it does for Straight people. Take care, Jerry.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, Don Charles. Your comments on this matter are right on the money! The insights embodied in your comments represent what is needed to both get serious about LGBT equality, as well as specifying the mind-set that is needed to educate potential Straight allies as to the reality of Gay people's lives. When Gay publications and displays sexualize Gay life to the virtual exclusion of the emotional component, it distorts the reality of same-sex love, misinforms potential Straight allies, reinforces stereotypes that serve to "justify" homophobia, and, therefore, serves to sabotage the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people. Best wishes, Jerry.

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