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Wanted: Objective (and gay) third party October 2, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends, issues, rants.
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One of the reasons I’m glad I started this blog is that I learn so much from the people who comment here with advice and explanations for various things. So in this blog post, I’m going to actively ask for your opinions, this time regarding the topics of homosexuality, homophobia and affirmative action.

I often discover my greatest passions through embarrassing means. I’m an alt- and grunge-lover, but I only discovered these genres through watching Rock Star: INXS. I discovered Imogen Heap through Garden State. I’m a huge supporter of the LGBT cause, and while I have never hated or disliked gays, my PFLAG-esque passion stemmed from watching Queer as Folk (or as I like to call it, “gay porn”). Now, I don’t think the catalysts affect my sincerity, even though they’re a little tough to admit to.

In any case, I’m still a staunch defender of gay rights, despite the fact that I’m just a straight girl who likes watching pretty boys make out with each other on a soapy Showtime series. And I don’t espouse gay rights as my cause celebre because Brian/Justin was an abnormally hot, so-wrong-it’s-right couple, but because next to atheists, I think the LGBT community faces the most discrimination.

So it irked me considerably (read: I totally PO’d) when Fred* made a gay joke on his blog and then followed it up with this statement (paraphrased):

“I’m not a homophobe. The term ‘homophobe’ is pejorative. I’m not afraid of homosexuals, I just don’t like them. The politically correct word is ‘heteropreferential.'”

Granted, my rebuttal was a wee bit more hostile than it should have been, but I found that statement to be incredibly asinine, and I thus responded accordingly. To me, being a homophobe and calling yourself “heteropreferential” is like being a racist and calling yourself “[insert race here]-preferential.” And I don’t think intolerance should be sanitized. You’re free to disagree with me, readers; I’m probably biased in thinking that homophobes do not deserve a “politically correct” term. (Though if you called me “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice,” I wouldn’t stop you.)

Anyway, Fred doesn’t see himself as a homophobe. He “likes Freddie Mercury, even though he was gay.” I asked him if he didn’t like that Mercury was gay, and Fred said yes. I thought that sentiment was homophobic in itself. If I said I liked Jimi Hendrix “even though he was black,” as opposed to just liking Jimi Hendrix, period, would that not make me a racist?

I confronted Fred on his statements, and we got into a lengthy debate about it. Debates with Fred are tiresome because they always wind up circular. We just keep repeating the same things over and over again. It boiled down to this conclusion: Fred thinks he’s not a homophobe because he goes by the literal translation (“homophobia” = “fear of homosexuals”) while I think he is because I go by the dictionary definition (“homophobia” = “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”).

But Fred also disagrees that he’s a homophobe by dictionary definition because he feels that his dislike for gays isn’t unfounded. So, why does he dislike gay people?

Fred, verbatim: “Homosexuality is a choice.”

If I were as devoid of morals as people say atheists are, I would have punched him in the face right then.

Teen Atheist: “Please. If homosexuality were conditional, we’d probably have less Republican fags. Ahem, Larry Craig, ahem.”

Fred: “Touche. But those people were probably molested some time before, or something like that.”

TA: “Wouldn’t gay people — gay Christians and Republicans, anyway — rather be straight, to fit in? If it were a choice, why are there closeted gays?”

Fred: “Because they have shame, by society. And I don’t shame.”

TA: “Most closeted gays would rather be straight, I’m sure. If homosexuality were conditional, closeted gays would be a rare breed.”

Fred: “If homosexuality were genetic, how would that set of genes be more rampant now more than ever? After 40,000 years of eliminating those unable to reproduce?”

And you know, I didn’t have a good answer for that, but I argued that there are more openly gay people now because it was much harder to be out and proud in 1950. I’m not sure I can argue that homosexuality is hereditary, but I do believe it’s probably congenital, since a lot of gay people had known they were gay at an early age.

TA: “Assuming homosexuality is a choice, why do you dislike gays?”

Fred: “I believe that homosexual people have problems that they can’t deal with properly. One wouldn’t be homosexual naturally, but is turned into one by culture and issues, usually by trauma of some sort. Hence, I don’t like gay people because they are weak to succumb to making irrational choices.”

I would have argued that homosexuality’s contribution to humankind is population control, but Fred would have just chided me for being a heartless utilitarian (he did after I told him I was pro-death penalty, for the same reasons). I’m not saying that I’m not one, but the argument would be beside the point.

TA: “I’m atheist by choice. Am I weak of faith? Do you see me (as an atheist) the way you see gays? Because that reasoning is what my dad uses in explaining his dislike of my atheism.”

Fred: “No, your choice is not irrational. Rational = continues survival of human species. Homosexuality does nothing for humankind.”

TA: “So people who masturbate have a problem, too?”

Fred: “Yeah, they have lack of control, so I don’t like it if people do that.”

Which I think is stupid, but I didn’t bring that up with him. Fred’s the kind of guy who sees sex as a “loving, intimate act between husband and wife,” while I think more along the lines of “biological instinct.” Besides, self-denial is such a Catholic idea. (Fred considers himself an irreligious deist, by the way. And get this — he wants to stay Catholic to “promote tolerance.” Ha!)

Here’s a summary of the points made in our debate-that-went-nowhere:

Fred – Homosexuality is a choice. It’s impossible for the “gay gene” to be passed down because gay men can’t have sex with women. Homosexuality is the fault of the gay people themselves because they couldn’t overcome past traumatic experiences, and thus, gay people are weak.

TA – Homosexuality may or may not be congenital, but you can’t “un-gay” a person. Gay men are capable of having sex with women (there was an article in Out magazine about a closeted gay man who has a healthy sex life with his wife, though I can’t find the link right now). Gay people don’t deserve to be discriminated against, because there is nothing wrong with a dude boning a dude. Who’d they hurt in the process of fucking each other? Humankind? Bitch, please.

Now, the third topic: affirmative action.

Fred: “Are you gay?”

TA: “No.”

Fred: “Well, stop acting hero. I know gay people who don’t give a fuck.”

TA: “What, like white people shouldn’t help promote tolerance of other ethnicities? I’m anti-discrimination.”

Fred: “No, you’re doing an opposite form of discrimination. Most call it affirmative action.”

I didn’t know what affirmative action meant at the time, so I looked it up.

Affirmative action – The practice of giving better opportunities (jobs, education etc) to people who, it is thought, are treated unfairly (minorities, women etc).

From what I understand, affirmative action is like hiring a guy because he’s black and you feel bad for him. Which is totally not what I’m about, since I treat straight people and gay people equally. However, if you make an anti-gay slur and defend yourself with something as stupid as “I’m not homophobic, I’m heteropreferential,” then I think I have a right to call you out on your bullshit, regardless of whether or not I’m gay. “Stop acting hero” is such an idiotic argument — wouldn’t the black kids in Hairspray have had a tougher time fighting for their cause without characters like Tracy Turnblad and Corny Collins? And if nobody stood up to the racist/sexist/homophobic/fundamentalist/etc. idiots, then when would the discrimination end?

So that’s the story of the circular Fred/TA debate. Readers, I present to you the following questions:

  1. Is Fred a homophobe?
  2. Are you agreeable to the invention of a “politically correct” term for homophobia (e.g. “heteropreferential”)?
  3. Is homosexuality congenital or conditional?
  4. Would you call what I just did “affirmative action”?
  5. [Optional] If you’re wondering what’s up with the title of this post, I’m looking for a gay reader to help me debunk Fred’s theory that all gay people are gay because they’ve experienced something traumatic. So if you’re a gay person with a relatively happy and normal upbringing, please let me know you exist!

[ETA: Readers, you don’t have to be homosexual to answer these questions! :D]

I used to think Fred was a smart guy. I’ve come to realize that this is not the case — he’s not smart, he’s just articulate and verbose. (No offense, Fred, since you’re probably reading this, but I think you’re an idiot really, really disagree with you. On a lot of things. You lost a good chunk of the respect I had for you at “Homosexuality is a choice.”)

But you and I, Freddy Boy, we’ve reached a compromise!

 

(Shamelessly stolen from Arcis Logos.)

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Comments»

1. kip - October 2, 2007

I’m sorry, I’m not gay, but I’ll be happy to give you my answers.
1. Yes, Fred is a homophobe (A rose by any other name…).
2. Yes, I’m okay with the invention of a new word that really means the same thing as an old word. That’s just a language issue.
3. People are born gay, or straight, or whatever. This falls under the category of the obvious.
4. Again, words are just words. I call what you did “nice”.
5. Sorry, can’t help you there!

2. King Aardvark - October 2, 2007

I’m not gay either.
1. Yes, certainly in the conventional definition, though he may not be “afraid” of them.
2. I don’ think we need a PC version of homophobe. Hell, I don’t like PC terms for anything. They tend to be too long to say. As long as the term doesn’t have built in value judgments, I don’t really care.
3. From what I’ve read, there are genetic and environmental aspects. Whatever environmental factors result in homosexuality happen early so it’s not a conscious choice. The genetic factors are as yet unknown but there have been little/no evidence that suggest it’s hereditary. Try searching on Scienceblogs for more.
4. Not affirmative action in any way. You’re defending against prejudice, not seeking to even-up the workforce.
5. I can’t help either 🙂

3. Brad - October 2, 2007

1. It’s possible for Fred to squeak by on technical linguistic grounds around the word “homophobe”, but there is certainly no question that he is a bigot.
2. It doesn’t matter what you term intolerance and ignorance, they are still inexcusable.
3. I think there is enough scientific evidence now that homosexuality is a biological phenomenon. Ascribing it to choice is a traditional fundamentalist route resulting from ignorance, bigotry and a lack of scientific education.
4. Affirmative action doesn’t make the least bit of sense in this context. If you were an employer hiring someone and giving preferential treatment to homosexuals (or any specific biological group) then it would be affirmative action (also known as reverse discrimination). Your stance is based on rationality and equal rights. Fred is clearly lashing out with the tired list of fundamentalist responses in hopes of catching someone just as ignorant as he is.
5. Can’t help you there, though I have certainly known several homosexuals who had a happy childhood with loving parents, etc.

I find no fault with your rational approach to the issue and agree completely with your conclusions.

4. Teen Atheist - October 2, 2007

Thanks! “A rose by any other name” is the perfect way to describe it.

5. complexzeta - October 2, 2007

Okay I’ll give this a try. I’m not a homosexual (perhaps I’d be best classified as asexual/nonpracticing heterosexual).

1) Yes. Words mean what people agree they mean now, not what they were derived from in a different and possibly obsolete language centuries ago. (I don’t know if the words mean the same thing in modern Greek.)

2) No. There’s not much to be gained from making a euphemism for something which is clearly negative to begin with. That might make it look respectable.

3) Almost certainly genetic, although I haven’t done enough research to give a solid argument for this. I’m not a biologist, but my very limited knowledge of genetics is already sufficient to convince me that Fred’s argument about the genetics of homosexuality is not very solid. The same logic would imply that hemophilia would have ceased to exist, since hemophiliacs generally die when they are very young. But it doesn’t, because the mother is the carrier for it, and it doesn’t affect her, since it’s recessive.

4) No. Affirmative action refers to an entirely different context.

5) (I can’t help with this one.)

Obviously, I agree entirely with your position and not with Fred’s.

6. Martin - October 2, 2007

“Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

No, human beings can not choose to be either gay or straight. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Can Therapy Change Sexual Orientation?

No. Even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, sometimes pressured by the influence of family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.

However, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who seek assistance from a mental health professional want to change their sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals.”

^ “Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality”, American Psychological Association, . Retrieved on 2007-10-01

Shut up, Fred. XD

7. Martin - October 2, 2007
8. Juan Iglesias - October 2, 2007

I am a gay man with a relatively happy and normal upbringing though my mother is single. Tell me.

9. Teen Atheist - October 2, 2007

Martin:

Shut up, Fred. XD

Exactly! Thank you! 😛

Oh, and thanks for the reference, too. Very informative. 🙂

10. Teen Atheist - October 2, 2007

Juan Iglesias: Great! I’ll be sure to mention you the next time I talk to Fred. 🙂

11. lagim214 - October 2, 2007

.. but there is certainly no question that he is a bigot. Good job, Brad. XD

Homosexuality is the fault of the gay people themselves because they couldn’t overcome past traumatic experiences, and thus, gay people are weak.

Not all gay people stem from past traumatic experiences. It’s just stupid to assume that. (Too stupid. Even for Fred. XD) Hadn’t it occured to him that one could be gay, in spite of the lack of traumatic experiences?

BS. Typical conservative fundy. pish.

12. lagim214 - October 2, 2007

.. but there is certainly no question that he is a bigot

. Good job, Brad. XD

Homosexuality is the fault of the gay people themselves because they couldn’t overcome past traumatic experiences, and thus, gay people are weak.

Not all gay people stem from past traumatic experiences. It’s just stupid to assume that. (Too stupid. Even for Fred. XD) Hadn’t it occured to him that one could be gay, in spite of the lack of traumatic experiences?

BS. Typical conservative fundy. pish.

P.S. sorry about the double post. Got m tags incorrect. 😛

13. lagim214 - October 2, 2007

..ly? XD

14. Teen Atheist - October 2, 2007

Too true, Brad, Fred really is a bigot.

Gab: The sad thing is, he isn’t even really a fundy. He considers himself an “agnostic theist,” and he’s actually trying to start up an alliance in his school for atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers. Sad, isn’t it, that even “freethinkers” can be bigots. And the most ironic part is that he remains Catholic in order to “promote tolerance” (his words, not mine).

I actually considered telling him to abort his plan, because he gives the rest of us a bad name. XD

15. lagim214 - October 2, 2007

Have you? Coz that is reason enough to do so, methinks. XD Image is very important.

16. Teen Atheist - October 2, 2007

Hee! I haven’t, no. I doubt he’d make much of a splash with his little group, anyway — he’s already a pariah of sorts over there.

17. Martin - October 2, 2007

I now understand why you generally view your friends to be philosophically pretentious. His half-assed logic. Ugh.

18. Karen - October 3, 2007

Does Fred _know_ any gay people? When we were first married (back in the days of Castles and Dragons, 1980), my husband suffered from homophobia that I couldn’t begin to understand. He agreed that it was not a “lifestyle choice” and had some kind of genetic and/or early environmental underpinning; he just had a really, really strong negative reaction. However, even then he was honest enough to admit this reaction was emotional, and not based on evidence. (That sort of honesty is one of the reasons I married him.)

Fast-forward a decade, and Husband’s strong negative reaction toward gays was gone. What caused the change? He worked with some gay people, got to know them as just ordinary people, and whatever fantasy-supported prejudices he had were dispelled by reality.

A little bit of life-experience _can_ go a long way toward mellowing people. Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily work that way.

19. Karen - October 3, 2007

A comment on the genetic argument, from a techie who has somehow escaped _all_ classroom opportunities to learn biology:

I once read and article, don’t remember where, and certainly can’t find the reference!, that suggested homosexuality among males is an adaptive trait _within_the_population_ for reducing aggression between males which might be detrimental to the continued existence of the population. (In other words, not ALL of the guys are fighting over the girls.) A man’s genes may be passed on by his siblings as well as himself, so this adaptation is not in danger of being bred out of the population.

This is certainly not the whole story of homosexuality, but it illustrates that the simple argument of “they can’t pass on their genes, therefore it can’t be genetic” is just wrong.

20. Teen Atheist - October 3, 2007

Martin: YES! And Fred’s the worst of them, always proclaiming shit like “I’m a philosopher and I’m smarter than everybody else” blah blah blah. (An idiot who thinks he’s smarter than everybody else in the room? Very, very sad.) And he thinks he can kick everybody else’s ass at debate even though he has yet to beat me. His idea of “winning” involves shouting down the opposition. Seriously.

So yeah, I’m soured on philosophy. 😛

21. Teen Atheist - October 3, 2007

Karen: Yes, Fred knows some gay people personally. He told me that he has some gay friends, he just refuses to accept the part of them that is gay. In that sense, it’s like he wants to hold on to his homophobia.

Also, thanks for the information! I’ll bring that up with Fred next time. 🙂

22. Nicest Girl - October 3, 2007

From what I understand, homosexuality is not “genetic” persay. The more recent studies have shown that it is most likely linked to a chemical/hormonal reaction that happens in the womb while the child is being formed (most likely linked to genital development). That is why there can be so many variations in human beings; i.e. masculine brain with female genitalia, feminine brain with male genitalia, masculine brain with both female and male genitalia, feminine brain with both female and male genitalia, feminine brain with female genitalia, masculine brain with male genitalia, etc. etc. etc. So many variations.

This does not necessarily have to be genetic in that it is passed down from the parents. It could simply be based on what the chemicals decide to do. Now, people say that it doesn’t make sense when one identical twin ends up gay and the other ends up straight but I don’t see why not. Hormonal reactions vary. But I think what most non-homophobes can agree on is that homosexuality, heterosexuality, gender identity, etc. are not choices. There is no conscious decision to become a heterosexual (at least no heterosexual I have ever met sat down to weigh the pros and cons of being attracted to the opposite sex) just as there is no conscious decision regarding fetishes and other sexual desires (again, no one I know has ever sat down and thought “Hmmm… I think maybe I will be sexually stimulated by feet from now on”). Why people can accept so many other things as being decided when we are in the womb (hair color, eye color, skin color, temperament, etc. but not sexuality and gender identity … is just beyond me. People just want to hate.

23. Teen Atheist - October 3, 2007

Thanks for the info, Nicest Girl! It explains a lot.

Why people can accept so many other things as being decided when we are in the womb (hair color, eye color, skin color, temperament, etc. but not sexuality and gender identity … is just beyond me. People just want to hate.

Yes, it’s so sad. And it’s even worse when it comes from someone who proclaims himself as a “freethinker.”

24. sluggabohn - October 4, 2007

I don’t care if someone is gay or bi or whatever, but I do dog them out for it. It’s not a prejudice thing, I just dog my friends whether they are gay, straight, black, white, fat, short, or whatever.
I had a really good gay friend named Mikey in Houston (I say “had” because I moved and I rarely stay in touch once move) and I called him nancyboy. He called me closeted and self-hater–didn’t bother me. We loved each other (platonically).
My xtian friends tell me i’m on a one-way train to hell, I tell them they are wasteing their lives.
I like being brutally honest, I like when people are brutally honest with me. It keeps me strong and keeps me from taking myself too seriously.
I think people get offended too easily. Life is too short to let other peoples opinions affect us. Who cares if I call them a fag? Am I so important that my words mean that much to you?
Of course, if words turn into actions we are entering a whole new discussion.

25. Teen Atheist - October 4, 2007

I think I understand what you mean, sluggabohn, and I agree that people shouldn’t get so PC all the time, but that’s not what I was writing about at all. I was arguing about Fred’s prejudice and homophobia, because if there’s anything worse than a homophobe, it’s a homophobe who won’t even admit he is one.

Still, with regards to how you see things, there is a difference between being “brutally honest” or facetious and being disrespectful, and I hope you haven’t crossed that line. It would be great if everybody were as tough-skinned as you are, but people do have feelings and they can get hurt. In any case, this GLAAD PSA says it better than I can.

26. Luke - October 10, 2007

1. Yes, and as pointed out above, a bigot too.
2. No.
3. Both. There are BILLIONS of potential genetic defects. Why can’t homosexuality be one of them? And yes, some people can choose to be gay: They’re called bisexuals.
4. No. When you own a business, and keep 7.8% of staff gays at all times, THEN you’re practicing affirmative action.
5. I never experienced anything that I would consider traumatic, yet I’m gay. But even if there was some traumatic experience that caused it, how would that be a *choice*? Because I’m weak? And how does a person choose to be weak? I fail to see where *choice* even comes into the equation.

I think you need to ask Fred if hermaphrodites are such by choice. Last I checked, hermaphrodititism is not inherited genetically, yet it exists. Can a hermaphrodite wake up one day, and by sheer power of mind, choose to make the penis just suddenly fall off? I wouldn’t think so, unless he/she has a knife in his/her hand. Of course, this is COMPLETELY overlooking the possibility of it being gay as a recessive trait, like colorblindness. But then, maybe colorblind people are just too weak to control themselves and make themselves want see red and green properly. You’ll have to ask Fred if colorblindness is just an excuse to run red lights.

Quote:
“Rational = continues survival of human species. Homosexuality does nothing for humankind.”

Does he have suicidal tendencies, or does Fred hate all music and Hollywood movies too? Does he hate professional sports? Does he want to destroy all art museums and burn down every last opera house? Do he want to smash every stained glass window and replace them with clear ones? Does he hate condoms and any form of sex that doesn’t end in pregnancy? (Oh, wait… He’s Catholic. Never mind…) Maybe he should consider joining an Amish community.

27. Teen Atheist - October 10, 2007

Thank you, Luke, and more power to you! 🙂

But even if there was some traumatic experience that caused it, how would that be a *choice*? Because I’m weak? And how does a person choose to be weak? I fail to see where *choice* even comes into the equation.

Exactly. And even if homosexuality *were* a choice (like bisexuals, situational gays, or gay-for-pay), I still don’t think it’s a sin, which is why I hate that gay people get so much flak for simply being who they are.

Does he have suicidal tendencies, or does Fred hate all music and Hollywood movies too?

Good question! Fred actually does have suicidal tendencies. XD He’s suffering from clinical depression…among other things. He likes music and movies, though — pretty much all his notions of romance have been taken from what he sees in the movies.

Does he hate condoms and any form of sex that doesn’t end in pregnancy? (Oh, wait… He’s Catholic. Never mind…)

Hee. Obviously, he does hate that, but as I mentioned before, the most disturbing part about this is that he doesn’t even consider himself Catholic (he says he’s an “agnostic theist”), and he even wants to “promote tolerance” among Catholics. Fucking hilarious, I know.

28. Luke - October 11, 2007

Quote:
“Hee. Obviously, he does hate that, but as I mentioned before, the most disturbing part about this is that he doesn’t even consider himself Catholic (he says he’s an “agnostic theist”), and he even wants to “promote tolerance” among Catholics. Fucking hilarious, I know.”

I’d be interested to know where all this tolerance is when it comes to homosexuality. Do you mean he is trying to demonstrate tolerance towards Catholics, or trying to get Catholics to become more tolerant of others?

If you’re interested, I posted a vid on YouTube a while back. Here’s the URL: http://youtube.com/watch?v=VswaFchJy5g

29. Luke - October 11, 2007

Oh, yeah. I just remembered something. Something that really cemented my atheism toward Christianity was a website called “outreachjudaism.org”. You can go to outreachjudaism.org/biblical.html to hear some excellent audio lectures. These Jews do as good of a job debunking Christianity as any atheist could, and they have one primary advantage: They do it from the inside out. Thought you might find it helpful.

30. Teen Atheist - October 11, 2007

I’d be interested to know where all this tolerance is when it comes to homosexuality. Do you mean he is trying to demonstrate tolerance towards Catholics, or trying to get Catholics to become more tolerant of others?

The latter. He told me that he was also trying to prove that not all Catholics were intolerant. Obviously, he failed. XD

31. Ole Wolf - October 23, 2007

No, no, no. Christianity is extremely tolerant of homosexuality! Just think of all that rampant homoeroticism you find in any male Christian’s profession of his love in Jesus. Just read my own testimony. 😉

32. Teen Atheist - October 23, 2007

Ole Wolf, that was…mildly disturbing. XD

I know I’ve seen that stained glass window before! It was on Six Feet Under, wasn’t it?

33. No two ways about it « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - October 25, 2007

[…] action, atheism, debate, Fred, homosexuality, LGBT, religion trackback Fred finally got to read the post I wrote about his homophobia, and as expected, he didn’t like what I had to say. He confronted me, demanding an […]

34. Stephen R - October 31, 2007

Is Fred a homophobe?
A homophobe is someone who is so afraid of homosexuals that they would change their life to avoid homosexuals. Fred is not a homophobe. He just doesn’t like the idea of men and men or woman and women practicing intimacy with each other.

Are you agreeable to the invention of a “politically correct” term for homophobia (e.g. “heteropreferential”)? There’s a difference between phobia and mere preferences. A homophobic is obviously going to prefer heteros to the extent that…you know the rest. A heteropreferer by definition of its parts is someone who would rather hang out with a hetero person. So the term homoprefering is disrespectful and is certainly not something for use when someone is friends with a homosexual.

Is homosexuality congenital or conditional? Well Fred has a good point when he refutes the ‘genetic’ argument. There’s as much chance of there being a homo-gene as there is of being a god-gene. I think it’s conditional in this sense. People are becoming more friendly with each other. It’s happening more as mystical religious zeal wanes. Hahaha, it’s all connected. People like putting others into boxes. We’re all human with human traits and I’ll explain what I’m trying to get at, at the bottom of this post.

Would you call what I just did “affirmative action”?
Affirmative action for demanding equality would be giving preferential treatment to some group just because they were discriminated. Affirmative action has included making employers hire women despite that group of women who could be hired being incompetent compared to the group of men who could be hired. It has included hate crimes, making phrases or actions, those against some group, taboo. Speaking out against discrimination is not affirmative action. Speaking out against eHarmony, for instance, for booting homosexuals from their program, is not affirmative action either. It may increase the fervor of setting in hate crime laws but it’s not yet affirmative action. The laws themselves would be affirmative action.

[Optional] If you’re wondering what’s up with the title of this post, I’m looking for a gay reader to help me debunk Fred’s theory that all gay people are gay because they’ve experienced something traumatic. So if you’re a gay person with a relatively happy and normal upbringing, please let me know you exist!
My brother has had homosexual encounters and he’s grown up in an excellent Christian family. I’m having trouble with my sexuality. I’m confused, and it seems I want to put myself in a box(a concept in society that I hate). This is why I say it’s conditional. Again, see below.

My opinion on homosexuality is like that of marriage. It’s just friendship. Everything is about trust, even corporations. A ‘corporate trust’ is about loving(in the sense of an emotionless thing) each other in that they trust each other, maybe to the point of merging. And it’s really the owners behind the corporations of course since corporations are intrinsically emotionless, not having a brain. But you see my point. Put this in human relationships now. A ‘human trust’ is about loving(in the sense of an emotion-full thing) each other in that they trust each other, maybe to the point of merging ;).
It’s the degree of love that counts. We consider friends to be of a mostly mental-loving capacity and of a slight physical-loving capacity. And onwards to boyfriend/girlfriend, and then husband/wife. These are artifical declarations. People tend towards these capacities when they are defined, instead of the default-state of increasing physical loving capacity when mental loving increases. With the scorning of polygamy comes a point where physical loving is capped, despite the increases in mental loving. I hope you see what I mean. With the scorning of homosexuality comes a point where physical loving is capped even less for those of the same sex, despite increases in mental loving. This is all society pseudo-making decisions for people. In conclusion, it’s congenital that humans come to love other humans in their life. Society loves making caps and boxes though.

35. Stephen R - October 31, 2007

Mistake:

Are you agreeable to the invention of a “politically correct” term for homophobia (e.g. “heteropreferential”)? There’s a difference between phobia and mere preferences. A homophobic is obviously going to prefer heteros to the extent that…you know the rest. A heteropreferer by definition of its parts is someone who would rather hang out with a hetero person. So the term homoprefering is disrespectful and is certainly not something for use when someone is friends with a homosexual.

Fix:
Are you agreeable to the invention of a “politically correct” term for homophobia (e.g. “heteropreferential”)?
Heteropreferential is disrespectful to homosexuals if it’s pointing a negative statement at a group. When it comes to an intimate relationship, I guess it’s an OK term. It’s talking about oneself, and maybe implying other things. Like currently, I prefer banging girls over banging guys. I’m not saying that I don’t like the idea of guys ganging guys. It’s not targetted at someone. Apparently Fred is implying that he is pointing some negative statement at a group by saying ‘heteropreferential’.

36. Hugo - November 20, 2007

I’ve pondered telling straight people to imagine they’re forced into homosexual relationships and not allowed to do the heterosexual thing. A “put yourself in their shoes” idea. (Note to self: blog about this before Christmas.)

Now my response to this question is not a rational scientific argument, it’s more stand-up comedy material, maybe:

Fred: “If homosexuality were genetic, how would that set of genes be more rampant now more than ever? After 40,000 years of eliminating those unable to reproduce?”

I’ve pondered if we might not be able to place some blame on homophobia, as it forces homosexuals into heterosexual marriages, with societal pressure forcing them to have children purely to “prove they’re normal”… I suggest genetic selection has lately been driven by memes much more than by genes.

37. Xixen - December 14, 2007

Even from a purely semantic point of view, Fred is very, very wrong; and would do well to brush up on his etymologies. The word homophobe comes from the ancient greek homo – same – and phobos – fear or hate. You don’t have to fear something to be phobic of it, you can dislike/hate it as well.

38. Texmez - January 30, 2008

I’m late, but could I interject one one small note (seeing as everything else is pretty much covered 🙂 )

“And yes, some people can choose to be gay: They’re called bisexuals.” and some comments afterwards..

People seem to have a habit of fencing of bisexuals into the category of either being in the closet, or giant hoe-bags. I’m bi-sexual. I always have been. I grew up in a family that would readily accept me if I WAS gay, and I see nothing wrong with the gay community – I actually adore it really. I have no reason to closet myself, and I’m certainly no hoe-bag – I’m quite sexually passive really. As a teenager I had to come to terms with the fact that I was attracted to both sexes at the same time. My feelings for a person, as with ALL people, is not a matter of choice – we cannot control who we are attracted to. When I develop feelings, (and act on them) for another woman, I am no more in the realm of choice than a gay person is.

As for the nature vs nurture arguments towards homosexuality, I think it is much more complicated than that. There seems to be very complex happenings involved in our personal attractions. All I know is that when I’m attracted to someone, whether male or female, they smell incredibly amazing to me all of a sudden. Pheromones seem to have a huge influence on myself. It’s all very complicated and fascinating… but as it has been said, there is nothing wrong with same gender attractions, so maybe it doesn’t matter all that much exactly how it happens.

39. Teen Atheist - January 30, 2008

I agree with your sentiments on bisexuals, Texmez, and I do sympathize. I actually think that you guys have it harder than gay people because you’re subject to harsh generalizations from both sides of the coin.

And yes, the whole debate on what causes same-sex attraction is pretty complex. I’m not necessarily interested in which side is right; I just want to fight for equal rights and treatment for LGBT people.

40. Texmez - January 31, 2008

Bigotry is a tough one to fight. I personally have never understood any of it (which makes me feel pretty lucky). Some people have it so ingrained from their upbringing… However, the world will become a more positive place as bit by bit people like yourself support the community.

I find a good response to “Homosexuality is a choice.” is “and how exactly would you know?”. Because really, no-one can ever completely understand a situation unless they’ve experienced it themselves. They can only be informed, and sometimes people can be informed with the wrong.. well, information.

41. Thpider - January 21, 2009

Are you agreeable to the invention of a “politically correct” term for homophobia (e.g. “heteropreferential”)? That’s like calling gays homosexuals. It means the same thing. I hate politically correct words.
Is homosexuality congenital or conditional? I believe it is a bit of both. Now, this may sound wrong, but as a disclaimer, I am pro-GLBT. Back in the day, people used to think depression, bi-polar, and other such disorders were because someone was week. Now they have found genetic predisposition for it, as well as environmental triggers that may or may not need to be present for the onset of symptoms. In the cases of depression and the like, it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, or a hormonal imbalance in the body. Since this sort of imbalance interfered with people’s lives, they have drugs for it. GLBT are not “disorders” that needs to be treated because, caused by genes or imbalances or not, it doesn’t interfere with living one’s life, nor is it evil because that makes no sense (though the social ramifications may lead to such things as depression, which would be a trigger). That “they’re weak” argument just kinda pisses me off, since my brother used to say that about people with depression (and I’ve had major depression since the second grade).

My interpretation of the Bible and God saying “Don’t lay with a man as you lay with a woman” is more of a “Random sex is bad!” kinda thing. The story of Sodom wasn’t that they were marrying men, it was that they were raping young men. I haven’t gotten to the New Testament, so I don’t know what jesus has to say about all this, but we’ll see when we get there. Untill someone can prove to me why the GLBT lifestyle is evil other than “It’s in the Bible”, I’m gonna keep on supporting them.

Would you call what I just did “affirmative action”? Not necessarily. Affirmative action isn’t something anyone can do, since you don’t have the power to give a minority a job or make a college except them over someone more qualified.

I know this is super late, but I just figured I’d throw in my 2 cents

42. Billigflüge - March 3, 2009

I can totally understand why you started this discussion. I am not gay or something like this and I just wanted to mention that I hate people who discriminate gays.They are like everybody and the only difference is that they are attracted to the same gender.I hate it when parents say that the most terrible situation which could happen to them would be that their children could get gay. The most terrible situation? What if the child is ill? Isn’t it much more terrible?

43. THAPELO - February 10, 2010

hi .im just enquirin about objectives of gays and lesbian. we planning of opening an organisation

44. Caitlin - July 29, 2010

Actually, the gay gene is a mutated gene. I hate Fred.


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