This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sheep and Homophobia

In Oregon they are researching ways to turn gay sheep straight...
I guess this line of work, however silly it may seem, has all got impeccable economic "logic" behind it, but quite apart from the frightening Nazi aspect of controlling sexuality, ultimately in humans (and has humanity ever stepped back from knowledge?) it's kind of interesting that the "ban stem cell experiments" brigade has taken no stand against it. I think they'll wait, watch, and use it when the time comes. Science is only bad, to these people, when it's aimed at doing good.
Unfortunately for them, you can't necessarily extrapolate animal trials in humans, so the time might not ever come. But they will try their best, you can bet your sex life.
So, why all the hatred? Why the hatred that made the question of whether to shoot gays or bury them beneath a collapsed wall a vital question for the taliban during their rule in Kabul, for instance? I wonder too. I have several questions and no clear answers to any of them.
Homosexuality is illegal in India...
It's only partially true.
As I've had occasion to state elsewhere, in India male homosexuality, called "sodomy" on the statute books, is a punishable offence (although the law is never enforced, and in Calcutta at least there is now even an annual - albeit minuscule - gay march). Women in India are popularly supposed to be "too pure" to have sexual desire at all, so how on earth could they desire other women? Ergo, lesbianism does not exist in India, and therefore it is not banned.
The ban remains on the books because "Indian society is not ready for it to be lifted." And that is despite the miniature paintings and sculptures of openly gay and lesbian activity in India - just check out the one I've posted. Indian high society girls were actually brought up with poor girls as "sakhis" (a sort of cross between sister, friend, and lesbian lover).  Yeah - Indian society isn't ready, and if it's left to people like these whom we have in power and in the courts, it never will be. But then the ban is never implemented...
Of course, in practice, it's something quite different. Being gay has a bit of cachet in the "high society" world of the party animals and the fashion industry, but even those have little or no tolerance for lesbians. In a village in West Bengal, recently, a young lesbian woman was publicly beaten, stripped and photographed in the nude to prove to all that she was a girl. And at least she escaped with her life. Some of them don't.
I have several gay friends and to a person I found them intelligent and creative. Although it is true that earlier, in North India, I was called a gay myself for associating with gays.
I have often wondered, why most societies (I say most, because certainly it's not all, especially ancient Greek society was most tolerant) are and have been so intolerant of homosexuality? After all, gays never formed more than a tiny minority of any social group. Homosexuality is inborn, hard wired. You can't, with apologies to homophobes, choose to be gay. Gays cannot infect the population and turn so many of them gay that breeding is seriously or even marginally affected - in fact most gays in countries like India have to hide their identity in loveless marriages and produce kids to please their parents....I wonder just how many of my acquaintances are gay that I don't know of? So where does the hatred of gays come from?
In India the media still project gays as shadow personalities (often literally - gays interviewed on TV are more often than not shown pixelated or in silhouette beause they don't dare show their faces) or as caricatured poofters in movies. One look at thosedepictions and I defy any fair minded heterosexual not to be offended.
A beautiful, talented and highly intelligent woman I know (my cousin, in fact) once asked me "Why don't you hate gays?" in tones of horror. In order to avoid an argument (we both argue furiously and say things we regret later but have too much pride to take back) I chose to bite back my instinctive comment: "Do you think gays have a right to hate you? If you think they don't, what makes you think you have a right to hate them?" It would not have made any difference. I can't even explain my own attitude towards gays. I'm all for equal rights for homosexuals, and as I said I have good homosexual friends, but on the two occasions in my life when homosexuals made passes at me I was mortified. It was kind of instinctive. I have not been able to explain this reaction. After all, I could have just turned them down without any of that sort of skin-crawling shrinking feeling, could I not? Am I such a hypocrite?
But as for the rest of it, it's not quite "don't ask, don't tell" for me. Please - if you are homosexual, you have as much right to proclaim it out loud as I have to proclaim my own heterosexuality.
It might be the best thing for your admirers of the opposite sex as well. Let them know what they are getting into.
And peace, brothers and sisters. Love and life to you.  

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