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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why so Proud?

The gay community in Israel is up in arms. Ten days ago, an man entered a gay centre in Tel Aviv and started shooting, killing two people. Although the man has not been apprehended or identified yet, the killing has been labelled by the gay community as a “hate crime”. The Prime Minister paid a visit, the Knesset held a special session, a support rally took place (in Tel Aviv, where else) and the media is all over the subject. Both declared gays and closeted gays have appeared on the media philosophising about whether gays should come out or not and other such fascinating subjects.

Let’s assume, for the sake of the discussion, that this was indeed a “hate crime”. I fail to comprehend the current debate. Hate crimes take place every day: Palestinians kill Jews because they hate them; husbands kill their wives or children because they hate them; drivers kill each other because they hate the way they drive. Yet you don’t see these victims holding endless debates about how proud they are to be Jewish or female or a child or a driver. The media doesn’t go bananas over the identity issues of these victims. Why is it so with gays?

And while we’re at it, can someone explain to me the whole “gay pride” notion? I understand these people have certain sexual tendencies. I respect that and wish them all the best in bed. But I don’t parade up and down the street proclaiming how proud I am to have a fetish for [deleted] and for doing [deleted] with my wife. Why is it that gays have a need to tell the whole world – time and time again – what their sexual preferences are?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reason that gays (as well as MANY other oppressed minority groups...African Americans, for example) hold pride events is because it is one of the few chances they have to celebrate who they are. It's not so much a celebration of sexual tendencies, per se - it's more like a celebration of finally being able to accept one's own identity.

You may not realize it, but heterosexuality is constantly celebrated and promoted in mainstream culture. Every Disney movie, every steamy paperback romance, all the movies and TV shows that revolve around heterosexual love and all the princess + prince fairy tale we read - they all celebrate heterosexuality. They pound into our heads that heterosexual love is beautiful, idealistic and desirable. Heterosexuality is so constantly celebrated that we don't realize the extent of it. It's normalized, therefore we don't even notice.

On the other hand, the gay community doesn't expect much celebration. People hate them, use their name as a curse and insult, blame them for natural disasters and disparage them on religious grounds. If you live in a progressive place it is sometimes easy to forget that homosexuality is still considering disgusting, unnatural and mentally perverted by a good majority of the world. Most homosexuals experience exactly the opposite of pride - shame.

So that's why the gay community holds celebrations for itself: if they don't acknowledge, embrace and celebrate their identities, who else is going to? Religious, racial and sexual minorities cannot win respect and acceptance from the mainstream until they start respecting, accepting, and taking pride in themselves!

Sharvul said...

Anonymous,

For the sake of the discussion, let's take your argument and see if it works for another minority group.

For a couple of thousand years, Jews have been an oppressed minority group. The majority hated, cursed and insulted them, blamed them for natural disasters and disparaged them on religious grounds (big time). And yet you didn't see Jews holding pride events or struggling with acceptance of their own identity. Even in modern times, when they are free to do so without fear of persecution, you don't often hear of annual "Jewish Pride" parades.

Instead, they practice their beliefs in private whilst maintaining a "normal" life with their surroundings. This doesn't impact their sense of identity and it doesn't make them feel shame. Quite the contrary.

We could apply your logic to other "oppressed minority groups", but I think the point is clear. If gays are so keen on flaunting their sexual preferences on every occasion, the reason must lie elsewhere, not in them being an oppressed minority group.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond! Let's see here -

"For the sake of the discussion, let's take your argument and see if it works for another minority group."

It works for many other minority groups. As I noted in my first post, it is common for many other minorities to have celebration/pride events. They're not all exactly the same, of course - some hold parades, others monthly celebrations and fundraisers, etc. I most regularly see pride events for the following groups: LGBT individuals, African Americans, Latino Americans ("La Raza" etc), Chinese Americans, the religious Sikh minority and the religious Hindu minority. These particular groups are specific to where I live so your experience may vary. However, I'd be surprised if you saw none of these - they're quite common where I am!

"...you didn't see Jews holding pride events or struggling with acceptance of their own identity. Even in modern times, when they are free to do so without fear of persecution, you don't often hear of annual "Jewish Pride" parades."

Well, it's just as you say - "they are free to do so without fear of persecution." That's the point! Gay individuals feel the need to have pride events because they often CANNOT express their identity in other ways without fear of persecution. When being gay is as normalized as being Jewish is (at least in many parts of the world), the LGBT movement will probably move on to other causes and types of celebrations.

"Instead, they practice their beliefs in private whilst maintaining a 'normal' life with their surroundings. This doesn't impact their sense of identity and it doesn't make them feel shame."

It would be rather hard, though, for a gay person to keep their sexuality "private" considering the vast importance that our society places on dating, chatting about romance, planning weddings, taking your spouse out to dinners and events, and beginning a family. To what extent should gays keep such an integral part of their lives "private" for the comfort of other people's sensabilities?

"We could apply your logic to other "oppressed minority groups", but I think the point is clear. If gays are so keen on flaunting their sexual preferences on every occasion, the reason must lie elsewhere, not in them being an oppressed minority group."

What is your hypothesis for the "reason that lies elsewhere?" Just curious. And I would disagree with your assertion that gays are keen to flaunt their sexual preferences on every occasion. While some gay individuals do attend big and celebratory annual events, if others "keenly flaunted their sexuality," they'd be spit on, shunned, disowned by their families, fired if they were members of the American military....some of them might even be beaten or killed, depending on where they live. Many, many LGBT individuals keep their identities hidden at all costs out of fear, shame and confusion.

Besides, if gays are keen to flaunt their sexuality, just imagine what we could say about to straight people! Straight people are always making out in TV and movies, teaching children how heterosexuality is wonderful, always holding hands and making showy displays of affection. Heterosexuals even have whole magazines, advice columns and TV shows devoted to their wedding, sex and dating problems! Talk about keen to flaunt your sexuality!

Have you ever attended a pride parade? They have a reputation for raunchiness -and many were, years ago - but have since toned down. The ones I've attended have been quite fun, with many LGBT families bringing their children to walk in the parade, along with floats, musical performances, face painting, cheerleading routines, celebrities and circus performers! It really is fun and not full of half-naked old men running around in chaps like it is sometimes portrayed! By the way, just to clarify, I am not a LGBT individual but I am an ally.

Sharvul said...

Anonymous,

I'm not surprised you see many pride events. I assume you live in the US, where moral relativism has long ago distorted all common sense and values, prompting people to express their "pride" where none is due or even needed.

In fact, if I may say so, most of your commments are tainted by the same "philosophy". Straight relationships are the norm, have been and will be. Both both from a religious/ethical perspective and from a societal perspective. So I can't possibly say anything sensible against the argument that because straight couples "flaunt" their relationships in public, gays should do the same and have the same rights. Perhaps sadists and pedophiles too should start holding pride events demanding that their sexual preferences will be considered as legitimate as normal ones?

As for your question about where the reason for all this extravaganza comes from - I have no idea. I believe that was the gist of my post: I am bewildered at the constant need of gays to keep telling the rest of us who they are and what they prefer to do in bed.

Anonymous said...

Sharvul - thanks for your response! I can see we are two people of different minds and backgrounds so we may not come to agreement on this. However, I will still responded as I am interested in continuing our conversation!

"I'm not surprised you see many pride events. I assume you live in the US, where moral relativism has long ago distorted all common sense and values, prompting people to express their "pride" where none is due or even needed."

I do live in the U.S.! However, I think you're being rather judgmental. These pride events and festivals are a wonderful part of our culture, and they reflect how in this area people cherish dual identities of being American while still celebrating their traditionally non-American religion, heritage or culture. Walking through the street vendors and buying noodles at the annual Chinese festivals...going to Persian and Hindu dance performances and watching LGBT parents carry their kids proudly on their shoulders...these things do not show lack of value or culture, they show strength.

"Straight relationships are the norm, have been and will be. Both both from a religious/ethical perspective and from a societal perspective. So I can't possibly say anything sensible against the argument that because straight couples "flaunt" their relationships in public, gays should do the same and have the same rights."

But if we apply this to religious or racial minorities, how does this argument make sense? In the U.S., Jews are the minority, always have been and always will be, so why should they be allowed to display religious affiliation or have the same rights as the Christian majority do? Same with African Americans - always the minority, and always will be. Why should they have the same rights or acceptance as the Caucasian majority?

"Perhaps sadists and pedophiles too should start holding pride events demanding that their sexual preferences will be considered as legitimate as normal ones?"

If you believe that homosexuality is equatable with sadism and pedophilia, I fear we may have no common ground to stand on. I believe nothing is farther from the truth, and that to even make the comparison is insulting.

"As for your question about where the reason for all this extravaganza comes from - I have no idea. I believe that was the gist of my post: I am bewildered at the constant need of gays to keep telling the rest of us who they are and what they prefer to do in bed."

Perhaps it is because they feel the need to do so - to remind us that they are here, they will make noise - until they get equal treatment under the law and more tolerant treatment from society. When an oppressed minority feels it is struggling for its rights, it protests, rallies, lashes out - like African Americans in the 1960's holding marches and sit-ins. You may ask, why do these gays keep making such a racket? But like the Civil Rights movement, they feel they are being denied a right or a set of rights, and they must somehow gain publicity and take action to correct it.

DS said...

Sharvul...

This was a very interesting discussion up until equating gays with pedophiles.
Unfortunately you confuse sexual orientation with sexual deviation. It is well known that there is a heterosexual- homosexual continuum in sexuality - and homosexuality is just one end of it. However, pedophiles are considered sexual deviants due to sexual abuse of minors. There may be open-minded people that see sadism in more acceptable terms - as long as the "abuse" is left out.

Homosexuality is not considered abnormal just because it is not the majority in the same way that red-heads are not considered abnormal just because there are less of them.
I am not sure that all homosexuals "flaunt" their sexual preferences as you suggest. Perhaps they just annoy you too much? Perhaps you are a closeted homophobe?

Sharvul said...

DS,

One needs to care enough to be phobic about something or someone. Frankly, I don't really think or care that much about gays. Were it not for the exaggerated media attention after what happened in Tel Aviv, I would have continued living in my serene obliviousness.

And I did not equate gays with pedophiles. It was a reductio ad absurdum argument.