Monday, June 9, 2008

The totalizing gay identity...

The other day I was surprised to discover (against my stereotypes!) that a red-neck town has quite a vibrant (at least on paper) gay community. I picked up the magazine in question and took it home, planning to read it later and blog about it at some point. I was particularly interested in two articles, both dealing with violence against gay community. Talking about a Statistics Canada study based on 2004 figures on violence against GLBT community, the author writes:

The accused [the perpetrator - m.n.] hates and loathes homosexuals so much, he attempts to erase us, destroy us when 'confronted' by one of us (Gay Calgary and Edmonton, April 2008, issue 54)

I' m often reminded that this type of hatred is almost visceral: some people are hated simply because of their sexuality. Logic has little relevance here, since reasoning can be used to support all purposes, as long as everyone accepts the underlying assumptions and values. Even more, in such instances, people come to be defined solely by their sexuality - their whole identity, everything they do or say, is taken as a token of their 'deviant' sexuality. Foucault made a good point - in my view - that the 19th century's medicalization of sexuality transformed homosexuality into a state of mind, a state of being. The reverse of the coin is that the more we push people to identify themselves as homosexuals (this being the marker of their identity), the more they are bound to rally behind the label and to draw strength from it. In the end, I'm afraid we are left with an insurmountable difference: the more you identify with a label, the more the classification principle involved in defining that label becomes 'naturalized'.

One thing which I have a hard time to understand is why some people get so personally offended when they figure out a person is gay. Not to point a finger at anyone, but it is as if they feel they are personally targeted by the other person's sexual orientation. It's true, I've often felt that other people's sexuality was imposing and it made me feel uncomfortable, and weak, but I do not think this is the case in this situation. What people fear is the fact that they could be deemed as 'desirable' by the gay community which, in turn, would make them gay. I find it such as twisted way of thinking!

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