Righty: Homosexuality is an abomination unto God; the Bible tells us so, and the Bible is the ultimate authority. Gay people commit beastly sins of the flesh, and for the most part they look and act like freaks. Real men don’t worship Liza Minnelli, talk with their wrists or gush about exquisite drapes. Real women don’t look like truckers. Gays lead an unnatural, abhorrent way of life, but we still love them and would accept them if they changed their wicked ways. All they need is Jesus and a little forced deprogramming. But until then, let’s keep them away from our children and in the closet where they belong.
Lefty: They’re here, they’re queer… get used to it! Gay people were born that way; they have no choice in deciding their sexual orientation. Discriminating against them in any form is no different from racism. Homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality: you see gay dogs, birds and sheep. Gays have a right to marry each other and raise children; in fact, they generally make more enlightened parents than the average obtuse breeder couple. Gay people have shaped our theater, music, art and aesthetics; without them our cities would be dull, dull, dull! We should celebrate their lifestyle, welcome their gay pride parades and organizations, and encourage our own children to explore their sexuality. How about ballet lessons for your son, Righty?
The New Moderate:
Gay people deserve to be treated as the first-class citizens they clearly are, without derision or prejudice. It must have been intolerable, in a less sensitive age, for gays to put up with all the withering innuendoes cast in their direction. How did they listen to the snide aspersions, the pansy and fairy jokes, without going psycho?
Still, The New Moderate must dispute a few of their claims. Is homosexuality natural? Sure, but so is color-blindness. So is malaria. The naturalness of gay sex doesn’t necessarily make it “normal” (i.e., commonplace) or praiseworthy any more than its minority status makes it sinful or perverted. It just is what it is: a departure from mainstream sexual behavior.
The claim that gay people are born gay is a half-truth. Studies of identical twins have shown that if one of the pair is gay, the other twin has roughly a 50% chance of playing for the same team — well above the 5% estimate for the general population, but still open to non-genetic factors (including parental influence and personal choice). Probably Kinsey’s sexual continuum theory remains the most valid: those of us born at one end or the other of the spectrum are essentially captives of innate sexual desires, while those who fall somewhere between the two camps can teeter in either direction (or both).
Yes, homosexual acts have been a fact of life for ages (just ask Socrates), but current scholarship tells us that exclusively gay behavior is a relative novelty. Even Oscar Wilde was married and dutifully sired two children. It might be that the intimate friendships of an earlier era (think of Lincoln and his buddy Joshua Speed) generally provided a “safe” outlet for same-sex passions, and that no further entanglement was required.
Today’s gay and lesbian “cultures” are an intriguing and sometimes puzzling phenomenon. The New Moderate has never understood what liking musicals has to do with liking men, for example. Do men who hunt for antiques need to come clean about their sexuality? I might be a little dense, but I just don’t see how a lust for vintage furniture equates to a lust for studly males.
Take me: I’m a fan of old movies and Art Deco architecture. (You got a problem wid dat?) Does The New Moderate harbor a lavender gene that makes him easy prey for the charms of Una Merkel or the Empire State Building? Nobody can be 100% sure, including me, but my experiences and desires tell me no. In fact, I’d like to see an end to such cultural stereotyping before all the arts become the province, by default, of gay men.
I suspect that because of such stereotyping, most “regular guys” studiously avoid genteel pursuits that used to be enjoyed by heterosexual gentlemen in the past. The trend is comparable to white flight from urban centers, and it’s just as hazardous to our cultural health. Why shouldn’t heterosexual men be able to study art history or confess an affection for operetta without raising eyebrows both gay and straight?
Gays should probably get used to the idea that they will always be a rather exotic minority, at least outside of liberal urban neighborhoods. Extreme gay and lesbian styles and mannerisms can still look outlandish to a lot of straight people and even many gays. The “in your face” approach doesn’t win friends. In fact, gays don’t help their cause by referring to themselves as a “community,” unless they aspire to live in separate gay ghettos. Our culture is already ghettoized enough.
The marriage issue is a thorny one: yes, gays are entitled to sanctified unions and the attendant benefits, but do we dare call them marriages? I don’t see how gay marriage can threaten heterosexual marriage; the decline of religion, the empowering of women, and the white middle-class aversion to procreating have been much more effective in that department. It’s just that marriage between two men or two women still strikes some of us as a little bizarre, a wry parody of traditional domestic life. (Do gays, who for decades have embraced a uniquely stylized bohemian existence, really aspire to life as Ozzie and Harriet?) We’ve only recently come to accept gayness in our midst; it might take a bit longer before most of us get used to the idea of attending a wedding shower for our friend Brad… and referring to Brad’s mate as his “husband” — or worse yet, his “wife.”
Is gay marriage just another example of the decadent silliness of our culture… another depressing milestone for a soft society headed into oblivion? Or is it a legitimate idea that would strengthen the institution of marriage as the ideal estate for all entwined couples? Something tells me that it’s both at once. My instincts oppose gay marriage; my sense of fairness obliges me to support it.
At least gay marriage might eliminate the objectionable use of the word “partner,” which always poses the uncomfortable question of whether the person is a professional or sexual affiliate. For that matter, The New Moderate would like to see the word “gay” restored to its former innocence as a synonym for all that is lighthearted, festive and conducive to joy. What was wrong with “homosexual”?
Summary: Gays deserve acceptance and equal rights, but they can’t expect everyone to embrace their lifestyles or the idea of gay marriage.