Sunday, August 21, 2011

Des Downunder On Sundays

By Desmond Rutherford | ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA -- The Right to Live
The concept that LGBTQ rights are human rights is being denied by the extremist right, whose members are increasingly vicious, vociferous and voracious in their denouncements, creatively designed to appear to be in defense of what is nothing more than their own religious zealotry.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that too much reliance on the gay gene being the sole cause for being gay is perhaps obscuring the affirmation of the rights of all human sexuality.
This is particularly so when the natural tendency of pubescent youth to explore sexuality with same gender partners is considered. Even many opponents to homosexuality admit this is natural behaviour. The contention that such activity might be used to 'recruit' straight people into what is called the 'gay lifestyle' is of course unfounded and exposed as being false by the fact that most go on to heterosexual relationships. The same gender experience not only gives them a greater appreciation of the workings of their own bodies, but also provides them with insight into the giving and receiving of pleasure as being greater than either one alone. The bond so formed is not just one of thanks, respect and relief, but also of truthful affection, and even love, in both the physical and emotional senses.
Setting aside the religious taboos on same gender relationships for a moment, there is a need to look at the idea of preference being involved in one's sexuality. It is very important to here state that there can be no doubt of the conviction or the truth of those who feel they are born with their sexual orientation already determined, but this is often incorrectly referred to as a preference, where no choice has in fact been made. Preference implies that a choice has been made and if one has not sampled the alternatives then choice cannot be made, and preference is not possible, even though the nature of the attraction is inherently understood to be what it naturally is.
Think of having a choice between lamb chops or steak. If you have not tried both dishes you don't have a preference. You may know you like one of them, but you cannot say you prefer it because you haven't tried the other. You actually have to take a bite from each to know if you prefer one over the other. Only when you have tried both the chop and the steak can you logically state you prefer one over the other.
Now this is not a plea for anyone who is LGBTQ or straight to try all the alternatives. You don't have to have a preference, or try out the whole menu, to know whether you are a meat-eater or a vegetarian. What you do have is the right to knowing that you have no need or interest in trying out the alternatives; you already know what you find attractive, and it is not up for debate. This is your right.
However, the opponents to having homosexuality regarded as a natural attribute and being intrinsic to the human condition, argue that choosing to be straight is possible, through a variety of therapies, many of which are based on the concept that exposing the individual to a heterosexual experience will effect a change. This, they claim will enable the gay person to have a preference for heterosexual relationships. Alternatively, and often additionally, such therapies include a religious component to convince the gay person that they oppose God's law by living what they call a 'gay lifestyle.' Those therapies have been shown to do significant harm because they cause a conflict between the person's innate gender identity and the pressure to believe that a choice or preference is desirable and possible.
Preference is not the issue, being who you are, is. Having the right to be who you are, is. Being free to be, to know who you are is indeed an inalienable, intrinsic human right.
Many people do not want to choose from the alternatives because they feel they already know their sexuality, know what they want, not from preference, but from simply knowing all their lives or having realised, and awakened to who they are; what their sexual attractions are. Sadly, our most recent cultures have been built upon an assumption that opposite sexual attractions are the only natural ones, thus the only ones that should be acceptable.
This is where the religions get into the act when they deny individuals their right to examine who they are, based solely on their interpretation of the religion's wholly illogical scriptures. If they would just accept the diversity of the human species, then such religions would stand a better chance of attracting people who worship love, peace and harmony, here and now on Earth.
In addition there are those who proclaim homosexuality is not natural, or not part of “the laws of nature's God,” as one zealot recently, illogically stated. But if this were to be so then someone better tell all the other species that practice it, not as an aberration, but because the laws of natural selection tend to not interfere with beneficial attributes. This might also be the opportune moment to mention the diversity of people who are bi-sexual, or transgendered, or of two spirits, or simply being transitional which might be for a day or for life.
There may or may not be a gene in play when it comes to orientation. Human nature does not need a sexual identity gene to be inquisitive, or to sample a variety of relationships available in the bedroom.
It is quite conceivable (pun noticed) that two straight partners may choose to live together even though one of them has had a child with an opposite sex person. They have made that choice. People who are attracted to their own sex may on the other hand, settle into an opposite sex relationship because they have deep affection for each other. Again, they have made a choice, and it is their right to have done so. Historically, those civilisations which accepted diversity of relationships, including same gender relationships, had the same or slightly higher birth-rates than societies which had established limitations on sexual freedoms.
Our transitioning cultures are not necessarily a rejection of religion, are a refusal of being told how to live our lives, our very personal, private sexual lives; a movement away from a period of denying the right to freely be who we are. Religions must recognise that individuals have the right to live their lives without being made to feel guilt and shame for the natural expression of their sexuality. Sex is not a sin. Abstinence is probably a crime against nature, and it most certainly is not natural.
Whatever way the force behind the cosmos is regarded, whether as a god of love, or for non-believers, an affinity of heavenly bodies for each other, there is only one transgression, one sin that is intolerable, and that is, denying the ability of life to express itself fully, by crucifying love on the cross of a creed. Sexuality naturally permeates our world; it is secular even if religions do not sanctify it.
Whether that sexuality is a preference from choice or the acceptance of an innate genetic determination is not really the point. If we are to realise our capacity for experiencing life’s pleasure and diversity, then we must be prepared to acknowledge that our love for each other can be expressed sexually with partners over the age of consent, and that doing so is without any threat to our species, or to those of our cultures which seek to develop the best of our human potentials. It is not even a threat to cultures which don’t agree, as we are not forcing them to adopt changes other than acceptance of our innate sexuality.
This is no aberration or abomination; it is the pursuit of sexual happiness. And that too, is definitely our inalienable right.
There is no wrong here, only the beauty of the affinity we find for each other, in each other, with each other, and which we express as physical, sexual, and emotional love; you can add spiritual, if such is your want. That too is your right.
To those who might think that this is being all very semantic or pedantic about defining preference and choice, let's be clear; to maintain the right of LGBTQ and straight sexual freedoms, our species' charter for this much needed new era of the freedom of sexual expression must not rest solely on a gene that zealots might think can be altered to fit in with their religious lifestyle. That would be grossly immoral. Human rights must not be subordinated to laws of unprovable gods. It is also inconceivable that a god of love could demand such a thing. (Previously indoctrinated zealots and bigots may need intense psychotherapeutic treatment to help them adjust to the reality of the world as it is, and not as they have quite wrongly been led to imagine it.)
Sexual experience is more than just being procreative; perhaps we could state that as: procreation is more than just physical reproduction. It is more than an inalienable human right. It is our purpose to be aware of the universe's love and affinity for its own existence through us. Life, loving life. That could be a description of all loving sexual relationships, including those of same gender.
But we really don't need to label love. Love is what we are, in many different forms, even if some of us don't realise it. The freedom for the sexual expression of our love, rather than its repression, must become part of the foundation of our cultures. It is this love that now dares to demand equal acceptance, and as much as life provides the means to express our love with whomsoever we find, it is love that provides the right to live.


Tim Trent said...

Ah, sundays. The days of christianity and conversion where the scary preachers and ungodly god botherers abound.

I run a survey for heterosexual men to answer in mt own blog's sidebar where I as them if they have ever been attracted to another boy. In the answers, 44% say they were attracted to other boys, and the attraction went away. It isn;t about whether they;ve had a quick experience, it's about actual sexual attraction.

I also get more than annoyed when people talk about sexual preferences when trying to make the religious or pseudo moral point against other decent human beings.

Not sure I've actually commented on your article, though :)

Desmond Rutherford said...

I agree that it isn't about actual 'quick' experiences; that is correct. It is about attraction, but how many more would be attracted, and how many more would act on that attraction if our cultures recognised freedom of sexual expression, instead of on myth based repressions? A lot more than 44% I would think, and I would consider that to be a step in the correct direction for our human development.

As for the God botherers, Sundays are ours too, and we don't ask for payment.

Your comment is much appreciated.

Tim Trent said...

The 44% is interesting. Obviously the survey is imperfect in that it has no scientific basis, it is just those who choose to respond. And I can;t filter for idiots! I'm assuming a 10 percentage point margin for error based around the (currently) 44%, so the real answer is somewhere between 39% and 49%.

Acting on the attraction is difficult to quantify.

Bear in mind this survey does not include homosexual men. It depends on opportunity more than anything else.

For example, if you are deeply attracted to a current boy (as a boy yourself, I mean), a Cody Simpson or a Ronan Parke then your opportunity to act is limited by the fact that you don;t know them! If you're attracted to Fred Smith, a local boy you know well, it's only going to happen if Fred is attracted to you.