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On Homosexuality, Part 1

June 23, 2013

It is a topic of national interest in today’s world. No, in fact, it is almost a topic of international interest, when scrutinized closely.

I am of course, talking about homosexuality and gay marriage.

Before I elaborate, I will say that the only people I know of who ever inserted homosexuality in a healthy, accepting, and effective way into their society were the Native Americans and the Aboriginals. They called the gay people of their society “Spirits” and it did not carry stigma, but instead some kind of charm. They were special, or I should say are, since some Aboriginals still practice their customs. My knowledge of this custom is not exhaustive, but I know enough to say that it was, and is, a good way of treating homosexuals. Unfortunately, western societies do not handle it quite as well. In fact, we tend not to handle it. We just assume that everyone is straight, and if they are gay, it is just a huge inconvenience, like if someone’s left-handed and you only design desks to be sat in by a right-handed person. Gay marriage, however, is not as trite as a desk, and I am sure you know that.

Herein lies the problem. Gay people are stigmatized, and as far as I can tell, they have been for at least as long as marriage has been an institution, at most since the dawn of the human race itself. It was just recently, really, that gay people began to speak out against their persecution, and try to get a better foothold in society so as at least to be secure. Religious pundits will cry out in vitriolic diatribe that homosexuals have unnatural desires, that they are sinful, and that they should burn in hell, without any kind of compunction to acquiesce understanding of the estranged people. In fact, the low margin of people who respond in anger toward the gay movement are primarily using religion as a subtext to their claims. It is God who hates homosexuals, they say. But why is this? What makes heterosexuality so much better, and the “Right Way” if not the “Only Way?” Well, the theory that AIDS is contracted more often by homosexual intercourse may be the only suitable reason. But that is just a theory, in spite of how many conservatives want it to be certain so they can live at peace in their ivory towers constructed by a multifaceted deity who adheres to whatever they want him to (perhaps not what a real Supreme Being might impose). They are using what psychologists call confirmation bias, I might put forth. God says it’s wrong (in six passages in a Holy Book written by Men), there comes forth a reason why it’s wrong, which has not been proven, and they jump on it. So there is no real reason why heterosexual intercourse might be the “right” or “only” way to attain sexual satisfaction, at least until we figure out a clear reason why the Bible says it’s wrong.

Until we come to the dawn of the human race, and here is where I might surprise my readers by giving the Christian Conservatives the benefit of a doubt. Some of the earliest religious sculptures and texts have to do with sex. That is because fertility was important, and passing on to the next generation was equally as important. One might argue from an evolutionary perspective that some people wanted to reproduce so as to ensure that their offspring – their offspring, and not the people next door, would inherit the world. Their traits, experiences, thoughts, and ideologies must be passed on, and that’s why reproduction is so important, and that is why homosexuality is – theoretically – wrong, because it rejects the fundamental mission of the human race, and indeed all species, which is to procreate, and replaces it with “wasting seed” (to be overly archaic) and cutting one’s reproductive lifeline. The first god for the human race was a penis, and the first altar a vagina.

This does not justify treating homosexuals like, if you excuse my french, shit, does it? No. Not by any means. And as some of you know from this post, I am a bisexual myself. I will get into the nitty-gritty of analyzing myself in future posts, but as a bisexual, I am always on the side of gay people and lesbians, since I have some affinity with that community. However, there does not appear to be a clear black-and-white answer to “is homosexual intercourse right or wrong?” There was a study done a while ago looking at homosexual couples which concluded that many of them garner people who develop depression. This is a potential problem as well, but I will look at that later.

Right now I want to look closely at ancient ways to handle sexuality, continuing with my above illustration. The first ancient text I want to look at is, interestingly, The Epic of Gilgamesh. In terms of age, it doesn’t get much older than this. I will delve right into the story: There is a man, named Enkiddu, who was fashioned from clay by the gods, who was meant to match Gilgamesh, the most proud and vainglorious king around. Naturally, Enkiddu was wild and savage, since he had no parents. So the gods sent a temple prostitute to have sex with him to “civilize” him before his duel with Gilgamesh.

This is where I got lost in reading this book. Why would sex “civilize” someone? Is not sex something uncivilized, as mercenary as stealing? In church they label it as a carnal thing that usually destroys and sometimes helps. But here it is painted as a tool to make someone civil. In one translation, the temple prostitute “tamed” Enkiddu with sex. It is interesting to take this in perspective, and see how far we’ve come, or more accurately, where we’ve come from. Here is the question of the day: Can homosexual intercourse “tame” a man? Likewise, is homosexual intercourse for a woman a thing that enables her to “tame” the other party?

That said, there is always room for healthy, long-lasting relationships between two men or two women. Gilgamesh and Enkiddu, in fact, harbored one. Once Enkiddu died, Gilgamesh was alone, and dreaded death so much that he sought immortality. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” as it reads in Proverbs – such was Enkiddu for Gilgamesh. Perhaps there are some people who need same-sex partners more than others? Perhaps these people feel sexual desire towards these potential partners? But perhaps this is just an obstacle, and the real relationship belies doing things together and “sticking closer than a brother” than actual sexual intercourse. There is a plethora of other stories in ancient literature illustrating these relationships – and their benefits. Take David and Jonathan, for example, or Achilles and Patroclus. David said that Jonathan’s love was “sweeter than a woman’s,” and Achilles went on a murderous rampage when the enemy camp killed Patroclus (not a benefit, but exemplary of his love).

Our society has strayed far from its roots of close friendships, and has undervalued them to say the least. Homosexual relationships are not as important for gay people as much as homogenous relationships – perhaps like the Friendships of Old. It would benefit to forget for a moment that these relationships were “straight” relationships. There is no boundary setting whether a relationship is “straight” or “gay” except whether you take it to bed, in reality. If we are able to see that, perhaps it would make us all a little less uptight. Maybe thinning the line between “gay” and “straight” relationships would make it easier on homosexuals, and maybe even end the whole fiasco of “being a homosexual” or “being a heterosexual” altogether. That’s right: We are all bisexuals.

More on this continued in Part 2.

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