Some remarks on homophobia and homosexuality

Some remarks on homophobia and homosexuality

Junge Linke analyse the question of homosexuality.

1 There is no biological determination for being homo-, bi- or heterosexual. All scientific attempts to prove the biological origins of homosexuality rely on finding statistical correlations between sexual preferences and physical attributes. Bigger earlobes, properties and condition of testicles, features of the brain, DNA sequences etc. cannot count as causalities, even if there were correlations within the group under investigation. That is because in order to prove a cohesion, one has to find not only a formal coherence of phenomena, but one with regards to contents. After all, high quantities of men with white beard and red coats around Christmas Eve do not prove that Santa Clause brings the presents. Human sexuality is a specifically societal thing, therefore it is just wrong to look for purely biological determinants or explanations.1

2 Nature brings with it the material pre-conditions of the human sexuality: a body equipped with nerves, the brain, diverse fluids etc. But it is society that provides the societal conditions – be it the form of political authority with its rules and acts, the prevailing perceptions, expectations and yearnings among people as well as the available knowledge of sexuality including all stimulants, toys or other utilities. The sexuality’s contents and forms however originate from the thinking and feeling of the individual who interprets these (biological) preconditions and (social) requirements.

3 ‘Nature’ appears to be a telling argument to so many people, because their own sexual desires seem to be something not changeable by mere decision. Even if their sexual orientation is changing after all at a point in their lives, they quite commonly think that at that point, they finally have discovered their very own, formerly suppressed and true sexual identity. Modern human beings want to express their true self within and by their sexuality. Here, they also seem to find their identities of being who they really are (not just means of state and capital). Hence, their sexuality and falling in love shall be entirely their own. The long road any civic subject has to take, from birth to developing explicit sexual fantasies and practices, along with a variety of experiences and decisions, thoughts and feelings about desires, objects of desire and habits of the latter, then appears like a long road towards themselves. And all of that is put retrospectively in order to make some sense of it all. When this result is attained, the process is at an end.

4 Sexual inheritance was politically welcomed by the gay movement, because it could be used as an argument against concepts of therapy to reform and to punish gay people. It also came in handy to confront fundamental Christians with the question of why the Lord created gay and lesbian people, if he hates them so much (the notion of sin implicates free will to violate against god’s commandments – if homosexuality was inherited, it cannot be a sin). However, the argument is rather defensive and usually helpless, it is always birdbrained, dangerous and has – if the worse comes to the worst – brute consequences. It is defensive, because gays appear as determined ninnys, who might really be heteros if they only could. In reality, being gay can be fun and does not harm anyone.2 It is helpless, since ideologies have long ago been evolved to reconcile the contradiction of the divine creation and the allegedly natural homosexuality (“particular trial”, “we love homosexuals, but we hate their sinful lifestyle” etc.). A right-wing moralist will not be dissuaded from his hatred of gays by learning about gay penguins. It is birdbrained, because the argument affirms a biologism, which attempts to derive anything from links of amino acids – really anything, from affections to Zionism. Thereby human made affairs are transfigured into inalterable matters of nature. And it has in the last resort brute consequences: If homosexuality is perceived as an evil evoked by nature, this can lead to the conclusion, that all homosexuals and miscellaneous ‘deviators’ need to be annihilated.3

5 Humans make their own sexuality, but they do not make it as they please. They cannot simply undo what happened to them by and without their decision and what they made of their experiences. Psychoanalysis once promised to make visible these mechanisms and thereby enable patients to better handle them. That sounded promising for a lot of gay people who were looking for a ‘cure’ with a psychoanalyst in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Regarding homosexuality, psychoanalysis for decades developed into a form of heteronormative enforcement therapy. Thereby it managed to promote the silliest and most contradictory psychological theories about familial constraints of homosexuality (mothers being too cold, too affectionate, too dominant, too absent – or fathers being too cold, too affectionate, too dominant, too absent). Nowadays, psychologists say ‘multifactorial’ and at least put on record, that they have no idea where the homos actually come from either.

6 But that is no deficit, namely because the question itself is rather stupid. Usually, it is a prelude to pathologisation or persecution and turns gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender into an anomaly demanding an explanation – instead of putting into question the concept of choosing a partner or fuck buddy by his or her primary or secondary sexual characteristics – of all things. Even if a certain character of build, hairiness or possession of a penis or vagina4 can be sexually more or less attractive: a) regarding that question the biological sex is just a matter of likeliness and b) sexual occupation of body attributes is not independent from emotions. For the rest the common idea suggests that love somehow naturally coincides with sexual attraction. But that is not the way it necessarily works.

7 Homo- and heterosexuality are two opposing consequences of the prevalent gender relation, namely the will to fall in love restricted to only one of the two official genders. That is neither logic nor is it a bad thing. Firstly, it means indeed excluding willingly half of the earth’s population to find sexually or amorously interesting. If that was the only consequence of all that sexual identity bullshit, one might just shrug and wonder about the differences of taste the same way one marvels at people who are not into spinach. But the world is not like that: sexual identity is more than a mere consolidated verdict of taste.

8 Still, the question of homo- and heterosexuality makes for a lot of agony and violence. The sexual identity bullshit becomes a material force, as soon as it has gripped the masses – also against those, who do not share it. The heterosexual presupposition is even nowadays alienating homosexuals in modern Western societies and that starts before gays and lesbians get beaten up. Every third teenage suicide is said to be linked to homosexuality. The permanent rejection and exclusion of those who love and fuck ‘differently’, even when meaning no harm or not doing it on purpose, leads to a variety of quirks and oddities. Those are as grim, self-destructive and self-endangering as the darkest excesses of heterosexual sex- and love-life.

9 On top of that, there is all the direct and significant hate and disgust of the non-homosexual world, still widespread outside the glossy brochures of the equal opportunity commissioner. Men and women even in Western states have to fear for their health when labelled “gay” or “lesbian”. Disgust is shown to both. On top of that, lesbians have to deal with the further ignorance by regarding their sexual orientation as a passing phase. Children use the term “gay” for anything somehow daft or not working properly – and it even counts for the worst thing you can say about a male kid.5 But being gay is more than just “daft”. The worst thing about male homosexuality still seems to be that men are being fucked and enjoy it.6 And “getting fucked”, that is, giving up the position of power and becoming an object. Enjoying that means not to be the cool, self-controlled and controlling man. This of course is still the utterly silly male ideal held by most of the male socialised human beings. This ideal is hard to hold on to and demands many sacrifices. The attempt to fulfil it causes a lot of psychological distress. Every person seen to not follow this role model poses a thread. That is why gay men have to experience anything from a stupid chat-up line to being smashed up. This ideal is the meanwhile traditional, but not outdated concept of the successful civic subject of competition7, which is beyond its feelings and lust, linked to the silly idea that the right attitude holds a promise of success. While “lesbian” as an insult is not usually used as a synonym for “crap”, being labelled as a lesbian for instance at school usually isolates a person and is meant to be an insult. In Western countries, holding hands among girls is indeed viewed differently than boys doing the same, but if these “playing girls” become “lesbians” eventually, they will also be confronted with physical violence and a lot of contempt. This contempt is – according to the gender image – connected with the sexist view that lesbian women withdraw from the male’s privilege to treat them as sexual object. And it is related to the fact that they do not fulfil their role as wives and mothers in the eyes of the majority of the society.

10 Undoubtedly, the life of gays and lesbians has become a lot easier in Western states compared to some years ago. Since the 1970s, those states have not given up regulation of its citizens’ sexuality altogether, but restructured it based upon new principles. Police surveillance and prosecution of (male) homosexuality declined respectively came to an end.8 It allowed a gay subculture to emerge, which back then was all about presenting an alternative draft to civic sex morals. It allowed an extent of liberation veterans are still nostalgic about. But at the same time, it illustrated the matter of fact, that civic society generates its deviations according its own principles – and how far riots and violations still comply with the conventions that they oppose: the model homosexual dating from the 1970s referred to clichés of civic society.9 In Western and Northern Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it was this very subculture that with the advent of AIDS became an important junior partner of the state not only in the struggle for public health, but was also serving as a transmission belt bringing civic norms into the rest of the gay scene. Nowadays, the remaining gay organisations are far from any criticism of society – on the contrary, they insistently fight for social acceptance of their ways of life and love. Lesbian subculture on the other hand developed in a context of feminist movement and is as adjusted and as unadjusted as the latter. Since the sexual was not put as much in the foreground, the lesbian movement is less an addressee of sex educational programmes of the state and its health system.

11 From a global perspective on emancipation, there is hardly any reason for optimism. In a lot of states, not only Islamic ones, homosexual emancipation is perceived as corrosion and destructive to the nation – and accordingly, homosexuals are treated as a danger, prosecuted and punished. Those regimes have hardly anything to provide their citizens with, oftentimes not even the shabby opportunity to drudge for someone else’s wealth. Accordingly, those nations are very keen on their citizens’ idealism and fight against Western ‘hedonism’ and ‘individualism’; i.e. that cheeky tale, that capitalism was constantly about the pursuit of individual happiness, is taken as a threat to the sacrifices made for state and belief. Today, gays – more than lesbians10 – are prosecuted because they serve as representatives of that model: destroyers of traditional values, deniers of family, marriage and procreation, weakeners of male fighting power for nation and/or Umma.11

12 In many former colonies homosexuality is pictured as a product of colonialism. But homosexual behaviour almost always existed in these societies even before European colonisation. In some cases it was sung about or praised, in other cases it was concealed and simply seen as a natural phase in the development of mostly male sexuality. Nowadays, this behaviour is transformed into a quality of a group which brings gays in the awful situation of serving as a symbol for colonial heritage, Western decadence and above all a lack of male acquittal. All disgusting crap, that in the 19th century European nations pulled through with and against their populations, is being repeated by the underdog nations of Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Unlike a successful accumulation of capital, which they do not manage, they do not have to fear to be inferior in moral formation of their people. At the utmost, it might happen that imperialistic countries every now and then complain about human rights violations in order to make an example of their superiority. Among them not too few countries, which 30 years ago themselves had been putting gays into jail, nowadays have discovered the homo question as an entitlement for imperialistic actions.

13 Within the nation-state questions of ‘integration’ of migrants are regularly combined with the question of homophobia. A typical racist, who usually could not care less about homophobia (if he himself was not a homophobe, to start with), seems to feel invited to find homophobia all over the place – but only within the migrant community. This hints at the problem of any identity politics which only demands that a particular group is no longer excluded from the nation.12

  • 1. A common and modern extension of the gene debate, which is really an adulteration, says that there is a complex interplay of environmental and biological aspects. Thus, according to this theory, there is a genetic ‘disposition’ which then meets or strikes social ‘factors’. Following that line of thought, one does not have to and also cannot prove anything. The origins of social environments and individual dispositions are mutually referring to each other: What fails to find biological answers, needs to be explained environmentally and vice versa. This way, free will plays no role whatsoever in searching causes for any human habit.
  • 2. This is not the attempt to establish the regulation that sex is only alright as long as nobody gets hurt. What we do want to say, though, is that sex is alright as long as nobody gets hurt unwillingly.
  • 3. The German National Socialists were by the way not sure, if homosexuality was hereditary or acquired. They tried to figure it out by conducting numerous disgusting experiments.
  • 4. Most people insist hereby that those ‘primary sexual characteristics’ are since birth and not due to a surgery.
  • 5. We do not blame the kid for reasons of political correctness. What we do claim, though, is that the use of this term reflects an underlying judgement.
  • 6. Gay is only about bending down, the other one is just hardcore (restroom poetry).
  • 7. Contemporary advice for success for women is to show some strength here and there and for men to work on their soft skills. This is no dissolving of the image of each gender. It is rather an adjustment, in which the reference to the initial role allocation is contained.
  • 8. As a rule, when modern states chased ‘their’ homosexuals it was limited to male gays. Whether that matter can be explained by contempt of female sexuality in general, or by stronger feelings of menace regarding gay sex on account of penetration by men, or even completely differently – we cannot give a definite answer to this question here. An exception known to us was the Austro-fascist state, which we do not choose to compliment for practising that kind of equal opportunities in prosecution.
  • 9. Partly, that meant exhibiting a newly self confident individual declaring himself as sexually liberated who refused to abide by the valid codes of civic masculinity. That was merely the positive translation of old clichés for gays as sexual ready and effeminate. That comes off as much more sympathetic than uptight authoritarian petit-bourgeois. But it serves just as much as a new ideal, which gays have to conform with, like “If you sleep with anyone twice, you are a square”. And promiscuity is lustful only if it is fun for those involved, i.e. if it is not a desperate attempt to get a little ego-boost or just a nasty competition. And then, there was the simple turning around of the gender clichés, just doing that with one gender only. That implies malign exclusion of ‘ponces’.
  • 10. We cannot say for sure what the exact reasons are for this gender specificity. It could be because women in these states do not count for fully-fledged human beings and therefore lesbian sexuality is not taken serious. Or it might be, because the violence against women happens at home by father, brother, husband etc. It then would not become public so as not to ruin the honour of the family.
  • 11. the religious collective of all Muslims
  • 12. For a critique on identity politics see “Proud to be …So what?” in kittens #1
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Jul 18 2010 18:52

This is an interesting text but I think it is missing remarks about homophobia in the workplace.

The urgency to talk about this question of course varies from country to country, but as actors in the labour movement in Poland, we are extremely concerned about this issue and how it is handled. At a conference organized by LGBT activists last year devoted to issues such as discrimination at work, ZSP was the only union to officially take part. This was hugely telling.

Jul 18 2010 20:00
This is an interesting text but I think it is missing remarks about homophobia in the workplace.

The urgency to talk about this question of course varies from country to country, but as actors in the labour movement in Poland, we are extremely concerned about this issue and how it is handled. At a conference organized by LGBT activists last year devoted to issues such as discrimination at work, ZSP was the only union to officially take part. This was hugely telling.

Does that have anything with Poland being so Catholic? That other unions don't want to be associated with a conference which involves LGBT people?

Jul 18 2010 20:24


Now one union, which was nagged by its Western counterparts and leftist sponsors, set up a token contact person for the LGBT community. But it is a long way from being active or outspoken on this issue.

There has been a sad homophobic tradition amongst some so-called anarchosyndicalists as well. (Not us.)

Yesterday was Euro Pride here. One of our comrades wrote this small comment:

Yorkie Bar
Jul 18 2010 20:31

Didn't the Polish president (the dead one) ban gay pride at one point?

Anyway, pretty interesting article, thanks Django.

Jul 18 2010 21:39

Twice. And he and the VP both got pied in the face for it. smile Some of us were involved and these are among our favourite anecdotes. Kaczynski's pie was blueberry, which looked really good running all over his face. Our comrade hung around to argue with the guy after the pie hit him; he was cursing about "faggots" and the like.

Jun 13 2012 01:43

Thanks for this interesting post. Here in Australia, our current Prime Minister Julia Gillard is an ex-communist atheist and her treasurer Penny Wong is in an openly lesbian relationship celebrating the birth of her first child with her partner. Same-sex marriage is on the political agenda here and the two politicians cited here, despite rejecting Christianiy etc, continue to kow-tow to religious zealots within their own party ranks [typical labour really] and opposition. The opposition leader Tony [Keep your rosaries of our ovaries] Abbot is an extreme catholic who thinks that drinking/smoking/gambling cause poverty, would like to tow boats of asylum seekers back into international waters etc. At least it's not Uganda with the death penalty for being queer. Rather we have very broadly worded 'anti-terror' laws that have caught people for thouhtcrime ie critcising Australia's role as 'deputy sherriff' [their words] for US interests. Take a look at the PRC's reaction to Australia giving the US more bases here [including marines].