Friday, April 01, 2005
Anyway, this was set off by this piece by Kai Wright, More Sex, Please:
We've sacrificed sexual pluralism on the altar of civil rights. The gay rights movement has at its core the assertion that gay people are just like everybody else—we raise kids, enjoy scouting, and love our country as much as the next straight guy. We thus present no threat to American society and deserve all the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship. This truism is only partially so. We differ in one important way: We have sex with people of the same gender, at least a portion of the time. And that's the part that freaks most straight people out.
Rather than confront this cultural barrier, we try to cover it up like a blemish on otherwise perfect skin. We chose our language carefully: We have an "orientation" that is by no means a choice. We build "committed" relationships. We urge "tolerance" and "acceptance" rather than provoke cultural change.
Legal equality is a worthy goal, all the more so for those at the lower end of the economic ladder who can't afford to tell the boss to fuck off when he demands they dress like ladies or gents. But it's also a goal that will remain elusive as long as we opt out of the sex wars. We must convince America to celebrate rather than hide from the fact that we all have sex, of all different sorts—to champion the idea that hetero or homo, missionary or doggy-style, it's all good. For until the country stops dividing sex by what's natural or perverted, we'll never get our rights—civil or otherwise.
Moreover, the effort to market our normality not only fails to address the real issues driving American homophobia, it is also self-defeating, because it forces just the sort of political divisiveness our civil rights leaders have rightly identified as holding the movement back. For, if gay relationships are normal, what's a normal gay relationship? Is a leather daddy or dominatrix normal? What's a normal "commitment"?