Monday, January 30, 2012

The Identity Facism of Modern Gay Liberation

For about a week now, much wailing and gnashing of teeth and lamenting of the faithful has been had by those who view themselves as gay liberationists or activists over Cynthia's Nixon statment that sexuality was a choice for her.  Despite affirming that this may not be the choice for everybody, she felt this was true for her. 
Oh, the uproar.  Such vitriol is usually reserved for those who equate gay people with pedophiles and Nazis.  The nasty comments across the web have come fast and furious.  Much of it has been incredibly malicious, sexist, hateful, and biphobic (i.e., fearful of bisexuals)   It's extremely clear that many people are deeply invested in the narrative that sexuality is innate, biological, immutable.

I understand why people may feel that way.  It seems that if we can prove that sexuality is as predetermined as race, then we have a iron clad argument agains discrimination.  Moreover, many people likely feel that they experience some kind of primal, out of their control attraction or urge to men or women. But, there's a lot wrong with these assumptions, which usually go unexamined.  And, from the look of things, people don't seem very inclined toward thinking too deeply about them.

It's probably never a good way to start off an essay by referring you to better done essays, but Scott Long's excellent blog post really is must-reading on this topic, as is his follow up: "Frots, g0ys, and other options."  While I was swilling this around in my mind, he said it first and certainly better than I have or am going to here.  Long provides a great overview of Foucaultian thought on sexuality, troubles quite accessibly and articulately current notions of sexuality as put forth by the mainstream lesbian and gay movement, and rightfully takes the modern "liberation" movement to task.  I would also recommend Frank Bruni's New York Times essay.  Bruni lays out the research that's been done so far on sexual orientation and shows that not only is it conclusive, but persuasively argues (along lines similar to Long) that it's unnecessary for equality.