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August 7, 2012
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Perceptions of Homosexuality

Tue Aug 7, 2012, 10:42 AM


Gay and Lesbian rights is a an issue that galvanizes people, particularly on the internet, and as I writer of male/male fiction or a Yaoi fangirl, as you may prefer, I would like to weigh in with my views on the matter.

Naturally I do completely support Gay rights and all this entails. For example I believe that adoption and marriage are just as valid options for Gay and Lesbian couples and should be permitted and protected by law. I also feel that individuals of any marginal sexual orientation or gender identity should be free from prejudice, harassment, or unequal treatment at work or in public. So on and so forth.

I think that this is the most common stance for liberal-minded individuals and is probably the one expected of me, given my interests. My interests in male/male works however are not what guarantees or suggests my support for Gay rights.

I think most Yaoi fans do support gay rights but, although their tastes may influence this opinion, this is mainly because they are themselves liberal females or gay males. Young females usually do find the idea of homosexuality less upsetting than, for instance, straight males. If they are liberal and sexually open enough to read guy-on-guy manga and fiction then they are unlikely to be squeamish about sexual practices.

I think it's important to stress one key point though, one that many people neglect to mention, and that is that; Yaoi hasn't got a damn thing to do with gay rights.

If anything, the presentation of gay males in Yaoi and other male/male media often goes completely against the gay right movement. Not always mind, but often enough to take note of.

Yaoi and male/male fiction is written to excite and entertain. The relationships it presents are often violent, unequal, and highly sexual. They present homosexuality as a extreme sexual practice, something seductive yet intense. They even make links between abuse and homosexual relations, either through child abuse or rape, which is completely unacceptable as a literal interpretation. It is, in fact, something the Gay community has struggled against for a long time.

I've been pretty clear on my opinions on the content of Yaoi in the past, particularly in my mission statement. Some of the traits and themes I like, some I don't, but as fiction they are all perfectly valid. This genre is about fantasy and is usually targeted at young women who, sometimes, like violent and unequal relationships (the testosterone element is all part of the appeal).

The important thing to remember is why homosexuality is perceived as unnatural or wrong and, understanding the stereotypes and misconceptions, to distance personal taste or distaste from a sensible objective view.

The fact is that the issue doesn't come down to a choice along the lines of, 'should we let gay people live their lives without intrusion or should we stone them to death in the town square?' it's a complicated matter of social conventions and attitudes.

I think it's very helpful to consider why people are uncomfortable about homosexuality, in order to argue effectively and I'd like to go through some of those points now and counter them. These are all to do with 'perceptions' of homosexuality which effect many people whether they would actively vote against gay rights or not.

The most common argument against Homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' This argument is usually countered with arguments about homosexuality in nature etc. but I have always found this counter extremely irritating. The fact is that all kinds of acts are exhibited in nature, such as eating shit and killing your partner's babies from a previous relationship, but we know that these things do not apply to human society.

When people call homosexuality 'unnatural' what they mean is that they think it goes against an intrinsic human instinct. To most straight adults the thought of being sexual with a friend of the same sex is repugnant, wrong even. This is because it is a transgression of a platonic relationship, which is very important to us as human beings. This is one reason why many people who have a problem with the idea of homosexuality liken it to incest or pedophilia, because these  too are behaviors that involve transgressing upon what should be a platonic relationship. People who make this argument are trying to express what they feel such an act would be like and why it would feel and be wrong.

The main thing which needs to made clear when arguing on this point is that homosexuals, during to a genuine and intrinsic difference in their nature/brain, do not feel this way. For them their attitudes towards the genders are switched or, in the case of bisexuals, the boundaries more indistinct. If you listen to someone who is upset by the thought of homosexuality talk, for a time, it does become clear (although it seems strange to those of us who understand the orientation) that they really do not realize that homosexuals do like the same gender and that for them this feel natural and appropriate.

Some opponents grasp this somewhat but only halfway. They think it is a sexual deviancy whose stables are i) boundary crossing and ii) a mixture of desire and discomfort. There are other comparisons to sexual offenders made here. The facts of anecdotal and scientific research should make quite clear that homosexuality is a different in-born predisposition rather than a sexual dysfunction but this confusion is a key component of anti-gay thought.

If any readers are shaking their heads and thinking they are above this kind of confusion then they should take a moment to examine their own thoughts. This issue is very widespread, not just within wider society but even within gay rights activists and the gay community themselves.

If you think of homosexuality as, in any way, a sexually naughty and exciting choice, a more extreme type of experimentation and consider this to be an objective reality then you are perpetuating the myth that homosexuality is about sexual deviancy and boundary-crossing. Lady Gaga for instance, while supporting Gay rights, perpetuates the idea that homosexuality is extreme and exciting, like some kind of Bad Romance vampire love. There are also schisms within the gay community between members who, for example, hate drag acts because they are, after all, a caricature of what a gay man is - effeminate and highly sexualized.

I don't necessarily have a problem with this kind of entertainment but only under the condition that it is viewed purely as entertainment and a fictional representation. This is a critical distinction and if an artist implies that their work represents what is objectively real then they should be criticized accordingly.

Whether or not you agree with these criticisms I think it must be acknowledged that there is a lack of perception, in most of society, of gay people as simply normal people who are no more sexually active or provocative than anyone else. It has to be a conscience thing, whether you are excited or disgusted by it, to remember that a kiss between too males or two females is no different, and certainly no more sexually provocative, than a kiss between a man and a woman. Equality is not just about treating people the same, legally, it is about how we think about and perceive them.

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:iconjeanluz:
JeanLuz Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm currently in the process of getting my bachelors in psychology. ((I plan on becoming a therapist)). Homosexuality comes up every now and again in my class. Something interesting that was brought up is that most people don't realize that sexuality is a continuum with strait on one end and homosexual on the other. Not saying that either are right or wrong simply they are points on the continuum. The most interesting thing about this is that no person is on one end of the continuum or the other. Meaning no one is completely strait or completely gay. They have done surveys and have found that self reportedly strait men and women report not only sexual desires or fantasies of the same sex but actually intercourse or sexual acts with the same sex. But they still consider themselves strait. The same actually goes for those who report being homosexual. They also report having desires for the opposite sex or even have had intercourse with the opposite sex. This is always a good thing to point to when people try to just sort sexuality into categories or even claim that bisexuality is non-existent. The other thing I'd like to mention is that it's been proven that women are more sexually fluid then men. Meaning that in fact some lesbians are actually lesbians because of choice rather the being born that way. But that is a rather small percentage. Mostly this is a good way to explain why women tend to be more tolerant of homosexuality then men are.

Anyways thought this was worth sharing with you.
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:iconermengardesecret:
ErmengardeSecret Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hi, thanks a lot. I have heard about these studies before but I have to admit I am not completely intimate with them. I am very interested in psychology myself and have studied it in the past but one of the difficulties within the field is proving a theory absolutely. I find that for some theories physical experiments provide results that are most convincing while in others anecdotal evidence is far more valuable.

I am always, regardless of the topic, incredibly suspicious of any survey-based study. There are a great number of variables which need to be considered when trying to evaluate the results; how big the sample size is, how they were collected/sourced, how the questions where phrased and delivered, under what circumstances where the subjects monitored and their surveys compiled etc. etc. I struggle to believe that ANY survey has really yielded reliable results but even when we have a reasonably reliable set of variables we cannot say the data proves any thing. Conclusions are what people draw from the data and this needs to be applied with reason.

I absolutely believe that people are capable of attraction and love with the gender to whom they do not usually associate attraction but I am not necessarily sure that is something that would affect what we call 'sexuality.' It depends on your definition on the word. Personally I believe that most people have a certain disposition towards one gender or the other, although bisexuality seems possible. This disposition dictates the partner for which attraction and affection will come most easily and be most enduring.

People form relationships all the time without a strong basis of love or attraction, they may even remain in those relationships for a long time, but if they were in a situation with a person to whom they were more intrinsically attracted they would have a much more 'real' relationship. This is something that isn't always about sexuality but it is about love and attraction to which sexuality is absolutely the most important factor.

This is simply what I reason though my own observations and imagination, I may be wrong and will amend my opinions based on evidence I consider reliable and convincing. This is not a simple issue and needs A LOT of conditions and amendments.
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:iconjeanluz:
JeanLuz Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well the stuff I was talking about came from the Kinsey study but has been retested and confirmed. Psychology, like any other science, though can only say there is connections, correlations, and evidence of certain events in human behavior. Which is why any thing declared in psychology is still just theories since something new can come and change them. I was merely mentioning this right now as this is the current accepted information about certain aspects of sexuality. I didn't really disagree with anything you had to say I was just stating somethings that I felt should be mention to further broaden your assessments.

Anyways it was interesting reading what you had to say. I'm not exactly a yaoi fan at least I'm not into it because I find it exciting or something to that effect. Mostly I'm simply a writer and writing about male x male based love seemed something of an interesting challenge to me. I do support gay rights as well, felt that should be mentioned so no one gets the wrong idea. I joined this group in a way to see if I could effectively write in this genre as well as for my own interest. I've done a few studies for some classes on fandom so your opinion blog thing was actually something I was hoping to see more of, since I've been curious how those into the yaoi fandom felt toward things such gay rights and the sort. So to sum it all up, thank you for sharing your opinion.
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:iconermengardesecret:
ErmengardeSecret Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for sharing your thoughts too, I really appreciate it. I hope you didn't think I was being too defensive in my reply. I know that you were sharing information relevant to the topic and I welcome this. I stated my own opinions on the nature of sexuality just to explain my approach and address the concepts you were introducing. I may be wrong and I can only claim my own intuition and experience as evidence.

I hope you can find inspiration and succeed at writing a good male/male love story. You should find plenty of support here on Deviantart! If there's anything I can help you with just let me know. ;)
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:iconjeanluz:
JeanLuz Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you, and don't worry you didn't come off that way.
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:icondarkred-rose:
DarkRed-Rose Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012   Writer
I agree with you :)
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:iconargentum-lupae-luna:
Argentum-Lupae-Luna Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
As a bisexual myself, I agree that you made several excellent points. Not only did you point out the differences between homosexuality and heterosexuality clearly and fairly accurate, but you also included the ways that society perceives us and the ways that it is accurate or inaccurate. All in all, a commendable job, love.
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:iconermengardesecret:
ErmengardeSecret Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. x
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:iconargentum-lupae-luna:
Argentum-Lupae-Luna Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome, love.
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:iconmeowmeowcat1:
Meowmeowcat1 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
This is great! I totally agree!
:nod::nod::nod::nod::nod::nod::nod:
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