Monday, September 21, 2009

Why I’m Gay

When I was eleven a kid in my neighborhood took me up to his garage attic where we smoked his mom’s Tareytons and he showed me pictures of naked women from Playboy. According to Michael Schwartz, chief of staff to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), that’s why I’m gay.

I had a very good friend who was in the homosexual lifestyle for a long time and then he had a religious conversion in the eighties… And he and I had good conversations about, about the malady that he suffered. And one of the things that he said to me, that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark. He said, “all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.” You know, that’s a, that’s a good comment. It’s a good point and it’s a good thing to teach young people.

Leaving out the “some of my best friends are gay” line, according to Mr. Schwartz, it sounds as if looking at porn — any porn — will turn you gay, and the way to keep kids from looking at porn is to tell them so because the last thing an eleven-year-old wants to be is gay.

I’m still trying to get my mind around the “all pornography is homosexual” bit. I’m pretty sure that’s a news flash to the folks at Penthouse and the Pink Pussycat Boutique… not to mention some friends I had in college who, when they couldn’t scrape together a living in Hollywood, went into the adult film business. (Trust me, they are straight, as is the kid who showed me Playboy in the first place.) Pornography is an equal-opportunity objectifier; gay, straight or otherwise, and if being gay means turning one’s sexual drive inwards, it is only because the heteronormative society and religious scolds have made it very problematic for gays and lesbians to be part of the social culture.

What this further proves is the right-wing nutsery/Christianists’ obsession with gay sex. (Not to mention the creepy factor when Mr. Schwartz says wistfully that “[i]t’s been a few years, not that many, since I was closely associated with pre-adolescent boys, boys who are like 10 to 12 years of age.”) It’s all they ever think about when you mention marriage equality or LGBT issues. These people have a much more vivid imagination about what goes on in a gay household than anything I ever saw in my fifteen years of quiet suburban life with a house, a dog, and a fake-wood-grain-sided station wagon with my partner. I’m sorry we couldn’t live up to the cultural stereotype that these ignorant prigs envisioned for us; it sounds like fun.

But at least now I know why I’m gay. I wasn’t born that way; it was my friend showing me the Playmate of the Month for June 1963. I should look him up and thank him.

HT to Digby.