Sunday 24 May 2009
Sex and Prejudice
This is an answer I gave to a discussion on the nature of sexuality and prejudice.
Essentially we are talking about on the nature of prejudice and the circumstances in which particular prejudices arose. Take the example of male homosexuality. In ancient Greece it wasn’t just ‘normal’ to be homosexual in many cases it was actively encouraged, particularly in the military. In the city state of Thebes pairs of homosexual lovers were hand-picked to join an elite formation known as the Sacred Band. The thinking here was that the disgrace and shame would be all the greater for a soldier who abandoned his lover in battle. The inspiration for this came from Plato himself, who wrote;
For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his arms? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this. Or who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger?
Although the Romans were more ambivalent the real prejudice against homosexuality and all forms of ‘non-procreative’ sex comes with the rise of Christianity. Even with the decline in Christian belief the prejudice remains, sustained by irrational feelings; sustained, one also suspects, by fears and insecurities about self-identity. I suspect that some of the greatest homophobes are themselves latent homosexuals!
I certainly don’t agree that heterosexual men are prejudiced towards gays out of a general disgust over the practice of anal intercourse. I can assure you that a lot of straight guys are only too keen on the idea when it comes to girls, both giving and-ahem-receiving! Prejudice is just that-prejudice, an irrational fear of that which is different based, for the most part, on no particular experience.
Transexuality, I suppose, falls into the same trap as homosexuality, though, speaking personally, as a self-professed bisexual I have never at any time come across any prejudice whatsoever. Just the contrary; I know guys who would only be too happy to see me get it on with another girl. :-))