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Randi “Comes Out” at 81
Posted: 24 March 2010 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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mckenzievmd - 24 March 2010 06:09 PM

Whatever makes people gay is the same thing that makes people recoil from homosexuality. The same thing.

How so? I’m not sure what this means.

Right! I doubt anyone knows what makes people gay. But it is centered around sexuality. And sexuality is the “system” we mammals(at least) use to codify, interact, reproduce, pair-bond with partners. Partners in which we are probably pre-disposed to “choose”.
These “choices” we make as individuals(and individual partnerships) are part of a larger tribal “network” which is constantly being checked, countered, challenged, and approved. This is evident in tons of behavioral situations; a few would be listed such as gossip, fights, cheating, weddings, baby showers, murder….(that’s just the tip of the iceberg).
So it is in this “impressionistic” panorama that we can see that “whatever makes people gay, is the same thing that makes others recoil from homosexuality.

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Posted: 24 March 2010 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Vyazma, I think how one responds to different groups depends on each person, what they were taught as a child, their own feelings of adequacy or inadequacy in the area, their familiarity or lack of it with the group, etc.  Although I happen to be straight (but post-sexual) I’ve had a number of good friends who were gay.  One traded dinners with us for a few years (bringing a pseudo-girlfriend at times).  We hadn’t heard from him for a while. He had had a damaging breakup and was depressed.  We called and pressed him to come to dinner.  Later in the evening he said, “Well, this will ruin our friendship, but I’m gay.”  My wife and I said simultaneously, “Yeah, we know.”  This really surprised him because he thought he was so effectively in the closet.  We remained friends with him and his new partner until he moved 2,000 miles away, and we still exchanged cards. 

Another good friend whose job I had saved, was married with two children.  We were out to lunch when he hit on me.  I said, “I’m honored that you asked, but it’s not my thing.”  That ended that discussion and we remained friends until he died many years later. 

So, I don’t think that how one chooses satisfy one’s sexual desires, with whom one does so, or with whom one decided to have a relationship should affect my connection with them any more than what brand of toilet paper they use or which hand they use it with.

Occam

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Posted: 24 March 2010 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I find that most of what makes people ‘recoil’ from homosexuality, has more to do with the teachings of their particular religious upbringing than anything else.

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Posted: 24 March 2010 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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mckenzievmd - 24 March 2010 04:23 PM

Are homosexuals and heterosexuals different in ways that are important or relevant to worth or social function or standing? Or is the only real difference sexual partner preference, and the rest of the apparent difference merely baggage piled on by intolerance? I don’t know if the answer is really known, but those of us who believe is social and political equality for people of all sexual preferences tend to assume that most of the presumed differences are either inconsequential (say, aethetics) or artificial and imposed by stereotypes.

The social contexts of homosexuality and heterosexuality are different in that heterosexuals comprise 95% of the population and are therefore the more salient relationship model for most of the population. It would be different if sexual orientation were more equitably distributed and heterosexuality was not presumed by default.

Sexual orientation is not like hair color or skin color in that it is not necessarily outwardly noticeable and therefore gays and lesbians must come out over and over again in social situations not in a declaration of personal sexual tastes but as a social cue to others as to how they and their partners should be treated (not merely as friends or buddies but as companions like a married couple).

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Posted: 24 March 2010 10:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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asanta - 24 March 2010 06:37 PM

I find that most of what makes people ‘recoil’ from homosexuality, has more to do with the teachings of their particular religious upbringing than anything else.

I’m skeptical that it’s mostly due to religion. Gays are just as, if not more, reviled in less religious societies like China and Russia as they are in the US. Rather, I think there is something about sex between two men that is responsible for most of the recoil.

“Lesbians” are more accepted than “gays”, “gays” more accepted than “gay men” and “gay men” are more accepted than “homosexuals.” It’s almost as if public acceptance is directly related to how evocative the survey term is of intercourse between two men.

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Posted: 25 March 2010 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I agree with Thomas. I have never met an openly gay person in the Czech Republic, where the vast majority of people are atheists.

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Posted: 25 March 2010 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I cannot empathize with what you have endured Thomas. I haven’t lived it, so will take your word for the indignities suffered in the presence of bigots. I can assure you, however, that with the crowd I hang with (even in Texas) you would be welcomed unquestioningly. We would be honored to have you and DJ at one of our parties, and I think you would meet some interesting characters.

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Posted: 25 March 2010 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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gays and lesbians must come out over and over again in social situations not in a declaration of personal sexual tastes but as a social cue to others as to how they and their partners should be treated (not merely as friends or buddies but as companions like a married couple).

Quite so, and how this daily coming out works is an interesting issue. Having grown up in a community with many openly gay couples of both sexes, I have seen the possibility of a world in which simple thoughtless gestures of affection, casual endearments, and all the little markers of affiliation that all couples display are all that a gay couple needs to “announce” their status and be treated accordingly. I’ve also, unfortunately, lived in places as an adult where you pretty much have to wear a shirt that says “We’re gay and we’re a couple!” for anyone to have a clue. That, of course, makes staying closeted easier, but if one wishes to live openly I can’t imagine how it must feel to have one’s relationship status be invisible to the rest of the community.

As for the “recoil” factor, I really wish I understood how that works. I suspect that like most deep emotional reactions it’s a lot less cultural and a lot more biological or genetic than we like to think, but I haven’t heard an evolutionary psych explanation of it that makes sense to me yet. People can be taught from the cradle to revile gays and yet discover eventually that they are gay themselves and, if they’re lucky, be able to eventually find a joyful acceptance of their own sexuality. And though I’ve spent my whole life with gay people in my family and in the larger community, and I don’t understand how anyone can possibly justify the kind of prejudice, subtle or violent, directed towards gay people, I also cannot even pretend to find the idea of intimicy with another man at all appealing. So I have to imagine there is something fundamental and biological resonsible for sexual orientation and for one’s visceral reactions to it, regardless of the cultural training and more deliberate position one takes on the question as one is aculturated. But I don’t think, despite the few tentative bits of data, that we really understand that aspect of human makeup very well yet.

Anyway, thanks Thomas for participating in this discussion. I imagine it gets tedious having to “represent” the gay community even if you also feel motivated to point out misconceptions when you see them.

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Posted: 25 March 2010 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Occam - 24 March 2010 06:26 PM

Vyazma, I think how one responds to different groups depends on each person, what they were taught as a child, their own feelings of adequacy or inadequacy in the area, their familiarity or lack of it with the group, etc.  Although I happen to be straight (but post-sexual) I’ve had a number of good friends who were gay.  One traded dinners with us for a few years (bringing a pseudo-girlfriend at times).  We hadn’t heard from him for a while. He had had a damaging breakup and was depressed.  We called and pressed him to come to dinner.  Later in the evening he said, “Well, this will ruin our friendship, but I’m gay.”  My wife and I said simultaneously, “Yeah, we know.”  This really surprised him because he thought he was so effectively in the closet.  We remained friends with him and his new partner until he moved 2,000 miles away, and we still exchanged cards. 

Another good friend whose job I had saved, was married with two children.  We were out to lunch when he hit on me.  I said, “I’m honored that you asked, but it’s not my thing.”  That ended that discussion and we remained friends until he died many years later. 

So, I don’t think that how one chooses satisfy one’s sexual desires, with whom one does so, or with whom one decided to have a relationship should affect my connection with them any more than what brand of toilet paper they use or which hand they use it with.

Occam

Sure! And I believe that is all part and parcel of the process/overview I brought up. The natural anthropological-sociological system of interaction in our mammalian species. Our primate species, the overarching core of which is sexuality, whatever form it takes. So the rearing, or teaching of children is no less natural than any variation of sexual orientation.
Again, I don’t wish to discuss the issue of a scientific concept such as homosexuality through the colored lens of ideology, politics, or human interest stories.
There is a natural, scientific reason Randi didn’t come out until he was 81. The science would deal with sociology, zoology, anthropology etc.
The reasons Randi didn’t come out until he was 81 can not be blamed(or figured) on some subjective concept of what constitutes the proper(or improper) social mores of our specific culture. Or rather they could be, but then we can sit and argue about the social mores which certain groups wish to prevail. Of course this is a futile argument.

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Posted: 25 March 2010 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Thomas Donnelly-

The social contexts of homosexuality and heterosexuality are different in that heterosexuals comprise 95% of the population and are therefore the more salient relationship model for most of the population. It would be different if sexual orientation were more equitably distributed and heterosexuality was not presumed by default.

This is only partly correct in my observation. Children at a very early age begin to recognize the mechanics of pair bonding. The don’t know the nuts and bolts, but they understand that more babies come from “mommies and daddies” The stork, etc etc.. My point is, that’s the other large social context of hetero vs. homosexuality. The reason people and animals overwhelmingly pair-bond is to mate. Period! That’s the function of it. That is the end which justifies the means.
Accordingly, that is why we won’t see a more equally distributed sexual orientation. If we do, if anyone is keeping track of this stuff, and we do see a rise; then my longstanding Pet Theory of “evolution in progress”(in plain view) will be more supported.
As we know sexual orientations do meander off the beaten path from time to time-in a whole host of species. This can always be traced to stresses in the habitat, or some similar type genetic precursor, or (behavior precursor?(is there a difference?))
But look, lest I be hammered for being anti-gay or something, Good for James Randi coming out. Whatever that means?

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Posted: 25 March 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I care that he has a newfound freedom and happiness, after years of (possibly painfully) suppressing his true feelings. I applaud him for being true to his heart, and I wish him happiness.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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VYAZMA - 24 March 2010 06:07 PM

Whatever makes people gay is the same thing that makes people recoil from homosexuality. The same thing.

Hmm…. Let’s try it this way. Whatever makes people straight is the same thing that makes people recoil from heterosexuality.  The same thing.

Okay. I still don’t get it.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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T. Ruth - 04 April 2010 08:27 PM
VYAZMA - 24 March 2010 06:07 PM

Whatever makes people gay is the same thing that makes people recoil from homosexuality. The same thing.

Hmm…. Let’s try it this way. Whatever makes people straight is the same thing that makes people recoil from heterosexuality.  The same thing.

Okay. I still don’t get it.

Yea, me neither. It makes as much sense to me either way, that is to say….none! You could exchange gay with any number of terms: tall/short, Female/male, black/while—still doesn’t work.

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Posted: 05 April 2010 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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T. Ruth - 04 April 2010 08:27 PM
VYAZMA - 24 March 2010 06:07 PM

Whatever makes people gay is the same thing that makes people recoil from homosexuality. The same thing.

Hmm…. Let’s try it this way. Whatever makes people straight is the same thing that makes people recoil from heterosexuality.  The same thing.

Okay. I still don’t get it.

Well that sentence was meant as a “catchphrase” or a quip. I didn’t mean it literally, which could have been deduced by my response to McKenzie’s inquiry. If you read the rest of my abbreviated postings above you should very well get the idea of what I’m talking about.
So! On that note, if there was anything contained therein you wish to discuss feel free to generate a discussion.
Or perhaps you’d like to orbit in the “People are stupid, and bigoted! That’s why they recoil from homosexuality!” line.
The aforementioned quip is a catchphrase which sums up my views on why homosexuality is not largely acceptable. It’s why a super-genius like James Randi couldn’t come out until he was 81.
I hope you can bring an objective-like, scientific angle to the discussion, and not a reactionary idealogue diatribe.

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Posted: 05 April 2010 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 April 2010 04:51 PM

Well that sentence was meant as a “catchphrase” or a quip. I didn’t mean it literally, which could have been deduced by my response to McKenzie’s inquiry. If you read the rest of my abbreviated postings above you should very well get the idea of what I’m talking about.
So! On that note, if there was anything contained therein you wish to discuss feel free to generate a discussion.
Or perhaps you’d like to orbit in the “People are stupid, and bigoted! That’s why they recoil from homosexuality!” line.
The aforementioned quip is a catchphrase which sums up my views on why homosexuality is not largely acceptable. It’s why a super-genius like James Randi couldn’t come out until he was 81.
I hope you can bring an objective-like, scientific angle to the discussion, and not a reactionary idealogue diatribe.

Ok, I plead guilty for reacting and not investigating! cheese

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