I live in the wonderful and volatile city of Joburg in South Africa. Sometimes I get the urge to write stuff down. This is where it lives.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rant time!

So since gay marriage has been legalised here, some people I work with are voicing their opinions about it - and they're starting to piss me off.

The ones that annoy me most are the ones that start with:
"I'm not homophobic at all, BUT..."

Today I heard one that left me speechless. It went something like:
"Dori - I promise you I'm not homophobic... but I worry about the kids who will get adopted by these couples."

Me: "What do you mean?"

Them: "I mean the kids will growing up thinking that's normal."

Me: "I thought you said you WEREN'T homophobic?"

Them: "I'm not! But it's not normal. The kids will think it's the only way out."

Me: "???"

The dictionary definition of homophobia is 'irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.'

And they think they're NOT homophobic???!!!

Your thoughts?


Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Eish, Dori.

It's a tough tough tough one to tackle, cos it's about a paradigm shift.

The legalisation of 'gay' marriages ('gay' is in inverted commas for reasons of ideological transparancy, which will be made clear later) is in fact a move towards the very normalisation that your work friend is reacting against.

He or she is caught in a paradigm where 'gay is not normal', 'marriage is normal', 'gay marriage cannot be normal', 'gay marriage IS normal cos the law tells me so', 'holy fuck, I'm confused, my world has changed, I'm fucked!!!'

So here's why the word 'gay' is in inverted commas...

The entire CONCEPT of homo and heterosexuality is paradigmatic, and is an ideological reflection of an operating paradigm.

If I say, 'I'm straight,' or, 'I'm gay,' I'm existing WITHIN a particular paradigm. And that paradigm IS political. I AUTOMATICALLY, and without recourse to alternatives, BUY INTO a system.

I'm forced to do this by the word choices available to me.

When your 'friend' expresses fear about the 'normality' of kids growing up in 'gay' homes, s/he's really expressing fear about the crumbling of boundaries that kept things safe.

'Normality' itself is under attack. And when that happens, it means all SORTS of things need to be evaluated, re-evaluated, thrown out.

I have to say that while I empathise with your frustration, I also reckon it can be channeled.

An appropriate comeback to such an argument might be: 'Well.... Gay relationships ARE normal. There wouldn't be a law allowing gay marriage if it were ABnormal. The law is about reflecting what IS in the world. If the law and society at large recognise gay relationships as normal, surely that means they ARE normal???'

The deeper question under your frustration is this... Are you 'out' to your colleagues? Or are you somehow caught in their paradigm, and buying into their rules and ways and boundaries and protocols?

My sense of the frustration you've expressed is that it reveals a desire on your part to scream, 'Fuck you, you homophobic genital! I'M in a 'gay' relationship, and I'M normal, and I can raise 'normal' kids! If you reject this stuff, you reject me! And anyway... I'm not straightophobic, but...'

Blue skies

11:04 am

Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

PS: I simply HAVE to share this with you... whenever I see 'Dori's Webspot' on my RSS reader, I simply cannot BUT read, 'Dori's Wetspot'. I have to double-take EVERY time to make sure I'm reading right.

11:07 am

Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Oh... while I'm ranting alongside you...

Your work friends clearly haven't done too much examining of 'the nuclear family' in relation to 'normality'.

I reckon more damage has been done to the world by our 'normalisation' of the nuclear family than anything else in the history of thinking!

The very 'normality' that people are clinging to is itself a construct, a thing that was invented in order to make sense of society.

Just because we embrace monogamy doesn't mean it's 'normal'.

And then we go under the skin of that idea of 'embracing monogamy', and the worms start writhing. We only need two words to refute the 'normality' of monogamy: 'divorce' and 'affairs'.


Blue skies

11:13 am

Blogger Tanya said...

Sounds like homophobia to me. Just like the people who start sentences with "I'm not racist, but..." and clearly make a racist comment.

That's why I institute my Daily Activist thing. Like a PowerRanger I transform myself into a minority defending avenger! (without the spandex and superpowers, but... it works)

What pratts.

3:33 pm

Blogger dori said...

Ha ha ha - "Dori's Wetspot" - that's hysterical! ;>

8:07 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dori,

It's all good ... dykes can beat a child just as hard as a man. No worries.


10:30 am

Blogger A shade of Red said...

I'll rant with you!!!

But, I'd call them Heterosexists rather than homophobes!

It is heterosexism that pervades societal customs and institutions, operating through a dual process of invisibility and attack (as does racism and anti-Semitism).

It's typical heterosexism chauvinism that privileges heterosexuality to the
detriment or exclusion of other sexualities.

11:57 am

Blogger Zapruder said...

Well I'm not heterophobic, but I think the number of messed up children that come out of heterosexual homes is very disturbing.

So does that make me a heterophobe in denial?

He he ;)

10:52 pm

Blogger Roy Blumenthal said...

Hmmmmm. I've just had the thought that it's not really a homo/hetero thing at all. It's a product of gender identification.

I think it's probably more productive to call these people genderphiles (or even genderphiliacs).

It's the idea that hidden somewhere in the mysteries of gender there are things that make a man 'masculine' and a woman 'feminine', and that anything outside of those received ideology norms are 'aberrant'.

So it's the discomfort caused by 'the other'. And it's NOT about homosexuality. It's about gender-challenge.

People are seeing that in gay marriage WITH kids, gender is an area with no comfortable (for them) boundaries. So they're threatened.

Happy New Year!

Blue skies

11:27 am

Blogger dori said...

I think I'm with Tracy on this one - it's about heterosexism: seeing heterosexuality as 'the norm' and therefore everything else is 'abnormal'.

In my ideal world it would not be assumed - can you imagine it being the norm to hear this conversation when people first meet?:

"Hi, so do you have a partner?"

"Yes I do."

"Oh and is it a man or a woman?"

2:04 pm


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