Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bitter Sweet Night?

The fight against discrimination in America took a giant leap forward last night, but also a number of steps backwards. On the day the United States overwhelmingly voted in the first African American to the White House, thus taking a giant leap forward in their battle for equality and justice, they also voted to discriminate against the gay community.

In Arizona, California, and Florida voters stated their preference to not allow gay couples to marry. In Arkansas they expressed their preference to not allow gay couples to adopt.

It seems that while after decades of discriminating against African Americans, many Americans are continuing or transferring those feelings towards another cultural group.

So, while yesterday was a proud moment in the United States history it was also bitter sweet. It shows how much more work needs to be done to end unnecessary hatred, inequality, and injustice in our communities.

Image Source: Athens, Ohio Post


twster55 said...

Could it be that people only discriminate against those they feel uncomfortable around? I know we have discussed this before and a lot of discrimination can come from how someone was raised. Yet, it is hard to find someone who knows friends that are gay that also discriminates against that lifestyle. It is quite often those that are not "used" to or have little/no interaction with those that are gay. The same could have been said for much of the discrimination of African Americans. Thankfully I think of myself as open minded but we can all admit that there are times where we are scared or uncomfortable, which can lead to irrational actions on our part. As you know me well, I am in no way condoning what I feel was a terrible decision by many voters, just hoping to perhaps to provide some insight as to why.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Comparing so-called discrimination against a lifestyle choice with the very real discrimination historically practiced against blacks is an invalid comparison. Lifestyle practices are a choice, skin color is not.

Progressive said...

You have clearly made the defining difference between those that disagree with homosexuality and those that do not.

Believing that homosexuality and by expression, gay marriage, is a lifestyle choice is quite disgusting.

Homosexuality is ones being, not their choice.

As I heard a gay friend once say, "Why would I choose to be this way and be ostracized?"

As I say often - we as society will continue to discriminate against anything that is not like "us", but in the end those being discriminated will win. So, hate as you may if that makes you feel better, but gays will get their rights and freedoms in the same way women, blacks, Catholics, and Protestants historically have.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Prog: Homosexuality is unnatural. It revolves around self-gratification -- not genetics. It IS disgusting as are other forms of deviant sexual behavior. It is a disease -- a mental one and should be treated as such.

You obviously missed the point of my comment however. Comparing sexual deviancy to the color of one's skin is an invalid comparison and blacks should be outraged that the comparison is made.

Progressive said...

I understood every word you said and strongly disagree with everything you stated.

I'll leave it at that.

twster55 said...

Let me pose a question (as I try to keep my temper in check) - what makes one sexual behavior deviant when compared with another? Who makes that choice?

On another note - any discrimination is terrible whether it be based on skin color, religion, class, gender, age, or sexual orientation. There is not one that should be considered worse above others. People have been killed in the names of all different types of discrimination, therefore the suffering from all those types is valid.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

It is interesting how anger clouds one's judgment and shapes response. I didn't say anything about discriminating against homosexuals, I stated that the comparison of homosexuality and skin color was invalid.

Let me ask you this, if one chose a lifestyle of stealing the property of others should we discriminate against them? If not, I suppose we should empty our prisons. We shouldn't discriminate against criminals.

Now, as your anger rises over the assumption that I compared homosexuality and criminals, re-read what I said. I merely responded to the idea of non-discrimination. We do it daily -- all of us. It is part of how we process information and part of the defensive mechanisms built into our human nature.

Progressive said...

I think you are missing the source of my anger.

The source of your disagreement is that because homosexuality is a "life style choice" I can not compare that to being black because that is not a life style choice. So, by extension, I cannot compare historic discrimination against blacks and what I have called discrimination against homosexuals.

I strongly disagree with your central thesis that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. I am not saying that your thesis is that it is OK to discriminate against homosexuals.

I believe I can compare both types of discrimination because they are, among other characteristics, not lifestyle choices - it is who they are.

I find it a gross misinterpretation of discrimination. In both cases, hate is directed towards a people because of who they are.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

"The source of your disagreement..."

Are you inside my head that you know what motivates me? -- a rather audacious presumption.

Sue said...

Chris, your contention that homosexuality is a "mental disease" is not supported by legitimate licensed psychologists. Here is what the American Psychological Association has to say on the subject:

"What Causes a Person To Have a Particular Sexual Orientation?

There are numerous theories about the origins of a person's sexual orientation. Most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality.

It's important to recognize that there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation, and the reasons may be different for different people.

Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

No, human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Can Therapy Change Sexual Orientation?

No; even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often coerced by family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable. However, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who seek assistance from a mental health professional want to change their sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals."

As for you contention that homosexuality is about self gratification, IF that is true than it is true of ALL sexuality, and so therefore we should ALL be celebate like the priests and nuns.

Sue said...

Oh yes, and Chris, before you come back with a rejoinder about heterosexuality and procreation, realize that what you are really saying is that no one should have sex unless they are specifically trying to have a baby, and should it turn out that one cannot conceive that one should then stop having sex.

Sue said...

I was cogitating on what Chris said for a while, and I've come up with a very interesting insight. Let's say for just a moment that Chris's position is right, that being homosexual or heterosexual is just simply a choice and that any person can just simply choose one or the other. On what basis would a person choose? Why would a person choose to be homosexual rather than heterosexual -- since clearly many people in our society feel like Chris does that homosexuality is deviant, a disease and unnature -- why would some one choose those things? Chris gave us the key to that choice, he said that homosexuality resolves around "self gratification." So, now we understand, Chris believes that homosexual sex is much more satisfying and gratifying than heterosexual sex!! In otherwords the reason why people would choose homosexual sex over heterosexual sex is because it must be better than heterosexual sex!! Otherwise why else would any one focuses on self-gratification choose to be homosexual when the social and political consequences are so great?

twster55 said...

In the same vein, does someone consciously choose to be heterosexual? There are many choices that one makes in their life however I do not believe that sexuality is one of them. I guarantee you I did not wake up one day and say "I like boys!". Watching a gay friend "come out" was interesting because it becomes even more obvious that it isn't a choice. He tried to be heterosexual and in the end realized he was not being true to himself. Coming from a very conservative and religious background, I am sure he did not purposely want to go against ideology he believed in. You do not choose your sexuality anymore than you choose your gender or race.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Sue: Most of your comment supports the idea of homosexuality being a mental health issue -- albeit due to early influences, I suspect largely related to lack of a proper male role model in the home.

There are certainly genetic anomalies that would cause confusion on sexuality. Synthetic hormones in the environment have been shown to affect sexual orientation -- i.e. due to a toxin in the environment, their body is confused -- which lends to a health argument that might possibly be reversed with appropriate medical therapy but that is not an area in which success has yet been demonstrated. Of course, we don't have cures for cancer yet either.

If it is genetic, then it should be passed through the act of procreation -- which requires the mingling of the genetic material of two individuals -- naturally accomplished only through male/female intercourse. Theoretically, if homosexuality were a genetic characteristic it would be heritable. Homosexuality does not procreate, therefore is not able to pass on genetic characteristics.

I do not believe that homosexuality should be afforded "special" status. It is a health issue -- whether mental or physical. It is also a choice issue. Many choose the lifestyle due to an inability to deal with the foibles of the opposite gender -- a lifestyle choice (or perhaps a mental health issue).

Sue, you well know that I am not a psychologist. I have read some of the literature. I have also read a number of counter arguments. I have weighed the evidence and thought it through. I think my conclusions are clear.

Sue said...

I am so gratified to discover that you think that Mary Cheney is a lesbian because she lacked "a proper male role model in the home." I always thought that Dick Cheney was an improper male role model!

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Sue: He probably wasn't home enough to be a role model....