Trying to listen to the more gentle angel of my nature, I’d intended to entirely forego my tradition of mocking the “Insights from the Social Sciences” the morning paper brings me. I started writing this in that intention but Izzy, my leftist hell-raiser angel, won out over Nat. Nat’s my annoying liberal niceness angel. I’ve complained about Nat before, I think.
This Sunday, Evo-psych tells us that homosexuality, in the form of queer genes, persist because having sex with members of your gender has a reproductive advantage. And here I always figured that was the one risk being gay didn’t include. As the tricky Boston Globe Soc-Sci columnist has taken to doing so often lately, the “study” his report is based on is forthcoming so I can’t go look to see what is being passed off as science. But being suspicious as well as naughty, Izzy asks, “Why study something like that to begin with? Aren’t there other gay issues more pressing to the business of the world?”
As an old gay man, one of the things that has always carried a morbid fascination for me is the phenomenon of the evil gay Republican power broker. There are certainly a lot of them to look at, and just about to a person they are truly rotten. If you ever wanted to identify a truly malevolent bunch, it’s the right-wing, gay male Republican. Roy Cohn, who was universally known to be gay from the beginning of his public career, was about as rotten as they come. He regularly worked on behalf of the most repressive gay bashers in the New York scene and beyond, some of them, like Francis Cardinal Spelman, were specimens of the type themselves. There are those who claim Joe McCarthy - no relation worth considering - belongs among them. Literally everyone knew Cohn was having sex with men during the decades he was around. Yet he flourished within the political milieu that would have destroyed him had he not been one of them. Near the end of his life, as it became just as widely known that he was dying of AIDS, the New York elite helped him in his psychotically futile public denial of what was clear to anyone who looked at him.
After McCain selected Palin, I was curious to see how the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Club stood on the McCain-Palin ticket. Needless to say, they were lying, saying that they were no danger to the rights and lives of gay people. Kiss of the Spider Woman would seem to have gotten that kind of dishonest, self-centered gay man* just about right. Despising them for the hypocrites and traitors they are, I usually call them Future Capos of Amerika. I’m not giving a link and risk aiding the more uninformed of our Republican blog boy monitors in their networking.
Gore Vidal, in one of his essays, cast doubt on the existence of a category “gay”. Other than having sex with other men, what does Vidal have in common with Roy Cohn, Karl Rove or Mark Drier? What did Walt Whitman have in common with James Buchanan? He also points out that the entire idea of someone as being a “homosexual” hardly describes the reality as shown through experience. Some people have sex with one gender, many have sex with both. More are probably sexually attracted to members of their own gender at times than act on their desires. It’s apparently tempting for some to wonder which category those people belong in, if you’re the kind of person interested in putting people into categories. But that’s the problem. People in real life are too complex and varied to categorize like that. And why would you feel it was a useful thing to do? From the history of the 20th century, we know that kind of putting people into categories can be dangerous to their existence. I use the term “gay” purely as a political description without pretending it has scientific meaning.
I’m no beauty and certainly have not been mistaken as such in my lifetime. I’m also someone with sexual interest only in adult men. Being very fussy and having put up with more immaturity than you can shake a stick at, I’m only attracted to adult men who act like adults. So you can see, there’s not a lot for me to have chosen from.
In my life I’ve had several married men come on to me. Two were men who I’ve known most of my life. In a small town like the one I still live it, its likely that a history of having sex with other men would be known within the gay population. Anyone who is part of a small town’s gay population will know about straight men who also have sex with men. I had no reason to suspect that the two men I’m talking about had sex with other men. Were they gay? I don’t know. I don’t know why they came on to me, I don’t even know how they would have reacted if I’d accepted their advances, which I didn’t. Married men are a species I am totally uninterested in having sex with. Perhaps unfortunately, it would seem that further opportunities to collect data have dried up for me. Nothing like that has happened in quite a while now.
I don’t have much in common with most of the men who identify themselves as being “gay”. The stereotypes don’t fit many of the gay men I know. We don’t constitute a cohesive community. Other than the discrimination and threats of violence we face, there is pretty much only the fact that we are sexually attracted to some members of our own gender in common. I don’t believe that diversity results from a common genetic expression. My experience leads me to believe that Vidal got it more right than the social scientists ever can.
Oh.... I can’t resist. Those “gay genes”, which I doubt exist, probably couldn’t account for an increased reproductive activity in men who had sex with men. Maybe the researchers might ask if it might not be gay jeans that did it. At least you can see those.
* I’m trying to recall an example of a similarly rotten Republican lesbian and can’t think of a single example. There are certainly not as many obvious ones as there are FCA’s.