Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Made Gay In The U.S.A.

Just because there is a biological component to gayness – a “gay gene” – does not negate the fact that people can indeed be “made” homosexual. (And I’m not talking about the “ex” gays and lesbians who found religion and now live happily ever after in Colorado Springs.) If we are going to acknowledge that nature plays a role in defining sexuality, why can’t we be honest and admit that nurture can as well?

Spending so many years in a relationship with a gay-for-pay sex worker was akin to doing anthropological fieldwork in human desire. David very much wanted to be gay – it would have made life a hell of a lot easier. Shacking up with a sugar daddy in a long-term relationship would have been preferable to the hustle of porn and tricks. The only problem was a genetic one – that damn “straight gene” that kept his dick hard for pussy. Though David always claimed to be bisexual, his “homosexuality” was limited to a desire for power over men, only wanting to cock-tease or hate-fuck, to conquer and control.

I remember being struck by the words of a "New York Times" film critic describing the typical onscreen baddie. “Sadism is sensual; it’s also a need.” David’s homosexuality was inextricably linked to his childhood abuse. Gay sex was familiar to him – and there was comfort in that familiarity. Conversely, the absence of sexual manipulation, of vengeance, was the very cause of his often being “scared” with women.

Indeed, there are scores of lesbians and gay men in the world who were abused as adolescents – and who cling to homosexuality for that reason. Being female, lesbians molested by men tend to eschew the male oppressor, look for comfort and feel safer with women. Being male, gay men abused by men seem to see in homosexuality an opportunity to rewrite history, to vanquish the oppressor, to regain a sense of power lost long ago (or because they also find safety in that which they know intimately). In either case, are these people truly any more homosexual than “ex” gays are straight? It’s an interesting question and one that won’t be solved in the human genome. So perhaps instead we should just learn to accept the yin and yang of nature and nurture – and stop looking to science for answers that need no solutions.

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