The Heterodox

The Heterodox


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The Sexual Politics of Altered States

January 25, 2011 , , , , , ,

My regular readers will already be aware that I have been recurrently describing the themes contained within my first book of essays on this blog. Besides being an effective and obvious method of plugging my book (which is still seeking a publisher!?!?) it has also allowed me the opportunity of discussing themes that I feel are highly controversial as well as being inherently tendentious—today’s article will be no exception. The picture that is to the right of this text is of the street front of the newly opened LGBT History Museum on eighteenth street here in San Francisco. The arrival of this museum has been long over due for the Castro neighborhood and also happens to be what I feel is a better use of the space whose previous occupant was a kitsch laundry mat named As the Suds Turn. This new institution also happens to be next door to a bar which I regularly frequent. It was sometime last week when during a cigarette break from happy hour that I happened to glance over to the museum front. All of a sudden the topic for today and its relation to an essay I had written rushed into my cranium. The essay in my book revolves around the issue of transgenderism and how I feel that it is untenably conflated with homosexuality for an equally unjustifiable political convenience. I then proceed to share some anecdotal and clinical information to support this assertion and wish to now share with you a taste of my exhortation.

I begin my argument by critiquing the continued use of the acronym LGBT. This political salad of terms is ridiculous to me for two basic reasons which form the nucleus of my polemic. Firstly, I do not believe in the validity of the concept of bisexualism. Now I can only and will only ever argue my contentions from a strictly male point of view. As a man I do not feel I can speak with any authority on the existential reality of female sexuality. But all of my clinical research and sexual induction have thoroughly convinced me of the very protean nature of male sexuality; sex being the cardinal male biological exigency. If put into a sexual pillory (and I would argue in general), a man is never that scrupulous when deciding on a method which will satisfy his innate ejaculatory devoir. It is here where I agree with Gore Vidal that when one uses the sobriquets of homo or heterosexual, you are describing an act and not an individual. Where I disagree with my mentor though, is that I do see a distinction (one that is proving to be genetic in origin) in the emotional pair bonding found in human relationships. This is where the dichotomy of being gay or straight comes into its utility.

For myself, I have always known to some degree that I am only able to achieve the sating of my inherent emotional needs (human needs) with another man and not with a woman. It is more this contingency that makes me a gay man and not the manifestation of my sexuality. Since the psychological and emotional lineaments of men and women are so divergently marked, I do not see how anyone can find their human needs met in both sexes. This is the reality I postulate which makes the excision of the letter B from the aforementioned acronym possible if not desirable. Yet it is in the removal of the T which makes up the greater bulk of the essay in my book.

To begin this part of the analysis, one must be perfectly clear on a common semantic mistake. The use of the term transsexual is an erroneous one. Science does not have the ability (and probably never will, and there are plenty of morphological reasons for believing this which we do not need to go into here) to alter one’s sex which is delineated by the possession of either an XY chromosome set or an XX chromosome set. The people who feel a internal need to change themselves from say being a man into a women, would correctly be termed as a transgendered person. They may surgically alter their anatomy as well as alter their endocrinology, but they still are and will remain genetically male or female dependent on their chromosomal makeup. This is the common err that I continually encounter in most people’s language. There are too many people who feel that they can freely use and interchange the words sex and gender as if they meant the same thing even though they are very distinct in etymology and usage.

Gender solely refers to the socially and culturally conditioned mores describing what is deemed to be masculine and feminine within a particular society. Gender therefore has no scientific or genetic grounding at all. So for example, take the media frenzy over the proported pregnant man. The use of this epithet to describe this individual was a complete malapropism. In the most rudimentary sense of the word, being a man is necessitated by also being male. The so-called pregnant man is not a man at all but instead is a transgendered woman or female. I fully realize that this may seem like a pedantic point to some of you but it is a necessary one to the next part of my remonstration.

In discussions with friends of mine who are psychologists and in exchanges with my own psychiatrist, I have come to view trangenderism as a purely psycho-pathological condition and not as a sexual manifestation. I have adumbrated the possibility of pathology because of not only people I have personally known but also because of recent occurrences in the media sphere (in my essay I reference a rather bizarre episode of the Oprah show dealing with a portion of this debate). The kind of transgenders I am speaking of are individuals who wish to alter their gender so that they can then enjoin in homosexual relationships. Not only do I find this to be psychologically aberrational but I also see this contention as a disgusting insult. My sexuality and genetic manifestations are not choices which this transgender profligacy makes it seem like they are. Now I want it to be clearly understood that I would never assert that transgenders should be barred from achieving their own existential self-actualization; I will maintain this stance for all of my fellow primates. But it is the politics that imbue this behavior and the discussions about it which cause me to repine.

This is why I see the removal of the T from LGBT as being so imperative. The current socio-political immiserations that gays and lesbians are continually being subjected to are that much harder to fight against with this extra baggage. The corollary to this notion is that Transgenders would be better served in their own quest for political equipoise by having their own separate lobby. Both phalanxes are ultimately better off with the asserting of their own distinct and individual natures and communities. Yet no matter what you feel about this issue or which side of the debate you are on, the very discussion of this concern is what is so lamentably lacking from any current political dialog—especially amongst the gay and lesbian political elite, whoever they may be. This call for a new dialectic on this issue must be the paramount goal for all of us and I hope that I have intrigued some of you to pursue some kind of action in initiating this long over due gay and lesbian inquest—at the very least in your own social circles.

What do you think?

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