â€œLa RevoluciÃ³nâ€ (2014), which depicts a nude Zapata donning a pink hat and high heels suggestively straddling a horse, was condemned by members of the UniÃ³n Nacional de Trabajadores AgrÃcolas (UNTA) and other similar agricultural groups for its characterization of the revolutionary. The clashes around ChÃ¡irezâ€™s painting come at a tumultuous time for the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL), the larger institution that oversees the museum, which was closed by unionized workers protesting alleged lack of payments on Wednesday morning. The museum remains closed to the public as of this afternoon.
According to El Universal, Ãlvaro LÃ³pez RÃos, a representative of UNTA, led a storming of the museum around noon on Tuesday to demand that the painting be removed from view and destroyed. Protesters blocked the entrance and chanted â€œBurn it, burn it!â€; they later hurled homophobic insults and other slurs at members of LGBTQ+ communities who had approached the scene in counter-protest. One of them was journalist and activist Antonio Bertran, whom LÃ³pez RÃos hit with a water bottle. A harrowing video shows another young man being violently kicked and beaten by protesters outside the museum.
ChÃ¡irezâ€™s representation in particular has incensed those who prefer to remember only a conventionally masculine image of Zapata, widely known as a principal figure of the Mexican Revolution, an early and important advocate for peasant rights in Mexico, and the namesake of the Zapatista movement. To farmworkers and ordinary Mexicans alike, he remains a beloved symbol of empowerment for poor and historically marginalized communities. …
â€œWhat this polemic reveals is that Mexico is still filled with homophobic machos. Because what bothered people was not an image of a Zapata â€˜mandilÃ³n,â€™ a barbaric Zapata, or even the cannibalistic Zapata that appears in revolutionary cartoons,â€ reflects Vargas, describing other works in the show. â€œWhat bothered people was an effeminate Zapata.â€
Vargas recounts that many of the members of agricultural unions who protested on Tuesday claimed ownersship of Zapataâ€™s image. They were invited into the museum to view the entire exhibition, which also includes traditional images of the leader, but they refused.
Toby Young, at the Spectator, notes the latest example of Great Big Capitalist Wokedness.
[T]he rainbow-colored biscuit must go to Budweiser UK. The lager manufacturer has decided to produce a range of plastic beer cups with Prideâ€™s nine official â€˜flagsâ€™ on them, each representing a different section of the LGBT community. Thereâ€™s â€˜Genderfluid Prideâ€™, for instance, a combination of pink, blue, white, purple and black, and â€˜Asexual Prideâ€™, where black is for â€˜asexuals who donâ€™t feel sexual attraction to anyoneâ€™ and white represents â€˜non-asexual alliesâ€™.
As a marketing exercise, Budweiserâ€™s â€˜Fly the Flagâ€™ campaign cannot be aimed at those people who happen to fall into these categories because there simply arenâ€™t enough of them. In the US, the Williams Institute estimates that about 0.66 percent of the population is transgender, but that is a voluminous number compared with some of the more niche groups represented by the Budweiser cups. For instance, the black stripe on the yellow, white, purple and black cup symbolizing â€˜Non-Binary Prideâ€™ is intended to represent â€˜those who feel they are without gender entirelyâ€™. Another flag labeled â€˜Intersex Prideâ€™ is aimed at people â€˜whose biological sex canâ€™t be classified as clearly male or femaleâ€™. About one person in 2,000 fall into that particular medical category.
So is the target audience beer drinkers whom Budweiser thinks will approve of the support itâ€™s showing to these groups? I doubt the company has done any research to establish how large that demographic is. Rather, itâ€™s a mandatory exercise in virtue signaling, something every large company now feels it has to do to demonstrate its alignment with progressive orthodoxy. But why? To attract woke applicants from good universities? Because someone in the corporate and social responsibility department has suggested it and no one dares contradict them for fear of being labeled homophobic, transphobic or bi-phobic? Because the fiftysomething CEO wants to be able to tell his blue-haired 16-year-old daughter that heâ€™s doing his bit to fight bigotry and oppression? Or is he planning to give a set of the rainbow cups to his wife so she can show them off to her friends at the local country club?
Probably all of the above, but thereâ€™s also a strong hint of religious observance in it, with all members of the Brahmin class, and those aspiring to join, feeling obliged to express the same progressive pieties.
“The movement towards androgyny occurs in late phases of culture, as a civilization is starting to unravel. You can find it again and again and again through history. In the Greek art you could see it happening. All of a sudden the sculptures of handsome nude young men, athletes, that used to be very robust in the archaic period, suddenly begin to seem like wet noodles toward the end. And the people who live in such periods (late phases of culture)â€Šâ€”â€Šwhether itâ€™s the Hellenistic era, whether itâ€™s the Roman Empire, whether itâ€™s the Mauve decade of Oscar Wilde in the 1890s, whether itâ€™s Weimar Germanyâ€Šâ€”â€Špeople who live in such times feel that they are very sophisticated, theyâ€™re very cosmopolitan: â€œhomosexuality, heterosexuality, so what, anything goes, and so onâ€¦â€ But from the perspective of historical distance, you can see that itâ€™s a culture that no longer believes in itself. And then what you invariably get are people who are convinced of the power of heroic masculinity on the edges. Whether they be the Vandals and the Huns, or whether theyâ€™re the barbarians of ISIS, you see them starting to mass on the outsides of the culture. And thatâ€™s what we have right now. Thereâ€™s a tremendous disconnect between the infatuation with the transgender movement in our own culture and whatâ€™s going on out there.”
A lot of people on Facebook yesterday were marveling at, and laughing about, this leftie idiot‘s ideological derangement and her absolutely appalling Mount-Everest-sized shrill sense of self-entitlement. Her much-enduring and despite-all-her-bullshit loving family has evidently, for years and years, through what must have been a truly dreadful adolescence well into what-ought-to-be adulthood tolerated her vicious politics and humored her sexually perverse nonsense, but those terrible people failed to climb on board the radical LGBTQ&c.&c. train with her and she, they, zir, or ze is finally fed up.
Every Sunday for the last 12 years, I have called my conservative Republican mom and talked to her for upwards of an hour. I tell her about my work, and try to keep her entertained with cheery, funny anecdotes. I share good news and paper over bad. I keep the conversation flowing and effervescent. In each call, I work hard to come across as someone happy, with lots of friends and lots to do, and nothing to complain or cry about.
I have upheld this ritual through breakups, bereavements, depressive episodes, periods of trauma, and years of acute political turmoil. Iâ€™ve only wavered and broken kayfabe a few timesâ€Šâ€”â€Šwhen my dad died, for example, or when Trump was elected. That time, I curled up on a bench and sobbed, begging my conservative mom to understand what her vote had done to me. I shook and sputtered borderline incomprehensible things about how much it hurt for her to vote the way she did, how betrayed I felt as a sexual assault survivor, a trans person, a scientist, or a person who needs birth control.
She believed we could agree to disagree, so long as we never discussed or even thought about our disagreements.
She reacted with the same equanimity she always projects when unwanted emotions rear their needy heads. She wasnâ€™t concerned that her actions had hurt or betrayed me, no, she was worried I was stressing myself out by thinking about it too much. She believed we could agree to disagree, so long as we never discussed or even thought about our disagreements. By refusing to stop glaring at our differences, I was the one hurting myself.
Thatâ€™s how itâ€™s always been in my family. I am the renegade, the unstable queer one, with big emotions and strange desires that alienate me from my familyâ€™s politics. I am responsible for minimizing the conflict that my existence creates. Iâ€™m not supposed to express emotion, start fights, or remind anyone of the chasm that separates my life from their traditional, â€œfamily-orientedâ€ values.
Iâ€™m done carrying that responsibility. Itâ€™s been slowly poisoning me for years. …
My mom wouldnâ€™t say sheâ€™s socially conservative. Neither would most of my Republican relatives. They like to think of themselves as family-oriented, patriotic, no-nonsense lovers of fiscal restraint, and it doesnâ€™t matter if the reality of the political choices lines up with those ideals. They donâ€™t like to talk about the basis for their ideology, or evidence in support of their viewsâ€Šâ€”â€Šand they absolutely will not acknowledge the social consequences of their actions. They have always voted Republican, and it seems they always will, no matter the candidate they are given or the abhorrent policies that candidate advances. And for the most part, they donâ€™t want to talk about their beliefs or the reasons for their choicesâ€Šâ€”â€Šaside, perhaps, from a few idle rants about the evils of the Clintons. In such a vacuum of reflection and vulnerability, itâ€™s paralyzingly difficult for me to even start a conversation about the harm theyâ€™ve done.
In my family, control and invalidation are wielded subtly, and perhaps without conscious intent. Norms are enforced through a gentle blend of selective praise, light mockery, quiet dismissal, and mild admonition. If I take a step toward prescribed, traditional roles, I am celebrated and recognized. If I take a different path, or express a competing desire, I am ignored or ridiculed in a way I canâ€™t quite point to. If I complain about that ridicule, I am dismissed as overly sensitive or told Iâ€™m making things up, misremembering them.
I have dozens of memories of family members chiding a teenage me for expressing disinterest in giving birth or having a family. Whenever I expressed a passion for the sciences or a desire to go to grad school, I was treated as though my interests were cute, but fleeting. When I began throwing my adolescent, closeted self into politicsâ€Šâ€”â€Šmostly activism for LGBT rightsâ€Šâ€”â€Šmy mother would tell me, in hushed tones, that it was â€œokayâ€ that I was doing so, but that we wouldnâ€™t be letting my grandparents know about what Iâ€™d been up to.
I wasnâ€™t beaten for being who I was. Usually, I wasnâ€™t even directly berated. The problem wasnâ€™t a specific act of mistreatment or abuse, but rather the emotional and political climate that surrounded me. My family consistently listened to conservative voices that branded me, and people like me, as perverse, immature, deluded, and mockable. My family voted, without relent, for politicians who wanted to curtail abortion rights, LGBT rights, educational access, and intellectual freedom. They unilaterally advanced and rewarded a life path that was traditional, deeply gendered, and rooted in devotion to the family unit, often to the detriment of connections with the outside world. They couldnâ€™t see how these actions wore me down and slowly, quietly, left me feeling broken, incapable of appropriate adulthood, and totally alone.
Michael Hobbes, in HuffPo, wonders why, after our courts have decided that homosexuals can marry and the rest of us had better bake them a cake or else, members of that subculture are still so lonely and unhappy.
In our lifetime, the gay community has made more progress on legal and social acceptance than any other demographic group in history. As recently as my own adolescence, gay marriage was a distant aspiration, something newspapers still put in scare quotes. Now, itâ€™s been enshrined in law by the Supreme Court. Public support for gay marriage has climbed from 27 percent in 1996 to 61 percent in 2016. In pop culture, weâ€™ve gone from â€œCruisingâ€ to â€œQueer Eyeâ€ to â€œMoonlight.â€ Gay characters these days are so commonplace theyâ€™re even allowed to have flaws.
Still, even as we celebrate the scale and speed of this change, the rates of depression, loneliness and substance abuse in the gay community remain stuck in the same place theyâ€™ve been for decades. Gay people are now, depending on the study, between 2 and 10 times more likely than straight people to take their own lives. Weâ€™re twice as likely to have a major depressive episode. And just like the last epidemic we lived through, the trauma appears to be concentrated among men. In a survey of gay men who recently arrived in New York City, three-quarters suffered from anxiety or depression, abused drugs or alcohol or were having risky sexâ€”or some combination of the three. Despite all the talk of our â€œchosen families,â€ gay men have fewer close friends than straight people or gay women. In a survey of care-providers at HIV clinics, one respondent told researchers: â€œItâ€™s not a question of them not knowing how to save their lives. Itâ€™s a question of them knowing if their lives are worth saving.â€ …
â€œMarriage equality and the changes in legal status were an improvement for some gay men,â€ says Christopher Stults, a researcher at New York University who studies the differences in mental health between gay and straight men. â€œBut for a lot of other people, it was a letdown. Like, we have this legal status, and yet thereâ€™s still something unfulfilled.â€
This feeling of emptiness, it turns out, is not just an American phenomenon. In the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal since 2001, gay men remain three times more likely to suffer from a mood disorder than straight men, and 10 times more likely to engage in â€œsuicidal self-harm.â€ In Sweden, which has had civil unions since 1995 and full marriage since 2009, men married to men have triple the suicide rate of men married to women.
All of these unbearable statistics lead to the same conclusion: It is still dangerously alienating to go through life as a man attracted to other men.
[A]s the first look walked out, a man to my right said out loud in pure exhilaration: â€œGender! So last season!â€
What would result lived up to and, in fact, beyond the hypeâ€”and it was a privilege to witness. Not a moment too soon, and somehow fitting for the final day of the menswear loop, Palomo sent out a lavish and over-the-top collection that, at its core, gave a bejeweled and feather-trimmed middle finger to the unaccepting and the regressive. How fabulously timely.
The 24 year-old, who told Vogue in an interview last month that he works with “materials that are usually used for womenswear”, founded the label less than a year ago and has since been doing the most to shatter the traditional gender binary that has long ruled men’s fashion.
Alejandro’s Spring ’17 collection is so goddamn regal it hurts. Think Elizabethan ruffles meets Studio 54 with thigh-high boots (held up by garters no less!), pleated schoolgirl skirts and of course, a lot of skin.
Adios forever heteronormativity, one corset at a time.
[T]he Palomo Spain fall 2017 collection looked like what would happen if a young Spanish prince got into his mother, the queen’s, wardrobe. Or if a matador was feeling a bit kinky. (It also owed a major debt to the in-your-face hauteur of the the bad boys of the so-called Movida MadrileÃ±a of post-Franco Spain, like Pedro Almodovar.) The show opened with a feminine take on suiting, with ruffles, bell sleeves, and exposed shoulders. And closed with virginal boys in all white gowns and garters, plus one latex suit that resembled a bridegroom’s condom.
“Itâ€™s all the boys in the club,” said Palomo of his collection the following day. “Youâ€™ve got the dandies, the very serious, masculine guys, and then youâ€™ve got the slutty boys in high boots.”
For his first two collections, Palomo had a much more romantic, poetic approach, but for this season he wanted to be less “beautiful” and more naughty. “Itâ€™s not this naive thing anymore,” he added of his relationship to fashion. “I wanted to go a little further to a more sexual place. Itâ€™s about trying to find your sexual self inside and exploring it. Whatâ€™s the role of sex in our lives?”
Before he could answer, the tall and slender model named Pol Roig waltzed over wearing a bedazzled sequin houndstooth blazer, knee-high sliver go-go boots, and nothing else. He reached his hand into the pocket of Polomo’s pants and pulled out his iPhone. “See! This is what Iâ€™m talking about,â€ said Polomo, with a laugh. â€œWe thought about putting trousers on him, but he looks better without.” And it’s true, he did. He just lacked pockets of his own.
“When you feel attracted to something, you canâ€™t control your body,” said Polomo, who nervously stroked a rose flower while he spoke, eventually breaking its stem.
It seems odd that at least one major industry is dominated by the mentally disordered and psychologically defective. That sexual perversity is able to strut openly as an identity is symptomatic of Liberal Egalitarianism’s inability to resist any grievance-bearing constituency.
This sort of thing went on, as well, in Ancient Rome, and, then as now, was recognized as gravely symptomatic of that Empire and Society’s imminent downfall.
Apart from celebrating our culture’s impending Apocalyptic collapse into supine decadence, I personally find it impossible to understand the point of all of this. How do you make money by producing a clothing line of grotesque statements of perversity that not even a West Village Queer could possibly wear anywhere outside a Gay Pride Parade?
Macy’s will not be purchasing this stuff for its Men’s Department. There must be some unfathomable-to-straight-guys connection between these kinds of costume statements and clothing for women that women actually buy. There is a profound mystery there.
Heather MacDonald reports on the latest academic breaktrough in gender equity. Naturally, it occurred in California.
Another day in academia, another twist in the bizarre world of identity studies. The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, is presenting a talk next week on â€œQueering Agriculture,â€ dedicated to the proposition that â€œit is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.â€
Queer theory has taken over student life on many campuses. Now that gay identity has been thoroughly institutionalized, declaring oneself â€œtrans*,â€ â€œgenderqueer,â€ â€œpangender,â€ or any of the other rapidly multiplying alternative sexes has become the last frontier of self-engrossed agitation available to students. But apart from the odoriferous leavings of female ginko trees, the â€œproblemâ€ of gender and plants did not seem to be a pressing one, making the application of queer theory to agriculture an innovation that even the most dogged observers of identity studies might not have seen coming. The talkâ€™s presenter, a Ph.D. candidate in American studies at the University of Maryland, will allegedly show that â€œthe growing popularity of sustainable food is laden with anthroheterocentric assumptions of the â€˜good lifeâ€™ coupled with idealized images and ideas of the American farm, and gender, radicalized and normative standards of health, family, and nation.â€
Only slightly modified from HuffPo quotation of Reuters’ story:
In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that fallen angels had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept demons and recognize positive aspects of spirits damned to Hell throughout Eternity.
The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for fallen angels without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife.
While the text did not signal any change in the Church’s condemnation of rebellion in Heaven or its opposition to the overthrow of God, it used language that was less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements under previous popes.
The document will be the basis for discussion for the second and final week of the assembly, known as a synod, which was called by Pope Francis and focuses on the theme of the angelic.
It will also serve for further reflection among Catholics around the world ahead of another, definitive synod next year.
“Fallen angels have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these spirits, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home,” said the document, known by its Latin name “relatio”.
“Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their political orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife?” it asked.
John Thavis, Vatican expert and author of the bestselling 2013 book “The Vatican Diaries”, called the document “an earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards damned spirits.
“The document clearly reflects Pope Francis’ desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on theology and the afterlife,” he said.
A number of participants at the closed-door synod have said the Church should tone down its condemnatory language when referring to fallen angels and avoid phrases such as “devils” and “tempters” when speaking of former angels.
Out Boulder, an LGBTQ advocacy group, has launched an online petition seeking to pressure organizers of the Bolder Boulder to drop their slogan “Sea Level is for Sissies” because they say the word “sissies” is derogatory.
But race organizers say they have no plans to retire the slogan.
The Change.org petition was posted Wednesday by Out Boulder’s executive director, Mardi Moore, and by the evening it had 25 signatures.
“The word is used to (demean) traits that are problematically and stereotypically associated with women,” the petition reads. “Traits that all genders have but are not valued because they are associated with women. … All genders express emotions and they should be embraced when they do.
“It’s past due that the Bolder Boulder retire this slogan. Make your voice heard.”
Moore said the slogan is “harmful” and leads to further misunderstanding about gender.
“This has been a longstanding issue for us in the LGBT community,” Moore said. “When somebody calls you a sissy, it is not positive. … That word continues the incorrect thinking that having emotions or expressing something in a stereotypically female way is somehow wrong in society.”
Moore said she was motivated to put up the petition after a letter to the editor by Debbie Ramirez appeared in the Daily Camera on April 21 calling the T-shirt “highly offensive.”
“I am a women who runs, rock climbs and performs well athletically. I also have the traits associated with someone who is called a sissy,” Ramirez wrote. “I cry, I get hurt and I express my emotions. If this is what a sissy is, I am proud to be a sissy and would never wear a T-shirt that does not value these traits in all genders.”
Michael W. Hannon, in First Things, serves up some serious history demonstrating that Americans have recently been legislating privileges and remodeling the fundamental institutions of Society in favor of an imaginary category of beings.
Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals …, were an invention of the 1860s. Contrary to our cultural preconceptions and the lies of what has come to be called â€œorientation essentialism,â€ â€œstraightâ€ and â€œgayâ€ are not ageless absolutes. Sexual orientation is a conceptual scheme with a history, and a dark one at that. It is a history that began far more recently than most people know, and it is one that will likely end much sooner than most people think.
Over the course of several centuries, the West had progressively abandoned Christianityâ€™s marital architecture for human sexuality. Then, about one hundred and fifty years ago, it began to replace that longstanding teleological tradition with a brand new creation: the absolutist but absurd taxonomy of sexual orientations. Heterosexuality was made to serve as this fanciful frameworkâ€™s regulating ideal, preserving the social prohibitions against sodomy and other sexual debaucheries without requiring recourse to the procreative nature of human sexuality.
On this novel account, same-sex sex acts were wrong not because they spurn the rational-animal purpose of sexâ€”namely the familyâ€”but rather because the desire for these actions allegedly arises from a distasteful psychological disorder. As queer theorist Hanne Blank recounts, â€œThis new concept [of heterosexuality], gussied up in a mangled mix of impressive-sounding dead languages, gave old orthodoxies a new and vibrant lease on life by suggesting, in authoritative tones, that science had effectively pronounced them natural, inevitable, and innate.â€
Sexual orientation has not provided the dependable underpinning for virtue that its inventors hoped it would, especially lately. Nevertheless, many conservative-minded Christians today feel that we should continue to enshrine the gayâ€“straight divide and the heterosexual ideal in our popular catechesis, since that still seems to them the best way to make our moral maxims appear reasonable and attractive.
These Christian compatriots of mine are wrong to cling so tightly to sexual orientation, confusing our unprecedented and unsuccessful apologia for chastity with its eternal foundation. We do not need â€œheteronormativityâ€ to defend against debauchery. On the contrary, it is just getting in our way.
Michel Foucault, an unexpected ally, details the pedigree of sexual orientation in his History of Sexuality. Whereas â€œsodomyâ€ had long identified a class of actions, suddenly for the first time, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the term â€œhomosexualâ€ appeared alongside it. This European neologism was used in a way that would have struck previous generations as a plain category mistake, designating not actions, but peopleâ€”and so also with its counterpart and foil â€œheterosexual.â€
Psychiatrists and legislators of the mid- to late-1800s, Foucault recounts, rejected the classical convention in which the â€œperpetratorâ€ of sodomitical acts was â€œnothing more than the juridical subject of them.â€ With secular society rendering classical religious beliefs publicly illegitimate, pseudoscience stepped in and replaced religion as the moral foundation for venereal norms. To achieve secular sexual social stability, the medical experts crafted what Foucault describes as â€œa natural order of disorder.â€
â€œThe nineteenth-century homosexual became a personage,â€ â€œa type of life,â€ â€œa morphology,â€ Foucault writes. This perverted psychiatric identity, elevated to the status of a mutant â€œlife formâ€ in order to safeguard polite society against its disgusting depravities, swallowed up the entire character of the afflicted: â€œNothing that went into [the homosexualâ€™s] total composition was unaffected by his sexuality. It was everywhere present in him: at the root of all his actions because it was their insidious and indefinitely active principle.â€
The imprudent aristocrats encouraging these medical innovations changed the measure of public morality, substituting religiously colored human nature with the secularly safer option of individual passion. In doing so, they were forced also to trade the robust natural law tradition for the recently constructed standard of â€œpsychiatric normality,â€ with â€œheterosexualityâ€ serving as the new normal for human sexuality. Such a vague standard of normality, unsurprisingly, offered far flimsier support for sexual ethics than did the classical natural law tradition.
There is a similar piece, looking at homosexuality from an anthropological perspective by David Benkof at Daily Caller.
[B]efore the 19th century nobody was called â€œgay.â€ … While various societies had different ways of thinking about and expressing gender, love, and desire, homosexuality was generally something one could do, not something one could be.
The New York Times ponders the life and personality of the on-leave assistant English prof, who recently was arrested as the result of a connubial spat and who then proceeded to die in police custody.
Faculty members and students at Yale University, where he was an admired assistant professor of English, were shaken and openly mourned the abrupt, inexplicable conclusion to his life. Investigations are now examining the circumstances of his death, to see if he had been ill or injured and determine whether the authorities bore any blame. He was 34.
In the weeks that have passed, equally puzzling questions have arisen about just who Mr. See was and how many lives he led.
Was he a hip, beloved college professor enmeshed in discord with the man he had recently married? Was he someone battling crippling health and emotional problems? Or was he a gay hustler, brazenly posting explicit pictures of himself on male escort websites in pursuit of sexual encounters?
From the incomplete pieces that have thus far emerged, it seems he was all of those things.
My research and teaching focus primarily on British and American modernist literature and sexuality studies. Iâ€™m currently interested in the questions that aesthetic and sexual feeling present for literary historiography. My first book project explores how British and American modernist writers co-opt the evolutionary precepts of degeneration theory to depict queer feeling as natural: material but nonetheless subject to change. My next book project will examine how British and American writers throughout the twentieth century use aesthetics like the mythical method and magic realism to create queer mythologies that depict the construction of transhistorical and transnational queer communities.
Now that’s what Yale really needed: a specialist in Degeneration, teaching the subject with a positive spin.
Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.
â€œAt best genetics is a minor factor,â€ says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.
Baby, you were born this way.â€ As soon as Lady Gaga sang these words on her smash hit “Born This Way,” they became a rallying cry for gay people around the world, an anthem for sexual minorities facing discrimination. The shiny, catchy song carries an empowering (if simple) message: Donâ€™t be ashamed about being gay, or bi, or trans, or anythingâ€”thatâ€™s just how you were born. Gaga later named her anti-bullying charity after the same truism, and two filmmakers borrowed it for their documentary exposing homophobia in Africa. A popular “Born This Way” blog encourages users to submit reflections on â€œtheir innate LGBTQ selves.â€ Need a quick, pithy riposte against anti-gay bigotry? Baby, we were born this way.
But were we? Thatâ€™s the foundational question behind the gay rights movementâ€”and its opponents. If gay people were truly born that way, the old canard of homosexuality as a â€œlifestyle choiceâ€ (or â€œsexual preferenceâ€) is immediately disproven. But if gay people werenâ€™t born that way, if scientists were unable to find any biological basis for sexual orientation, then the Family Research Council crowd could claim vindication in its fight to label homosexuality unnatural, harmful, and against nature.
In recent years, scientists have proposed various speculative biological bases for homosexuality but never settled on an answer. As researchers draw closer to uncovering an explanation, however, a new question has arisen: What if in some cases sexuality is caused by an identifiable chemical process in the womb? What if, in other words, homosexuality can potentially be prevented? That is one implication of one of the most widely accepted hypotheses thus far proposed. And if itâ€™s true, it could turn out to be a blow for the gay rights movement.
Some of the strongest current evidence that some people are born gay is based on a phenomenon called the fraternal birth order effect. Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that men with older biological brothers are likelier to be gay than men with older sisters or no older siblings. The likelihood of being gay increases by about 33 percent with each additional older brother.