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Another dialogue on homosexuality

Back to homosexuality! Another possible dialogue:

Alter: So what’s your problem with gays?

Ego: “Gay” covers a variety of situations.

I have something of a problem with someone habitually engaging in homosexual acts. I have more of a problem if he claims that engaging in homosexual acts is basic to what he is. And if he expects public acceptance of what he does I have a big problem.

Alter: But why should you care at all what someone does sexually?

Ego: We’re social, so we care what other people are like. Sex is basic to our emotional life and our relationships to others. Someone’s relation to sex affects his whole network of connections to people. Why shouldn’t it affect how I feel about him? Suppose it were racism or pedophilia instead of homosexuality. Would you feel a little queasy if someone were a racist pedophile? If he thought that was central to what he is? If he proclaimed it openly and demanded that others accept it?

Alter: You can’t be serious. Racism and pedophilia are sick, and they hurt people. Homosexuality is just an orientation, no sicker than any other, and it hurts no-one.

Ego: There are people who say the same about racism and pedophilia. They’re just orientations, after all. Racism by itself doesn’t affect anyone other than the racist. Someone might use the N word or be obsessed with Nazi memorabilia and never hurt anybody. There are reputable scholars who claim pedophilia can be good for you. And there was a recent play, The Vagina Monologues, that showed the statutory rape of a 13 year old girl as a good thing. Enlightened opinion thought it was great.

Alter: But racism and pedophilia typically hurt people and homosexuality doesn’t.

Ego: Not so. Homosexuality is a radical rejection of the whole system of habit and feeling that defines what men and women are and what their relations should be. That system is necessary for life in society to be tolerable. It follows that to reject it is wrong, and we should respond to it as we respond to something wrong. Read my questions and answers on sexual morality if you want a more extended argument.

Alter: I think you’re sick.

Ego: Fine, you feel about homophobia the way I feel about homosexuality. Who has the right attitude depends on who has a better grip on human life. Most people and most serious thinkers have agreed with me. If you respect other people you’ll consider our arguments seriously. That’s all I ask.

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Comments

…”we should respond to it as we respond to something wrong.”
I think this can be put in specific terms. Many homosexuals don’t develop as certain a gender identity as heterosexuals, and so are more accepting of androgynising tendencies in modern life. Also, many homosexuals don’t feel the same restraint on sexual impulses as was traditional in heterosexual cultures.
I suppose it could be argued that homosexuals are only 2% of the population, and are therefore unlikely to influence mainstream culture.
However, homosexuals are strongly represented in areas important in shaping a culture, such as the arts, the humanities departments of universities, among the clergy of the churches and so on.
If homosexuals are influential, and seek to make their own world view normative, and if this world view conflicts with heterosexual culture (as with gender identity and sexual morality), then it can’t just be a question of tolerance, as there is also a question of which set of preferences will prevail.