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(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Russia's Anti-Gay Stance: An In Depth Glance

Since when is Russia so anti-gay? I thought they were all about that stuff. Communists, you know - old-school propaganda poster boys for social progressiveness! They're not who you think of when you think of prudes. For one thing, they're all godless and shit, right? What do they base their puritanism on, in that case? Anyway, I do realize that not all Russians would consider themselves "godless," but if they're coming out officially as a gay bash nation, and they're also officially or traditionally more or less an atheist nation, then what, might I ask, the fuck? What's an anti-gay stance even based on when you take the bible out from under it. A giant turtle?

I do know that a stance like that isn't always something people feel they have to foist off on God. Of course I know there is strong anti-gay sentiment in many cultures, and in some cases it may just come down to people feeling grossed out by this whole notion of a dick in the ass. Even still, I'm just so used to anti-gay stances in this country coming down to fundamentalism that I can't even picture what another so-called "Western" nation would find to base it on. I wonder what chapter and verse the Russians cite amongst themselves to put this one over with force and emphasis?

Wasn't Lenin gay? Or wasn't legendary Marvel comics antihero/Iron Man adversary The Crimson Dynamo - wasn't he gay? I always got the idea he was gay. And speaking of propaganda posters, all those bright expressionist posters featuring the rippling, iron-jawed Idealized Worker way back in the 30s or 50s or whenever, isn't it generally acknowledged that that whole motif was basically a thinly-veiled camp fantasy? At once a sublimation and exaltation of the male homosexual libido? Why is he at work in his undershirt?

I feel like this whole gay thing is really coming out of nowhere, for Russia. It's making them look pretty weird on the global stage, to be all strutting out there on their big gay-hate parade, and can't even blame God as to why. Anyway, it's a confusing issue, and I'm sure to be paying more attention to it soon. This has been another In-Depth Glance.


Jen said...

Fun post.

Per your comment about being grossed out, yes, I would imagine they base it on natural law. But I have not done any research.

Regarding all the idealized statues of workers, that actually kinda fits. After all, look at ancient Greece. They idealized the human body, especially the male body, especially the ideal, physically fit male body. They considered this an expression of the ideal male mind/soul. They considered women not to really have minds or souls. This effectively cut off any real communion between men and women. Thus, though we needed women to have kids for us, a much more ideal kind of love was man/man. (Or, actually man/boy - ick!) The women did what you would expect and moved to the island of Lesbos.

For all their famed logic, those fathers of Western culture had some strange beliefs.

dogimo said...

Thanks! I had fun writing it.

Funny how natural law applies only to what grosses me out. Ancient Greece, I've always suspected that there were no more than about 10% homosexuals in the population, then as now. Impossible to say of course! But I can't imagine the actual proportion of people who found themselves attracted to their own sex, and not to the other sex, was higher then. Homo sapiens has not changed in the eyeblink between ancient Greece and today.

Of course, their culture had fewer hangups and stigmas. They were not grossed out. And so there was undoubtedly more experimentation by people who tried it, "no big deal," and found it not their thing. I find this approximately as troubling as people experimenting with vegetarianism. Lot of people doing that then, too!

Nothing wrong with it.

Jen said...

Hm. I'm not sure I buy your assumption that homosexuality is basically a binary thing that's either hardwired into you or isn't. Ancient Greece ... perfect example. Culturally, it was "normal" for upper-class married men to have a relationship with a boy or "youth." Consequently? Well, again, I haven't done the research, but my impression is that a lot more than 10% did. People are curious, they like experimentation, and if you make something socially normal, a lot of people will try it who wouldn't otherwise have given it a second thought.

dogimo said...

That's not really my assumption. I'm taking the 10% modern statistic as quoted, but my main point is humanity hasn't changed: whatever the accurate stat today is, I don't believe there are more or less of any orientation point now vs. then. More experimenters? Yes, sure, which was what I said - but experimentation palls at some point and you tend settle into what works best for you. I suppose there are some true bisexuals! But I believe usually people have a pronounced lean one way or the other.

dogimo said...

Mind you, my understanding of orientation comes more from talking to people more than statistics. So it could easily be a flawed sample - and not everybody is forthcoming on these things. But from talking to people who have had a thing or two to do with both ends of the spectrum, the sense I get is that anybody can experiment with anything in their high school and college years, but you tend to end up settling in a certain spot, because that's just what you find yourself attracted to. Ultimately, that's what floats your boat.

From reading I know it was not uncommon for homosexual men of my generation or younger to not realize they were gay, even to themselves, until well into adulthood - and have straight relationships of varying degrees of success in their younger days before figuring out what was going on. I don't believe these guys were what you could call "bi." They were basically "experimenting" but only because they'd been taught that straight was the thing to be, and nothing else occurred to them as an option. From what some of them have said to me, there was never any question of where they'd end up - in retrospect, as much as they wanted to be for social reasons they were never straight, or going to be.

I don't have any reason to doubt that assessment. I guess anyone can say there are some people out there whose orientation is either "chosen" or "taught" - but this isn't the experience of anybody I've talked to about it. My orientation was sure not chosen or taught. It just was. I didn't even know what sex was at that age, but I definitely knew who I - well, let's leave little 8 year old Joe's fantasies alone. GROSS.

dogimo said...

To be clear, the main thing I believe in those last few areas is that what we find ourselves attracted to is far more hardwired than taught or chosen. This doesn't mean it's binary, though.

dogimo said...

Hm. Re-reading the above, it reads as if maybe I'm being coy about the fact that I'm straight (heterosexual). Unintentional! I have no problem with my sexuality, with admitting it, or with proclaiming it. I think sexuality is fun, weird and cool and I tend to talk about the aspects, so it would be odd if I pretended I could be coy about it at this late date!

Of course, it's anyone's right to be private about anything they wish, but such was not my intent here.