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Comment: Future sex – beyond gay and straight

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  1. A non-homophobic society doesn’t necessarily mean a sexually enlightened society though, does it?

    There’s no reason society couldn’t lose homophobia but continue to be sexually repressed

    1. That depends on how you define sexually repressed, I guess …

      1. Peter Tatchell 10 Jan 2012, 2:38pm

        Good point. I agree. That’s why we must work for sexual liberation, not just LGBT liberation.

  2. Uh, surely “people who are both gay and straight” or have “both heterosexual and homosexual attractions” are already included in LGBT – bisexuals? It seems strange to write so much about people being attracted to more than one gender and yet not use the word except when spelling out the acronym…

    1. You are assuming that people who have both heterosexual and homosexual attractions want to label themselve ‘bisexuals’.

      That’s a bit of a stretch.

      You should not assign labels onto people who have not claimed that label.

      1. … any significance, and where sexuality is seen more as a spectrum …

        That said, there are profound differences globally in how orientation is perceived, acknowledged, integrated, accepted and tolerated. There is no single answer to moving to a scenario that Peter Tatchell discusses (although his hopes are a great target for us to have). Countries such as the Scandinavian countries and South Africa may well be very close (in some ways) to this “target” espoused to in the article, others such as Spain and Argentina are moving towards a Scandinavian scenario relatively rapidly, the UK, Australia, Germany etc lag a little further behind, followed by perhaps the USA, Nepal and others, then there are problematic coutnries such as Middles Eastern countries, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana etc …

        If we are to reach a global consensus on equality and sexuality then there needs to be a humane approach that is accepted on a global basis. We can lead by example in some nations but need to ….

        1. Posted out of sequence – sorry

    2. @Marcus

      Its not that straightforward though is it …

      Of course there are heterosexuals, lesbians, gay men and bisexuals …

      There are people who have defined themselves as straight and then move into a new (and to them surprising) relationship with someone of the same sex … they could identify as bisexual, but equally they could identify as homosexual (as their ‘new’ experience may have identified emotions and feelings that they had not released they experienced before – some may call this repressed feelings, some may not) …

      That is just one of a wide range of scenarios which could lead people to identify the orientation or sexuality in varying ways … whilst in a cold clinical examination, if someone is or has been attracted to both men and women there is merit in considering bisexuality as a descriptor, there may be good reason why the person concerned does not wish to identify in this way …

      I hope we are moving to a world where, generally, orientation is not of …

      1. … any significance, and where sexuality is seen more as a spectrum …

        That said, there are profound differences globally in how orientation is perceived, acknowledged, integrated, accepted and tolerated. There is no single answer to moving to a scenario that Peter Tatchell discusses (although his hopes are a great target for us to have). Countries such as the Scandinavian countries and South Africa may well be very close (in some ways) to this “target” espoused to in the article, others such as Spain and Argentina are moving towards a Scandinavian scenario relatively rapidly, the UK, Australia, Germany etc lag a little further behind, followed by perhaps the USA, Nepal and others, then there are problematic coutnries such as Middles Eastern countries, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana etc …

        If we are to reach a global consensus on equality and sexuality then there needs to be a humane approach that is accepted on a global basis. We can lead by example in some nations but need to ….

        1. … encourage others to adopt a more progressive and equal humane stance.

          There will also always be some who are homophobic – that will not disappear. In the same way that (largely) racism is not regarded as acceptable in society – there still remains racism.

  3. Interesting article but some points I think need to be made.

    He writes of homophobia decreasing around the world. Whichis fortunately true. But a post-homophobic society. That’s a stretch.

    The rights that have been won by the LGBT population are not necessarily permanent and can easily be revoked (hello California). At times of great economic crisis (like at present) people need a scapegoat. And that scapegoat position is ALWAYS filled by a minority group – gays, jews, communists, gypsies, black people, muslims, single mothers etc etc. If there is another global catastrophe like the tsunami or continusing mass displacement of people caused by climate change, or a nuclear bomb, then who knows where that will leave the fragile rights we have won.

    The LGBT community is a minority group. Therefore our rights will always be vulnerable. This is always the case for minorities. It’s not a pleasant fact but it’s fact nonetheless.

    The article also speaks of a ‘sexually enlightened society’. This is a nice theory but it’s simply a theory. There are isalnds of such freedom – Amsterdam; San Francisco; Brighton etc but these are constantly under attack.

    And the idea that sexuality is flexible has not been proven. Yes recent surveys have suggested that far greater percentages of people have same-sex and opposite sex attracttions, than was previously thought. However the Kinsey findings have been discredited (he surveyed an urban dwelling, male population, many of whom had been in prison, thereby skewing the results. The recent Observer study from 2008 says that 23% of people had had a same sex experience proves nothing. It does not meant that this 23% are ‘post homophobic’ . And it also means that over 3/4 of people have NEVER had a same sex experience.

    I think this article is more of a wishful thinking piece rather than based in any kind of present day reality (how many countries still criminalise us).

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    It is WAY too early to be talking of a post-homophobic society.

    1. I agree, the article is a lot of wishful utopian dreaming, not born out by the scientific research. It will also no doubt be used by opponents of equal rights as “evidence” that allowing gay marriage is dangerous, and that those who are gay should not be considered a minority. Peter is being very naive here.

      1. Also, like our opponents, he appears to confuse sexual behaviour with sexual orientation. There is a category, particularly in Asia, called msm, men who have sex with men, but who are straight. For them I guess it is a form of masterbation, either because of the absence of access to women, or for money. No doubt they visualise women while they are doing it.

        1. @A N Spit

          The only caveat that I would put in place (whilst endorsing your stance that sexual behaviour can be confused with sexual orientation) is that there is evidence that those who have had a same sex experience tend to be more accepting and understanding of orientation issues even if they do not identify as homosexual or bisexual …

          1. And there are those who go to the opposite extreme and assume that because they played around in public school, though they are straight, that it is some sort of adolescent ” phase ” for everyone.

          2. I would tend to agree Stu. My experience from Spain where some straight guys are escorts often to be found in gay saunas is that they tend to be less homophobic than their similarly aged counterparts in the social groups they originate from (not to be too general but many of their friends see homosexuals as soft targets for abuse, mugging and even occasional very violent attacks). They seem to be far more comfortable not only in the sex aspect but in generally hanging round and socialising (or working as bar staff or bouncers) in gay bars when not working as escorts. Funnily they do not seem to suffer any lack of acceptance or inclusion within their own social group because of this. This could simply be a machismo thing in Spain where many men think it is expected to be homophobic and to attack the maricones. I should say that my experience is not from the main urban areas of Spain but restricted to significantly gay tourist areas.

      2. Staircase2 10 Jan 2012, 3:45pm

        This is (predictably) rubbish…
        It wouldn’t hurt you to THINK a bit about what you say for once before reverting to your jerking knees…

      3. A N Spit: Your argument seems to be that because opponents of equal rights will not like it, we shouldn’t discuss the ideal scenario. That is quite dangerous I think.

    2. GingerlyColors 10 Jan 2012, 1:29pm

      You mentioned a whole group of other minorities here. It is worth mentioning that gays are not the most hated group in the UK, I belive that Islamophobia happens on a greater scale than homophobia, but many (but not most) Muslims want us subjected to Sharia Law and that doesn’t help. Prejudice against travellers however is quite considerable. Watching ‘My Big Fat Gipsy Wedding’ on Channel 4 recently a couple who were marrying tried to book their reception at 50 venues only to be fobbed off with excuses like ‘we are double booked’ or ‘we are closed for renovation’ etc. They ended up having their reception at a sanctuary for unwanted animals! Gay couples do not have that problem! While I may object to a load of caravans suddenly turning up on my doorstep overnight I would like to point out that Gipsies perished in the same concentration camps as homosexuals and that as fellow human beings we should have some respect. If you want to meet the travelling community why not visit the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria held during the first week of June.

    3. Peter Tatchell 10 Jan 2012, 2:44pm

      I did not say we were yet in a post-homophobic society but that we are moving in that direction – just the UK has become a post-slavery / post feudal society (over many centuries).

      1. Unfortunately slavery is returning in terms of people trafficking and recent arrests in the traveller community for slavery …

        However, I think we are evolving in terms of both what is acceptable in society and what is expected … the changing of those expectations, perception of normality and desire to be in tune with oneself can only lead to a more in tune society (if we all engage with it)

  4. I think that as homophobia recedes young people are more likely to try out both opposite sex and same sex relationships before they decide where their preference lies and having a bisexual history will make them more likely to not want to put a label on their sexuality. It used to be that sex before marriage was taboo and experimenting and learning about your own sexuality (in the broader sense) by having sexual partners before marriage was not the norm – but now it is the norm. I think that youthful experimentation is growing to include a broader range of sexual partners and practices, including gay sex.

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 10 Jan 2012, 11:02am

      Say what??? I’m a gay male, have never had the desire to experiment with girls and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Your suggestion young people will try both genders before settling on a preferred gender is in the realms of sci-fi.

      1. Totally agree.

      2. Absolutely agree – I think Peter is being too utopian and so losing the point that there are those who are 100% homosexual (and 100% heterosexual) for whom having sex with the opposite gender (or same) would never be a object of experimentation. I do think however that there are many who are not 100% at either end of the spectrum who may feel freer to experiment as time goes forward and stigma becomes a lesser issue. The surveys certainly seem to point to a rise in this group. I actually think it is this realisation and normalisation that the churches are most fearful of as the number of people who have had same sex experiences increases they will be forced to adapt or die – just as they have had to in marriage for divorcees, adulterers and fornicators.

        I also think that although sex before marriage was considered taboo, it didn’t seem to stop too many doing it.

        1. Peter Tatchell 10 Jan 2012, 2:46pm

          I never said what you’re suggesting I said. See my comments below at around 2.50pm. Thanks.

      3. I disagree. I had several girlfriends before I came to realise I’m gay. Granted, that may have been because as a child I was expected to grow up to be straight. But I think even now, if the right woman wanted to experiment, I’d give it a try. It’s not like I’m repulsed by women. No one is suggesting that everyone will want to have sex with both genders. Just that some who previously wouldn’t have dared, may now be open to try it as a new experience. Or will in the future.

    2. @Dromio

      There may be some who wish to try both same sex and opposite sex relationships (not sure there will be a greater incidence in the number who do, but maybe less of a stigma?) …

      There will still be many who clearly identify as either homosexual or heterosexual and have no desire to contemplate alternative sexual experiences …

  5. Adrian Hamilton 10 Jan 2012, 10:59am

    I’ve always believed labels create stigma, but how do we homogenize?

    1. Why would we want to homogenize? My perception is that we are evolving towards a point where we can embrace and nurture expression of individuality in those around us without the neurosis that to do so will subsume our own. Hence we have a diversification and enrichment of everyones life journey

    2. I don’t think it should be a choice between having labels and potential stigma, or homogenisation …

      Surely, a better scenario would be where there is acceptance and tolerance of diversity (including sexual diversity)?

  6. Suddenly Last Bummer 10 Jan 2012, 11:00am

    “As homophobia diminishes..”, well Peter a scan of the Pink News headlines on a daily basis suggests differently. We need to see the demise of evangelical religions etc first.

    1. Whilst I will not disagree with any aspect of your comment …

      I would point out that not all homophobia is religion based …

      We need to tackle all homophobia, not just one element of it …

      1. The VAST majority of homophobia is based on religious belief.

        The worst places in the world in which to be gay are Africa and the Middle East. These countries use the ‘god’ beast to justify their genocidal laws.

        Religion is easily the greatest enemy of the LGBT community and you are be painfully naive if you believe otherwise.

        1. Staircase2 10 Jan 2012, 3:44pm

          This is actually nonsense – in reality Religion is and always has been used BY people who are homophobic to justify their homophobia. Similarly to suppress women (and children) to the point of being considered property.
          I always think its really ironic that you’ve chosen the name David to post your anti-religion rants…lol

          Firstly, ‘God’ does not ‘belong’ to Religion
          and secondly ‘Religion’ is not necessarily a bad thing per se – any social system can be used to suppress and brainwash people; Religion is not different in this regard.

          1. Yes ‘god’ belongs to religions.
            Religion is a cancer far more dangerous to our community than any other, and it codifies and offers justification for all types of horrific bigotry.

            Religion has no place in a civilised society, unless the victim of the religion accepts that his beliefs apply to no-one but himself.

          2. @Staircase2

            Absolutely.

            Also, even if religion was not just a tool of homophobes – even if, it was described by dAVID as a cause of homophobia then I would dispute the “VAST” majoirty …

            Becoming blinkered to seeing non-religious homophobia is to do a dis-service to the LGBT communities and allows it to fester …

          3. as a matter of fact yes religion is worst then any other system, for the simple fact that it require people to base their life on BELIEVES and not evidence. any other system can be used to brainwash people and transform itself in a big brother society but then it is no more socialism, capitalism or communism, it is a totalitarianism system. Only religion REQUIRES people to believe in an invisible big brother and in fact is based on this idea. i am sorry, but i hate religion because it requires people to uphold ignorance to an higher status than truth and that i just can’t take it

          4. @Juqbc

            You may be correct in your comments …

            It does nothing to tackle homophobia that is not religious based …

            I think we should tackle homophobia – regardless of the cause or origin of it … that means where there is a religious influence AND where there is not …

          5. @stu Your right, we should defend lgbt right against everybody but i still think that the end of religion would be a huge help in that way.

        2. de Villiers 10 Jan 2012, 4:42pm

          China and Russia persecuted gays despite being atheist countries.

          1. China is nowhere near as bad as Africa and the Middle East in their persecution of gays.

            Russia is NOT an atheist country – since the fall of communism the cancer that is the Orthodox religion has enjoyed a massive revival – and guess who pops up every time there is a homophobic witch-hunt cheering it on – the Russian Orthodox cult.

            Religion and homophobia go hand in hand. To defeat homophobia, religion must become something that is shameful to speak abouit in public.

            Religious belief is a choice. And if one chooses to be a religious bigot then that person must be ostracised for their disgusting lifestyle choices.

          2. The polar belief that religion means bad is bigotry in itself

          3. i tend to agree with david, i do see religion as a very bad abstract idea, it require people to base their value and actions on BELIEVES and not experiences and evidences. As such it incite people not to think for themselves but to accept other people idea which lead to a sheep minded group of people ready to believe everything someone religiously superior says. I don’t know if you see where i am going with this, but i can never agree with religious. religion is not to accept one ignorance and to try understanding the subject at hand but to praise our ignorance and erect it as a godly gift. “The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”

            “god” i hope i am clear…

          4. @Juqbc

            I think I do get what you are saying, and in the main I would agree with you …

            I would perhaps put it slightly differently …

            Whether it is religion or politics or otherwise – I regard any absolutisms of ideological or sociological perspective to be (at least potentially) damaging and dangerous …

            I do not see the form of ideology etc as being important, nor one as being worse than another … thus religious absolutism is damaging – as is political absolutism …

            Coupled with this is a lack of prespective and that can come from a lack of awareness or a biased viewpoint …

            So thus saying all religion is bad (which I agree with) does not mean that an extrapolation of all religious people are bad …

  7. And in the process of this moving towards a “post homophobic” society, I look forward to the next stage where we are liberated from the closely related gender phobic prisons where the last great taboo of gender identity being artificially tied to physical biological plumbing is transended

    1. @Katie

      I think either post homophobia or deliverence from gender phobia can never be fully and completely achieved …

      There will always be either individuals or groups who have aversions, fears or hatred of others and seek pegs to hang that hatred on – and for some that will be based on orientation or gender …

      According to some learned writeres we are now in a post-racist society, although quite clearly if we examine the news on a daiy basis, it is evident that racism continues to exist (and in some situations be quite prevalent)

  8. He could be talking about the pre Christian societies in Greece or Rome ( though there was homophobia, read Catullus) , but the lack of a gay identity for those who actually were gay, led to the lack of awareness that created the deadly persecution of gays under Justinian and subsequently to the present day. The people that wrote the bible were referring to straight men using eachother for “relief” as they had no concept that there were gays who only loved other men.

    1. You must agree that our perception of pre-Christian Greece and Rome is a little rose-tinted when it comes to the “beyond gay and straight” attitude?

      1. Indeed – especially seeing as many of the same-sex encounters were with slaves, so they were hardly a beacon of freedom and equality.

        1. And many were not, so not relevant to the point in question.

          1. Actually it is very pertinent. Slavery in ancient times meant having a supply of sexual partners on tap (as these people were ‘owned’).

            The rape of slaves (both male and female) is always brushed under the carpet when discussing the sexual ‘freedom’ of the ancient past.

    2. @ Father Ted –

      Could you be more specific about ‘Cattullus’.

      There was a Roman general, Quintus Lutatius Catalus, elected consul in 102 B.C. but he wrote love poetry:

      “My soul has left me; me thinks, to Theotimus; he is its refuge; What shall I do; Queen Venus, lend me aid.”

      It’s hard to imagine such lines being uttered by a slave-owner to a slave boy.

      There was also Gaius Valerius Catallus, born in 84 B.C., considered the finest of Roman lyric poets who wrote love poems to a free-born son of an aristocratic family from Verona, Juventius.

      “Your honeyed eyes, Juventius, if someone let me go on kissing, I’d kiss three hundred thousand times, nor ever think I’d had enough.”

      Still, many classicists and historians, whose understanding of sexuality has been shaped primarily by the heterosexual norms prevailing in modern Western culture, interpret the homosexual practices of ancient Greeks and Romans as an aberration.

      cont’d

      1. One of the first scholarly works to deal directly with the prevalent homosexuality of the ancient Greeks and Romans is entitled “A Problem in Greek Ethics” (1883) by John Addington Symonds, one of the foremost men of letters of the late Victorian period.

        Homosexuality was institutionalized in ancient Greece and Rome, and I for one would be most interested in knowing about any expression of homophobia at that time.

  9. “An individual’s sexual orientation is thus influenced culturally, as well as biologically.”

    Homophobes would read this as ‘choice’. However LGBT people need to accept that they can’t exactly know whether they are who they are because of genetics or because of culture. If it is culture, it still doesn’t make you less of who you are, and it certainly doesn’t imply you chose to be gay.

    We need open and honest scientific exploration into the nature v nurture debate without fearing political repercussions.

    Knowledge is power. As long as we use the power for good, then we must learn more.

    1. I think Peter is wrong on this point – I think the sexual activity you will engage in based on your sexuality is influenced by culture but there is little or no evidence to suggest that sexuality is influenced by culture. Culture can free or inhibit your actions but as to whether it changes your underlying sexuality I am not convinced. I tend to agree with the Psychologists that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed and attempting to do so is useless and potentially harmful.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 10 Jan 2012, 4:01pm

        Here Here……..

        I was brought up in a small working class town in West Scotland in the 70’s.

        Nothing in that culture was in the slightest bit “Gay”, yet here I am.

        Nothing of that time in my field of vision ( TV , Radio, Cinema , Books etc ) was in the slightest bit gay either, except for perhaps C3PO but I didn’t realise he was gay until a number of years later.

        However, perhaps in Peter’s defence perhaps I subconsciously rejected that “Macho” culture?

    2. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is influenced by anything beyond the womb, despite a century of research. There is ample evidence that it is influenced by genes and\or the uterine environment.

      1. @A N Spit

        Absolutely there is evidence of both genetic and uterine developmental influence in orientation determination. That is not to say that there is no external environmental influences, merely that there is substantial evidence to demonstrate a biological influence, thus it is not a choice.

        However, there are cases of people who do appear to change orientation part way through their lives. Some would see this as either being an environmental influence, or choice. I tend to disagree. I believe there is a spectrum of sexuality with a continuum from totally gay to totally heterosexual with a wide range of bisexuality in between. (Although not all people who are within the grey area would define as bisexual). Therefore, some may have one form of sexual experience and then enter another and still define in the same way.

        1. You’re saying that no one has proved the negative. Fallacious and unscientific line of reasoning. People have been trying to prove environmental causes for a century, or more, perhaps from about 1860, without success. The surmise that it may be a contributing factor is born out of prejudice, not scientific fact. It has about as much weight scientifically as creationism.

          1. No, you’re saying that is what I am saying …

            I have not mentioned anyone proving environmental causes at all … you are the one extralpolating that from my words and are putting meaning there which I do not intend …

            I suspect there may be environmental influence to some people as a result of individual experiences that I have discussed. That said, I believe principally orientation is either genetic, uterinal or both.

            I would contend dismissing environmental factors as not being relevant is very much prejudiced in itself.

  10. why do we have to label? that’s our problem as a species, we feel everything has to be labeled as to clearly identify. imagine how much happier society would be if we were allowed to move fluidly in our sexuality. My “str8″ friends find it almost amusing that i comment on the beauty and sexiness of females because i’m gay. Just because i can find a woman attractive doesn’t mean that i want to have sex with her. it means that i’m comfortable enough in my own sexuality, same gender loving.

    1. “imagine how much happier society would be if we were allowed to move fluidly in our sexuality.”

      We ARE allowed to move fluidly in our sexuality. Most people don’t have the inclination to do do however.

      This whole ‘everyone is in some way bi’ is simply a theory though. The notion that if everyone was free to love who they wanted, then everyone would be bi is simply not true.

      The majority of the population will ALWAYS be heterosexual. The majority of the population will always be heterosexual.

      The utopian ideal that everyone will be bi, is simply a fantasy.

  11. GingerlyColors 10 Jan 2012, 1:13pm

    The structure of society is changing and with it the family unit. When the world’s first test-tube bay was born in England in 1978 people worried about interfering with nature. Now invitro-fertilisation is routine and so is freezing of embryos allowing women to pursue a career while young or to circumvent infertility caused by cancer treatment. Same sex couples adopting or having children by surrogate mothers is now gaining acceptance – look at Sir Elton John and David Furnish. I remember the huge controversy over Britain’s first surrogate mother who bore a child for a couple where the wife was infertile, again it is now routine and women often carry a child that isn’t even hers nowadays! Sex and reproduction is changing in the hetrosexual world and the gay world is following suit. I remember the public and media outcries when these things first happened but society changes. It will be some time before gay families will find themselves on an equal footing with the traditional family but it will happen. Even I must admit that I was uncomfortable with this rapid progress as I feel that the rights of the child is just as important as our rights.
    With gay marriage just round the corner we can look forward to full equality and hopefully soon full social acceptance. Unfortunately there will always be the odd homophobe or racist who will carry out a hate crime.

    1. I’m not being a pessimist when I say that there will never be full social acceptance of LGBT people.

      We are a minority community. Can you name a single minority community (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual) in the history of the world ever, which has achieved social equality? They simply do not exist.

      Even if there was full legal equality for LGBT people in Britain tomorrow, then it is only true for that moment in time.

      In Weimar Germany there was a gay rights movement and Weimar Germany was the most advanced community in terms of LGBT acceptance up until that point. Then came the 1933 electi9ons.

      We need to accept that we will never be accepted by all of society, and that the levels of acceptance we enjoy now, may not be permanent.

      That’s just part of life when you are in a minority community.

      1. GingerlyColors 10 Jan 2012, 11:27pm

        I cannot agree more. There has been numerous times in history when LGBT people suffered setbacks, starting with the Christianisation of the Roman Empire. Other examples include the one you mentioned above and Iran in 1979. As I have said in previous posts regarding the Arab Spring I cannot expect things to be rosy for gay people as the Islamists get a greater say in the running of those countries.

    2. @ GingerlyColors –

      If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the environment influences sexuality, but not necessarily as a cause of sexual orientation.

      I tend to agree because the role of sexuality does change as societies change, and the role of homosexuality within societies did and should continue to contribute to the survival of humanity.

      1. @Jonpol

        I entirely endorse that – environment clearly can influence sexuality, but does not [necessarily] act as a cause or determinant of orientation …

        Intrigued by what you thoughts are behind homosexuality contributing to the survival of humanity …

        1. Stu –

          According to Darwin, instincts, tendencies and behaviors play a role in the survival of species. If not, they are naturally eliminated.

          We know through original documentation, for example, that although they were baffled by the casual presence of same-sex bonding among indigenous peoples, christian European explorers did notice the positive daily roles that ‘sodomites’ played in their societies. Unfortunately, European prejudices prevailed.

          Accordingly, because we do contribute to productive humanity activity, homosexuals have an essential role to play in the survival humanity.

          PT may be referring to the flexibility of this role(s) depending on environments, i.e. Neolithic, Indo-European, Greek, European, post-modern, etc.

          Otherwise, Peter would be playing into the hands of inspired homophobes who pontificate that we pervert our natural instincts, that we are born straight, and that we are shaped by a dysfunctional environment.

  12. I have noticed more and more how people, particularly the young, are defining their sexuality as, well, “sexual”, as opposed to narrowly defined labels like “gay”, “straight” and “bi”, and are actively experimenting and dabbling in more than one possibility of sexual expression.

    I think it is true what Peter says, that the less homophobia there is, the less people feel the need to be “strait-jacketed” by black and white sexual labels. The word “gay”, after all, is only a relatively recent construct, and adopted more as a political statement to define the perceived lifestyle rather than the sexual act between two people of the same sex itself.

    In a more enlightened age where no prejudice exists, I believe people will evolve to be attracted first and foremost to a person’s essence rather than the extrenal or internal nature of their genitals and pitch of voice.

    Indeed, spiritual texts do point to the ultimately evolved human form as being androgynous beings…

    1. “In a more enlightened age where no prejudice exists,”

      Such a society will never exist though,

      As for ‘spiritual texts’ – well I’d hardly use them as the basis for anything. One man’s spiritualism is another man’s steaming pile of s****.

    2. “Indeed, spiritual texts do point to the ultimately evolved human form as being androgynous beings…”

      Wow, what a logical argument you write! There’s always so much scientific knowledge and reason in “spiritual texts”, isn’t there Sam? But would that be the spiritual text with the talking burning bushes and the permanently pissed off god, or the ones about sticky thetans and evil galactic overlords?

      1. de Villiers 10 Jan 2012, 5:03pm

        You criticised me for ramming religion down your throat (I didn’t) and then you do the same in reverse.

        1. You do suffer from religion through, don’t you?

          Any one who believes in a ‘god’ despite the complete lack of evidence for its existence is clearly not very rational.

          1. Or you could argue that someone who believes in a ‘god’ due to a spiritual exsperience that is personal and not experienced by others was perhaps open-minded enough to have experienced ‘it’ in the first place.

            Indeed, from the spritual experiencer’s personal perspective it is those who deny the experiencer’s experience due to their absence of any form of spiritual awareness themselves who are not very rational and close-minded…

          2. @SamuelB –

            Isn’t that like saying that anyone who has never taken LSD could never understand such a ‘spiritual’ experience?

      2. As we know Rob, SamB doesn’t do science and academia, but he’s entitled to his ill informed opinions…….I guess

        1. Ooh lucky me! Never aspired to be a Hollywood wannabee, but now I have my very own stalker in the guise of W6. I can finally say I’ve arrived!

          1. I was actually supporting Rob in his comment, as is my entitlement in a world of free speech – you have no aspirations Samuel except to be “the village idiot” – don’t turn yet another thread into is all about me Samuel – I have already stated Im bored with your bull**** so jog on fool!

          2. Why do you have to lower the tone of every debate to a schoolgirl cat fight, W6. Your oft repeated “village idiot” jibe is one of many insults you have hurled at me because you disagree with my opinions, regardless of whether one of your other inventive pen names said it first or not.

            Why don’t you just grow up and stop abusing people you do not agree with, and participate in these discussion threads with dignity and decorum like most others on here?

            As I have said before I will not be bullied, smeared or intimidated by your loutish behaviour, although as a supporter of freedom of speech I will defend your right to continue to act like a thug. It is, after all, only your own character you are continuing to debase, not one else’s.

            And in continuing with what I was saying earlier, your bleatings and near religious belief in science and academia provide an obvious example of someone clearly devoid of any sort of spiritual awareness. Pity you.

          3. As I say jog on fool – no one is interested in what you think of me, it is irrelevant, as you are an irrelevance!

          4. …….also you cannot resist taking my bait every time its laughable

          5. …..you cant resist having the last word can you Samuel, if I am a troll then you are as bad for feeding me – I will be blunt my argument with you has now gone from difference of opinion to a complete dislike for you.

            You are a devious, devisive, self opinionated, bigotted individual who has an ideology that stigma is be good & whorthwhile………….how does this fit in with your sermons on this particular thread. You talk about an enlightened society. divide and rule etc etc – this thinking is totally inconsistent with the approach you have demonstrated in other threads, which shows inconsistency and lack of conviction & your twisted presentation style.

            You keep feeding me as I am sure you will because you have to be right every time, despite your poor depth of knowledge on subject matter. I am glad you appear to have a spiritual side, but that does not make you the superior person. Stop acting the innocent injured party – you give as good as you get + interest!!!!!

          6. @W6_bloke

            Mate, do you always have to reduce the tone of these discussions to a feral level? Why not clear off these discussion boards until you develop a sense of maturity and ability to debate politely and succinctly?

            Thank you.

          7. Lol we have a “guest” contributor to this conversation, The elusive “Jon” who unexpectedly pops up from time to time………..particularly when SamB needs an alternative identity to hide behind.

            As I say SamB is devious and devisive, poor “Jon” expected to do all SamB’s dirty trickster work, laughable that SamB accuses me if multiple identities.

            I await to be shouted down lol will it be “Jon” or SamB first I wonder????

            What a total tool……

          8. No more from me in this conversation Im sure either of the two identities SamB has will want to have the last word………he will not be able to resist lol

          9. What a prize dick……

          10. Dear Reader,

            In other threads in which I have been stalked and abused by W6, he/she/it has accused me of being just about anyone and everyone with the exception of The Pope, Pippa Middleton and Dale Winton.

            Without any grounding in psychiatry I think it is reasonable to conclude from the evidence of his schoolyard baiting above that W6 suffers from delusion, paranoia, hysteria, and is disengenuous and irrational to the nth degree…

            In fact all of the things which he inists are insults but which are clearly a reasonable assessment of his state of mind.

            I rest my case.

            Sam

    3. @Samuel B

      Very thoughtful comments.

      Certainly, generally in society, there has been an evolution (which is continuing) towards a position whereby most of us are ambivalent to others orientation.

      I also agree that if homophobia is reduced that this can result in a perceived freedom to be perceived as androgynous

      I would go further that to say whilst I profoundly disagree with spiritual texts and find nothing of logic or reason within them, I do recognise that historically and today many people have relied on these teachings and thus sociologically and psychologically they have implications for personal perceptions of many (not myself).

      Its simple to just brush them aside as irrelevant, but fails to understand human thinking – which should consider all views and not be isolated to one mindset.

    4. Can we be quite clear here; spirituality has nothing whatsoever to do with controlled religion. I abhor the tyranny that underlies most religions with some exceptions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Spirituality is an inner knowingness of a greater power that binds all of life and matter as one energy, and nothing to do with the corruption of religion which seeks only to divide and control.

      1. @Samuel B

        I completely and totally agree that Spirituality includes both estabished religions and ideologies such as Christianiy, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism and other streams of thinking that are perceived as being newer.

        My only reason for referring to spiritual texts is to comment that people have relied on them – and whether we agree or not they have influenced others thinking. As some tend to do, brushing them aside as irrelevant, is an arrogant approach suggesting that there is only one mindset and perception that is legitimate.

        1. Perhaps I should not have referred to spirituals “texts” per se. You are correct, Stu; texts as written down are open to being edited and rewritten to subvert their original meaning, as clearly occurred with many religious texts which ramped up the guilt and shame factor as a means of instilling fear instead of love.

          I am not even sure if there are spiritual texts as such – and no, self help books by the liks of Deepak Chopra don’t qualify in this context! – as the entire point of spirituality is that it is borne of subjective and direct experience and cannot be subverted, because those with spiritual awareness learn, experience and grow from witin, not from without.

          So scrap “texts” and replace with “beliefs” and “principles”.

          1. Are you referring to individual brain activity or to a personal, intuitive contact with a superior being?

          2. @Jonpol

            In terms of spirituality … sometimes its less about what the origin of it is – be that neurological, external higher powers or otherwise – and more of an experiential encounter or encounters, to the individual(s) concerned …

            Hopefully, regardless of the nature of the spirituality there is the ability to accept, acknowledge and apply logic and reason to the events and circumstances concerned

  13. PS: To add to my last post, in a more enlightened society we will not be controlled by “divide and rule” which sets up humanity to be at war with each other: sexuality against sexuality, religion against religion; political party against policitcal party, and so on.

    No, in a more enlightened society we will have learned to temper the ego and we will all share the same, just aims, working as one for the betterment of humanity and justness and fairness for all.

    1. In the history of the world there has NEVER been an era where there has been no war. Oh perhaps there is a 20 year lull between wars occasionall, but dreaming of a world without war is silly.

      Human nature is what it is.

      It’s good to strive for improvement but nothing is permanent – including human rights or enlighenment,

      The Roman Empire was the most advanced society of its time. It was followed by the Dark Ages.

      The enlightenment in Europe meant that people were free to believe that ‘god’ was a fictional character and that science could explain the world. Then came World War 2 where an entire religious group was marked for extermination for their religious beliefs.

      The world is a grim place. It’s as simple as that.

      1. The world is certainly a grim place if you believe or choose it to be. It is also a beautiful, radiant place full of joy and love if you look in the right places. I do feel we are reaching a point where humanity’s consciousness is shifting to the point where we see through the futility and barbarism of totally needless wars.

        Whem such a time occurs, people will see clearly the futility and desperation of the entire divide and rule paradigm as a tool of control, and when that occurs all barriers – the collective ego – will fall and we will become all embracing regardless of race, sexuality and so on.

        1. It’s not grim to point out that a world without war has never happened.

          And the idea that people are seeing through the futility and barbarism of war?

          Just WHAT are you basing that on seeing as we’ve just ended a decade where there has been 2 elective wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and it looks like the arms industry is pushing for an elective war with Iran so they can test their new weapons.

          You’re living in dreamland. Which is your business but really. Stop fantasising

          1. That reminds me of something I heard years ago…. that if everyone on earth would consciously recite the Lord’s Prayer at the same time, the planet would glow and vanish into eternal bliss.

            Esoteric, and interesting.

          2. It is the sum total of our collective thoughts that creates the world around us. Change the way you think about the world by focusing on the good things and not the futility of endless wars and you are doing your but to create a more positive environment.

            The saying goes that if you smile at the world, the world smiles back at you. So true. We are a mirror to the world – what you put out you get back. Try it! Ok, it is damned hard to put out positve vibes all the time. We all of us slip back into negative thinking and get bad stuff back (isn’t that right, W6?!)…

          3. The 20th century catholic paleontologist and theologian Theilhard de Chardin referred to our collective thoughts as an invisible layer, the “noosphere”, that surrounded the earth.

            The Vatican lost no time in forbidding him to publish, and threatened to excommunicate anyone who agreed with him.

            It sounded too much like Gnosticism, a heresy somewhat similar to the Jewish Cabala, I think.

            Personally, I thought de Chardin was quite an inspiration, and as a practicing catholic at the time, I knew better than to speak kindly of him.

            Today, the German theologian Hans Küng is developing a vision entitled “Global Ethics”, which reminds me a bit of you.

            Keep smiling.

    2. @Samuel B

      I would like to see a more enlightened society where differences are respected and encouraged – be they sexual, cultural, political, ideological, religious (or whatever) …

      I appreciate that the world predominantly has not operated under such a mindset – but that does not mean it is beyond the ingenuity of man to ensure that society does.

      Saying dreaming of a world without war is silly is idiotic in itself. If you do not hope for something better then you repress yourself into accepting a situation which is inferior with that which you and society can and should aspire to.

      Having a general pessimistic philosophy of “the world is a grim place” is not only negative and demonstrates an unconstructive attitude to engagement in improving society, it also perpetuates a nonsense that we can not learn from history.

  14. Peter Tatchell 10 Jan 2012, 2:39pm

    There will always be some people who will remain totally gay or totally straight regardless of culture. That’s fine. What I am suggesting is that in a non-homophobic society some people are likely to feel freer to explore sex and emotions with both genders. There is already evidence of this trend in the UK and US, some of which research I cite in my Huffington Post article here: http://huff.to/xJjxBm

    1. Peter,
      I agree with the way you have expressed this here but is this people not feeling free to explore and act sexually within their orientation. What it seems to suggest is that there are many more people than some would like to think who’s sexuality is not totally straight or gay and for them experimentation with partners of both genders is not only desirable for them but less frowned upon by society. This implies no cultural influence on their sexuality but rather a cultural influence on their own feeling of freedom of sexual expression and activity within their sexual orientation. I have no problem with the research it is simply the language used to describe the results needs to be tightly constrained to ensure it cannot (as it will be attempted) be messed with by the usual suspects to try and label it all as choice and so curable by more cultural (read religious) influence.

    2. “What I am suggesting is that in a non-homophobic society some people are likely to feel freer to explore sex and emotions with both genders.”

      A non-homopphobic society has never existed though.
      And it will never exist.
      A minority group will always face discrimination.
      That has been the experience of every minority community ever in the history of the world.
      There is zero evidence that we are moving towards a ‘post-homophobic world’. Things are pretty good in Britain now. But look at Californnia. Things reverse, very, very quickly.

      1. @dAVID

        Defeatist.

        Do you never express hope?

        Want yourself and your fellow human beings to experience something better?

        Do you not seek to learn and improve, individually and collectively?

        Do you sit in a mire all day every day and see the glass is not half empty – but leaking?

        1. Spanner1960 10 Jan 2012, 6:10pm

          Hope? Isn’t that what the religionists call “faith”?
          There is one thing to plan for change and see peoples and societies adjust, but it is quite another to expect them to be entirely eradicate. In much the same way as blonde bimbos on Miss World want world peace, sorry sweetie, but it just ain’t gonna happen.

          1. No hope is possible without faith …

            Hope is seeking something better …

            One can hope to improve on ones own performance …

            When I cook for my family on Friday – I hope I do better than last time (what a cock up I made!) – but my hope has nothing to do with any deity …

            I also have hope that humanity can work together …

            Is this a bad thing?

            Religion would suggest we aim to seek faith, hope and love …

            I would engage in seeking hope and love and in having faith in each other …

            I appreciate that should not necessarily be unconditional faith (that may be naive) but we can and should (in my view) seek to work together (having faith in each other), seek love and have hope for a better future …

          2. Yes In hope.

            I hope that by summer 2012 the LGBT population in Britain will have full legal equality.

            I hope that the US Supreme Court declares than marriage equality is legal.

            I hope that secular democracy takes hold in Egypt and that women and gay people are treated fairly.

            I do not hope for a world without discrimination as that will never happen.

            That’s not pessimism – it’s the reality, and it always has been.

      2. California is an example of laws being reversed not of attitudes reversing.

    3. @Peter

      I like the article a great deal. I think your argument has a great deal of resonance and articulates hope for a more naturally inclusive society which does not discriminate on grounds of sexual attraction.

      However, I do have two issues with your article:

      Firstly, the research that you quote is old; indeed some of the research is older than you. Sociologically I would contend that you would accept that society has moved on dramatically since the 1940s and perceptions and judgements made then are unlikely to be directly applicable today. I would also argue that there is a wide range of research into sexuality on a sociological and anthropological basis which is less than 15 years old, which makes me question why you chose such academic writing (which by academic standards is ancient).

      Secondly, I am unclear as to whether you intend merely suggesting that there should or could be more fluidity in sexuality in a more enlightened society or whether you are trying to …

      1. … suggest that bisexuality will and should be the norm. I think you have tread a very fine line in what you have expressed and there is a danger that it could be extrapolated as suggested that anything short of bisexuality or full androgynity is of less value. I suspect you do not mean this, but it could be an extrapolation that some would make.

        1. When I read it, I think Peter wanted to suggest that bisexuality should be the norm of the future and everything else is of less value because it does not hold up with scientific theories that he believes.

          But not just that, that Peter may even suggest with this article that homosexuality is more cultural and not biological and fixated is incomprehensible to me. My experience prove that to be false.

          To tell you the truth, this article might be heading to bi-supremacy and less hetero-supremacy. But in a more polite way with less finger-pointin and label-naming. If he’s not intended to say that, then it’s poorly written.

          1. @Uki

            Thats my suspicion from the article – but I’m not entirely sure that Peter did intend to promote bisupremacy …

            It would be interesting to see his views on this …

  15. The fact that gay village areas are no longer safe spaces and that increasingly the LGBT community is seen merely as a “target market” for exploiting under-30’s for their pink pounds can only hasten the changes that Peter foresees.

    Those commenters who say that the LGBT community will always be a threatened minority are missing the point. There will be no community because there will be no need for one.

    Imagine 100 years ago if you were an unmarried straight couple “living in sin”. That was scandalous and you would feel under attack. But how many people even think about that now when 25% of children are born to cohabiting parents? That is the kind of change it will be. Most people won’t even think about it.

    1. Using the analogy of ‘living in sin’ – you are aware I hope that in the majority of the world, cohabiting with your opposite sex partner if you are not married remains a huge social no-no, and in some countries you can be executed for it.

      Making pronoucements about the future non-homophobic society while living in Britain (a place where we still don’t even enjoy legal equality) really is missing the point.

      1. Another good post from dAVID. A conference for sexual minorities in Malaysia was recently banned by the police there ( Seksuality Merdeka is appealing to the High Court), and one of the reasons for the ban was given as that would lead to a loss of religious freedom ( see the report on fridae.asia ). The police, though Muslim, obviously got this line of reasoning from the Chistian anti gay mob, who have a strong contingent there.

        We do not live in a vacuum, Peter should think about how his unsubstantiated fantasies will be used to crush gay people who are not recognised as a minority in other countries.

    2. QUITE AGREE. SO TRUE.

  16. Peter Tatchell 10 Jan 2012, 3:29pm

    Society needs more than LGBT liberation. We need sexual liberation for everyone – LGBT and straight. Heterosexual people are also victims of erotic shame and hang ups that diminish their lives. Sexphobia and sex guilt harm us all. Let’s work together for a society where we can all be who we want to be – without guilt, prejudice and discrimination.

    1. Staircase2 10 Jan 2012, 3:39pm

      Agreed

      1. Also agreed.

        But it ain’t ever going to happen I don’t think.

    2. Dave North 10 Jan 2012, 4:02pm

      And who are the greatest providers of sexual guilt?

      The organised religions.

      1. So do we ignore other factors and concentrate on one aspect only …

        Do we become so fastidious in our challenge to religion that we become focussed on being against religion, rather than ensuring our own freedom … in other words, do we allow ourselves to become consumed by hatred against religion – where LGBT people have some allies …

        Some peoples obsession on finding negative ways to post about religion (even when its not the topic of the subject) suggests they may allow themselves to be so consumed …

      2. Actually I would say the focus on gay marriage will lead to a lot of guilt and unhappiness for those who are unable to achieve that supposed “ideal”. And that is an awful lot of gay men simply because of the way men are.

        You’re not allowed to argue against it of course because the devious are pushing it on grounds of “equality” and there’s the usual left-wing monovision on the subject as obviously a good thing with no possible downsides…

        I agree with Peter that we should have more sexual liberation. But I suggest that actually things are moving in the opposite direction. There are an awful lot of nasty, moralising, conservative (with a small c) gay men out there, finger-pointing and worrying about who’s a slut because they do this or that and what the “right” way is. Take a look on Fitlads.

        There was a time when being gay was about freedom. Not putting on the handcuffs of marriage and being like heterosexuals at any cost.

        1. @GS

          I get where you are coming from and I agree with most that you say …

          However, whilst I don’t think that those (gay, bisexual, heterosexual or however they define themselves) people whose sexualisation is deemed to be unconventional by some (whether that be due to promiscuity, open relationship, bisexuality, fetish or whatever) should be devalued because of that; neither do I feel that those homosexuals who choose a committed monogamous married relationship should be devalued because this is not the gay cultural norm.

          Some people will want and yearn for commitment. Other people are not made that way and seek multiple sexual relationships (some of those multiple relationships may or may not include commitment). Neither has more or less value. Some of those in both of these scenarios will be from varying orientations.

          Society needs to accommodate all and not seek to cause guilt trips in either direction.

    3. de Villiers 10 Jan 2012, 5:05pm

      That is a very different proposition – a very left-wing view, very different from equality and non discrimination.

      1. @de Villiers

        Is sexual freedom and freedom from discrimination the preserve of only one political ideology?

        I think not

        1. de Villiers 10 Jan 2012, 10:15pm

          Sexual liberation and the ending of shame appears to be a left wing, social reordering – very different from equality which seeks to equalise treatment within existing social structures

          1. Why is sexual liberation and ending of shame only from one aspect of the political spectrum?

            Surely people across all ideologies engage in sex, some are repressed – some are liberated – some are in the mid-ground …

            Surely people across all political ideologies have more or less shame about some of their activities and proclativities (sexual or otherwise) … indeed some of the sexual antics of right wing politicians in the 1980s and 1990s adequately demonstrates this …

            Does Marxism, Monetarism, Locke, Aristotle or Webber have particularly different approaches and views on emotional shame or sexual freedom?

            I’m not convinced they do …

            There are aspects of sexuality in some of their works (eg Aristotle) although rarely is this expressed as an emotive or shameful analogy or response, nor expression of sexual freedom …

            Sexual freedom in itself you could argue is very right wing in that it seeks freedom from state intervention or church interference equally it is libertarian

          2. de Villiers 11 Jan 2012, 11:15pm

            I’m not referring to the ancients – just to the reordering of social structures in society which is a radical, left wing position. No conservative party would hold such a political position. Libertarians, perhaps.

    4. Agreed, but unfortunately that’s not the point of your article. You talk specifically in this article about homo/hetero sexual activity, not the freedom of pursuing a consensual sex for the society.

    5. “We need sexual liberation for everyone – LGBT and straight.”

      Genuine question: Does that include children? What are your views on the age of consent?

      1. @Alex

        Very insightful question …

        I do think there is a very strong need to protect those who are unable to consent, whether through general development (childhood) or through mental health or disability or otherwise …

        Theoretically, I do not personally think an age of consent is the best way to achieve the absolute balance of determining when an individual is able to make the decision to engage in sexual activity or not. Its an arbitary figure … Some people do not have the emotional maturity to make that decision at 16 years (and may not recognise this till later in life), others may be sufficiently able to reach that decision (with insight) prior to this age … Different countries have different ages of consent eg 12 in Angola, 13 in Spain (puberty in Bolivia and parts of Mexico, up to 20 in Tunisia. How do we reach these arbitary figures? Do they take into account the individuals ability to reach measured decisions and consent? … That said, I do feel the state have …

      2. … a strong duty to protect and I can not think of a better method than setting an arbitary age (although perhaps the law could consider individual circumstances more readily where theoretical (although not legal) consent is readily given).

        I hesitated when making this comment as it is an emotive area and one thing I would not wish to celebrate would be sexual activity with children or sexualisation of children.

        When improving sexual liberation though we have to recognise that some people, with underhand motives, will seek to link liberation on grounds of orientation to other issues such as age.

        The law currently protects children, I can see an argument that different children can develop to make decisions at different ages – but I think there is no appetite to change the law nor a better method to protect children.

  17. Staircase2 10 Jan 2012, 3:38pm

    Well said, Peter! :o)

  18. A good post from dAVID. A conference for sexual minorities in Malaysia was recently banned by the police there ( Seksuality Merdeka is appealing to the High Court), and one of the reasons for the ban was given as that would lead to a loss of religious freedom ( see the report on fridae.asia ). The police, though Muslim, obviously got this line of reasoning from the Christian anti gay mob, who have a strong contingent there.

    We do not live in a vacuum, Peter should think about how his unsubstantiated fantasies will be used to crush gay people who are not recognised as a minority in other countries.

  19. I heard about this “post-gay” thing a lot in the past. Always makes me depressed everyime I hear it. It always feel like this is the most polite way of saying that I do not exist, that people like me in the future will be made redundant. Without pointing the finger on me.

    I attended lots of sexuality meetings in my own country. This kind of speech always divides and further creates friction between activist and ordinary civilians as it is not based on reality, but always in theory, an idea, an opinion stretched from a limited tribal research to represent billions of people currently on Earth.

    Many people can not choose on which sex they are attracted to. And many people can not choose which sex they are NOT attracted to. People got stressed and even kill themselves because they are unable to change who they are attracted to. They are desperate to want to like the opposite sex. If sexuality is as easily switched from time to time, surely those problems never existed.

  20. Sexual behaviour does not equal sexual orientation. Simple as. Gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, etc shouldn’t matter in society but they ARE distinct and real categories of sexual orientation and for scientific purposes we cannot transition beyond them.

    It is obvious that sexuality is largely fixed and biologically determined, but there is the potential for sexualities to naturally change. I was completely and naturally homosexual until I was 16, I then went through a very stressful and strange period of my life and suddenly transitioned to bisexuality. Completely naturally and without control. This is not the same as being ‘curious’ which is the desire to experiment with same or opposite sex sexual experiences regardless of sexual orientation.

    It would be good to move to a future in which if curious people don’t feel the need to conform to being ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ and go with the flow. And don’t necessarily feel the need to label themselves as ‘bisexual.

    1. I think many genuinely bi men are reluctant to come out as they are assumed by both the straight and gay communities as gay people who are afraid to come out of the closet fully.

  21. Spanner1960 10 Jan 2012, 6:06pm

    I personally think that the majority of “bisexuals” are simply gay people unwilling or unable to jump off the fence.

    Given the possibility as Peter says, of people truly accepting homosexuality into society without any stigma, I suspect the majority of bisexuals will disappear along with the homophobia.

    1. The most shocking part of what you just wrote is that you “think”.

      1. Spanner1960 10 Jan 2012, 11:53pm

        Ah well, always better to have your own opinion rather than follow the herd eh?

        1. That’s not really a unique opinion though, is it.

        2. @Spanner1960

          Sometimes better to be right than just be different …

  22. The LGBT community will always minority group and rightly so, they are not equal to heterosexuals so they should not be given equality

    1. So, James, are you saying that minority groups do not matter?

      A yes or No answer will suffice

    2. Correct. We are not equal to the likes of you.

      We are infinitly better.

      I would gladly cutoff my own head if I was described as equal to a monster like you.

      Your high handed dismissal of a section of the polulation only shows what a disgrace to humanity people like you are and the sooner the world is rid of hateful bigots like you the better off it will be.

      No go away and torture puppies you cretin.

    3. So true. Where you want rub your bits is a significant measure of your value as a person.
      Take a pill and lie down and maybe it will go away.

  23. If everyone who was gay or bi suddenly turned green there would no longer be an issue.

    1. Why green?

    2. Yes there would. Some would be light greens and others would be dark greens.

  24. Linked to the first comment: does “post homophobic” imply “post sexist” – no more pink for girls and blue for boys? Cos I think that would need to happen too before:

    “As culture changes, perhaps manifestations of sexuality can also change?”

  25. Not a terrible article. The last half is mostly you repeating yourself, though.

  26. “An individual’s sexual orientation is thus influenced culturally, as well as biologically.”

    Agreed.

    Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in the well documented homosexual practices of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

    Greek youths aspired to resemble their heroes. Accordingly, they would compete to become a ward of the best citizens. Besides receiving an education, the youths submitted to anal intercourse because it was widely believed – as in many if not all primitive cultures – that the life force, the courage and the virtues of accomplished citizens was transmitted through sperm.

    Whereas the Greeks believed a youth could be ennobled as a result of a sexual relationship with a noble adult, proper Roman society believed that for a youth to enter into such a relationship would only result in his degradation. Hence, the object of affection of Roman men, if male, had to be a non-Roman or a slave.

    …cont’d

    1. One of the first scholarly works to deal directly with the prevalent homosexuality of the ancient Greeks and Romans is entitled “A Problem in Greek Ethics” (1883) by John Addington Symonds, one of the foremost men of letters of the late Victorian period.

      Homosexuality was institutionalized in ancient Greece and Rome, and I for one would be most interested in knowing about any expression of homophobia at that time.

      1. PN posted this out of place…. see comment much higher up on this thread

      2. As far as I am aware, hostility was directed at perceived sexual passivity in adult male citizens or aristocrats, but not really at much else(everyone else was just expected to be passive). Hadrian’s huge public grief and conmemoration of his dead lover Antinous apparently excited some disapproval because of the boy’s low class status – such public honour could only decently be paid to someone of similar rank. The sex of the boy was of course irrelevant.

        1. Yes, during the Republic, it was considered a dishonor for a Roman youth to submit to anal intercourse so that Romans who were sexually attracted to youths or young men frequently reminded their slaves of their “duty”.

          At the end of the Republic, sexual passivity among aristocratic Roman youths was quite common, i.e. Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony, Octavian, etc.

          The emperors who followed are particularly remembered for their insane depravity.

          By the 2nd century A.D., Hadrian, one of the great emperors, appears to have been exclusively homosexual.

          The great love of Hadrian’s life was Antinous, a Greek youth who served as the emperor’s traveling companion and on whom Hadrian showered such affection that it was a cause for wonder for Romans of the period.

          During the Republic or the Empire, only Martial’s sarcastic and pornographic poetry remotely resembles an expression of homophobia, with the possible exception of the Lex Scantinia, circa 226 B.C., meant to protect Roman youths.

  27. Romans believed their virility was based on domination through exercise of power.

    Moreover, because of the Greeks belief about the ennobling role of homosexual relationships – that is, the molding of a noble and virtuous adult citizen – to love young slaves, who by definition were excluded from the ranks of citizens, would have seemed pointless to them.

    The sharp differences between the two societies in the beliefs governing sexual relations between males clearly illustrates Peter’s point: culture, as well as biology, does influence an individual’s sexual orientation.

    See:

    Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1992), page 115;

    Stephen O. Murray, Homosexualities (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 112

    1. Influences behaviour, not orientation.

      1. Is having a role in human society not part of the evolution of sexual orientation?

  28. This is the beginning of the end of being gay and there won’t be any boundaries to define who you are.

    Feel sorry for future generations of gays who are only going to struggle more
    as there won’t be able to identify with anything associated with being gay. Sad future indeed.

  29. Richard Bruvoll Jr 11 Jan 2012, 2:19pm

    Here is a backdrop explaining religious and hence cultural influences on the expression of both sx/gender and sexuality: http://www.freesexual.org

  30. This is more a wish=piece than a think-piece. The main thrust (pun intended) is that gay identity could (and should) disappear into the blended continuum of the spectrum if human sexuality.

    The author cites certain old studies and fails to differentiate between institutional same-sex relations (such as single sex prisons, military etc) and mainstream (where the opposite gender IS available).

    Human sexuality, he says, overlaps.

    So do Venn diagrams, but they don’t turn into one three-layered circle, do they? Neither will people.

    This is a Huff puff piece and not worth the bytes with which it was downloaded

  31. The fact of sexual reproduction will never allow there to be a “beyond gay and straight”, unless of course that [sexual reproduction] changes at some time in evolution. To add to that point, I sometimes wonder if juxtaposing hetero and homo sexualities is kind of a apples to oranges analogy. Homosexuality is strictly about the spiritual relationship with the other human, whereas Heterosexuality adds an additional impetus of sexual fitness in terms of offspring so that complicates things a bit in my opinion.

  32. I think Peter is making broad anthropological and biological claims with scan evidence. The 60-year old Kinsey report? Come on. Every subsequent survey monitoring the prevalence of sexual behaviour and self-identification has suggested that report substantially overstates the figures

    However, I do accept to some degree the argument for polymorphous perversion/ fluid sexuality. All things in nature or on a continuum: taxonomy is an artificial human pursuit.

    The one thing I take issue with is the idea that gay culture/subcultures is fundamentally a reaction to homophobia, which innately devalues them. Peter has stated before his expectation and wish that we will move beyond gay culture and identity into a post-gay world.

    I’d be interested to know if he thinks black culture is a reaction to racism, and whether he yearns for the day that is eradicated too.

    I also think he is wrong, children can start to show character traits when they are too young to perceiv homophobia.

  33. David Skinner 14 Jan 2012, 3:20pm

    Gus, I think you are mistaken. Being black is not a culture. Being black is not a reaction to not being white.A black person is no less black when asleep than when awake Homosexuality is indeed many things; it is a function of a lack of emotional bonding, culture and ideology. Tatchell rightly says that straight people can become strange and strange people can become straight. He could equally say that good people can become bad and bad can become good, but there are no genes forcing them one way or the other. We have the choice

  34. “Homosexuality is indeed many things; it is a function of a lack of emotional bonding, culture and ideology”.

    This is sort of similar to what I was saying. Homosexuality (not mere homosexual behavior) to me, is one of an infinite number of manifestations of man’s ability to go beyond reproduction as the be all and end all of existence. So to me, even if ‘gay and straight’ categories were to end, we’d probably just revert to patterns of former societies – where the role of hetero-sex was basically to ensure survival, and same-sex relationships were preferred for recreation.

  35. I don’t agree with what Peter says on this issue to an extent. Due to the fact that i am exclusively gay and i am proud of it and don’t have a problem with labels. I know not everyone is the same.

  36. If bisexuality becomes the main identity, then the issue will be between two who are open about their sexuality and those who are not. That dichotomy will always exist because no one likes to be pigeonholed by peer pressure. This means there will have to be laws that protect those who desire to be non-identified of a particular sexuality or classed as asexual. And those who wish to be overt in one identity and covert in another will exist too. While this social pressure exists, conflict will exist too.

    I think Peter’s views are a little too science fiction opposed to a plausible near present.

  37. There’s no way that everybody in society will accept those who love differently than others. It is different and people are scared of different. To me love is love no matter who you are. Good points and well written though.

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