Homosexuality as Taboo in the 21st Century

Living in this “New Progressive America,” it feels unnatural to describe something as common and harmless as homosexuality as a taboo.  You would think our cultural shift has been more effective in welcoming the gay identity than we have been.

The truth of the matter is we still have a long way to go, especially in terms of educating people about the wants and needs of the LGBT community. Although marriage equality is the law of the land – all 50 states have legalized same sex marriage –  the picture perfect gay or lesbian couple raising a child does not put us at the fully progressive end of the spectrum.

“There is so much more to the gay identity than just getting married.  Of course, we deserve the same rights as everyone else —  to get married if we want to —  but to pigeonhole our identity to be completely about that one thing is just not true. Truly, what the gay identity is about is sexual expression,” said Michael Rizzo, the executive director of “Loop Magazine.”

Rizzo pinpointed one of the most relevant taboos we still see in society : sex. It’s an activity in which most of us participate, yet no one discusses in public. If you do, you’re bound to face scrutiny.

Whether it is gay sex or straight sex, no one wants to hear about it. One of the most natural activities in which humans engage is the one topic that gets the harshest cold shoulder. Given that sex is the one thing directly responsible for our existence, It is strange to think that it is also the one to be so widely shunned.

“Before the marriage equality movement, we were the advocates for sex. And before HIV and AIDS, we were advocates of ‘have sex as often as you want, and with as many people as you want,’ and sexual freedom and sexual expression is really at the root of the LGBT community. Now that is taboo,” he said.

I asked Michael how gays’ and lesbians’ rights for marriage spawned from the right to sexual expression. He told me a shift in the conversation had to be made in order to give the LGBT community basic human rights.

If you don’t want to talk about sex, then you don’t want to talk about gay sex –which is why activists changed the conversation and said, ‘let’s talk about marriage instead.’ It also goes back to the stigma behind HIV and AIDS and even now PrEP, the medication that prevents HIV. People are just so afraid of sex, and anyone who engages in and enjoys sex is a slut.”

This sentiment echoes through society, and especially when religion has a role to play, which it largely does in the West.  Although the Bible doesn’t speak much about homosexuality, supposedly, it does consider it a sin, according to the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. However, homosexuality was expressly forbidden in Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, and while the New Testament makes occasional reference to “men who lie with men,” Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in the gospels.

According to the article quoting various passages from the Bible, “Homosexuality undermines God’s created order when He made Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, to carry out His command to fill and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). Homosexuality cannot carry out that mandate. In addition, homosexuality undermines the basic family unit of husband and wife which is the God-ordained means of procreation. Again, homosexuality cannot do that. And, believe it or not, it is also dangerous to society.”  

It has been painted for society that it is our civil duty to reproduce, as if our sole purpose as men and women is to get married and have children. If you stray from this ideal, then you must fall into an unnatural and ungodly category.

However, the idea that homosexuality and bisexuality are unnatural social constructs is, in itself, a misconception that has been debunked.

According to an article by Exposing Truth, “More than 1,500 different animal species, including chimpanzees, dolphins and apes engage in homosexual and bisexual acts . . . from mammals to crabs and worms, the actual number is of course much higher. Among some animals homosexual behavior is rare, some having sex with the same gender only a part of their life, while other animals, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, homosexuality is practiced throughout their lives.”

Despite religious and cultural stigmas, the scientific evidence exists to prove homosexuality as simply another course of nature. Regardless of one’s decision to accept or reject that evidence, there is an important question to be asked: why does anybody care about the sex lives of others? An unrelated third party stands to lose nothing as a result of two men or two women choosing to be intimate. Live and let live, and if you ever find yourself questioning “those gays and lesbians” ruining your day, then stop and ask yourself: “Are ‘these people’ preventing me from living my own life, or am I the one preventing them from living theirs?”

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