The present research paper approaches homosexuality from a Foucauldian perspective. Foucault's place and standing in a postmodern historical and cultural context will be explained. The paper outlines how homosexuality has been historically constructed and socially constituted. How sexuality became understood as a particular form of discourse, that is as a science, will be explored particularly with regard to the strategic use of confession as a producer of knowledge. I will present how homosexuality, as a medicalized, ontological identity (...) was implanted in bodies and an entire pathological population was created. To reverse an excessive medicalized discourse of homosexuality, Foucault's prescription of moving to the care of self and predicating sexuality on the pleasure of bodies as opposed to scientific or clinical ideology will be discussed. Such critical analysis facilitates new imaginative spaces that can enable educators to engage in meaningful and informed dialogue around the various discourses surrounding homosexuality in a postmodern historical and cultural context. (shrink)
In his book SEXUAL DESIRE, Roger Scruton wrongly maintains that human sexual experience is essential intentional. His thesis depends on his highly revisionary definition of 'sexual desire', the artificial nature of which I expose and criticise. He admits that homosexual desire is capable of the same kind of intentionality as heterosexual desire, and is therefore not intrinsically obscene or perverted, but he advances reasons why homosexuality is morally different from heterosexuality and is therefore an object of disapproval. His arguments (...) presuppose 'an impassable moral divide' between the sexes, and are, on his own admission, not very cogent. Since he allows that homosexual desire is a natural and spontaneous phenomenon and also proposes that moral education should guide us towards a state in which our sexuality is entirely integrated within a life of personal affection and responsibility, consistency requires that he adopt a sexual ideology which does not discriminate against homosexuality. For homosexuals are unlikely to achieve the 'sexual integrity' which Scruton advocates (and which I endorse) if they are constantly encouraged to disparage their own sexual nature and if social institutions make no positive provision for them. (shrink)
Marriagelike homosexual relationships expose a division among ethicists following Aquinas. Those emphasizing natural law may call such relationships unnatural; those emphasizing the virtues may approve of relationships fostering love and justice. Natural law, the virtues, and homosexuality all show up in Aquinas's "Commentary on Romans"--untranslated and hardly cited. Romans 1:18 opens a discussion of justice. Verse 20 provides Aquinas's chief warrant for natural law. Verse 26 applies virtue and law to "the vice against nature." But Aquinas's account also depends (...) on Paul as an exemplar of virtue and on Aquinas's high regard for the Bible. Aquinas deploys natural law as a mode of biblical exegesis, not an alternative to it. In the "De potentia", Aquinas considers how to proceed when nature and Scripture seem to conflict. The account does not settle, but rather makes more room for, dispute. (shrink)
Jamake Highwater is a master storyteller and one of our most visionary writers, hailed as "an eloquent bard, whose words are fire and glory" (Studs Terkel) and "a writer of exceptional vision and power" (Ana"is Nin). Author of more than thirty volumes of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, Highwater--considered by many to be the intellectual heir of Joseph Campbell--has long been intrigued by how our mythological legacies have served as a foundation of modern civilization. Now, in The Mythology of Transgression, he (...) uses his remarkable narrative powers to offer a personal and extraordinarily far-ranging examination of how people who stand outside of society--by dint of their sexual orientation, physical appearance, ideas, artistic inclinations, or ethnic heritage--often achieve lasting, even profound influence upon the culture at large. Drawing from a stunningly rich variety of sources ranging from the arts and literature to biology, physics, psychology, and anthropology, Highwater looks at his own outsider status--as a gay man, an artist, and an orphaned Native American--in an attempt to explore how mythologies from ancient times to the present have shaped the ways we think about social "abnormality" and alienation. Throughout, he points to a paradox at the center of Western values--the competing notions that the outsider is at once sinful and wise, that in everyday life the transgressor is ostracized, while in our most durable folklore and religious legends, heroes must break the rules to achieve greatness. Focusing in particular on homosexuality as a modern metaphor of transgression, Highwater brilliantly mixes personal anecdotes with wide ranging research, leading us on a tour through the history of social conformity and rejection, citing examples that span from Judeo-Christian-Islamic doctrines of good and evil, to the Navajo Nation's ambivalence toward the nature of sexuality, to Carson McCullers's treatment of physical deformity in the novella Member of the Wedding, to Descartes's theories of dualism. He also pays special attention to the debates currently raging in science regarding the biology of homosexuality and provides an engaging discussion of why we are motivated to seek a genetic basis of sexual orientation in the first place. Jamake Highwater has long been celebrated as a writer uniquely suited to give voice to the social outsider. Often provocative, always fascinating, The Mythology of Transgression is a tour de force of eloquent scholarship, a book that will prompt discussion and debate on the subject for years to come. (shrink)
For a balanced discussion of the main social, medical, and philosophical aspects of homosexuality, here is the ideal book. Written by philosophers of science, each comprehensive chapter takes a critical look at research on the etiology of homosexuality. Read Philosophy and Homosexuality and examine the evidence for both the sociobiological and hormonal explanations of homosexuality and study the definitions of sexual orientation and how they have affected research.
Pregnant women and persons engaging in homosexual practices compose two groups that have been and still are amongst those most severely subjected to coercive restrictions regarding their own bodies. From an historical point of view, it is a recent and rare phenomenon that a woman’s right to abortion and a person’s right to engage in homosexual interactions are recognized. Although most Western liberal states currently do recognize these rights, they are under continuous assault from various political and religious movements. Moreover, (...) though liberal theories of justice typically defend women’s rights to abortion and people’s rights to homosexual activity, these theories often struggle to capture the fundamental ground for these rights. For example, it appears hard for the liberal to say why and when only the woman and not the embryo/fetus has rights and why the right to certain sexual practices is not on par with rights to other preferences. Contemporary liberal theories of justice, therefore, have a hard time identifying what distinguishes questions of abortion and sexual activities from other questions of right and thereby also have difficulty capturing the gravity of the wrongdoing involved in coercively restricting homosexual interactions and abortion as such. I argue that Kant’s theory of justice succeeds on both counts, because it can locate the fundamental ground for these rights in an understanding of the bodily integrity of the person. Just states will neither permit nor outlaw all abortions or sexual interactions, but rather will require all such laws to be reconcilable with the protection of each person’s right to freedom. (shrink)
This volume is an indispensable reference for a wide range of scholars working across multidisciplinary fields of inquiry that focus on British and continental histories of medicine and sexuality, gender history and studies of nineteenth ...
This paper considers the question of whether the explanation of homosexual orientation offered by Sigmund Freud qualifies as a genuine explanation, judged by the criteria of the social sciences. It is argued that the explanation, namely that homosexual orientation is a function of atypical parental influences, is indeed an explanation of the kind found in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is concluded that to date Freud's hypotheses about homosexuality are no more than unproven speculations. Also considered is the question (...) of whether the very topic of homosexuality falls or ought to fall within the domain of medical inquiry. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests has been a persistent and widespread problem in the Church. Although more than 80 percent of victims have been boys, prior studies have rejected the idea that the abuse is related to homosexuality among priests. Available data show, however, that the proportion of homosexual men in the priesthood is correlated almost perfectly with the percentage of male victims and with the overall incidence of abuse. Data also show that while the incidence of (...) abuse is lower today than it was three decades ago, it has not declined as much as is commonly believed, and has recently begun to rise amid signs of episcopal complacency about procedures for the protection of children. (shrink)
We compare astronomers' removal of Pluto from the listing of planets and psychiatrists' removal of homosexuality from the listing of mental disorders. Although the political maneuverings that emerged in both controversies are less than scientifically ideal, we argue that competition for "scientific authority" among competing groups is a normal part of scientific progress. In both cases, a complicated relationship between abstract constructs and evidence made the classification problem thorny.
The argument presented here explores homosexuality within the context of applied Christian ethics. The argument works by asking students to grapple with and define the common characteristics of all eros relationships. Once the students analytically break down eros relationships, and wrestle with defining concepts such as “love,” “sex,” and “desires,” basic biblical moral precepts are applied. After this biblical application it can be shown that there is latitude enough in Christian morality to openly permit homosexuality that iscompatible with (...) biblically stated ethical dictums. The argument is pedagogical in nature, and is a challenging, engaging, and accessible argument that avoids the educational pitfalls that entangle other arguments of this nature. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that homosexuality is abnormal and hence undesirable—not because it is immoral or sinful, or because it weakens society or hampers evolutionary development, but for a purely mechanical reason. It is a misuse of bodily parts. Clear empirical sense attaches to the idea of the use of such bodily parts as genitals, the idea that they are for something, and consequently to the idea of their misuse. I argue on grounds involving natural selection that misuse (...) of bodily parts can with high probability be connected to unhappiness. I regard these matters as prolegomena to such policy issues as the rights of homosexuals, the rights of those desiring not to associate with homosexuals, and legislation concerning homosexuality, issues which I shall not discuss systematically here. However, I do in the last section draw a seemingly evident corollary from my view that homosexuality is abnormal and likely to lead to unhappiness. (shrink)
Abstract Should schools teach about homosexuality and heterosexuality, and if so how? This paper outlines arguments both in favour of, and against, such teaching and concludes that, on balance, schools of 11?16/18?years?olds should teach about sexual orientation provided certain specified conditions are met. The author then defends the notion that to teach about sexual orientation is to teach about a controversial issue, but notes that few, if any, of the published approaches to teaching in this area treat it as (...) such. He goes on to examine both the specific aims and possible approaches to teaching about homosexuality and heterosexuality. Good teaching in this area should enable 14?16?year?old students to become better informed about people's sexual orientations; it should help them better to understand each other's positions; and it should allow them to clarify their own values and attitudes. (shrink)
With the increasingly heard voices of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in American society and their demands for recognition have come the responses of religious conservatives. In this article I consider whether the extreme moral positions that religious conservatives take are defensible. More specifically, I want to consider whether teachers who embrace such conservative positions should be permitted to act on them in their classrooms. My arguments lead me to distinguish between moral democratic and moralistic positions. The former I examine using (...) the virtue of recognition and the principle of non-oppression. I conclude that democracy requires the positive portrayal of homosexuality in schools and precludes teachers expressing their beliefs against it. (shrink)
In response to powerful criticisms of older arguments, contemporary defenders of the Church’s traditional stance on homosexuality have fashioned a new kind of argument based upon the special relationship God created between the sexes. In this paper we examine two recent incarnations of this kind of argument and show that both fail to demonstrate the inherent immorality of homosexual relationships, and at most demonstrate that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships in certain respects. At the end of the (...) paper we argue that a good God would have reason to make a certain proportion of humanity homosexual in order to unmask sexist myths. In this way homosexuality could itself strengthen, rather than weaken, the special relationship God created between the sexes. (shrink)
Abstract. Scientists have long puzzled over how homosexual orientation has evolved, given the assumed low relative fitness of homosexual individuals compared to heterosexual individuals. A number of theoretical models for the evolution of homosexuality have been postulated including balance polymorphism, "Fertile females", hypervariability of DNA sequences, kin selection, and "parental manipulation". In this paper, I propose a new group-selection model for the evolution of homosexuality which offers two advantages over existing models: (1) its non-assumption of genetic determinism, and (...) (2) its lack of dependency on an inefficient altruism relation and family dynamics theory. (shrink)
The perception of the Weimar Republic as the high-point of ‘classical modernity’ in which all areas of society were permeated by a fatal sense of crisis has been revised as an explanatory model in recent historiography. Historians have returned to this period with a new sense of the openness of the crisis environment, particularly in areas of social and cultural history. Male homosexuality emerged as a central theme of Weimar social and cultural crisis as it became possible for homosexual (...) men to imagine an identity and a ‘life’ for the first time. These men began to understand their lives as a continuum in terms of their sexuality and to express their lives in writing. The discourse of masculinist homosexuality, which emerged during the first decades of the 20th century, was used by some homosexuals as a means to self-identification and self-validation in the open environment of post-war early Weimar. However, this speculative framework of masculine comradeship and warrior ethos became less and less tenable as the internal contradictions as well as the socio-political pressures of the Republic increased. The paper explores the internal tensions between homosexuality and masculinist identity in two literary works from the Weimar Republic, Max René Hesse’s Partenau and Thomas Mann’s ‘Mario and the Magician’. (shrink)
Using an analogy between moths and men, in 1916, Richard Goldschmidt proposed that homosexuality was a case of genetic intersexuality. As he strove to create a unified theory of sex determination that would encompass animals ranging from moths to men, Goldschmidt's doubts grew concerning the association of homosexuality with intersexuality until, in 1931, he dropped homosexuality from his theory of intersexuality. Despite Goldschmidt's explicit rejection of his theory of homosexuality, Theo Lang, a researcher in the Genealogical-Demographic (...) Department of the Institute for Psychiatric Research in Munich, revived it, maintained Goldschmidt's association with it, and argued on its behalf in publications from 1936 to 1960. Lang's appropriation of Goldschmidt's theory did not depend on his resolution of the difficulties Goldschmidt had found with his own theory. Lang and Goldschmidt, I argue, had fundamentally different scientific and social commitments that allowed one to reject this theory of homosexuality and the other to accept it. (shrink)
Examining the language and paradigms of science as rhetorical, that is, arising from the sociocultural forces that shape ideology, reveals androcentric assumptions that tend to thwart democratic public policy as well as effective methodology. This paper applies some recent feminist critiques of the biological sciences to the current research on the possible hormonal and genetic factors contributing to homosexuality, clarifying how this research perpetuates hierarchical binaries and suggesting ways to reconceptualize human sexuality through revised research protocols.
I argue on utilitarian grounds that while traditional constraints on heterosexual activity, including the prohibition of pre-marital sex and divorce may be justified by appeal to purely secular principles, no comparable prohibitions are justified as regards homosexual activity. Homosexuality is in this respect.
This paper is a review of how biological as well as other scientific theories, concepts and findings have been used to answer philosophical questions regarding the nature of male homosexuality. We argue that while these sciences are certainly relevant for present philosophical debates, few of the different philosophical issues surrounding male homosexuality can be settled by science alone. In the first section, we introduce a number of various essentialist and constructivist views on (male) homosexuality. The second section (...) focuses on the innateness debate over homosexuality. In the last section, we assess the typically constructivist critiques of biological research into homosexuality. (shrink)
At first sight, homosexuality has little to do with reproduction. Nevertheless, many neo-Darwinian theoreticians think that human homosexuality may have had a procreative value, since it enabled the close kin of homosexuals to have more viable offspring than individuals lacking the support of homosexual siblings. In this article, however, we will defend an alternative hypothesis - originally put forward by Freud in "A phylogenetic phantasy" - namely that homosexuality evolved as a means to strengthen social bonds. Consequently, (...) from an evolutionary point of view, homosexuality and heterosexuality have entirely distinct origins: there is no continuum from heterosexuality to homosexuality. Indeed, the natural history we propose shows that the intensity of the homosexual inclination has little or no predictive value with regard to the intensity of heterosexual tendencies. In fact, this may be a sound Darwinian way to understand sexual ambivalence. But if sexual ambivalence is a biological datum, one has to conclude that psychodynamic mechanisms are often needed in order to explain exclusive heterosexuality or exclusive homosexuality. (shrink)
The social and ethical framework of opposition toward homosexuality and, for example, gay marriage and gay parenting must be understood both from the process of institutionalism within Western society and from the essentialist view of human beings and the construction of their identities.This essentialist context of humanity and society, however, must be put in opposition to the social definition of human existence and identity. The latter are the dynamic and never-completed result of personal and social interrelation.Therefore, they cannot be (...) separated into abstractions denominating the essence of humanity and society, nor may they be viewed as clear-cut atomic or autonomous realities. On the basis of this opposition, I criticize the arguments against accepting and positively integrating homosexuality within society, especially through an analysis of the interpersonal aspects of the formation of gay identity and of gay parenting. (shrink)
In this essay, the author describes how he faced institutionalized homophobia during his psychiatric training, and how he later wrote a play inspired by the life of a gay psychiatrist. Despite Freud’s supportive stance, homosexuality aroused the antipathy of American organized psychiatry and psychoanalysis and came to be listed as an illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Dr. John E. Fryer outed himself as “Dr. H Anonymous” at a 1972 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, and the next (...) year homosexuality was removed from the DSM. The 2014 play Doctor Anonymous offers a fictionalized account of this watershed moment in the history of the gay rights movement. The author discusses his own psychotherapeutic work with gay male patients, including those who had previously been treated with conversion therapy, and explores how the play mirrors his own life experience and the experience of his patients. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the criminalization and medicalization of homosexuality during the early twentieth century in Canada. Through court records and medical texts the discourse of homosexuality as a threat to the family unit and to the nation is contextualized within Cold War rhetoric. A Foucaultian conceptualization of power and discipline helps frame questions regarding homosexuality as a criminal offense and as a mental illness. It is argued that both state control and societal pressures constructed the homosexual as (...) criminal, the homosexual as mental patient and, as a result, the homosexual as Communist threat. (shrink)
McGavin, PA The Holy Father often speaks without a prepared text, and it is amazing how accurately he reads in transcription. This was brilliantly so in Light of the World interviews. Even his brief words at pages 118-119 on condoms - so breathlessly and inaccurately treated in the media - are so cast as to withstand close scrutiny. It is with this recognition that I address his lack of precision and perception in speaking on the question of homosexuality and (...) sacred ordination. (shrink)
I am going to consider some common and, for the most part, fairly unreflective reasons for thinking that homosexuality is a bad thing and, therefore, something that should be extirpated, if that is possible, or suppressed, by, most obviously, legal prohibition or, falling short of that, by moral or social pressure. These reasons are five in number: homosexuality is held to be unnatural, abnormal, a perversion, morally wrong or sinful and aesthetically repellent or disgusting. The first three of (...) these unfavourable characterisations of homosexuality apply to it primarily as an orientation, a disposition to engage in homosexual activity, whether the disposition is manifested or not. The other two, the moral and aesthetic ones so far as most of their proponents are concerned, apply only to homosexuality, as manifested in actual conduct. The desire to sin, after all, is a necessary condition of virtue. There is no merit in not doing things one has no desire to do. Similarly the desire to do something disgusting is hardly, in itself, disgusting. (shrink)
The release of the Vatican instruction on homosexuality in the priesthood and Catholic seminaries poses several challenging ethical issues for the psychologists who conduct psychological screening evaluations for those men interested in religious life as Catholic priests. This brief article reviews some of the key ethical issues associated with these evaluations in light of the new Vatican instruction on homosexuality. The RRICC model based on the American Psychological Association's Code of Ethics (i.e., responsibility, respect, integrity, competence, and concern) (...) is used to highlight some of the ethical challenges for psychologist evaluators. (shrink)
In 1992, when Li Yinhe and I had completed our collaborative study of male homosexuality in China, we published a monograph and wrote a few articles. We remained in touch with some of the friends we had made in the course of the research, and also received many letters from readers. Over the past few years, even though we have not carried out any more detailed research into it, we have been constantly thinking about this social issue.
A growing number of researchers suggest that female homosexuality is at least in part influenced by genetic factors. Unlike for male homosexuality, few familial studies have attempted to explore maintenance of this apparently fitness-detrimental trait in the population. Using multiple recruitment methods, we explored fecundity and sexual orientation within the pedigrees of 1,458 adult female respondents. We compared 487 homosexual and 163 bisexual with 808 heterosexual females and 30,203 of their relatives. Our data suggest that the direct fitness (...) of homosexual females is four times lower than the direct fitness of heterosexual females of corresponding ages. The prevalence of nonheterosexuality within the homosexual female respondents’ families appear to be more than four times higher than the basal prevalence in the Italian population. Pedigree size and relative fecundity in both the paternal and maternal sides of the homosexual women’s families were significantly higher than in the heterosexuals’ families. If confirmed, the relative average fecundity increase within the family seems to offset the loss in fitness due to the low direct fitness of homosexual females. Therefore, the balanced fecundity in the homosexual females’ families may allow the trait to be maintained at a low-frequency equilibrium in the population. (shrink)
Since the late 1990s, the Russian Orthodox Church and several mainline Western Protestant churches have been at odds over homosexuality to such an extent that it has turned into a church-dividing issue. This article aims to find new openings for the ecumenical dialogue by examining how the ROC’s negative attitude toward same-sex relations has been influenced by cultural and historic factors. The analysis focuses on the affective dimension of the ROC’s discourse on homosexuality in important social documents and (...) public speeches. The methodology applied is taken from affect studies. The rhetoric of the ecclesial texts recalls ‘shadows from the gulag’ and frightening memories of the chaos of the 1990s, and functions to create an imagined national, moral and religious community – the ‘Russian Christian civilization’ – which is characterized by masculine heterosexuality. Religious concepts tend to become subordinate to the affective politics of the discourse. In conclusion, the author proposes that ecumenical partners continue with a profound theological discussion on human sexuality in all its diversity and complexity, and clarify to each other how understandings of basic theological notions such as human dignity and freedom have also been shaped by formative historic experiences. Furthermore, ecclesiological debates should address, at a fundamental level, the relationship between Christian community and the freedom ‘to be different.’. (shrink)
Teaching about homosexuality, especially in a positive light, has long been held to be a controversial issue. There is, however, a view of the capacity for reason that finds that those who deem homosexuality to be controversial will ultimately contradict themselves, becoming unreasonable. By this standard of reason, homosexuality should be treated as non controversial in schools. In this essay, John Petrovic argues that this epistemic position is problematic. Instead, he defends a Deweyan epistemology that casts reason (...) as, in part, a set of socially acquired habits of mind. People who have been socialized into heterosexist habits of mind must be exposed to counterhegemonic discourses. One such discourse can be found in the public values of liberal democracy through which the practice of reason must be pursued. Petrovic discusses the practical guidance provided by assuming a view of normative reason versus habituated reason in terms of both pedagogy and curriculum. (shrink)
Rymarz, Richard Review of: Homosexuality and following Jesus, by Paul Flaman,, ISBN 9781926645780, pp.181, pb; The plot to kill god: Findings from the soviet experiment in secularization, by Paul Froese, ISBN 9780520255289, pp.248, pb.
The Christian evaluation of homosexuality is based primarily on a model which can view homosexuality only as aberrational. From a Christian theological point of view this model articulates an inadequate vision of the dignity of human being. In its deliberations on the process of church, Vatican Council II implicitly developed a relational‐progressive model for understanding the salvific engagement of the complete gift of Godlife and creation. This model, in turn, provides a new basis for understanding human dignity and (...) evaluating homosexuality. Viewed from this perspective homosexuality is able to be considered a sacramental embodiment of Godlife. (shrink)
In this book, Chris Meyers takes the reader on a careful, rational, sustained criticism of arguments about the immorality of homosexuality. Meyers refutes anti-gay arguments by showing that they are based on unreasonable or demonstrably false ideas about the nature of morality.
Chris Meyers takes the reader on a careful, rational, sustained criticism of arguments about the immorality of homosexuality. Meyers refutes anti-gay arguments by showing that they are based on unreasonable or demonstrably false ideas about the nature of morality. Working through the morality arguments against homosexuality, Meyers shows how the nature of morality demands impartial, overriding reasons to act, and that it is not grounded in visceral feelings of disgust, commands from the scriptures, or mysterious Platonic essences. In (...) clear, convincing discussion, Meyers examines morality to promote the moral logic of granting rights to all people, no matter their sexual orientation. (shrink)