A few words in behalf of those of us who would never dream of discriminating against any other human being because of that person’s gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religious belief (or lack of religious belief), or failure to share our loyalties to certain sports teams, but who are a bit put off by those who would deny us the privilege of noticing differences that may exist between people of different genders, ages, etc. My inspiration for writing these words is, as you might have guessed, the case of the football player, Michael Sam, who, just ahead of the recent NFL draft, publicly declared himself gay and was then picked in the 7th (and final) round of the draft, and then proceeded to publicly kiss his boy friend (an event duly photographed and posted) and to announce that he should have been drafted higher than the 7th round, implying that he had been under-valued because of his sexual orientation. The world did not come to an end, but a lot of people did feel the need to continue to explain to the cretins (such as I) why it is that gay people are no different from straight people and that we should have no reaction whatsoever to photographs of homosexual ardor.
For the record: The fact that Michael Sam is gay does not mean to me that he is a bad person or a good person, a bad athlete or a good one. To me, he is a bit slow and un-athletic for the linebacker position, but I read that he looks better on the field than on paper. But his sexual orientation does mean to me that he is different from a heterosexual person. How different? Does it matter?
As a heterosexual male, I am wired to react to certain stimuli. I have a sexual reaction to female sexual behavior and to images or symbols or signals of female sexuality. I reacted in a certain way to those stimuli at age 12, and I reacted in pretty much the same way at ages 22, 32, and so on. Reaction might have gotten a bit weaker as I have gotten a bit older, but essentially nothing has ever changed. Similarly, I am wired not to react to male sexuality – there is literally no way that a signal or symbol or act of sexuality by another male can stimulate me sexually. In fact, I find that the appearance or presentation of male sexuality makes me uncomfortable. Maybe not revolted, as apparently was the case with one NFL player who said so, and then of course was immediately enrolled in the NFL re-education camp. But definitely uncomfortable. Same with couples: I am occasionally stimulated by male-female sex on TV, but I am not stimulated by male-male sex on TV. None of this is good or bad, none of it is experienced by me as having any moral content at all; it is what it is, it is who and what I am.
I do not know whether the removal of barriers and disadvantages to homosexual behavior is likely to be helpful or harmful to the future of our civilization. Will the legalization and normalization of gay marriage result in an increase in the gay population? My instincts suggest that it might, but I am aware that there is a lot of data and analysis to suggest that it would not. Will it lead to a further erosion of the societal attitudes that historically have encouraged and supported family life and procreation? Again, my instincts suggest that it might, but one dare not make that suggestion in public in contemporary America, certainly not on the campus of any American university. Is the greater normalization of homosexual behavior just one more step in the regression of modern man (including modern woman) toward the social horror of medical and scientific advancements that grant us a physical life that is effectively eternal – so long as we live in a de facto cocoon so as to avoid the risk of auto collisions, fist fights, earthquakes, and arguments with Iran or China? Does that normalization make it more likely that metrosexual America will be overrun by hordes of 21st century Huns who have retained at least some of their warrior instincts?
If the voting electorate in a free democracy determines (preferably at the state level) to continue to move in the direction of normalizing all forms of social behavior heretofore considered deviant, I say, great, let’s do it. But if the object of the movement is to punish or stigmatize heterosexuals for noticing what is going on, for being turned off by this or that, for thinking about it in a certain way, or for expressing their opinions, I am not prepared to roll over on that one, and I think the whole effort can only do harm to us all.
So reasonable that it’s hard to believe reasonable people will disagree.