Homosexuals, for most, hide their relationships or their identities because of fear of public humiliation and controversies. They are afraid to be criticized for who they are. However, the reality is, everyone has their flaws. Homosexuals are just male and female who have an opposite characteristic—male being feminine and female being masculine. Although they do not fit the normal setting of how gender is characterized, they still are male and female. And homosexuals, as hard as it is to accept them, are genuinely normal people, just like you and me.
United States, the country of free men. Is it completely true? Or does it come with strings attached? Freedom does cover a lot of aspects. Naming some are freedom of speech, freedom to choose their own religion and beliefs, freedom to pursue their own careers, freedom to vote, freedom to follow traditions, etc. However, we all know that this freedom has certain limitations and hidden clauses. Homosexuals most of the time don’t have the freedom to marry their loved ones or life partners. They are not accepted in the certain parts of the society. Being in love with someone is a freedom. Unfortunately, being in love with the same sex is an entirely different story. You can marry, but not with the same gender. It is like the fine print to every contract.
In the year 2008, a proposition known as Prop8 of California caused turmoil in the lands of United States. Such was like a huge storm wiping out everything on its path, the Proposition8 expressed beliefs and issues of homosexuals, not only in California but throughout United States. The issue turned into a huge controversy such that everyone had their own stands regarding the matter and all stood ground for their beliefs. Proposition 8, as most people are aware of, is the legalizing of gay or lesbian marriage and categorizing it as family. “Proposition 8 is the California ballot measure that will change the state Constitution to read ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California’” (Kerns par.2). As for all issues, Prop8 made a gap between the supporters and the contradictors. Yes, some people were neutral. But most weren’t. Both groups rallied before and after the decision for Prop8 was finalized. The groups went against one another. Endless news about Prop8 was all over the media. Supporters stood their ground. They united for one thing basically: EQUALITY.
Legalizing marriage for homosexuals meant more than what the eye could see. It meant being treated like they belong and accepted for who they are. But the fact of the matter is that not everyone lives in the twentieth century. A lot of people are still tradition-based. Christian families are religion-based. Traditional families are still not open to the idea of same sex marriage. Some people are firm grounded. They envision the future generations to hold the same values they hold. Although they live up to the changes of this modern world, they still hold on to what they learned in the past. Whichever way you look at it, some people are still really conservative one way or another. That made it harder for the homosexuals to be accepted and for Prop8 to be approved.
Different cultures mean different perceptions. Homosexuals are seen differently throughout the world. “Only what is differentiated—the present and presence…becomes uncovered, but not insofar as it is differentiated” (Derrida 403). For example, European countries are more open to the concept of gays and lesbians. The United States, too, has accepted the presence of gays and lesbians in the community. It even has gay and lesbian strip clubs and has legalized some rights for them. It “indicates the closure of presence, together with the closure of the conceptual order and denomination” (Derrida 386). United States have become open to the fact that the third and fourth genders do exist in the society.
However, Asian countries are more austere about the idea of homosexuals. For example, Philippines have made it hard for the gays and lesbians to come out to the society. Although their presence has been noted and acknowledged, they are still criticized. Most parents wouldn’t allow their sons or daughters to be one. This would then result to having the homosexuals hide their identities. And for some who decide to come out of their shell, criticisms from some people would definitely wander around them. Philippines has molded a conservative society. And although Philippines does not discriminated gays and lesbians, raising people to be traditional has made homophobia a common thing amongst Filipinos.
Another country in Asia that has raised homophobic people is India. India has accommodated different cultures around the world and its people have spread throughout different countries. However, as much as their eyes have opened to the cultures of other countries, they still uphold the strong beliefs their forefathers have instilled in them. They still have the conservative way of living within them. This includes not accepting fully the homosexual identity. The cultures of different countries have influenced how people see and recognize the presence of homosexuals in the society.
A novel and movie, “Rules of Attraction” by Bret Easton Ellis entails the concealed relationship of homosexuals. A keen review of it will show the complications of homosexuality. Sean, one of the main characters, although has set his eyes on Lauren, has an affair with Paul, Lauren’s ex-boyfriend. The story schemes of homosexuality are played throughout. As Paul, being bisexual, tries to cover up what he and Sean have. The novel emphasizes on the role of homosexuality in the society; how most tend to hide what they are and pretend to be someone they are not.
A classic playwright that shows hidden love for the same sex is “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” by Tennessee Williams. It is not directly shown that Brick has feelings for his male best friend, Skipper. But on a deeper connotation, his feelings for his male friend go deeper than friendship, it is like a fire that ignites and bursts into flames. In act one, Margaret says “Why I remember when we double-dated at college, Gladys Fitzgerald and I and you and Skipper, it was more like a date between you and Skipper. Gladys and I were just sort of tagging along as if it was necessary to chaperone you!—to make a good public impression” (Williams 59). The scene shows how homosexuals try to hide their identities. Public criticism is almost always present in the society; in turn, homosexuals stay away from the public humiliation by pretending to be straight so that they would fit in better.
A recently shown movie entitled “Bruno” starring Sacha Baron Cohen showed homosexuality on extreme settings. “Consequently, the character's gayness reads false. Baron Cohen needs to spend more time in certain gay bars if he wants to learn how to do "flamboyant" and "fabulous." It's a ghost of the real thing” (Honeycutt par.13). The movie showed homosexual sex scenes, victimizing popular figures in entertainment, and acts of homophobia. The movie was criticized badly because it depresses the homosexual community and features unlikely actions. Sacha Baron Cohen in “Bruno” expressed gay characteristics in the exaggerated level.
For most part, “Bruno” seems to be a hilarious expression of homosexuality. However, the way it is portrayed downed on the homosexuals, including Sacha Baron Cohen himself. “I think this will make people, if you’re not homophobic, it could make you,” (Smith par.5 ) What is so bad about a man showing his sexual organs to the public? “A 12-foot penis on a screen is not my idea of a good time,” she said. “In the house, yes. But not on the screen” (Smith par.12) Pornography is watched by most people and is not criticized for showing sex scenes or sexual organs. But “Bruno” seems to be different from pornographic movies. “Bruno” causes the viewers to look at homosexuals in a bad way.
Media, on the other hand, also affects how society sees homosexuals. Who is “cool” or “hot” in today’s society is mostly determined by the umbrella of culture we live in. For example, a “somebody” in society is usually based on their popularity, fame, fortune or public interest. Ellen DeGeneres, although a lesbian, is watched and adored by thousands of viewers. And she even affects lives of others. Madonna, a famous singer, kissed a girl and the crowd accepted it. People see Madonna’s act as “hot” or “sexy.” That is why when other young ladies kiss others of the same sex are not ridiculed for it. They are just seen as proof of “sexiness.”
However, when Adam Lambert, a male singer, did the same thing as Madonna’s act, he was ridiculed for it. The society saw it as scandalous and inappropriate. ABC, a television network, banned Adam Lambert from all shows in their network. But after strenuous reasoning, they decided to accept him back. “By banning Adam Lambert from all of its shows, ABC was exposing itself to accusations of homophobia, and that’d never do – after all, ABC broadcasts Desperate Housewives, a TV show starring Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria and two other gay men” (Heritage par.6).
In the society, there has been a certain expectation from people. Women are treated differently from men. For example, women kissing other women are seen by others as normal or playful acts only. But men kissing other men are most often seen as inappropriate or disappointing to look at.
Gender plays a huge role in molding the society. How males and females are seen as is often biased or society-based. Females usually are given more attention and acceptance, while men are given more respect, depending of course on how they act. For example, a female would normally be called a slut or whore when they act maliciously. But a male doing random sexes with different girls are seen as manly.
The difference of male and female sexuality tends to affect how the society sees homosexuals. A struggle that most homosexuals encounter is the acceptance in the society. The society tends to be blinded by male and female expectations only. That is why the expectations for homosexuals grow more and more. The standard for acceptance in the society builds pressure and consists of hardships.
A popular television show that features five gay individuals known as “The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” has turned straight men into sophisticated looking individuals. The show wasn’t criticized for showing homosexuals, rather, it was applauded for making a difference in the lives of others.
The fashion industry also has a great eye for homosexuals. Top-notch and world-acclaimed designers are usually homosexuals. Some models have been known to be homosexuals too. The fashion industry, known for its sophistication and world class trends, have been and will continue to be run by homosexuals who have indeed good taste in style.
Homosexuals play a huge role in the world. They are mostly seen in the fashion business or in the media. Some critiques even include homosexuals themselves. They have brought a lot to the table and they are usually known for their acts mostly for public interest.
When is the act of showing homosexuality accepted and when is it not? The main point of this is that the media plays a big role in the acceptance of homosexuality. However, the stress on the acceptance of homosexuals completely vary on the timing it was done, the popularity of the individual, and of course the criticisms of highly recognized media personnel.
Sexuality according to Foucult is a “distribution of points of power, heirarchized and placed opposite to one another” (Foucult 689). With this definition, a problem arises. Sexuality pertains to two people, specifically male and female, complimenting one another. As seen through time, one gender, usually the male, dominates the female gender. The concept of masculine and feminine shows the difference between the two genders and how both concepts interlace to produce a more stable society. On the other hand, homosexuality, having the same gender produces a more complicated turn of events. Individuals coming from the same gender species tend not to dominate or, in some cases, are apt to dominate one another. Having a different hierarchy or status of gender may or may not cause reason for their relationship to work. The question still lies unanswered.
Gender, may it be male, female, gay, lesbian, or bisexual, should still be categorized as gender. Being raised in a religious community, I am not saying that homosexuality is right nor do I agree with the values and ideologies it represents. However, I do not criticize homosexuals and I do accept the fact that it is present and that the world has evolved into something more than some people would like it to be. Homosexuality is something people have to accept, because the truth is, it is not going away. “It must be conceived without nostalgia; that is, it must be conceived outside the myth of purely maternal or paternal language belonging to the lost fatherland of thought. On the contrary, we must affirm it—in the sense that Nietzsche brings affirmation into play—with a certain laughter and with a certain dance” (Derrida 405).
Derrida, Jacques. "Differance" Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden: Blackwell, 2004. 408-19.
Ellis, Bret Easton. "The Rules of Attraction".First Vintage Contemporaries Edition. June 1998.
Foucult, Michel. "The History of Sexuality" Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden: Blackwell, 2004. 408-19.
Heritage, Stuart. "Adam Lambert to be as Gay as He Likes on ABC Again". Heckler Spray. 08 December 2009. 16 December 2009.
Honeycutt, Kirk. "Bruno--Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 26 June 2009. 16 December 2009.
Kerns, Jennifer. "iProtectMarriage.com Targets the Youth Vote with Facts about California's Proposition 8 Campaign". ChristianNewsWire. November 2008. 16 December 2009.
Saussure, Ferdinand de. "COurse in General Linguistics" Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden: Blackwell, 2004. 408-19.
Smith, Olivia. "Barbara Walters' 'View' of 'Bruno'? Host calls Sacha Baron Cohen's movie 'pornographic'". NYDaily News. 15 July 2009. 16 December 2009.
Williams, Tennessee. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". 5th edition. New Directions Publishing. 2004.