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Author Topic: Peter Tatchell: Just a phase?  (Read 2864 times)


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Peter Tatchell: Just a phase?
« on: November 28, 2006, 06:15:25 AM »

Peter Tatchell has posted a highly regretable article "Just a phase" on his column in "Guardian". In this article Mr. Tatchell argues on behalf of a en vogue thesis that homosexuality is a modern-time construction and in the bright future sexual orientation as such will disappear and all humans will re-discover their oppressed bisexuality.

For example, Mr. Tatchell writes:

"Given that homophobia still exists, we need to challenge prejudice and defend our right to be gay. But in the long term, lesbian and gay identity is doomed. And a good thing, too."

While the surprised reader rubbes his eyes, he goes on reading what has actually posessed Mr. Tatchell to make such a statement:

"Like every other expression of human culture, homosexual and heterosexual identities are historically transient. They haven't always existed, and they won't last forever. Indeed, the weakening, blurring and eventual dissolution of the labels queer and straight will be final proof of the demise of homophobia."

The entire article is full of such unfonded, poorly researched and highly pretencious statements. Mr. Tatchell simply takes for granted that when he has no knowledge of manifested historic evidences of homosexual identity, such identity must be an invention of 19th century. The mistake in logics is so simple that one barely needs to comment on this. Of course there can no written evidence exist on self-identifying proud gays before the second half of the 19th century - the homosexuals that days were scared to death and could only survive when remaining invisible. We shall not forget that in enlightened England buggery remained a capital offence in until 1861, and the last execution for the crime took place in 1836. Out of the same reason some leftist (heterosexual) Exile-Iranians accused Western gays of transferring the "Western gay identity" to Iran, which lacks to show up with some proud self-identifying gays - guess why.

In his book "A Critique of Social Constructionalism and Postmodern Queer Theory" Rictor Norton aptly connotates that existence of homosexuals as ethnic group does not depend from any social manifestations of their naturelle through any actual behaviour:

"I have no problem in reconciling the view that queer desire is innate but that it expresses itself in sexual or social actions and (sub)cultures that may reflect to a greater or lesser degree the time and place in which they occur. Self-presentation can be carefully constructed even though it is founded upon an innate self-conception. There should be no difficulty in recognizing, for example, that modern British gay consciousness was well in place before American styles of presenting or performing gayness were deliberately imported into Britain: ‘Michael Glover, who started the London Apprentice [pub], had seen leather bars and cruise bars in the States and it was his intention to bring that style of bar to London’ (Healy 1996). The specific sexual custom of fistfucking appeared first in America and was exported to Europe and Japan, probably in the year 1971, but it is not likely that an entirely new mentalité arose in that year, or that decade. [..] The opportunities for expressing queer desire have been increasingly restricted in modern times, but the desire remains the same."

Being not a friend of the word "queer" myself, I would translate this in other terms: there have always been homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals on this planet. Denying this simple truth is ridiculous.

In short, I can't come around the conclusion that despite his otherwise proven sharp intellect, Mr. Tatchell got confused on this particular issue. This recent article of him reminds us powerfully that even greate minds can represent views, which obvious erroneousness is evident even to most of the lesser minds.

One can only hope that this episode will indeed remain only "a phase" in Mr. Tatchells personal developement.  :roll:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." Thomas Paine
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