I should also have titled this piece: Don’t fight Homophobia (or any other hateful attitude) with simple (or maybe even stupid) statements.
So I read the following statement on Twitter, re-tweeted a number of times, and also said on Facebook and now awarded a platitudinous status:
“‘n’ number of animals who practice homosexuality only one is homophobic, what does that say?”
Well, I will answer that, it says fatuous statements like this do more harm than good as anyone with half a brain can turn that argument against you. In fact for fun, i am going to. These are not even well thought out, but let me give you a few half-arsed knee-jerk reactions.
Simple Biological Response
You did not distinguish between recreational and procreational sex. There are not that many species ‘proven’ to have recreational sexual relationships, although many species are excited by sexual encounters it is a procreational biological reaction. Therefore many of your ‘n’ number of species are practicing homosexuality without any recreational basis, you have just degenarated it to an unthinking biological reaction with no specific need, not a ‘choice’ that a cogent lifeform would make. So what are we now saying? Is it an error of biology? Can we correct that? You see what kind of hateful argument can be brought from this.*
Simple Cognitive Response
If you point at something every animal on the planet will look at the end of the finger that is pointing, only one of them will look where you are pointing. So we can conclude that humans ‘are’ all wired differently, therefore your practice of homosexuality may just be you indulging in an ‘animalistic’ trait, rather than a culturally and socially developed ‘human’ relationship. It is unthinking and not something that an educated and morally responsible species would indulge in. You are being thoughtless, primitive and evolutionally backward in your practices. Again haters have to hate, that argument is a pile of shit but the above statement allows it to be formed.**
Simple Religious Response
“‘n’ number of animals who practice homosexuality only one is homophobic, what does that say?” It says we are better than animals. It says that we have a God who taught us that practice was wrong and those who indulge in it are worse than filthy dogs and should be treated, not in a compassionate way, but in a manner that you would treat a defect in an animal, by breeding it out. Yep. We walked into that didn’t we. We now invite them to be extremely offensive and we supplied them with the means to attack.
The Twitter Effect
I can see the point behind the original statement. I can see why you might want to observe our species to try and understand what makes us so judegmental, whether it is a pack dynamic that lies behind some of the congregating into hate groups; is it identity, are we seeking absolution or affirtmation of our position.
But what I can’t understand is why you think you are changing anything with this statement, or by repeating it. At its best it is mildly provocational, it is not that thoughtful. While it instantly invites the responses I gave above. There is no examination implied. What does it gain? Will a single homophobe, or even people who are not homophobic and just don’t care, be swayed by that statement and say “goodness, I hadn’t thought of that I must instantly stop my beliefs as it offends some people, I shall fly instantly to a GBLT rally and dance with those wonderful queers.”
I guess what I am saying is that you turned a potentially interesting observation that allows us to look and examine our species better and to educate people into a f*cking soundbite for Twitter. Not everything is best said in 140 characters. Sometimes you shouldn’t have the whole a complex argument in a single short sentence.
In other words you have made this a cosmetic argument, and homophobia, the rights of humans to practice whatever they want in a relationship,*** the right to live without fear and opression because of a choice in identity and sexuality are not cosmetic. You might as well have said, “‘n’ number of animals have dirty faces only one wears makeup, what does that say?” It says absolutely nothing. That’s what it says.
Endings and Final Thoughts
This is mostly just another rant against Twitter as I think people sometimes use it badly and this statement used in this way was prime evidence of that. I am not trying to dismiss people who think it is useful to have a stance against oppression. I am not trying to say we shouldn’t all show our support and that when you re-tweeted this that was your aim and now I appear to be implying that is wrong.
I am not…well I am doing that, but not for the reasons of dismissing.
The right to support is not the bad thing, it is the soundbite argument that is bad. The position it takes is so easily overcome it destroys the usefulness of saying it in the first place. It is so easy to find a microblog account and make your argument stronger. Or to use Twitter to link to longer statements, to organisations and websites that can argue these points for us all in a more positive and cogent fashion.
Basically, I think if it is that important, and it is important to you, you should spend a few more words on the subject. If you can change a mind in 140 characters, maybe that mind is not worth changing.
*By the way an easy counter to this offensive argument is those animals that have been seen to have recreational sex “do” practice homosexuality, it still doesn’t prove anything, but it is observed.
**Yes reducing an argument by using an absurd counter argument, no other animal on the planet wears sunglasses or swimming costumes or practices cosmetic surgery either, but again that can be used for or against, both sides can be ridiculous.
***By that I am implying that it is a mutually agreed relationship.