Making Gay Okay: A Review (3)

Reilly’s first chapter is called “The Culture War,” and it is as disturbing as it is rife with errors, assumptions, and a stark lack of documentation. He begins by alluding to the “slippery slope fallacy,” that is, that if we accept LGBTQ people we’ll loose a host of other nasty things upon the world, like bestiality (xii, 3-5). This, of course, is a fallacy for a reason in that the future cannot be predicted with any kind of certainty. It is also a fallacy in that he ignores the central issue with regards to this claim, which is that consent is the foundation. Homosexuality will not bring with it bestiality or pedophilia or incest because of the matter of consent. A child cannot consent, and nor can an animal. And in the case of incest, there is an undo balance of power in the family structure that inclines toward manipulation and power-influences over true consent. They are all excluded; LGBTQ relationships built on mutual affection and consent between adults is, however, not the same thing at all.

He next complains about the change in argument by LGBTQ activists, from “Leave us alone!” to “Accept us publicly!” He doesn’t take any time to consider why this might be the case, and in fact strongly suggests it is because of their uneasy consciences (pp. 7-12). As part of this discussion, he wonders aloud about why a gay person would want to come out of the closet–given all of the great benefits of being in the closet: “After all, the hidden homosexual . . . enjoys the privacy of concealment” (6). Of course, one of the major reasons an LGBTQ person might want to live openly and without fear in a free and civilized society is that being “out” reduces stress, depression, and increases the generally well being of the person (as studies have repeatedly shown). Reilly might do well to read Timothy Kurek’s stirring account, The Cross in the Closet.

For those keeping score at home, Reilly employs the “Nazi analogy” on page 8. Gay people rationalize their sexual perversion to same way Nazis rationalized euthanasia: “when morally disordered acts become the defining centerpiece of one’s life, vice can permanently pervert reason, and the inversion of reality becomes complete” (8). He rushes to reassure us that he is not suggesting that “homosexual acts are in any way comparable to the evil of euthanasia,” but is simply trying to show how powerful rationalization is to those whose “consciences it corrupts.” Reilly, of course, misses the fact that the horrifying offensiveness of the analogy comes not from the suggestion that gay people are as bad as Nazis, but that that rationalization functions the same in both examples. His assurances are not so assuring when you realize that his statement opens the way for the possibility that LGBTQ people might be as bad as the Nazis. There is, after all, no real moral restraint upon them in Reilly’s universe: “The problem is that” their worldview “allows for anything” (xii).

Another issue that arises is Reilly’s preoccupation with anal intercourse, which he takes to be definitional of homosexual behavior. In his view, “only the act of sodomy . . . differentiates an active homosexual from a heterosexual” (7). But hold on just a second, mister. The most recent studies suggest only about 50-80% of gay men practice anal intercourse, and the latest study (2011) indicates only about 37% of gay men practice anal intercourse, though about 75% will try it once, according to Underwood’s 2003 study, Gay Men and Anal Eroticism. Anal intercourse consistently ranks lower than most other forms of sexual pleasure. The identification of homosexual behavior with anal intercourse is, therefore, tenuous at best, and moreover, is completely destroyed by the fact that a 2010 study found that 51% of heterosexual men and 43% of heterosexual women have experimented with anal intercourse. And a number of heterosexual males also enjoy the practice as well. It should also be kept in mind that originally the term “sodomy” included essentially any non-coital sexual expression, including oral sex, which is fairly common among both hetero and homosexual couples. So it is completely incorrect to presume that “sodomy” in any form is an accurate means of distinguishing heterosexuality from homosexuality.

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