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How people can oppose gay marriage without being bigots
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saxifrage00
Well, not bigots regarding sexual preference, at least.

"Hate and Marriage: Same-sex marriage setbacks may not be all bad news for gay rights". Slate Online

The perspective that the article suggests is that a large portion of those opposing gay marriage could be doing so not because they are anti-gay, but because marriage bolsters the blurring distinction between gender roles. Marriage (assuming hetero marriage for the moment) is one of the last institutions which has well-defines slots for "male" and "female" people and enforces those gender roles. From the article:
When San Francisco undertook its short-lived experiment with same-sex marriage, it confronted marriage certificate forms with blanks for the names of the "bride" and "groom." The city hastily rewrote them to read "first applicant" and "second applicant." And this is telling. Many people get married because they want the established sex roles the institution provides: a blushing, beautiful, white veil and miles-of-lace bride set off against her dashing, handsome, chivalrous groom. Same-sex marriage seems to undermine these very sex-specific statuses, leaving everyone a sex-neutral "applicant." Sure, we could say same-sex marriages involve two brides or two grooms, but something really is lost in this translation: At that point the terms do not describe distinctively gendered roles but are merely gendered descriptions of the same role. We could just as well say "male applicant" and "female applicant." This might explain why so many straight people think same-sex marriage will change the nature of marriage for them.
Most people find others who don't neatly fit into the male-female gender binary extremely threatening—witness the case of Brandon Teena—and most people also are not self-aware enough to even know why. This kind of core phobia touches on everything even potentially related: men who won't go anywhere near a lower-body garment with less than two holes and find "authoritative" women threatening, parents who expect their children's career and hobby choices to be dictated by their reproductive equipment, women who avoid vigorous physical activities because they're "unfeminine", and the list goes on. It's no surprise that it might have an effect on people's opinions of who ought to be allowed to marry who, and that a gender-binary-violating proposition like gay marriage might upset a number of people on the deep visceral level of fear.

This isn't to excuse this, and the article doesn't end on that note either. One of the first steps to wisdom, goes an old proverb, is to call things by their proper name. Calling someone a bigot in the raging debates surrounding gay marriage is counterproductive if they're actually, unknown even to them, transphobic. The responses to objections to gay marriage are different if the objector is transphobic or bigoted. Understanding why the opponent is irrationally opposed to something is key to defeating their arguments.

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(Deleted comment)
I think there are more people growing up these days to whom it just is never such an issue. More examples of that makes me glad. :)

I still think it's an interesting thought. If that's so, can I point to the "June Cleaver" sort of ideal as being responsible for why these people are afraid of gender difference blurring - they want a time when "men were men, and women stayed home, made babies and raised 'em?"

What are they afraid of? If they want, they can choose to participate in such a view of the world. It may be frowned on as unprogressive, but it's their choice. (At least, so long as they're not trying to harm or force that idea on anyone else.) People are still people, and it's about time we stopped thinking in hunter-gatherer terms and started thinking in human terms.

I think Greyweirdo's recent post about permission comes into this, except it's the flip-side. These people don't understand, hate, and fear gender-strangeness because it gives them permission to be gender-strange, and so many people have their identity tied up in their gender. When a core part of your self-conception, so core that the possibility of it being otherwise never occurred to them, is questioned, people experience violent emotional reactions. When other people's mere existence threatens one's identity, things get hairy and nastiness ensues.

Are these people worried about gatching the gay or something, that if they let other people live the gender-strange life, that somehow they'll become gender-strange themselves?

Many people find security in rigidity. If something that they thought was rigid is suddenly presented as flexible, they can no longer depend on it as a foundation of their identity. Consider the man who (in part) defines himself by the role of "bread-winner" of the family, and who suddenly gets laid off because their industry is in trouble. Depression frequently follows because being capable of supporting their family is part of their identity as a man rather than simply an externally-motivated role. It's very common to integrate externalities into one's identity, but it's very unstable.

So, the same with gender. If many, many parts of one's identity are tied to an unquestioned conception of their gender and consequent life-roles, then suddenly not having their gender be something that is a guarantee leaves them adrift and needing to find a new anchor for thier identity. People who don't experience this are just the same people who didn't anchor their identity in gender in the first place.

Ah, it's the instance of having the one constatnt in their life yanked out from under them. Okay, that makes more sense, considering I've probably anchored mine to some different things and pray that they don't pull the rug out from under me...

Take care to avoid statements similar to your last sentence in which it is implied that hunter-gatherers are less than human. It's been found that hunting and gathering societies tend to be more egalitarian and non-hierarchical. Granted, it's not always the case. As in any type of society, social expectations and traditions play a role in the lives of its members.

Whoops. Hoist by my own petard. I suppose that should read, then, "The popular, media-influenced, colonial-ish, Western perception of hunter-gatherer societies." Sorry for the flub.

I disagree with your postulation on discomfort when confronted with nonstandard gender, though I do agree with your assesment that people, in general, are terrified of difference or appearing different.

My problem with the assertion, and perhaps my own admitted minor discomfort with the idea of transgenderedness comes from my own background that manhood, and presumably womanhood as well is something that is not just inborn but also earned through one's independance, self-mastery and virtue. Obviously the what we make ourselves is more important than what we were made, and I in fact have no discomfort whatsoever when I encounter female to male transgendered persons, because of those I have met, most of them innately recognize that manhood is earned. Otherwise they are just gender-male children.

I am uncomfortable around adult males, no matter what their birth gender though who think that manhood is something that happens automatically. When they turn 19, or the first time they have sex or when the government says they can vote or what have you, no matter their level of maturity.

How this applies to my own minor discomfort with the idea of male to female transgenderedness stems from the other half of the coin: if a child (of either gender) is lucky it is raised in such a way that it understands what it is to be a man or woman, how to make the journey, and how to know when it has been achieved (what I was talking about earlier). Male-Female transgendered persons, by a conscious or unconscious decision or compulsion abandon the path that is set before them to take on the other. And while I can't generalize, most of the male-female transgendered persons I've known (which I can count on one hand, I'll admit), have had that immaturity that I talk about above. They've had the maturity level of a girl about the age of 15, or a guy about 12. Perhaps because they've only realized for that long that they are a girl, I don't know, but in my experience this immaturity is not as often present in the female-male transgendered population.

Also, their choice, again be it conscious or not, is one that says that mine is not universally correct. And universal correctness is a nice fuzzy blanket that we all hold dear.

Next month I'm marrying my very straight, very male fiance.

Last night he dressed up in my lingere and silicon "falsies" for me because he knows I like to pretend he's a woman sometimes.

I think gender lines have always been more blurred than people are willing to admit.

Also, I find it "telling" that the article mentions the steryotype of the WESTERN bride and groom - white dress, veil, and tux.

First of all, white wasn't even a wedding colour until the last hundred years, second of all, that's not the "typical" wedding picture in myriad other cultures.

A lot of cultures have both the "male" and "female" getting married in very simular, gender neutral attire. (Mostly because it's blooming hot and there's no reason for either to be in more restrictive attire than the other)

That's a really adorable, new arguement, "We oppose gay marriage because we want our blushing virgins back." Oh, sure, that's gonna fly far.

Yes, I am getting married in a white dress, with a beaded bodice, and a tulle skirt, and yes my fiance and his brother are in matching black suits, but my female attendants, and his best "man" (a Chinese female friend of ours) are all in red and gold saris. We're having the reception at "The Resturant at the End of the Universe." Should be pretty cool.

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That's my feeling at the moment, too.

Re: t-shirt, that's awesome. I saw a guy at Cornerstone the other week wearing that exact shirt, too.

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