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Will Stereotypes Never End?

“DESMOND MORRIS, who became a bestselling author by applying zoology to explain human behaviour, has now utilised the techniques to put forward an explanation for homosexuality.

“In his latest book, The Naked Man, he concludes that men are 'made gay' because they retain infantile or juvenile characteristics into adulthood – a phenomenon known as neoteny.

“According to this theory, gay men also tend to be more inventive and creative than heterosexuals because they are more likely to retain the mental agility and playfulness of childhood.”

[For the full article, see here.]

To stereotype any group of people is foolish on its face, given the tremendous diversity that exists in the human condition. Moreover, such stereotyping, regardless of motive, is offensive to anyone with any sense at all!

In the 1950's, Afro-Americans were stereotyped as being lazy, needing care, childlike, and rather dull witted. These stereotypes served many functions, not the least of which was to justify “the otherness,” to say nothing of “the inferiority” of Black people, and the further “justification” as to why segregation should exist, along with white privilege.

Such an attempt at justification for segregation doesn't seem to exist in this case put forth by Morris, but the consequences of labeling a group of people as “the other,” especially when that group does not have full and equal civil rights, and the commensurate dignity accorded others in society, still remains, as that “other” is still being seen as being “not one of us,” and, as “inferior” to “us,” and that's why “they're not entitled to full and equal civil rights that we enjoy.” “

Gays are more creative, more 'artsy,' more 'child-like,' than 'us!'” That's the message, and it's offensive, regardless of the motive for this contention!

The fact is that Gay people are just like everyone else, and what creativity that emanates from Gay people is likely due to the creativity that comes from the suffering, the torment, the joys, and the life-experiences of most every creative person, be he or she Gay or Straight.

Just as I'm offended by studies that seek to show why some people are Gay (as it would be just as legitimate to do studies as to why some people are Straight, and do studies as to why so many people are homophobic and/or interested in why some people are Gay), I'm offended by stereotyping of any kind, and Morris has lent his acumen and credibility to a thesis not worthy of him or of any scholar of the human condition.

[Also posted on A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]

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Jerry Maneker

Jerry Maneker

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