The Normalization of Homosexuality

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 15, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

The normalization of homosexuality in many urban areas, college towns and other fair-minded communities implies that the distinctions between gay and straight lifestyles are starting to blur. Primarily it means increasing numbers of gay and lesbian people are living the lifestyle they expected to have growing up: the possibility of a life-long relationship; being a spouse or parent, raising children, with travel, home and retirement together. Many gay and lesbian couples want to get married, or at least have their partner receive the recognition and economic benefits married heterosexuals expect and are entitled to, whether or not they have children. The biggest part of normalization is the shift in how gay and lesbian people see ourselves and our relations with others. We expect to live fully, with the person we love by our side. We expect to live without the threat of ridicule, discrimination or physical violence for being who we are.

Heterosexuals, on the other hand, place a decreasing emphasis on marriage and children. If they want children, single people adopt or have them without getting married. Why is this? Well, for a whole host of complex reasons, including economics, teenagers and adults are freer than they have ever been to make choices and explore lifestyle options and experiences. A big tradition keeper–the clergy–has lost a lot of steam and credibility in the past few decades, largely through their own missteps and arrogance. In their place, the civil rights movement has supplied ethical and legal clout to the women’s rights, gay rights, and a whole respect for diversity movement, which further tranformed cultural norms.

The media, too, has had a hand in normalizing homosexuality to the general population by showing, and broadening, the images of lesbian and gay people. We are no longer restricted to “Well of Loneliness” figures or pulp novel types where the lesbian character, after “seducing” the young, beautiful wife, conveniently dies or steps aside with complete understanding when her lover decides a “deviant” lifestyle was not for her and heads back home to her husband. What we have now is the sequel or next episode, where they young beautiful wife realizes she made a big mistake by returning and has left her one, true love. She runs back to her lesbian lover, and begs her to take her back. Of course, if this were real life, the lesbian lover has already been snapped up by someone waiting in the wings for the right moment…or she’s started to date the ex of her ex…and now with the addition of the former love interest back on the scene things start to get messy and interesting!

The Church hierarchy continues to deplore the “selfish view of sexuality” which it sees as promoting pleasure over procreation. This is, of course, their way of saying that gay sex is no good: we can never procreate. But using this logic, what does that mean for Catholic heterosexual couples that choose not to have children; that cannot have children because of fertility problems; women through menopause; men with impotence problems; or simply, couples that want to make love but don’t want to have children–should they all abstain from sex as they would use it only for pleasure, not procreation?

Unfortunately, when it comes to sexuality, the Church often promotes the ridiculous over common sense, costing it members and credibility: the ban on birth control, the ban on condoms to prevent AIDS, the protection of priests that raped and sodomized young people of both sexes, but particularly boys under the age of consent; the insistence gay people must live our life alone, without a loving partner. “Out of touch with reality” is the first thought that comes to mind when I think of the Church and its positions on sexuality. People obey religious strictures when they make sense, when they are not an unconscionable burden, and when they are rooted in reality.

For additional reading on gay assimilation, please read

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