In a classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, Samuel Clowes Huneke, historian of modern Europe at Stanford University, discusses in this essay early (from the 1860s on) reactions to anti-sodomy laws. His contention is that typical depictions of gay men in art and literature, while attempting to point out the injustice of such laws, created the stereotype of gay suicide that still poses a grave danger to LBGT folk today.


The gay-suicide stereotype kills gay people, and must end


Fictional representations of LGBT characters are important because, in the lonely world of the closet, they might be the only models young people have. Depictions of romantic suicides are particularly insidious because populations confronted with suicide – whether illusory or real – are more prone to it themselves. Gay, lesbian and transgender youth are between twice and four times as likely as their straight peers to attempt suicide.


The irony of the death wish was that – by exposing the victimisation of homosexual men – gay activists, scientists and novelists made victims of the gay population. For, by encouraging gay men and women to see themselves as victims of suicide, they naturalised gay suicide and helped foster the conditions of its perpetuation. The activists who first railed against unjust laws and the authors who dramatised their consequences in literature created a trope that would become a monster. This gay suicide trope is a grotesque and farcical reality that still causes suffering, a literary device perpetuated by a romantic sensibility that absurdly insists that the most fitting end to any gay life is premature, self-inflicted death. The ‘tragic homosexual’ is a stereotype we can live without.


Camus once made the crack that the only real philosophical question is whether or not to kill yourself. While personally I think he made an intriguing point, enough is enough. Our current cultural conditions entail ubiquitous bigotry and shitloads of ignorant parents programmed by religious grifters to torture their own gay or transgender children for a completely imaginary "offense."


These people continue to fight tooth and nail against any depictions of same sex attraction as acceptable or normal, and they've continually attempted to buttress their hatred with a tsunami of egregious lies about gay sex. As John Boswell pointed out decades ago, it's almost as if they're in a panic that given an even playing field without fear of negative consequences, their offspring might prefer being gay.

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...their offspring might prefer being gay.

Or maybe, confronted with left-handed people, they might prefer to be southpaws!  The ignorance and lack of understanding or logic applied to this matter is ludicrous.

You've hit on the perfect example here. Being gay or straight should be exactly as controversial as being right or left handed. Note that dickhead Christians also used to claim that left-handedness was the work of the devil. My granny was a lefty and had to learn to write with her right hand anyway. At the most fundamental level, gayness is just a polarity shift of some sort that should be of no concern to anyone.

Yes; in our time, most people realize that being left-handed, or right-handed, or ambidextrous is just fine.

If there were an "ambidextrous pill" with no negative side effects, I'd take it!

If it were possible to easily choose one's sexual orientation, in our overpopulated world there might be something to be said for "choosing to be gay"! Fortunately for female-male couples, modern, effective contraception was one of the public health triumphs of the 20th century. (But the Religious "Right" Wrong would like to turn back the clock on that too.)

Their real goal is to stomp out all orgasms that don't lead to procreation of another mind to poison with religion. Oh, but there's of course an exception clause for priests with closely held, non-consenting altar boys.

It's an effective tactic for a religion to increase its hold on people!

Co-opt a natural, strong, nearly universal desire; surround it with rules, regulations, and restrictions, and guilt and shame; set people up to fail.

When they fall short of your impossible standard, offer your institution as the only means of (temporary) cleansing and forgiveness.

Blather, rinse, repeat.

"When you've got them by the balls [and clits], their hearts and minds will follow."

William Blake said "The lust of the goat is the bounty of God." They're just acing out the competition.

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