September 29, 2012

YOU JUST CAN'T WORRY ABOUT LABELS...:

Homophobia: what does it really mean? : In discussing same-sex issues, let's scrap the labels and return to facts. (Zac Alstin, 28 September 2012, MercatorNet)

According to the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), as of 2009, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for approximately 2 percent of the US population, but 56 percent of people living with HIV. This same demographic suffered 61 percent of all new HIV infections that year.

The CDC uses the concept of MSM because actions speak louder than words: actual behaviour is a better predictor of disease risk than self-identification. But even though actions speak louder than words, words are much easier to interpret. In fact, words are too easy to interpret, and in our contemporary verbal glut we are at risk of losing touch with the meaning embodied in real actions and real objects.

Here's the problem: the CDC uses the term "MSM", and we discover to our surprise that we don't really know how to interpret such a concept. If only they'd said "gay men", we could all slide neatly into our prejudices. MSM is a fact; "homosexuality" is an idea, an interpretation, an ideology, a historical movement, and a rallying point in the culture war.

...when to be a "homophobe" means you believe that we should help men avoid behaviors that will debilitate them physically and emotionally while to be pro-gay means you should be indifferent to their suicidal pathologies. It is the phobe who loves them.

Posted by at September 29, 2012 8:42 AM
  

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