A Book I'm Reading
He knew about homosexuality, of course, as an idea, without ever having really connected it to human emotion; certainly never to any emotion of his own. It had never occurred to him that two men, even homosexual men, might kiss in that way. He had assumed, to the degree he had ever permitted himself to give it any thought at all, that the whole thing must be a matter of blow jobs in dark alleyways or the foul practices of love-starved British sailors. But those men with the neckties and mustaches--they had been kissing the way people kissed in the movies, with care and vigor and just a hint of showiness. One fellow had caressed the other's cheek.
I'm reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay right now. So far I'm enjoying it very much. The other day I came across this passage (it's the first outward mention of homosexuality in the book, 250 pages in), and I couldn't help but take notice of the significance of what it was.
It's an interesting commentary on the way people perceive homosexuality. The book is set in WWII, but the passage is certainly relevant still today. How many times do I hear anti-gay folks talk about gay people not being able to control their "sexual impulses" or say that they don't hate the person, they hate the sin (or the actions)? They're talking about actions, not emotions or feelings, and it's a strategy that works quite well.
Just like the character in this book, the anti-gay folks out there imagine homosexuality as sex acts in dark alleys, bars, and clubs. They don't (because they either can't or refuse to) stop to understand the human emotion that comes along with it. If people had to admit that homosexuality involved all the emotion--the love, togetherness, happiness, etc. that they feel in their own lives, it'd be a lot harder to dismiss.
When a woman kisses her husband, she feels the wave of emotion the author describes, but somehow when she discusses homosexuality, she removes all of those feelings from the equation. She's made homosexuality into "the other," and now her own conscience doesn't have to try to understand because it's those nasty actions she's against, not real people with real human emotions so similar to her own.