The newest argument against homosexuality has arrived. It turns out it prevents straight dudes from being friends. Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition explains:
“But there is no such thing as absolute freedom when it comes to sexuality. The moment we celebrate or endorse certain behaviors, we curtail freedom in other areas. This is the nature of freedom.”
Wax then lists a few examples of platonic affection between straight men which have fallen out of vogue, such as lovingly written letters, holding hands and sharing a bed.
Wax attributes this lack of affection between men as the result of gay people being accepted into society. Because if there are gays, you don’t want to risk being mistaken for one of those people. He then goes on to talk about how a hypothetical pro-incest movement would damage his ability to be affectionate with his daughter. His thesis is that this is about a larger over-sexualization of society and I think he’s really stretching to get to this point. The problem is that even if there were a politically significant pro-incest movement, that wouldn’t tell us anything about gay rights. Both movements would have to be judged on the merits of their arguments, and not on the fictional relationship between the two that opponents have constructed. It’s also rather insulting to imply that a relationship between two consenting adults is in any way similar to someone abusing kids. This post isn’t really about this problem in that article, but there was no way I could let that off the hook.
Where I do agree with Wax is that I think it does suck that hetero men feel they can’t be affectionate with one another. And a good chunk of the reason for that is people fear being seen as gay.
That’s where we stop agreeing, because society moving toward acceptance of gay people won’t hinder hetero same-sex affection. It will bolster it. The less of a big deal being gay becomes, the less people will care if people mistake them for gay.
I’m bisexual. And when I was dealing with feeling attracted to men in high school, the biggest thing keeping me tight-lipped and feeling bad about it was that I knew how horrible my life would be if people knew. It wasn’t a hypothetical, I saw my openly gay and suspectedly gay classmates harassed by their peers. I had close non-sexual friends, but I was worried about the social repercussions of being affectionate toward them. If I hadn’t been, I would have hugged them as frequently as I hugged my female friends.
After I grew up and became something approximating an adult, I grew less timid about affection. Both sexual and non. I’m a big hugger, and if it didn’t weird people out, I’d probably be down for lots of hand holding and other cuddly things with my platonic friends. I’ve even gone to Lovetribe events such as cuddle parties. While these can cause you to overdose on hippies, it also is a great way to explore that kind of affection. For me a big part of this growth was getting over how homophobes would feel. And it was liberating to do so! I see nothing wrong with any of Wax’s examples of hetero manlove, and that’s all because I just stopped caring if I alienated hateful people.
I am very lucky that my immediate family is extremely supportive and awesome. I’ve never had to worry about being disowned by my mom. And to my sister, the worst thing I’ve done is move away from my hometown. She might not ever forgive me for that, but she doesn’t get bothered by the thought of me having a caring relationship with a man.
Things are still pretty awful for gay people, especially gay teens. But it is improving. And as things get better for gay people, they’ll improve for heterosexual people like Mr. Wax too. They’ll get better even faster though if Christians like him start advocating for equality and chastise their fellow churchgoers when they treat people poorly based on who they love–platonically and otherwise.
I write a lot of jokes. Some of them are in this book.
I also host the podcast of the Skepchick events team, Some Assembly Required, and cohost the WWJTD Podcast.
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