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Read "Sixteen Propositions" by Michael Denneny in our online-Library!

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Author Topic: Denneny 14: Homophobia is an ever-present threat and pressure  (Read 3434 times)

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  • Viktor Zimmermann
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Re: Denneny 14: Homophobia is an ever-present threat and pressure
« Reply #2 on: Tue, Jan 31, 2006, 05:20 »

Happily, human minds are shaped to forget unnecessary and malicious contents - so it's possible to get rid of the homophobic ballast in the course of, let's say 5 years or so. The important prerequisition of this self-healing is of course, that the individual has healthy social contacts to other gays and has accomplished his inner coming-out to the extent that he likes to be a happy homosexual. Really, knowing lots of merry and kind gays is very supportive in overcoming the indoctrination we were all being made subject of. Those who have prevalently straight friends and discuss mostly their "problems" of being "a homo", will probably keep their mental stress for decades. Get rid of these hobby freudians and make new gay friends makes a life much brighter.
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!" Salvor Hardin


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Denneny 14: Homophobia is an ever-present threat and pressure
« Reply #1 on: Mon, Jan 30, 2006, 21:47 »

Denneny’s fourteenth proposition is: “It is absurd to believe that after coming out we are no longer conditioned by the virulent hatred of gays apparently endemic to this culture. Homophobia is an ever-present threat and pressure, both externally and internally.”

The willing suspension of belief in the reality of gay oppression, however, has serious and destructive consequences. Chief among them is the widespread predisposition to believe that once we have accomplished the psychological ordeal known as coming out, we are suddenly and magically free of the negative conditioning of our homophobic society. This is obviously absurd. Nevertheless we tend to consider our problems — from alcoholism and unfulfilling sexual obsession to workaholism, inability to handle emotional intimacy, cynicism, the self-destructive negativism of attitude, and on and on — as simply our own fault. At most, we will trace them to our inability “to accept ourselves.” The point of the matter is no one starts off with an inability to accept himself; this emerges only after we find other people unable or unwilling to accept us. The conditioning of our homophobic society runs deep and is not easily eradicated; unless explicitly acknowledged and dealt with, it will continue to distort our psyches and our lives. We urgently need to understand the ways these destructive influences continue to pervade our immediate existence, to trace their impact on our behavior in bars and in baths, in the office and in bed, carefully and without preconceptions distinguishing what is useful for survival, if not admirable in an ideal society, from what can only demoralize us further. In this connection, I suspect we have, by and large, seriously underestimated the help gay novelists have offered us in books like Dancer from the Dance, Faggots, and Rushes.

It could reasonably be argued that the homophobia inherent in straight society has lessened since the 80s, but I would question the sanity of anyone who claimed that it had disappeared. Although there are a few remarkable exceptions, as a rule gay people are still raised in a homophobic straight culture to be homophobic straights. We, of course, are not straights — this much becomes readily apparent soon enough. What does not so readily become apparent is the inappropriateness of our upbringing and our continued interaction with that same culture.

As for the usefulness of gay novels in evaluating the destructive influences acting on the gay people, that is a determination best left to the individual reader. The specific books mentioned by Denneny are now classics of English gay literature. There are, no doubt, additional novels written in other languages.
Dancer from the Dance: Andrew Holleran 1978 ISBN: 0060937068
Faggots: Larry Kramer 1978 ISBN: 0802136915
Rushes: John Rechy 1981 ISBN: 0394178831
Stonewall was a riot.
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