Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Growing up, gay

One of the longstanding tropes of traditional psychology about homosexual men is that they/we are in a state of arrested development. Having failed in the Oedipal task of separation from the mother and identification with the father, we remain "mama's boys". That's why we do not connect intimately with women (or, really, with men); mom wouldn't like it. So we're just boys "fooling around" with other boys.

Freudian developmental theory aside, there is something deeply unserious and silly, childish and uncharmingly adolescent about gay culture. And one of the places it shows up is in events like the Sisters' Hunky Jesus contest.

With my Catholic genes, I have an appreciation for and capacity for blasphemy. But for the same reason, it has its limits. And when I see a video of an overweight middle-aged fag in a veil and drag makeup making sibilant witticisms while costumed guys line up to see who can be the most offensive Jesus...well, my limit is reached.

Have a Hunky Muhammad contest and it show that you might have balls instead of a cunt. (Update: Wow. Scary. Andrew Sullivan channelled me.)

When gays decide to transgress --with all the frissons of risk and bravery attached--- they usually* do it in places without consequence. Where it's safe to be bad. They'll take on Christianity, or some version of traditional America...from a safe distance. Which reminds me of an adolescent girl screaming at her mother that she hates her and hopes she dies...and then, of course, demands that evil mommy buy her that dress she wants.

Another stream in this teenaged subcultural acting out is that gays want to be accepted by established religion --married, ordained, affirmed (pardon the phrase) up the wazoo--and also want to be able to insult and demean it without consequences. Again, welcome to puberty.

Being in the shrink business, I do not begrudge individuals their developmental history. We all have to go through adolescence. And we all have to grow out of it. Or at least we should. But when a "culture" encourages arrested development, --and in this case, gender dysphoria as well-- then I'm not so happy.

Final note for this posting: gay men are not the only men with an arrested development issue. Men in the feminist West are, in general, in developmental trouble.

If any of my readers think I am over-re-acting locally, it's because I am thinking globally. Just doing what the bumper stickers told me to!

*There were times and places where it took guts and where there were consequences, but most gay acting out is now just, well, gay acting out.

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