Dogmatic Parents’ Suffering and Their “Gay” Children’s Fragmentary (Technical) Understanding Of Their Own Humanity

Everybody can easily understand the shock, panic and despair of the parents of their gay/lesbian children. Many of them have been hearing for decades from their clergy dogmatic/authoritarian assertions/verdicts about human “sexual life”. How else could they react on the revelation that their boys and girls, their primordial love and responsibility, who are closer to them than anybody else ever will be, are “not like their parents in the basic human reactions?” The question here is not so much negative opinion about such parents on part of their peers by common religious beliefs – the first thing ringing in the unconscious of those parents traumatized by their offsprings’ “betrayal” is that “if their children are gays it means they themselves are not straight enough!” But, may be, even more horrifying for the religious parents of “gays” is that the prospect of their salvation is suspended when they heard from the stuttering of their shamed children the monstrous words and saw their turned down faces and avoiding eyes. To lose the prosperous eternity should be extremely traumatizing experience for anyone in the place of such unlucky parent.

The traditionalist religious positions about human sexual function are based on dogma, not on scientific analysis. Official religious opinions are communicated by authoritarian statements and “verified” by loyalty to the authorities, not by rational thinking. Authoritarian communication tends to have a strong totalitarian component (it is oriented on common standards; it doesn’t follow the democratic principles of argumentative discussion and pluralistic picture of human being). On the other hand, the children of traditionalist parents, who are grown up in formal democracy with its legalistic procedures and mass culture (installing in human soul consumerist self-centeredness and instant gratification), where authoritarianism is masked by consumerist “choices” and totalitarianism by pleasure of identification with goods, services, images and pop-stars, despite their suffering for being “not typical”, are having their own dogmatism, in this case liberal by its nature, not conservative like their parents have.

To understand liberal dogmatism as it is applied to the issue of “gay” youth, is more difficult than the comparatively “elemental” dogmatism of the conservatives. New American generations grow up in a situation when people more and more react on the world not from their psychological wholeness but through psychological fragments oriented by people’s instrumental interests. Intense socio-economic development in the second part of 20th century and cult of material prosperity and private success made us think in instrumental terms, not in terms of disinterested encounter with the reality. With the rising of education costs and reduction of humanistic education (in comparison with technical one), with reducing job opportunities for college graduates with degrees in humanistic disciplines (liberal arts), the conservative decision-makers stimulate a specific world-view and manner of perceiving life through technical approach to reality that defines the world in an over-certain, over-dry and functional/instrumental manner. It is from this thinking style the younger generation got the tendency to reduce understanding of human personal life to sexuality, of eroticism – to sexual sensations, sexual behavior – to sexual practices, and sexual practices – to gender choice. People started to think about love relationships as its surface which they take for its essence.

What for psychological wholeness would be a particular amorous relationship, for the technical mind becomes a gender choice. What for the psychological wholeness would be the understanding of the concrete relationship as characterized by its uniqueness becomes rigid, almost obligatory behavior as determined “by our genes” or “our nature”. The consequence of this “technical” definition of personal relations is the appearance of rigid classificatory categories of human being, which rarely existed in history before when there was heterosexual and homosexual behavior, not homosexual man and woman as the opposite of heterosexual man and woman as a type of people. Today, we have “gay” and “straight” human beings where particular relationships are essentialized into a specific human nature.

This difference makes the gay youth suffer from the burden of having a particular nature and being doomed to have a specific identity, comparable with German Nazis’ style of qualifying Jews as not belonging to the common human nature because of their “specificity”. Today, human realities determined by fragmentary (technical) mode of thinking about life (instead of the one that corresponds to human psychological wholeness defining human behavior without reductive, impersonalized and biologized pseudo-exactitude). “Gays” and “straights” don’t exist. These labels misname just different kinds of personal relationships. Today’s tendency to essentialize “object choice” in human love is, it seems, a defensive reaction, a lack of courage activating the need to refer human emotions to unconditional authority of “genes” with god-like certainty in its determination of human behavior. Gay-straight labeling is “liberal” equivalent of conservative religious or secularly political dogmatism and authoritarianism (in a sense that gays appropriate this conservative label with masochistic pride).

Real democratic approach to the problem of homosexual love will be not to hide behind labels that refer to “nature” as to god/absolute (transforming condemning label into positive one). Real democratism will be in fighting with labels that reduce human beings to their biological foundation. The “pride of being gay” is like “pride of being Jew or Black or White (as the skinheads feel it)” instead of taking pride in being human – a creature with human intelligence and the right to live, to love, to flourish and be respected.