The Daily Gamecock

Homosexuality not only about sex

Advocates don’t have to be gay, just have to understand love

I don’t know what it means to be persecuted. I’ve never been bullied emotionally or physically. I’ve never been an outcast in any real sense. Because of this, I’m tentative to give my opinion on gay rights. How could I, a straight man, contribute anything to a cause determined to help a group of people of which I am not a part?

That wasn’t a wholly rhetorical question. It has an answer: equal treatment of human beings is an aspiration that anyone can contribute to, whether he or she benefits directly or not. In any battle for minority rights, you will find, without exception, members of the majority voicing their support. In this way, I will try (as should you) to support those who are marginalized in a very real sense.

With this throat-clearing out of the way, I have a problem with the word “homosexual.” It is the same problem I have with “heterosexual,” “bisexual,” “asexual” and all of the other glued-together terms that people have created to identify themselves. It is true enough: each word has a distinct meaning. These are useful words. They have their appropriate places. Their problem is that, if used exclusively, they reduce an individual to one aspect of their nature: their sexuality.

By lazily repeating the term “homosexual” or their counterparts, it is easy to forget the most important idea: being gay is not only a form of sex, it is a form of love.

When anyone rails against gay relationships, the image they think of is one obsessed with sex. These people (who tend to be much too squeamish about that process in any case) chatter on puritanically about the “unnatural” and “immoral.” They are disturbed by two people performing an act.

What they either forget or somehow convince themselves to disbelieve is that these two people may love one another. They use the word “homosexual” as means to disconnect sex from love. This tendency to focus on the former and forget the latter remains the main problem with that word and others like it.

When the question of gay rights is focused primarily on sex, it fails to treat the people involved as people, with all of the emotions, insecurities and faults that come with it. Keep in mind that sex, the most primal form of intimacy, is also an essential method of romantic expression between two people. When one looks at it in the context of love, the already laughable position that “being gay is a choice” disappears completely. Who among us can choose who we love, straight or otherwise?

It is important to look at the issue of gay rights in its most relevant context: that of two people, devoted to each other, who want to publicly show their shared commitment without being splattered with crude insult and bigotry. Equality in this manner cannot be called trivial.

“‘But it’s no use,’” says Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce’s masterwork “Ulysses.” “‘Force, hate, history, all that. That’s not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it’s the very opposite of that that is really life.

‘What?’ says Alf.

‘Love,’ says Bloom. ‘I mean the opposite of hatred.’”

And so it is. Remember, when you talk about “homosexuality,” you’re not only talking about sex. You’re talking about love. Treat it with the care it deserves.

Ben Crawford is a first-year English and Russian student.