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The History Behind Gay Marriage

By msaucedo Oct 06, 2011 1158 Words
All over History, the idea that homosexuals should not marry is constant. Society views this as taboo, and thinks that a family should only consist of heterosexual parents. This helps maintain the idea that men and women should not be equal. The macho men must always be the leader of their flock. But how can a man do this if he is not married to a woman? Thus, there exists a hot button issue with gay marriage. Starting with the history of Athens, we’ve learned that men were allowed to have sex with young teenage boys, and then go home to ‘fuck’ their wives and /or slaves. In this time little boys’ bodies were highly admired by other men, and although women did not receive the same privilege, there was no real sexual identity. With Chauncey, Ritchie’s and Kaplan’s works, the idea that gay marriage is repressed is proved consistently throughout history, and with the negation of homosexual marriages, the hardship of denying other queer rights is also added on. This fight for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights are important in the field of Queer Studies, especially because labels don’t work, and they never have. The fact that labels don’t function properly is doubly important because we only have one label for sexual preference of the opposite sex—heterosexuals, also known as ‘straight’. But it is also important to understand that there more labels between non-heterosexuals, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, bisexual and many more. The importance of understanding why people dismember non-heterosexuals is found in the field of queer studies. There is also the difference between women and queers, and how they are compared throughout history. Today, anyone can walk into a store intended for a ‘mature’ audience only and purchase a book filled with different sex positions. Some books with as much as three hundred and sixty six positions, one for every day of the year, and on leap year too! There’s also a good chance that books like these don’t include too many positions where an older male is penetrating a teenage boy’s thighs. And although many men today like the idea of a woman being ‘in charge’ sexually, this was not always the case. In Sexual Justice: Democratic Citizenship and the Politics of desire, Kaplan states that men, as first class citizens, had the right to have sex with “women, boys, slaves, foreigners—whomever” (pg 50), the only catch is that they had to “play(ed) the dominant role in sexual interaction” (pg 50). So it was alright for the men to have open sexual relationships as long as they were the ones penetrating and not penetrated. So what happens to the men that enjoy penetrating and being penetrated? These men were not accepted, but instead scorned by the Athenians. This is proof that since the fifth century, gay men were out casted for their sexual preference, and ridiculed for not longing to marry a woman. In this male dominant society of ancient Greece, “not only were women denied the privileges of citizenship, but wives and daughters of Athenian citizens were sequestered within the women’s quarters of the household…” (pg 51). So even though Ancient Greece’s primary focus was on men, who’s to say that amongst the pederasty, there didn’t exist any lesbians.

Throughout the years there have been rumors about men fantasizing about lesbians, and how could we forget the infamous lesbian kiss between Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in Bound? And although they are not announced lesbians, who would forget the Madonna-Britney-Christina kiss at the Video Music Awards? But what do all these women have in common? They seem to be sexy and perfect with all their femininity. This is something Western society has yet to accept, that there are different types of lesbians. Does this mean there are men fantasizing about a more feminine lesbian making out with a “butch” lesbian? Since the media has yet to confirm these suppositions, it’s safe to say that not many heterosexual men are comfortable living in a world in which estrogen and testosterone can coincide in a woman-to-woman relationship. In Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color, Ritchie touches the subject of police brutality and how it affects women. She says that when there are domestic violence cases under a lesbian relationship, it is seen as “mutual combat” and that the police corner the more ”butch” lesbian “police base their decisions regarding who is the abuser in lesbian relationship on race and gendered presumptions and stereotypes—the abuser must be the “bigger” partner, the more “butch” partner, the woman of color, or the person who is less fluent in English.” (pg 140). This not only proves how women are not respected whether it be their race, or their ethnicity, but also their sexual preference. This isn’t the first time where anyone who identified themselves as being part of the queer community was rejected and maltreated by the authorities.

Nowadays one flips the channel and can watch shows such as Will and Grace, Oz, and Sex and the City Under. These shows have countless comical scenes in which gay men date, and how they are viewed in the world. And all seems cheery after watching Sex and the City 2, where Stanford and Anthony wed in front of all of New York City to see. Before reading George Chauncey’s Why Marriage, one might not imagine life without queers and how they’ve rainbownized America with joy. Just to think that sixty years ago, there was such a huge debate about whether or not homosexuality defined one’s sanity. And to think that Hollywood wasn’t even allowed to deduce anything related to homosexual activity, half the shows in America media wouldn’t exist today. Jack Baker explains that “marriage has been used by the legal systems as a distribution mechanism for many rights and privileges” (pg 90). So why is it that there are only six states and Washington D.C. have legalized gay marriage if “Allowing gay people to marry would give them “a new dignity and self-respect.” ” (pg 90)?

Since the fifth century in ancient Greece, ‘gays’ were frowned upon and women were muted. During the 1950s there have been outrages accusations about queers, and yes, in 2011 the queer community has been brutally attacked by the ‘authorities’ in America and yet they have only gained the right to marry but only in six states. Progress has been slow throughout the years but it has been especially slow because of how the conservative side of society views gay pride. Many centuries later society is unable to accept homosexuals and their private life decisions about their sexual preference. Whether it be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or any other kind of sexual identity, the fight for total acceptance is still continuing today.

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