(Unless you count clergy in the Vatican. Technically, they're a gay community, too.)
But in the United States, it sits at the core of the gay rights debate. Advocates quote much science to show that homosexuality is innate, immutable and probably genetic; some of that science looks pretty dodgy. The subject came up in a discussion on the blog of the redoubtable Mark Simpson—required reading, by the way, for anyone with an interest in issues of gender, sexuality, or culture at large. It got me thinking.
Problem is, it got me thinking like a marketer. (Readers may know, that's sorta what I do for a crust.)
The whole born-this-way question reminds me of chocolate. Specifically, chocolate with peanuts or chocolate with coconut.
You see, there are peanut people, and coconut people. People who eat Snickers are unlikely to eat Bounties very often, and vice-versa.
Most of us have tried both, at some time or other. A few will experiment regularly over the course of their lives. Many enjoy a bit of variety when the opportunity presents itself.
But true biconfectionals are rare. You work out your taste early in life, and it abides. No matter how much marketers try, we cannot change you. We have wasted a lot of money trying, over the years.
Does a genetic predisposition cause this abiding preference in the pursuit of pleasure? Marketing data suggest it runs in families. Or maybe early childhood diet or other environmental factors influence you. Maybe it just happens.
Problem is, coconut can be polarising. A few people love it, but lots hate it. Let’s imagine that someone got a hair up his ass about coconuts.
He screams from pulpit or television screen that coconut in chocolate is un-natural. It comes from strange places and brings tropical disease. It’s goddamn monkey-food, and anyone who eats coconut is but one step away from consorting with animals. Coconut is disgusting.
What’s a coconut lover to say?
- No, coconuts are perfectly natural and beautiful and pure. Humans have eaten coconut for centuries. They are part of my very being, and I can’t help what I like. Science shows it. Science gives us the truth, the truth is noble, the noble is sacred and the sacred is good.
- Fuck off. I can eat what I damn well please.
Why does the US queer community persist with the tortured logic of #1, when #2 is so much simpler?
Americans take sex too seriously. Sex is a part of love, but it’s the playful part. It’s fun, and the right to fun seems to have been divorced from the right to happiness. Perhaps it’s those dour Puritans at work, but Americans seem to see having fun as the opposite of abiding happiness.
Americans seek to dignify their choice of love-object with some higher purpose, as opposed to just saying that, for whatever reason, I want to warm my willy there. Or if you're a lesbian, warm your...um, what exactly do lesbians do?
Unless you can find some higher purpose to everything, you're wasting your time. You can’t just do something because you like it, can you?
Naturally, I'm curious about the origins of my homosexuality—the same way, as a marketer, I am curious about the origins of the coconut-peanut paradox.
But not knowing how my homosexuality came about should not stand in the way of my right to practise it. Just like not knowing how you come to prefer coconut or peanuts doesn’t stand in the way of me selling you the stuff.
And with that, the Honourable Husband decides he should really get back to selling some stuff this fine autumn morning.
Photos link to source.