Re: Model of how a gay gene could be propagated
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 09:52:32 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 2 Dec 1999, Damien Broderick wrote:

> (I also think bisexuality doesn't really need an explanation, since rubbing
> rude bits together is obviously fun and social and good for power trips,
> etc, unless you've been socialised out of it [as I was and I gather you
> weren't]. It's *dedicated* gayness that's the puzzle.)
> Damien

By "dedicated" gayness I'm assuming you mean gayness as an identity or orientation as opposed to occasional samesex practices -- a crucial distinction that some folks in this debate are insisting on and some folks ignoring. Historian John D'Emilio offers an interesting account of the relatively recent emergence of recognizably "gay" identities in his essay, "Capitalism and Gay Identity." The essay appears in an anthology of his writings called _Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University_, should anybody want to check it out. Here is a quotation from the essay that seems relevant:

"[G]ay men and lesbians have not always existed. Instead, they are a product of history, and have come into existence in a specific historical era. Their emergence is associated with the relations of capitalism; it has been the historical development of capitalism -- more specifically, its free-labor system -- that has allowed large numbers of men and women in the late twentieth century to call themselves gay, to see themselves as part of a community of similar men and women, and to organize politically on the basis of that identity.... Only when individuals began to make their living through wage labor, instead of as parts of an interdependent family unit was it possible for homosexual desire to coalesce into a personal identity -- an identity based on an ability to remain outside the heterosexual family and to construct a personal life based on attraction to one's own sex."

Best, Dale

	  	   Dale Carrico |
	  University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric

	If you want to tell people the truth be sure to make them laugh.
	Otherwise, they will kill you. -- George Bernard Shaw
      State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. -- Nietzsche