Gay culture relies upon secret symbols and codes woven into an overall straight context. The association of gay men with opera, ballet, professional sports, , musical theater, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and interior design began with wealthy homosexual men using the straight themes of these media to send their own signals. In the Marilyn Monroe film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a musical [filmfreakcentral. net] number features a woman singing while muscled men in revealing costumes dance around her.
The mens costumes were designed by a man, the dance was choreographed by a man, and the dancers seem more interested in each other than in the female star, but her reassuring presence gets the sequence past the censors and fits it into an overall heterocentric theme. Today gay male culture is publicly acknowledged. Celebrities such as Liza Minnelli spent [topix. net] a significant amount of their social time with urban gay men, who were now popularly viewed as sophisticated and stylish by the jet set. Celebrities themselves were open about their relationships.
Gay men cant be identified by the way they look or what kind of music they like. There are gay men in every field and all sorts of fashions and music. Lesbian culture A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted only to other women. The history of lesbian culture over the last half-century has been linked to the evolution of feminism. Older stereotypes of lesbian women stressed a dichotomy between women who adhered to stereotypical male gender stereotypes (butch) and stereotypical female gender stereotypes (femme), and that typical lesbian couples consisted of butch/femme couples.
Today, some lesbian women adhere to being either butch or femme, but these categories are much less rigid and there is no express expectation that a lesbian couple be butch/femme. There is a sub-culture within the lesbian community called Aristasia, where lesbians in the community adhere to exaggerated levels of femininity. In this culture, there are two genders, blonde and brunette, although they are unrelated to actual hair color. Brunettes are femme, yet blondes are even more so. Also notable are diesel dykes, extremely butch women who use male forms of dress and behavior, and who often work as truck drivers.
Lipstick lesbian refers to feminine women who are attracted only to other feminine women. Bisexual culture In modern western culture Bisexual people are in the peculiar situation of receiving hatred or distrust [Lunde 1990] or even outright denial of their existence from some elements of both the straight and lesbian and gay populations. There is of course some element of general anti-LGBT feeling, but some people insist that bisexual people are unsure of their true feelings, that they are experimenting or going through a phase and that they eventually will or should decide or discover which (singular) sex they are sexually attracted to.
One popular misconception is that [Lunde 1990] bisexuals find all humans sexually attractive. That is no truer than the idea that, say, all straight men would find all women sexually attractive. More people of all kinds are becoming aware that there are some people who find attractive sexual partners among both men and women sometimes equally, sometimes favoring one sex in particular . Distinctions exist between sexual orientation (attraction, inclination, preference, or desire), gender identity (self-identification or self-concept) and sexual behavior (the sex of ones actual sexual partners).
For example, someone who may find people of either sex attractive might in practice have relationships only with people of one particular sex. Many bisexual people consider themselves to be part of the LGBT or Queer community [Barris, 2007]. In an effort to create both more visibility, and a symbol for the bisexual community to gather behind, Michael Page created the bisexual pride flag. The bisexual flag, which has a pink or red stripe at the top for homosexuality, a blue one on the bottom for heterosexuality and a purple one in the middle to represent bisexuality, as purple is from the combination of red and blue [Lunde 1990].
Transgender culture The study of transgender culture is complicated by the many and various ways in which cultures deal with gender [hrc. org]. For example, in many cultures, people who are attracted to people of the same sex ” that is those who in contemporary Western culture would identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual ” are classed as a third gender, together with people who would in the West be classified as transgender or transsexual.
Also in the contemporary West, there are usually [hrc.org] several different groups of transgender and transsexual people, some of which are extremely exclusive, like groups only for transsexual women who explicitly want sex reassignment surgery or male, heterosexual only cross-dressers. Transmens groups are often, but not always, more inclusive. Groups aiming at all transgender people, both transmen and transwomen, have in most cases appeared only in the last few years. Some transgender or transsexual women and men however do not classify as being part of any specific trans culture.
However there is a distinction between transgender and transsexual people who make their past known to others . Some wish to live according to their gender identity and not reveal this past, stating that they should be able to live in their true gender role in a normal way, and be in control of whom they choose to tell their past to. Epistemology of the closet.
The expression being in the closet is used to describe keeping secret ones sexual behavior or orientation, most commonly homosexuality or bisexuality, but also including the gender identity of transgender and transsexual people [branconolilas.no. sapo. pt]. Being in the closet is more than being private, it is a life-shaping pattern of concealment where gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals hide their sexuality/gender-identity in the most important areas of life, with family, friends, and at work. Individuals may marry or avoid certain jobs in order to avoid suspicion and exposure.
Some will even claim to be heterosexual when asked directly. It is the power of the closet to shape the core of an individuals life that has made homosexuality into a significant personal, social, and political drama in twentieth-century America.
(Seidman 2003, p. 25). Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, in her book Epistemology of the closet, majorly focuses on male homosexuality. She is also an intellectual who is interested in gay and lesbian studies, queer studies, gender studies, and feminism. Sedgwick (Seidman 2003, p. 25) proposes that many of the major thoughts and knowledge in twentieth-century Western culture as a whole are structured”indeed fractured”by the now endemic crisis of homo/heterosexual definition, indicatively male, dating from the end of the nineteenth century.
Incoherent ideas about homosexuality inform the way men are acculturated in the modern West, and (Seidman 2003, p. 25) since this is so, this incoherence has come to mark society generally. Incoherence characterizes the attitude toward homosexuality in the West and is beyond debate. examples, are gay men ridiculous figures of fun or are they sexual monsters who prey on young children? ; is the homosexual a limp-wrested effeminate unsuited for the armed forces, or the lothario of the showers who will gaze upon and/or rape his fellow servicemen? ;
Is sexuality an orientation or is it a choice?; are homosexuals born or are they made? ; essentialism or social constructionism? ; nature/nurture?. These are all part of the effect of this crisis in modern sexual definition. Sedgwick believes that it is impossible to adjudicate between these (Seidman 2003, p. 25). In describing in general terms the mass of contradictions that adhere to homosexuality, she proposes that one consider it in terms of an opposition between a minoritizing view and a universalizing one. A minoritizing view takes the position that homosexuality is of primary importance to a relatively small group of actual homosexuals.
A universalizing view takes the position that homosexuality is of importance to persons across a wide range of sexualities. Under the universalizing view, one can put nurture, social-construction, choice and a warrant for social engineering to eradicate homosexuality(Seidman 2003, p. 25). Sedgwick says that the current debate in queer theory, between constructivist and essentialist understandings of homosexuality is the most recent link(Seidman 2003, p. 25). She goes on to conclude that the continuation of this debate is itself the most important feature of recent understandings of sex.
The aim of the book is to explore the incoherent dispensation under which we now live. Through an examination of a number of mostly late nineteenth century literary and philosophical works, including (Seidman 2003, p. 25).
Melvilles BILLY BUDD, Wildes THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, various works of Nietzsche, James THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE, Thackerays LOVEL THE WIDOWER, and Prousts REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST, Sedgwick discovers a number of pairs of opposing terms (binarisms) which she then shows to be inconsistent with and dependent upon each other.
I found it fascinating to follow her explication of the ways in which these terms were related. Among the pairings that she assembles and dissects for our consideration are secrecy/disclosure, private/public, masculine/feminine, majority/minority, innocence/initiation, natural/artificial, new/old, growth/decadence, urbane/provincial, health/illness, same/different, cognition/paranoia, art/kitsch, sincerity/sentimentality, and voluntarity/addiction (Seidman 2003, p.25).
She asserts that a true understanding of the force of the opposition of these terms must be grounded in the realization and acceptance that the content of all of these terms was determined around the turn of the century amid and through anxious questioning over who and what was homosexual. These opposing terms, all of which operate today, therefore have a residue of the homo/hetero definitional crisis(Seidman 2003, p.
25). In addition, Sedgwick perhaps delivers the coup de grace(Seidman 2003, p. 25), if such was needed, to sleek, masculine, modernist objective criticism. She demonstrates that modernist criticism finds its genesis in the homo/hetero definitional crisis and both its flight into and prizing of abstraction is a direct reflection of its homophobia.