It can be very easy to get swept up in the endless debate about the ‘truth’ about gay life. Those who have been in the LGBTQ+ community for any length of time probably have some familiarity with this topic. But the real truth about gay life is far more complicated. For example, mental health issues plague the entire LGBTQ+ community, especially A-gays.
But even when we are aware of these problems, we are not aware of how many people in our communities suffer from them.
This is especially true in the UK, where there was a long period when there were few resources for those interested in this topic. Activist-run gay social groups tended to have a libertarian, individualistic stance. They were suspicious of collective political resistance and feared being stigmatized for being gay. Even so, these groups continued to exist and had a certain magic. Nonetheless, their members were often a provincial middle class, affluent layers of skilled workers, and an Anglican bishop who was often invited to discuss the ramifications of homosexuality. These groups held meetings and outings that celebrated the English homosexuality and reflected the faded camp splendour of stately homes.
The dominant theorization of homonormativity fails to address the specific histories of gay life in more diverse contexts.
Instead of studying homonormativity as a uniform and universal phenomenon, social scientists need to look at how the everyday practices of millions of people have led to a profound transformation of LGBT lives. Gay life is no longer merely transgressive, but quotidian. It is the lives of queer and trans people that must shoulder the cost of social change.
The first incarnation of the gay community was not so far away. Sappho crafted lyrics expressing same-sex desire in the seventh century BCE. And today, there are youths of opposite sex in Albania and Afghanistan. As the world became increasingly homophobic. This diversity slowly came to be recognized by the West in eyewitness accounts. Those eyewitness accounts. However, were contaminated by bias and added to the false narratives that homosexuality was a foreign and racial issue.
In fact, some prominent ex-gay organizations have taken this rhetoric to turn its back on themselves. Although they’ve tempered their rhetoric in recent years, they still promote celibacy and living in accordance with their religious beliefs. Some of these organizations have their own slogans: “Freedom from homosexuality” and “Fighting same-sex attraction”.
The social movements against homophobia started as a reaction to persecution by the church, state, and medical authorities. Those persecutions included sensational public trials, exile, and even language in the pulpit. They woke entire populations to the fact that they were different. Before the scientific and political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, there were very few organizations for the gay community to organize and advocate for themselves. And despite the many benefits of equality, it was still possible to become a victim of discrimination and exploitation.
The ex-gay movement relies heavily on the Spitzer study to support their claim that homosexuality can be changed.
The study based its assertions on interviews with more than 200 ex-gay patients, but didn’t claim that the treatment actually helped anyone change their sexual orientation. Despite the fact that this study has been cited as an example of hypocrisy. It remains an important piece of evidence. The study does make a few important points that need further study.