Monday, February 20, 2006

Flexible Sexuality

Reasonable worshippers of the One Thing that Matters (2.0) have a problem. Stuyvesant High School students challenge the foundational premise of their Absolute Individualist politics. Jennifer Roback Morse, writing for has the story here. (Hat tip to The Daily Eudemon)

Here's the close-up:
The recent New York Times article on the Cuddle Puddle at Stuyvesant High School unwittingly undermines the legal strategy of the Gay Rights movement. Because the article chronicles the sexual adventures of a group of metero-sexual students, you might think it would fall squarely in the pro-homosexual camp. Nonetheless, a close read of the piece completely dismantles one of the leading claims made by the gay rights legal strategists: the claim that sexual orientation is a fixed trait. You know the idea: People are born gay or straight. Only an ignoramus or a Neanderthal would even imagine that there is an element of choice, chance or change in sexual orientation.

But these heteroflexible kids in the Cuddle Puddle are messing around sexually because they are in an environment that considers it “cool.” An honest reader can’t get very far into this article and still believe that all these kids are just doing what they were born to do.


It strains the imagination to believe that these kids are completely impervious to the pressures of their little sub-culture. This behavior is almost completely peer-driven.

Now what does this have to do with the gay rights legal strategists? Sexual orientation as a fixed trait is central to their argument to have “sexual minorities” designated as “protected classes.” The argument builds on an analogy with race. If a person is born gay, then the argument for decriminalizing same-sex behavior, legalizing same-sex marriage and making homosexual persons members of a protected class falls neatly into place by a straightforward analogy with laws protecting racial minorities.

The strategy also draws a distinction between same-sex behavior and sexual orientation. Up until the sexual revolution, the law didn’t care much one way or the other about sexual orientation. The law instead concerned itself principally with behaviors. But the advocates of gay rights say that this is an unwarranted distinction. They argue that sexual orientation is fixed at birth. Therefore, prohibiting same-sex behaviors amounts to prohibiting any sexual activity to a distinct class of persons, those born with same-sex orientation.

But plainly, the kids in the Cuddle Puddle are making choices about their sexual partners and sexual behavior. At least for some people, the distinction between chosen behavior and innate sexual orientation is valid. My claim that some people choose same sex behavior, does not preclude the possibility that for other people, no practical choice is possible. Yet the legal strategy of the gay rights movement depends on the radical claim that same sex attraction is always and everywhere, innate and fixed.
Exactly! How can these Individual Absolutists continue to play the "race" card regarding gay rights if teens keep pointing out that the emperor is naked? They can't criticize these teens--and others like them--for their behavior without opening themselves to charges of hypocrisy. But if these guardians of "freedom" say nothing, others--especially Fools--may start clearing their throats at the raw issue before them.

Everyday Joe and Jane sixpacks might finally shake off the political correctness that distracts them from the truth! The free pursuit of the One Thing that Matters (2.0) may come under fire! O the Humanity!

Excuse me, now, while I laugh myself out of my chair over these Reasonable folks' dilemna!