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TO: The Introduction for The Homosexuality Factor in Social Violence
Presented to The Action Committee Against Violence City of Calgary
For Easier printing: Document in Two Parts!

Preface To The 2000 Internet Edition

Welcome to the 2000 Internet Edition of The Homosexuality Factor in Social Violence containing challenging ideas in a world where we do not have a history of appreciating such endeavours. As with our forefathers, we have also been socially programmed to become somewhat like 'clones' of our cultural groups, and we have especially been programmed into "gender roles" greatly affecting our abilities to discern certain realities. The seriousness of the problem will be highlighted by the fact that biologists had been reporting the reverse of reality because observations made were at odds with their learned / acquired gender role perceptions. In this respect, we all have been significantly infected. Therefore, related personal problems may be experienced - and hopefully appreciated - as you read this document.

The presence of gender infection in the sciences was recently highlighted by Theodore Roszak in the 1999 book "The Gendered Atom: Reflections on the sexual psychology of science (Berkeley, CA: Conari Press. Foreword by Jane Goodall), and evidence of this fact was dramatically presented by the anthropologist, Emily Martin, in the 1991 paper, "The Egg and the Sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female sex roles" (Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 16(3), 485-501). A few years after writing this document, I encountered a study  highlighting a fact to be encountered in many forms when reading this document: Mandel Laurie (1996). Heterosexism, sexual harassment, and adolescent gender Identity: a social and sexual curriculum in junior high. ED.D. Thesis, Hofstra University, 180 pages.

From the Abstract: "First, this study suggests that students’ assumptions about heterosexuality perpetuate a norm of heterosexuality and constrain adolescent gender identity. Not only do students believe that a heterosexual identity is central to their gender identity, but stereotypic notions about femininity and masculinity largely inform their beliefs about who they are and who they cannot be...  Students’ descriptions of masculinity are also stereotypic and are largely defined by an anti-feminine norm. Unlike the ways in which girls can and do value masculinity, boys do not and cannot value femininity.

Second, this study asserts that there is a social and sexual curriculum in the culture of middle and junior high schools by which girls and boys construct their gender identities. This heterosexist curriculum, it is argued, perpetuates gender role stereotypes, limits gender identities, empowers masculine boys and disempowers girls, less masculine boys, lesbians, and gay males. The most pervasive indicators of this curriculum - due to heterosexism - are illustrated in the amount of gender disrespect, peer sexual harassment, homophobic language, and the highly (hetero)sexualized nature of adolescent gender relations in these middle and junior high schools." (Bold emphasis mine.)

As a young child, I often experienced the fact that individual beliefs - and often enough the beliefs of most people - were not what was the truth. This state of affairs continues and was rendered, for example, by Miguel De La Torre in "Beyond Machismo: a Cuban Case Study" (The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, 19, 1999, 213-33) for yet another culture.
"When machos [white elite Cuban males] gaze upon the Latino's Other, what do we see? How we "see" them, defines our existential selves as machos. To "see" implies a position of authority, a privileged point of view. "Seeing" is not a mere innocent metaphysical phenomenon concerning the transmittance of light waves. It encompasses a mode of thought which radically transforms the object being seen into an object for possession."

"Specifically, when a macho gazes upon one of God's crucified peoples, they perceive a group which is effeminate. When the macho looks at himself in Lacan's mirror, he does not see a maricón hence he projects what he is not into his Other so as to define himself as a white, civilized macho. The power of seeing becomes internalized, naturalized and legitimized in order to mask the dominant culture's position of power. Our task as Hispanic ethicists is to move toward dismantling machismo, to go beyond machismo, by shattering the illusions created in our hall of mirrors."

De la Torre's comments on the "maricón":  "'El colmo' (the ultimate sin) is to be called a 'maricón' (a derogatory term meaning queer or fag), the antithesis of machismo... To tell a man not to be a maricón, also means 'don't be a coward.' ...for Cubans only the one that places himself in the "position" of a woman is the maricón. Only the one penetrated is labeled loca (crazy woman, a term for maricones).

Welcome to "The Homosexuality Factor In Social Violence." The adventure may be challenging, especially because a possibly significant deconstruction of our individual and collective "halls of mirrors" is at hand. Some individuals, however, may not appreciate the experience, but this is expected. All comments will be appreciated.
 

Foreword

In the fall of 1991, I produced the 52-page document Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth Need Our Help. The document addressed to the Honourable Jim Dinning, Minister of Education, was the result of an investigation carried out in May and June, 1991 (Note 1). For at least a decade "homosexuality" was recognized to be a significant factor in the youth suicide and school dropout problems, and it was time to ask an important question to education authorities: "What are you doing to help gay and lesbian youth?"

It was discovered that, as a rule, nothing was being done to help these youth; the most common reason given was not knowing about these problems or, if they knew about the problems, nothing was being done about the situation (Note 2). The neglect occurred partly because an unwritten law was being implemented in schools. Most teachers will not say anything positive about homosexuality or homosexuals for reasons recognized by Mayor Al Duerr in 1991 when he proclaimed "Gay Rights Week" in Calgary. The ones harboring a learned rabid hatred for gay and lesbian people will cause great problems for anyone threatening to change the anti-gay status quo, and Mayor Duerr did not repeat the mistake in 1992 (Note 3).

The main objective of the document was education. Educators and some politicians learned about the very high level of anti-gay attitudes (hatred) manifested by Canadian youth, the high incidence of attempting suicide for gay and lesbian youth, and about how many of these youth have been socially set up to seek self-destruction. Reasons were also given to explain why gay and lesbian youth would want to drop out of school. A major focus of the document was on male adolescent revolts and male juvenile delinquency which can be partly explained by postulating the existence of a repressed homosexual component in many of them. This was true for male juvenile delinquents studied in the 1950s and 1960s, and the same may still apply. Unfortunately, modern researchers of juvenile delinquency generally ignore homosexuality issues, and the same applies in almost all studies of human problems.

Fifty-eight copies of the document were produced and sent to all professionals interviewed, to education authorities, and to politicians in the Alberta Government and at Calgary's City Hall. On March 4, 1992, I met with Calgary's Mayor Duerr and focused the discourse on youth problems. It was emphasized that, if he was concerned about solving such problems, and if be had asked professionals in education for advice, they would not have informed him about "the homosexuality factor." Yet, for gay youth, he was presented with social scientists noting that their attempted suicide rate ranged from 20 to 35 percent. Surely, if such a high suicide rate existed for youths in any minority group, concern and immediate action would result. As this applied to homosexual youth, nothing was being done.

Mayor Duerr also learned that a Calgary researcher in the public school system had done a major study of school dropouts and that he been silent about :the homosexual factor" by deliberately not soliciting sexual orientation information. He nonetheless acknowledged having seen [suspect] gay youth experiencing great rejection problems in schools; they were having a difficult time coping with the hatred manifested by their peers and society (86: 28-29). Fortunately, such indifference has not been universal, and changes have happened in some school jurisdictions as reported in a recent Advocate article. San Francisco has "a director of gay and lesbian youth support services in the school system." Kevin Gogin, the director, is quoted: "This program began because of the high numbers of suicides of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth... And, of course, they are at high risk for dropping out of school, substance abuse, and HIV infection" (66: 55). A similar program - "PROJECT 10" - was pioneered in Los Angeles. At least one professionals paper - and many news items - have been written about this remarkable endeavor which has become a model for other school systems (Note 4).

A major part of the presentation to Mayor Duerr was focused on the fact that public schools educators in Calgary (in Canada?) have not recognized "homosexuality" to be a significant factor in major youth problems, even when information is available to them. It can therefore be expected that most professionals will not recognize "homosexuality" to be a factor in other major social problems, especially not if they must do original thinking, and if a special information search is required. To date, the role "homosexuality" has played in male youth violence has not been recognized. Its role is usually misinterpreted in the sexual abuse of boys, and few speculations have been made concerning the role "homosexuality" may play in wife battery and many forms of male sexual violence inflicted on women. Examples of this phenomenon were supplied to Mayor Duerr.

As the result of the encounter, Mayor Duerr suggested that I should meet with his Task Force on Violence. About a month later, I received a call from Alderman Bev Longstaff's office and a meeting was scheduled for April 22, 1992. For this meeting, I produced a 25-page document titled The Homosexuality Factor in Social Violence, supplemented by an additional 30 pages of photocopied reference material. The document was submitted the day before the meeting with Ms. Longstaff and Mary Jane Amey who had been hired to plan a conference on violence scheduled for November, 1992. The meeting, followed by a private conversation with Ms. Amey outside City Hall, led to a decision to write this document.

The document was written because "homosexuality," and especially repressed homosexuality, appears to be a major factor in social violence. Yet, in the Task Force report sent to City Council in March, 1992, the factor had not been addressed. Unfortunately, Calgary's "gay community" had not presented related information to the Task Force, for reasons yet to be explained (Note 5). On September 4, 1992, however, about 500 Vancouver gay males and lesbians were marching in protest of the high level of violence inflicted on them (04).

The Calgary task force on violence was dissolved in March, 1992, and it was replaced by The Action Committee Against Violence. The Committee consisted of 10 members, but gay males and lesbians are not represented.
 

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