Homosexuality: Morals and Ethics Catch-All Thread

There is a strong and pervasive social pressure locally for men to behave in ways normally associated with machismo.

What's funny is that, I'm a dude. Rubb Ed is a dude. Fedora is a dude. Presumably, Phoenix Rev is a dude. None of us is interested in being anything other than a dude. I'm pretty damn hairy, lift weights, and have generally male interests. I'm not living this way to live up to male stereotypes, I just don't have any issues with my gender identity. I just happen to like dudes. If the Phillipino cultural perception of male homosexuality is that it's intrinsically not masculine, that's just a different kind of ignorance, and most likely a layer of abstraction similar to the Leviticus shield we discussed earlier.

That comes into play in the States too, actually. I got caught up on one side of it and forgot the others (and I'm sure I'm going to keep going "Oh, yeah..." as this goes along), so let's focus on machismo and manliness as a source of homophobia.

This definitely exists in the States, and I think it might even be just a general human trait at this point. Men and women have definite trait expectations of them, which are forced onto them from childhood. If someone doesn't fit those traits, they are labeled as some form of "other", which in the States is usually some variation on "gay," as that seems to be the prevailing uber-insult of the day. For someone like me, that turns out to be an accurate statement, whereas for someone like Hypatian, it isn't.

However, this is more social norm than morality, though to some extent morality comes into play (men and women have roles that they need to play per religious understandings, and flouting those roles means they are not in alignment with their Higher Power's desires, or something of the sort).

Yes. And if you look at body stereotypes in the gay community, the heavily muscled hyper-masculine guy seems prevalent. Walk around Soho in London and you'll see loads of gay dudes with tatoos, shaved heads, cropped beards and bulging biceps. In the 70s they'd have looked like skinheads.

There are all sorts of gay people.

NSMike:

You'll need to have some background on the culture. Also, it's "Filipino" with an F.

A fair number of the umbrella culture and group in the Philippines representing LGBT people are called "bakla" in general and are seen as unmasculine in that they engage in sex with men and prefer not to do so with women. That is perceived intrinsically unmasculine in the same way that it is intrinsically more masculine to have more women and wives and girlfriends simultaneously. Moreover, a fair number of people under that umbrella are trans MtF and freely dress and behave in feminine ways, whatever their other preferences may be. The umbrella term "bakla" applies to both gay men, trans MtF and various other permutations; generally considered the "third gender."

That said, it's not unknown in popular culture at large that an LGBT male person may or may not have other feminine traits, though it is common to be MtF.

Bakla people are relatively common in everyday life. They have viewed as playing an important part in society at large. Generally, it's just the Protestant Churches that throw a big hissy fit about them every so often. The Catholic Church does not tolerate homosexual sex, but apparently cross-dressing is just fine.

EDIT: actually, it's pop wisdom that gay men generally like to have ripped bodies and frequent the gym in unusual numbers vis a vis straight men. I generally have to watch myself and go in groups with other straight men when visiting a gym. It is NOT cool to have a large gay man ogle you suggestively when you're nearly naked in the sauna.

Rubb Ed:

This definitely exists in the States, and I think it might even be just a general human trait at this point. Men and women have definite trait expectations of them, which are forced onto them from childhood.

This part is actually not true. Men and women in your society have more divisive and more distinct differences imprinted upon them on an earlier age than what I view as common in my locality. I had dolls; my sister had guns. We both played hopscotch and house and rougher games as well.

Up until my sister hit puberty, she was not strongly imprinted with expected gender roles. In general, it's the males that get the worst of that, since girls can generally wear boy clothes with pretty much no comment, whereas boys cannot wear girl clothes without comment. The culture of machismo is that strong.

That said, traditional Filipino culture does allow for a third intermediate or variable gender, and it is my understanding that other cultures may have similar provisions. I see trans people dressing MtF and FtM on a daily basis, and they usually receive no public censure in urban areas. It's a rare restaurant that would discriminate and the event is quick to draw attention, given that LGBT folk have very strong representation in the local film and fashion industries.

1Dgaf wrote:

Yes. And if you look at body stereotypes in the gay community, the heavily muscled hyper-masculine guy seems prevalent. Walk around Soho in London and you'll see loads of gay dudes with tatoos, shaved heads, cropped beards and bulging biceps. In the 70s they'd have looked like skinheads.

There are all sorts of gay people.

Compensation at its greatest. I see that all the time here (and I fully admit that my "bear" status is, to an extent, compensation for my less-than-ideally-masculine traits). Looks like Tarzan, sounds like Jane.

Slightly different dynamic here. Bakla or gay people are strongly viewed as being more adept and more interested in aesthetics and beauty than either remaining gender. I suppose you could say that there's strong social pressure for them to look good whatever form of gender expression they choose to do. It may help that many gyms are frequented by lots of gay men. It probably feels welcoming if you're LGBT.

That said, traditional Filipino culture does allow for a third intermediate or variable gender, and it is my understanding that other cultures may have similar provisions.

Not at all a social norm in the US. I believe some Native American tribes had this, but they've had their cultures destroyed, so...

Fred Clark has an interesting take on what fuels evangelical opposition to homosexuality; tribalism, prosperity doctrine and salvation anxiety:

And what that means is that the single-minded devotion to work that Weber described no longer offers any reassurance that can help Protestants cope with the anxiety of uncertainty about their salvation. What Paul Krugman calls the Great Divergence — escalating economic inequality coupled with the divergence of productivity and wages — means that a Protestant ethic will only compound that salvation anxiety. Working harder and having nothing to show for it can appear to be evidence that you are not favored by God, thus heightening the fear that you are not among the elect.

So how, then, are Protestants to cope with salvation anxiety? For some, I think, the solution has been tribalism.

Tribalism allows you to know that you belong. It allows you to claim, with confidence, that you are among the righteous. It promises the assurance of salvation that Reformed Protestantism otherwise withholds.

Am I really, truly saved? I want to be, and I think I am, but how can I be certain? Reformed Protestantism says you can’t be.

But tribalism says you can. Just assume the positions. Affirm the proper stances in opposition to abortion, homosexuality, evolution and the environment and you’re part of the tribe. Those issues make it clear and obvious to all of us who is and who is not a member of the tribe — and if it’s that clear and obvious to us, it must also be just as clear and obvious to an omniscient God.

Saw this video the other day and it made me pretty proud.

If we do look beyond religious standpoints and into the 'defining masculine culture' aspect of it, a lot of how gay men have been perceived and are stereotyped is creditable to misogyny, which filters down into gay culture itself (strangely enough, for both gay men and women). Which gets to the point of whether it is ethical to discriminate against those we perceive as less masculine, which often gets subscribed to as being more feminine (whether that be the case or not, and to which I, who identify as genderqueer, call bull).

In such a belief system, there is the belief that there is some other that might not 'be' the same.

Also, yes, various cultures have had, or do still have, variant gender roles in their society — this is something that has been absent in European cultures and their descendants for some time. There is even some movement among queer Native American youth to bring back Two-Spirited/berdaches and other labels to describe themselves.

I didn't get a chance to respond earlier, so I wanted to clarify that I'm not saying I believe homosexuality is evil or that gay men in particular have a greater responsibility towards safe sex than anyone else. As much as we go round-and-round, OG did make some good points about STDs being much higher in the past (which I didn't know).

That being said, I think there are certain actions involving sex that are highly unethical. If take every precaution but catch something, then that's not on you. If you have multiple partners and are grossly negligent in protecting yourself and others, I see your actions as equivalent to a drunk deciding to drive. If you have HIV and lie about your status, then personally I see you as morally the equivalent of Mr Dape Rapist in the rape culture thread or Jerry Sandusky. By that I mean you're willing to destoy someone else's life for your own sexual thrills.

I'm thinking of starting a "what does ethics/morality mean to you" thread so as not to derail this one.

jdzappa:

Here is something I've been thinking about for a while.

It is without doubt that engaging in multiple sexual partners at once within a short period, and certainly within screenings, is considered risky behavior on the part of the person doing it. But s/he is not only endangering himself/herself, but every person s/he gets in contact. That could be considered negligent bahvaior in and of itself.

To what extent is promiscuity considered unethical in the sense that it poses a public health risk in general?

LarryC wrote:

jdzappa:

Here is something I've been thinking about for a while.

It is without doubt that engaging in multiple sexual partners at once within a short period, and certainly within screenings, is considered risky behavior on the part of the person doing it. But s/he is not only endangering himself/herself, but every person s/he gets in contact. That could be considered negligent bahvaior in and of itself.

To what extent is promiscuity considered unethical in the sense that it poses a public health risk in general?

Without the clarifier of "without protection" I absolutely do doubt this.

SixteenBlue wrote:
LarryC wrote:

jdzappa:

Here is something I've been thinking about for a while.

It is without doubt that engaging in multiple sexual partners at once within a short period, and certainly within screenings, is considered risky behavior on the part of the person doing it. But s/he is not only endangering himself/herself, but every person s/he gets in contact. That could be considered negligent bahvaior in and of itself.

To what extent is promiscuity considered unethical in the sense that it poses a public health risk in general?

Without the clarifier of "without protection" I absolutely do doubt this.

Eeeehh... Protection is not a 100% proposition. It's still pretty damn good, but there are ways, even when protected, to catch something. By the strictest definition of "risky," even protected sex qualifies.

That said, so is getting out of bed in the morning.

LarryC wrote:

jdzappa:

Here is something I've been thinking about for a while.

It is without doubt that engaging in multiple sexual partners at once within a short period, and certainly within screenings, is considered risky behavior on the part of the person doing it. But s/he is not only endangering himself/herself, but every person s/he gets in contact. That could be considered negligent bahvaior in and of itself.

To what extent is promiscuity considered unethical in the sense that it poses a public health risk in general?

That's a hard question. Lets compare sex with multiple partners to fun but inherently dangerous activities like scuba diving or parachuting. But there are more extreme versions of those sports such as cave diving or base jumping where the danger to yourself becomes exponentially greater. Having sex with multiple people in a short time is IMHO base jumping, and an ethical person should take that much more precaution.

NSMike wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
LarryC wrote:

jdzappa:

Here is something I've been thinking about for a while.

It is without doubt that engaging in multiple sexual partners at once within a short period, and certainly within screenings, is considered risky behavior on the part of the person doing it. But s/he is not only endangering himself/herself, but every person s/he gets in contact. That could be considered negligent bahvaior in and of itself.

To what extent is promiscuity considered unethical in the sense that it poses a public health risk in general?

Without the clarifier of "without protection" I absolutely do doubt this.

Eeeehh... Protection is not a 100% proposition. It's still pretty damn good, but there are ways, even when protected, to catch something. By the strictest definition of "risky," even protected sex qualifies.

Fair enough, the original sentence did say risky and not negligent which came later.

Edit: That said, there are not STD related risks involved with sex as well. Even planned pregnancy is risky. I need concrete numbers on these things before I'm ready to consider promiscuity a public health risk.

Edit 2: You beat me to it!

LarryC wrote:

It's base-jumping, but you're taking a bunch of other people with you without telling them about it.

SixteenBlue:

What's a number you'd consider, and what would be the basis for it? A planned pregnancy has something like a 1% overall risk of mortality in modern industrialized health care environments. Since that's risky, would we be considering increased risk along that order of magnitude?

In addition, planned pregnancy has the rather obvious public benefit of creating the next generation. Are we weighing risk/benefit as well?

There are health benefits of sexual activity, are there not? Also what's the % chance of disease transmission if you use proper protection? I legitimately don't know the answer, that's why I said I need to see numbers before I can consider it a public health risk.

It's base-jumping, but you're taking a bunch of other people with you without telling them about it.

SixteenBlue:

What's a number you'd consider, and what would be the basis for it? A planned pregnancy has something like a 1% overall risk of mortality in modern industrialized health care environments. Since that's risky, would we be considering increased risk along that order of magnitude?

In addition, planned pregnancy has the rather obvious public benefit of creating the next generation. Are we weighing risk/benefit as well?

NSMike:

Getting out of bed in the morning doesn't signify because the order of magnitude of risk is significantly lower. We can estimate the odds ratio by estimating that everyone alive, for every morning of their adult lives, does this activity with no measurable harm. Offhand, I'd say risk of death from getting out of bed alone would be something between one in one million and one in ten million, or so.

SixteenBlue:

I'll try to get numbers on transmission with condoms, but transmission with just the Pill I would estimate to be about the same as unprotected. Also, you can have sex without being promiscuous (having more than one partner within a short time span).

LarryC wrote:

SixteenBlue:

I'll try to get numbers on transmission with condoms, but transmission with just the Pill I would estimate to be about the same as unprotected. Also, you can have sex without being promiscuous (having more than one partner within a short time span).

Of course, I have never considered the pill to be protection from STDs.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Also what's the % chance of disease transmission if you use proper protection? I legitimately don't know the answer, that's why I said I need to see numbers before I can consider it a public health risk.

IMAGE(http://www.scielosp.org/img/revistas/bwho/v82n6/fig_1_8813.gif)

From the WHO Public Health Review article "Effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections." (PDF)

Not responding to anything specifically with this, and I haven't watched it entirely, but this was posted recently:

As regards promiscuity, I believe it all depends on the level of communication.

If everyone is aware and informed of activity you are engaging in, I see it as less of a problem. The risk is still there, but the people then have the information to do with as they please (in this case, have sex, safer or not depending on their decision, with said person or not).

I would agree. The unethical act is not promiscuous sex. The unethical act is promiscuous sex without telling anyone and without taking appropriate precautions. It's much easier to say to someone "it's wrong to sleep around", but it's less true. And it doesn't cover cases where you don't sleep around but end up spreading disease anyway--being in longer term relationships and still picking up a diseases from a partner along the way but then either not finding out or not sharing the information with future partners.

Like a lot of things in the world, there are dangers, and those dangers can be mitigated by acting responsibly. If you're not willing to do so, you probably shouldn't engage in that activity. But that doesn't extend to saying "nobody should engage in that activity".

Right. That said, we regulate drunk drivers as irreponsible actors for an activity that is deemed essential to daily living. Sex isn't. How can you regulate unethical actors in this essential public health sphere?

What's the minimum information necessary for a date to disclose about his or her sexual past before we rate consensual sex to then be ethical?

Put another way: I'm sure full disclosure sex, even of the most promiscuous variety, can be ethical by dint of informed consent. What fraction of the population actually engages in that?

NSMike wrote:

Not responding to anything specifically with this, and I haven't watched it entirely, but this was posted recently:

A friend of mine sent this to me last night and I watched it all the way through. I commented to her that after doing so, I have a much better understanding of the kind of mindset necessary to vigorously defend institutions like slavery, "separate but equal", and anti-miscegenation laws.

Spoiler alert: at the end when Brian Brown was asked several times to give a single concrete example of the damage marriage equality would have on heterosexual marriage, he simply hemmed, hawed, and used ridiculous slippery slope arguments about polyamory and bruising delicate religious sensitivities.

Dan Savage may not be the most diplomatic of speakers and often says and does stuff that I think are too far, but I have to admit that he came prepared and left Brown's argument looking like Truk Lagoon.

After watching it, I think Dan's only error was not coming entirely prepared to answer the polygamy questions.

Brian Brown effectively demonstrated that his side really doesn't have an empirical leg to stand on, and that his argument boils down to, "people won't like us for not liking gay marriage."

I'm fairly certain it's a little too late for that inevitability to be avoided.

LarryC wrote:

Broadly speaking, I don't agree with his assertion that the Bible was "wrong" in morally tolerating slavery; so his entire point falls flat right off.

Can't say a great deal about Hebrew notions of slavery but Greco-Roman slavery of the same period ran the whole gamut from chattel slavery (rare) to indentured service (very common). Close to the entire world has come around the notion that indentured service is morally wrong, which is a large component of why we no longer live under the feudal system today.

My own impression is that Mr. Savage gets his point off on the wrong foot straight off. South American-style slavery is unusual in that it's a form of slavery that is unusually cruel and harsh, that being chattel slavery. It is not clear that the Bible is talking specifically about chattel slavery, and it's unlikely that it is since it's a highly unusual form of slavery, historically speaking.

Broadly speaking, I don't agree with his assertion that the Bible was "wrong" in morally tolerating slavery; so his entire point falls flat right off.

That said, he rallies around the stronger point that Christians do not need to sacrifice their faith in any measure to tolerate secular contracts of any kind, regardless of how those contracts are named.

DanB wrote:
LarryC wrote:

Broadly speaking, I don't agree with his assertion that the Bible was "wrong" in morally tolerating slavery; so his entire point falls flat right off.

Can't say a great deal about Hebrew notions of slavery but Greco-Roman slavery of the same period ran the whole gamut from chattel slavery (rare) to indentured service (very common). Close to the entire world has come around the notion that indentured service is morally wrong, which is a large component of why we no longer live under the feudal system today.

That must explain why Apple products have drastically fallen off in popularity ever since it came to light that they work with companies that use indentured servants; very few of which are involved in manufacturing goods in any major centers of production.

Wouldn't write off chattel slavery, either. Dubai's dark underbelly reveals just how close we still are to tolerating that sort of hideousness as humans. Western expats have been quoted as saying that they like that sort of system.

To be brutally frank, I'd say Westerners who don't think it will affect them personally in any measure are quick to condemn anything related to "slavery" as evil. Once it comes down to brass tacks, however, (widespread boycott of Apple goods), they'll turn a blind eye just like everybody else. This deserves its own topic, so this is my last reply on this tangent on this thread.