Looking into the World of the Homosexual
HOMOSEXUALITY—what does that word bring to your mind? Most persons have a rather limited understanding of the subject. While homosexuals are calling out as never before for consideration and understanding of their point of view, few people are willing to look into their world and find out why homosexuals (or “gays”) are the way they are.
Many people may know basically what a homosexual is. But that is about all they know. The first part of the term homosexual is drawn from a Greek word hómoios, meaning “one and the same.” A homosexual is thus a person who prefers to have sexual connection with persons of the same sex. Male homosexuals prefer other males. Female homosexuals or lesbians desire sexual activity with other females rather than with men. But there is much more to learn on the subject.
The world of the homosexual must be seen in just that way—as a whole world, a culture or way of life uniquely its own. ‘It is not solely a matter of sexual preference. An outsider, or someone the homosexual calls a “straight,” can only partially understand this world. Nevertheless, increasing light has been shed on it in recent years. Particularly in the last five years have homosexuals themselves revealed more about their ways.
Who Are Homosexuals?
First of all, it is wise to get some distinctions clearly in mind. Not all homosexuals are to be confused with transvestites. The latter is a person who may wish he were of the opposite sex and who may even dress and carry on as though he were. Some individuals go so far as to become transsexuals. That is, they actually undergo an operation to have themselves physically changed. Males will receive hormones to enlarge the breasts and soften the skin; their sex organ is surgically removed and an artificial vagina formed, sometimes from sensitive penile or scrotal material. While they are, of course, incapable of bearing a child, a measure of sexual orgasm is possible in intercourse.
Female transsexuals have taken testosterone so that hair grows more abundantly on the face and chest. In some cases the clitoris has been induced to grow larger or an artificial penis has been attached with which they can bring another female partner to sexual climax.
However, most homosexuals are not like this. Some resent being placed in the same category with transvestites and transsexuals, who, in their opinion, are the scum of the homosexual world. The majority of homosexual males will tell a person that they are glad they are males and that they have no desire to be women. Sexually, however, they prefer the company of other men.
Some homosexuals seem to have a preference for certain occupations, such as hairdressing, interior decorating, fashion designing and the performing arts. In the 1967-68 New York Broadway theater season at least 31 percent of 58 Broadway shows were said to be produced by homosexuals; 38 percent had homosexual directors.
But homosexuals are by no means limited to these professions. One homosexual writer admits: “Most homosexuals I’ve known worked in such standard pursuits as business, finance, the legal and medical professions, the ministry, and law enforcement—and several were professional athletes.” Interestingly, certain homosexuals actually prefer so-called “he-man” jobs, perhaps so that others will not readily identify them as homosexuals.
How Many in the “Gay’ World?
The desire of many to remain hidden and unknown as homosexuals makes it impossible to ascertain their exact number. New York city is considered to have one of the largest gatherings of them in the United States; the number in that city is variously estimated to be anywhere from 50,000 up to several hundred thousand. The New York City Police Department, when asked about the number of homosexuals in their city, said that they “wouldn’t even hazard a guess.” It is claimed that one Texas city of over 800,000 population has a homosexual community of 50,000, though only 600 “known” homosexuals live there.
Why do so many homosexuals keep their identity a secret?
There are many reasons. They fear that they might lose their jobs or families and that strong social pressure would be leveled against them. Such homosexuals are, according to the peculiar language of the homosexual world, “in the closet.” They have not publicly declared themselves to be homosexuals. Many manage to hide their secret life even from their marriage partner; these individuals, referred to as “bisexuals,” are willing to copulate with persons of either sex.
Over twenty-five years ago, Dr. A. Kinsey found that 25 percent of the American men that he interviewed had had “more than incidental homosexual experience.” Today, Dr. Wardell Pomeroy, one of the original researchers on the Kinsey team, insists that the actual percentage of those who are homosexuals has not really increased, but that more persons formerly secret homosexuals are now operating in the open. That they have become more visible in the last five years is hardly open to challenge. But, at the same time, it seems equally hard to believe that, because of this same openness, there has not been a corresponding increase in the actual number of homosexuals. What has contributed to this “openness” and no doubt the increase of homosexuality?
One primary factor appears to be the popular support it is gaining. In the United States and other countries much was done to increase the civil rights of various minorities during the nineteen sixties and early seventies. Not just racial and other ethnic groups were affected, but so were the homosexuals.
The mass media has told about their protest demonstrations and sometimes presented their complaints in a favorable light. The different treatment accorded them in such fields as housing and employment has been publicized. Some have pointed out what appears as inconsistency in view of official toleration for drug addicts, and prostitutes.
At the same time more noted professional men like doctors, writers and lawyers have openly declared themselves to be “gay.” This has lent a certain credence to the movement, in the eyes of many persons.
Then, too, there has been much sexual experimentation in recent years, part of a so-called “sexual revolution.” Young men and women have done just about everything in their search for “kicks.” It should not be too surprising to find that a considerable number have also engaged in homosexual activity. For many persons this has started out with masturbational sex “play,” alone at first, and then with a person of the same sex, perhaps in a school dormitory or a gymnasium shower room. After this, one step led to another as they became increasingly involved in the homosexual world.
In time such individuals found themselves locked into, not just certain sexual modes, but an entire homosexual culture. Slowly, more and more of the friends they made were homosexuals. This, in turn, influenced their style of dress and the music to which they listened, and so forth. Yes, finally they found themselves full-fledged members of the “gay” world.
The Widening Homosexual World
That world has so broadened that now when a homosexual comes into any sizable city he can usually find persons with a life-style similar to his. For instance, in many large cities there are scores of exclusively homosexual bars, restaurants and clubs. A homosexual can consult the “gay” world’s travel agencies, resorts and dating services. He can read the “gay” newspapers, some of which have a circulation in the tens of thousands of copies. Or he can read books written by and for homosexuals and even check a dictionary, The Queen’s Vernacular, to find the meaning of terms identified with his way of life.
“Gay” art and fashion shows have appeared. Homosexual business people know that the “gay” world is not poverty-stricken. Not long ago After Dark, an American magazine slanted for a homosexual reading audience, reported that its subscribers had a median income of $18,000. Sixty-three percent were college graduates and over 70 percent owned stocks, bonds or mutual funds shares. Some 40 percent had traveled to Europe in the previous five years. The magazine’s circulation, incidentally, rose from 49,500 to 71,300 in just one recent year.
Additionally, a homosexual, whether openly declared as such or not, is likely to make homosexual contacts in his daily business. The lawyer, doctor and dentist he consults may be homosexual. And, yes, homosexuals even have their own church. The Metropolitan Community Church headed by Troy Perry claims to have one of the largest church attendances in Los Angeles; it now has some fifty branches in cities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
Thus it can be seen that the “homosexual world” involves more than merely personal sexual orientation. It is an entire way of life. Every aspect of this world is conditioned to make the homosexual believe that “gay is good.”
But is “gay” really good? Do homosexuals themselves believe that? One just being introduced to the homosexual way of life may think so. But it makes sense to ask: Will homosexuality make one’s life more satisfying? Does it hold promise of a secure future? Those are necessary questions. In fairness homosexuals themselves should be given opportunity to state how they would answer them.
What do they say? And what have their experiences revealed?