Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Working on being a man pt.12

This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man. They aren't in any special order I just number them to keep up with them.


You remember that movie, "But I'm A Cheerleader"? It was about a teen girl who thought her feelings for girls was normal and life was dandy. However all was not "normal", resulting in her parents and boyfriend staging an intervention to call out her homosexuality. The remedy? Her parents send her off to a camp in order to "correct" her. The purpose of this camp was to straighten out homosexuals and get them to act according to their gender. Girls are shown cooking and other "girlie" things while boys are show how to fix cars and other "boyish" things. And counseling activities included encouraging the kids to think back to what moment made them gay. When I first saw this I just went with the laughs without thinking about it. But looking back on it (and watching it again) I realize just how fucked up society can be. Why fucked up? Because there are really people out there who do want to straighten out gay people as if something is wrong with them.

And it seems that such a camp has come up for Malaysian boys.
Malaysian authorities have sent 66 Muslim schoolboys identified by teachers as effeminate to a four-day camp where they will receive counseling on masculine behavior to discourage them from being gay, an official said Tuesday.
There's a lot going on here.

Educational director Razali Daud:
The camp is meant "to guide them back to the right path in life before they reach a point of no return," Razali told The Associated Press. "Such effeminate behavior is unnatural and will affect their studies and their future."
The right path? Point of no return? Unnatural behavior affecting their studies? What makes heterosexuality the "right" path and homosexuality the "wrong" path? The fear of homophobes (considering that phobe is derived from phobia which is fear and homo is short for homosexual hence fear of homosexuals and homosexuality). For some reason these people just can't get with the fact that there are men out there that are sexually and romantically attracted to other men. As far as crossing a "point of no return", please. Its not like being homosexual means you are some horrible abomination or something. And the only "unnatural behavior that's affecting their studies" is this government backed hatred and discrimination towards boys that might be gay (because really short of them actually saying they are gay how else can you tell they are gay). Oh it gets worse.
"It is not an overnight cure," he said. "We can't force the boys to change, but we want them to know what their choices are in life. Some effeminate boys end up as a transvestite or a homosexual, but we want to do our best to limit this."
Just like our characters in "But I'm A Cheerleader" they are sent to this camp (although the official claim here is that they are invited not forced) in order to be "cured" of their condition. They say they "can't force boys to change..." but if that were the case why even bother with the camp in the first place? If allowed to grow and develop on their own they will see that there is homosexuality and there is heterosexuality (and plenty of other sexualities) and will develop however they develop. And considering the hatred toward gays its real easy to say that they aren't forcing them. Yeah a woman that bundles up in sweatpants and sweatshirt wasn't forced to do so, she "chose" to do so because of an environment and people that make her feel like such a sex object that she would rather not put up with dressing how she wants. Yeah.

But it looks like there is at least some voice of reason here:
Pang Khee Teik, the co-founder of a Malaysian sexual rights awareness group, called the camp "outrageous."

"If we don't do anything to stop the rot of homophobia ... I worry it may get worse," he said.

Gay Malaysians say they face discrimination from government policies such as a law that makes sodomy punishable by 20 years in prison. The law is seldom and selectively enforced, but some states also impose jail terms for public cross-dressing.
Homophobia is most certainly a rot. Such hatred will only damage everyone (especially gays) in the long run. The director of this camp says that they are all about guiding these boys in the right direction. What the hell is guiding about criminalizing one of the sexual acts that these future men may engage in with men if they are indeed gay? Guiding is about showing people right vs wrong but to this day I have yet to hear one solid reason that homosexuality is wrong to the point that they should not be allowed to marry or to commit one of the most common sex acts among gay men. You may not be gay, you may not like gays, but none of that, your religion of choice, or anything else justifies making homosexuality illegal for everyone else.

Oh yeah this:
Malaysia's most high-profile use of the anti-sodomy law involves opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is on trial on charges of having sex with a male former aide. Anwar, who is married with six children, insists the charge was fabricated to smear his reputation.
If such camps and attitudes weren't about forcing heterosexuality then it would not even be possible to smear someone's reputation with accusations of homosexuality.

This is a major problem. Forcing boys into heterosexuality (or any type of sexuality for that matter) is one of the biggest things that is damaging to us boys and men today. A man may choose to make his sexuality a part of his being a man and that is up to him. However trying to make a man's sexuality a defining part of what it means to be a man is not only discriminatory but just straight up wrong. When that happens it inevitably creates an opening to hold up an ideal of what a "real man" is, the proverbial measuring stick that all men are held to to see if they count as men or not. That's part of why male virgins have their sexuality and manhood questioned (raises hand) and why despite being called pervs, lechers, and of course dogs by some there are other people who think that a guy who's had a lot of heterosexual sex is a "real man".

Trying to guide force boys through these camps is only going to do one of two things. If they are gay it will feed into the already very real fear of being gay (and its not like gay guys need any more reasons to be afraid because of their sexuality, its not like they chose to hide in the closet). Their sexuality becoming the reason for the scorn, abuse, hatred, harassment, and violence that they face is something no one should have to put up with. If they are not gay then this will instill the idea that heterosexuality (or not homosexual at the least, but I can't imagine any country that would go to these lengths to fight homosexuality would being any friendlier to any other orientation that's not heterosexual) is a defining part of what it is to be a man. That it will be okay to police other men on their orientation. That teasing other men/boys about it is justified. That give strength to the use of accusations of homosexuality as a way to get rid of people you don't like.

As long as they aren't hurting anyone there is no reason to interfere with someone becoming a man on their own terms and that includes sexual orientation. And places like this Camp Misandric Homophobia don't help in a world that's already set in policing one's sexuality and one's manhood.

4 comments:

Schala said...

Read up on Kenneth J Zucker.

Just the intro of his wikipedia article is scary, if you consider how he works too:

"Kenneth J. Zucker is a Jewish American-Canadian psychologist and sexologist, and head of the child and adolescent gender identity clinic at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.[1] Based on his collaboration with Susan Bradley, Zucker is considered an international authority in the field of gender identity disorder in children (GDIC) and in adolescents.[2] His clinic has probably diagnosed more GDIC than any other facility in the world.[3]

Zucker is also a Professor with the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto. He was named editor-in-chief of Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2001. In 2007 Zucker was chosen to be a member of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions, and in 2008 was named chair of the American Psychiatric Association workgroup on "Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders" for the 2012 edition of the DSM-5. He previously served on workgroups for the DSM-IV and the DSM-IV-TR.[4]"

This is how he works:

"Since the mid-1970s Zucker has treated about 500 preadolescent gender-variant children to "help these kids be more content in their biological gender" until they are older and can determine their sexual identity.[7] For children assigned as males at birth, Zucker orders parents to take away their child's "feminine" toys and instruct the child not to play with or draw pictures of girls.[8] Psychologist Darryl Hill describes Zucker's approach to gender-variant children:

Zucker and Bradley believe that reparative treatments (encouraging the child to accept their natal sex and associated gender) can be therapeutic for several reasons. They believe that treatment can reduce social ostracism by helping gender non-conforming children mix more readily with same sex peers and prevent long-term psychopathological development (i.e., it is easier to change a child than a society intolerant of gender diversity). Reparative therapy is believed to reduce the chances of adult GID (i.e., transsexualism) which Zucker and Bradley characterize as undesirable.[9]"

And look at the hypocrisy:

"According to a response released by American Psychiatric Association, Zucker does not advocate reparative therapy for transgender adults or for trans youth in all cases, and he opposes change therapy for gays under all circumstances.[20]"

Meaning that above a certain age (like 13-14) he considers them "a lost cause" and will give hormones if you jump through enough hoops for him. And he "opposes change therapy for gays", yet he only seeks to curb feminine behavior in boys and masculine behavior in girls. Not exactly transgender behavior.

Schala said...

and from a developmental psychologist:

"(Zucker et al, 1999: "Gender constancy judgments in children with gender identity disorder: Evidence for a developmental lag." Archives of Sexual Behavior, v.28(6), pp.475-502) found that children with GID lag behind typical children in going through Kohlberg's stages of gender understanding. These stages are milestones in children's growing tendency to essentialize gender (e.g., if you cut a girl's hair short & put her in pants, she is still a girl). While doing science, Zucker was able to avoid imposing his value-judgements.

About a year later, Ken Zucker published a chapter about GID in the "Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology" (Zucker, 2000: "Gender Identity Disorder" in Sameroff, A. J.. Lewis, M., et al, (Eds), 2nd ed., pp. 671-686). In it he refers to this study as revealing a possible cognitive deficit/deficiency in children with GID. Even though Ken Zucker could write a single article as a work of science, out of that context he returned to interpreting the results as something bad about these children."

For context:

Kohlberg's theory has 3 stages:
1st: Gender can be changed simply through changing basic appearance (like hair length, clothing)
2nd: Gender doesn't change, but with a corollary that maybe appearance is = gender (so if you saw a boy with long hair, without knowing he was a boy, you might think he's a girl and that he'll remain one)
3rd: Gender is permanent and immutable

I'd wager that the "knowing" someone is trans is at the 3rd stage, when you realize this is forever. Though at what age someone realizes that might vary. It was at 8 for me. Trans kids on ABC (all around 4-7) might not be trans, and appear to be at the first or second stage. Trans teens most likely are at the 3rd stage.

I bet Zucker bets on that, but his "therapy" does little more than make people hate variance and have traumatic childhoods, regardless of their identified sex.

Schala said...

This is glaring:

"Zucker believes that toleration and encouragement of feminine play and dress prevents the child from accepting his maleness. "

Eagle33 said...

And this Zucker the guy entrusted with the welfare of young boys and girls? PHD and all?

Yeesh. No wonder there's an air of anti-intellectualism still prevelant. It's kooks like Zucker that give the intellectual community a bad name and image.

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