Okay, I’m sharing this with you because, 1. It is hilarious, in a sick way, and 2. It is sick, in a hilarious way.
James Dobson thinks that he knows how to tell if a kid is going to be gay. Weirdly, even though the series title on his web site is “Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women“ it all seems to be about boys. For example, this article titled “Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?” lists “Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11” and nothing about “gender confusion” in girls. This evidence can, apparently, include:
- A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.
- A tendency to dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.
- A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls.
- A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”
Oh, I see, that all makes sense. A boy who is different from others and bullied by them is likely to be gay? What, because they call him “queer” so often that he starts to believe it? And a boy who likes spending time with girls and doesn’t like roughhousing with other boys is, uh, gay? Because he likes girls? Does Dobson even know what gay is
In his outstanding book Preventing Homosexuality: A Parent’s Guide, clinical psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., offers these guidelines: Recognize that most homosexuals “were not explicitly [so] when they were children. More often, they displayed a ‘nonmasculinity’ that set them painfully apart from other boys: unathletic — somewhat passive, unaggressive and uninterested in rough-and-tumble play. A number of them had traits that could be considered gifts: bright, precocious, social and relational, and artistically talented.”
So. If your boy is nice, not physically agressive, smart, talented, and a bit of an outcast, he’s likely to be gay? Where do they get this stuff? Do they know any gay men? Hell, do they know any straight men? Because I know a lot of men, some of them very well, who are all smart, talented, personable, artistic and not physically aggressive* -- and most of them are straight
. Because, uh, most people are going to be more or less straight. Just like most people are going to be right handed and have positive type O or type A blood. I think it’s pretty clear that homosexuality is a standard
deviation from the norm, like left handedness or AB negative blood. But it is still just that -- a deviation. Not the norm.
It can seem to be the norm in certain districts of certain cities, but this is undoubtedly (as Dan Savage as suggested) self-selection to increase dating pool. If you’re gay, you are looking for other gay people to date, right? And you’re in the minority, right? So it makes sense to relocate yourself somewhere with a higher percentage of potential dating material.
But wait? Could I be wrong about all that?
Psychologist Robert Stoller said, “Masculinity is an achievement.” In other words, “growing up straight isn’t something that happens. It requires good parenting. It requires societal support. And it takes time.”
Oh, I see. Left to their own devices, little boys would all
grow up gay. Because we can look throughout human history and see that, until James Dobson came along...oh, piffle, this is simply too ridiculous to be argued with.
The only thing I can imagine that must have been going through Dobson’s pointy little head to make this seem like it made sense is if by “straight” he means something other than heterosexual.
And perhaps that is the explanation after all, when you look at this little gem of advice from his newsletter:
Meanwhile, the boy’s father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son’s maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.
Okay, is it just me, or does that whole scenario sound gayer than a Broadway wig shop?
I mean, think about it -- the way to keep your son from turning gay is to play “rough-and-tumble” games with him and then, when the two of you have gotten all masculine and sweaty together, shower with him and show him your big penis?
And don’t forget the all-important pounding of “pegs” into “pegboard.”
Ah, but that is important, of course, because he specifically mentions pounding a “square” peg into a “square” hole. Not even a round peg into a round hole (and certainly not a square peg into a round hole).
In Dobson’s world, being “straight” clearly has nothing whatever to do with heterosexuality, and “gay” doesn’t have much to do with wanting to date other men. “Straight” is a code word for conforming to stereotypical masculine social roles.
But maybe this gives a clue as to why the religious right wing is so consumed with homophobia.
They are clearly all closeted homosexuals. This is why they seem to think that gayness is the default state and that straightness must be carefully nurtured. Their hatred of gayness in others is a reflected hatred of gayness of self. It’s why they can’t talk about homosexuality without resorting to strangely sexualized imagery. And it’s why they see stereotypical masculinity and sexual straightness as inextricably linked -- because they are so desperately trying to convince themselves they are “normal.”
Their closeted nature is also why they hate women and seek to control them through reproduction (the religious right is every bit as much against regular hormonal birth control as they are against abortion, they’re just a little quieter about that part of it). Women are symbols to them -- consciously, symbols of normalcy and goodness and decency, but subconsciously symbols of oppression and even revulsion.
They take refuge in what they see as traditional sex roles because (and this is the important part) traditional sex roles are independent of desire. Men sleep with women because it is their duty and they are the head of the household and this is all ordained by God so there’s no arguing. And really, it’s all just to cover up the fact that they don’t want to sleep with women at all.
Rick Santorum, I’m talking about you.
*Unless drunk. But Dobson doesn’t talk about that.
References: Dobson is a weirdo, Dobson is still a weirdo, in fact, Dobson is a sick weirdo