Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Judgement begets judgement

First of all warning this post for me is therapy and just a vent to get it out. 

So for a chunk of time I've not read as many blogs about what people are trying to say to explain who I am. I've had less interesting stuff to vent about here but it's less stressful. I'm sorry if you all have been bored by that. :) But, every great once in a while I read some of Warren Thorkmarten's blog and I did so tonight. 

Even though we think somewhat differently, at least he critiques bad research and I don't feel as judged by him or his writing. He has a critique here of a NARTH fact sheet on female homosexual development. Reading the parts from the actual fact sheet I felt like someone said "hey I've decided you are fucked up (even though I, my family, my community, my professors, my pastor, counselor, and bosses, would say the opposite.). Holy crap people, I am a person here and this fact sheet is NOT MY STORY!

For example, here's just one quote of many from this Narth fact sheet that pisses me off. 
Women who deal with same sex attraction, possess a history of disindentification with their mothers, and therefore with their femininity. This leads to a longing for connection with the feminine that becomes sexualized in adolescence or adulthood. Without a secure attachment to mother, she fails to identify with mother as a female role model losing the opportunity to develop trust and a healthy gender identity. Because of an empty or distorted view of her feminine self she has an inability to connect in a healthy way with other girls. Her sexual development is arrested.
Here's what I disagree with about this... everything.
  • I don't disidentify with my mother and I think she is a great role model, a feminine and strong woman.
  • I have no issue being a woman in fact I feel quite comfortable in my female skin. And as I have "come out" the more I like feminine things. Do we have to have ANOTHER conversation about how gender identity is not sexual identity?
  • The line about how I want "connection with the feminine and that has become sexualized" makes me feel repulsion towards the writers of this paragraph. Yuck people. They are the ones trying to sexualize something here. [Which I generally feel about ex-gay stuff...that things that aren't sexual to me get sexualized.]
  • And really does this mean anyone who doesn't want to be exactly like their mother in every way must be gay? Do any of you have something where you do not identify with your mother? Are you gay? 95% of my friends have something where they don't identify with their mother. This is code I think for "if you don't want to marry a man you must not be identifying with your mother".
  • The last line in this paragraph is "Because of an empty or distorted view of her feminine self she has an inability to connect in a healthy way with other girls. Her sexual development is arrested." WHAT??? I connect in very healthy ways with other girls. My relationships with women are not sexualized. [again sexualizing things that aren't sexual] I love Lo, my girlfriend, but she's my girlfriend. Anyone in a relationship feels attraction love etc. towards their significant other. They don't sexualize all their relationships with people of that gender. Duh? And for that matter especially as a christian who works hard not to lust after things and people. 
  • And there is nothing arrested in me. Which is their way of saying if you don't like boys you must be broken and your development must be arrested. Um. Tell that to my community, my professors, my counselor, my boss, my friends, my co-workers. 
What I hate most about this is that feels like such a judgmental writing, telling me that my life, family, self, sexuality, femininity, etc. are arrested or I'm disidentified with something or someone whom I am not. It's not true. And then I want to judge them back for judging me, since judgement begets judgement. Which I know won't help, but tonight I just needed to get this rant out of my system. 

I'll ask forgiveness for judging whoever wrote this in the morning, hopefully the writers of this fact sheet will do the same confession someday.


JJ said...

Yeah, that kind of stuff bothers me a lot... of course, I do happen to have all kinds of issues with my mother, and not be overly feminine (outwardly, I'm totally girly in the inside) so I fit, but the thing that bothers me about these theories is that so many people who conform to them aren't actually gay... I mean, the amount of people who have mother issues is through the roof.

And the sexualizing of things that aren't sexual... argh.

Elaine said...

I find it interesting that someone can call a diatribe of opinions, constructs, and hypotheses a "fact sheet." Facts can be proven in reality. The opinions and theories expressed in this piece seem to be based on studies of 10 or 80 women - very small sample sizes in the overall population.

This is just someone's opinion - and it looks to me like the opinion of an academic who doesn't actually know any gay people.

Cheryl said...

And just remember, there is no ONE thing that captures the essence of an individual life being lived. It's like trying to define what it means to "be human," "to love," etc.

As much as you can, try to let this stuff roll off your back. In the end, it doesn't mean a thing. The people who want to use it to judge you will do just that...judge you, either with this paper or another that suits their predefined idea of why you are gay. Those who don't want to judge you wouldn't consider using such narrowly defined criteria for explaining identity.

slashdotmad said...

god, it sounds like pre freudian psychology, where woman was this strange thing to be defined and classified like mice in the lab. I guess my question is this: does bisexuality mean one does not identify with either of their parents?
is there anybody out there who didn't rebel against what/who their parents are at some stage? does the fact you want to define who you are away and apart from who your parents are and find where you stand as an individual (which by the way is the most natural and normal stage in most teenager's life)mean that your sexuality is defined by that? what about hoards of people who have straight parents and their rebellion doesn't even register on tat level, it's about other issues - beliefs, values, etc., who end up being straight adults? what about them? there is so many things about his post that just don't compute for me.grrrrhhhhh.....

titration said...

Thank you so much for your helpful words - all of you. Good points! And good reality check for me. :)

And slashdotmad it's nice to see you again. :) You've had some great artwork lately.