- America has been more successful than
most societies in labeling bigotry for what it is, the evil that it
is, the stupidity, the ignorance, the anger, the hatred, and ultimately
the violence that flows from it. In institutional American life, it
is no longer acceptable for the most part for people to be overtly anti-Semitic
or overtly racist or overtly sexist or to express, in a generalized
way, negative feelings about the disabled. The one bigotry that remains
acceptable in large portions of American society is the bigotry against
gay men and lesbians.
- More than fifty percent of gay men
and lesbians experience some kind of incident, verbal or physical or
otherwise, because of the perception of their sexual orientation. Nine
percent of gay men and lesbians have been assaulted with a weapon and
the rates are going up, not down. Every other category is down, but
crimes against gays and lesbians are going up and that means people
are being killed. Matthew Shepard was not an isolated case. People being
killed because of the perception of who they are. Bigotry towards gay
men and lesbians has been reinforced in institutional America with a
variety of rationales. Some are based in theology, which for me has
as much legitimacy as for example the justification of apartheid by
the theology of the Dutch Reformed Church which rationalized racial
- It is not acceptable to talk about
civil rights on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, disability
and accept bigotry against other people because of their sexual orientation.
That is just wrong and there is no way to overcomplicate it, it is wrong
- Full Report
- It is always easy to see a prejudice
when it is blatant and when it is somebody else's, but how do we find
our own? Can psychoanalysis help each of us with that task? How does
a psychoanalytic organization address its own institutionalized prejudices?
It has been the goal of the Committee on Issues of Homosexuality, soon
to have a new name, to find ways in which anti-gay bias has impeded
our psychoanalytic purpose.
- Biases and prejudices are by their
very nature restrictive, and to some degree everyone loses out.
- Full Report
- It falls to me as a Christian minister
and a practitioner of religion to indicate that in the matter of sexual
prejudice, religion is fundamentally a part of the problem and one can
only hope that by acknowledging that, it may well indeed become part
of the solution as well. Perhaps the one thing that my profession and
yours have in common is that we have a great deal to answer for in the
question of this prejudice which we are confronting today.
- Scripture sanctioned racial segregation,
and that the most religious, most churched, most piously populated parts
of the country not coincidentally happen to be those places in which
racism and slavery and segregation long have flourished. The most pious
people found the Bible their easiest ally in maintaining the advantageous
social status quo, and saw no conflict in their consciousness between
their religious profession on one hand, and htheir heinous social practices
on the other.
- I have come to the conclusion that,
at least for people like myself who are practicing religious people,
the way to function within the communities of faith is to address the
contradiction, the disconnect, as we now like to say, between profession
of principle on the one hand and grievous practice and violation of
their principle on the other hand and to do so not simply with a wagging
of the moral finger, but by pointing to the moral high ground which
the Bible and all of our religious traditions affirm.
- Full Report
- Permissible prejudices seem natural.
These can be taken-for-granted assumptions of basically well meaning
people, which have also led, in the case of some analytic traditions
and some analysts, to the real abuse of the psychoanalytic situation,
when homosexual object choice has been seen as a psychological disorder,
and people are thought to be in need of being cured of their sexual
orientation -- a distinctly un-psychoanalytic goal. In our society,
we pass laws against gay marriage, say that discrimination against gays
is okay, and people from ordinary citizens through the senate rail against
homosexuality. Homophobia on the individual level usually also has a
conscious a pass made at him. A senator invokes the Bible.
- What seems to be the case is that there
is a huge psychic faultline around the sexual body in relation to masculinity.
Images of men having sex with other men, a black man having sex with
a white woman, a woman who is sexual without having a baby, are for
some men extremely threatening.
- In spite of this absence today of a
discussion of women, I do think that by and large what we are calling
homophobia or defense against one's homosexual impulses is strongest
in heterosexual men.
- In particular men and in particular
situations, both gender and sexual orientation are rigidly dichotomized,
fragmented identifications, and any internal challenge to the separateness
of maleness and femaleness or of heteroerotic and homoerotic fantasies
and attachments threatens real disintegration. Characteristically, the
badness, femininity and submissiveness to men has to be split off and
projected outward where these in turn become extremely persecutory potential
identifications. Those who represent the split off and bad projections
threaten not only persecutory return, but also disintegrative flooding
to meld and fuse with the self. They need to be attacked and destroyed.
- Full Report
- When we speak of internalized homophobia,
we refer to the shame, denigration and anger turned inward onto the
self of the homosexual individual either as a re-internalization or
from the absorption of homophobic attitudes in the environment and then
identifying with the hated and feared object. The primary emotion is
shame, but a whole gamut of inhibitions, loss of self esteem, depression
and self-destructive behavior often follow.
- In my institute classes, the assumptions
that homosexuality was a disorder and could be treated went unquestioned.
This was in the 1960's.
- Professor Gomes has talked about how
religion is usually the first source that people use to justify bigotry
and oppression. I am afraid that we have to acknowledge that psychoanalysis
and some psychoanalytic writings may very well be the second source
that people turn to. I think that we can begin to change that now. We
still have a small group of members who work vigorously to oppose civil
rights initiatives that would protect gays and lesbians, who are also
a growing number of our own membership, from the very real discriminations
that we potentially face.
- Full Report