Manny Pacquiao stirred a hornet’s nest with what he said, but I’ll not talk about him, as he could have been used as a distraction from the discovery of a certain young lady receiving nearly P6 million annual salary from the SSS. But the issue did inspire some random thoughts and allowed me to resume and ultimately finish this thing about LGBT and other things.
Some time ago, I posted a comment under a video by Steph Micayle of Singapore, the one who titled her video “Why I’m not proud to be Singaporean.” She supported gay marriage as one of her video’s points and agrees with the side that the homosexual orientation is natural. I differ, believing that sexual orientation is a choice (one gay person himself actually supported this). But I also raised that even if gay love may not be natural, it should still be allowed because, simply, choices should be allowed. I am actually for allowing gays to have their union, but I simply have a different approach to the argument.
Someone else, apparently pro-gay, later attacked me in the thread saying I was anti-gay for not agreeing with the natural justification. But I agreed with tolerance and allowing gays. I agreed that it’s better to not criminalize it and allow it. Too bad the commenter still disbelieved me, but never mind. Of course, pedophilia is different, and the assumption that the LGBT movement is only a cover for efforts to legalize pedophilia is still on a slippery slope.
I do understand why people use the natural argument to support gay marriage. This is based on the naturalist assumption in philosophy that something natural is good. If it is unnatural, it is bad or evil, and must not be done.
However, I hold a different view. Not everything natural may be right. For example, men having sex with multiple partners, even when married, is rationalized by some as natural. Some consider fidelity and marriage mere constructs, so moving and having sex with partner to partner is “normal.” But we know how foolhardy it is because of its effects (too many children to feed that leads to a parent abandoning them). Fidelity is still seen as a more acceptable state by many religions and cultures, yet one might consider it something “unnatural.”
Now as for the unnatural things that are not wrong, I’d cite flying. Humans flying, even in planes is not natural. We are ground-based creatures by nature. But it is not wrong to fly. Hence, something unnatural is not necessarily wrong. Based on this, if someone has a same-sex relationship, it may be unnatural, but that’s their thing.
This is based on the naturalist argument for determining right and wrong. However, in my philosophy classes, I learned that there are several bases for right and wrong. I will just mention the teleological argument (that there’s a higher order that determines right and wrong, like God or karma), and the consequential argument (we do/not do it because of its effect) for now since I’m getting them from the back of my head. Let me use a murder as a topic for demonstrating my understaing of these perspectives. Under the naturalist argument, when you kill, you snuffed out a life that had naturally a right to live. Under the consequentialist argument, the snuffing out of the life could have dire consequences. Let’s say a breadwinner was killed; so the family goes hungry. Under the teleological argument, by killing you try to place yourself higher over others, being something that has power over the life and death of others, but you have no right to. You are breaking the higher order of the universe with your action.
I do not claim to be a philosophy expert, and I defer to Add’s excellent article as better on this topic, so please bear with me as I try to briefly explain from other perspectives the gay situation. Under the teleological argument, while romantic feelings are mainly biological in origin, people would say love can and should be higher than that. So there is another principle bringing people together in their partner union, which does not need sex or biology. Under the consequentialist argument, some people would say heterosexual couples can create children that they cannot feed. Then if they give up one of their children, who might be among the possible adopters? A gay couple.
When it comes to determining whether something is right or wrong, one perspective, such as the natural, is insufficient. All of the above play into determining right and wrong. All of them even overlap on the same topic. Depending on one perspective gives an incomplete picture and the resulting conclusions can be short-sighted.
Cindy Hazan on Love
So let’s discuss why love can be a choice. Sometime in the early 2000’s I encountered a finding by a psychologist named Cindy Hazan. She theorized from studies that the human sexual attraction, namely “love,” has a half-life of around three years because the “Love chemicals” don’t last forever. After three years, with the chemicals waned, the partners will seek to separate and then look for other partners to rekindle their love chemicals. This, theorizes Hazan, is the reason for many celebrities’ and others’ relationships lasting for around that average period of three years. Thus, if we follow only nature, fidelity is likely hard to keep.
Based on this, I tend to agree more with the idea that falling in love is a choice, at least in part. This is how I would explain fidelity. Why do people mostly stay together despite “love chemicals” waning. It’s because their relationship is based on more than just something “natural.” Human beings are endowed with free will and free choice, and these factor into their actions. So when people stay in love, it’s because they choose to do it. It is a conscious effort to appreciate the person for what they are and keeping in love with them. Letting pure nature do it tends to lead to a failure of fidelity. Well, nature does act as a starting point, but the mind kicks in from there. Love is as much an intellectual process as an emotional one.
Popular culture today likes to sell the purely natural concept of love because it can get people to move without thinking. So going all in and making out without thinking about it are accepted. “Follow your feelings, thinking is for dweebs” is a dangerous attitude popularized by movie and TV fiction. It opposes the necessary balance between nature and conscious thought. Some advise making the right choice of partner, or making sure you are willing to live with your choice, to prevent unnecessary breakups. Of course, people make mistakes, but the reason to consider fidelity in a relationship normal is because it implies stability.
Of course, this part digressed quite a bit. But I wanted to show that humans have something other than nature that is a basis of how they handle relationships. Perhaps this thing, sentience (or intelligence and will as Add describes in his article), is part of nature, but it is clearly something very distinct from the simple instinct of animals. Our sentience in fact allows us to go against nature when we want to. But it also allows us to make reasoned and sane approaches to topics. The thing is, how do we use it to discuss a topic such as homosexuality with a more reasoned approach?
Proponents support the natural explanation by claiming that there is a gay gene. If someone inherits the gene, they have the tendency to be gay. As I mentioned above, when someone enjoys something, chemicals in the brain work to give them the feeling of happiness, such as when they are in love. We don’t know yet whether the supposed gay gene or any other biological phenomenon stimulates the pleasure chemicals in the brain, but it is certain that brain chemicals constitute a large part of it. I would still consider it an unsettled debate.
The thing with this claim of “genes” is that it gets abused for certain things. For example, some people may claim that their special talents are as a reason for special treatment. For example, I heard someone who supports Filipino singers that there is such a thing as Vocal DNA – that some people can be naturally good singers without training, and that vocal chords can’t be trained. I called baloney on it. Even professional singers say good voices are trained. It’s for this reason I wrote the “Natural Talents and Pinoy Pride” article, where I reasoned that there is no such thing as a special tendency for Filipinos to have special talents above people from other countries. It is a horseload of baloney that exists only to sell things like talent shows and associated products. Claiming natural “talents” or traits is often used to rationalize being entitled to privilege, and it thus becomes a basis for inequality.
Perhaps these people see talents as similar to beauty. Fellow blogger Gogs had this to say: Some people just are born with better looks than others so where is the competition there? No, talents are not like looks, the consensus of many people studying the issue is that they are more nurtured and developed. Wanting to receive accolades for “natural talent” reflects the misguided wish to be rich and famous without needing to work – a moocher (wait a minute, that’s how our president won in 2010!).
Genetic tendencies for me tend to be more physical, such as appearance attributes and physical defects. There are even congenital disorders that are passed on. I am not sure that it can influence behavior. My pastor told me about studies that showed adopted children continued aggressive behavior from their biological parents even if their adoptive parents raised them lovingly. However, I remain skeptical, since behavior can be modified by our own wills, being able to overcome their brain chemicals. Well, brain chemicals at times do overcome, such as in specific mental illnesses. Sometimes, we need medication to address it. But we have willpower for a reason.
What to Do?
Back to issues with LGBTs. So what is wrong, what’s all the big fuss about homosexuality? It’s because it has been heavily politicized. Political sides have polarized to the point that if you’re pro-gay, you’re this side, and if you’re anti-gay, you’re on the other side; no in-betweens. They want you to pick a side. They may demonize anyone taking a middle view as a member of the other. They have something to gain from portraying the other as an enemy. And these sides have access to making their whims and wishes into policy. That’s scary.
Of course, politics is always colored by deceit, similar to the conspiracy theories I wrote about. There is hate-mongering that is based on stereotypes, similar to how Muslims are portrayed. There is also that lingering theory that the LGBT movement is a cover for pedophilia legalization movements. However, that remains theory and it’s more likely that such a movement is an infiltrator one than a major part of LGBT.
Of course, fellow blogger Hector Gamboa is right about the issue being all about tolerance. What gays are after with things like legalization of marriage is simply being tolerated. That means freedom from being attacked. They don’t want someone breaking down the door and forcefully tearing them apart – who does anyway? Gay people have indeed been among the subjects of violence and hate crimes. If someone is gay, the prevailing culture among right-wingers is that they should be jailed or killed. There is also likely a movement to recriminalize homosexuality and force the gays to undergo “re-orientation.” Is this the right thing to do?
Thus, it all boils down to action. So the question is still one I have raised in the Facebook group. What’s your reaction if you, someone straight and doesn’t like gays, meet a gay person? Would you bring out a shotgun? What would you do if you were Joseph Pemberton and were fooled by a ladyboy? Are you going to campaign against gay marriage or for recriminalizing homosexual relations? What would you do if you learned your son was in a gay relationship? Would you break down the door and forcefully drag him out? And for the other side, if someone indeed proclaims gays should be shot, how would you react? If there was legislation already on the way to recriminalize gays, what would you do? When someone does proclaim there are anti-gay, will you resort to bullying and loud shaming tactics? And more. Whatever we talk about, how we act on this is what defines us.
I’m pretty sure that at the end, everyone wants comfort, peace and security in life. The thing is, there will always be people who will be different from you or who will disagree with you. So how would you handle them?