imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (wolf)
[personal profile] imaginary_golux
So Best Beloved and I were talking over dinner, as we do, and we got to discussing the scientific method as it relates to right-wing religious wingnuts. I was thinking specifically about a thing from a while back, where a prominent wingnut said something about all porn turning people gay - don't even ask, I dunno - and thinking, okay. Back when I was going through puberty and figuring out my sexual orientation, my thought process went something like this: 'Data point: I am attracted to men. Data point: I am also attracted to women. Conclusion: You know, I think I may be bisexual. Huh, who'd've thunk.'

Whereas if you're in one of those areas where being gay is not an acceptable option, that process might go: 'Conclusion: I cannot be gay. Data point: I am attracted to men. Extrapolation: Some horrible outside force is tainting me and turning me towards the dark side, aiee!' That is not how science works. You're allowed and encouraged to have hypotheses, because those give you a starting point, but when the data does not back up your hypothesis - and I remember this clearly from science class! - you write up a conclusion which says, in essence, "Well whaddaya know, I was wrong, I thought X was true but pretty clearly X is not true, and Z might well be true instead, we should do some more experiments." And then you come up with a hypothesis about Z and start testing *that*.

Now, this is not nearly so easy with self-image and sexuality as it is with chemicals in a lab, and I quite understand that. But I think a lot of things would benefit from being approached with the scientific method: I think X is true. I will gather lots of data to see if I am correct. If I am not correct, well, drat. Better find a new hypothesis!

Date: 2014-09-08 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh boy. I grew up in conservative Singapore with a homophobic mum. I was also exposed to the Internet and slash fic and the general kindness and acceptance and open-mindedness of Harry Potter fan forums from my preteen years. I have always been attracted to men: my first crushes were Daniel Radcliffe, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and James Spader (as Daniel Jackson). Some time after puberty hit, I started to suspect I was also attracted to girls; I reacted differently to girls in my class, and I had awkward dreams.

I panicked.


Data point: I am attracted to both men and women. External factors: Homophobic environment. Conclusion: *submerges self in the Nile*

Weirdly enough, I read and wrote a lot of slash fanfic. I was all for gay rights in the discussion forums on those Harry Potter boards. I was fine with Remus and Sirius and Harry and Draco and random celebrities being gay, I just could not accept it in myself.

One time, between the academic stress and the bullying and the bisexuality panic (mostly the last one), I broke down and started sobbing at home. Mum asked me what was wrong, and I sobbed, "I think I might be bisexal!" Mum hugged me and dried my tears and stated firmly, "No you are not. It's just the horrible American media and all those loose girls on TV. And hormones and stuff. You're confused." (My mother has issues. She genuinely thinks that the heroines of Jane Austen novels are modest in dress and behaviour and therefore they are still a model of good behaviour for women to follow. I wore a sleeveless dress early this year and she was unimpressed.)

Years later, when I started coming out to people, my sister and one of my best friends both asked if it had anything to do with the fact that I spent a few years being molested by my Maths tutor as a preteen/teen and if was some sort of subconscious fear of men. I said that in that case you'd expect me to be a lesbian, but no, that had nothing to do with it and I still liked men. It was not an external factor. (I know sexuality does not work that way, and by now they do, too.)

So yeah, sorry for the mini essay. I just wanted to share my experience of vehemently denying that conclusion, even though it was logical. And your method is logical and sensible and I wish more people would use it, but unfortunately most people appear to be allergic to logic.
Edited Date: 2014-09-08 07:03 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-08 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I know it's not that easy, and for people in a less welcoming environment than I was, I am sure that denying queerness vehemently is actually a sensible, logical, and above all *self-protective* response. I'm just irked at the world which requires us to deny important parts of ourselves because other people have their collective heads up their collective asses. But I really hope I didn't come off as saying that people who choose to deny the obvious conclusion are doing so necessarily maliciously - or even *wrongly* - so much as that it is utterly unfair for the world to make them do so.

Date: 2014-09-09 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh no, you didn't come off as saying that! I just wanted to share my own experience as a sort of middle ground; not the acceptance and logical scientific method you mentioned, but not the Dark Side scenario either.

Homophobia and general bigotry make me so angry. ><


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