Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have made us all laugh when he said Iran’s got no gays, but some of America’s queers are agreeing with him. Columbia Queers – of Columbia University – released the following constructionist statement:
We would like to strongly caution media and campus organizations against the use of such words as “gay,” “lesbian,” or “homosexual” to describe people in Iran who engage in same-sex practices and feel same-sex desire. The construction of sexual orientation as a social and political identity and all of the vocabulary therein is a Western cultural idiom.
As such, scholars of sexuality in the Middle East generally use the terms “same-sex practices” and “same-sex desire” in recognition of the inadequacy of Western terminology.
Such an argument comes up a lot in academic and intellectual circles. Sexuality’s a Western construct, hammered out over decades of scientific, psychiatric and religious study.
Apparently Chris Crain doesn’t travel in such high-minded circles because he manages to equate the Queers’ progressive political statement as support of Ahmadinejad:
There you have it, the radicals of the left tolerating even the most brutal forms of intolerance on the right. It’s bad enough that “scholars of sexuality in the Middle East” are, like the Iranian president, so anti-West and anti-gay that they would write us out of existence. But it’s downright depressing to see bright young minds so tortured by self-hatred for their own culture than they buy into the bullshit.
It seems to us that Crain may be buying into the bullshit. While we agree that Ahmadinejad’s a total nutter, we also agree that Americans and the media need to think outside the proverbial box. Unfortunately, gays of a certain age, politics can’t seem to get their short-sighted imaginations around such a topic.