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Blind tolerance
Homosexuality has been associated with more negatives than positives

By Majid S.
March 12, 2004

First, Afsaneh Najmabadi is overly critical of the first writer's use of "us" versus "them." [See: Don't straighten the queers] As a Black Iranian (my father was Black), I am surprised and shocked at her biased views.

Please ignore my second sentence, as it is false. I just wanted to point out that we ("we" referring to all human beings!) all belong to different groups which we do not mention, unless it needs to be mentioned. For instance, the first writer [See: Being straight on queers] is assumed to be heterosexual, and she is allowed to use "us" as to suggest heterosexuals. We ("we" referring to all human beings!) all do this everyday.

For instance, Najmabadi felt that she needs to mention where she teaches because she felt that such information would increase the credibility of her views (I am using third person pronouns..what a crime!), and that such information could not be deduced from her article.

Of course teaching at Harvard doe not necessarily increase the credibility of one's view but I can not think of any other explanation for her mentioning that. The messenger is not the same as the message and I do not need to mention where I was educated to present a logically coherent argument.

But I digress. "Us" versus "them" also has to do with what constitutes the majority. "Us" typically refers to the majority, and that means heterosexuals. Only 1-2 percent of people are homosexuals, and that's a fact. I would be quite surprised if the readership of was much different.

Najmabadi also takes issues with the use of the word "normal." I don't like using this word as "normal" can be interpreted differently, meaning "average," "typical," and "in accord with social norms." If  "Normal" refers to social norms, then Najmabadi is right in saying that "none of us are born normal."  (she forgot to define "us"!)

However, if Najmabadi refers to what is typical or average, then some of us ("us" meaning all human beings!) are not. Homosexuality is an infrequent sexual orientation, and we ("we" refers to human beings!) are cognitively programmed to accept such things with much more difficulty. That's human nature for you.

So instead of all these circular arguments about tolerance and how tolerance is in fact intolerance, and getting bogged down in semantics, maybe Najmabadi should try to explain why the first writer should accept homosexuality in its variety and not the version presented in the media.

Homosexuals are not normal and that's a fact based on how we define "normal." But then again gifted children and extremely tall basketball players are also abnormal (here normal meaning typical and also average).

However, homosexuality has been associated with more negatives than positives ... such as AIDS (anal sex in heterosexuals is also high risk behavior for spread of AIDS but less than 20% engage in such behavior and only occasionally).  The gay lifestyle is misunderstood and blind tolerance is as bad as blind intolerance, in gaining a better understanding of it.

Najmabadi should not take issue with someone's well intended article, even if a simplistic emotion reaction to all the media hype, if her response is another version of the same blind tolerance.

Let's be honest, certain values are important to most human beings, such as being in a committed and fruitful relationship, and a good marriage is a version of that. Wanting to get married is not only a sign of being normal... it is a belief in important values that define humanity. After all, how accepting is Najmabadi of a pedophile? Is a rapist rejected because he is not "normal?" How does she feel in regards to "honesty" versus "theft?"

Najmabadi can not say let's understand homosexuality on its own terms when she does not know those terms. At present, homosexuals should be judged on the same terms that we (i.e. heterosexuals) are. Values such as honesty, commitment, positive contribution to the community, etc, are important to most human beings.

I am disgusted and angry with a homosexual who is with a different partner every night, and does not use protection, the same way I am outraged and appalled by a heterosexual who engages in the same highly risky behavior.

In summary, blind tolerance or intolerance belong to the uneducated well wishers. As one of my friends, a pediatric neurologist, once mentioned (I paraphrase), "ignoring the cognitive differences between boys and girls in the hopes of eliminating sexism, is wrong, wrong, wrong! Girls ARE different than boys, and instead of ignoring these differences, we should celebrate the positive genetic ones and work on improving situationally acquired weaknesses."

Majid S., is a very important person and has taught at Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. He enjoys spending time with his family, and misspelling words ocasionally.

.................... Peef Paff spam!

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By the way


Book of the day

Lost Wisdom
Rethinking Modernity in Iran
By Abbas Milani
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