By Ked Kirkham
We need to address the stories of sex abuse and other misconduct that have long dogged and interrupted our drive for acceptance, liberation and equal rights. This includes histories of accusation, suspicion, bias and fear as well as those of our own guilt and complicity.
From recent sound bites, I begin to believe many of our detractors think a lot about sex; about having sex. Is there any fault in equating sexuality with sex—as in “having” sex? Many of the biases, the fears and attacks on our community have their energy in the “having” of sex. Even the education we receive on sexuality focus on this: Note the concerns over STD, HIV, pregnancy and abstinence.
I was in junior high when I asked what rape was. Someone at some school had been raped, and from there I was taken on to a sketch of reproduction. A fairly awkward sketch at that. My father did the best he could with the information he had. So my brothers and I learned that rape was one way of making babies. And that it happened to females. And that men do it.
My father passed away this year. His understanding of human sexuality was far greater than the credit I give it. He saw rape for what it is—violence and domination. Meanness. But in the beginning he may not have had the capacity to explain that both girls and boys could be, and are raped. I did not have that scope of understanding for a long time, either. Before my father passed away he and I had come to understand much more about sexuality, our respective orientations and about sex, as in “having” it.
This topic has been needling me to come out. I have been inundated with anecdotes to give it voice. Rape, pedophilia, abuse and good old-fashioned sex. If you want to see the stories of the sexual jerk, just open Utah daily newspapers. Any of them. We should be surprised that heterosexuals do not go into some closet.
The LGBT community has jerks. Don’t deny it. Some horrific examples come to mind quickly. They frighten me. Rightly. But they are not me. And those incidents are to homosexuality as rape is to procreation.
One of the talking heads said recently “they” just cannot imagine “us” having sex without being queasy.
So I tried. By my estimates, we all would be asleep by 7:30 p.m., Saturdays included. Oh I know where that goes, what really makes this shudder and weep for joy and even how to make those tingle to the point of—well, you know, too. I’ll leave it at that. In fact, I don’t think of other people having sex. It’s not my business.
I overheard a comment on my physical development when I was about ten or eleven. It set the need to compare myself with others. Information without education, I call it. It happens with many aspects of sexuality and personal development. But what if we had that education that would help us navigate our own individual development?
I learned a year ago, or so that an uncle was raped. We compared family events and determined he was about twelve. The perpetrator was my brother. When I brought this up in my LGBT writing group I was quickly apprised of the phases of experimentation that young people go through. Rape was a harsh term to apply, the prevailing thought seemed to be.
Yes, I know about experimentation. Exploration. Gaydar gone haywire. I also know what rape means to a victim. And denial. And rationalization. This incident appears to have been a single occurrence. An experiment in power? Exploration of dominance? Frailty or passiveness confused for femininity? Or femininity taken as sexuality? It does not seem, in the particulars I am familiar with to be homosexuality.
Many of the headlines I read about pedophilia seem to disavow homosexuality, even while pertaining to same gender abuse. But we have demonstrated it also. Domestic violence seems to run with heterosexuality, but we are not immune on either end of it. Harassment. Exploitation. Sex trafficking. Abuse. Murder. Why are we defined by these and not the other sexual groupings? Or do we believe it is part of being LGBT? Is it that we have made it a part of LGBT life?
The L’s are not off the hook; nor the B’s. T’s have been identified recently as wanting school restrooms to be opened up for their predatory behaviors. That sex offenders just want access to girls locker rooms, and clothing store changing rooms. And there will be truth to these behaviors in some instances, but they are not the face of our community.
Shame on those individuals—teachers, ministers, elders, servicemen, bums. The list goes on. If you are in there, shame on you! Take the consequences. But we as a community need to meet that old labeling gun directly and set the record straight for good.