Amazingly lovely human being Mr. George Takei shows up on the Post Opinions page to compare one of gay rights’ remaining hurdles — he calls it the “ick” — to a hurdle faced by interracial couples in 20th century (and before!) America. It is the feeling that interracial couples are wrong or yucky or not something people want to see or unnatural or dangerous sinners, the feeling that persisted among opponents of civil rights — well, those feelings are pretty much gone now. Hooray! It took a long time, but the Supreme Court gave it a big bump via Loving v. Virginia by making the ick factor, or at least its influence on behavior, un-American.
He has a platform because, as Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, he’s a familiar face and someone people recall with nostalgia. Star Trek had TV’s first interracial kiss, which is available on youtube, and you can see the actress talking about it here. What strikes PostScript is how much else seems to be going on: the alien seems to be controlling our heroes and forcing them to kiss against their will, so this is really kind of like the white woman alien using a black woman to sexually assault Kirk’s mouth. And Kirk spends the whole kiss looking at the white alien. All of this probably made the kiss more acceptable at the time (they weren’t kissing because they WANTED to, ick! It’s really between the white alien and Kirk!), but now it looks a lot more perverse than if it were a white man and a black woman who, you know, want to kiss.
Although, in a sense, aren’t we all aliens who make TV actors who wouldn’t necessarily want to kiss each other kiss for our delight? THINK ABOUT IT.
Anyway! Enough PostScript. Commenters go back and forth among themselves about whether the homophobic “ick” is innate or inculcated and whether changing the culture can make it go away as thoroughly as racial-mixing ick has. PostScript even wrinkled her nose while typing “racial-mixing” and tried to think of a better term.
Bravo and said with aplomb, Mr. Sulu! Back in 1968, he couldn’t come out in person much less on board the Enterprise. But by opening that big closet door at Stonewall, those drag queens allowed today’s Mr. Spock, Zachary Quinto, to do so without much of a ripple. They made it possible for Harry Potter’s beloved Professor Dumbledore to wave his little rainbow flag courtesy of J.K. Rowling. And they made it possible for me — 13 when it happened without a clue that another gay person besides me existed on the planet — to join 300,000 friends and supporters 9 years later to cheer on Harvey Milk in San Francisco in 1978. The times they are a-changin’ indeed.
Ick will never end. The human mind is coordinated such that it notices things that are different from the norm, things that break the pattern. The reaction to said differences will sometimes be repulsion – and sometimes be amusement, fascination, joy, wonder and happiness. It is the differences in our world that makes our world – to use a common Spock phrase – fascinating.
It’s no one’s business what consenting adults do behind closed doors, especially not the State’s business. That doesn’t mean that what consenting adults do is not disgusting to most people. It often is (male homosexual sex, for instance.) The legal right to engage in such consensual behavior is one thing. The hope that such behavior will be viewed as nothing abnormal nor out of the ordinary by virtue of its legality is quite another.
Well, sorry, it’s already happened. Many young straight people are friends with gay couples, knowing all well what they do in the bedroom.
Most hetero Americans find male homosexual sex (the act, not the right) disgusting at a visceral level. Sorry, but that’s just the truth.
It’s true for you because apparently you’ve been conditioned to it. You haven’t demonstrated at all that its true for others. And there’s a lot of evidence that it’s not true for others. Actually, if I had to watch you and your partner engage in sex, I would probably find it disgusting. Let’s suppose that your right to have sex with your partner was determined by whether your neighbors found your performance attractive or not. If we find it disgusting, we get to stop you.
I am all for equal civil rights, including the right to a civil marriage contract, for gay men and women. But men lolling around with their tongues in each others mouths revolts me big time. But hey, that is just me. Perhaps they are just as revolted in me kissing my wife. Different strokes for different folks.
So gay sex is “unnatural” because some people have a visceral “negative” reaction when they think about it? Uhhh. I hate to bring this up, but a lot of people, especially kids, have a visceral disgusting reaction to the thought of THEIR PARENTS having sex. So, by this logic, we should all stop having sex after the birth of our first child.
Look, I find the idea of grossly fat people having sex icky. Heck, I don’t like to think about what my own parents had to do to get me. But this doesn’t have any bearing on my position of the rights of these people as American citizens.
And finally, a musical theater interlude seems stereotypically appropriate, from toddio. Note the context is an Asian/white romance and the “oddly made” line is ick:
“You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
South Pacific – [Richard] Rodgers & [Oscar] Hammerstein