Gay, Straight And Everything In Between

According to an article in The Times there is a backlash in California against new laws that ban “conversion therapies”, i.e. programs that claim to re-orient gay men to straightness.  This was a big surprise to me mostly because I didn’t even realize there were therapies for adjusting innate characteristics.  Well, apparently there are…or were, and the State of California decided they were shams.  A lawsuit to reverse the State’s decision has been brought by the practitioners of those now illegitimate treatments.

This raised a whole lot of questions for me, not the least of which is: why do we use the terms, “gay” and “straight”?  It seems to me that  if “gay” is the accepted term for male homosexuality, then the opposite term oughtn’t be “straight’  but rather a word that connotes sadness; maybe a term like “solemn” could work.  Or correspondingly, if we assign the term “straight” to describe someone who is a heterosexual, then its opposite might be to describe someone as “crooked”.  Since that seems way too pejorative I think it’s best to stick with the “gay/solemn” dyad.   So the next time you hear a discussion centered around sexual politics, think how refreshing  it might be to hear some guy refer to himself as a “solemn” man.  (This, of course, represents my latest effort to coin a term which, to date,  has proven to be incredibly elusive.)   Unfortunately, it’s probable that the readers of this blog, who tend to be really bright and erudite, will set me straight educate me as to the genesis of these terms and it may well turn out that the leader of the blog factory is a doofus.

 The article stirred my curiosity about the whole notion of trying to change that which seems unchangeable, i.e. those characteristics and qualities which are at our essence and are likely to be with us for a lifetime. The news piece cited some individual cases of supposed sexual reorientation engendered by the therapy.  One man, Blake Smith who is currently married, is quoted as saying, “my homosexual feelings have nearly vanished.  In my 50’s, for the first time, I can look at a woman and say, ‘she’s really hot.'”   In a weird way, I guess that’s good news for Mrs. Smith.

I’m not sure I buy into these reorientations, but  imagine if, in fact,  there were  “conversion therapies” available for other kinds of seemingly intractable traits and behaviors.  I, for one, would be really interested in making some fundamental changes.  For example, I’ve always wanted to be left-handed.  Apart from the usual reasons people want to be left-handed (the quick first step toward first base when batting; getting to be called a “southpaw”; being artistic and creative) I’ve always thought it would be great to have a nickname.  My given name doesn’t lend itself to one and it’s really awkward to ask people  to start calling you something different when there’s no obvious connection to a fabricated nickname.  But if I was a lefty, boy would everyone know it!  And I’d bet that in no time at all, it would be “Hey Lefty, how’s it going” or “let’s ask Lefty”  or “Oh…it’s Lefty bothering me again with another blog”.  You know…stuff like that.

“Lefty” Gomez

Hey “Lefty”, you gonna finish that?


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