Beastiality [sic] Parallel WrongThis letter to the editor argues that Bower's stance is exaggerated and perpetuates negative stereotypes.
Susan F. Bauer
Beastiality [sic] Parallel Wrong
Bower writes that he attempts to answer Nell Harry's question of April 10, "How long Will it be before lesbians and gays are allowed to demonstrate affectionâ€¦and attraction for each other in public without fear of repression?â€ by asking a similar one: "How long will it before deviant animal lovers show affection and attraction [physical attraction for their animals] in public without fear of repression?â€
Bower's can easily be criticized not only in that it rests on exaggerated assumptions but also in that it helps to perpetuate negative stereotypes. He seeks to convey his disgust with public homosexual displays by drawing a parallel between homosexuality and bestiality. Such a comparison is both inaccurate and also offensive to the homosexual segment of our population.
In order for a demonstration of bestiality to be recognized as such (rather than as merely an affectionate, platonic caress by an animal lover), extreme physical action must ensue. Homosexual attraction, on the other hand, can be indicated without such blatant sexual maneuvers. A woman hugging her dog would probably not elicit disapproval; in order for her sexual intentions to be recognized the woman would have to communicate her lust more obviously.
Homosexuals are not asking to pursue explicit sexual interactions in public, as Bower's parallel implies. In addition to being inaccurate, such an implication also augments the stereotype of amoral, promiscuous homosexuals, and associates homosexualism with the increased horrors of an even more rigid taboo: cross-species sexual interaction.
In the use of his exaggerated parallel, Bower states the real issues. Homosexuals are not asking that we tolerate extreme sexual acts in public. Any such acts, whether committed by homosexuals or heterosexuals, might be offensive. Nell Harryâ€™s argument referred to more subtle acts such as hand-holding, etc. Such actions would be accepted in a heterosexual couple. It is understandable that many people, Bowers included, find such indicators of physical attraction aversive when exhibited by a homosexual couple; people are often scared or offended by those who are different from themselves in some way. But Bowerâ€™s statements are faulty because he resorts to warped comparisons in expressing his possible fears.
Displays of physical attractions between homosexuals offend onlookers because such acts betray a sexual preference different from their own. However, such onlookers should realize that a mere sexual preference does not pervade the morality or cognitive functioning of the individual. Therefore, whether or not any given sexual preference is â€œhealthyâ€ or â€œsickâ€ is relevant only to the individual possessing it.
Public display which does not exceed the normally accepted degree of sexual behavior expected in public is not an issue for public speculation; it is merely an indicator of some personâ€™s sexual preferences. In order for many people not to be stereotyped on the basis of sexual quirks â€“ and hurt by the stereotypes â€“ more tolerance is needed on the part of the public. Unfortunately, opinions such as that expressed by Terrel Bowers do nothing to foster such a tolerance.
Susan F. Bauer
|advocacy, LGBTQ Community, student publications
|April 30, 2018
|May 13, 2018
|Cavalier Daily: articles about LGBTQ issues
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