Homosexuality and surplus value

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Mon Dec 4 04:18:23 MST 2000


> >In the pre-capitalist social relations, there were no >categories of
> >identities based upon sexual preferences like "homosexual,"
> >"heterosexual," & "bisexual."  Capitalist modernity created >such
> >identities & oppressions based upon them.
>
> >Yoshie

Sure there were sexual preferences like homosexual/heterosexual in the
pre-capitalist social relations.  So what if not? People were asexual before
capitalism then? Only capitalism made us as we sexually are?  In the Ottoman
empire, many Sultans were known to be developing homosexual relations not simply
as a _sexual act_ in the sense of ass fucking, but also for pleasure, eroticism,
(gay love etc..) in the sense of  developing_homosexual identity_. There were
self identified gays among Sultans. They were heavily repressed by the religious
authorities of the palace who were concerned with the pro-creation abilities of
Sultans. Homosexuality was considered to be an _unnatural thing_ because it was
believed to go  against the _divine order of things_. Gay sultans, _seen_ as
lacking the _capacity_ to fuck women, were constituting a major threat to the
continuation of the sultane institution based on male lineage. Property
relations built upon  male privilege/palace aristocracy were at stake there, and
homosexuality had to be controlled to protect this privilege.  That under modern
times gay oppression became  more modernized due to science, capitalism, nation
state, etc.. does not mean that oppression of homosexuality did not exist before
then.


Evidently, even under capitalism, there are variations in terms of the practice
of homosexuality. Not everyone who engages in a homosexual act is a necessarily
a homosexual. I guess that was what you were trying to get at in your
distinction between sodomy (sexual act) and homosexuality (as an identity)-- but
how do you define sexual *identity*? Is it something so easily identifiable? If
we take capitalism as creating identity, we arrive at an extreme ahistorical
view that there were no identities pre-dating capitalism. This is precisely
where the problem lies. We need to understand how identities had developed
historically in relation to the social structures they were a part of rather
than locating the origins of homosexuality/heterosexulity in a sudden rupture
from feudalism to capitalism. This includes a discussion of state, religion,
property relations, family forms-- in short all pre- capitalist social
formations-- as they relate to gender and sexuality.

By carefully studying the past, we can understand the present. Engels does
exactly the same in his discussion of how the modern family (heterosexist
coercive institution) developed from the kinship structures of the past
primitive group marriage to monogamy etc..


Xxxx








--

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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