On holding hands was RE: Gays and the Cuban Revolution

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Mon Nov 18 17:34:52 MST 2002

This thread on Cuba was very good and thanks to Chris for forwarding Larry
R. Oberg's  great post, which should finally kill off the hoary old
chestnut about how gays are treated in Cuba.

Re men holding hands - this is a custom in pre-modern cultures.  I have
observed it in Nigeria and China.  However as modernity evolves within
these countries, pre- modern practices generally cease.  The serpent enters
paradise and men no longer walk around hand in hand.

Of course modernity also brings with it gay culture and this displaces the
traditional modes of expressing same gender sex.  This can play  itself out
in unexpected ways.  For example there is a dialectics of the closet that
to my knowledge has not been fully explored.  The closet imprisoned but to
a certain extent also protected homosexuals.  In China all homosexuals were
expected to get married and if they continued a same-sex lifestyle it had
to be very discreet. Very strong taboos operated here.

However modernity however has changed all that.  Think here of the
homosexual priests who were firmly closeted and whose sexual practices were
studiously ignored.   In Ireland the existence of homosexual priests can no
longer be denied.  Whether out of this current ferment we can have openly
acknowledged gay priests remains to be seen. Currently it is almost
fashionable to demand the abolition of celibacy.  However few if any are
demanding same gender rights for priests - that is for priests to have the
right to live as gays.

So with modernity there is the creation of a gay life style and also a
convergence in terms of gay culture.  For instance gay bars around the
world are almost as similar as McDonalds' Restaurants.  Whether the
creation of a gay culture represents in itself liberation or not is quite a
different matter.



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