Why are people in the U.S. so afraid of homosexuality? [Anyone who doubts that people are afraid of gay should watch a few Brüno clips.]
- I do not think that homosexual people are poop. Rather, I think that this is the position the heterosexual matrix puts them in. This is tragic and terrible.
- However, I think this position can be described otherwise, and appropriated as a site of power from which to destabilize discussions concerning homosexuality.
- Read on!
One possible answer to why many fear homosexuality, following Judith Butler, has to do with identity and social excrement. So . . . Identity is not something innate. Identity is formed through “regulatory practices” –the laws, interactions, and discourses that try to regulate social life. One of these regulatory practices is “sex” (you know, binary, hetero, sex).
In order for “sex,” or lets say, “the heterosexual matrix,” to regulate identity, it has to define itself against something; it has to refuse what it is not. So, homosexuality becomes refuse, excrement. It is the necessary remainder, the deviation, the “outside” of the matrix. In order to maintain a heterosexual identity, there must exist powerful forces that guard the constructed boundary between inside and outside, in this case, between hetero and homo.
The catch is that these boundaries are never absolute. After all, we know that where there is excrement, there is orifice. Where there is orifice there is the potential for things to both go out AND come in. To follow the metaphor, there are many orifices, or weak points, that threaten to disrupt the heterosexual matrix. On an individual level, for a “heterosexual,” this means that homosexuality is doubly threatening: 1) it threatens the person’s very identity 2) because, it undermines the entire matrix of practices that constitute heterosexuality.
In short, homosexuality is so scary because recognizing it means that the stuff you worked so hard to push out is coming back in, and that puts the whole system out of whack.