Articles
 
Homo-phobia or What’s Love got to do with it
 
9 Jan 2009
http://malaysiakini.com/opinions/96094
 

Clearly we have reached a point where the sexuality of the subject, or more precisely, the sexual orientation of the subject in a state is in focus. Hetero-sexuality is the legitimized sexual relationship, whilst homo-sexuality is generally frowned upon, but in terms of state regulation and public opinion. It would be too easy to launch into the standard Marxist analysis (where the subject is alienated from her own body and is now a datum of information) or even open the register of Fascism (where the private and public spheres are no longer separated).

However, in the interest of fairness, perhaps one should consider the defenders of the logic that ‘the only legitimate sexual relation is a hetero-sexual one’ on their own terms.

The most commonly cited one is that the sanctity of marriage demands that some form of exclusion is made. Whilst this exclusive gesture is always already part of any institution (what good is a membership if everyone can be a member), premising entry of sexuality does open up some interesting considerations. For instance, can someone who is bi-sexual claim half a membership? This might seem like idle speculation but if sexuality (or more precisely the biological sex of the person you are in a relationship with) is the only factor, this must surely be a possibility.

If marriage is indeed sacrosanct – a sacred union – this would also mean that it cannot be spoken of. Otherwise by definition it enters the realm of the profane. Perhaps this gives us a certain insight into ‘homo-phobia’, one that can be found within the marriage vow itself. Taking the Christian wedding as an instance – after all, the Christians are usually the poster boys of homo-phobia – one cannot but notice that the standard ending goes along the lines of, “what God has joined man must not divide.” This suggests that the union is not very stable: in fact it is completely fragile; otherwise it would have read ‘what man cannot divide’. And this is precisely what is sacred about marriage; the fact that the union is ultimately an unknowable one, known at best only to the gods. This means that every union between two people, is a union that is made in absolute blindness to the possibility (or impossibility) of this very union.

And this is what homo-sexual relationship foreground. Not the fact that there is some God who disapproves of it (even if this were so, would it not be a vain proposition to presume that one is privy to Divine likes and dislikes). But more pertinently that a homo-sexual relationship reminds all hetero-sexual unions that any union is always already one based on an assumption; groundless, baseless and completely unstable.

But the question that remains is why homo-sexual relationships are more pronounced in reminding us of this fragility. This is due to the fact that if a relationship – any relationship – has no basis except for a leap of faith, this means that all relationality lies in the imaginary. This is an imaginary not so much in the sense of one being in a masturbatory relationship with one-self, in the form of a narcissistic relationship, but rather that the possibility of responding with another person (one who always will remain other to your self, alien, and ultimately unknowable) must be imagined in the first place. And since imagination can only come about in and through your own self, this suggests that the very realm of any relationship is one that is played out through your own imaginary sphere. By extension, since you can never escape your own biological being, this also already means that any relationship you form with another, always already comes through an imaginary sphere of the same biology.

All relationships begin with a homo-imaginary sphere.

This brings us back to the very basis of Christianity itself and its claim that all relationships that last must be God-centred. Unless we fall back on vanity and makes assumptions to the Divine Will, we will have to admit that this space, in which all relationships that last are based, must be an imaginary space. This is in no way a claim that God is imagined – or a make belief. After all, the atheistic view is a mere reversal of the fundamentalist believer: both are too certain, too absolute. What this suggests is that this space – that we have termed God – is a space of potentiality, and perhaps of beauty, and even love.

This is captured perfectly in the words “I love you”; words that are never original – always already a quotation, and perhaps even a repetition. However, the significance of the statement is that it is meaningful in a particular time and space; it is a singular statement that is important at that moment, and for that person: there is no replicability to it. An examination of the statement would reveal that there is a calling forth of an ‘I’, as if the self and the ‘I’ are momentarily separated, in a certain relationality – that of love – with a ‘you’, as if the ‘you’ and the person before the self uttering the statement are also separated. This becomes even more obvious in the response – assuming there is one – to the statement: “I love you”; an exact replication that says absolutely nothing more nor less than the first statement. And in this reversal lies the very secret to love and relationships: reciprocity; not of any object, or anything material, but the reciprocation of reciprocity itself, a return of the statement that puts the two persons in a relationship with each other. I offer you a statement in which I am unsure of my relationship with my own self, but still offer myself up in a relationship with you, whomever you are; and you offer me this very statement in return. And in between, in this imaginary space between the two persons, is the potentiality of love, of relationality.

In this sense, all homo-phobia is a rejection of this un-sureness, an attempt to fix relationship between two stable biological beings (as if this were even possible). Ironically though, in its attempt to concretize relationships within a hetero-sexual sphere, the possibility of this space – where the ‘I’, the self, the other, and the ‘you’ negotiate – is also effaced.

This is not to say that the only true relationships are homo-sexual. Every person can choose to be in a relationship with another person, regardless of any category, biological, gendered, or otherwise. However, a rejection of the possibility of a homo-sexual relationship is also the rejection of the possibility of every relationship.

There is a reason why the rainbow has long been associated with homo-sexuality. For without this space to imagine, there is no more hope for relationality itself …

 
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