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The Hunted
October 5, 2009 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Mazen had had his pectoral muscles cut off. There were two drill holes in Namir’s left leg, below the knee. Both had been shot in the head, apparently from close range. “Two young men were killed on Thursday,” an unnamed Sadr City official told the Reuters news agency in a story published that same day. “They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor.” How a few New Yorkers are trying to save the hunted gay men of Iraq.
posted by hermitosis (62 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's amazing how a people so obsessed with morality can be so completely amoral.
posted by mullingitover at 11:58 AM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Don't Ask, Don't Tell
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 PM on October 5, 2009


One of the 'readings' in Harper's a few months back was about these dudes who joined some militia and more or less went totally crazy. The lawlessness in the country is something else.
posted by chunking express at 12:04 PM on October 5, 2009


It's amazing how a people so obsessed with morality can be so completely amoral.
This is an outrageous generalization.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 12:07 PM on October 5, 2009


It's not a generalization. You missed the "a" in the sentence. eg. For all things obsessed with morality, it is amazing how some of those things ("a people") are completely amoral. In this case, Iraqi militias. From the article: “Killing gays is halal,” one of the men said, meaning it was permissible under Islamic law. “We’ll get points in heaven for it.”

But please continue to flame each other instead of discussing this complete tragedy.
posted by mek at 12:13 PM on October 5, 2009


mek: 'From the article: “Killing gays is halal,” one of the men said, meaning it was permissible under Islamic law. “We’ll get points in heaven for it.”'

This was exactly the passage I had in mind when I wrote that comment. I'll take a raincheck on the flameout, kthx :)
posted by mullingitover at 12:34 PM on October 5, 2009


.

Wow, this (and other similar articles I've read recently) leave me shaking. The only thing I've found so far that looks like a way to help is this site: http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

Anyone know of any other ways to help?
posted by treepour at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2009


It's not a generalization. You missed the "a" in the sentence. eg. For all things obsessed with morality, it is amazing how some of those things ("a people") are completely amoral. In this case, Iraqi militias. From the article: “Killing gays is halal,” one of the men said, meaning it was permissible under Islamic law. “We’ll get points in heaven for it.”
Forgive me if I misunderstood you, but usually when people say "a people" they mean a nation, community, or ethnic group. I don't think of Iraqi militias as a people no more than I think of police officers as one of the peoples of America. To me, it sounded like you were collectively judging Iraqis for the actions of militias. I agree that what's happening is a tragedy, but I'm not ready to assign the word "amoral" to all Iraqis.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:10 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't read this past the first page. The thought lurks in the back of my mind is that there are plenty of people here in the U.S. and elsewhere that would cheer the murderers on.
posted by Xoebe at 1:11 PM on October 5, 2009


Getting points in heaven, ugh. That's one reason I find religion rather lame: because inevitably there are ignorant religious people who are convinced to do horrible things by smarter people, based on this promise of heaven points. And by the time they're ready to claim their prize, it's too late for them to do anything about there not actually being one. Life is not a video game and you aren't going to get any heavenly high score no matter how many people you kill...or help for that matter.

Someday we'll evolve past the psychological crutch that is religion. I mean, look how far life has come in just six thousand years! *cough*
posted by jamstigator at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


To me, it sounded like you were collectively judging Iraqis for the actions of militias.

Well, that's your problem - especially considering I'm not the person who made the original comment, and that that person, above, clarified their comments further to dodge the brush you're trying to paint them with. If anything, this article is proof that there are a lot of Iraqis that are greatly disturbed by these killings, to the extent that they are willing to risk their own lives to help others get to safety.
posted by mek at 1:21 PM on October 5, 2009


The real horror is that the Iraqi government is pretending to object, but on the other hand is clearly supporting these killings. That's the main issue here. We have city officials praising murderers, albeit anonymously, while the national government makes vague comments about how murder is never condoned. Is there any threat of legal action or do these death squads operate basically immune from the law?
posted by mek at 1:23 PM on October 5, 2009


treepour: it looks like maybe also just going to human rights watch will let you donate to their cause. Human rights watch. They also have some take actions buttons that let you send form letters to politicians, but I've heard that actual letters matter more than the form e-mails.
posted by edbles at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2009


“We’ll get points in heaven for it.”

In my religion, you get triple bonus points for being kind and supportive to gay people.
posted by Faze at 1:34 PM on October 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


It is a truth universally acknowledged that all true believers of all faiths are total assholes.
posted by Postroad at 1:36 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't be an ass and conflate this with true Islam or any other properly followed religion. These jerkoffs in Iraq are on the same level as a homophobic redneck in N. America who beats up a gay spotted while driving around. The main difference is that the extreme conditions brought on by six years of war have lowered the internal barriers to using extreme violence.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


jamsitgator, you're not necessarily doing the world a favor by kicking that crutch away. Religion also inspires some of the most beautiful people with the desire to perform beautiful, often radical acts of charity, mercy, and advocacy. If you want humans to overcome their malevolence and ignorance, that's fine, but those qualities have no specific connection to a religious worldview. There will never be a shortage of ways for people to justify their fear and hatred for each other.
posted by hermitosis at 1:47 PM on October 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


Don't be an ass and conflate this with true Islam or any other properly followed religion.

QFT. With enough words in writing for a religion, there's some way to twist those words and make a case for some terrible actions against others. "Love one another" seems like a pretty solid one to follow, regardless who is saying it.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2009


Burhanistan, religion is what people do. I'm not on the inside of that religion, and so from my perspective this discussion about what's "real" (e.g., textually supported) and what isn't is strictly not my problem. When I hear about religious leaders condoning evil, and people conducting torture and execution with social approval that is, after all, religiously-derived, is the thought that some people think this isn't supported by the texts supposed to be comforting?

I'll put it another way. The Torah condones all kinds of horrific violence, but the important part for me is that my people pretty much agree that e.g. burning down an entire village because there is apostasy there isn't a good thing to do despite the fact that it's clearly called for in the text. Which is more "real"? When my people use religion to condone evil, then there's a problem in our house that needs to get fixed. Special pleading doesn't cut it.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:00 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Love one another" seems like a pretty solid one to follow, regardless who is saying it.

I ran in the 2009 Bay-to-Breakers race in San Francisco. Wonderful experience. The people came out in all their various colors and stripes, everyone was smiling and happy, and the day was pretty much without incident. Of course, seeing naked people was pretty fun, too.

As the race began and we headed out of downtown, some Xian fundies had setup right in the middle of the, condemning teh gays and nekkid people. As I went by one of them, I told him that God loved him even if he had hate in his heart. His lips curled into a cruel smile as he responded, "No, man, it's LOVE!".
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:34 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand.

These men and boys didn't choose to be gay. Who would choose to be gay in Iraq? What more proof would anyone need that being gay isn't a choice?

If they try to find love with consensual partners, they're tortured and raped to death. By men who think that raping gay men is somehow holy, and doesn't make them deserving of torture and rape, because it wasn't sex, it was rape, which is holier than sex...

I don't understand. How can anyone believe this? How can it result in boys lying on the pavement, brains scattered beneath their heads?

I don't want to believe that in the absence of law, when people operate without constraint, that gay people, my people, will be treated with this kind of inhuman hatred. I don't want to believe that people can hate us that much.

But they do.
posted by MrVisible at 2:51 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't be an ass and conflate this with true Islam or any other properly followed religion.

Ah. The properly followed ones are the ones you like, right?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:51 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


“Life is not a video game and you aren't going to get any heavenly high score no matter how many people you kill...or help for that matter.”

I was just thinking about that. The analogy to video games. I wouldn’t narrow the spectrum to just religion because this kind of sadism looks for almost any excuse to exist (e.g. from the article – to restore tribal/family ‘honor’). But the concept that you’re accruing a kind of merit for this sort of thing is just bizarre. I’ve watched the whole ‘mafia wars’ thing for example. Played some. Attacked some folks who got very very bent out of shape and sent me some nasty e-mails and I’m thinking “Really?”

So many folks are willing to abuse others and look to trade on intangible forms of ‘points’ of some sort. It’s weird to see a guy spell it out so plainly like this (points in heaven). Especially because it’s so disproportionate in terms of, not just the reality, but the time.
I can think of a great many things I’d rather do than play mafia wars. So too – hurting some guy, even for a terrific reason, pretty far down on the list as to how I’d like to spend my time. There are so many intangible things that are productive and helpful – learning a new language off the top of my head. Maybe spending time with some (and/or your) kids, teaching them new stuff. Ten hours, JFC. Who has that kind of time for this horrible crap?

I mean it’s not just ‘heaven,’ this is a pretty ubiquitous trade off people make. Especially in terms of time spent that you see a lot but, I mean, yeah, it’s the sadism, but it can’t just be the sadism. There’s got to be some neurochemistry going on there that completely conflates some sort of abstract construct with genuine reality that crosses over into obsession. Some sort of negative sexual feedback thing maybe, I dunno. Perhaps an urge to undercut civilization, destroy civilized feeling and compromise.

That can’t be good for one’s psyche. Torturing someone for hours, that alone is bad, but on top of that just the wasteland being made on the inside – like someone playing video games for hours and hours and hours.
I played 5 card video poker on my phone or palm or whatever handheld gadget I had a bit ago one night in bed when I couldn’t sleep. I got a royal flush. I was elated – odds were astronomical I’d ever see one (given I play poker so rarely, otherwise about 650K to 1) so I rolled over to wake her up to tell her and it just hit me – this was completely meaningless.
I’d won, what, a million video bucks. Yay me. Completely useless except for a time waster.
Treating it like such a real event I was going to wake my wife up in reality.
This is like that to the nTH degree. Plus torture. People can contort their brain software into some really bad operations. Form’s got nothing to do with function there.
At best perhaps their excuse is they're so terrified of death and pain and sex and humiliation they'll do anything to anyone else under any pretext to distract themselves. Religion is handy for that, sure, but it's not the only excuse.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:02 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


If Satan exists, organized religion is one of his best weapons.

Don't get me wrong, in bad circumstances, people will be awful to each other regardless of their faith or lack thereof, but theology often seems to provide a certain lubrication towards that end.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:02 PM on October 5, 2009


(I should clarify - playing video games - not so bad - playing to the exclusion of everything else and believing something tangible is accomplished (obviously competitions and such aside) different story - it's not just video games tho, lots of folks are so afraid of real life they hide inside an abstraction of it)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:04 PM on October 5, 2009


There's somewhere around a billion Muslims in the world. They're not all killing gay people. So I'd say it's safe to say that tarring Islam in general as murderously homophobic might be a bit unfair.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:08 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


These men and boys didn't choose to be gay. Who would choose to be gay in Iraq? What more proof would anyone need that being gay isn't a choice?

I think the explanation is that many of those promoting the "gay is a choice" meme are closeted gays. They see refraining from gay behavior as a moral struggle, a choice they have made because of their intense belief in their version of religion. They have succeeded, they believe, in not being gay because they have by and large avoided any overt gay behavior through sheer willpower. I say by and large, because it seems a month can't go by without some anti-gay fundy being exposed as having secret homosexual lovers. They assume everyone is like them and that the heterosexual population has chosen the straight lifestyle over the extremely tempting but very naughty gay lifestyle in deference to religious directives, as they have. This is the only way passionate denial of inborn gayness makes sense to me.

If one accepts this premise, then these Iraqi gays were just too weak to avoid the extreme temptation of gay behavior. They "chose" it over being sinless. And they are getting what they deserve.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:13 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


@treepour and others: It was striking that the language barrier was one of the principal fears of the prospective refugees, partly because they didn't feel they could rely on existing immigrant populations to help them out. Is this maybe an opportunity for people to get involved and volunteer to fill this gap through, e.g. helping teach/grade/run ESL intensives? Probably people are already involved in this type of effort, but does anyone know who and how to contact them?
posted by en forme de poire at 3:52 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Look, it is a homosexual deviant who has sex with men"
"What shall we proper manly men do with him?"
"We shall hang him upside, beat him and then have sex with him."

I realise there are different cultural values about masculinity/sexuality in play here (c.f. the Turkish Army requiring visual proof of a passive gay role to escape the army)- but surely a moment's thought would show that they're getting it wrong. The description used by clerics in the article, "people of Lot", is particularly telling. The people of Lot were not hoping that Lot's visitors would kindly do them a favour and sodomise *them*.

Bigotry and stupidity go so well together.
posted by Sparx at 4:18 PM on October 5, 2009


I think the explanation is that many of those promoting the "gay is a choice" meme are closeted gays. They see refraining from gay behavior as a moral struggle, a choice they have made because of their intense belief in their version of religion.

There's something to this, I think. A colleague's father who was a conservative Baptist deacon (elder? whatever they have) decided that being gay wasn't a sin because a "sin is something that tempts you to do wrong and you have to fight". He figured that since he wasn't tempted to have sexual relations with men, it must not be a sin and must be natural (for those that did want to). A weird way to come around to being gay accepting, but it worked for him.
posted by pointystick at 4:56 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


When I read the first three sentences, I cringed as I figured the victims had been tortured by us at Guantanamo or Bagram.
posted by orthogonality at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2009


A colleague's father who was a conservative Baptist deacon (elder? whatever they have) decided that being gay wasn't a sin because a "sin is something that tempts you to do wrong and you have to fight". He figured that since he wasn't tempted to have sexual relations with men, it must not be a sin and must be natural (for those that did want to). A weird way to come around to being gay accepting, but it worked for him.

Well by that logic being a pedophile isn't sinful either, since I'm not tempted to have sexual relations with children.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:52 PM on October 5, 2009


Though I'm usually the one who lectures about the dangers of dehumanizing the other, I find it very hard to consider someone who is capable of this sort of extreme brutality and sadism to have not crossed a line into something less-than-human -- at the very best, the human equivalent of a rabid animal. I don't support the death penalty, but I'm very close to supporting it in cases such as this. Of course, being a gay man, these events hit home in a somewhat more personal way than do accounts of other modern-day war crimes (which is exactly what these are).

Yet I can't help wondering about the sexuality of some of these monsters. Experience with gay-oppressing closet-cases would suggest that at least a few of these sadists are closet cases themselves. And even for those that are straight, I can't imagine they'd be capable of anything close to what we consider a genuinely loving and nuturing sexual relationship with anyone. Suddenly the us/them line I want to draw in the sand isn't as clear, and I have no idea what to do with that.
posted by treepour at 8:02 PM on October 5, 2009


Well by that logic being a pedophile isn't sinful either, since I'm not tempted to have sexual relations with children.

Wrong. Pedophilia harms children, and harm to others (in various forms) is considered sinful by most religions (with caveats, of course). Consensual gay sex harms no one.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:21 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please please please, for the love of all that is holy, stop confusing amoral for immoral. Killing gay people just because they're gay is emphatically NOT an amoral act.
posted by jock@law at 8:28 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's somewhere around a billion Muslims in the world. They're not all killing gay people.

Perhaps not, but the Islamic voices demanding tolerance of different sexual orientations are most notable by their absence.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:29 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


How a few New Yorkers are trying to save the hunted gay men of Iraq.

Oddly, this phrasing immediately brought to mind the role of The New Yorker in the outing of Salam Pax (who is gay).
posted by dhartung at 9:29 PM on October 5, 2009


I am in no way condoning violence here, but would like to point out that the Western conception of an identity being "gay" or "a homosexual" is a recent thing and is different than the act of having sex with someone of the same sex. Westerners have made a shift somewhere along the way from living in an act based culture to living in an identity based culture.

Back in the day, if you stole something you were not labeled a thief for life but had to pay for your acts. In places where anal sex was outlawed, you were punished for it, but did not necessarily belong to a separate (ie. gay) community of others simply based on your sexual preference.

That's what Foucault thinks, anyway.


I'd like to know more about how identity is constructed in Iraq. In their minds, were they punishing homosexual acts? Gay identified people? What they consider Western infiltration of sexuality?

Lots of times people in the non-Western world punish homosexuality because they feel it is a Western corruption of their own culture, maybe because identities of "gayness" are Western constructions.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:14 PM on October 5, 2009


Iraq, like Iran, is quite a Westernized and modern culture. (Although it hit a bit of a setback in 2002.) Their notions of self and personhood are not much different from ours... they have the Internet and cellphones and TV and all those other 21st century trappings, after all. As a result, the modern gay identity does exist there (as the article alludes to). Which is why they are easily targeted.
posted by mek at 11:18 PM on October 5, 2009


Pedophilia harms children, and harm to others (in various forms) is considered sinful by most religions (with caveats, of course). Consensual gay sex harms no one.

I agree, but the fact that he stumbled onto the correct conclusion that doesn't make the deacon's reasoning any less wrong.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:30 PM on October 5, 2009


I'd like to know more about how identity is constructed in Iraq. In their minds, were they punishing homosexual acts?

And how do they rationalize this?

Over the next three weeks, nine men, working in teams of three, took turns torturing Nuri. For three days, toward the end of his captivity, the men put a bag over his head and raped him.

You're not gay if you're raping another man, only if your man-on-man buttsex is consensual?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:55 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't be an ass and conflate this with true Islam or any other properly followed religion.

Ah yes, whenever a religious person does something detestable, it's clearly simply a failure to be religious in a proper way. Like how when the pope opposes condoms in Africa and says they make AIDS worse or whatever, he's clearly just DOIN IT WRONG and should probably, like, go read the bible more or something.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I'm not saying religion makes people do bad things at all, only that to simply brush aside undesirable behavior as 'doing it wrong' is missing the point, obviously these people are following the religion as they see it)
posted by delmoi at 12:32 AM on October 6, 2009


"You're not gay if you're raping another man"

Actually, you're not gay if you are the "giver" rather than the receiver - a trait shared with many a prison.

Having read the memoirs of Brian Keenan (the Beirut hostage) and various other bits and bobs, it's fair to say that much of the Middle East has a slightly conflicted view of homosexuality. That women are off limits before marriage while contact between men is limitless is a major factor.

In Keenan's memoirs, his captors were fascinated by sex and quizzed him/propositioned him incessantly, while also dismissing all Westerners as sex-mad sluts. In Afghanistan (OK, stretching "Middle East" a little), there are countless stories of young boys being taken off for sex by older, married men. In Generation Kill, Evan Wright notes that when the soldiers he is with first pull into Baghdad, the Shia neighborhoods offer them tea and several of the soldiers find themselves being propositioned. By men.

You don't need to be Freud to work out that it's likely to create some fairly odd views on sex and that homosexuality among heterosexual men is, if not common, then not rare either.

Part of the punishment these gay men are getting is plain old thrill seeking dressed as payback. It's sexual frustration dressed as moralising. Gay men appear to be breaking the code by actually living a gay lifestyle rather than doing the right thing and only having sex with other men as a sideline to being heterosexual.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:40 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps not, but the Islamic voices demanding tolerance of different sexual orientations are most notable by their absence

No they aren't. Just because you haven't Googled the subject doesn't mean there is a vast conspiracy of silence on this topic. Let's take the only Muslim in Congress, my Congressman, Keith Ellison. Here he is speaking out against laws that prevent gay marriage. He is, by the way, Vice Chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equality Caucus. Comments by Ellison: "I am not gay, but when my gay neighbor suffers from discrimination, then I suffer and so does the entire community—just as we all suffer when my female neighbor is held down by a “glass ceiling” or when my new immigrant neighbor is treated in a way that makes him or her feel unwelcome in our country."

How about Dr Scott-Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle, who, in the documentary Gay Muslims, made the case that homophobia in the Muslim community was based on an outdated understanding of Islam? Other Muslims who have preached tolerance: Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace; Mata Air magazine managing editor Soffa Ihsan; this is just a cursory list. A little bit of digging will provide more.

Tolerance for homosexuality is a fairly mainstream viewpoint among moderate Muslims. I hear this sort of argument all the time, and it's a bit off-putting. Like, after the Twin Towers fell, people who were making the case that there was something about Islam that encouraged terrorism, as demonstrated by the fact that you don't hear Muslims condemning terrorism. But this wasn't true. A large number of prominent Muslims unequivocally condemned terrorism, and still do.

There are plenty of Muslims who are homophobes, and there is scriptural support for that, as with Judaism and Christianity. But this shouldn't be used as an excuse for condemning the entirety of the Muslim world, which is huge and diverse and doesn't deserve to be lumped together as one homogeneous, hateful mass.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:34 AM on October 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


Perhaps not, but the Islamic voices demanding tolerance of different sexual orientations are most notable by their absence

I'll get my wife to email you her disgust. She normally emails all the White people who complain that Muslims aren't speaking out. She must have forgot to email you.
posted by chunking express at 5:38 AM on October 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Perhaps not, but the Islamic voices demanding tolerance of different sexual orientations are most notable by their absence.

There are plenty of moderate Muslim voices calling for tolerance, or at least not calling for the institutional rape and murder of homosexuals in the name of Allah. However, those voices are drowned by the actions of a fringe minority, and are thusly underreported by an American press that's been cheerleading military action against a strawman caricature of Islam since 2001. It's the same problem that Fred Phelps and abortion clinic bombers present over here, except we don't have the counterbalance of being surrounded by hundreds of millions of Muslims who are demonstrably not violent jihadists.

I guess what I'm driving at here is that it's disingenuous to paint the entirety of Islam with that brush, and this kind of shit gets called out and shouted down really quickly when we're talking about lunatic-fringe Christians, so let's give the same benefit of the doubt to the billion+ Muslims who aren't out hunting down homosexuals, eh?
posted by Mayor West at 5:59 AM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, whenever a religious person does something detestable, it's clearly simply a failure to be religious in a proper way.

Yes, that's right. Call out the people and their behavior. Calling out religion itself is like calling out a dictionary or some other abstract. It's impotent.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:24 AM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gay men appear to be breaking the code by actually living a gay lifestyle rather than doing the right thing and only having sex with other men as a sideline to being heterosexual.

Happens here, too. See, for example, straight teenage and college boys who mess around with each other behind closed doors, and are rabidly anti-gay in public. It was much the same (may still be, I have no idea) in English schools of a certain sort; boys regularly slept with each other and fell in love. But that was a school thing only; one was expected to 'grow up' afterwards, and the treatment of people like, say, Alan Turing was exactly as you mentioned: he was transgressing by being gay, not just using other men as a sexual outlet when there were no women around.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:51 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, there's a very similar thing with 'slutty' women, and the 'non-slutty' women who look down on them. The girls who are freer with sex are breaking the code of 'women don't want sex' and/or 'women withhold sex from men to get what they want'.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:16 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've had the good fortune to know gay men who grew up outside of the United States in South America and the Persian Gulf. While I certainly feel comfortable in considering the rape, torture, and murder of gay men to be appalling, I'm a bit less convinced regarding attempts to deconstruct sexuality and anti-gay prejudice as it exists outside of our own culture.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:28 AM on October 6, 2009


No they aren't. Just because you haven't Googled the subject doesn't mean there is a vast conspiracy of silence on this topic.

I wasn't trying to suggest that there was -- nor was I suggesting that there aren't tolerant muslims, as there are with any religion. But this Muslim seems to agree with my fundamental point.

I wasn't aware of the diversity of opinion on the issue though. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:53 AM on October 6, 2009


Oh, and this piece was very good too.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:57 AM on October 6, 2009


You're not gay if you're raping another man, only if your man-on-man buttsex is consensual?

Rape is an act of control, possession, imposition of power.

It is the deployment of a weapon intended to put the victim in his or her place, provide or restore a feeling of power to the perpetrator, punish the victim (often for her or his sexuality or sex or gender or failure to acknowledge the "rightful" superiority of the attacker's sexuality or sex or gender), punish the victim's family or village or tribe or other associates, and sometimes to punish unconnected people (such as those the perpetrator feels have harmed him or diminished him in the past).

What it is not, despite the involvement of sexual organs or related body parts that define it as rape rather than other types of assault, is sex.
posted by notashroom at 1:12 PM on October 6, 2009


Calling out religion itself is like calling out a dictionary or some other abstract. It's impotent.

Yeah, kind of, except it's less a 'dictionary' and more an 'instruction manual'. And it's generally a good idea to call out such manuals when they contain a lot of nebulous comments that advocate virulent homophobia and genocide and the like. Unfortunately, most religious manuals seem to have those chapters.

Saying "this book is great, just skip the first half and some of the middle bits, and whenever this guy speaks, and the ending is kind of WTF" doesn't mean that you've discovered the 'right' way to read the book, more so than anyone else... it just means that the book has had some shitty writers and editors, and should probably be binned.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:55 PM on October 6, 2009


PeterMcDermott: You're not gay if you're raping another man, only if your man-on-man buttsex is consensual?

Actually there are a wide variety of cultures in which MM sex is entirely kosher as long as you are not the bottom.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:08 PM on October 6, 2009


jock@law: "Please please please, for the love of all that is holy, stop confusing amoral for immoral. Killing gay people just because they're gay is emphatically NOT an amoral act."

I did not confuse the two. Killing gay people 'because they're gay' might be the veneer applied to the act by the person committing it, and that of course would be immoral or 'wrong.' However, I assert that the person committing this act really has no valid concept of right and wrong, and is acting only on the basis of pleasure and punishment. To behave immorally, first one must have a concept of what right and wrong are.
posted by mullingitover at 6:23 PM on October 6, 2009


You see, this is exactly why you should never grant asylum based solely upon country of origin, ala warfare, etc. There are *always* better reasons for granting asylum than mere nationality, like nationality plus homosexuality.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:53 AM on October 7, 2009


Rape is an act of control, possession, imposition of power... What it is not, despite the involvement of sexual organs or related body parts that define it as rape rather than other types of assault, is sex.

That's a common oversimplification, and I don't know who it's supposed to make feel better. Are you saying that consensual sex is never about control, possession, or imposition of power? Are you saying that a rapist wills his penis to become erect out of sheer indignance and superiority, and that sexual desire, no matter how confused, is not a factor? Desire and power are completely conflated, and pretending that they're not doesn't illuminate anything.
posted by hermitosis at 9:15 AM on October 7, 2009


That's a common oversimplification, and I don't know who it's supposed to make feel better.

"Rape is just unwanted sex" is a common misconception, and I don't know who it's supposed to make feel better.

Are you saying that consensual sex is never about control, possession, or imposition of power?

I'm not even remotely saying that. Consensual sex can be about a lot of things, and those are pretty common elements. Quiche and balut are both food based on eggs, but they're not the same thing.

Are you saying that a rapist wills his penis to become erect out of sheer indignance and superiority, and that sexual desire, no matter how confused, is not a factor?

I'm saying that the point of rape, the goal, is necessarily a negative outcome for the victim. I'd also like to point out that penile penetration is far from the only type of rape, and that many rapists are sexually impotent. Regardless of whether the rapist is erect or penetrates with an erection, rape is about nonconsensual power-over dynamics.

Desire and power are completely conflated, and pretending that they're not doesn't illuminate anything.

Desire and power may be completely conflated in your mind, but that does not make it a universal truth. They are often correlated, but that does not make them inextricably linked, nor does it mean that rape is about desire (which attitude tends to lead us back to the whole blaming-the-victim and/or "the poor guy was just so overcome with lust he couldn't control himself" excusing the perpetrator).
posted by notashroom at 1:31 PM on October 7, 2009


I'm saying that the point of rape, the goal, is necessarily a negative outcome for the victim. I'd also like to point out that penile penetration is far from the only type of rape, and that many rapists are sexually impotent. Regardless of whether the rapist is erect or penetrates with an erection, rape is about nonconsensual power-over dynamics.

You may just be projecting your own thoughts onto these strawmen rapists. A lot of rape is probably motivated by desire to possess the victim without having to interface like a human--the victim is made into an object in the rapist's mind. In that sense, the idea isn't to dominate or overpower, there is no idea. The rapist becomes an automaton to his own desire, almost like a compulsive thief. But, the motivation for this kind of thing is hardly heterogeneous (ahem) and can't really be distilled in a few pithy sentences. It's different in different cases.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2009


^oops, meant to say homogenous, not heterogenous.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on October 7, 2009


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