Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Left-handed

From News Writer, a link to Juan Cole's argument that the anger that the Cheneys are expressing about their daughter's sexual orientation being mentioned in the debate says more about their own prejudices than about Kerry's character. In it, Cole compares being gay to being left-handed.

But right-thinking Americans don't believe that being gay is a disability or anything shameful. It is like being left-handed or red-headed. It is just the way some people are, and probably has a complex base in genes and proteins. So if in a debate, the issue came up that some school teachers make left-handed students write with their right hands, and Kerry were to say, "Well, Dick Cheney's daughter knows how unfair this is because she is left-handed," nobody would think that was rude or inappropriate. Because Kerry wouldn't be instancing it as a stigma or a disability, but just a neutral fact of life.

I've seen the metaphor of left-handedness used a number of times, usually by mainstream writers are arguing for gay rights to an audience of people that are not that are mostly ignorant about the issue, the sort of people who are ripe for arguments about homosexuality being a choice. It always gives me pause because I'm concerned that it is belittling a large issue. Left-handedness is inconvienent if you aren't accomodated, but it doesn't shape your entire life in the way that sexual orientation does. Who you are attracted to, if nothing else, is probably going to determine who you live with and have your most intimate relationships with.

But thinking it over, I realize that most of the things that make gay and lesbian lives different from straight lives can be attributed to the discrimination that gays and lesbians face. If we were able to scrub homophobia out of our society and achieve legal equality, many of the differences would melt away. The concept of coming out is a good example of what I'm talking about. Straight people do not come out. The idea of agonizing of what people will think when they find out our sexual orientation is completely alien to us. Hell, being straight is treated like a cause for celebration--everyone enjoys cooing over the milestones of straight life from the first kiss to weddings to babies and all that. Coming out has been turned into an occasion for joy, but there's still anxiety there that straight people never have to experience.

But if we were able to get rid of homophobia, coming out would disappear as a concept, I'd think. You can see this already happening in more liberal communities where homosexuality is considered as acceptable as heterosexuality. I've never had someone "come out" to me, that I know of. I've only had people tell me they were gay at most, and usually not even that. It seems about as necessary as telling them that I'm straight. Like being left-handed, actually. At most, you see someone pick something up with her left hand and you say, "Oh, are you left-handed?" and she says, "Yep," and there's really nothing else to talk about. Without homophobia, gays and lesbians could expect that no one will be shocked so there's no reason to think up ways to tell people. And the assumption that people are straight until otherwise proven would probably disappear, too. In the past few years, I've noticed that straight people aren't as quick to assume that the person they are speaking with is also straight. It usually doesn't take more than one embarrassing incident of asking a lesbian about the man in her life to learn that it's better in the future to ask people if they have "someone", for instance.

So, the more I think about it the more I realize that the left-handed metaphor is probably one of the best we have at our disposal when trying to educate people about homosexuality with an eye towards achieving equal rights. Being gay now is like how being left-handed used to be when people still thought there was something wrong with it. Prejudice against left-handed people actually used to be a serious problem, especially in education, where left-handed kids were told that they would be right-handed if they just worked at it, much like gays are told that their orienation is a "choice" now. It was treated as a source of shame and anxiety, and there's even evidence that some left-handed kids who were forced to write right-handed may have even developed learning disabilities from it. And all it took to change the situation was to get people to understand that there's nothing wrong with being left-handed, and now that orientation is considered unremarkable. So, I think that the metaphor is a good one, because it suggests that the biggest obstacle to tackle in the fight for gay equality is people's ignorance.

56 Comments:

Blogger zuzu said...

I think left-handedness is a better analogy than you may realize, Amanda. For centuries, the left hand was considered inferior or the hand of the devil. Those who were left-handed were considered to have a little evil problem. "Sinister" comes from the Latin word for "left." I'm a little unclear on the origins of the term (my religious upbringing was a little half-assed), but something bad (the devil?) sat at the left hand of God.

A friend of mine -- left-handed -- had a great-aunt who used to be beaten by nuns in school because she was left-handed. As a result, she couldn't write well with either hand.

Left-handedness is accepted as just another inborn feature now, but at one point, it was seen as something wicked, something chosen because of possession or transgression. Sound familiar? My pet theory about why the Cheneys flipped about Kerry's comment when they had let the truly offensive comment by Keyes slide by is that they cannot accept -- nor can their base -- that Mary might just be that way. It might be okay to love your prodigal daughter if you think she's just being difficult and that she'll come around someday, but accept that it's just the way she is? That requires a fundamental realignment of thinking.

10/17/2004

 
Blogger Elayne said...

My dad also had the left-handedness beaten out of him while a child in Romania. He still does a few things with his left hand but not that many. Fortunately by the time I went to school left-handedness was no longer seen as evil, and I was able to develop normally.

10/18/2004

 
Blogger Andygrrl said...

In Revelations it says that on Judgement Day Jesus will sort humanity into two groups: the saved, or "the sheep", who are placed on the right hand of God, and the damned, or "the goats" (as the metaphor puts it), who are placed on the left.
Anyway, I like your metaphor of left-handedness. I think it might help me make some progress with my mother. I attended the same Catholic elementary and high schools as my mom, and when she was a kid they forced her to write right-handed (her handwriting is pretty illegible now). So it's a metaphor she can relate to. And the "left-handed metaphor" is a big improvement over the theories my parents are working with at the moment. They're trying to be accepting but sometimes they act like I've gone off to college and "turned into" a lesbian, or they act like I've got a birth defect and they're going to try and love me anyway, in spite of it. The idea being that "I guess she can't help being born a freak..."

10/18/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda, it's generational and situational. Any older person, or any teen in a homophobic home (most) or homophobic high school (essentially all), will have angst about coming out. For the dependent kids, they have their personal safety and their shelter to think about. The adults worry about keeping their jobs. Also about getting jumped and bashed in the gay bar neighborhood, or being attacked in their home. That you feel that no one has ever "come out" to you suggests (given the general tone of the blog) that you appear to them to be an open, kindly person. That doesn't mean that they haven't sized you up as safe vs unsafe before deciding to speaking with you.

10/18/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

That's pretty much what I'm saying--that "coming out" is coded as a stressful situation because of homophobia, but if there were no homophobia, then it would be no more matter than being left-handed.

10/18/2004

 
Blogger jon said...

Surfing some of the alternative lifestyle blogs today I stumbled onto your blog. I liked it! Thanks for the posts...

10/02/2005

 
Blogger Askinstoo said...

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW

10/14/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey nice site Check out this one about adult free personals swinger really good adult free personals swinger

Enjoy adult free personals swinger

10/14/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bookmarked your blog. I will try to post often.

Do you think gas pricing is ever going to go down? I founds some gas saving tips at surfing wetsuits


Keep in touch :)

10/15/2005

 
Blogger Dominicans resources said...

FREE Wordpress Hosted Blogs With 10 Customised Templates To Choose From at Blogsilla.com

people having sex

Free unlimited number of blogs

10/17/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey came looking for adult cam personals web

i found another blog about it nice ! adult cam personals web are a great way to find someone!
Maybe you should think about adding more adult cam personals web related topics on your site.

heres another related site about adult cam personals web

10/17/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice blog enjoyed it :)

Keep up the excellent work! and i bookmarked u!
!

10/30/2005

 
Blogger Johnny said...

hello, reading your blog is joyful. Make online money is an Art and also a Science. You need to be well informed and walk in the correct path in order to be successful in business earn money online opportunity. My website will provide info you need.

10/30/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey cool master resell right for free blog! After reading through some of the master resell right for free posts on your blog site, I thought your readers might like to check out this new master resell right for free blog/site I found.

This master resell right for free blog/site is offering Source Code Master Resell Rights and Branding Rights to 7 of the hottest master resell right for free businesses going! I mean just one of thses guaranteed error bug free software programs is worth the price they are charging for all 7!

Imagine starting your own affiliate master resell right for free site and being able to offer your affiliates INSTANT PAYMENT! Is that cool or what? Wait till you see the other 6!

Here's the link: master resell right for free

If you get time check it out, but HURRY on 10/31/05 the price goes up and they are only selling 500 packages :-)

10/31/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome - Save $50 on a playstation 2...Whoopee!!

Misspelledauctions.com

This is a great site people!

10/31/2005

 
Blogger livin_live said...

Hey Fantastic Blog, I totally agree with some of the points you made.
I just finished putting together a site on education instructional school services technical, come check it out when you got time.

10/31/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a **Make Big Money**blog. It pretty much covers Make Big Money articles related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

10/31/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Came here good site.

I own an adult dating.info erotic erotic erotic online personals personals personals site check it out if you fancy dating

adult dating.info erotic erotic erotic online personals personals personals

11/01/2005

 
Blogger Steven Westphal said...

Cool website, this is a great site for info on home make money ways

11/02/2005

 
Blogger Goji Juice said...

Hello everyone! ... sorry I'm a newbie, how does this blog thing work? I bought some products from this store: www.eBookLovers.com but too dumb to figure out. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

11/02/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! The information and Internet marketing product evaluations that you provide are great for beginner webmasters.

I have a internet business advertising site/blog. It pretty much covers internet business advertising related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

11/02/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey nice info you posted.
I just browsing through some blogs and came across yours!

Excellent blog, good to see someone actually uses em for quality posts.

Your site kept me on for a few minutes unlike the rest :)

Keep up the good work!

Thanks!Adult Personals

11/02/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey i got here searching for starting an affiliate program
Your sites not too bad!

You got good rankings for them keywords starting an affiliate program

Check out my site
starting an affiliate program

11/04/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GROW IT YOURSELF!

11/05/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey nice blog!

I want you to come join this site about adult friend finder password handle

Its cool Adult Friend Finder

Click the adult friend finder password handle link above and join :) see you there

11/06/2005

 
Blogger Gordon said...

Hello, you blog is funny and informative. I have a website about improving your adult sex life. Please visit if you want to enjoy sex more in a proper way.

11/06/2005

 
Anonymous make money fast online said...

Hi Amanda, I'm always searching for/to make money from home .

Good content is hard to come by and I'm always looking for those who can
provide information about make money from home.

You seem to share an interest in Left-handed as I do. I would appreciate any
input on your behaf. Visit this site
and give me your feedback if you would.

11/06/2005

 
Blogger Girly Girl said...

If you want over 18 adults only dating then Swinger Dating is the site for you. Totally free too :)

11/07/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a depression and anxiety disorder site/blog. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

11/07/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a anxiety attacking site/blog. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

11/07/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You aren't going to believe this website! If you really like new pic teen trixie then this is even bigger than you can imagine!

Twins Twins Twins! Free sample pic here at my blog:
Milton Twins !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And feel free to post at my blog too.

11/09/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

I did a search for gas fireplace log and found this site. I have put together an ebook I have titled, "Huge Gas Pump Savings."

Dave
http://www.huge-gas-pump-savings.com/

11/10/2005

 
Anonymous totally free personals said...

Hi,

I found your blog about Left-handed. If you have time, check out my american singles web site. It is nothing special but you may still find something of value there.

11/11/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn how to quickly create an RSS feeds with our RSS feeder, for high link popularity and ultimately better search engine rankings.

11/11/2005

 
Blogger workfromhome1011 said...

Hello there, I was recently doing a search through blogs for the keyphrase make money in stock market. I happened to come across yours even though it wasn't particularly related to what I searched for. I figured I wouldn't mind contributing to your blog by commenting it. I've been quite busy to work on my blog lately but I am interested in topics being generally related to what I search for. I know you may not think this is an appropriate post to your blog, however I would just like to compliment you on your blog and I wish you well in future endeavors with it,

Sincerely,

Mark

if you would like me to stop posting on your blog ill get the message if you turn on word verification for your blogger.com account there are no need for complaints when you could simply use that function.

p.s. I like to take a look at other blogs to get some ideas as to how I am going to form mine. make money in stock market is related to my future blog building.

12/08/2005

 
Blogger OPFM Admin said...

I know that you are probably very busy. When you get the chance, could you please critique my site for me at tommy burns.

12/09/2005

 
Anonymous wood stove said...

This winter I purchased a wood stove instead of a fire place .I wanted to save on the heating cost this year.Fireplace Chimney I even created my own Fireplace Chimney site related to everything about fire places and wood stoves.So save on the higher heating cost and burn some wood.Have a great day bye.

12/11/2005

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I enjoy amateur swinger. We decided to put together a site to help others who are interested in amateur swinger. We hope you will check out our web site amateur swinger Look for us. Our nick is "sdray69". CYA there!

1/26/2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting blog you have. I often search the web for articles about love and dating and I found this one. As for single personals free there�s a site for singles at http://top-personals.net, take a look.

1/29/2006

 
Anonymous military payday loans said...

Your blog seems to be a perfect guide in helping opthers to develop a blof of there own. i have taken some tips from it and i hope to implement on my blog. thanxs for the help . regards . quick payday

2/01/2006

 
Anonymous lesbian online dating said...

I was out searching for some lesbian online dating related information when I landed on your page. you have some good stuff here. your blog wasn't exactly what I was looking for i enjoyed the read, thanks. I'll continue on looking for lesbian online dating, see you again sometime.

2/02/2006

 
Blogger britney said...

hey what a nice site . your blog is great .

regards
Payday Loan Online

3/10/2006

 
Anonymous payday loans said...

Great blog. nice piece of information on it. Taken some help from it in creating my own no fax payday loans blog. thanxs for the help.

3/12/2006

 
Anonymous auto loans said...

Great blog. nice piece of information on it. Taken some help from it in creating my own new car loan blog. thanxs for the help.

3/19/2006

 
Blogger mazy said...

the good thing about your blog is, its natural. Appreciate your views and added my comment on it. keep it moving and have a great blog. cheers !!!! fast cash

3/22/2006

 
Anonymous no fax payday loans said...

what ever you do, seems to be good. keep on using your writing skills and creating new posts for us to read no fax payday loans

3/26/2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cant stop my self from commenting your nice blog . it was just so simple. do keep on writing. cash advance payday

4/03/2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Promise, I'm good. Everything is fine....I've just been busy and blah blah blah blah. You know the drill.I'll update more at no fax payday loan , when I can. In the meantime, please know that you are all in my thoughts, and I would never leave you without at least saying Goodbye.

7/03/2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

american woman seeking irish man

2/18/2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com adult dating
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com adult dating

2/22/2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com adult dating
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com adult dating

2/26/2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watiti.com
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com

2/26/2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.watiti.com

Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com, an online social networking community that connects people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards, listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

http://www.watiti.com

2/28/2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sexy single woman

3/19/2007

 
Anonymous viagra said...

Disaster is likely to wreak havoc in the life of an individual as soon as he becomes victim to erectile dysfunction and the most significant dreadful consequence of erectile dysfunction is that the afflicted man becomes incapable of facilitating erections required for sexual intercourse. The sexual vacuum resulted from erectile dysfunction prompts the sufferer to opt for anti-impotency pills, most especially the viagra medication that was approved by FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) as a clinically effective drug to cure erectile dysfunction in men. Viagra is meant to be administered by patients only after availing of viagra prescription from the doctor. The prescription for Viagra provided by the doctor spells out that the patient suffering from erectile dysfunction seriously need Viagra to treat his disorder and further authorizes the patient to avail of Viagra from the pharmacist.

10/05/2007

 
Blogger Diana said...

A person who is left-handed uses his or her left hand more than the right hand. The activity most commonly used to define handedness is handwriting. sportsbook, Not all left-handed people favor their left hand for all activities, and many exhibit some degree of ambidexterity. http://www.enterbet.com

2/03/2008

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home