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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Human rights, not gay rights”

    Jared Pflumcolumnist
    Jared Pflum

    My boyfriend doesn’t understand how I can admit to lusting after Kate Winslet and not consider myself straight or bisexual.

    He’s not alone. Society expects us to brand ourselves like cattle, then huddle into little “”communities.”” And as the proposed campus Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender center suggests, nowadays we can’t just be “”sexual.”” We all have to be some form of sexual.

    Ultimately, though, these classifications are erroneous, useless and harmful.

    Many people think that specific sexual orientations have always existed. Usually this notion is based on the assumption that distinct sexual orientations are determined genetically and, thus have always been a trait of human beings.

    However, this premise appears to be false. Scientists have yet to conclusively determine whether – if at all – genetics or biology establishes a person’s sexual preferences.

    Many researchers also confirm that sexual preferences aren’t necessarily rigidly defined but, rather, exist in a spectrum. In other words, most people aren’t exclusively attracted to one sex all ofthe time. There may be instances when someone who is typically attracted to women is attracted to a man, and vice versa.

    In addition, historical studies prove that people haven’t always felt the need to claim specific sexual orientations. Ancient Greek men, for instance, considered it natural to have sex with both males and females, but they never regarded themselves as homosexual or bisexual. They were content to consider themselves human.

    According to Jonathan Ned Katz, a historian of sexuality in America, the term “”homosexual”” as it is used today did not even exist until the 1860s, nor did the term “”heterosexual”” gain its current meaning until after the early 1920s.

    Clearly, then, our current divisions of sexual orientation can’t be justified by science or history, and therefore must rely on some contemporary social need to exist. But these categories are not just unneeded; we shouldn’t want them.

    Sure, some will argue that claiming a certain orientation is useful for social progress. For instance, individuals with similar sexual preferences can come together under the umbrella of the LGBT community to work on common goals. They can also jointly push for greater social acceptance of those whose sexual interests fall outside the heterosexual mainstream.

    This argument is flawed, though. First of all, most of the objectives of the LGBT community do not actually need to be approached, as they often are, from a minority perspective. Enlarging the focus of these goals might increase their effectiveness.

    For instance, a gay-rights march to support legalizing same-sex marriage is not needed when a human-rights march for the same issue would be far more appropriate and useful. After all, marriage should be considered a human right, not just a gay or straight one.

    Likewise, the UA doesn’t need an LGBT center. If the overall goal of such an establishment is to encourage people to accept one another despite their differences, then what we really need is a center to promote tolerance of all of humankind.

    By segregating themselves into small, restrictive groups, individuals who have less common sexual preferences almost certainly guarantee that they will never gain widespread acceptance. These self-imposed distinctions only draw unnecessary attention to relatively insignificant differences and increase the notion that somehow such individuals are “”abnormal.””

    Ultimately, these classifications just create needless animosity. Too often now “”gays”” are pitted against “”straights,”” “”lesbians”” against “”gays”” and everyone against the ugly stepsisters of the LGBT family – “”bisexuals.”” This dividing and bickering are clearly detrimental to society.

    We already have plenty of racial, religious and cultural divisions. Sexual divisions just complicate and intensify matters. In a world torn apart by discord, isolating ourselves into sexual-interest groups is adding superfluous fuel to the fire. We need to start looking for common ground, not diversity.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see if Ms. Winslet has returned any of my calls.

    Jared Pflum is a religious studies senior. He can be reached at

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