Sexual orientation and nature/culture

Interesting post here:

The below poster of a baby, with the word “homosexual” written on its armband, is part of a proposed campaign by the left-wing administration of Tuscany (a regional government within Italy) to combat homophobia. It represents an attempt to teach people that, because homosexuality is not a choice, gays and lesbians should not have to face discrimination. This kind of “no-choice” approach is nothing new. Gay conservatives wholeheartedly adopted it (throughout the 1990s) and it effectively became the centerpiece of mainstream GLBT organizing in the United States. The “genetics-inspired” notion that one is homosexual or heterosexual at birth does not play a significant role in the theorizing of major conservatives, such as Bruce Bawer and Andrew Sullivan. However, they both expend considerable amounts of ink claiming that homosexuality is “essentially unchosen,” “innate and intrinsic,” and fixed by “at least the age of three”. Their purpose is the same as that embodied in the Tuscany administration’s poster above.


6 Responses

  1. Most bizarre. From some footage on these available through YouTube (, it seems that people finds the initiative rather cool and the “it’s stronger than culture” argument rather positive (in this video you can even see there a conservative priest that is actually the one defending the “all is not in the genes” argument, strangely).

  2. Interesting that the armband is English–shouldn’t it read “omosessuale”?

  3. I thought about that the other night when I was watching the The O’Reilly factor online ( The discussion was about two teenage lesbians voted “cutest couple” and represented in the school’s yearbook. O’Reilly made the argument that homosexuality is a question of conduct, not a question of who you are: “There is a difference between who you are and what you do.”

    I think, this is quite a common right-wing argument. Heterosexuality, on the other hand, is always represented as natural. This could be a starting-point for a critical argument, rather then using “nature” as discursive figure to legitimize and simultaniously depoliticize sexuality and the priviledges that go hand in hand with certain sexual orientations and gender identities.

  4. Eksistenz not essence? 🙂

  5. […] Via FoucaultBlog […]

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