Skip to main content

Book Review: Reinventing the Male Homosexual

Book Review on American Communication Professor Robert Alan Brookey's book "Reinventing the Male Homosexual: The Rhetoric and Power of the Gay Gene". This post was written by RBP team member line of flight from Sampaloc Toc.


Robert Alan Brookey is an American Professor of Communications at Arizona State University. He wrote Reinventing the Male Homosexual: The Rhetoric and Power of the Gay Gene.

I was just beginning to blossom when LeVay came out with his theory of neuroendocrinological basis for heterosexual and homosexual difference and when Hamer came out with his theory of the gay gene. As an adolescent, the gay gene theory seemed to fit so perfectly into the idea that homosexuality is inborn and that I had no choice in the matter.

Yet, as I went through college and graduate school, it became clear that the gay gene theory would not work. The consequences of it are highly problematic. Is there a gene that predisposes someone to watching May Bukas Pa or Wowowee? Doubt it.

Reinventing the Male Homosexual does a geneology of the discourses that have brought us to the gay gene. It's a little dry (he is analyzing scientific rhethoric after all) but if you have not been comprehensively studied the history behind the creation and formation of "homosexuality" as a distinct identity or constellation of behaviors, it's a really good foundational text.

Many people who attempt to historicize homosexual identity do it with lots of convoluted, poststructuralist jargon. This guy does quote Michel Foucault and is enamored by him but doesn't let the love fest with Michel get in the way of being clear and to the point. (I liked Jennifer Terry's An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society, but honestly, at somewhere after the page 200, 250 or 300 mark I wanted to shoot myself... way too much detail for a non-scientist!)

One detail that he didn't get into which I thought was very significant to American gay politics and the thrust towards finding homosexuality to be a "immutable characteristic." He discusses at the end, Frontiero v. Richardson, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case, that struck down an Air Force regulation that discriminated on the basis of sex under the Equal Protection Clause. In that case, the Court held that discrimination based upon immutable characteristics such as race, sex and national origin required significant justification by the government in order to discriminate. He argues that the "gay gene" movement has in some ways tailored its message to that.

However, United States v. Carolene Products, in 1938 the U.S. Supreme Court gave birth to modern Equal Protection analysis. Justice Stone indicated that Equal Protection was not a substitute for the normal political processes of government. It was there to protect "discrete and insular minorities" who lack the regular protections of the political process. Legislation aimed at these minorities required heightened scrunity. However, after the 1950s and 1960s, as the belief that race is biological became more rooted in the minds of Americas, other insular minorities had to find a biological origin which produced Frontiero's "immutable characteristics" analysis.

Brookey does not go into this aspect of American jurisprudence, but I think, in part, the move by some scientists to prove the existence of a biological cause of homosexuality is really attempting to solve a legal question by analogizing to race -- as though race is biological! The more thorough look at U.S. jurisprudence may have provided alternative openings for gay and transgender rights that looks at "discrete and insular minorities" without getting into the false debate regarding "choice."

The version I read was a 183 page hardcover published by the Indiana University Press (March 1, 2002) ISBN: 978-0253340573. The book is written in English. The lowest price was at the Indiana University Press website itself or abebooks.com.

Comments

Ming Meows said…
dumugo ang ilong ko

Popular posts from this blog

Mga parausang lumang sinehan

NAG DESISYON na ang Korte Suprema na labag sa Konstitusyon ang ordinansa na nagbabawal ng short time sa mga motel sa siyudad ng Maynila.

Wala na ring balak pa umanong maghain ng apela si mayor Alfredo Lim sa naturang desisyon.

Nagbabala naman si Lim na handa niyang ipasara ang anumang motel sa lungsod ng Maynila sakaling may makita sila na pinapayagan na magpapasok ng mga estudyante para magshort time.
Pero, teka, ito talaga ang pakay ko, ang mga lumang sinehan sa Metro Manila.

Taong 2005, balak ko na itong iparating sa dati kong boss na Kongresista, ang patuloy na pamamayagpag ng mga lumang sinehan sa Maynila. Subalit, may tila tinik sa aking lalamunan na nakabara. Tila, wala akong boses sa tuwing ako ay maghahanda sa aking mga sasabihin. Tila, nakagapos ang aking mga kamay para isulat ang mga hakbang na dapat kong irekomenda para masulosyunan na ito.

Alam ko, ikaw ay pamilyar ukol sa mga lumang sinehan sa buong Kamaynilaan.

Sa unang pasok ko sa ganitong sinehan, ako ay tuwang tuwa. Napan…

PILIPINAS, TUNAY NGA BANG MALAYA NA?

NGAYON ANG IKA 111st NA ANIBERSARYO NG ARAW NG KALAYAAN NG PILIPINAS. Ngunit, sa paglipas ng isang daan at labing isang taon, tunay nga ba tayong malaya na?

May mga pagkakataong gusto kong isipin na hindi na tayo nakagapos sa mga bansang banyaga dahil nagkaroon na tayo ng kalayaan sa pamamalakad ng gobyerno. Ngunit, ano ang kalagayan ng mga Pilipino ngayon? Mayroon na nga ba siyang dangal na matatawag? Taas noo na nga ba ang bawat Pilipino kahit kanino?

Sa mga nakalipas na araw, samu’t saring problema ang dinaranas ng ating bansa. Mga problemang lalong nagpapalugmok ng bawat mamamayan. Mga problemang animo’y walang katapusan. Paano babangon ang isang Juan dela Cruz kung mismong mga namumuno sa ating bayan ang nagbabangayan? Paano tayo makakalaya kong mismong mga halal ng bayan ang siyang nanguna upang itali ang bawat mahihirap na pinoy sa kanilang pamamahala?Paano na ang walang tigil na pagbulusok ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin? Ang walang humpay na pagtaas ng gasolina. Paano pa m…

Join the Task Force Pride (TFP) Now!

Join now and be a part of TASK FORCE PRIDE (the official organizer of the annual Pride March in Manila and other related LGBT events)!

http://creator.zoho.com/tfpmanila/tfp/form-perma/Membership_Registration/



Membership Program Information

Task Force Pride is an ever-evolving member and community-based organization of volunteers. The membership is a body that meets monthly with the Coordinators to make decisions to further the mission of the organization. By becoming a member you will have a direct voice in shaping events that educates and gives back to the LGBT Community (i.e. the annual Pride March in Manila and other related LGBT events)

At our monthly meetings, the general membership can provide direct input to Coordinators and the Production Team/s as well as stay informed year round through monthly e-Newsletters and periodic e-mail updates.

Other benefits of membership include participation in the nomination and selection of key posts, choosing the yearly theme of the Celebration as w…