In my previous article I addressed the issues faced by people concerning their sexual orientation, practices, and preferences. The arbitrary nature of societal norms regarding sexuality and love was pointed out, and the conclusion was reached that the current system which insists on heterosexual, monogamous, vanilla relationships and (for the larger part) misrepresents or even demonizes any other paradigm is positively absurd.
So how do we change this? How can we take a step towards an open society where sexual orientation or practices aren’t an issue? Well, first off, we need to define what is generally acceptable and what isn’t. Now, at the risk of coming off as a hypocrite, I’ll draw the hypothetical line at the point of consent; it is my opinion that if the person cannot give you clear consent, then sex should not be had with them. This admittedly prejudices people who practice zoophilia, pedophilia, and suchlike, but I’m afraid that remains a steadfast line in my opinion. The basis for this is a notion of mutual respect; that is to say that while one should be free to explore their sexuality, this should by no means impinge on anybody’s right to personal safety or their freedom to make their own choices.
The next point of order is how to make it possible for people to express themselves in a manner where no one’s rights are being stepped on. What comes to mind is a situation where people can:
a) Be able to openly express themselves without fear of repercussions
b) No one’s orientations or preferences are being forced onto anyone
c) People remain tasteful at all times
Point a) can be addressed by creating an environment of free expression where people who insist on imposing their views upon others would find themselves in the wrong. This is a point of education more than anything, and can be enforced if necessary should violence be resorted to. Points b) and c) are connected, it is a question of good taste. Your average person doesn’t necessarily want to see a couple getting busy in the street or on a bus, and even making out can be excessive at times. Some people would say that the rule should be “keep it quick, keep it dry.” If this standard were adhered to across the board, we find ourselves in a situation situation where the worst possible outcome is a bit of awkwardness that can easily be solved either by averting one’s look or by ways of an apology on the part of the people displaying affection, if they genuinely went overboard.
This also returns to the matter of mutual respect addressed above. As members of a law abiding society, we are all assumed to have a duty of care towards our neighbors; that is to say that we are duty bound by law to respect others personal integrity, their property, and (to some extent) their feelings. This translates to respecting people’s complaints when we make them uncomfortable, and refraining from knowingly doing things in public that are likely to make people uncomfortable. This is not to say that we should constantly walk on eggshells to please others, but rather respect their boundaries. There is also a case for keeping children from being exposed to graphic depictions of sexuality. The reason for this is that as society we would ideally like children to discover sexuality as an expression of affection and love between two individuals. As they grow up, they will naturally develop their own preferences and possibly kinks. This is a natural process of self discovery through which every person goes and there is no need for children to grow up with preconceived notions of what sexuality is expected to be like.
To many, the ideas expressed above may seem contradictory; surely, if one is free to express themselves, then a nymphomaniac should be free to throw themselves on any person they fancy, and likewise a homophobe should be free to express their contempt when they see something they disapprove of. The key realization here is that while these attitudes are not acceptable in public, these people are perfectly entitled to indulge in them in the privacy of their own homes where it has no bearing on other people’s freedoms. The important distinction to draw here is that, while people must have the freedom to be themselves, they should also be ready to be confronted by others if their public behavior is inappropriate or tasteless.
When faced with a hypothetical situation where individuals in a homosexual, transgendered, or polyamorous relationship dynamic are confronted and humiliated by someone who insists what they are doing is wrong, the people witnessing the scene should ask themselves the following: a) Are the individuals in the dynamic crossing any lines of mutual consent or respect, both with regards to each other and to the people around them? b) Is the person confronting them raising a genuine grievance of discomfort, or are they complaining because they disapprove of their orientation or practices? Follow these simple guidelines to ensure a healthy and tolerant society.