Defrocking The Stereotypes

The Returns of Love: A Contemporary Christian View of Homosexuality, by Alex Davidson (Inter-Varsity, 1971, 93 pp., $1.50 pb), and Forbidden Love: A Homosexual Looks For Help and Understanding, by John Drakeford (Word, 1971, 149 pp., $4.95), are reviewed by E. Mansell Pattison, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, University of California, Irvine.

This is a day of militancy and confrontation. People and groups who have been oppressed and persecuted in our society are standing up to demand their human rights and proclaim their human dignity. The intensity of social ostracism and persecution is now reflected in the intensity of the counter-reaction; those most persecuted are now most militant. That the socio-cultural dynamic is comparable, whether that persecuted group be blacks, Chicanos, women, or homosexuals, is reflected in the loose coalition of the various militant lib movements.

One target of the militancy movements is stereotyping. The deviant is perceived not as a person, a flesh-and-blood being, but as a “stupid” black, a “silly” woman, a “dirty queer.” The stereotype begs the question. We think we already know all we need to know, and we respond to the deviant in terms of the stereotype. To use Buber’s terms, we see the deviant as an “It,” a thing, rather than a “Thou,” a person. The persecuted deviants demand to be seen, heard, and experienced as persons. And so each lib movement has produced its autobiographies, deviants sharing themselves, daring to be seen as they are. First it was the black autobiography, then the female autobiography, and now the homosexual autobiography. The tenor varies: some pleading, some poignant, some garrulous and defiant. But all these writers assert their ...

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