In today’s society homosexuality is frequently discussed and the morality of being gay or not is questioned. Based on what culture, ethics, knowledge a person has acquired in their lifetime and how their parent, teacher, preacher, or other type of mentor views the issue, people will form their own beliefs about homosexuality. Each culture has their own values regarding the appropriateness of certain types f sexuality.
In Michael Levin’s “Why Homosexuality is Abnormal,” he justifies that “homosexuality is abnormal and hence undesirable- not because it is immoral or sinful, or because it weakens society or hampers evolutionary development, but for a purely mechanical reason” (290). Michael justified that homosexuality is abnormal and then goes to state that the unhappiness of homosexuals is highly due to the misuse of bodily parts; therefore, they are bound to be unhappy. Levin’s thesis claims that the abnormality of the homosexuality does not make them to live a desirable way of life which, I completely disagree with.
In disagreement with Levin, the use of bodily parts in a homosexual relationship is not a misuse, but an alteration of functions and the terminology of abnormal does not lead to unhappiness. Levin claims to state that the misuse of bodily parts in a homosexual relationship will lead to an undesirable and unhappy life. I will begin my argument with why the use of bodily parts in homosexual relationship is not misuse, but an altered function, can lead to a desirable and happy life. For instance, if one day LeBron James gets into a serve accident and becomes a paraplegic.
His basketball career is terminated because he is paralyzed from the waist down, which means he is not capable of using his legs ever again. His ability to walk, run, jog, jump, swim, and etc. are now vanished; therefore, causing him to never play in the National Basketball Association. As time went by, he realized the inability to use his lower body parts in a common function was not going to stop him from playing basketball. LeBron decided he was going to play wheelchair basketball and continue his drive to play basketball because that is what makes him content.
Through his altered body usage, LeBron learned how to maneuver and causing him to win multiple rewards in basketball. After winning multiple rewards, it made LeBron recognize that if one has the desire to be happy and shoot for their goals, than anything is possible. In the end, LeBron was just as successful using his altered body parts and the ability to function just fine like a normal human being. In respect to LeBron’s scenario, a homosexual’s body parts should not be judged just because the bodily parts are altered and used not in the way that Levin expects.
Levin argues that the misuse of body parts causes unfullfillment, which than lead to unhappiness. He uses the terminology of “evolution” as a measurement to justify the idea that heterosexuals are normal human beings and homosexuals as abnormal because they are incapable of reproducing offspring. Levin argues “human beings have penises and vaginas because our ancestors who put their penises into vaginas (or put their vaginas around penises) tended to reproduce, passing along to have penises and vaginas and to use them in this way” (302).
This is what genitalia are for is what Levin said and any other uses such as homosexuals are abnormal. So, basically what Levin is trying to say is that homosexuals can never be happy because they misuse their bodily parts, which causes them to never fulfill their desires and than leads to unhappiness. In a sense, “we are “programmed” through evolution to enjoy using our organs in evolutionarily adaptive (i. e. normal) ways” (302). My theory is that homosexuals can be happy.
How is Levin to judge and say that it does not fulfill their desires and makes them unhappy? Why would people do things to make themselves emotionally hurt or unhappy? If homosexuals partake in homosexual activities, it is because that is what makes them emotionally happy from the inside, not because to partake in activities just for the hell of it. If that is what fulfills their personal desires than there should be nothing abnormal or wrong about it. Just because Levin does not have those personal desires does not mean he can criticize on others about it.
Levin talks a lot about evolution and how our “heterosexual ancestors” who had penises and vaginas passing it down for the next ancestors; well, if one think’s about it homosexuals have also evolved over time too. Just because back then in society people did not talk about it and in present-day they do, does not mean homosexuals have not been around. The fact is that it has been around just not ever mentioned. For example, talking about sex was never mentioned in the old times, but present-day people talk about it in public.
Overtime, society has gained more knowledge, hence making people acknowledge more about homosexuality. Since, homosexuality has been here throughout history and continues to evolve then, Levin’s statement about evolution implies the same for homosexuals making them normal human beings. Levin’s second argument is about using the terminology “abnormal” when misusing sexual organs. He never gives a clear definition on what is abnormal, but only for the fact what I have mentioned above. For Levin, an activity is abnormal in the relevant sense whenever it involves using an organ for purposes for which it was not intended (302).
Implying that being abnormal is when one does not use the penis to penetrate through the vagina to fertilize eggs and reproduce offsprings. If this is how society should be and if is this how these organs should be used, then why is it that heterosexuals partake in activities such as oral sex and anal sex? “Levin argues that penises are for inserting into vaginas, not for inserting into mouths or other orifices; vaginas are for receiving penises, not for rubbing up against other vaginas” (302). This statement is being hypocritical because these are the same actions heterosexuals partake in also, making them “abnormal” as well.
He misuses the word “abnormal. ” The clear definition of abnormal means is extraordinary, uncommon, rare, or different. If Levin is calling homosexuals uncommon and rare, then what makes philosophy professors common? Being a philosophy professor is uncommon in a sense that only a small minority of people do it, but it is not “abnormal” in Levin’s sense. And since majority of the heterosexual population do partake in different activities using their genitalia for other purposes, this would make them common versus uncommon. Levin last argument is about the policy issues.
He is trying to say society should protect their children because if the legislation provided rights to the homosexuals, then children will have the odds to become a homosexual. In his argument Levin even states, “If homosexuality is unnatural, legislation which raises the odds that a given child will become homosexual raised the odds that he will be unhappy” (295). Legalizing homosexuality means coming to the conclusion that it is acceptable to get married to the same gender and the government would have no objections against this action.
If this occurred many religious practices would raise questions and make comparison to the Bible. If Levin were saying that homosexuals would cause harm to children if allowed by the government, then what would one say when children watch pornography or movies that show kissing the same gender or opposite gender? Present-day children are already watching TV shows that harm their knowledge. What difference would it make if a child found a gay couple holding hands or kissing? Also, how much knowledge can a little child retain, they can only have minimal understanding of what is going on.
In society there are other issues such as violence, murders, terrorist attacks that are more harmful to children than homosexuals being together. Levin does not stop to evaluate that continuing to degrade homosexuals and define them as abnormal based on their desires will continue to divide up the society causing tension to build up and unhappiness. After all America gives the freedom to believe in one’s own practices without any judgments. In disagreement to Levin’s argument that the abnormality of homosexuality misusing their bodily parts causing unhappiness should also take into account of policy issues in Levin’s statement.
Being unique and different than the majority of the norm does not mean they are harmful to the community. In America people have the right to worship in whatever they believe in; therefore, fulfilling one’s need by misusing bodily parts does not prove they are abnormal or can lead to unhappiness. In conclusion, determining the quality of one’s life is based on the fulfilling individual’s desires and a homosexual is clearly not destined to be unhappy with the abstract use of body parts. He or she can still live a happy life in altering their functions because that is what makes morally content and fulfill their personal desires.
Courtney from Study Moose