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Gay without the trimmings

25 January, 2008

road_signs_1.jpg

I came across an article tonight, whilst meandering through random websites and blogs in a bored moment, that commented on an old report in New Scientist about a bunch of scientist types that have supposedly proven that gay men and women’s spatial awareness isn’t as finely tuned as that of heterosexual men. In common tabloid terms, this means that gay men and women aren’t as good as straight men at reading maps.

The article really wasn’t the interesting bit, it was the comments after it which really made me laugh, there were literally pages and pages of people’s comments all basically saying similar things, that sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t the same thing, that there are always exceptions to the rule and some gay men don’t exhibit standard stereotyped tendencies for getting lost and only being able to navigate by remembering the locations of cottages (tearooms for you Americans) and shoe shops (thanks Mark!). Quite a few gay guys were quick off the mark to tell the world just how unlike “normal” gay men they were, one guy commented,

“I am a gay man who hates musicals, am indifferent to Babs Streisand, am rubbish at going shopping and I don’t obsess over shoes.” he never mentioned whether he frequently got lost going around the supermarket. Another guy wrote,

“An old female flatmate after being deeply frustrated that I couldn’t advise her on what combination of clothes looked like on her told me that my inability to do this as a gay man was like a red Indian that can’t make fire.” THAT really made me laugh.

It just goes to show that scientific studies involving gender, sexual orientation and/or gender identity are dubious to say the least. We know people are different, do we really need to analyse why? Scientists are obsessed with trying to categorise people, but all they end up doing is opening themselves up for ridicule, make their financial backers wonder what they’re doing with the money they’ve been given and give tabloid newspapers easy and exploitative headlines.

The article’s author finished with this point,

“Perhaps though the disoriented gay men in the study weren’t gay men at all, but pissed-up fruit flies escaped from another scientific study published this week, which claimed to show that alcohol produces “homosexual tendencies” in male fruit flies. The researchers claimed the amorousness the flies showed one another after repeated exposure to alcohol is a model for how alcohol lessens inhibitions in humans.

I suspect this is one claim that isn’t terribly controversial.”

No it isn’t, it’s a given. In fact there are hundreds of gay websites out there that exploit this very fact!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marissa permalink
    19 February, 2008 1:13 AM

    I can read maps quite well…maybe it’s because I’m bisexual not lesbian? This study is ridiculous! Thanks for making me laugh.

  2. 27 January, 2008 12:01 AM

    I am a woman and my spatial awareness is rubbish. I hope that this exhaustive sample will lend weight to any future research.

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