Gays and Lesbians and Golf:

I was glad to read Orin's post below, and had a few thoughts about it.

A. I don't think that the golf analogy quite captures things. To make it closer, you'd have to posit the following:

  1. Some fraction of people doesn't just "get a great deal of pleasure from golf," but feels that playing golf is very important to their happiness and personal fulfillment (in the way that people feel that love, romance, or even an erotic relationship to the right person is very important to their happiness and personal fulfillment), and that not playing golf would cause them deep misery.

  2. Those people encounter lots of social pressure not to play golf, though many of them overcome that pressure, start playing golf, and feel their lives are far better as a result.

  3. Those people suspect that there are others like them who are still being victimized by this social pressure, and who are likely to be miserable (if they're mostly homosexual in orientation) -- or at least not as likely to find the right person for them (if they're roughly evenly bisexual in orientation -- as a result.

The closest sports analogy, I suspect, is to women who found sports to be a very important part of their lives, who found sports despite having been pushed away from it because they were girls, and who suspect that other girls who could be very happy playing sports are likewise being pushed away from it. Even this doesn't capture the importance of love and sex to people's lives, and the degree to which society discourages homosexuality; and the one other difference is that many people think all girls should be interested in sports, at least in some measure, while I suspect that most gays and lesbians recognize that only a small fraction of the population is likely to be at all interested in same-sex relationships. Still, it seems like a closer analogy. And in this situation, many feminist groups do try to influence society so that girls who might be interested in sports are encouraged to experiment with it.

2. But more broadly, I do agree with one aspect of Orin's post: The phenomenon that I was describing was not supposed to be shocking or unusual. It's just human nature, which is why I think it's such a plausible hypothesis. What strikes me as being implausible is the claim -- against which I was arguing -- that it's somehow a "myth" that gay and lesbians (not every such person, but many) are interested in converting some people to gay or lesbian behavior. As I pointed out, it's highly unlikely that they're trying to convert heterosexuals generally. But, as I argued, it does seem likely that they're trying to convert the orientationally bisexual but behaviorally heterosexual into at least exploring their homosexual sides: "[T]he [gay rights] movement . . . necessarily, and I suspect intentionally, also helps people who are attracted to both sexes be more willing to explore the homosexual facets of that attraction."

That is exactly the claim I was making in my original post. It is not a claim of unusual human behavior; rather, it is a claim of quite normal human behavior. And whether or not it's "a somewhat odd question to consider" if one is coming to it from a blank slate, I'm considering this question simply because it's a question that others have raised.