Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Discussion of 'Alternative Lifestyle'

An LJ acquaintance has been exchanging posts with a number of us about what he is calling 'Alternative Lifestyle'. In his particular case, he is referring to homosexuality. Those of us responding to his initial post are almost universally stating that homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle. Do you agree?

Is the practice of yoga an alternative lifestyle?

The dictionary defines 'alternative lifestyle' as: a way of life considered unconventional or nontraditional according to a social or cultural "norm". I don't consider hard-wired human sexuality as an alternative because I don't consider our choice of sexual partners to be an open buffet of options. As much as I might want to be attracted to women sexually, it's not going to happen. There's no 'zing'. I can admire a beautiful body, but I am only admiring and don't want to take it to the next level.

Is an Indian Fakir an 'alternative lifestyle'? 

Acts of sexuality can be alternative. Entering into a Dom/Submissive partnership could be considered an 'alternative' choice.  Choosing to have a relationship that embraces varying degrees of BDSM, bestiality, or polygamy can be considered an 'alternative' choice. Your sexual life, as an adult walking this earth, can be as plain or elaborate as you and your partner(s) choose. But your choice of partner - no. That's not.

Is polygamy considered an 'alternative lifestyle', a mandate of God, or
just against the law?

Yet, as I look through images of 'alternative lifestyle' it seems predominantly focused on gay and lesbian couples. Why is that? Why do we consider same-sex relationships to be deviant? Why are we threatened by the sight of a same-sex couple walking ahead of us on the road? And even more than that, why are same-sex couples or LGBT people so often singled out for violence by others?

Are Dom/Sub relationships an 'alternative lifestyle'? 

Beatings, whippings, even rapes and murders of LGBT people have been ignored or condoned for centuries. In our enlightened society, law enforcement has often turned its back when the crime is committed against an LGBT person. In other areas of the world, homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by multiple years of imprisonment or even death. Why? Again I ask - what is so threatening?

Why are gay couples singled out as living an 'alternative lifestyle'? 

I lived through the 60's and early 70's. I clearly remember the prejudices and occasional violence against the hippies that was openly displayed. My parents remembered the horrors of Nazi Germany and signs telling them that 'No Jews Welcome Here'. Push a bit farther back and you'll see the same signs for the Irish, and Native Americans, and of course, Blacks. So where do we draw the line for the extension of human rights? I firmly believe that all human beings are entitled to full human rights, regardless of their sexual choices.

Who makes the determination of what is and isn't acceptable behavior? 

I wasn't planning to write a full essay on a weekend, but there you go - darned muses. Have a great weekend.

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