Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives

Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives

Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives

Same Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay and Lesbian Lives

Synopsis

Taking examples from ancient cultures Gilbert Herdt shows that what is deemed deviant sexual behaviour in many modern societies was, and is still in some cultures, a natural expression of human nature.

Excerpt

TO DESIRE THE SAME GENDER and to create relationships based on love and sex with another man or woman are to stake a claim on history and culture. This is true not only because those who have openly dared to love the same gender have been punished and forced to flee from their own lands. It is also true because controversies surrounding homosexuality remain a vital part of the debate about what is "normal and natural" in the range of sexual variation and the tolerance accorded sexual minorities in all human societies. Fortunately, we live in a time in which the story of gays and lesbians across cultures and in the United States is being uncovered and in this way liberated from political censorship and repression. The history of persons who have desired the same gender is also being rewritten in order to understand and reclaim the "lost" and "invisible" lives of gays and lesbians hidden from society and hidden from history. This is the spirit in which I have written this book: to open the world of sexual lifeways across cultures to readers who would like to understand the place of their own sexuality and their own sexual culture in that world.

Let me begin the introduction to this book with my own journey to New Guinea. It was early September 1974 when I set off by foot from the Marawaka Patrol Station in the Eastern Highlands Province of the New Guinea Highlands, where I first met the Sambia people. In those days there were no roads or airstrips. I trekked two and a half days across three mountain chains to their isolated valleys and villages. As I traveled from place to place in search of a field site, I was struck by the lonely beauty of the jungles and the steady and confident way in which these peoples had preserved a valued way of life in the face of constant warfare and the difficulties of the climate and land. On entering the village, I was taken directly to the men's . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.