Date: Wed, 03 Jul 1996 05:37:32 -0400 (EDT)
State regulation of sexuality has a long history that is far from over. Dr.
Davis points out that sodomy is illegal in Texas. I would like to add that
it is illegal in twenty-one US states and territories, including "liberal"
Massachusetts. In my home state of Virginia, fellatio, cunnilingis, and anal
intercourse even in private are felonies punishable by fines and up to one
year's imprisonment. Not only is this law enforced through police raids and
park sweeps, but it is routinely invoked to justify denial of other basic
goods to homosexuals--such as jobs, housing, and child custody.
The state has great power when it comes to punishing sexuality, but as we all
know, it often fails to punish sexually motivated violence. A huge percentage
of the violence in our country is sexually motivated--whether it be in the case
of the woman raped in the street at gunpoint, the lesbian whose throat is
slashed in a national park, or the gay man who steps out of a bar and is
punched in the face until his glasses lenses are ground into eyes permanently
blinding him. These acts have in common the fact that the violent attacker was
motivated by a desire to assert, protect, or reinforce his (or her) sexuality.
But in spite of my anger that these things happen and in spite of any distaste
I might have for the particular sexuality being asserted, protected, or
reinforced through these acts, I don't want that sexuality punished. I don't
want anyone to be punished because they acted to assert, protect, or reinforce
their sexuality; I want people to be punished because they injured other
people and created terror in a community. That's what gay bashers do; that's
what serial killers of women and gay people do; and that's what rapists do.
I'm tired of hearing straight feminists speak as if rape committed against
people like themselves were somehow special, in a class all by itself. Why
can't we see all these things as sexually motivated hate crimes and punish
them because of the harm they do to individuals and communities?
--L. McWhorter, U. of Richmond
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