To Be “Bien, Normal” in a Homophobic French World
It is surprising to me that France is the least tolerant country in Western Europe toward homosexuals, according to a World Values Survey. Twenty-eight percent said they’d prefer not having gay neighbors.
But guess what? It’s not all that bad when compared to the U.S. with 25.1%! How did we all get so homophobic? With all the sex on open display, one would think that the French were much more open-minded, but that is wrong.
According to the survey, moral attitudes in countries with more economic freedom have more tolerance for others. Compare this with the Swedes who reported only 3.6%. Even the Brits were more open minded with 16.8%.
I read all this in an article in the Telegraph sent to me by a gay friend (of course) since there has been so much news of late about the passing of the right to same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, an award-winning historian, Dominique Venner, actually committed suicide yesterday at about 4 p.m. inside of Notre Dame Cathedral. Some people think his action was caused by the legalization of “gay marriage.” Well known to be on the far right, he recently wrote, “New spectacular and symbolic actions are needed to wake up the sleepwalkers and shake the anesthetized consciousness,” and went on further to say “We are entering a time when acts must follow words.”
Then he proceeded to shoot himself through the mouth in front of 1,500 people causing chaos in the centuries-old symbol of Catholicism. The 78 year-old man was also a former member of the OAS which opposed Algerian independence and which tried to assassinate Charles de Gaulle. Far-right National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, actually paid ‘tribute’ to Venner saying his suicide was a political gesture aimed at “waking up the people of France.”
Lord, this is what I fear the most — that the nation’s unhappiness with M. Hollande’s leftist policies will drive the pendulum to swing full force in the other direction — toward the hands of Mme. Le Pen and all of her anti-everything followers. That’s all we immigrants need is to become pariahs on the the French landscape along with the gays and lord knows who else!
The World Values Survey further noted that “It is not unreasonable to think that the link between monetary instability and intolerance is particularly relevant for the case of homosexuals, as they may be perceived as more well-off materially than others, which can cause jealousy. This perception may stem from homosexual celebrities or from a more conspicuous consumption pattern among homosexuals in general.”
I’m not so sure about that, myself. No doubt, gay couples tend to have a more disposable income than the average heterosexual couple who has children to support and are likely either single income or have less because the woman’s income is less than a man’s (sad, but true). For that reason, gay men are well known to invest in property and then make improvements. In the real estate industry, there’s an old saying about buying where the gay community buys because that’s where the values will increase! For this reason alone I’m thrilled to have gay neighbors!
And can jealousy REALLY be the reason a man would commit suicide to make such a statement? Or is he just plain nuts? Maybe he simply needed to put himself out of his own intolerant misery. Let’s hope so. And let’s hope that his statement, if that’s what it was, backfires to show how insane it is to want to limit a person’s rights to live the way they want to live.
Homophobia is defined as “an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.” Personally, I think homophobia is a fear that comes from a person who sees homosexuality in himself and is therefore too scared to face it. I don’t think it has anything to do with jealousy!
O-Château’s Olivier Magny has it all figured out. In his book, “Stuff Parisians Like,” he writes:
“There are three types of males in Paris: the gay-looking homosexuals, the gay-looking heterosexuals, and men over fifty.
“It is not easy being over fifty in Paris. Most men over fifty happen not to look gay, which screams that they are obviously one generation behind. They have no choice but to accept that situation for it is difficult to start looking gay after a few decades of looking straight.
“Parisian males under fifty do not have such problems. They can happily look gay and have no one cast suspect that they are on the wrong side of the age hill. In Paris, gay men find themselves looking or acting gay and it is only fair. What is more surprising to the visitor is that the same pattern applies to the non-gay Parisian malewho also finds himself looking and acting gay in most situations of life.
“To cover their glorious bodies, Parisian males opt for clothes that rank somewhere between neutral and gay-looking. The beauty of a neutral piece of clothing on a puny body is that it immediately becomes gay-looking. Check. It is crucial to realize that, whether they choose to wear neutral or gay-looking clothes, heterosexual Parisian males do not have the intention to look gay. They look ‘bien, normal.'”
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(with new glasses – photo by Al Stewart)
P.S. On Thursday, May 23rd, enjoy an evening of poetry in Paris, as three wonderful American poets read their work. Dorianne Laux is the author of The Book of Men, Facts about the Moon, Awake, Smoke among other books. Joseph Millar is the author of Blue Rust, Fortune, Overtime, and Bestiary, among others. Cecilia Woloch is the author of Carpathia, Late, Sacrifice, Narcissus, and Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem and is the Director of The Poet in Paris Program. The event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at La Pierre Du Marais, 96 rue des Archives, 75003. Métro Arts et Métiers or Temple. Entrance is free, but audience members are expected to purchase at least one drink. I’ll be there and hope you will too! For more information on upcoming poetry readings visit parislitup.com.
P.P.S. Photographer Erica Simone returned from her Nepal adventure Monday night to a clean apartment and a warm, comfy bed after what she describes as ‘indescribable’ and just posted two more entries on her blog. Visit Project: Eyes on Nepal to read all about it and see a few of her (thousands) photos.