The Myth of Sodom: A Need For A Cause

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It’s a girl! And the wall paintings are pink. It’s a boy! And the bed sheets are blue.
Little girls play with Barbie dolls. Little boys play with G.I. Joes.
Big girls wear make-up and nail polish. Big boys drive racing cars.
And of course, the ultimate educational system:
Don’t curse, you’re a woman… Don’t cry, you’re a man…

Perhaps the reason behind heteronormativity resides in that intensive and insisting sexualization every child goes through. You are expected to be attracted to the other sex, and every social aspect pushes you in that direction. If it weren’t for the so-called conventional social norms, the percentage of heterosexuals would drop tremendously.

It seems ridiculous to define heterosexuality by clear-cut causes and wary calculations. The same applies to homosexuality. Yet, people try to define it, enclose it, find explanations and propose solutions, as a wide-eyed scientist would do with a disease. Labeling homosexuality secures the bubble where everything should make sense. A cause to every effect is indeed the unsurpassed way to ensure a sort of control over one’s world, a control that is, alas, transient and frail.

Some would achieve a certain peace of mind and security in stuffing homosexuality with reasons, without worrying how to label heterosexuality. So be it. However, with every basis found to homosexuality, a potential myth threats to be born. Most prevalent of all is the common claim that homosexuals have been sexually abused in their childhood. Of a heterosexual nature, the abuse would lead to a refusal of the opposite sex and an accepted falling back on same sex individuals, considering the circumstances, while a same sex-oriented abuse would result in identifying to the aggressor, the outcome being a gay lifestyle.


In fact, the percentage of homosexuals in a population varies between 2 and 10%. A statistic conducted in the USA in 1994 showed that child sexual abuse rises up to 16% for boys, and 27% for girls. Knowing that the rates of abuse – especially the one of sexual nature – hit much more alarming numbers in Lebanon, the percentage of homosexuality still remains in the same range.

Furthermore, abuse cannot be a direct cause of homosexuality because the comparison between the number of homosexual individuals and the number of abused kids shows zero correlation. On the contrary, it confirms that “the vast majority of persons sexually abused as children are heterosexual” (Keith, 1991). Besides, there are more gay men than lesbian women, and yet, female gender is more exposed to sexual maltreatment.

In contrast, not all homosexuals have a history of sexual abuse. Among the LGBTQ population, the percentage of abused individuals is only slightly higher than the percentage accounting for the population as a whole, due to an increased vulnerability among children who identify as homosexuals. “The truth is that sexual abuse and sexuality are a million miles apart; they truly have nothing in common. Something as wonderful and beautiful as our sexuality could never have arisen out of something as ugly and painful as sexual abuse.” (Kali Munto, 2002)

Opposite sex relationships may be the natural way for reproduction, but that does not make them the only way to dream, daze, and feel. We don’t need a cause to be.

Contributed by Gya

Gya is a queer feminist who lives in a pink bedroom in the “2aryeh”. She doesn’t notice the curious setting as she remains in her bubble of unknown poets and mysterious femme fatales. If she’s not busy laying a poem in a cafe on Hamra street while sipping her French Press, she is most probably daydreaming about someone somewhere. Tough life that is. She looks innocent almost all the time, yet being obnoxious is one of her main daggers (or so she was told). Gya likes to live life to the fullest. She can't be put in a box, even if it's pink. She loves strong feelings and colors, and expresses herself with both her body and mind.

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