When I came upon this topic I did not know what to expect and I guess I am sort of surprised by what I discovered. I thought that activist groups have just begun to emerge, but this entry proves otherwise. There are cultures that have existed for awhile, in Germany, the US, and elsewhere, which are entirely based on sexual and gender identity. This subject fascinates me because I sort of thought our cultures were already based upon on sexuality and gender so it sort of caught me off guard when it meant “the marginalized” sexualities, without even stating it. Most of these subcultures are fetish cultures or within the LGBT communities around the globe. Below is the information I found.
Sexuality and Gender Based Culture
“Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures are cultures and communities composed of persons who have shared experiences, background, or interests due to a common sexual or gender identity. Among the first to argue that members of sexual minorities can constitute cultural minorities as well as being just individuals were Adolf Brand, Magnus Hirschfeld and Leontine Sagan in Germany. These pioneers were followed later in the United States by the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis.
Not all persons of various sexual preferences and gender identify by or affiliate with a sexuality or gender subculture. Reasons can include geographic distance, unawareness of the subculture’s existence, fear of social stigma, or personal preference to remain unidentified with sexuality or gender based subcultures or communities. Some[who?] also suggest that the identities defined by the Western heterosexualised cultures, that are based around sexuality, have serious flaws, and since often no space for mainstream men to discuss these flaws of gender and sexuality exists, they just reject these identity in large numbers, often along with disowning their sexual needs that may subject them to be classified under what they may consider misclassified sexual identities.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuality_and_gender_identity-based_cultures)
“LGBT culture, or queer culture, is the common culture shared by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. It is sometimes referred to as “gay culture”, but that term can also be specific to gay men’s culture.
LGBT culture varies widely by geography and the identity of the participants. Elements often identified as being common to the culture of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people include:
- The work of famous gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. This may include:
- Present-day LGBT artists and political figures;
- Historical figures who have been identified as LGBT. It has often been questioned whether it is appropriate to identify historical figures using modern terms for sexual identity (see History of sexuality). However, many LGBT people feel a kinship towards these people and their work, especially to the extent that it deals with same-sex attraction or gender identity.
- An understanding of the history of LGBT political movements.
- An ironic appreciation of things linked by stereotype to LGBT people.
- Figures and identities that are present in the LGBT community; in Euro-American LGBT culture, this could include the gay village, drag kings and queens, Pride, and the rainbow flag.
In some cities, especially in North America, gay men and lesbians tend to live in certain neighbourhoods.
There is some debate among LGBT people about whether an LGBT culture really exists, and whether it is worthwhile.
The polyamorous community is another sexual minority with an associated culture.
The fetish subculture is a subculture that comprises people with a broad range of sexual fetishes and other paraphilias, who tend to be more tolerant of other fetishists than the general community, even if they do not share the other person’s specific fetish. Alternative terms for the fetish subculture include fetish scene and fetish community.
The most common paraphilias seen in the fetish subculture are BDSM, leather fetishism and rubber fetishism. The fetish community is also generally more accepting of homosexuality, bisexuality, nonmonogamys and cross-dressing than general society.
The fetish subculture supports a strong nightclub scene, in the form of fetish clubs.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuality_and_gender_identity-based_cultures)
This article that I found on Wikipedia, with its title, seems to lead the reader astray. I thought I was finding countries, societies, that were entirely based on gender, which it seems everything it is, because it is assumed with the “human condition”. I was hoping to find an exception to that condition that people have begun to accept as essential, distinct gender characteristics that make us “unique” and separate from the other. This article seemed to reinforce the fact that what people think of as “sexuality” is the marginalized, the irregular, the abnormal, or so it seems. Maybe what everyone thinks when someone says sex is supposed to be a man and a woman in the missionary position.
The subcultures of sexuality seem to fetishisize even the act of sex as if we never have as much sex as we talk about, but instead represent it, talk about it, but never do it as much as we fantasize about, which is why sex will always be fascinating. No one ever has enough.