Herrada, Gilles. “The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love”, Select Books, 2013.
Is Homosexuality an Issue?
How do we really feel about homosexuality? This is the question that Gilles Herrada deals with in his new book, “The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love”. He surveys history and science to discover what is the real meaning of homosexuality, why it has been so persecuted and yet accepted in Western societies. He then presents us with his interpretation and lets us decide how to react. We are not asked to agree but simply to learn—he has done the work for us by reading and assimilating the literature from the classics to modern genetic studies using trans-disciplinary scholarship. I was stunned at how much I do not know. Herrada returns humanity to homosexuals whose existence has been discounted and give us new ways to look at the origins and importance of same-sex relations and where they fit in the evolution of man.
The way that homosexuality has been looked at over time is the basic theme of the book as the author tries to find a new and authentic way of looking at it. As the LGBT community struggles and has struggled for equality, Herrada looks at the community as a whole and tells us not only what the community is today but he tells us what it might look like in a more enlightened future. He is well aware of what people consider to be the controversies of homosexual behavior, divides them into nine categories and tears them down, one by one. Looking at the argument that so many see as the main reason that homosexuality is unnatural—the controversial claim that it is aberrant behavior from the reproductive standpoint, he asks why then is homosexuality so widespread (and not just among humans)? It obviously has it place in the evolutionary scale. If it is a problem morally as religious beliefs say, why is it that there were more exterminations of homosexuals during secular reigns such as Communism and Nazism then there were during the Inquisition that came directly out of the Church? Has homosexuality always been paradoxical? Here are two very clear and simple points that we do not hear much about.
Herrada confronts the role of homosexuality and its place in evolution and its meaning in the way civilization had developed. These are fascinating questions: “What evolutionary edge same-sex relationships have given our species? What biological mechanisms generate the sexual diversity that we observe? What lead to homosexual behavior being prohibited worldwide? Why has homophobia persisted throughout history? Why–after millennia of oppression–did the homosexual community resurface in post-World War II America?” As these questions are answered we get a new vision of homosexuality which is an integration of biology, sociology, psychology, spirituality, culture and ethics. We see the historical connection between homosexuality as a social status and same-sex love and see how it has been depicted in popular cultures. The time has come, states Herrada, to create a new definition, a new mythos, if you will, which contains elements from all fields of knowledge that places emphasis on truth, beauty, goodness and same-sex love.
Herrada gives us what he considers to be nine controversial claims about homosexuality and shows what is wrong with each of them.
1.) Biological and anthropological data do not support the existence of a “gay” gene but “are consistent with the existence of a complex biological mechanism (the “loose switch”) responsible for generating the spectrum of sexual preferences that we observe among people”.
2.) We are aware of the “evolutionary advantage” provided by homosexual behavior as a reinforcement of social bonds that strengthen the coherence of the group.
3.) There is inaccuracy in the claim that homosexuals can’t or don’t reproduce. Homosexuality historically was never considered to be incompatible with reproduction. It today’s society would let them invent a new kind of family not based on the heterosexual model, they would reproduce.
4.) The only true indicator of whether homosexual relationships are integrated or not this is culture is the way the homosexual acts, loves and desires as seen in cultural myths.
5.) Judeo-Christianity is singularized by the total lack of positive depiction of homosexual love and desire in its mythos.
6.) Homosexual love still lacks a connection with and to the sacred.
7.) Modern homosexuality is not the same as that of the ancient world. It has come into being because of the modern “Christian relational ideal”, something that the church and gay theorists do not acknowledge.
8.) The strong homophobia of Judeo-Christian culture was responsible for the creation of the evolutionary context that has hindered and has brought us modern homosexuality.
9.) Menopause and not homosexuality is the greatest evolutionary puzzle and most women past age 50 cannot reproduce.
Herrada uses a holistic, interdisciplinary approach that unites science, history and philosophy to gives new ideas about homosexuality and with the potential to give new strength to the field of LGBT studies and to bring about a new understanding of LGBT people. Herrada says that while modern homosexuality exists in both body and mind, it has no soul. It is from this point that he uses his approach to restore that soul. While it is necessary to agree with what he says totally, we cannot ignore his evidence as he discusses what it means today to be a homosexual in light of what he has found. Every sentence here is fascinating and food for thought.