homo-ness

“When a man and a woman pick each other up, there is nothing they have to recognize except the signs of a mutual desire; their heterosexuality is, in a predominantly heterosexual society, assumed; it doesn’t make them part of a particular community. When a man recognizes another man’s desire, he is also learning something about the other’s identity, not exactly what kind of person he is, but what kind of group he belongs to. In short, he both knows him and doesn’t know him – … (Bersani, pp. 147)”

i did leave out one idea of leo bersani in my homos-post. this because it is a strikingly simple and elegant thought that i want to point out and explain separatly. by following the thought of how homosexuals could actually constitute a community, a community which is not only based of having to group together because of external pressure or stronger: attacks, he does come up with a beautiful definition of the role of difference in the homosexual minority.

in a heterosexual society all heterosexuals are as heterosexuals the same. heterosexuality is a “naturally given”. identity must then come into being through difference. since heterosexuality does not work as a means of differentiation and as a marker of identity, other attributes have to constitute the self.

in a heterosexual society all homosexuals are as homosexuals the same. part of a minority that gets defined as…homosexuals. that is the base of our (ascribed) identity. and not “naturally given”. so any additional differentiation is like an extra, a bonus. so in the homosexual community, differences can be seen as an additional layer, and not as essential divides that separate our identities radically from each other. then still underlying in our identity is a same-ness (being homosexual). that is what leo bersani calls homo-ness.

additionally this is also grounded in our desire for the same: men searching men, women searching women. so contrary to the heterosexual desire, which looks for the “other”, which is based on difference, homosexual desire desires actually the same – difference here only comes into play as an additional flavour.

“…here (in a homosexual community) individual selves are points along a transversal network of being in which otherness is tolerated as the nonthreatening margin of, or supplement to, a seductive sameness. (Bersani, pp. 150)”

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