the nature of gender identity

The Royal Commission investigating the Australian Catholic Church’s response to its priests abusing children has deliberately restricted the parameters of its investigation. Some other organisations will come under its scrutiny; however pedophilia within the family unit will not be investigated. Were that to happen, some crucial myths about sexual identity would have been debunked.

When I was an altar boy at my local church, the curate or #2 priest was abusing my fellow school mates. Prior to fiddling with our underage willies, he had been rogering local housewives; one of them, finding out that O’Rourke’s attention had wandered to underage boys, remarked that her place on his sex roster would henceforth be less frequent.

Within the last decade I attended a concert in a CBD recital hall; nearby was a young family group: mum, dad and young teenage son and daughter; some re-arranging of their order was needed before everyone settled down to listen: dad and son sat together. They cuddled vigorously throughout the recital.

Real life versions of the Nabokov Lolita fiction outline a husband deeply in love with his wife, who, after giving birth to one or more children, loses interest in sexual play with her man. Years of indifference from his partner later, he finds feelings building for his child, the gender of whom is irrelevant. Boy or girl, the husband develops a sexual attraction.

Our society needs to come to terms with the amorphous basis of gender identity formation, its opportunistic nature. In several middle eastern societies, Egypt and Iran to mention but two, women are fiercely protected from sexual play with their peers; her physical intactness is crucial for a young woman’s desirability for marriage. As a consequence, young men engage in mutual sex play to relieve tension; I observed as much when I was in Cairo in the late 1970’s.  Guys openly groped each other in company; they weren’t however identifying as gay; I met gay men in Cairo who told me of the difficulties of being gay in contemporary Egypt. They universally used the phrase “shufti ami” [I’ve just seen my uncle]. It’s a version of the Cockney “How’s yr father?”. The tragedy, as described to me, of the Egyptian marriage system was that a prospective bridegroom spent years amassing the dowry, sometimes taking until he was in his 40’s before he could get married. The night before the event, the bride’s father often spent the entire amount in a party with his dubious mates, where all became blotto on opium, hashish and alcohol.

Often, by the time he was married, the only sex he’d had was with his mates, so that it was often difficult to bother having sex with his wife to have the children they both wanted. The UK boarding school system and quick sex in parks with guardsmen isn’t the only weirdness in the sex life of the human species.


About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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