While watching Brokeback Mountain, the 2005 movie by Ang Lee about two cowboys who fall in love with each other (played by Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger), I hoped that much of the homophobia circulating in our country today would finally be laid to rest. Ang Lee deftly handles the question of choice in the issue of homosexuality. Clearly, as portrayed in the movie, this was not a choice, and homosexuality usually isn’t for those who are gay or lesbian.
Try to imagine choosing a lifestyle that is almost universally frowned upon, where your family disapproves of, or is embarrassed by, you and could possibly disown you, and where the dating pool is fraught with people who have either had to adopt an inauthentic facade to satisfy the demands of society all their lives, or have dealt with repeated rejection just for being who they are. As a result, many have turned to drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors in an effort to feel at ease in the world. Who would choose that way of life? This is not to say that all gay people have suffered so terribly as to cause mental and emotional instability, but many have, thanks to what, in my opinion, is an unreasonable fear that gets overlooked by self-righteous heterosexuals just because they happen to be the majority.
Brokeback Mountain took a sensitive subject and asked us to put ourselves in the place of the characters: Would I deny the attraction I felt for another person and live a life of deception, settling for the kind of life society expects me to live, or would I be true to myself, regardless of where it took me, even if, and especially if, it seemed to fly in the face of convention? Are we on this Earth to live up to other people’s expectations for us?
Another question that arose for me during Brokeback Mountain was, what do people find so threatening about homosexuality? Are gays and lesbians so powerful that their lifestyle will sway an entire society to pursue members of the same sex, thereby wiping out the human race? Is this really a credible threat? A YouTube video by BigStr8Al, called “What’s the REAL point
of homophobia?” points out a benefit of homosexuality. In “About This Video” he writes, “The way I see it – the more men that hook up with each other, the more available women there will be, and the less competition for me.”
Well, if Ang Lee and his movie Brokeback Mountain couldn’t quell the looming specter of homophobia, perhaps BigStr8Al can.