Monday, August 24, 2009

On Understanding and Being Understood

This is cool: After a long back-and-forth in the comments of one of his blog entries, Andrew Marin and I have come to an understanding of each other on the whole "gay identity is sexual behavior" issue I had with his book. Turns out that I misunderstood Andrew's convictions and what he was trying to teach. Turns out Andrew understands why I misunderstood that based on what he wrote in his book.

Me to Andrew:
As I now understand your perspective, you do NOT believe that all in the LGBT community define their identity as sexual behavior. You believe that some do–in fact, many of the LGBT people you have spoken with over the years have verbatim told you gay identity is sexual behavior. However, my understanding is that you recognize there is diversity within the LGBT community in how we define our identity–that many LGBT folks in fact do NOT define their identities as sexual behavior. And, in fact, you yourself do not believe gay identitiy is defined as sexual behavior.
Andrew to me (and others):
this discussion has made me clearly start to understand the power of “most” “many” “some” “not all” etc as qualifying statements to bring perceived generalizations down. I also re-read chapter 2 and I can totally see where you’re coming from.
rest assured that the definitive language I have previously used will never come out of my mouth, or out of my writing again. Qualifiers are key! This discussion has brought forth a valuable lesson to me, and hopefully my readers as well.
Man, what an awesome feeling to understand and be understood. I think we just built a bridge :-)


seithman said...

I'm glad to see you two came to an understanding. I do have to admit that the following statement by Andrew makes me chuckle:

"Rest assured that the definitive language I have previously used will never come out of my mouth, or out of my writing again."

While I have no doubt he will make a sincere attempt to live up to that promise, I suspect he's only human and will likely slip up at some point. That's an awful big promise to make.

Though I appreciate all efforts he makes towards living up to it. Regardless of his ultimate success or the occasional slip-up.

Pomoprophet said...

I guess that is the best that could have come from this situation. Still, though you and he reached an understanding, those who read his book will not know the conversation you had or this blog post. They will only know his original words.

There is grace for him, for sure, but it is still sad.

Joe Moderate said...

Seithman--yeah, true that. I sure appreciate hearing him say he's gonna give it the old college try.

Pomo--yeah, I've been thinking the same thing. Seeing as the words of the book haven't changed, I think I'll maintain that I don't recommend the book. Here's hoping for a second edition, though...

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