As a sociology student, I get to ask a lot of questions about society, people, and about prejudice. I also get to spend a lot of time trying to answer those questions. When the question was put to me, “But what if homosexuality really is unnatural?” I thought to myself, Okay, let’s treat that as a fair question and come up with a fair answer. That answer turned out to be “Antinous Is Risen.”
Discussion on the question of “unnaturalness” has become intensely one-sided. It is central to the argument made by those opposed to the acceptance and equal rights of gays. Those supporting gays, on the other hand, have moved away from answering it under the mistaken belief that it is too offensive a question to merit a response. As a result, the pro-rights side of the debate hinges on what might be called a “Born This Way” assumption. This assumption says that gays must, of course, just naturally be gay, which is why they deserve to be the way they are. It is a position that completely misses the point, leaving the real fight for equal rights and social acceptance unattended. I wrote “Antinous” in hopes of sparking a new direction for the discussion of gay rights, one that depends on the notion that sex can be good, gays are people, and that equality is not something to be given or restricted on the basis of genetics. Our sexualities may or may not be innate, but we are all born with rights as human beings—a fact that both sides of the current debate seem to have forgotten.
I want to stress from the get-go that many of the opposing points visited in the story were brought to my attention in actual discussions on this topic. While all of Antious’s characters are entirely fictional—any resemblance to persons living or dead being purely coincidence; the questions and counter-arguments were, by and large, paraphrased versions of questions and counter-arguments I received from people who held the view that homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, or the like.