Gay Culture through the Eyes of Cultural Relativism
For thousands of years, culture has shaped and defined billions of groups of people in societies all throughout the world as behavioral patterns, knowledge, values, norms, ideas, and material goods are transmitted from one generation to the next. As generations come and go, time proves to have an increasingly profound influence on culture, paving its way as a subject of study. With this has come the development of many ideologies associated with the subject, but perhaps one of the most noted is cultural relativism, which preaches tolerance of other cultures. In the United States alone, millions of subcultures exist, but while some flourish, others are not as fortunate. The gay community, a classic example, has fought for cultural recognition for decades. Today more than ever, the issues that plague the gay community highlight morality; cultural relativism explains and gives meaning to these issues most sensibly.
The basic thesis of cultural relativism is that there are no universal and absolute moral principles that apply to all cultures and to all periods of time
within a culture. The motivation behind cultural relativism is quite simple—cultural diversity; each culture is grounded in its own set of moral beliefs and practices. But nevertheless, even cultural diversity is not strong enough to untie the majority of American society’s blindfold. For years, the gay liberation movement has been a civil rights movement calling for the basic human rights denied to the gay community in a country that is built on the very same basic rights. Today, the fight is stronger than ever, as the gay community asserts that they are stigmatized and oppressed by those who label them as deviants. The community’s “violation” of norms has the church calling its practices immoral.
But, according to a cultural relativist, the morality of a culture is grounded in what the culture believes;...