For much of history sexuality has not been divided up into fixed categories. In Ancient Greece being gay was seen as a practice not as part of a person’s identity. The invention of the term homosexuality was recorded by Karoly Maria Kertbeny to right an injustice against a gay man.
In the Ottoman Empire there were three genders and two sexualities. The genders were Men, Women, and Boys and the sexualities the penetrator, and the penetrated. Sexuality was more fluid, not defined. Sex was seen as what people practiced not identified.
Towards the late-19th century, relationships between men and boys had fallen into disrepute. In a much-quoted document submitted to Abdülhamid II, sultan from 1876 to 1909, the historian and statesman Ahmed Cevdet Pasha wrote:
Woman-lovers have increased in number, while boy-beloveds have decreased. It is as if the People of Lot have been swallowed by the earth. The love and affinity that were, in Istanbul, notoriously and customarily directed towards young men have now been redirected towards girls, in accordance with the state of nature.
The decline of a more fluid view of sexuality was hurried in by the advent of Western-influenced heteronormativity in Ottoman society, and of the repression it inevitably entails. Ending up with homophobia being a powerful force in Turkey today. Define Sexuality
What is salutary is how we view the sexual norms of society today as being fixed and held forever. Our norms are just like any other. Fixed in a time and place. To begin and end. Seen over hundreds of years the fluidity is more apparent.
As part of global living perhaps we feel more threatened living with the others. So we have to have identities to make sure we can be amongst our own. And not some others. Also the rise of marketing demands categories so people can be specifically targeted and sold to.
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique