As someone who has had a long-term interest in the sociology of sexuality as well as a passion for youth development and sex education, the events around Kevin Spacey at the moment are a fascinating case study. While Ben Shapiro gives his typically right-wing, yet insightful, spin in his Daily Wire article (see link below), it’s Spacey’s own comments which are truly revelatory. As cited in the article, Spacey’s recent tweet states: “…I choose now to live as a gay man.” It is exactly this element of choice which folks so often deny to others, particularly those who are gay or “questioning”. Customarily in these discussions there is a pervasive fear to allow people to choose how they live and identify!

Sexual identity is couched in the following context: you have feelings and attractions, and you have a choice of how to live and present yourself. Someone’s feelings and attractions are always mediated by the choices they are empowered to face. Spacey here is making a choice of how he wishes to be perceived and how he wishes to live his life – this is an act of empowerment! Telling someone they cannot choose is an act of disempowerment. Of course, you can choose to act according to your feelings, or deny them; your choice may be an abrasive, self-denying path, or conversely it could lead to deep fulfillment (moreover, choices affect feelings, and vice versa!). But it’s that crucial element of choice which is the gateway to empowerment.

Appendix:

Author’s note:

I have explored this interface of choice, feelings and empowerment in various blogs previously. I hope to share more in time! In fact, God-wiling I will publish a book one day exploring these more deeply, particularly in relation to identity development.  But here’s a couple of links to my blogs around these ideas:

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