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Sexual Moralism And Christianity : The Outing Essay

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Sexual Moralism and Christianity in “The Outing” America’s long and convoluted history of sexual politics, with increasing controversy over and notable legislation surrounding promiscuity, homosexuality, and other forms of sexual deviance, has influenced a variety of queer theorists to deconstruct the assumed moral values behind these stances. One such author, Michael Warner, addresses this cultural pattern of sexual subversion in his book, The Trouble with Normal. Warner’s analysis is centered around a concept of moralism, referring to a categorization of situations where “some sexual tastes or practices (or rather an idealized version of them) are mandated for everyone” (4). The dynamics of this principle can be seen in James Baldwin’s short story, “The Outing,” as moralism illuminates Baldwin’s characterization of “normal” behavior and illustrates the self-defeating choices individuals must make in the face of antagonizing societal schemas. The reason moralism is such a significant presence in human culture resides in its unbreakable ties to sex. Sex, as it intrinsically relates to human biology and mentality, is seen by Warner as a space occupying the “most personal dimensions of pleasure, identity, and practice” (1). This establishment of sex as an innate function of one’s own sense of self establishes it as a normal aspect of life, lacking an inherent moral stance; rather, it simply exists, in a variety of forms and perceptions. However, because of this
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