Azerbaijan is a medium-sized dusty, semi-arid country in the Caucuses, nestled between Iran and Russia. It is approximately 95% Muslim despite its recent Soviet past. Azeri Muslims are not as fundamentalist as Saudi ones, but they’re not exactly proud degenerates, either. Soviet-era anti-sodomy laws were repealed in 2000, but only because the Council of Europe required it in order for Azerbaijan to join the Cool Western Countries Club. I am certain Azeris had other methods in mind of preventing sodomy that did not depend on a clause in the official criminal code. In Azerbaijan, homosexuality is effectively illegal.
In Azerbaijan, men can commonly be seen bringing each other flowers and kissing each other on the cheeks when they greet each other. Western women who travel to Azerbaijan are shocked at the local men’s lack of enthusiasm and initiative at opening doors for and extending chairs to them.
Serbia is about the same size as Azerbaijan, but a few hundred miles West, sitting between Catholic Croatia and Orthodox Bulgaria, which itself borders Muslim Turkey, which is about four times larger than the previous three countries combined. Serbia’s population is Orthodox Christian, though probably about as devout as Azeri Muslims are. Serbia also has a recent socialist past.
Sodomy was decriminalized in Serbia in the 1990s. Serbia’s constitution explicitly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Amnesty International finds Serbia’s “lack of will to tackle homophobia and transphobia” deeply problematic. A Gay Pride parade attempted in the capital around 2010 turned into a riot, although a successful one was held with heavy police protection and relatively little violence in 2014. In Serbia, homosexuality is deeply frowned upon, often to the point of frowns turning to fists, but not effectively illegal.
In Serbia, men shake or lock hands and hug heartily when they greet each other. Often they shout loudly, too. Western women who travel to Serbia find themselves wildly out-competed in the sexual market by the local women. Western men who travel to Serbia find this situation much to their liking.
The United States is a very large and ethnically diverse country ruled by an Anglo-Jewish elite. It is several thousand miles west of Serbia. The population could be briefly summarized as a Catholic and Protestant mix. The numbers of Orthodox and Muslim adherents – even poor ones – are negligible. The Supreme Court and President of the United States are very fond of homosexuals, as are the media and other information organs of the country.
In America, homosexuality is high-status, although this hasn’t been codified in law quite yet. Heterosexuality is generally viewed as neutral, and sometimes downright boring, if not slightly negative. In America, men don’t do much of anything when they greet each other, perhaps nod or shake hands. Oftentimes, they don’t acknowledge each other at all. Men who are relatively lower-class, black, Mexican, of recent immigrant extraction or otherwise out-of-step with the dominant American zeitgeist (admittedly, a significant portion of the population) will certainly be warmer when they greet, but the trendlines are clear.
I’m not sure what men do to greet each other in the Islamic State, where homosexuals are publicly thrown off of buildings, but I’m sure it’s hard to ignore (it may even involve AK-47s), and probably lends itself to mockery and accusations of latent homosexuality by liberal Westerners with the right opinions.
Which brings us to one more reason, alongside disease, sterility and effeminacy, that traditional social norms the world over are necessarily and correctly opposed to open homosexuality: the more homosexuals there are in a society, and the more open they are about their homosexuality, the less warm male heterosexuals can be towards each other, and the weaker the social bonds between male heterosexuals will be, and the weaker the social fabric of the society itself will be, as society is necessarily founded upon the Mannerbund between a society’s male heterosexuals who honor, uphold and propagate the society’s values.
Open homosexuals represent a signalling hazard for male heterosexuals. A male heterosexual who needs to signal appreciation, affection or love of a male heterosexual friend also needs to be sure that his signal will not be interpreted as a sexual advance – either by the intended recipient of the signal or by others. Homosexuals may be interested in signalling homosexuality, but male heterosexuals certainly are not.
The more open homosexuals there are in a society, the less certain a male heterosexual can be that a gesture of masculine camaraderie won’t be interpreted as a sexual advance.
You might laugh at this line of reasoning, but in Azerbaijan they bring each other flowers and kiss each others’ cheeks without a second thought, and I can guarantee how that would be interpreted in the West.
It is not interpreted that way in Azerbaijan, because there are officially no homosexuals. Male heterosexuals are free to do and say what they like without the risk of mis-signalling.
A signal may be interpreted as something as simple as words – in which case, what’s the big deal? Just find new words to express yourself – but the most effective social signals are never mere words, and a tightly-knit and highly-functioning society needs signals that are stronger than words. Words can be used by anybody. People lie with words. Words are a very weak signal, though they are often used anyway because they are still better than no signals at all.
Much stronger than words are actions and sacrifices. Demonstrating appreciation and affection is a much more powerful signal than simply stating it. Unfortunately, the scope of socially acceptable actions is limited unless there is a greater coordinated effort to change them or impose them from the top down, and if open homosexuals begin colonizing the existing socially acceptable actions, people will adjust their signals accordingly so as not to accidentally send the wrong impression. Often the adjustment means fewer signals at all.
Efforts to colonize new signalling spaces to make up for the ones colonized by open homosexuals are difficult because signals need widespread acceptance and understanding to function. That is not to say that they are totally unsuccessful – see the ubiquity of the phrase “no homo” in the West. What is often interpreted as a joke is actually something of an ingenious way to clarify signals that, due to the prevalence of homosexuals, could be interpreted differently. That may change if open homosexuals begin saying it too, perhaps even just ironically. Some new signal would have to be devised.
Or, the traditional solution to this signalling problem could just be applied. Ban deviancy in public.