Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

When girls will be boys on campus

The NY Times magazine section has published an excellent article on transmen, biological females who are transitioning to live as men, who are students at traditional women’s colleges, such as Barnard and Smith.  This is a must read article for anyone even minimally interested in  how universities deal with students in the process of gender change  and how these students psychologically deal with these changes.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Barnard College, gender, higher education, sex, sexual identity, Smith College, transmen | Leave a comment

A prayer for Larry Craig from James Mcgreevey

A PRAYER FOR LARRY CRAIG by James McGreevey appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post.  Excellent narrative about growing up with homosexual attractions  and how such attractions were structured in the context of being in the closet.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Speaking out on engaging in homosexuality but not gay

  Dankprofessor comments follow this emailRestroom Sex

August 28th, 2007

I’m in the middle of cutting Ozark Mtn. Exit 8: Mens Room III as the latest political public restroom sex scandal hits. Of course, this case isn’t really about sex, it’s about hypocricy. Here are the thoughts of someone on a political site (hufffingtonpost.com) that hit the nail squarely on the head:
Craig is not “gay”. By every definition of society, Craig is straight. This is a straight man caught soliciting sex in a public place. PERIOD. Let’s not turn him into a member of a misunderstood, oppressed minority. Craig is obviously someone who is, IN SOME MEASURE, attracted to homosexual sex. That doesn’t make him gay, anymore than my occasional sexual attraction to a female makes me “straight.” I don’t live a straight life nor do I want to. Craig, like McGreevy and Haggard, is a straight man. These men are married with children living with a woman. That sounds pretty straight to me. What Craig is indulging in is not entirely uncommon behavior for straight men, who ever once in a while would like a little homo action.Gay is a personal identity and a set of social and personal choices. What’s confusing everyone is the conflation of the word “gay” with the behavior of “homosexuality.” The assumption being that simply because someone engages in homosexual behavior then therefore he MUST BE GAY! WRONG!  Most homosexual behavior, in human populations, the world over, and throughout history, has been and is engaged in by people who are otherwise partnered with someone of the opposite sex. The boundary between homo/hetero states of mind is fluid and amorphous.

Let’s beat the crap out of Craig for his hypocrisy but let’s not insult and besmirch the reputation and moral integrity of thousands of gay men by associating Craig’s behavior with being GAY. Craig is STRAIGHT.


This was emailed to me; authorship unknown; and has apparently been circulated via email since 8/28. The writer makes the point in strong terms that most people who engage in homosexual behavior do not consider themselves to be gay. This was the major point I made in my prior posting, a point that has been hard to fathom by the mainstream press and society.  Why?  It should not be surprising that people who engage in homosexuality and do not consider themselves gay will not have a proclivity to write about it or publicly indicate that such is their sexual orientation.  They are the closeted, and understandably the press has more available  to them self-identified gay men who are free to write and be quoted as gay men on whatever issue.  In terms of the student-professor issue, the problem of communication is similar; the campus puritans have driven the fraternizers underground, and it is few professors and even ex-professors and students and ex-students  who are willing to inform others publicly of their realities.  Their fears and their timidity incapacitate them. 

September 4, 2007 Posted by | homosexual, Larry Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics | Leave a comment

Larry Craig and Sexual Identity

Larry Craig’s affirmation  “I am not gay! I have never been gay!” to reporters at his press conference was taken by many with a grain of salt- couldn’t be true if he was hanging around restrooms engaging in hand signals with an undercover vice officer.  But such could be true since many men, possibly the majority of such men who hang around  restrooms for sex with other men do not consider themselves as gay.  If reporters had asked Craig if he engaged in homosexual acts in restrooms, they may have been asking Craig to respond to a more difficult question to answer truthfully. In my work as well as just about all sex researchers, it has been found over and over again that sexual identity and sexual behavior are not necessarily  consonant. Manipulating ones sexual identity to be consonant with ones publicly presented self is not at all exceptional.  The fact that ones sexual behavior is at times dissonant with ones sexual identity can be minimized.  The sociologist Edwin Lemert referred to this process as remaining in the primary stage of deviance, not seeing ones behavior as impacting on ones self as being a deviant or stigmatized person.  For Lemert what facilitates the transition to secondary deviance, the embracing of a stigmatizing identity, is the public labeling of the person; of course, Craig has gone thru such a public labeling, and it is rather safe for one to assume that he was thrown into a major identity crisis as well as a crisis of how he would now engage in a public presentation of self.

What I also found surprising in reference to Craig’s affirming that he was not gay was the implicit assumption by the public media that one was either gay or heterosexual, that bisexuality was not even considered as a possibility.  It is difficult for me to believe that the sophisticated media are so unsophisticated to assume that sexual behavior and sexual identity are always dichotomous.  After doing a blog search, I did find one blogger, Skeeter Sanders, who gave serious consideration to this possibility. Sanders is amazed, and I share that amazement, that  mainstream society appears incapable of acknowledging that bisexuals exist.  Maybe this reflects a chasm between mainstream society and youth culture; many youths embrace bisexuality as being hip and in.  In the mainstream it appears  it is simply out. 

I am also amazed that Sanders made some preposterous remarks in his blog arguing that Craig could not be gay since a man in his terms who was really gay would not marry a woman,and could not father children as Craig fathered three children.  Sanders ends up in never never land when he refuses to consider the possibility of gay men passing as straight, yes even passing as straight with their wives. Such often occurs via homosexual ideation during heterosexual intercourse.  Straight men often engage in this process in prison  by engaging in heterosexual ideation while having sex with other men.  And it is sexual ideation that may be the most significant clue as to ones sexual orientation.  The key question is what one thinks about and/or looks at during masturbation, not whether one is heterosexually married.  Of course, marriage to a woman by a man who was only attracted to men was often in the past the only viable alternative.  If one goes back 100 or so years, the primary sexual identities available at that time in the United States were normal or abnormal.  Heterosexual marriage was the primary way for all men to escape the abnormal label. So in a bizarre way the norm for the so-called abnormal was to engage in normal marriage with normal unsuspecting women.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, Senator Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics | 1 Comment


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