The invention of Heterosexual Culture
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L’invention de la culture hétérosexuelle by Louis-Georges Tin is a study of the social, artistic, religious, medical, and political origins of heterosexual culture. According to Tin, the first emergence of a truly heterosexual society was not until medieval times, and it grew out of the “homosocial” culture of knights, and despite resistance amongst members of the clergy, and in the medical community.
Turning to examples in medieval prose and lyrics, Tin unveils a portrait of gender behavior in the couple in the twelfth century. Representations of couples are predominantly about two knights and their manly friendship, a relationship based on love, trust, and devotion. Tin points to these “homosocial” values as the basis for the nascent heterosexual culture. Omnipresent in these relationships are ideals of love and chivalry most often expressed through song. The clergy was resistant to this development, as was the medical community, for whom love was considered a sickness, best avoided in relation to marriage.
Louis-Georges Tin : Louis-Georges Tin is the chairman of the IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) committee, which every year organizes an antihomophobia day. He is also director of Paris town hall’s gay and lesbian archive center and directs the “Sexes en tous genres” (“Various Genders”) collection at Autrement. He is also a spokesman for CRAN (Conseil représentatif des Associations noires/Representative Council of Black Organizations). Among other projects, Tin directed, in 2003, Le Dictionnaire de l’homophobie, published by Presses Universitaires de France, and translated in English by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2008, and entitled The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience.