Amateur City

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Amateur City, a 1984 book, is based on lesbian literature. It introduces the character Kate Delafield, the detective-in-charge of the New York Police Department. She is bisexual, but she keeps that to herself. She is hardworking, tough, and demonstrates competent characteristics (Forrest). She and her husband, Ed Taylor, are called to look at a suicide case in which Fergus Parker, a high-ranking businessman, is killed and there is only one witness: Ellen O'Neil. Kate would interview her because she is the only witness to the crime. Ellen O'Neil is also a lesbian, but she is unafraid of the public's reaction to the issue, which weakens Kate's defenses. Kate is highly ethical and is cautious about revealing her sexual deviation to others, but she is attracted to her interviewee Ellen.
The society does not view sexuality as a very crucial topic like other issues such as poverty, famine, diseases, and war. We have a contemporary conflict between sexual conduct and religion, and, is, therefore, a topic that should be given priority and treated with some level of respect.
In the novel, we see a city where people engage in human behavior that is practically intolerable. We can relate the characters in this book with the modern world. They demonstrate power, social and sexual dynamics that causes the homicide of the executive (Forrest). There is a hierarchy in the society in Amateur City. People got divided regarding gender, race, and ethnicity. Also, homosexuality was treated as a vice. A reader can experience the idea of realism in the novel. It is through unveiling sex gender behavior among men and women and how it is diversified. Corruption is also a critical aspect of the book. The events surrounding Parker's death show evidence of acts of fraud.
The family is the primary organization in any community and was essential towards building a civil society. Kate Delafield was brought up in a family that upheld moral values and traditional politics, and that is how she ended up being conservative. Families can change opinions, views, and perceptions of their family members. Hence, were used to encourage morality and they urged their members to embrace sexual conformity. A family member who had different sexual orientation than the expected average heterosexual behavior could have to hide or change in fear of being chased away or stigmatized. Her restrictive upbringing shielded her from opening up to her family members about her sexual variation. Her father worked in the military and could react harshly in case he found out since homosexuality was not considered normal in the society. Families tried to punish and reform such members or even exile them. Most of them fled in fear of rejection and mistreatment or were thrown out by their families (Rubin 160).
Police officers were supposed to be law enforcement officers and instead, they abused their authority according to the book, Amateur City. They took advantage of prostitutes. Over the years, prostitution had undergone significant changes, and it started being viewed as a permanent job for these prostitutes instead of being something temporary because they were facing persecution from the police and discrimination from the general public (Rubin 156). Prostitution is viewed as sex work and varies from sex deviation which involves other sexual minorities like the gays and lesbians.
An individual can be attracted to someone of the same gender, but due to some underlying factors, he has to pretend to be interested in or attracted to a person of the opposite sex. People holding positions in the public office are highly vulnerable since they work to protect their careers. They view it best to avoid sex scandals and conform to strict sexual conduct to remain in their positions (Rubin 160). Rational human beings are born believing that dating, getting married, and starting a family between heterosexual couples is the only right way to go about relationships and that all values rest on this concept. Romancing and developing desires between people of the opposite sex is considered the heart and soul of humanity (Warner 47).
Kate Delafield was attracted to her female interviewee, Ellen O'Neil but she was trying to hide this fact because she was the detective in charge at her police department. Kate struggled with the fact that she had to deny her sexuality and keep it to herself. Being a public office, you cannot walk around freely yet people know your sexual variation especially in her line of work. Other police officers who were also not 'straight' got harassed by the public as well as their colleagues. While on duty and needed backup, their requests were responded too slowly or assumed (Forrest).
Stigma is considered a law of existence and not just a source of tension. We have two groups of people affected by stigma, the dominant culture or the 'stigmaphobe' who are the normal world population. The 'stigmaphile' population in this context is the gay population. The dominant culture conforms to the right ways and conducts due to the fear of stigma and does not value the same things viewed as important by the 'stigmaphile.' They view them as unethical and wrong. We also have those who are in between these two groups like the media, public institutions, and magazines who give their opinions towards both directions. The best way to go about these stigmatized politics is to resolve the varying perspectives of these groups. The dominant culture is the majority and should be able to compel the gay community, to embrace heterosexuality (Warner 43).
Kate was afraid of being rejected by her peers. If she were to come out in the open about her sexuality, her friends could probably isolate her, and this would affect her emotionally and psychologically. Kate Delafield was also afraid of being stigmatized by her family members considering the fact she was raised in a conservative family. Individuals like Ellen, who was not scared of people knowing they are lesbians are not easy to find. Kate hides her mysterious secret until she meets O'Neil.
When Kate joined the police force, she aimed to be a part of a group that has the same point of views as hers. She considered the organization her family. It shielded her from connecting with any other agencies. Also, she rejected an opportunity to expose evils in the department in matters treatment of gay officers, yet she was in a position to do so. All this can be attributed to fear of stigma.
Because of the heteronormative imperative, families have to deny gay individuals they are related to help enforce sexual conformity. Gays get stigmatized in various institutions in the society due to their sexual compliance. A landlord might refuse to house a tenant because of his sexual orientation. Accessibility to social amenities, public offices, banks and other institutions is also tricky.
A more democratic conception of sexuality allows individuals to choose whether to be gay or straight. Depending on the society in question, homosexuality can be punished or rewarded, permanent or temporary. In some cultures like New Guinea, homosexuality was considered masculine, and all men had an obligation to get involved in such activities. When the gay community expanded, there was a significant reduction in job discrimination against them. Though cheap and low-status, they were provided with alternative employment opportunities like being bartenders and disc jockeying. However, the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS is associated with homosexuality and other unethical sexual behaviors like sodomy.
According to Rubin, sexual acts should be judged by the treatment between the involved parties and not by whether the actions are carried out in groups or by a couple, or if the people involved were gay or straight (Rubin 153). Amateur City magnifies the reality of humanity by conveying a powerful message through its characters. Throughout the centuries, sexual behavior and values have changed.

_x005F Works Cited
Forrest, Katherine V. Amateur City. Bella Books, 2011.
Rubin, Gayle S. Sexual Politics, the New Right and the Sexual Fringe. Alyson, 1981.
Warner, Michael. The Trouble With Normal. Harvard University Press, 2003.

August 18, 2021

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