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Old 03-08-2013, 11:19 AM   #22
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: The Great Non-Issue

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That's interesting information about the therapeutic context, but (as per Jun's request) I was thinking of the context of aikido training. In that context, what is "homosexual behavior"?

As for your observation that those who are "uncomfortable with homosexual behavior [whatever that may be] are people too", and that they have "concerns" reaction is, "Yes, and...?" Again, back to the origin of the thread, and the context of aikido training: have you ever experienced or even heard of a situation in the dojo (or the locker room) where people seriously took issue with other people's private thoughts and feelings?

Ohhhh, so that's what you mean by "homosexual behavior". Well, that's interesting. So, can you tell me why the presence of a gay person in a dojo automatically raises the issue of this "homosexual behavior" - meaning, in your words, "sexually-charged interaction between persons of the same sex" - when, apparently, the same concerns do not exist for the many, many heterosexuals in the dojo? Why, in the one case, is there a presumption that a problem is likely and must be addressed, and in the other case, all parties are given the benefit of the doubt to behave reasonably and appropriately - up until and often beyond the point where appropriate behavior has long since vanished in the rear view mirror?
I will answer in reverse order, since that may help. The presence of a homosexual in the dojo raises the issue of homosexual behavior. Just as the presence of heterosexuals raises the issue of heterosexual behavior (defined in a similar fashion, but between opposite sexes). For me and my dojo, I express the same concern for both issues. I think you are creating a straw argument to show that sexual conduct in the dojo is OK for some and not OK for others. It isn't; and even if you pointed to 10 dojos who all have engaged in this misconduct, it would not change the stance our dojo takes, it would simply identify 10 dojos who are potentially breaking the law by not addressing sexual harassment in the dojo.

Secondly, are you implying that aikido dojos, in general, ignore or dismiss complaints of [hetero] unwanted sexual advances as a matter of operation? You use the word "apparently," but the implication is that many dojos do not address the issue of sexual harassment. And that now, the same dojos are/will take action against similar claims because of sexual orientation? I cannot say that I have seem or heard of either of these occurrences. Of course, that misconduct would create a liability for the dojo practicing such conduct. I will reiterate our dojo's stance as that we pursue a dojo absent of sexual behavior - in this stance we provide a legal and social umbrella under which [I believe] we can train with clear expectations devoid of discomfort. What people do on their own time is not my concern.

I have crafted my stance based upon years of working with abuse groups, rape prevention programs and self-defense programs. I have worked with aikido students who have felt threatened by other students who have their expressed personal interests. I have worked with students who are rape survivors and domestic abuse survivors. I think we need to be respectful and considerate of all of our training partners and their life experiences. I am saddened that the general statement here that women endure sexual harassment in what appears to be a large segment of the aikido population. I believe, while related to this subject, is probably better left addressed in another thread. I am further saddened by the "what goes around, comes around" sentiment that implies some form of indifference to the continued discomfort unwanted sexual advances will play in the dojo environment, let alone the discomfort expressed by significant others and families of victims.

Finally, these comments keep pulling into the discussion of gay rights, which I am attempting to avoid. I do not believe aikido dojos are/should be a political forum. Religion and politics... Religion and politics...

Last edited by jonreading : 03-08-2013 at 11:23 AM.

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