Exhibitionists, A Persecuted Minority

A recent media report about a mob (mostly women)  viciously attacking a male exhibitionist on a bus in Turkey made me realize that exhibitionists (also called flashers) are still a persecuted minority, not only in backward Muslim countries but in the Western world as well.

The homosexuals and lesbians have been liberated from oppression in civilized countries after they gained political identity as “Gays” and successfully fought for equal rights. Flashers, by contrast, have no political identity yet. No Flasher Pride parades, no clout and no social glamor. Glamor is closely associated with the world of fashion, long dominated by gays. Understandably, the flashers’ low regard for clothes as little more than gift wrapping to be hastily removed lamentably excluded them from this world.

The entry for homosexuality has been deleted from the bible of American psychiatry, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), once homosexuality was accepted as normal (in fact in some ways superior to being “cis-gendered”), and various deviations that were previously termed “gender disorders” are now grouped under the rubric of “gender dysphoria.” Pedophilia has made some strides towards acceptance also, with calls to lower the age of consent. The artistic and intellectual elite rallying in defense of Roman Polanski and Woody Allen has helped remove some of the stigma attached to having sex with minors (handy at home or other minors). In a recent interview Allen explains how much he has enriched the life of his adoptive daughter, to whom he has given “enormous opportunities” in life.

The latest edition of DSM (DSM-5) is thinner than ever in the sections dealing with sexuality: homosexuals, lesbians, trans-genders, transvestites are now recognized as simply part of the fluid and diverse continuum of the protean human sexuality. Sex/gender is no longer considered a born but rather an “assigned” identity that the individual may reconsider and revise later in life.
(Nevertheless, the manual’s overall heft has not diminished. Many newly identified mental disorders/deviations, have been added, mostly related to phobias, and many in children, e.g., ADD, all of which are treated with multiple available drugs.)
New entries are expected dealing with mental aberrations related to gross pathologic ideation, e.g., anti-semitism.

Sadly, exhibitionism has been forgotten, still classified by DSM as a “disorder” and still prey to oppressive laws that punish the act as offensive, creating a “public disturbance.” Were not the Gay Pride parades similarly slandered at one time?
A diverse group, the exhibitionists may be heterosexuals, homosexuals and pedophiles.

Women exhibitionists tend to get more attention, like the Pussy Rioters, who are well organized and have attracted funding support from enlightened philanthropists like George Soros, or the Ukrainian activist group Femen, who bare their breasts to protest, naturally, against prostitution and the Christian church.

By contrast, men act mostly as individuals (public park flashers or stadium streakers), with no clear message of or evidence of possessing consciousness of their group identity and thus, to no effect. When they do act collectively they do not do much better, producing jejune gregarious “happenings” like “moonings.”

Women’s superiority in this, still inchoate, identity group is obvious. Their organized events have a clear impact, like the Slut Walk of female exhibitionists organized by transnational exhibitionists and packaged as a protest against rape.

This sketch is by no means an attempt to present either a deep or a comprehensive portrait of this evolving sexual identity group but rather a call to become aware of an ignored and oppressed minority. The seriousness of this appeal is underlined by the refusal to provide photographs to avoid any titillating distraction from the information presented.

The importance of supporting exhibitionists in their struggle for equal rights and for being designated a protected minority is obvious not only on its own merits, but especially for its place in the larger picture of human rights. The more identity groups, the less danger of citizens with distinct interests, lifestyles and aspirations falsely perceiving themselves as one large entity, e.g., “nation.” Such a collective misrepresentation has historically given rise to nationalism, scapegoating, xenophobia and bigotry.

Beware: Scratch a nationalist, find a racist and a bigot. Scratch a bigot find an anti-semite.


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