by José Luis Sánchez
The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same Sex Love is one of the two best books I’ve ever read!!! Author Gilles Herrada commands an encyclopedic breadth of academic knowledge spanning the natural and social sciences, social history, and Western thought, that significantly expanded my understanding and worldview. But far more valuable than the wealth of multidisciplinary factual knowledge itself, is Gilles Herrada’s integrated analysis and vision.
Dr. Herrada develops the already documented prevalence of diverse types of homosexual behaviors in several animal species. He likewise traces same-sex behaviors with distinct social functions in initiatory and religious rites in primitive/early human cultures. Furthermore, he links the loss of a distinct social function for homosexual behavior to its increasing exclusion from acceptable social behaviors for ordinary citizens, starting in late antiquity.
Herrada distinguishes between the wide range of “optional” (occasional, situational) same-sex behaviors common among bisexually-gifted heterosexual individuals, and the “essential” homosexuality of those who define themselves by their exclusive sexual desire for same-sex partners. In his evolutionary analysis of enlarging circles of empathetic social inclusion in Western societies, he traces the historic journey of same-sex lovers from objects to subjects: from outlaws punished by church and civil authorities, through patients analyzed by medical science, to 21st century out-of-the-closet citizens and public officials enjoying or struggling for equal rights.
Herrada does not supply readers with the missing myth itself, nor does he supply an instruction manual for its creation. Rather, in his final chapter (“Becoming”) he invites readers to regard “life as creation,” to participate in addressing social needs as well as in envisioning the myths that will connect same-sex loving communities with a self-developed, validating cast of culturally-sacred characters and symbols. It is this connection to a culturally-sacred dimension, he argues, that will contribute to the permanent social acceptance of same-sex loving people.
The Missing Myth requires dedicated reading, but motivated readers willing to travel the book’s methodic journey will find it immensely rewarding, enlightening, and inspiring. Highly recommended!!! –