Monday, December 29, 2008
Defined by others
One of the things I've learned is that in order to have a dialogue, objectivity is a must. So, while I do not like scapegoating anyone, I think it goes without saying that most of the resistance the LGBT community faces comes from religious institutions. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It is ok for people to view the homosexual lifestyle negatively. However, the problem is that clergypersons are adding to the existing homophobia by using pulpits as platforms of hatred and confusion. To preach a sermon about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is fine with me because it is not applicable to me as a gay man. However, once you go beyond what is written, you betray trust and become less credible. Let me explain.
I recall watching one of my mother's Juanita Bynum tapes a few years back. She actually used the words "bulldaggers" and "dykes" in her sermon. She asserted that any church-going man who wore earrings was a homosexual. The interesting thing is that the people in the congregation hung onto evey word she said. A Youtube video I saw a while back featured a minister who said "sissies cannot speak in tongues." Again, the people in the congregation high-fived each other, ran to the alter, and yelled "Preach it, pastor!" I heard an audio tape of a DC minister describing sexual acts in the presence of his entire congregation (which included children). Despite their intentions, this sort of irresponsible behavior legitimizes the overall negative perception of the LGBT community.
What I despise more than anything is being demonized and classified as anything other than a competent, caring, compassionate, educated, flawed, man. Since the inception of the gay rights movement, people have used propaganda to prevent LGBT persons from experiencing complete, absolute freedom. Anita Bryant, the former Florida beauty queen, started an organization in the late 70s or early 80s -called Save our Children- and was instrumental in having legislation protecting LGBT people in Dade County, Florida repealed. Her position was that the homosexual agenda centered on LGBT persons being in intimate contact with impressionable children. Her famous quote, which has remained in existence, is "They can't reproduce, so they recruit." This type of behavior formed the template for what we are still seeing today (i.e. Proposition 8).
There's only one expectation I have of clergypersons: objectivity. If you are going to preach from the Word of God, preach EVERYTHING and spare no one's feelings. When it comes to sacred texts, I truly am an all-or-nothing man. Either everything is true or nothing is. That may make me extreme, but it's fair. Encourage your members to own other human beings, teach your women to remain silent in the church, and require those who have sinned to cut off the offending body part. These statements may sound delusional, but it is no different from what members of the LGBT community are being subjected to on a daily basis. We are told to feel bad about ourselves. We are made to swallow Leviticus whole. It's complete hypocrisy and an unfair double standard.
In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to refute as many myths as I can. I am NOT a pedophile, mentally ill (at least not because of my sexuality), satanic, demonic, immoral, or hellbound. What I am is a complex man who is interested in developing a romantic, emotional, physical relationship with another MAN. I do not want anyone's acceptance, validation, or approval. As a budding activist, I am not preoccupied with forcing churches or any other religious institution to perform same-sex marriages. I want the government to provide me and my kind with the same RIGHTS and OPPORTUNITIES that my heterosexual counterparts have. I want complete, absolute, unconditional democracy. Why is that such a liberal idea?