Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SOME CONSEQUENCES OF INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA

I feel that this post of a few weeks ago is very important and deserving of being posted again:

All too often, many if not most LGBT people are either uncaring about gaining full and equal civil and sacramental rights or allegedly seek to gain those rights by tactics designed to stick a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies.

The horrific treatment of Gay people by many others, not the least of whom are "Christian" clergy, has created a mind-set among many Gay people that reflects the internalization of those hateful messages, resulting in terribly damaged psyches that don't have the time or even the inclination to fight for equality.

Most of LGBT people's psychic energy is geared toward seeking some level of peace in a world that treats them as second-class citizens; engaging in diversionary behaviors, such as preoccupation with socializing, that helps foster needed in-group feelings on the one hand, and also helps take their minds off of the fact that they are treated as second-class citizens in a country that prides itself on its Constitutional mandate for there to be equality under the law on the other hand.

There must be a transformation of consciousness, not only of most Straight people, but of LGBT people themselves, for there to be meaningful activism that assures the goal of LGBT equality for those of us who give a damn about equal rights for everybody.

My good friend, Don Charles, has the following to say on this matter of non-meaningful "activism":

In "March Down Babylon", a three-part call to action originally published at my old blog Christ, The Gay Martyr, I drew a distinction between productive and counter-productive Gay Rights demonstrations. The very first thing I cautioned against was protesters turning out in drag(recognizing, of course, that clothing which expresses a Transperson's gender identity is not drag). Over many years, cross-dressing has become linked with Mardi Gras revelry and Pride parade excesses; Gay activists done up like refugees from a production of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert are simply not going to be taken seriously!

The second (and also third) thing I cautioned against was LGBT folk publicly using pejoratives in reference to themselves. Regardless of how many deluded folk believe otherwise, the hate-inspired epithets of our oppressors can never empower us! On the contrary, they weaken us while heightening the ignorance those evil names were born of. What good will heightened ignorance do for our movement? Has it done us any good in the past? When both Gay Rights demonstrators and anti-Gay bigots describe an act of civil disobedience as "queers blocking traffic", how can anybody in his right mind argue that consciousness has been raised???


My belief is that so much psychic energy of most Gay people is geared toward struggling with their own internalized homophobia, whether they are out or not, that they are neither politically interested in gaining equality and/or engage in frivolous activities, under the guise of "activism" or not, that takes their minds off of the fact that they are viewed as second-class citizens, if not pariahs, in our society.

Until that transformation of consciousness that eradicates, or at least transcends, that internalized homophobia occurs, that light of full equality at the end of the tunnel will continue to remain elusive.
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12 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Thanks for the quote, Jerry . . . what you're saying here is what I've been saying for years: The revolution begins at home, in our own minds and the way we think about ourselves. All too often, think with the oppressor's mind, talk with his tongue, and see with his eyes.

tastetherainbow33 said...

Hi Jerry, first I would like to say thank-you. Thank-you for being so accepting of the LGBT community, and thank-you for working as hard as you do to fight for LGBT rights. I think it is amazing that you are willing to stick your neck out for us, even when it might mean that you yourself could be subjected to the hate that many of us in the community face everyday. You are a true Ally.
I can completely relate to what you say about internalized homophobia. When I first came to realize my sexuality this was a major issue for me, and you are right. At that point in my life I was not concerned with the fight for gay rights, I was too busy fighting with myself and the new feelings I was experiencing. Since then I have accepted who I am and have begun to participate in the fight. Recently I have started my own blog seeking to educate people about the LGBTQQIA community. The blog was initially started for my college class, but I think I will stick with it even after the course is done. I'm done watching other people fight for my rights, it's time for me to step it up.
Having said all this I have a bit of an out of the blue question. One of my course requirements is to interview a person who is associated with our main theme (Mine being the LGBTQQIA community and the fight for rights through education). I understand you are a busy man, but it would really mean a lot to me if you could answer a few of my questions. If you are at all interested just leave me a comment on my blog tastetherainbow33.wordpress.com
Thank you so much for your time.

Jerry Maneker said...

Dear tastetherainbow33: I can't tell you how much what you wrote means to me. A statement like yours makes what I do eminently worthwhile. Just one point: please omit "queer" from your rhetoric, as it is a historical and contemporary insult used to verbally bash LGBT people. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have, and please know how much I appreciate what you wrote. My very best wishes, Jerry.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Don Charles: You have always hit the nail on the head! All too often, many LGBT people resent it when we tell them that they are normal, but are quick to use the terminology, and share the views, of virulent homophobes. Self-loathing and internalized shame have had horrific consequences to the psyches and self-defeating behaviors of so many of our LGBT sisters and brothers. Best wishes, Jerry.

tastetherainbow33 said...

Thank you so much! What would be the best way to contact you with the questions? I have a week or so before I have to formulate the interview. As for my inclusion of "queer" in the acronym, I also am not a fan of the word, but the latest update of the acronym was LGBTQQIA. Many people I asked that identified as 'queer' said that the term covered the minority groups such as asexual and pansexual that the main acronym does not include. Thanks again!

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi tastetherainbow33: Regarding contacting me, please email me your questions at my email address and I'll answer them. If that doesn't work out, we can talk by phone.

Also, you write: "Many people I asked that identified as 'queer' said that the term covered the minority groups such as asexual and pansexual that the main acronym does not include."

They are wrong! "Asexual" and "pansexual" people can be identified as such without resorting to the word "queer" that has caused untold suffering to the very people for whose equality we are fighting.

They believe the big lie that they can somehow neutralize that word and re-define it, but they are definitely wrong. It's equivalent to a Jewish person referring to him/herself as a "kike." I've never heard that done. Best wishes, Jerry.

tastetherainbow33 said...

All right, thank you for all your comments, they've definitely given me something to think about. Please expect to hear from me in the next couple of weeks. Again, thank you for your time.

Jerry Maneker said...

It's a pleasure, tastetherainbow33. Best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

I'm so looking forward to reading this interview! Remember what Jesus Christ taught . . . when you are questioned, the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks for that reminder, Don Charles. I greatly appreciate it. Best wishes, Jerry.

Mark Kassidy said...

"So much psychic energy of most Gay people is geared toward struggling with their own internalized homophobia"

Thank you so very much, Rev. Jerry!

That certainly described me up until about five years ago. I grew up in the Church of God in Christ, which is Pentecostal and oppressive toward gays. But here are many closeted and semicloseted gay men in the church who have developed their own "subculture".

So many closeted pastors, so many closeted deacons, so much lying and shame. I thought this was normal! But gradually I began to search for a more "holistic" me, and found a Higher Power that loves me for me!

Now I am interested in living my truth and my life, as well as LGBT rights and other productive outlets. Thank you for understanding my journey.

MK

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Mark: Thank you so much for this comment. I just wish far many more Gay people came to that understanding and avoided churches that discriminated against them. Best wishes, Jerry.