Friday, June 10, 2011

TRAITOROUS RESULTS OF INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA

The late psychiatrist and activist, Frantz Fanon, in his book, Black Skin, White Masks, wrote the following:

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.

We've seen such perverted and freakish public displays as "The Hunky Jesus Contest" [If you have any doubts about my description, check out some links regarding this contest.], "The Million Fag March," "The Folsom Street Fair," and all sorts of displays and demonstrations that affirm the equation of "Gay" with mere "Sexuality," and perverted sexuality at that, that with regular and insistent demonstrations mimic and confirm the very same mind-set of strident homophobes who are the avowed enemies of Gay people.

These displays are offensive on a number of levels, and are designed to be offensive; are designed to alienate potential Straight allies from the cause of equal rights. And to compound this felony, many "Gay Activists" affirm such displays, and even seek to religiously justify them.

Even Kittredge Cherry, a Christian Gay activist who is far more comfortable in sexualizing Jesus than I am, has reservations about parts of the Hunky Jesus Contest, but she also sees benefits of it that I strongly feel are counterproductive and traitorous to the fight for equal rights; the whole contest is blasphemous.

Equating being Gay with being a perverted freak not only plays right into the oppressor's hands, but shows the internalization of the oppressor's mind-set that he/she uses to justify in his/her own mind the oppression of LGBT people.

Hence, many of the oppressed internalize and display the very stereotypes of the strident homophobe, and act out in ways virtually guaranteed to stick a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies by grossly offending institutions and beliefs held dear by the very people needed to help make LGBT equality a reality.

The fact that one is Gay whether or not he/she can have sex; one is Straight whether or not he/she can have sex, largely escapes these displays and demonstrations that serve as mere fodder for the rabid homophobes, many of whom make a handsome living castigating God's LGBT children.

These indecent and often pornographic displays show an alignment, a perverted affinity, with strident homophobes, the result of the internalization of largely unconscious shame and self-loathing taken from the many years of grinding oppression.

And this internalization has got to be transcended and overcome before significant headway can be made in the fight for LGBT equality, an equality that purveyors of these displays clearly do not now want, despite some rhetoric to the contrary.

Applying Fanon's analysis to many Gay people, the oppressed have so internalized the oppressor's mind-set about them that they feel the need to act out according to those internalized homophobic norms, consciously or unconsciously believing the lies perpetrated by strident homophobes, particularly homophobic clergy, who have the temerity to speak with oracular authority, invoking the name of God in their disdain for LGBT people.

Homophobes call Gay people "queer," and many Gay people call themselves "queer"; homophobes call gay men "fags," and many gay men call themselves "fags"; homophobes call lesbians "dykes," and many lesbians refer to themselves by that term; homophobes refer to Gay people as "freaks," and some Gay people act as "freaks"; homophobes refer to Gay people as "perverted," and some Gay people publicly act as "perverts."

If anyone has any doubt concerning some Gay people's view that being Gay is to be a publicly displayed freakish pervert, the exact same view held by strident homophobes and used by them as justification for the denial of equal rights for LGBT people, just check out some links regarding some of the aforementioned public displays!

And if one should tell gay men and lesbians that use of these words, and patently and deliberately offensive public displays, are counterproductive and traitorous, that person is usually met with derision by those with such internalized shame, housing the same belief system as their oppressors, that they refuse to examine, let alone seek to change, the impact of the sources and consequences in their psyches and in society of much of their rhetoric and behaviors.

Simply put: Use of pejorative labels as self-identifiers, and freakish displays one-dimensionally sexualizing Gay identity as perversion, not only affirms the beliefs and rhetoric of strident homophobes, but also highlights the fact that those labels and displays emanate from the very same mind-set of the oppressor that have been internalized by those Gay people who in any way feel comfortable using such rhetoric, and/or engaging in such displays, that are guaranteed to retard the struggle for LGBT equality!
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10 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Dr. Jerry,

I notice quite often that the same sort of displays of basic bad taste and seeming ¨self-demeaning¨ are quite offensive to you...as they are to me. The difference between us is that you are heterosexual and I am ¨Gay¨ yet there is some kind of wish that we both have for a standard of common decency--also, common sense when attempting to NOT offend potential friends and political/spiritual associates-- your comments most often strike chord with me but this morning I´m wondering if we are both suffering from a mild/harmless case of ¨cognitive dissonance?¨

My best to you and thank you for this reminder that sometimes I simply just don´t ¨get it¨ when viewing the actions of others (Gay and Straight).

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Len. My very best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

Excellent insights here! Of course, I agree with you, and I'll have more to say on the subject a little later.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, Don Charles. Best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

As you know, Kittredge Cherry recently promoted the "Hunky Jesus" contest on her blog. That means she's begging to be nominated for one of my Dumb Dora awards! She's getting her wish: my Nominee Preview page will feature her and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence next week. Here's an excerpt of the nomination speech:

(Kittredge Cherry says) "For me as a Lesbian Christian, there’s a lot to love about the 'Hunky Jesus' Contest held every Easter in San Francisco by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence . . . (they’re) a group of 'queer nuns' who do street theater for charity. First and most important, it makes me feel like Jesus is right here with us, queer(sic) or not, living up to His name Emmanuel, which means 'God with us.' Happy crowds attend the costume competition every year to see the sexy side of Jesus, exposed by contestants with nicknames such as Stimulus Package Jesus, Gym Bunny Jesus and Victoria’s Secret Jesus."

The “sexy side” of Jesus nailed to the cross, that is. While you try to get your head around that sick idea, let me describe the festivities: Nude or nearly nude men, some of them simulating sex, are splattered in fake blood and covered with glitter, feather boas and other campy accessories. These Playgirl centerfold candidates are supposed to be recreating the Crucifixion. They flaunt their goodies and lug tacky makeshift crosses across an outdoor stage. Meanwhile The Sisters, drag divas sporting clownish nun’s habits, totter around in high heels and tell dirty jokes. Predictably, the rowdy audience hoots and stomps and whistles like it was a burlesque show. Believe it or not, this is how some San Franciscans celebrate Easter. This is what makes Kittredge Cherry feel close to God. I wouldn’t bet on it making God feel close to her, though.

Jerry Maneker said...

As you know, Don Charles, I greatly resent the mocking of Jesus. I view such displays as childish catharsis that has the effect of both heresy and the retardation of the quest for equal rights. Best wishes, Jerry.

Ecce Homo said...

Dr Jerry, this is a fascinating take on what's wrong with the modern gay rights movement. Thanks for posting this.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment, Ecce Homo. Best wishes, Jerry.

Cbus Queer said...

I agree with you, it is offensive to have a Hunky Jesus contest. I think that it shows no reverence for the sacrifice that we celebrate during those days.

However, I can't support the use of the words freak and pervert about my fellow Christians. I think when we disagree we should do so with love for our brothers and sisters who may be wrong, but are hopefully still seeking God in their hearts.

I personally identify with the word queer because it is one word that is a canopy for all LGBT.

It is unfortunate that homophobic people have made up hateful words to use against us, but the fact that some are taking those words and trying to assert them with pride is encouraging. Any term that we come up with to identify ourselves will eventually be used as an insult against us- we have to take back those words, not pick new ones.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Cbus Queer: One can't reclaim a word that was never theirs. "Queer" has been used as a hateful slur, and continues to remain a hateful slur, regardless of how many times LGBT people use that word in the vain attempt to "neutralize" that word. Why would one want to appropriate such a hateful word as a self-identifier when there are dignified terms one can use?

As I've written, it would be unthinkable for a Jewish person to refer to him/herself as a kike. LGBT people, another minority group, must display dignity and take the fight for equality seriously, and those traits are sorely lacking by those who revel in pariah status, many using "queer" as but one indicator of that reveling.

Also, as far as I know, I have never used the term "freak" and "pervert" in referring to anyone, save how they present themselves in their personas and displays.

Many professing Christians are not Christians at all as they have caused untold suffering and deaths of LGBT people, and my empathy resides with those wolves in sheep's clothing who have done inestimable harm in the name of God. They show that they know nothing about the Gospel of grace and show lack of love, one of the Great Commandments Jesus gave all who would be His disciples.

Thanks so much for your comment. Best wishes, Jerry.