Saturday, July 21, 2012



I know right out of the starting blocks that this article is going to offend a great many people, but I feel very strongly that many LGBT people are seriously sabotaging the cause for full and equal civil rights by referring to themselves by the use of historically and current hateful epithets, using such terms as "Queer," "Dyke," "Fag," and other such demeaning and hateful words that have been historically used by their oppressors, and are still being used by their oppressors. Also, the many behaviors and images that are viewed by most potential allies as offensive, and that become public presentations of self, help reinforce the fallacious stereotype that Gay people are sex-obsessed deviant and abnormal hedonists, and these public images are doing tremendous harm to the struggle for, and the cause of acquiring, full and equal civil rights.

I'm Jewish, and not only have I never considered myself a "Kike," or a "Yid," I would verbally assault anyone who would dare use those epithets in referring to me or to any other Jewish person. It's a matter of honor! It's a matter of dignity! It's a matter of having a healthy self-esteem. It's a matter of self-respect.

And there are some clueless Gay people who use self-denigrating and historically offensive epithets as self-identifiers and who articulate them to the world, and by so doing not only show themselves to be lacking in these characteristics, but they are also unwitting victims of a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome where, in this case, one helps provide the very ammunition that one's abuser can and does use to help maintain the oppression of the individual. By so doing, these clueless Gay people are actually knowingly or unknowingly facilitating and enhancing the rage of the homophobes, the oppressive abusers, many of whom would even kill them if they could get away with it. Indeed, some homophobes do assault and kill LGBT people, all the while using these hateful epithets!

The reason that virtually no one would even think of publicly using words like "Kike" and "Yid" is because they know that all Jewish (and all decent) people and organizations would come down on them like a ton of bricks. (Is it even conceivable that any university in the world would have a course, program, minor, or major entitled, "Kike Studies?" Yet it is very common for faculty and students in universities to routinely use and normalize the word "Queer" when titling courses, programs, minors, and majors dealing with Gay issues.)

However, when people use hateful epithets in reference to LGBT people, they not only know that nothing like that will happen, that there will be absolutely no negative or threatening repercussions awaiting them, but they also see there to be nothing wrong with using these hateful epithets, as many of the people about whom they are publicly talking seem to revel in, and frequently use, those words themselves.

So, for example, universities think they are doing Gay people a favor by using those epithets, such as by entitling courses, programs, minors, or majors "Queer Studies" (apparently not realizing, or perhaps even caring, that a meaning of "queer" means "abnormal.") and think that they are thereby being "progressive."

Jews usually don't have self-loathing; LGBT people all too often do have witting or unwitting self-loathing, and use those historically punishing words on themselves in the name of "liberation," ignorantly (or stupidly) thinking that they are appropriating and neutralizing those words, even when gay bashers use those very words when bashing their victims and, furthermore, they even perpetuate and encourage further use of those words among university students when titling those courses, programs, minors, or majors, and freely use those words within the curricula as they do in other public venues.

Like Jesus says: "Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do." At least on the conscious level!
Sanam Hakim wrote an excellent article entitled, "Words you can't reclaim," on the subject of the use hateful expletives regarding certain minority groups. She concludes her article by saying:

"Words like 'nigger' or 'redneck' or 'bitch' or 'fag' were never words that were originally 'good'. They are words that were created solely out of hatred and it is not our responsibility to add fine print and use them in a different context. It is not our responsibility to convince black people that they actually are 'niggaz,' but that it's a good thing; to convince white working class Americans that they are rednecks, but that it's a good thing; to convince women that they are bitches, but that it's a good thing; to convince homosexuals that they are fags, but that it's a good thing.

"It is our responsibility to make sure when Tim McGraw asks if there are any rednecks in the house, no one cheers. It's our responsibility to stare blankly if DMX asks 'where my niggaz at?' It is our responsibility to make sure our children know these words, the history of where they come from and to make sure they don't ever use them, even if they mean it in a nice way."

She gets it!

As I wrote in my February 21, 2008 post entitled, "On The Need To Grow Up":
"There is a point when one has to own his/her dignity, demand the respect due to any human being, demand full and equal civil and sacramental rights regardless of the negative messages and hostility that have been visited on that person in the past, or even in the present. And those goals will not be realized as long as the minority group accepts its inferior status, and revels in it by referring to its members by the very same terms used by the most virulent homophobes throughout history and in our midst.
"No self respecting person, Gay or Straight, stands for being treated as less than fully human; no self respecting person, Gay or Straight, uses negative self-identifiers that have been historically (and contemporarily) used by their oppressors. The slave mentality is blamed on others, but the fact is that it ultimately resides within each human being whether or not to accept that mentality."

I recently received an email from a good friend of mine who wrote me the following:

"I'm just thinking about some of the horrid monikers we've encountered on the 'Net: 'The Old Dyke.' 'The Angry Fag.' 'Queer Kid Of Color'. "Faggoty-Ass Faggot." Straight people see and hear these vulgar identifiers. What do they make of them? Do they feel they have permission to use them, too? What also occurs to me is that these names don't just speak to a shameful feeling about one's gender and/or sexuality; they speak to an obsession with it! These folks need therapy, Jerry! I've been called the 'b' word, the 'p' word, the 'f' word, and just about every dirty slur you can name. I could never in a million years get my mind around 'reclaiming' that kind of ignorance. Yet, I don't consider myself any different from any other Gay man who's grown up in a homophobic society. Why do I react differently?"

I then wrote him the following response, which I know seems harsh, but this issue is crucial enough to demand such harshness and confrontation if the goal of acquiring full and equal LGBT rights is to be realized, particularly when LGBT rights activists are trying to win the hearts and minds of potential Straight allies.

I responded to him with the following:

"My answer to your question is that THEY DO NEED THERAPY, but YOU DON'T NEED THERAPY, because you're emotionally intact, and they are not; YOU have integrity and dignity and refuse to be treated as a second-class citizen, and many of THEM revel in being second-class citizens; YOU aren't self-loathing; THEY are self-loathing; THEY love to vent by cursing the candle and loving the darkness; YOU want the light of full freedom, and outspokenly light that candle; THEY are apolitical; YOU see this as a political and religious struggle; THEY usually hate God and the things of God; YOU love God and the things of God; THEY love this world and the things of this world; YOU know that God wants liberation from yokes of bondage for all of His children; THEY frequently suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome; YOU definitely do not; YOU have a healthy self-esteem; THEY feel they deserve to be treated as 'outsiders'; YOU know you're 'normal'; THEY view themselves as 'deviants' and are proud of it. As I've said before, they are traitors and saboteurs to the cause of, and struggle for, full and equal civil rights, and you and I, and I'm sure many others, hate traitors and saboteurs to and of those things that anyone who is emotionally intact seeks for themselves and for others."

Regarding their being witting or unwitting traitors to, and saboteurs of, the struggle for full and equal civil rights, they have become mutual allies with the most reactionary homophobic forces in the religious and secular worlds. The religious right and other homophobic forces just love them, for they manifest their fear and self-loathing by engaging in rhetoric and behaviors that are wittingly or unwittingly designed to alienate potential allies in the fight for full and equal civil rights, and provide these homophobic leaders with their needed ammunition to shore up their base of homophobes, be they in the "religious" or political arenas.

All a James Dobson, a Ken Hutcherson, a Pete LaBarbera, a Pat Robertson, or any number of other religious homophobes have to do is exhibit one or more of countless images of blatant and public hedonism (fulfilling and reinforcing the ugly stereotype that Gay=Abnormal; Gay=hedonism; Gay=deviant; Gay=immorality; Gay=perverted, etc.) to show those who might be on the fence regarding the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people that their hateful rhetoric has been correct after all. One cannot present public images that are patently and frequently deliberately offensive and even threatening to potential allies and then expect them to embrace and support full and equal civil rights for LGBT people who are all too often solely identified with those images!

In essence, the professional homophobes, many of whom make a veritable career out of homophobia, can then say to our potential allies, while showing them such images, "See, I told you what homosexuals are like. I told you how destructive they are to the very fabric of society and to civilization as we know it. I told you that they are not fit to be around children. They even want, and sometimes even have, the right to adopt and raise children. They seek to destroy Christianity and our Judeo-Christian way of life and will succeed unless we fight against this evil. And they even want their perverted lifestyle sanctified by law by insisting that they be allowed to marry one another. Before you know it, these people will want to marry their own children. Would you put anything past them after looking at these pictures that represent only a fraction of what they do and what they are?"

And we are to make no mistake: that's exactly what religious homophobes do, and continue to do, by proudly presenting blatant exhibitions of hedonism by some Gay people, further exacerbated by the use of pejorative epithets as self-identifiers by many Gay people that merely reinforce the hateful stereotypes and hateful rhetoric of the homophobes in "justifying" to as many as will listen the evidence as to the "deviance," the "otherness," the "abnormality" of LGBT people.

These epithets and images thereby confirm and reinforce the hateful rhetoric that is spewed by powerful religious homophobes in all sorts of venues, from the pulpit to the media, and serves no better purpose than to provide these religious homophobes with further ammunition that they need and use to sway potential allies away from our cause for equal rights.

Hence, the use of these epithets and the projection of these images that are viewed as offensive (many of which are seemingly designed to be offensive) by most people who conceivably make up our pool of potential allies, makes the purveyors of those epithets and images collaborators with the religious reactionary homophobes; making them partners in the goal of preventing the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people and their families.

Of course, confirmed homophobes will not be persuaded to become affirming of LGBT people no matter what we do or what we say! However, our concern must be winning over potential allies, those who might be on the fence and confused about this whole issue of LGBT rights. And the rhetoric and images used and projected for public consumption by self-loathing traitors are sabotaging that goal, by their being witting or unwitting allies with those very influential homophobes, by helping to do the homophobes' work for them.

By portraying Gay people as Godless, hedonistic, sexually obsessed individuals who revel in being "abnormal," and who pridefully display depictions that seem designed to offend all decent and religious people, virtually guarantees that those who engage in these practices are the allies of the avowed enemies of LGBT rights who stupidly feel free to vilify and even ridicule and make jokes about LGBT people, knowing that they will be greeted with hearty applause and laughter by their audiences, be they homophobic or potential allies.

Regarding the dynamics of those who manifest self-loathing and the unwillingness or the inability to directly confront the enemies of full civil rights and civil liberties, I absolutely think that seeing themselves as being forever "outsiders" and who revel in that outsider status by manifesting counter-productive and even risk-taking behaviors gives them a sense of security! It enables them to avoid confronting the horrifying fact that they are viewed by the oppressor as inferior, and in order to anesthetize themselves from that reality, they find a seemingly "legitimate" reason to bond with other like-minded people in a subculture that they wish to make a counterculture so as to both affirm themselves (which is understandable) but also insulate themselves from the insults and, at least at this point in their lives, they don't have the ego strength or the will to directly confront their oppressor in a politically meaningful and constructive way.

Hence, not only the use of denigrating epithets about themselves and their very identities, and their often egregious public displays that are bound to offend potential allies, but their rage at anyone who would dare suggest that by so doing they are helping to destroy themselves and their right to be treated with dignity and respect by those oppressors; telling them that by so doing they are witting or unwitting allies of those oppressors.

Because that would mean coming out of their cocoon, confronting a very harsh and even frightening reality, and having to confront both their own homophobia as well as the homophobia that would be visited upon them in direct proportion to their public and consistent demands that they be treated with full respect and as fully equal to their oppressor, and demand the acquisition of the very same rights that their oppressor enjoys.

That takes guts, and ego strength, and too many feel themselves to be too vulnerable, too wounded, to engage in the necessary fight for full and equal civil rights. Hence, to not confront that reality, and to not admit that they are too cowardly to fight the necessary battles for full and equal rights, they create a world where they demean themselves and create the rationalization for that demeaning of themselves by stating that they are doing so to merely appropriate, reclaim (Although those hateful words have never been renounced by the oppressor in the first place.), and neutralize those hateful words, and thereby claim that they are "liberated."

It's a profound tragedy, no matter how we look at it.

But it's a tragedy that must be confronted, overcome, and renounced so that positive, coordinated grassroots activism can occur, in conjunction with the increased assertiveness needed by major LGBT rights organizations, so that increasing numbers of potential allies can be recruited in the fight for equal rights; other LGBT people can become emboldened to demand that they be treated with dignity and demand nothing less than full and equal civil rights that are enjoyed by every other citizen; political savvy and activism be substituted for the counterproductive use of hateful epithets and the assorted public displays of images that denote and communicate a patently offensive public persona virtually designed to drive away allies and thereby sabotage the movement for full and equal civil rights.

As I've written before, such grassroots activism on the part of LGBT people and allies would take the form of "picketing homophobic churches (and there are plenty to choose from!), writing letters to the editors of their local newspapers, having groups of Gay couples who seek to marry continuously demand the same marriage rights as their heterosexual counterparts, speaking out to neighbors and friends, boycotting businesses that in any way discriminate against Gay people, and other such modes of activism to aid and abet the cause of acquiring full and equal civil rights!"

Only then will the homophobic oppressor be forced back under the rock from which he or she came, and the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights will become a reality!
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Saturday, July 14, 2012


I'm a disciple of Christ first and foremost!  Actually, I'm very theologically conservative in that I believe in the virgin birth, that Jesus is God incarnate, that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (if seen contextually and accurately translated), and in virtually all theological and Christological contentions that conservative theologians support.

Of course, I vehemently disagree with homophobic clergy, be they evangelical or mere haters who seek to frame their hate in the name of "Christianity."  And, it must be acknowledged, that there are many self-defined and self-deluded evangelical Christians who speak from the hateful preconceived prejudices that exist in their hearts!

However, secondarily, I am also a Marxist, save for his dismissal of God.  As much of organized religion does serve as "the opiate of the masses," and that many people create God in their own image, Marx was unfortunately correct.  He was dead wrong, however,  when he proffered that there is no God and that God is a mere fiction created by the gullible.

However, I don't want to deal with this particular issue here, but I do want to deal with the role of Capitalism that Marx correctly said "contains the seeds of its own destruction."  Some of those seeds can be seen by the fact that capitalism requires many workers to live lives of exploitation, and that exploitation has as one of its results the need for affirmation that often comes by creating one or more out-groups, constructed enemies, so that one can feel better about him/herself and feel morally superior, as well as cement in-group solidarity that hate can bring to those who are exploited.

Wealthy people can, of course, be homophobic, but that homophobia may in great part be used to influence the exploited workers to cast as the enemy groups other than those who are, in fact, exploiting them.  Workers are needed in order for capitalists to be successful, so they must be lulled into believing that they have a stake in capital property, as well as a stake in the values of the capitalists, the power elite; what better way of deflecting workers' animus against capitalists who are exploiting them than to manipulate the media, monopolize the media, to get many Straight people to think that Gay people are somehow a threat to the well-being of children, families, "our American way of life," and religion?

The capitalists, the owners of the means of production and the media, have a vested interest in having workers fighting against each other rather than direct their resentment where it should belong.  Outsourcing, diminishing of workers' salaries in proportion to the economic gains of the corporate elite must be subordinated in workers' psyches by encouraging a war of all against all, be it against Gay people, Jews, African Americans, immigrants, women, etc.

This is not to say that homophobia doesn't occur in the absence of capitalism!  It is to say that in developed countries such as in the U.S., where survival of the fittest, the hallmark of Social Darwinism without which it is impossible to understand much of the values and fabric of the U.S., and in the ideology of many workers who have no vested interest in believing this sociopathic axiom, an axiom that can be heard on a daily basis on most of talk radio, leads to the seeking out of scapegoats against whom to vent their frustrations borne of their own economic oppression.

Marx called this phenomenon, "false consciousness," where people act against their own best interests because they are misdirected by the media and other institutions ruled by the capitalists.  Homophobia is one such manifestation of false consciousness!

Let's face it, why would anyone care if two adult people of the same sex love each other?  Why would there be people making a veritable career out of condemning Gay people unless there was money to be made by doing so, and/or unless they were fearful of being Gay themselves?  Why would most churches have such animus against Gay people unless they were acting as agents of the power elite and/or were comprised of clergy many of whom are self-loathing Gay people?

When there is relative scarcity of goods and services that capitalism demands for the owners of the means of production to maximize their profits, workers become frustrated and angry, and they find all sorts of "enemies," whom they define as such, against which to direct their anger so that they can remain safer than they would if they directed their frustration against those creating their exploitation; direct their anger against groups that they feel are safe to persecute and lie about.

Now, the major scapegoats that serve to assuage the frustrations and consequent aggression of the exploited are LGBT people!

Carl Jung once said that only the tortured are torturers!  And one doesn't have to be a Marxist to understand this truth!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Trouble The Waters:
My Annual Gay Pride Month Manifesto
Trolling Google Image for blog photos, as I often do, I stumbled across a stunning piece of art. You can see it yourself over the opening paragraph of this essay. It's a sculpture by the legendary male physique artist George Quaintance, completed in 1936. You're looking at two Art Deco masks fused together to make one: One mask is female, and the other male. I adore Art Deco design, and at first, all I did was admire this beautiful piece of craftsmanship. As I kept looking at it, though, a strange thrill began to course through me.
Suddenly, I realized that this wasn't just a good-looking sculpture. This was a representation of Transgender humanity: Masculinity and femininity occupying the same space, blended so as to form a separate gender all its own. Knowing something about George Quaintance's approach to art, I think that's exactly what he intended it to symbolize. If I'm right, then he did so magnificently; he totally captured the essence of inborn androgyny.
Are you an LGBT person? Then take a good look at that Quaintance sculpture. It's a visualization of your inner self. What do you think? Are you amazed? Are you repelled? Can you handle confronting the truth about what you are? Or can you only see yourself through the eyes of your oppressors?
There's an idea: Let's look at ourselves through their eyes for a moment. Most of the time when LesBiGay people are discriminated against, it isn't because of their sexual orientation. Most Straight people never see us have sex, and most of us aren't in the habit of discussing our sexual partners with them! We are bullied, threatened, ostracized and assaulted because of our gender expression.
Our voices are too high, or too low. Our hair is too long, or too short, or the wrong color. We don't wear clothing that's masculine or feminine enough. We don't have interests that are considered appropriate for "real men" or "real women". We don't carry ourselves in the way "real men" and "real women" are expected to. We just don't fit comfortably into binary gender concepts! We are people who transcend gender (which is why all of us have a right to identify as Transgender), and that makes people who don't transcend it very uncomfortable in our presence.
Fighting anti-Gay bias in this world necessarily involves challenging narrow concepts of gender. Binary gender is like a book you've only read two-thirds of the way through and put down: The story isn't complete until you've read the final chapters! Those unread pages tell of a world that's populated by more than just male and female life forms. Transgender life forms also exist! We always have, we always will, and it's time for us to insist that the world acknowledge our existence.
Scientists like Simon LeVay have recently uncovered biological markers for Transgender status, but I didn't need their findings to discover who I am. I came to know my true gender from studying the Bible and Gnostic texts. Christian scripture, widely believed to condemn Gay people, gave me the key that unlocked the truth about same-gender sexuality. The Gospel of Philip describes how Jesus Christ gifts a chosen few with "male and female power" before birth, causing them to be born with the blended gender of God. As I've written before, parallel doctrine exists in the annals of many, if not most of the world's religions.
Carrying both male and female gender in the same body was, at one time, widely viewed as a blessed state. We should endeavor to reclaim that blessed status, and begin to feel the pride in our uniqueness that we merely pretend to feel now. When Gay Pride becomes more than just a popular concept, I bet we'll feel less of an urge to strip down, booze up, get strung out and/or clown around in the streets under the guise of celebration. We'll no longer need to camouflage our internalized shame that way!
This thing I describe as blended gender is called Fullness in Scripture. It exists within all LGBT folk. So, you may ask, why doesn't it make us all Gay, or all Bisexual, or all Transsexual? Why is there variation? I think variation occurs because different people respond to its presence in different ways. Or, it may be a question of degree, with some of us possessing more of the blend, and others possessing less.
Whatever the case, Fullness is inborn; all this bullsh*t speculating about "environmental factors" and "outside influences" should've ended long ago! You can't "learn" how to become Gay or Transsexual; core identity can't be taught to or imposed on a person! The negative experiences of intersex individuals, forced as children into gender roles that violated their self-concept, tells us as much.
By the way, when I talk about blended gender, I am not referring to intersex genitalia. I'm not talking about genitalia at all. I'm speaking of something that exists on a spiritual level. As gender-transcending human beings, the form our genitalia takes is of very little significance. It matters in our sexual relations, and it matters if we want to produce offspring, but that's about it. The bodies our Transgender souls are born into don't define us in the same way the bodies of binary gender folk define them; one way or another, an LGBT person will always challenge conventional notions about masculinity and femininity. We can't help but do it; it's our nature!
Fullness trumps (s)expectations; it has its own unalterable norms. Cultural pressure can't change them. Punitive laws can't change them. Religious belief can't change them. Psychotherapy can't change them. Surgery and hormone treatments can only create the illusion of change. Fullness is a gift from God that can't be returned, no matter how much we may want to!
But why should we want to? The thing to never forget is that Transgender status is completely normal. It's God's balance of nature. The sexual union of men with women is meant to approximate the Fullness that we received as a birthright; that's why the Savior excluded our kind from heterosexual marriage. To me, it's logical: If people can be born with blended racial background, why can't they be born with blended gender, too?
I see LGBT humanity as just another aspect of the tremendous natural diversity that God loves. Millennia have passed since life began on Earth, but every so often, we still hear about a previously unknown species of plant or animal. The Lord's imagination and creative ability knows no bounds! It makes a skilled artisan like George Quaintance look like a caveman carving stones; and we who possess God’s "male and female power" number among His finest creations. Let me say this one last time:
Nothing that God creates is queer!
I call for an end to the lies heterosexual folk tell about us! Enough of these accusations of "recruitment"! No more vilification! No more pretending that we prey on Straight people like Dracula preys on virgins! No more pretending that Bible scripture justifies excluding us from church sacraments! No more claims that we contaminate any environment we become part of!  No more equating us with pedophiles and polygamists and bestialists!
No more falsehoods about our relationships "threatening" the traditional family! No more equating our love to rape and ancient temple prostitution! No more papal pronouncements that our existence throws nature out of balance! No more demagoguery to the effect that God is punishing humankind because of our presence!
I also call for an end to the many delusions LGBT folk entertain. No more facetious claims of having "chosen" our sexual orientation! No more accepting stereotypes as truth! No more calling sex in public restrooms an expression of "Gay culture"!  No more pretending that unprotected sexual activity won't result in serious consequences!
No more thinking of ourselves as men trapped inside women's bodies, or vice-versa! No more pretending that surgery can remove a person's Transgender status! No more insisting that Transsexual status is an illness while finding no fault with the sick society that rejects its validity!
No more pretending that we're exactly the same as heterosexual folk except for who we sleep with! No more arguments that we don't "need" certain rights that heterosexual folk enjoy! No more lying to LGBT kids about bullying getting "better" when all that happens most of the time is a change in the type of bullying and who's doing it!
No more believing that Scripture condemns our unique gender expression (it doesn't)! No more accepting religious bigots as doctrinal authorities!  And please! No more pretending that heterosexist and transphobic slurs can be "reclaimed" and made empowering!
The word "queer" must go! It connotes defectiveness and perversion. It stigmatizes God’s blessing of Fullness!  It belongs to an ignorant past that we must break free of. If you're in the habit of dropping this dehumanizing label into casual conversation, wash out your mouth and mind; gargle twice and spit!
Gargle And Spit
I'm on a crusade to replace "queer" with "gender-neutral". If an umbrella term is needed, as many of us seem to believe, then this is a far more accurate one. It defines more precisely who we are and what we have in common as Lesbians, Gay men, Bisexual and Transsexual persons. Most important, it's refreshingly free of denigrating connotations!
We need to stop wearing the oppressor's hand-me-down hate speech! Dignity looks so much better on us. We must force ourselves and others to speak of blended gender with respect, and get used to hearing it spoken of in that way.
Respecting yourself is about more than just the language you use. It also has to do with the way you treat yourself, and how you let others treat you. There are a bunch of Gay activists around nowadays; all you have to do is turn over a rock, and one is sure to crawl out from under it! Yet I find that relatively few of them want to change conditions for LesBiGay people in any substantive way.
Too many of us have made our peace with the demeaning jokes, the ugly slurs, the outrageous stereotypes. We've resigned ourselves to the persecution, the stigmatization, the lack of security in our persons. Most of us haven't got the stomach for taking the fight against bigotry to the oppressor's door, so in a pinch, phony political posturing suffices! We're content to stay walled off in a little corner of the world set aside for misfits, a place devoid of dignity that doesn't even provide us with safe harbor.
We crave distractions from the injustices we suffer. We escape into pageants, parties and cliques, campy humor, mindless celebrity worship and reckless sexual excess. Numbing our pain with drink, drugs and booty, we can barely feel that boot on the back of our necks . . . why, our necks could snap and we wouldn't even notice!
We'd never admit it, but we've adapted ourselves to a discriminatory status quo. Within our myriad social classes and cultural traditions, we've learned how to accommodate heterosexism, and God forbid we should trouble the waters too much!
Lord knows how much I want to trouble those waters!
I want to trouble them so bad sometimes, I can hardly stand it! I want a Category Five hurricane, global warming crisis, multi-funnel tornado and tsunami all rolled into one! I want to see all the complacency and compromise and corruption swept away. I want to see the cleansing rain come down, and then I want to see the sunshine after the rain. I'm so ready!
I want this social upheaval so passionately because of the way I grew up: An effeminate boy all but crippled by shame, repeatedly beaten down by ignorance, terrified of the world outside his door. It was an intolerable way to grow up, and I can't stand to think about anyone else suffering that way. How can we settle for business as usual when we know a new LGBT generation is falling victim to hate crimes every day (those they commit against themselves as well as those perpetrated by others)?
Oh, we're making a big militant noise right now, but it's still business as usual: Begging polticians for favors; nibbling around the edges of mass protest; letting the religious Right Wing wipe its filthy feet on our backs; talking revolution whenever we get the chance, but never walking the talk. It's nothing but a lot of pussyfooting around, and I'm sick to death of it!
Stuffed Animal
When we finally get serious about Gay Rights, we'll be waging the fight against discrimination in six key arenas: In religious institutions; in educational institutions; in the courts; in the streets; in the media; and in our own hearts! (Take note that I didn't mention the political arena. That was deliberate! Let's chill out with the Washington lobbying until we have some real power to wield there.)
We'll be turning up the temperature in our churches, mosques and synagogues until they become boiling pools of unrest! We'll be condemning "faith-based" opposition to Gay Rights and correcting religious doctrine that calls Transgender expression sinful! We'll be banishing "Queer Studies" from the classroom, mandating comprehensive sex education and anti-bullying measures, and promoting genuine scholarship on Transgender identity! We'll be ripping the blindfold off of Lady Justice so that her eyes can perceive the abusive excesses of unchecked religious freedom!
We'll be making mass protest a reality, filling the public square to demand tax relief as compensation for institutional heterosexism and transphobia! We'll be demanding accurate, consistent and respectful media representation (especially in ads and entertainment media), and blowing the damn roof off if we don't see it! We'll finally have realized that a distorted portrayal can be as bad or worse than invisibility; and when it comes to rooting out the entrenched shame that comes between us and our dignity, we'll be as relentless as the Red Chinese rooting out counter-revolutionary influences! That's what serious Gay activism will look like.
I believe what the old Negro spiritual says: God's gonna trouble the waters! And just like the runaway slaves who originally sang that song, we LGBT folk will have to wade in troubled waters before we can set foot on the dry land of liberation.
Read my “Militant Gay Christian Credo” @ Christ, The Gay Martyr:
This Manifesto is dedicated to the memory of Haitian-American poet, editor and performance artist Assotto Saint, who showed me the path when I was not yet ready to walk it.
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