Monday, March 31, 2008


"Well, their numbers didn't reach a million, but approximately 400 people gathered Sunday in Topeka's Gage Park, near Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church for the 'Million Fag March' I posted about in February. The march was a symbolic demonstration against the WBC, who have for years targeted public gatherings, and more recently, military funerals, with their 'God Hates Fags' message.

"KSN reports: 'People of all ages, races, and sexual orientation were present. The group of more than four hundred people marched throughout Gage Park, but were not allowed to cross any streets without a parade permit. The organizer of the march, Chris Love says he wants to show the Westboro Baptist Church there is an opposing voice equally as powerful. Other marchers feel the same. 'We don't agree with him talking about hatred and how God hates this god hates that,' marcher Angi Boetta said. 'We're just here to show him who we are and we're not going away no matter what you say or do.'...'All the haters and stuff they need to know that its not all about that, its about positivity and we're trying to create a positive influence towards gay people,' marcher Joshua Burch said."

[For the full article, see here.]

In my March 21st post entitled, "Some Thoughts On The 'Million Fag' March," I wrote the following which is excerpted from that post:

"To march on Fred Phelps' territory is relatively safe and relatively meaningless. Why not take on homophobic denominations and churches that do enjoy a credibility they do not deserve? Actually, Phelps, currently a toothless tiger, has inadvertently done a great deal to help our cause by his hateful, over the top, rhetoric and by his and his family's picketing of soldiers' funerals so that even most homophobes resent him for casting their position in 'a bad light' in the eyes of many Straight people.

"These people who are eager to participate in 'The Million Fag March' are unwitting subversives and agents provocateurs, who seem to seek to further entrench LGBT people who feel comfortable in referring to themselves and to each other as 'fags,' into their own compounds where they can revel in their being 'outsiders' and 'sexual outlaws,' and in further alienating all LGBT people from mainstream society whereby, and only from which, they can acquire full and equal civil rights.

"By participating in this march, they are not only reinforcing a demeaning and hateful label onto themselves in the eyes of potential allies, but they are elevating Phelps' credibility in the eyes of the public by even suggesting that Phelps is a force that is even worthy to contend with."

Since that time, I have had no reason to change my mind! This is an edited response that I wrote to a friend of mine today, after he sent me the above article:

"This march has only served to get Phelps back in the news, and give him the exposure that he wants. Even them saying 'million' when they knew there would be far fewer who would appear also shows them to be politically naive and lacking in media savvy. And that's all on top of their use of that epithet that merely reinforces 'deviance,' 'abnormality,' and 'otherness' in their minds and, more importantly, in the public's mind."

How does any mature, reasonable person expect that by one's referring to oneself as a "fag" is going to move the cause of full and equal civil rights forward by one iota? Indeed, it can be seen to go a long way toward retarding the acquisition of those rights!

How can one reasonably expect to be taken seriously, and be viewed as being every bit as deserving of dignity and equality as heterosexuals, when such a hateful epithet as "fag" is publicly used as a self-identifier? Why waste time and energy fighting a toothless tiger like Phelps? Why waste time and energy on such a march when it's very likely that even most homophobes themselves are embarrassed by Phelps and his family?

Chris Love, the organizer of the march said, "At the least, we hope to hold an event that will bring both homesexual and heterosexual people together for a united cause for one day. And in Kansas, no less."

That's certainly a laudable goal and one that should be acted upon, but for far more than merely one day. Also, far more mileage would be gained by using the appropriate designations for LGBT people, being assertive in regularly picketing homophobic churches and legislatures, soliciting increasing numbers of Straight allies in joining in those picket lines, writing letters to the editors of major, regional, and local newspapers, etc., and focusing on the real threats to the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights, rather than the pathetically hateful Phelps and his clan who have so alienated themselves from most all Americans (For the most recent example, see here.) that protesting against them is largely meaningless and, in this context, counter-productive.

When Phelps and his family celebrated the deaths of soldiers killed in Iraq, they shot their wad with most all of the American people. By having "The Million Fag March," the credibility of Phelps was somewhat elevated by placing him on the same level as the marchers by affirming that he has the clout that he doesn't possess.

It would be desirable if all that energy exhibited by those marchers were translated into meaningful activism that would help, rather than retard, the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights, and hasten that day when same-sex love is seen as being just as valid, and just as Godly, as is heterosexual love.
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Saturday, March 29, 2008


I want to call your attention to a very provocative two-part post by my friend, Don Charles on his blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr. The title of the two-part post is, "The Big Nasty."

He discusses the downside of certain types of Gay porn and how some of the images in that porn, rather than depict love between gay men, shows the edginess that reinforces certain stereotypes, and even puts gay men's lives in danger, through such scenes as those depicting barebacking, double penetration, and fisting.

Part of his two-part post reads as follows:

"I don't get this impression [that people who create and market products like these harbor a profound hatred for Gay identity] just from reading titles and content descriptions, either. Like most Gay men of my generation, I've seen quite a few erotic films over the years. Much of what I've seen makes me believe that porn movies are a major source of Gay stereotyping. All too often, the sex scenes are set in dark alleyways, abandoned warehouses or so-called "tearooms", public toilets with lewd graffiti scrawled on the walls and "glory holes" carved in bathroom stalls. Orgy scenes are increasingly popular, with ever larger groups of men shown going at each other mindlessly like dogs in heat. One-on-one coupling with affectionate kissing and caressing gets rarer all the time. Excessive machismo has infected Gay adult filmmaking. The emphasis is shifting decidedly away from warm tenderness and toward cold brutality."

My take on his thesis is that it is well worth considering. Moreover, I see Gay porn, just as with Straight porn, much as a narcotic, reflecting the increasing tolerance built up over time that requires more and more of a pushing of the envelope in order for the viewer to get "the high," or "the thrill" from watching images that give that high and that thrill that tamer images used to give but that outlived their usefulness regarding the high and thrill that is increasingly required by consumers of porn, be it Gay or Straight.

Personally, I seen nothing wrong with viewing porn, be it Straight or Gay! What is at issue here is the fact that, like any "narcotic," increasing edginess of images is required to achieve the same result that far tamer images elicited even twenty years ago. For the well-being of some people's psyches, what we used to say about heroin is apropos regarding porn: "It's so good. Don't even try it once."

The major concern I have is the sexualization of the gay male that puts a public face solely on "sexuality" as defining what it means to be Gay. Of course, sexual orientation is what largely, though not solely, defines and justifies the labels "Gay" and 'Straight."

However, sex devoid of love both disembodies one from the other, and also disembodies one from the other in the psyches of all too many gay men, and the images that others' have of both Gay men and women, and that disembodiment is fueled by the images of certain types of Gay porn to which Don Charles refers.

The Straight community has less to lose by producers of Straight porn pushing the envelope as that community enjoys full and equal civil rights, and it is expected that Straight men and women are capable of loving each other; that love is validated and legitimated by virtually all people in society.

Gay men and women, on the other hand, by and large do not have that image; their love is all too often solely equated with lustful sexuality; is thereby viewed as "inferior" (if it is viewed to exist at all in the minds of many Straight people), to the love Straight people have for each other.

So, Don Charles' post also implicitly suggests that pushing the envelope in Gay porn may well have far more potentially damaging consequences to the lives, psyches, and rights of Gay people than occurs when there is the pushing of the envelope in Straight porn.

I urge you to read his provocative, typically lucid and articulate, post on this subject.

His two-part post is located here.
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Friday, March 28, 2008


"Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.

"An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday from diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said."

[For the full article, see here.]

We've all heard of these cases before, where parents use their "faith" as a substitute for getting a critically ill child needed medical attention which could conceivably save that child's life.

Beyond the foolishness and gullibility of such parents in using the "faith" argument, the fact is that such misuse of the "faith" argument can be seen in many professing Christians' reaction to LGBT people. The same ignorance is witnessed in both such cases!

"Faith," "pistis" in the Greek, means to have abiding trust in God over and above seen circumstances. It does not negate using one's God-given discernment in knowing how to apply that faith in the world in which we live.

That discernment doesn't negate putting faith in action; rather, it puts faith in action by moving the mountains necessary to care for those whom God placed in our charge as stewards.

I remember when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, and she asked her obstetrician, "When am I going to have my baby?" He wisely answered her, "Remember, this is not your baby. You are just privileged to carry it."

Those words of wisdom hit the mark! That precious child was not a possession of those parents to use their "faith" as a vehicle by which their child would be healed. Their child had the best chance of being healed by their coupling their faith with taking action to do everything in their power to help that child.

In other words, we are all to put legs on our prayers, and do what must be done to reach our goal, be that goal the healing of a child or the acquisition of full and equal rights for LGBT people.

Just as a misunderstanding of biblical faith may well have caused this child's death, the misunderstanding of biblical faith, and assorted and selectively used, and erroneously interpreted, biblical passages to seek to deny LGBT people full and equal rights come from the same dark place: ignorance of the things of God!

Just as those parents seem to have ignorantly misapplied "faith," professing Christian homophobes ignorantly misapply "faith" in erroneously denigrating and condemning same-sex love as well as in their denigrating, judging, and condemning LGBT people. One doesn't have to be an extremist to commit such errors, but one does have to be ignorant and have more than a modicum of hate and/or gullibility in their hearts to allow another human being to die in front of their eyes when there are alternative explanations and avenues available to help prevent that death.

The whole idea of "hate the sin and love the sinner," is not only one big lie as, if the truth were known, professing Christian homphobes undoubtedly hate the "sinner" too, but the fact is that nowhere in the Bible is that verse to be found; nowhere in Scripture is same-sex love condemned. Indeed, as can be seen in the case of King David and Jonathan, same-sex love is affirmed and celebrated!

Just as nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are to merely have "faith" in order to have others healed of their illnesses or symptoms of their illnesses, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Gay people are not in every way equal to Straight people in the eyes of God. Indeed, Jesus never even once talked against Gay people!

Moreover, Jesus recognized that there are people who are born Gay, as we see in Matthew 19:12 when He said, "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb...."

Yet, ignorant and often hateful and demented professing Christians feel free to condemn and judge LGBT people (Clearly something Jesus unequivocally told us not to do!), and do the equivalent of what these parents allegedly did. And, just as might well have happened in this case, these professing Christian homophobes cause the deaths of others, be those deaths physical and/or emotional and/or spiritual.

And there can be no mistake about that fact!

In addition to the death of this little girl, the ironic fact is that these parents showed far more faith in God than do professing Christian homophobes, in that the former trusted God to answer their prayers without them interceding in any way save through prayer, whereas the latter don't even show a modicum of trust in God by the very fact of their strident, hateful pronouncements against God's LGBT children.

So, the ultimate irony is that these ignorant parents showed themselves to be far more Godly than the professing Christian homophobes who, unlike these parents, don't trust God to deal with His children as He sees fit, but seek to usurp the role of God in their most grievous sin of judging and condemning others.

There is little doubt in my mind that God will deal far more harshly with the ignorant, often hateful, professing Christian homophobes than He will with this poor couple who just lost their daughter ostensibly through their ignorance!
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Thursday, March 27, 2008


My friend, Bishop Leland Somers, sent me an excellent article, some excerpts of which I wanted to share with you.

The following excerpts are from a new book by Christ Hedges, author of the excellent book, "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning".

Hedges has just come out with a new book that I have yet to read entitled, "I Don't Believe In Atheists" from which the following are some of the excerpts.

"There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea that we are morally advancing as a species or that we will overcome the flaws of human nature. We progress technologically and scientifically, but not morally. We use the newest instruments of technological and scientific progress to create more efficient forms of killing, repression and economic exploitation, and to accelerate environmental degradation. There is a good and a bad side to human progress. We are not moving towards a glorious utopia. We are not moving anywhere.

"Religious institutions, however, should be separated from the religious values imparted to me by religious figures, including my father. Most of these men and women frequently ran afoul of their own religious authorities. Religion, real religion, was about fighting for justice, standing up for the voiceless and the weak, reaching out in acts of kindness and compassion to the stranger and the outcast, living a life of simplicity, finding empathy and defying the powerful. It was about caring for the other. Spirituality was not defined by 'how it is with me,' but the tougher spirituality of resistance, the spirituality born of struggle, of the fight with the world's evils. This spirituality, vastly different from the narcissism of modern spirituality movements, was eloquently articulated by Dr. King and the Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and put to death by the Nazis....

"This belief in inevitable moral progress, whether it comes in secular or religious form, is magical thinking. The secular version of this myth peddles fables no less fantastic, and no less delusional, than those preached from church pulpits. The battle under way in America is not a battle between religion and science. It is a battle between religious and secular fundamentalists. It is a battle between two groups intoxicated with the utopian and magical belief that humankind can protect itself and master its destiny."

[For the full article, see here.]

Although these excerpts don't specifically deal with LGBT issues, I wanted to encourage you to read the full article, and perhaps even buy his book, as Hedges calls attention to the many myths shared by both the "New Atheists," such as Christopher Hitchens, and the "Religious Right," as represented by such people as the late Jerry Falwell and a whole host of people we can name, as to the perfectibility of human nature and the price we have paid, and are likely to continually pay, for the myths that both share.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


My friend, Candace Chellew-Hodge just came out with a book entitled, "Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians," that I wanted to suggest you purchase.

Although I have yet to read it, I know her work quite well, and have been privileged to contribute articles to her excellent website, Whosoever, for many years. From teleconferences, interviews, and knowing her other writings, I'm confident that this book should be a superb addition to any library.

I wanted to let you know about this book as soon as it appeared on the shelves, and I just got word this morning that it's now available.

The book can be purchased here.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"The Catholic Civil Rights League is urging parents to protest a B.C. teacher guide that encourages discussion about diversity -- including sexual orientation -- in all subjects and in every public school classroom.

"The league says the guide, called Making Space, Giving Voice, will result in the delivery of lessons from kindergarten to Grade 12 that conflict in many cases with family values, culture and religion while also stealing time from core curriculum subjects."

[For the full article, see here.]

In the name of "family values, culture and religion" this representative of the RC Church is again seeking to help insure future lives of ignorance, desperation, misery, and unnecessary guilt by telling LGBT people that they are "abnormal" and if Gay people act on their God-given desires they are committing "evil."

In a sane world, one would think that with all of their ephebophilia scandals that have rocked that denomination, and that have virtually bankrupted diocese, where Bishops covered up the offenses and shipped the predators to other parishes where they were free to prey on other young people, that the RC Church would not want to throw any stones from its own glass house, and that it would focus on cleaning up their own act.

However, we don't live in a sane world, and this denomination still feels free to assume the "moral" high ground, and all too many gullible people still pay attention, even at the expense of the physical and mental health of their own children.

Yes, we do live in a world marked by diversity in all of its aspects! Indeed, God specializes in diversity, as can be seen in virtually every single aspect of nature!

Yet, the RC Church sought to divert attention from its obscene predators and the obscene Bishops who covered up for them, and had they not been Bishops in the RC Church they would be serving hard time in prison for criminal facilitation, by engaging in witch hunts in RC seminaries to weed out the healthy gay men (and those who were in any way supportive of "Gay culture"), while more than likely leaving in place those undoubtedly guilt-ridden gay men filled with self-loathing who were closeted and might very well manifest that closeted condition in one or more unhealthy ways now and in the future.

Now, the RC Church again assumes the moral high ground and seeks to foster more ignorance about the subject of sexual diversity. Why we would allow a bunch of presumably celibate men to lecture us on matters of love and sex is a mystery to me!

Nevertheless, people do listen to them and take their ignorant, often hateful, pronouncements regarding sexual and affectional matters seriously, all the while inculcating guilt onto their children and other parents' children, helping to further foster ignorance in sexual matters, and all the while helping to insure that more ignorant and even twisted people will exist both now as well as in the next generation.
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Monday, March 24, 2008


Beyond the fact that "marriage" confers a legitimacy as to the recognition and equal sanctity of same-sex love with that of heterosexual love; beyond the fact that we can expect that when same-sex marriage becomes institutionalized that virtually all other civil and sacramental rights will accrue to Gay people, we are clearly seeing that incrementalism in the forms of such constructions as Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions are not working, and are continuing to place same-sex love in a subordinate, substandard position as compared to heterosexual love in society.

"'I’m still working at the same company, doing the same job. Why shouldn’t I be able to cover my partner in Idaho like I did in New Jersey? This would never happen to a married couple,' said [Ralph] Martinelli.

"'Konica wants everyone to think they care about their gay employees, but the way Konica is interpreting its policy is so restrictive that many employees are shut out of the coverage.'

"Typically, companies that wish to offer domestic partnership benefits to employees living in states that do not recognize same-sex relationships either accept a marriage, civil union or domestic partnership certificate from another state, or have the employee submit an affidavit attesting to the partnership.

"Monday the American Civil Liberties Union sent a demand letter to Konica's head office in New Jersey urging the company to interpret its policy on domestic partner health insurance so that more employees will have access to the insurance.

"'Konica Minolta wants all the good will that comes with providing domestic partner insurance, but they clearly don’t want to have to provide the benefits. Otherwise they would never be interpreting its policy in such a restrictive way,' said Jack Van Valkenburgh, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho."

[For the full article, see here]

It is essential that same-sex marriage become the highest priority in the fight for equal rights, as to settle for the indignities attendant upon incremental steps as DP's and Civil Unions only serve the purpose of highlighting how far short they fall from the rights that accrue to heterosexually married couples. It may well be that DP's and Civil Unions are useful in highlighting this discrepancy from marriage, but we don't need to have more of them to get the point that there is no substitute for the right to marriage, even if only a handful of same-sex couples should want to avail themselves of this option.

Soliciting Straight allies if possible, and then writing letters to members of Congress, and to those members who seem to be "Gay friendly" and asking them to put forth same-sex marriage legislation; writing to Governors to initiate same-sex marriage in each state; writing letters to the editor of local, regional, and national newspapers; bringing class action suits before the judiciary, are activities we can do, to help move this civil rights issue forward.

We are in the same position now that African-Americans were in in the 1950's, and there can be no mistake about that! Meaningful activism, and not sweet reason, or trusting in "the milk of human kindness," is the only way to move any civil rights movement forward, and the conferring of every single civil right that is enjoyed by Straight people must be obtained by LGBT people for this civil rights movement to be won.

No Straight person has to like it! No one has to be liked!

But the Constitution says that we are all equal under the law, and that fact must be realized for LGBT people, and will only be so realized by there being concerted pressure brought to bear to make equality under the law a reality.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008


Have a wonderful Easter, acknowledging and celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord, and all of God's benefits to us, and taking strength from Him every day of our lives, and in the ministries He has ordained for each of us.
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Friday, March 21, 2008


Beyond the fact that these people who are planning and are going to participate in The Million Fag March are referring to themselves by the same epithet that the Phelps' of the world use to denigrate and defame them and all LGBT people, the major result of this protest will be to give Phelps the publicity for which he is very hungry.

Moreover, Phelps and his clan have so little credibility with anyone, even with those who are homophobic themselves, that this march can do little but give him some modicum of credibility that he at this point in time does not enjoy. It inadvertently places him on the same "equal footing," as those who support full and equal LGBT civil rights, a message for full equality that the marchers themselves may not even convey in their demonstration.

"While some might criticize the effort as naïve and believe the counter protest will only serve to draw more attention to the preacher’s message of hate, [Chris] Love [one of the protest's leaders] believes the event will be an opportunity to show the world that not everyone in Kansas is as backward and hate-filled as Phelps and his disciples. Love emphasizes that the “Million Fag March” is an opportunity for all people, gay and straight, to form a collective voice that will send the world a message that hate and intolerance are unacceptable in civilized society." [For the full article, see here.]

To march on Fred Phelps' territory is relatively safe and relatively meaningless. Why not take on homophobic denominations and churches that do enjoy a credibility they do not deserve? Actually, Phelps, currently a toothless tiger, has inadvertently done a great deal to help our cause by his hateful, over the top, rhetoric and by his and his family's picketing of soldiers' funerals so that even most homophobes resent him for casting their position in "a bad light" in the eyes of many Straight people.

These people who are eager to participate in "The Million Fag March" are unwitting subversives and agents provocateurs, who seem to seek to further entrench LGBT people who feel comfortable in referring to themselves and to each other as "fags," into their own compounds where they can revel in their being "outsiders" and "sexual outlaws," and in further alienating all LGBT people from mainstream society whereby, and only from which, they can acquire full and equal civil rights.

By participating in this march, they are not only reinforcing a demeaning and hateful label onto themselves in the eyes of potential allies, but they are elevating Phelps' credibility in the eyes of the public by even suggesting that Phelps is a force that is even worthy to contend with.

They are playing into the hands of the homophobes who can then show potentially or perceived "outrageous" photographs on assorted web sites and mainstream media outlets, and then further seek to show and "justify" how those who implicitly purport to represent all LGBT people don't deserve to have the same rights as heterosexuals enjoy.

For example, imagine when judges are in the position of deciding if same-sex couples are "worthy" to adopt a child and, at the same time, have images of self-avowed protesting "fags" in their heads, whether or not those same-sex couples have a good chance of being viewed as equal to heterosexual couples in this regard. The same holds true for any and all civil rights for LGBT people, be it marriage rights (which is currently being considered by the California Supreme Court) or even federal civil rights protections of which there are currently none.

This march not only sticks a finger in the eye of those who can help our cause, but sticks that same finger in the eye of all other LGBT people who desire full and equal civil and sacramental rights. And the only thing to be gained by the marchers is the momentary catharsis of venting anger at an empty vessel that already symbolizes irrelevance, and is already an embarrassment to virtually all those who would deny full equality to LGBT people.

The marchers are targeting a group that counts for nothing, whereas they could, instead, take that energy, solicit Straight allies, and regularly picket one or more homophobic churches in their respective communities that do have undeserved credibility and, by so doing, get far more bang for the buck in the movement toward the acquisition of full and equal civil rights.

However, I also wonder if the acquisition of full and equal civil rights is an actual goal of those who would publicly refer to themselves by such a hateful epithet as "fag," and who have come to take pride in that label.

Moreover, they would have far more credibility with the general public, and go much further in acquiring equal rights for all LGBT people (if that is indeed their goal), by not publicly referring to themselves by use of hateful epithets that are likely to turn off potential allies, and that validate the use of those same epithets that are used by those who would do, and in fact do, anything in their power to deny them and all LGBT people those rights.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


In my post of March 12th entitled, "The Truth, Denial, Revulsion, and the Reinforcing of Stereotypes," I wrote:

"Many LGBT people honestly believe that by appropriating degrading names given to them by their oppressors they are re-claiming their essence, and their very liberation, from the hurt that those names that have historically been visited upon them have caused them. They don't see, and many refuse to see, that their use of those horrible names merely reinforces in their psyches and in the psyches of others their 'deviant' and 'abnormal' status that is diametrically opposed to the status one must have, and demand, for full and equal rights to become a reality."

Had I written about the use of pejorative self-identifiers and assorted Pride Parades shortly after Stonewall, I would not have decried the use of pejorative self-labeling and social manifestations of Pride as exist in such manifestations as parades.

Shortly after Stonewall, the use of what are pejorative self-labels and Pride Parades did serve some positive psychological and social purposes. They affirmed the existence and legitimacy of Gay people, and they helped cement an in-group solidarity that was extremely important in the "emancipation" and "coming out" processes for many.

However, we are no longer in the immediate post-Stonewall era! What short-term gains that might have accrued due to using those denigrating labels as self-identifiers and the existence of celebratory parades in the midst of being treated as second-class citizens have long outlived their usefulness.

Moreover, such self-affirming post-Stonewall features have now become both psychologically harmful, self-defeating, counter-productive, and counter-revolutionary! They are hindering the meaningful activism needed to achieve full and equal civil rights by reinforcing negative stereotypes, as well as reinforcing "deviant," "outsider," and "abnormal" status in both all too many LGBT people's eyes as well as in the eyes of others; they are perceived by many potential allies as serving to further cement LGBT people into their respective communities and, thereby, LGBT people continue to be viewed as "outsiders," a status that is all too readily affirmed and embraced by many LGBT people.

All too often we hear LGBT people who use historically degrading words with which to identify themselves rationalizing and justifying their use as "neutralizing" those hateful words and also "reclaiming" those words by appropriating them as one's own. Regarding the second rationale, why someone would want to appropriate hateful words as a self-identifier bespeaks of either political naivete and/or a degree of self-loathing that might not even be sufficiently recognizable by the person using those words.

However, it is nothing short of a fantasy to believe that use of such words as self-identifiers is to "reclaim" them. My friend, Don Charles wrote to me the following regarding this matter that hits the nail on the head:

"We do not 'reclaim' slurs because we want to detoxify them. We 'reclaim' them because we want to use them in an ironic way, or we want to make ourselves appear 'radical' or tough. Those purposes would not be served if the slurs were rendered benign, and they'd have no attraction for us.

" We cannot 'reclaim' something that hasn't been relinquished. Bigots have not given up using these words to denigrate us, and there's no sign that they ever will.

"We cannot 'reclaim' something we never owned in the first place! LGBT folk didn't invent sexual slurs. They were invented by our oppressors. The most we can do is share ownership of these ugly words with them, and when we do, we either identify with the oppressor or demonstrate how oppressed our mindset is.

"Thus, the 'reclamation' argument falls flat on its ass!"

It's very important to distinguish what meanings pejorative self-identifiers and celebratory exhibitions have to many LGBT people, and what meanings they have to potential allies who are on the fence regarding having LGBT people acquire full and equal civil rights.

I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with any aspect or expression of sexuality, if it is between consenting adults, be it homosexual or heterosexual. Of course, there is a place for all of the sub-communities within the larger communities of Gay and Straight people. What I am arguing is that the public display of those words and activities, putting them as the public face that stereotypes LGBT people, and further confirms those stereotypes in the minds, rhetoric, and discriminatory rationales of homophobes, retards the acquisition of full and equal civil rights and, hence, is counter-productive and counter-revolutionary.

We will never win over strident homophobes to our cause, but we must win over reasonable people who must come to see LGBT people as deserving of every single civil and sacramental right that heterosexuals enjoy, and adding assorted fuels to the fires of homophobia by one's or by a group's "presentation of self" are not rational or effective ways to achieve this goal.

There are Straight people into leather, BDSM, fetishes, and the like, but these activities and their representations are held behind closed doors. Even if we do see certain Straight people defining themselves as bizarre and even celebrating what most people view as "deviant," it must be remembered that they now enjoy full civil rights. LGBT people do not!

For people who are already viewed as second-class citizens and are bereft of full civil rights to engage in assorted immediate post-Stonewall era self-definitions and celebrations has become anachronistic and self-defeating!

Just like in show business and politics, when it comes to political activism image is everything! Of course, I'm not suggesting that gay men march in shirts and ties and women march in dresses as was deemed necessary in the 1950's.

The fact is that such a public persona of Gay people was very necessary in the 1950's! Gay people largely received what modicum of credibility was afforded them by dressing and acting in such perceived non-offensive ways when demonstrating for civil rights when in the public eye.

Those who threw rocks at the thuggish police at the Stonewall Inn made it less likely that police wouldn't any further act as storm troopers at the Stonewall Inn or many other such establishments again, but we have yet to achieve full and equal civil rights, and what "rights" that have accrued to Gay people have been enmeshed with the indignities of still being treated as second-class citizens who appear grateful for the crumbs of incrementalism afforded them, and who are viewed by politicians and others as those who can be bought off with such incremental changes as Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions.

One would think that after Plessy v Ferguson that said "separate was equal" for African-Americans was overturned by Brown v Board of Education in 1954 that said that "separate was not equal" in public accommodations our current crop of justices and politicians would not want to be on the wrong side of history again.

However, they apparently feel no such need or urgency, given the fact that so many LGBT people seem quite content with such incrementalism. Given the fact that LGBT people are still viewed as "outsiders," and so many LGBT people affirm that view by also viewing themselves in that way by manifesting that "outsider" status by use of pejorative self-labels and public celebrations amidst treatment as second-class citizens, there is no urgency or perceived need for politicians or jurists to officially recognize that "separate is not equal" when it comes to LGBT civil rights.

It would be a mistake to think that I am blaming the victim! What I am saying is that those who have been terribly and obscenely victimized must transcend their psychological and political victimization by recognizing that the poisoned fruits of that victimization are there in the first place; shake off the shackles of their oppression; realize that they are fully deserving of full and equal civil rights; recognize that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered are normal parts of God's creation, and meaningfully fight for equal rights.

And to do those things, one must be emotionally aware enough, and politically savvy enough, to realize that the public persona that is seen by others is crucial in determining the credibility that is needed to get the fight for those rights off the ground. Anything less is counter-productive and counter-revolutionary in today's United States.

And those who tenaciously and continuously maintain their right to use, and their pride in using, degrading self-identifiers and/or who persist in engaging in celebrations that show themselves off to be "the other," betray the fact that they don't really want to acquire full and equal civil rights either for themselves or for other LGBT people who do want and certainly deserve those rights.
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Monday, March 17, 2008


Please do yourself a favor by sitting back for less than one-half hour and listen to my friend, Rev. Troy Perry, talking about the start of the Metropolitan Community Churches in 1968, and his moving, emboldening, message of courage in the on-going fight for full LGBT equality. Every LGBT person and ally, Gay or Straight, Christian or not, deserves to listen to this wonderful, charismatic, man who is both a superb preacher and prophet.

It would take enormous courage to begin such a denomination today in many parts of the U.S. It's inconceivable how much courage it took for Rev. Perry to begin a church in his living room, a year before Stonewall, that was to be a special outreach to all people, particularly LGBT people. He began with 12 people in his living room, and now the MCC is world-wide.

Rev. Perry is still active in this essential ministry. He retired as Moderator of the MCC after 37 years, and now travels all over the globe to spread the message of God's love to all of His children; God made LGBT people just as He wanted to, and loves them unconditionally.

He is not only a delightful human being, but is extraordinarily intelligent, sensitive, insightful, courageous, and Godly to whom God gave a ministry and mission that, despite all sorts of trials and obstacles, he continues to carry out. He is a true inspiration who epitomizes a life lived that wouldn't make any sense if God didn't exist!

The description of this audio on the My Space site that contains various pictures of Rev. Perry taken throughout the years is the following:

"Description: An excellent expression faith in Christ for diveristy that exclusive Christians need to have the guts to hear, all the way though, with an open heart for people who are not like them in very few ways but really love God just as much and painfully endure traditionally exclusive ideas to maintain that faith; just like Jesus endured religious critcism, exclusion and ultimate death.

"This is an audio of a 1973 sermon by Rev Troy Perry about beginning circumstances of Metropolitan Community Churches with pictures of him changing every minute or so."

So, sit back, turn up your speakers, click on the link below, and enjoy this treat!
See the video here.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008


I strongly urge you to read the six part post by my friend, Don Charles, on his blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr.

The six part post is entitled, "Stumbling Blocks To Gay Liberation," and it deals with crucial stumbling blocks that are greatly hurting the psyches of so many Gay people, and are helping retard the needed activism necessary to gain full and equal civil and sacramental rights.

Those stumbling blocks with which he deals are "Ignorance,"Denial," "Machismo," "Stereotypes, "Bibliolatry," and "Shame."

His incisive discussions of each of these Stumbling Blocks is a must-read for all Gay people in deciding for themselves how and to what degree these impediments to living a fulfilling and meaningful life are housed within their psyches; how what impediments exist can be transcended so that the desire for full and equal civil and sacramental rights truly exists, and that meaningful activism to achieve those rights becomes a reality.

To hopefully whet your appetite to read all six of his posts on the Stumbling Blocks, the following is an excerpt from his post on "Denial":

"Examples of self-disenfranchisement are Gay people who embrace one-dimensional media portrayals of themselves, who endorse radical political strategy that alienates instead of inspires, who actively oppose marriage equality, who are indifferent when Lesbians and Gay men are denied employment/membership in religious institutions, and who are as hostile to open military service for LGBT citizens as the Joint Chiefs of Staff! These kinds of incomprehensible positions pop up regularly in Gay political discourse. Of all the stumbling blocks, Denial is the oppressor’s greatest ally in perpetuating our oppression."

His posts on the Stumbling Block are essential reading for all LGBT people and allies who truly strive, and are willing to fight for, full equality for God's LGBT children.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008


The Evangelical Lutheran Church of American, the "liberal" wing of the Lutheran Church, in its ""Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality," stated that marriage should still be confined to one man and one woman, but that same-sex couples were legitimate, but came up with the following:

"The church recognizes the historic origin of the term `marriage' as a lifelong and committed relationship between a woman and a man, and does not wish to alter this understanding."

"The document released Thursday repeatedly states that sexual intimacy should be reserved for married couples, and condemns sex for personal gratification alone."

And, to add insult to injury, it states: "These [same gender] relationships are to be held to the same rigorous standards and sexual ethics as all others," the document says. "This suggests that dissolution of a committed same-gender relationship be treated with the same gravity as the dissolution of a marriage."

[For the full article, see here]

So, the "liberal" wing of the Lutheran Church comes up with the statement that same-gender relationships are to be tolerated, but the couples are not to engage in sexual activity and, to top it off, those relationships must "be treated with the same gravity as the dissolution of a marriage." Talk about a double wammy!

"Next year, the panel will decide whether to suggest changes in current clergy standards that bar gays and lesbians from being ordained if they are sexually active." What do you think will be the result of their decision?

These "liberals" are still squeamish (or, perhaps, fearful) about sexual activity, still view same-gender couples differently from heterosexual couples, still will not allow the term "marriage" to be applied to same-gender couples, still hopelessly seek to deny them the sexual activity that goes along with marriage and, if one is a Lutheran and does engage in sexual activity with his or her same-sex partner, he/she can be allowed to feel guilty.

Since when did Jesus give any organization or human being the right to judge the relationships between two consenting adults? Since when did the Gospel of grace become distorted into a false gospel of legalism? Since when did "sex" become equated with "morality," to the exclusion of the rampant structural and corporate sins to which we've been exposed and from which we've suffered since the dawn of man, and about which most all of the institutional Church has been predictably silent?

Rather than lead the way in affirming love among consenting adults in all its forms, and formally recognizing the intrinsic holy nature of love and its sexual expressions, most church bodies within the institutional Church have merely either pandered to the most reactionary forces in both "religious" and secular society and/or seek to anemically navigate the waters of controversy lest they lose members and, of course, the moneys that flow into their collection plates that enable them to have their careers, and continue with their building beautification programs.

And these are the "liberals!"
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Thursday, March 13, 2008


The late British psychiatrist, R.D. Laing, coined the term, "the mystification of experience," to denote how people can try to take a bad experience and seek to make it appear to be a good experience to others. Similarly, in the name of love, hate can be spewed; in the name of the Prince of Peace, condemnation of others becomes all too common; churches that are to be made up of all of God's children become private clubs and enclaves where exclusion of people by word and/or deed becomes normative; preaching and living out the Gospel of grace becomes twisted into legalistic institutions becoming enmeshed with some of the most reactionary forces in society; ministry to others comes to take second place to incestuous socialization and building beautification.

A young man wrote a heart-felt letter to Sally Kern (state representative for Oklahoma City District 84, whose husband pastors a church) who spewed hateful words about Gay people (see here) saying that they were more of a threat to America than are terrorists.

His letter to her was not allowed to be delivered by state troopers, so his uncle posted it on the internet. It reads in part:

"I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won’t be there. So I’ll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don’t want to be here for that. I just can’t go through that again.

"You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others."

[For the full article and letter, see here.]

Where are the professing Christians who are expressing outrage at this hate speech? Where are the churches that comprise the institutional Church in their condemnation of this kind of hate that heaps condemnation on our LGBT sisters and brothers?

The unfortunate fact is that what passes for "churches," just as what all too frequently pass as "Christians," have mystified the experience for all too many people by taking their prejudices, their hate-filled hearts, and have used words and sentiments to support, either by words or by silence, the Sally Kerns of the world who have been allowed to get elected to political offices, pastor churches, and attain positions of responsibility that allow them to have forums to express their hate.

"Christianity" as represented by most of the institutional Church has shown itself to be meaningless and dangerous, as so many of those who profess to be Christians either spew hate or keep silent in the face of hate and the oppression of others. Moreover, it is an indictment of most of the institutional Church that the kind of hateful rhetoric that Kern expresses resonates quite well with the hateful rhetoric expressed far too often from pulpits throughout the world.

And all Christians worthy of the name will condemn such hate-speech, be it from the mouth of a legislator or from the mouth of a clergy person.

And those who profess to be "Christians," by their mystification of the experience of condoning, even by their silence, such hate-speech, who equate being "church-goers" with being "Christians," will be rightly and finally consigned to being recognized as the two-faced, hateful, cowardly, phonies so many of them have already shown themselves to be.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The author of the recently released book "Gay Christian 101," Rick Brentlinger, was kind enough to send me this superb book to read and review, and I have been extraordinarily pleased to do both. Indeed, this book is less a "book," and more an "encyclopedia" of 390 pages, including an eclectic and copious bibliography.

All Christians, Gay and Straight, as well as others who are at all interested in the relationship between the Bible, Christianity and homosexuality, owe it to themselves to read this book, and make it a permanent part of their libraries. It is a book to which you will often want to refer.

Rev. Brentlinger, whose website is located here, has shown himself to be not only an excellent, lucid, writer, but also a first rate scholar in the area of Christianity, the Bible, and homosexuality. Using many varied and eclectic references, he lays out for the reader all the possible interpretations of the relevant Hebrew and Greek words that have been for far too long erroneously used to condemn Gay people, and in a systematic, logical, way he discusses "the clobber passages," as well as ancient writers' understandings of those passages, and the contexts and behaviors to which those passages are addressed and in which they were written.

He exhibits an eclectic approach to the discussion of this topic, citing such known and relatively unknown works, philosophers, and theologians as "The Babylonian Talmud"; "Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856"; Clement of Alexandria; Pericles; Aristotle; Josephus; Dionysius of Halacirnassus; Philo of Alexandria; Thucydides; Eupolis; Plato; Plutarch; the "Digest of Justinian"; Ulpian, the Roman legal expert, and a host of other ancient and also contemporary commentators on the words, contexts, and passages of the Bible that have been erroneously used to condemn Gay people, and exclude them from full fellowship in all too many churches.

He unequivocally and conclusively shows that same-sex loving couples have never been condemned in Scripture or in any of the works of the ancient writers who lived in the time frame, and within the context, in which the "offending" words, ideas, and Bible passages were written and interpreted. He also unequivocally and conclusively shows how those passages have been re-defined, often by relatively recent self-styled "conservative" Christians, to mean what was undoubtedly never in the minds of the writers of the Old and New Testaments.

Moreover, he is intellectually honest to the point where he details all the possible assorted interpretations of the various Bible passages (Such as in his discussion of the Greek term, "Malakoi," to which is attributed myriad meanings in the 45 Bible versions he examines.), and through logic and careful analysis of his and other Bible authorities and ancient writers shows how no one could ethically and logically deduce that Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or any other figure in the Bible could have affirmed the homophobic attitudes of those who profess that the Bible says that homosexuality as we understand the term is a sin.

In addition, Rev. Brentlinger shows himself to be a first-rate Bible scholar! He takes passages that have been used to vilify and condemn Gay people, and dissects them, discusses the meaning of the Greek words and terms, shows the context in which and to which the passages were directed, and gives alternate and competing scenarios regarding those passages, and then logically and systematically shows how those passages couldn't possibly be directed against same-sex loving people.

I can't do sufficient justice to this superb book! As I mentioned, it is less a "book" than it is an "encyclopedia," and is simply outstanding, easily readable, logically and systematically written, so that everyone from a lay person to a theologian can easily read and comprehend it.

This book will definitely greatly enhance and inform your view on this subject, and finally lay to rest any lingering doubts the reader might have concerning the fact that God made His Gay children too, and that the Adam and Eve style marriage was never considered by the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament, or by Jesus Himself, to be applicable to those who were and are "...eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb...." (Matthew 19:12)

Buy this book! Believe me, you won't be disappointed!
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This post is an elaboration of the article I posted the other day, as I wanted to update it by including Don Charles' insights regarding the damage that the reinforcement of stereotypes by many LGBT people, many of whom view themselves as "liberated," has done in helping to retard LGBT people having all of the civil and sacramental rights that accrue to their heterosexual counterparts.

In a Diary on the blog, Pam's House Blend, a woman wrote the following as part of her post: "In a recent diary entry, a poster commented upon my styling myself 'The Old Dyke' by saying that he did not accept the concept of a 'Dyke.' You say that you do not accept the concept of a 'Dyke.' I am a Dyke. My Lesbianism was something that I was born with, that I choose and rechoose to live every day. It an evolving process, an organic thing of unending possibilities. My Dykeness was thrust upon me, suddenly, unwillingly. In the beginning it was frightening but it is something that I now treasure, that I embrace with pride." [See here for the rest of the post and the comments made on that post.]

The attitude of this woman is unfortunately shared by many LGBT people who have so internalized the messages of their historic oppressor that they not only use the oppressor's words as self-identifiers, but actually view the use of those hateful words as signs of liberation. The desire to sincerely debate ideas about how best to achieve full and equal civil rights is by far subordinated to the demand of many LGBT people that they be given the right to take pride in using those self-identifiers as a symbol of their "liberation" and as a consequence of their experiences of discrimination and oppression.

What is instructive in this context is the proposed origin of the derogatory terms, "Dyke" and "Faggot." My friend Don Charles sent me the following emails that deal with this significant issue of stereotyping that is doing immeasurable harm in the fight for full and equal civil rights for LGBT people:

"The epithets 'faggot' and 'dyke' both appear to have been derived from insults directed at women! Etymologists have traced 'faggot' to an older root word used to denigrate older women. It had the connotation of “hag” or “bitch” (a slur that modern Gay men share with women among working class people). Contrary to what’s widely believed, 'faggot' is probably not a reference to the wooden sticks once used to burn Gay people at the stake. The word “dyke” has been traced to a vulgar expression for a woman’s vagina. It may also be an abbreviation of the word 'hermaphrodite', meaning a person with indeterminate genitalia. Not the accurate definition of a Lesbian! One thing we can deduce for certain: Both of these slurs were coined by men for the purpose of insulting womanhood. Most, if not all Lesbians call themselves feminist. How can a feminist allow sexist language to issue from her mouth, much less define her identity? It was taken from the online etymology website http://www.etymonline/com."

Some stereotypes he mentions, and that are wittingly and/or unwittingly fostered are:

"The 'prissy faggot', a cartoon caricature born to do your hair, makeover your wardrobe and decorate your apartment.

"The 'depraved leather queen', a certified sicko with a fully-equipped torture chamber in his basement.

"The hulking 'bulldyke', a beastly figure who despises her own womanhood, sees men as a threat and is ten times more macho than John Wayne.

"The hedonistic 'lipstick Lesbian', a Victoria's Secret fantasy who loves it when men watch while she has sex with her girlfriend.

"The AC/DC/screw-anything-that-moves 'bi guy', orgy-loving, sex-obsessed and inherently unable to commit to a monogomous relationship.

"The outrageous 'trannie', another cartoon caricature who lives to model the latest in femme couture and trick innocent Straight men into believing she's a biological woman.

"The 'radical' Gay Pride marcher, a carnival clown with 'I'm here, I'm queer' placard in hand and pink feather boa slung 'round the shoulders, gyrating to a Disco beat, bare breasts bouncing, genitalia swinging free.

"Every one a sexual predator, an advocate of public sex and underage sex, a danger to children and the family structure.

"These images of LGBT folk are arguable more degrading than the Uncle Tom, Aunt Jemimah, Zip Coon and Stepin Fechit images that have plagued African-Americans."

Don Charles concludes: "I think those ugly myths hurt us, and we are not doing nearly enough to counteract them and insist on more diverse images of ourselves in the media . . . and I mean the Gay media, too. Pick up a Gay publication (fiction or nonfiction), and more likely than not you'll see a sexually provocative cover. Usually a naked or half-naked White man. Often, a cross-dresser whose make-up and clothing are over-the-top. Look at the recent crop of Gay TV shows and what do you see? 'Queer Eye For The Straight Guy', an insult. 'The L Word', sexual objectification of Lesbians. 'Queer As Folk', sexual objectification of Gay men. We're either depicted in a soft-porn context or played as a limp wrist joke. No way would Black people have stood for those kinds of portrayals of themselves at the height of the Civil Rights struggle! They reinforce the oppressor's bigotry. When I say stereotyping, I'm talking about the way we fail to challenge dehumanizing, one-dimensional images of ourselves."

Many LGBT people honestly believe that by appropriating degrading names given to them by their oppressors they are re-claiming their essence, and their very liberation, from the hurt that those names that have historically been visited upon them have caused them. They don't see, and many refuse to see, that their use of those horrible names merely reinforces in their psyches and in the psyches of others their "deviant" and "abnormal" status that is diametrically opposed to the status one must have, and demand, for full and equal rights to become a reality.

What is interesting about the source of one's identity when he/she is oppressed is that that part of that person that is used as "justification" for that oppression visited upon him or her rather quickly becomes that person's prism whereby he/she sees his/her very identity. For example, being Black is a mere skin color. It is no different than the size of one's feet or the color of one's eyes. However, since skin color has been used as a major criterion for discrimination and grinding oppression, that very skin color becomes the essence of one's perceived identity. If foot size were the major criterion for such discrimination and oppression, it is likely that foot size would become the essence of one's perceived identity. The counter-productive use of any one facet of one's multidimensional humanity, be it skin color, sexual orientation, sexual identity, or foot size diminishes the essence and dignity of any human being who reduces his/her identity to that one, or any one, facet.

Sociologists have a term for this phenomenon that is called one's "master status." That is the status by which others view that person and is the status by which that person frequently views him/herself. One's master status becomes the characteristic of that person whereby virtually everything that that person does is seen in its light. This phenomenon is most strikingly seen when one's master status has been stigmatized by others.

For example, if you found out that I had been in prison, it is likely that everything I would do and everything I would say and write would largely be seen as a function of my being an ex-convict. Similarly, if one is Gay, virtually everything is seen by others, and even by the person him/herself, as being a function of his/her status of being Gay.

When one takes a given characteristic, be it ex-convict, being Gay, being an ex-mental patient, being African-American, etc., that has been stigmatized by others, not only is that master status seen as being the most important part of that person, but that master status frequently becomes part of one's own very identity and concept of self. They have bought into the label placed upon them by their oppressor and, further, have so incorporated that label that it subsequently becomes viewed as the very essence of one's very identity and concept of self.

And that master status, that identifier, can frequently be tenaciously defended as part of one's identity, one's very essence, in order to preserve one's dignity in the face of a host of indignities visited upon that discredited, and potentially discreditable, characteristic of that person. Therefore, we find that among many people who have suffered stigma, in order to maintain their ego-integrity, their sense of dignity, they largely feel most comfortable associating with those who will validate their dignity. Hence, ex-offenders feel most comfortable associating with other ex-offenders; many Gay people feel most comfortable associating with other Gay people; many Transgender people feel most comfortable associating with other Transgender people, many African-Americans feel most comfortable associating with other African-Americans.

After being the recipient, along with my friend Don Charles, of much revulsion and antagonism for our pleas on Pam's House Blend (referenced in my post of March 2nd, and on Don Charles' last two series of posts) for LGBT people to stop using historically and contemporary demeaning names in reference to themselves and to other LGBT people, I came to realize that the work to achieve full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people is much harder than I had ever anticipated.

[The relevant posts that appeared on Pam's House Blend can be seen here and here.]

The fight for equal rights for LGBT people is very difficult because we are dealing with psychological issues and well as social and political ones, and the first one must be largely overcome before the latter two are significantly realized. When we throw into the mix the fact that one can easily be greatly resented by those we are attempting to help for our trying to suggest to them what needs to be done to become truly liberated and achieve full and equal civil rights, it's a mighty long and lonely road.

Many LGBT people don't even want to hear the message about the tactics that can be used to achieve those rights, and they could well resent me, Don Charles, and others for telling them about the means by which acquisition of civil and sacramental rights can become a reality. Indeed, even a meaningful discussion of the tactics and strategies needed to achieve equal rights was eclipsed by the frequent ad hominem attacks on Pam's House Blend leveled against Don Charles and me by most all of those who chose to comment.

Using pejorative epithets as self-identifiers is harming so many in the LGBT communities, and is doing inestimable harm in the same way as using pejorative epithets as self-identifiers is doing among some people in the African-American community. And the tragedy is that the mind-set that one uses to justify these words is the very thing that is going a long way to retard, and will continue to retard, achieving the living of a meaningful life, devoid of discrimination in both groups of people.

So, the Ken Hutchersons and James Dobsons of the world, and other assorted "religious" and secular homophobes, have not only done their jobs, but now have unwitting "allies" in their cause who are members of the very minority groups that they oppress and denigrate, and those members are frequently oblivious to that mutuality.

Basically, it may be seen that many LGBT people are victims not only of homophobia, but are unwitting and unaware victims of a slight variation of the "Stockholm Syndrome" where, "Captives begin to identify with their captors initially as a defensive mechanism, out of fear of violence. Small acts of kindness by the captor are magnified, since finding perspective in a hostage situation is by definition impossible. Rescue attempts are also seen as a threat, since it's likely the captive would be injured during such attempts. It's important to note that these symptoms occur under tremendous emotional and often physical duress. The behavior is considered a common survival strategy for victims of interpersonal abuse, and has been observed in battered spouses, abused children, prisoners of war, and concentration camp survivors."

The very fact that so many commentators on Pam's House Blend couldn't see beyond the sexual nature of their very being in their hostile reactions to Don Charles and me is undoubtedly because they have bought into the lie of the oppressor. The oppressor says that they are "hedonists," "promiscuous," "deviant," "abnormal," etc. and, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, they have come to believe that lie at a very deep level.

Moreover, they frequently reinforce that lie by viewing their own use of hateful epithets as self-identifiers with a sense of pride; viewing their own use of hateful epithets as being equivalent to "liberation," which is further complicated by their revulsion and antagonism to anyone who will tell them that they are fully human, as normal as any other part of the natural order, and that they deserve to be treated with dignity and have the same rights as everyone else. Clearly, the use of pejorative self-identifiers does grave injustice to that reality.

That's a horrible combination of psychic and social distortions and denial to overcome before we even get to the political realities that have to be confronted before full and equal civil and sacramental rights become a reality. So, we're not only fighting against religious and secular homophobes, but we are fighting against many people who clearly don't want, and even terribly resent, some people telling them that the use of such pejorative words as self-identifiers is reinforcing the very mind-set from which one must be freed before meaningful activism can occur.

I don't really know whether or not those who chose to comment to our most recent posts on Pam's House Blend are representative of those in the LGBT communities. However, what has been established is that there are many LGBT people who suffer horribly from the damage done by homophobia emanating from a host of sources, not the least of which are many pulpits throughout the world.

And a major component of this tragedy is that it is a level of damage largely unrecognized by those who have been homophobia's victims!
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Friday, March 7, 2008


My friend Don Charles was kind enough to send me a DVD of the 1961 film, "The Children's Hour." It stars Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

It is a compelling story of lies, love, and individual and collective evil. I don't want to say any more about the film as I don't want to spoil it for you. My wife cried and I was shaken! Suffice it to say, I strongly urge you to rent or buy the DVD, if you already haven't seen the film. You will never forget it!

One of the many things that struck me about the film is that what was "the norm" in 1961 remains "the norm" in 2008. With the exception of Pride parades, changes in the sodomy laws, the founding of the MCC by Rev. Troy Perry (All three of which, particularly the latter two, have been a boon in the civil rights movement for LGBT people.), Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions, both of which I think have done far more to retard same-sex marriage rights than had they not existed in some jurisdictions in the first place, my perception is that the same social and psychological dynamic that this film depicts exists to this very day.

The self-loathing manifested by the apolitical nature of all too many in the LGBT community, their use of pejorative self-identifiers that have been imposed on them by their very oppressors, their revulsion against anyone who would dare suggest that enmeshing oneself in embracing negative stereotyping is counter-productive and personally hurtful, bespeaks to me the same mind-set that existed in 1961.

We have gone from the likes of Rev. Troy Perry, Barbara Gittings, Franklin Kameny, Harry Hay, and others of their caliber, to having relatively few who are engaged in meaningful activism in the fight for LGBT civil rights, such as Larry Kramer, Andy Humm, Ann Northrop, and Mike Signorile.

There are undoubtedly some, perhaps many, I have missed, but the point is that not much has changed regarding self-loathing by all too many LGBT people; more than a few viewing themselves as "outsiders," as "deviants," perhaps even as "abnormal," that is very much like the perceptions evinced in the 1961 film, except that today all too many LGBT people embrace and identify with the oppressors' hateful terms for them, and see themselves through the very lenses of these historically used derogatory terms.

Moreover, in most parts of this country, the same attitudes of others toward LGBT people largely remain the same, save for some cosmopolitan areas that would make up a relatively short list.

The major difference between what this film depicts and the current state of affairs, however, and the one that is the most disturbing to me, is the fact that in 1961, LGBT people viewed themselves as "outsiders," as "deviants," as "abnormal" and viewed that perception as fact and terribly resented their plight and that perception.

Now, however, many LGBT people, undoubtedly as a defense mechanism, have more than willingly embraced "outsider" status and have made it their very own, thereby becoming the unwitting allies of, and accomplices to, their oppressors, and doing inestimable harm to the cause of civil rights for themselves and for other LGBT people.

And, by their unwittingly becoming allies of their oppressors, the oppressors have that much less work to do, and mystification, that transmuting of "evil" into "good" regarding those obscene self-identifiers are viewed by many LGBT people as being evidence of their "liberation."

When buying into the rhetoric of one's oppressors is naively viewed as being evidence of "progress," and as a means of "liberation," we can see that a lot of work has yet to be done to acquire full and equal civil and sacramental rights for our LGBT sisters and brothers.

In any event, please see this film!
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Check out Wayne Besen's article on the strident homophobic Archbishop Peter Akinola and then read the instructive article, "God's Country" that Wayne links to.

Here is an excerpt from that Atlantic article dealing with Akinola:

"When asked if those wearing name tags that read 'Christian Association of Nigeria' had been sent to the Muslim part of Yelwa, the archbishop grinned. 'No comment,' he said. “No Christian would pray for violence, but it would be utterly naive to sweep this issue of Islam under the carpet.” He went on, 'I’m not out to combat anybody. I’m only doing what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. I’m living my faith, practicing and preaching that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God, and they respect me for it. They know where we stand. I’ve said before: let no Muslim think they have the monopoly on violence.'”

Do you hear Akinola? "I've said before: let no Muslim think they have the monopoly on violence."

The Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), are irrelevant to evil-doers in the name of "Christianity!" Homophobia in the name of Christianity partakes of this same mind-set, and we are to never forget it, nor are we to let anyone else forget it either!

Wayne Besen, in part, writes:

"When openly gay Gene Robinson was elected Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, the Nigerian Archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, called the event "Satanic." However, after reading the latest issue of Atlantic Magazine, it appears that Akinola is the one whose behavior is modeled on the devil.

"According to the article, Muslim fanatics attacked Christian worshippers in the Nigerian town of Yelwa in February 2004. They set fire to a church and murdered anyone who tried to escape - leaving 78 people dead. In retaliation, members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, led, at the time, by Akinola, surrounded the town. The vigilantes murdered 660 Muslims - while torching twelve mosques and 300 houses.

"In a state that lacks law and order, it is somewhat understandable that the Christians might take matters into their own hands - as they certainly have a right to defend themselves. What is unconscionable, however, is the gratuitous cruelty and downright evil that occurred on Akinola's watch. Far from Christian, one might equate the ghastly reprisals in Yelwa with a tyrant like Saddam Hussein - not an Anglican Bishop."

[Read Wayne's complete article here.]

Homophobic people are usually haters, and haters not only hate whom they have constructed as "the other," "the stranger," and "the enemy," but such "religious" haters take their act to the other side of the street, often cozying up to some of the most reactionary forces in society, and seek to justify their hateful rhetoric and/or actions on both their interpretation of selected Bible texts devoid of context and, often, even devoid of the accuracy of their interpretation of the Greek language in those texts.

Whenever evil people engage in evil they almost always justify their evil in the name of some "good" that they perceive will appeal to their accusers. Whether it's "preserving traditional marriage," "the welfare of children," "the betterment of society," "national security," "bad parenting," or any one of a number of other excuses for the expression of their hate, the dynamics of the expression of hate remain the same. Only the contexts differ!

If we had a decent mainstream media, this allegation against Akinola would be thoroughly investigated, and all the findings brought to light!

The expression of "religious" evil exists whenever there are remarks and/or actions emanating from clergy and many other professing Christians against LGBT people! It would be instructive to know if Akinola and those of his hateful ilk also engage in evil in other contexts as well, and thereby see the kind of people so many professing Christians are gullible enough to trust and follow.

The additional tragedy is that Akinola isn't alone in perpetrating evil in the name of "Christianity!" Every time you hear a professing Christian preach hateful words against LGBT people, or act hatefully toward LGBT people, you know that their profession of Christianity is false, and they are not Christians!

[Thanks to my friend, Don Charles for sending me Besen's article.]
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Let's meditate and take comfort in the following two verses of Scripture today, Tuesday, as oral arguments are made before the California Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage in California. (Please remember that live oral arguments before the court can be heard here today.)

I have absolutely no doubt that this cause is in God's will, and God will usher in justice for ALL of His children.

I'm optimistic that the decision before the court at this time will vindicate that optimism, as it will vindicate the claim for equality for marriage rights for same-sex couples in California.

If by some chance the decision doesn't go our way at this time, that decision will likely be a spring board to further activism to gain full and equal civil and sacramental rights. We will ultimately win this fight! Of that I am supremely confident!

The following are the verses of Scripture that I hope you'll keep in mind today, and every day, in the quest for full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people.

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)
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Monday, March 3, 2008


In a New York Blade article entitled, "Reconsidering Marriage Equality," by Zack Rosen, he cites the views of Nancy Polikoff, in her new book, "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under The Law,” who states the following:

“Marriage for same-sex couples will give same-sex couples what married people have, but that’s often the problem in the law,” says Polikoff, an American University College of Law professor who also helped develop the laws governing second-parent adoption and joint adoption for same-sex couples in D.C. 'A gay man and lesbian … may make a commitment to raise a child that may or may not be a biological child of both of them, or two un-partnered people decide they're going to retire to a home together and need a certain set of protections for the wellbeing of their relationship.'

“'Somebody on my own faculty is angry about having to marry her partner in order to get health insurance, because at my university the only domestic partners who can cover each other are same-sex — different-sex couples have to get married. That is the wrong way to think about employee benefits. It's better to think that if we have to cover families, let's cover families the way we decide them.'”

[I thank my friend, Don Charles for sending the article to me. The full article, see here.]

If I didn't know better, I'd think people like her are agent provocateurs. "I discovered that a generation of young adults had
grown up never knowing that the gay rights movement was part of a movement in support of diverse forms of family," she says. "They grew up believing that if you support same-sex marriage they had addressed all they needed to in support
of the needs of LGBT family."

The fight for LGBT rights was always for equality, and not second class status or anything other than full and equal civil rights! Although incrementalism had to be settled for in the 1960's and 70's, there was never any question in those years that LGBT people wanted a seat at the table and not some back bench.

She says, "Somebody on my own faculty is angry about having to marry her partner in order to get health insurance, because at my university the only domestic partners who can cover each other are same-sex — different-sex couples have to get married. That is the wrong way to think about employee benefits. It's better to think that if we have to cover families, let's cover families the way we decide them."

Sure, although I believe that any configuration of people can be a family, and in a sane world would be considered a family, that argument is not likely to win over the majority of people to our cause in the foreseeable future!

Moreover, I can see opposite sex couples bringing suit, and winning, by making that very claim that unless unmarried heterosexuals receive the same benefits that currently accrue to domestic partners or those in Civil Unions there should be no such benefits accruing to same-sex couples.

And it's likely that someone, maybe even someone who fancies him/herself a "liberal," would be testifying on their behalf! We know that the homophobic reactionaries would so testify! And that might be a contention for which they might easily find support by many people who might otherwise be in favor of full equality for LGBT people in society.

Polikoff even talks about the fact that the quest for same-sex marriage rights deflects our attention from such issues as poverty and the like. As if the Bush administration, or any administration for that matter, would more assiduously concern itself with issues of poverty were it not for those of us advocating, and working for, full marriage rights for same-sex couples who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other.

Right now, in California, the immediate fate of same-sex marriage in California is before the California Supreme Court. My friend, Rev. Troy Perry [Pictured], and his husband Phillip DeBliek (They were married in Canada.), are among the plaintiffs in the case demanding that they and, by extension, all same-sex couples be allowed to marry in California. So, this issue is even more personal to me than would even normally be the case! (And it has always meant a great deal to me!)

And the hateful, homophobic religious and secular reactionaries, and even some who fancy themselves as being "progressive," would dare deny him and his husband, Phillip, and all similar same-sex couples, the dignity and rights of marriage!

The institution of "marriage" confers not mere legitimacy upon a committed relationship, but is inextricably bound up (in ideology if not in fact) with the conferring of dignity upon that relationship. By institutionalizing same-sex marriage we are saying that same-sex love is just as viable, just as noble, just as legitimate, and is in no way inferior to heterosexual love!

Moreover, once same-sex marriage is in place, we can expect all other civil and sacramental rights to follow suit! The institution of marriage, although debased by many heterosexually married people, nevertheless, despite some rhetoric to the contrary, still has inestimable symbolic value.

Once that value is conferred upon same-sex couples, the normality of same-sex love will become both recognized and legitimized, and we can expect that all other impediments to full equality will rather quickly be removed.
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Sunday, March 2, 2008


Live coverage of oral arguments before the California Supreme Court Tuesday, March 4th, can be heard on this Link.

Obviously, this issue is crucial, as the outcome may well legalize same-sex marriage in California in the very near future.
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Saturday, March 1, 2008


My friend, Don Charles [Pictured], wrote a very erudite and heart-felt defense of a post I made on February 21st entitled, "On Need To Grow Up," for which I am very grateful, that both appeared on this blog on February 21st, and also appeared on the blog, "Pam's House Blend,", where both my post and the comments it generated can be seen. As you will see, the post generated quite a bit of revulsion from most all of those who chose to comment on it on "Pam's House Blend."

Don Charles' post, "In Defense Of Growing Up," appears in the Diary section of Pam's House Blend located here.

His post, "In Defense Of Growing Up," also appears on his excellent blog, "Christ, The Gay Martyr."

I'm not only profoundly grateful to Don Charles for his coming to the defense of my positions and the contentions that I made in that post, but also for his eloquence and insights that he brought to bear both in the defense of my post, and which he also brings to all posts on his own blog, that I strongly urge you to read.

I thought you'd want to be apprised of the issues involved and the responses received that have been directed both to him and to me.

My own perceptions regarding the revulsion expressed to my post has less to do with the substance of the post than the fear that it might well have evoked in LGBT people who are consciously and/or unconsciously afraid that by seeking to become part of the "mainstream," and demanding full and equal civil and sacramental rights, they will be strongly rebuffed and, hence, experience even more psychological pain than most already do.

It may well seem "easier" to accept and even embrace "outsider" status, and even revel in the designations used to confirm that status, than to accept the fact that by insisting on being treated with the same dignity afforded all other citizens they are likely to be rejected, and often rejected by people whom they might currently view as "friends," or at least who are currently "friendly" to them.

Hence, rather than "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the defense mechanism used might well be "They can't reject me because I'm letting them know in no uncertain terms that I don't want to be accepted by them anyway."

So, beyond condemning the condemners, rejecting the rejectors, an end run is undertaken whereby one seeks to become immune to the profound hurt that being condemned confers by deliberately reveling in "outsider" status; portraying oneself as a "sexual outlaw"; referring to oneself and others in one's "subculture" by pejorative identifiers so as to mitigate the hurt that occurs when members of the dominant group use those very same labels to castigate and exclude our LGBT sisters and brothers from full and equal civil rights in society. It may well seem "easier" to embrace second-class status than to aspire to equal status and be roundly rebuffed!

Given the psychological vulnerability of so many LGBT people due to centuries of persecution, I fully understand the revulsion expressed by so many against my post. However, my point is that in order to secure full and equal civil and sacramental rights, that fear of rejection by others, especially by what may be currently considered one's "friends" and neighbors must be overcome, and the self-loathing that helps manifest itself in all sorts of self-destructive behaviors, and pejorative self-identifiers, and that depict LGBT people as mere one dimensional sexual beings, must be overcome and transcended if full equality is to become a reality.

And that transcendence is psychologically difficult, and even daunting. But that is the first step in undertaking the meaningful activism necessary to be treated with dignity and finally acquire the full and equal civil and sacramental rights that LGBT people deserve, and that their heterosexual counterparts have long enjoyed.
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