I wrote the following response to him: The last part is definitely true. Regarding the rest of this sentence, I would substitute "intactness" rather than "loving ourselves," as many contributions have been made by people who have low self-esteem, who don't love themselves, but who sublimate that lack and use it to love others, and do good for others. It seems to me that one can not love themselves and yet still be intact and authentic and do inestimable good for others.
In the many years I have been an LGBT activist I have found that relatively few Gay people are concerned with the quest, the needed fight, for equality. Rather, their concentration seems to be in having a fulfilling social life, and in dealing with manifest or latent shame associated with being Gay in a homophobic society.
Moreover, the manifest or latent shame of many Gay people often exhibits itself in risk-taking, hedonistic, and assorted self-destructive behaviors that neither ease nor release anyone from the existential angst that exists from not fully accepting oneself, often despite one's rhetoric to the contrary, as he/she truly is.
I don't believe that loving oneself is necessarily desirable or essential to living a good and productive life. However, being emotionally intact and authentic is essential if one is to demand full equality for oneself and for others; for living the good life, the life that contributes in such a way that the world is better off for having that person in it.
Exodus 23:2 states: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil...." To be good is the major component of living the good life!
As the late Rev. Peter J. Gomes states in his book, The Good Life: Truths That Last In Times of Need, "Be gentle and kind. Be simple in your tastes and sincere in your actions and let everything you do and say be governed by this timeless rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"(p. 50)
I might add that one must be intact and authentic to live the good life, and that the good life consists of fighting for the dignity and rights of oneself and others; meaningful and effective activism cannot exist unless one possesses that intactness and authenticity that enables and makes possible for us to engage in that good and essential fight for equality.
It seems to me that so much psychic energy of many LGBT people is directed toward social activities that act as pleasant diversions because that needed intactness and authenticity are under the surface, and are kept under the surface, by that very emphasis on those social activities.
Clearly, I'm not suggesting that social activities are to be avoided. Rather, I'm suggesting that very often those activities may have replaced meaningful activism due to the fear of expressing the needed intactness and authenticity that are essential traits to have full equality become a reality in the foreseeable future.
So, how do we acquire and exhibit that needed intactness and authenticity? We acquire those traits by fully and finally understanding that God did not make any mistakes when God created LGBT people!
LGBT people are an essential part of God's creation, and the world would not be in alignment with God's intention or desire if LGBT people did not exist! That's the reason that LGBT people exist in the first place!
It takes emotional strength to be intact and authentic when ignorant and/or hateful clergy and others view Gay people as merely being "perverted heterosexuals!" But once we realize that that assertion is one big lie, often propounded by dysfunctional and malevolent people, we have come a long way to recognizing that we have only one life to live here on earth and we'd better be true to ourselves by being intact and authentic.
As my friend Rev. Troy Perry stated: "We are not here to prove ourselves to the world. We are here to be ourselves in the world."
Intactness and authenticity comes about when LGBT people finally and fully realize the truth of this statement, and the fact that God deliberately, and by design, created LGBT people who have added so much to the world in keeping with God's design for this world.