29 August 2006

Why Gay People Exist (Part One)

JOHN 21:20-24
Peter turned around and saw behind him that other disciple, whom Jesus loved . . . the one who had leaned close to Jesus at the meal and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus answered him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" So a report spread among the followers of Jesus that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die. He said, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" He is the disciple who spoke of these things, the one who also wrote them down, and we know that what he said is true.

This cryptic passage appears near the end of the Gospel of John. The exchange occurs after the Christ has risen from the dead. Even in His Holy form, the Christ shows great regard for this disciple He loves (presumed to be the Apostle John). I will have more to say about him, and about their relationship later.

But here, the Christ bestows a kind of extended life upon him. Yet we know that all the disciples did die before the Christ's return to Earth. However, something about this particular man remained in the world, and still remains.

I believe the Bible is filled with symbolism . . . many passages in it, such as the Revelations, are not to be taken literally. I believe that this disciple Jesus loved symbolizes a certain kind of human being: A homosexual human being. I believe he was the platonic lover of the Christ.

What is there about him that has survived from Biblical times onward? His kind has survived. I believe that this disciple symbolizes all Lesbians and Gay men.

Could this be? Could the Christ have so valued the love He received from this man that he would bestow upon his kind such a gift . . . that same-gender love would remain in the world until his return? Think of the implications!

We who are homosexual are vilified all over the world. We are beaten, jailed and executed (much as Jesus of Nazareth was). We are called unnatural, an abomination, a pestilence, a sickness. But what if our presence on Earth was mandated by the specific command of Jesus Christ?

I believe this may be so!

It is why I have never been bothered by the condemnations of preachers, rabbis, imams, etcetera. I have always known within myself that I belonged in the world, that I am not abominable, and that my sexuality is not offensive to God. Always! I pray that others will also carry this knowledge now.

"Why Gay People Exist" continues with Part Two.

28 August 2006

Why Gay People Exist (Part Two)

. . . let me try to shed some light on why people have different sexual orientations. I don't expect many will agree with me, but there is evidence, anecdotal, scientific and scriptural, that seems to support what I'm about to say.

There are two kinds of gender: Physical, and spiritual (atheists may prefer to think of the latter as "gender identity"). Both kinds of gender can be separated into three categories: Male, female, and androgynous. Physical gender governs procreative function. Spiritual gender governs sexual orientation and certain aspects of behavior and perception.

A heterosexual person is one whose physical gender matches his spiritual gender. He is attracted to his opposite physical gender. A bisexual person is one whose spiritual gender is slightly androgynous (blended male and female). He is attracted to either physical gender. A homosexual person is one whose spiritual gender is thoroughly androgynous. He is attracted to his identical physical gender. A trangendered person is one whose spiritual gender is the opposite of his physical gender. Transgendered (persons) tend to be attracted to (biologically female mates).

This is why sexual orientation is fixed, not fluid. It's also why human beings cannot become ex-Gay, ex-Straight, ex-Bisexual or ex-Transgendered. Sexual orientation is inextricably linked with gender! Gender can be changed cosmetically (sex change operations), but not fundamentally. Deep inside this complicated picture is the truth that fundamentalist Christians quote from the Bible: God made them male and female. Female complements male, yes. The male is indeed meant for union with the female. But what seems male or female on the surface may be something else under the surface.

When I recently posted this comment on Gay activist Wayne Besen's weblog, I'm pretty sure Wayne and his regular blog patrons thought I'd gone off my rocker. Either that, or they thought I was the most arrogant piece of work they'd yet come across. Scientists have been trying to figure out what makes people Gay for at least a century, and this chubby Black guy claims to have found the answer?

Maybe I don't have the answer, but I have an answer. I came by it because I chose to consider the totality of sexual orientation, not just homosexuality. None of the sexologists I know about used that approach; even the hypotheses of Gay researchers always seemed to be tainted with a pronounced heterosexist bias. In short, my theory is a combination of the Third Sex argument popular in Germany at the turn of the century; ancient Native-American beliefs about a third gender; interview segments from Word Is Out, the groundbreaking 1977 documentary on LesBiGay lives; anecdotal evidence from Lesbian celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell; testimony from Transsexual individuals; enlightened self-knowledge, and careful reading of the Christian Gospels, both Gnostic and Biblical.

Who knew that the key to understanding sexual orientation could be found in obscure and not-so-obscure religious texts? No wonder God prevented me from abandoning scripture (see my blogpost titled "My Conversion")!

My self-knowledge told me I was born Gay. I've known I was different from other men at least since the age of seven. I was not recruited, or deprived of masculine contact, or molested, or influenced by any of the things reputed to "turn" a person homosexual . . . and if I was born Gay, only God could have made me so. Logical, n'est-ce pas?

Scriptural support for my position is found in the 19th chapter of Matthew, where Jesus Christ talks of "eunuchs from birth." That passage also connects "born eunuchs" to the kingdom of Heaven. Study of Creation texts in the book of Genesis, the Gnostic Gospel of Phillip and the Gnostic Secret Book of John reveals that God is androgynous, and that Adam was created an androgynous being in God's image. Heterosexuality came into being when the Lord removed the female essence from Adam (not his rib! The Secret Book of John directly refutes that notion) to make Eve.

Had the Lord not wanted humankind to procreate, Heaven would have continued to fashion beings like the original version of Adam, and the world would be populated exclusively with Transgender persons! Obviously, God had a different plan, but contrary to what "ex-Gay" advocates say, His plan included folks like you and me.

There are many Native-American legends which identify Gay people as "two-spirited" beings. Just as the phrasing suggests, homosexual persons were thought to be possessed of two spirits: One of them male, and the other female. Together, they form an androgynous soul. Here's a summary of those legends, taken from a 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation feature reported by Katherine Walker:

According to Navajo culture, there was a time when women lived on one side of a lake, and the men lived on the other, and so the Creator sent Gay people to integrate them . . . in Cree culture, they were called "Whetigokan"(whee-ti-go-i-kwan), and had a definite role in the community and in spiritual ceremonies.

The two-spirited concept is echoed in certain Gnostic scriptures, though the explanation of it is far more complex. (I will decipher some of these scriptures in the third part of this essay.) Some of you will dismiss such evidence as religious bullsh*t, but rest assured that more concrete evidence exists.

The aforementioned filmed interviews with Gay and bisexual people, as well as my own self-knowledge, confirms a pattern of androgynous behavior in childhood, such as gravitation toward both girl toys and boy toys. (Yes, I did play with Barbie dolls on occasion.)  Many Gay men are considered effeminate from childhood, and many Lesbians exhibit traits throughout life that are considered "butch." We're ostracized, taunted, threatened, beaten and sexually harassed for breaking gender rules. The evidence for androgyny is indisputably there.

With that point proven to my satisfaction, I then considered what Transsexual men and women tell us about gender. They say that there are two kinds: The physical (genitalia) and the spiritual, and sometimes they don't match. This testimony(as well as the Navajo legend) neatly parallels Third Sex theory as postulated by early sexologists like Magnus Hirschfeld, Edward Carpenter and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. They believed homosexual men had female souls, with the reverse being true of Lesbians.

We now understand this theory to most accurately describe Transgendered status, not Gay identity. However, Hirschfeld, Carpenter and Ulrichs were on the right track! They identified a third gender that lies somewhere between the two everyone knows about.

Put it all together, and you come up with a continuum of sexual orientation that all of mankind fits into; this is what I laid out for Wayne Besen and his incredulous readers. More accurately, it's a continuum of gender identity; sexual attraction is merely an expression of gender. One thing is constant about gender: Male attracts female, and female attracts male. The existence of Lesbians and Gay men does not contradict this rule!

There's something about an androgynous soul in a male body that seems to make the female part of that soul dominant in regard to sexual attraction; thus, you have the appearance of a man being attracted to other men. It works the opposite way with an androgynous soul in a female body. Yet, there appear to be degrees of androgyny, and a lesser degree of it produces bisexuality in men and women who would otherwise be heterosexual.

On opposite ends of the gender continuum stand those who are heterosexual and those who are Transgendered, polar opposites in all respects except (sometimes!) sexual orientation. Both male and female Transfolk that I've heard about tend to desire females; a post-operative Transwoman will often think of herself as a Lesbian. No, I can't explain it!  I haven't figured that particular phenomenon out yet . . . but I wonder if heterosexuality and transsexuality may not be more similar than anyone suspects?

What would happen if my theory about gender could be proven? Do you think the hardened bigot would begin to see androgynous gender as evidence of God's good works? LOL! Do hens wear lipstick? Of course not! They'd view it as evidence of a profound mental disorder. And if science found biological markers to support its existence, they'd view it as a birth defect as well as a mental disorder! They'd redouble their efforts to "cure homosexuality," using exorcism, aversion therapy, surgery, or any other morbid idea that appealed to them.

Nothing would change. In fact, bigots would stereotype, ostracize and ridicule Gay people more than ever! Would my proven theory be blamed for this turn of events? Probably. Some current Gay historians fault the early sexologists. They accuse Hirschfeld, Carpenter and Ulrichs of promoting stereotypical characterizations that provoked anti-Gay sentiment . . . but really, aren't bigoted people responsible for their own behavior?

I don't care what heterosexists do, say or think. Their issues have more to do with their own inadequacies than with mine. Years ago, I made up my mind that I would never live my life in reaction to the ignorant attitudes of people who hate me!

So androgynous nature doesn't fit heterosexual society's idea of what's normal. So what? Heterosexual folk aren't the arbiters of normalcy, God is! If you want to know what God considers normal, just look around. Marvel at the incredible variety that exists in His world, all the different species and subspecies, with previously unknown forms of life being discovered on a regular basis. Within the Lord's definition of normalcy, there's ample room for me and all of my androgynous brothers and sisters. The heterosexual definition of normal is just too damn narrow to be accurate!

"Why Gay People Exist" concludes with Part Three.

27 August 2006

Why Gay People Exist (Part Three)

Since I originally posted the first part of this essay in April 2006, I've discovered other scriptural passages dealing with Jesus Christ's gift of extended life to Lesbians and Gay men. This is probably the most important one:

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
When Eve was in Adam, there was no death. When she was separated from him, death came . . . if the female had not separated from the male (Adam), the female and the male would not have died. The separation of male and female was the beginning of death. (The) Christ came to heal the separation that was from the beginning and re-unite the two, in order to give life to those who died through separation and unite them.

It took me a while to decipher this passage. What it says is that Adam was immortal when he was an androgynous being. He lost his immortality when the female essence was removed from his soul to create Eve. "Those who died through separation" are androgynous beings . . . LGBT people . . . born as the mortal children of heterosexual men and women. Jesus Christ restored the immortality of Lesbians and Gay men, as indicated by such New Testament passages as this one:

MARK 9:1
(Jesus Christ said) "Truly, I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

As I've stated in earlier posts, I'm convinced that these passages refer to Gay people. I still believe that this immortality the Messiah alluded to manifests itself in the proliferation of androgynous men and women on Earth. However, I now believe there is another, more spiritual aspect to this gift of extended life.

What I'm talking about is an extended life span that begins after physical death and exists on a plane located between Earth and Heaven. In that plane, our souls may lie prone, awaiting the Christ's return to Earth. In the 19th chapter of Matthew, the Savior called Gay men "eunuchs who have been so from birth". As I've stated before, the ancient definition of eunuch was different from the word's current meaning. Eunuchs were men who abstained from sexual relations with women. There was also another ancient definition, one that goes to the very etymology of the word: An attendant of a royal bedchamber or bridal chamber.

I believe the Messiah was referring to eunuchs in both of their ancient senses. The Gnostic Gospel of Phillip speaks repeatedly of those who are attendants of the Bridal Chamber, and in the 5th chapter of Luke (verse 34), Jesus Christ refers to Himself as the Bridegroom. From this, we can deduce that Gay people have some kind of inherent servant relationship to the Savior. That conclusion is reinforced by something I recently discovered about the twelve apostles.

Just before the verses in Matthew where Jesus Christ discusses eunuchs, He defines the proper relations between men and women. He instructs men and women to marry and not divorce. This statement raises a stir among the apostles, and they murmur among themselves: If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry. Keep in mind that some of them were married! Simon Peter had a wife, and most of the others probably did, too; marriage was mandatory in the Jewish culture of Biblical times. Yet, their minds are troubled by the Messiah's instruction. Sensing this, the Christ relieves their distress with His teaching about eunuchs:

MATTHEW 19:11, 12
Jesus (Christ) replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage (to women) because of the kingdom of Heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

Clearly, He directs it more to them than anyone else. Why would their minds be troubled by talk of women and marital obligations? And why would information about eunuchs give them relief? Isn't the answer obvious? Some, if not most of Jesus Christ's apostles were "eunuchs by birth"! Among those men who served Him as companions and protégés there were Gay men . . . and that raises the possibility that some of those women who traveled in the Christ's inner circle were Lesbians.

This amazing revelation, as well as the aforementioned one from the Gospel of Philip, helps illuminate these additional passages from Philip and the Gospel of John. All of them concern the Christ's apostles. All of them concern LGBT human beings.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
If the children of Adam are numerous but die, how much more numerous are the children of the Perfect Human, who do not die but are continually being born?

"The Perfect Human" is Jesus Christ. He is the Bridegroom, and Gay people receive their androgyny from the Bridegroom and the Bride (this will be discussed in the next citation), so they are His children. Lesbians, Gay men and Transpersons possess the gift of immortality that Jesus Christ gave them . . . and our presence on Earth since Biblical times is proof that androgynous children are continually being born.

In John 21:5, the risen Christ refers to John, James, Simon Peter and some other male disciples as "children". Bible scholars have characterized this usage as a term of endearment. It is that, but also much more! Interestingly enough, Black Gay men have traditionally referred to themselves as "the Children." What's more, observers of Gay men have often remarked that their faces seem "childlike" in appearance. Pioneering sexologist Havelock Ellis was one who made such an observation, 'way back in 1897.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
Unclean spirits are male and female in form. Males have sex with souls that are female in form, and females cavort promiscuously with souls that are male in form. Souls cannot escape . . . if the spirits seize them, unless they receive the male and female power of the Bridegroom and the Bride. These are received from the mirrored Bridal Chamber . . . if the image and the angel are joined, none can dare to make advances on the male or the female.

Bookmark this scripture! This is a description of the process by which God unites male and female within a single soul, thus creating Lesbians, Gay men and Transpersons. A male soul who receives the "power" won't succumb to the sexual advances of women. Likewise, a female soul who receives the "power" will reject male sexual advances; and some souls (very masculine women, highly effeminate men and Transsexual persons) are given such an abundance of androgyny that they will lack sexual appeal for the majority of potential mates. In this way, the Lord distinguishes a select group of individuals from the rest of humanity.

The "Bridal Chamber" is something like a woman's unfertilized egg. "Mirrored" means that the Bridal Chamber has a counterpart in Heaven. "The image" is the androgynous image of God. "The angel" is the soul of a Lesbian or Gay man. I've already identified the Bridegroom, and I'll reveal the Bride's identity later. This scripture confirms that LGBT folk are something like the angels, and it clarifies the story of Sodom and Gomorrah: We have more in common with the visitors who were threatened with rape than with the rapists!

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
Animals do not have a wedding chamber, nor do slaves or defiled women. The Wedding Chamber is for free men and virgins.

"Wedding Chamber" is another way of saying "Bridal Chamber." We know that this scripture is erroneous in one respect: Animals apparently do have a wedding chamber, if we can judge by reports of Gay penguins, seagulls and the like! "Slaves" and "defiled women" are metaphors for promiscuous heterosexual people, described here as captives of their own sinful desires. "Free men" are Gay men, free from the desire to mate with and marry women. "Virgins" are Lesbians, who, of course, shun sexual contact with men.

Let me elaborate: This scripture is about the avoidance of defilement. Virginity can only be lost through heterosexual contact. If we never engage in heterosexual relations, God considers us virgins, and androgyny (which finds expression in homosexuality) is His method of ensuring that we remain pure. This text strikes me as very Jewish in character; it places homosexual orientation in a context similar to Kosher law.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP(reconstructed scripture)
Our Bridal Chamber is the image of the Bridal Chamber above. That is why its curtain was torn from top to bottom, for some people from below had to go up.

As I understand it, the Heavenly Bridal Chamber is reserved for Jesus Christ (the Bridegroom) and His Bride, whom the book of Revelations identifies as a new city of Jerusalem, made holy after the Second Coming. The metaphor of the torn curtain refers to a dimensional rift which opens a path between Heaven and Earth (probably the rainbow, the symbol of God's Covenant with humankind). This would appear to be the means by which unborn Gay children somehow receive the aforementioned "male and female power."

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
The attendant of the Bridal Chamber has come into being from water, fire and light.

Don't forget the alternate ancient meaning of the word eunuch! We are born of the Earthly Bridal Chamber, and we are destined to maintain the one that exists in Heaven. This verse reveals more information about how Lesbian and Gay souls are created: We are a product of the Holy Trinity ("water, fire and light"), which is the Holy Spirit, The Father (God) and the Son of God.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
The attendants of the Bridal Chamber will serve the wedding guests.

This verse sheds light on what the duties of androgynous souls will be after the Second Coming.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF PHILIP
(The) Christ came to Earth to purchase some, to save some, to redeem some. He purchased strangers and made them His own, and He brought back His own whom He had laid down of His own will as a deposit. Not only when He appeared did He lay the soul of His own will as a deposit, but from the beginning of the world, He laid down the soul, for the proper moment, according to His will. Then He came forth to take it back, since it had been laid down as a deposit. It had fallen into the hands of robbers and had been stolen, but He saved it.

Those He purchased were Jews. Those He saved were Gentiles. Those He redeemed . . . well, who do you think they were? Androgynous beings . . . His children . . . were the "deposit" Jesus Christ made in the world, and it's clear from this text He made that deposit long before He appeared on Earth in human form. That's why we read of eunuchs in the Old Testament. The "robbers" were undoubtedly those heterosexual folk who had stigmatized and fetishized eunuchs. Judging from the activities of groups like Focus On The Family and the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality(NARTH), the robbers are ready to rob again!

JOHN 17:6-16
(Father), I have made Your name known to those whom You gave me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word . . . I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy made complete in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but I ask You to protect them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

This last passage comes from the prayer Jesus Christ offered at the Last Supper. Please note the line that's repeated twice! Also note that the Christ didn't say "the world has hated them because they believe in me" or "because they follow me." He was clearly talking about His apostles' status, not their devotion.

Finally, note that the Savior says the apostles were given to Him by God; this confirms that Gay people are God's children, too! The Last Supper narrative from the book of John provides more support for the idea that some, if not most of the apostles were androgynous men who didn't "belong to the world"(androgyny originates with God in Heaven), and who were ostracized by that world, just as Lesbians, Gay men and Transfolk are ostracized today.

I believe that at least one of the future apostles was also Gay, although he apparently despised his sexuality: The Apostle Paul (for details, see my blogpost entitled "The First Tortured Homosexual Christian"). Steven, the disciple whose execution Paul supervised, may have been an androgynous man as well; this is indicated by the way he's described in Acts 6:15: And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

People of all sexual orientations have obsessed over why Gay people exist, and what makes someone Gay. I was one of what I'm sure is a growing number of LesBiGay folk who couldn't care less. Once I realized my attraction to men, I didn't waste time worrying about it! I accepted my sexuality, integrated it into my daily life, and tried to get on with the business of living. There was a problem, though. I found it impossible to get on with life the way I wanted to when I was constantly being beseiged by religious heterosexism . . . and it only seems to get worse as I grow older. For quite some time, then, I've been motivated to learn why homosexual orientation appears to be so inextricably linked with the Bible and the church. I had to reclaim Christianity to find out, and wow! Did I ever find out!

God sent me revelations that would knock all the Bible fundamentalists and ex-Gay crusaders to their knees, if only they could accept them: The revelation that Gay people are truly God's children, and that we resemble Him in spirit. The revelation that homosexuality and transsexuality are God's methods for creating holy eunuchs. The revelation that the internal union of "the image and the angel" which makes us Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transsexual connects us directly to Heaven, and is facilitated in part by the Savior.

The revelation that Lesbians are God's sacred virgins by birth. The revelation that our presence on Earth confirms both the existence of God and the Son of God. The revelation that we are part of God's covenant with mankind. The revelation that we walk this Earth at the specific behest of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! Where could anyone go to find revelations more miraculous than these? The truth about homosexuality has the potential to liberate the world.

However, we can't hope to liberate the world until we liberate ourselves. As that old En Vogue song says, free your mind and the rest will follow. Are you a Christian? Do you believe that you were born Lesbian, or Gay, or Transsexual? Are you ready to have your belief confirmed? Then pray for God to guide you through the Gnostic and Biblical Gospels. He has placed insights there that only one such as you is equipped to understand.

20 August 2006

What About The Word "Queer"? (Part Two)

Queer(adjective)
1. Strange; odd.
2. informal, derogatory: Homosexual.
3. British, informal, dated: Slightly ill.
(noun)informal, derogatory: A homosexual man.
(verb)informal: To spoil or ruin.
ORIGIN: perhaps from the German quer, meaning ‘oblique, perverse’.

Definition taken from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary

These days it's distressing to see the word "queer" mainlined into our arts and culture. There is "queer film," "queer comedy," "Queer Studies" . . . some people with cultural positions of power are trying to convince the rest of us that this word is now politically correct (and) that all Gay people want to "reclaim" and "re-dignify" it. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, I've spoken at youth conferences, done parent outreach, served as a commissioner, addressed the LA Board of Education. No way would I stand at the front of the room and use the word "queer" and hope to get the message of tolerance across to Straight people! Indeed, you will seldom hear the Q-word from ANY sensible Gay people who work in K-12 education. Gay students are struggling for the right to be safe at school. "Queer" is what our kids get called when they're slammed into lockers or assaulted in the bathroom, along with "f*g" and other words. The landlord who evicts a Lesbian couple uses the word "queer." Homophobes in uniform who beat young Gay soldiers to death with baseball bats use the word "queer". Indeed, ECHO reported on a Phoenix hate-crime where the word "queer" was spray-painted on a Latino man's house. Who knows? Maybe "queer" was the last word that Matthew Shepard heard before he died.


You've just read an excerpt from an Oasis Magazine essay called "Down With The Q Word", written in the year 2000 by Patricia Nell Warren. Ms. Warren is the author of the best-selling Gay novel The Front Runner. Access the entire essay at:

http://www.oasismag.com/Issues/0010/opinion-warren.html

Over the weekend, I got into a rather heated argument online with another Gay man who insisted on calling me "queer." He literally tried to force acceptance of the word down my throat, and after using it on me in a clearly derogatory manner, he then had the nerve to claim it wasn't derogatory! He declared that it was merely a synonym for "different or unusual." The official definition, which I've reproduced here, puts the lie to his declaration. This wacky idea that casual use of slurs robs them of their sting will send me to an early grave! Have we gone insane?

I grew up in the Black community, and as far back as I can remember, there always were African-Americans who used the word "n*gger." Some of them were members of my own family. Thirty years ago when I was a child, it was used to connote a lack of class, a no-good person. Somewhere around the time I entered junior high school, some Black people began throwing it around as a "term of endearment." Slowly but surely, it began to replace "brother" as our main greeting.

By the late 1980s and early '90s, "n*gger" (and its Hip-Hop culture variant, "n*ggah") were being used more and more openly. Is it just an accident that casual acceptance of this disgusting word coincided with the rise of the thug aesthetic, lethal gang violence, Gangster Rap records and videos, and crack cocaine abuse in the Black community? I don't think so.

Words have power, especially hateful words with a bloody history like "n*gger." So it doesn't surprise me that increasingly open use of the word "queer" over the last fifteen years has coincided with a rise in drug and alcohol abuse, self-stereotyping in the media and unsafe sex practices among LesBiGay folk!  If you start thinking of yourself as a "n*ggah" or a "queer", you'll act accordingly; your self-esteem will suffer, and your behavior will show it.

Nowadays, you just can't escape racial and sexual slurs. I can hardly believe what I'm hearing! Pejoratives are everywhere, no matter whether you're talking about visual, print or electronic media, or a street corner in your own neighborhood. This pervasive hate-speech-as-popular-culture ethic encourages minority groups to adopt slurs, and to fool themselves into believing that they become benign with frequent use. Sure enough, large numbers of marginalized people now embrace these horrible terms of degradation (clutching poisonous things to your bosom . . . wonderful practice! Incredibly smart.  NOT)!

Last I heard, though, bigots were still using these words in their original, virulent sense as much as ever, if not more often. Nobody can convince me sexual slurs have lost their sting when I hear about gangs of street thugs screaming them in outrage at Lesbians and Gay men, then following them up with several choice blows from a blunt object. Yes, Virginia, that kind of thing still happens on a regular basis! It happened just a couple of months ago in New York City to a performance artist named Kevin Aviance.

Jesus Christ was right about humanity; we are hard to teach (Matthew 19)! Isn't it time we stopped being so stupid? Why can't we admit that we can't change the meaning of a slur just by changing it for ourselves? In order to accomplish such an ignoble feat, we'd have to change the meaning for everybody in the world, and with
beaucoup fundamentalist ministers, imams and rabbis out there condemning our existence every weekend, that ain't hardly gonna happen! You can take the hate speech out of its hateful context, but you can't take the hateful context out of the hate speech! And why the Hell do we want to "reclaim" these ignorant labels in the first place? What's the percentage in it?

I desperately want people of color, blended gender people and women to stop dishonoring God by using wicked words to describe themselves. B*tch!  C*nt!  F*ggot!  D*ke!  N*ggah!  Queer!  It's a lexicon of shame! And guess who it is that wants to shame us? That's right, Church Lady: Satan! He knows that we are God's children, and he despises us! He places evil epithets into the mouths of those he controls, and then he directs them to insult us relentlessly.

I know how much it hurts to be assaulted in this way, but we need to take care how we respond. If we respond by embracing curses in the mistaken belief that we can harden ourselves against them, we're also embracing Satan. We're cutting off the connection to Heaven that is our birthright, and essentially agreeing with our enemies that we belong in Hell! We might as well curse God and die . . . and when I see how self-destructive our behavior has become, I fear that may be exactly what we're doing.

02 August 2006

Loved In The Worst Way

I'm a minister of the Gospel in Tasmania, Australia. I work quite a lot of my time with homosexuals (sic); as a matter of fact, my own son is homosexual. Now, that helps me understand a lot more about how to treat these people. Now, I love homosexual people and Lesbians (sic), and we get on very well . . . there are some twelve couples in our church. Now, they respect the house of God; they don't hold hands, they don't kiss, and all those sorts of things that people hate about them. They really are good people. They know that I welcome them into the fellowship. They also know that we do not condone what they do . . . we as Christians have got to have a love for them as well as any other person . . . we all know some are born like it, and some have chosen to become like it. Now, it says in Leviticus 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as one who lies with a female; it is an abomination." Homosexuality is clearly forbidden, as in 1 Corinthians 6:9. In Paul's teachings, he did not want Christianity to become confused with sects that permitted such things.

This is a comment I received several weeks ago. I don't post bigoted messages, and I had no intention of posting this one; but it has haunted me ever since I first saw it, and I finally decided that it needed to be dealt with.

It really is a textbook example of things that plague Lesbians and Gay men: Heterosexism, bigotry, malicious interpretation of Bible scripture, condescension, snobbery, ignorance, disrespect, and the appalling use of Christianity as a weapon of guilt and psychological torture. All waiting to be experienced at a church near you; you certainly don't have to travel as far as Tasmania to encounter this kind of brazen inhumanity!

I wonder how it feels to have self-esteem so low that I would attend a church that treated me bad, like those poor dozen couples the minister so "lovingly" talks about? No . . . I take that back. I don't want to know how it feels! Just thinking about it turns my stomach.

When I shared this comment with my friend, Kansas City columnist Chuck Tackett, he remarked: "The Bible was written by men. It has some good advice, (but) if you are going to be a so-called Christian, you can't pick and choose the (Biblical) taboos you are not comfortable with and ignore the rest."

I agree with Chuck, but I would take his analysis further. You can't pick and choose anything from the Bible unless you understand what you're reading! There are far too many people who don't understand, and an alarming number of them have the nerve to call themselves ministers of the Gospel . . . so many, in fact, that it ought to be a criminal offense!

I've discussed the infamous passages from the book of Leviticus before: Those prohibitions were imposed on the ancient Israelites as punishment for lack of faith. Levitican law doesn't apply to Christians! Neither does it apply to anyone else in the modern world, for that matter.

As for that citation from First Corinthians, it isn't a Divine condemnation! It's merely a tirade from the Apostle Paul against behavior he considered sinful. As I discussed in my post titled "The First Tortured Homosexual Christian", Paul was a complicated and troubled man. Yet, despite his well-known abhorrence of homosexual acts, he isn't even talking about them in that passage!

The allusion to homosexuality was imposed on the text long ago by scurrilous translators; it has since been corrected. Modern Bible scholars believe masturbation is the behavior Paul was actually referring to. (Preacher man, what did your hands touch this morning before they touched the Bible?) Even if he had been talking about homosexual acts, Christians don't follow the teachings of the Apostle Paul! They follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Christ did not condemn LesBiGay people or their sexuality.

What should happen to so-called Gospel messengers who ignore the Christ's message of salvation and instead comb Scripture for verses that seem to support their deep-seated prejudices? They should lose the right to call themselves messengers of the Christ! The message they carry is anything but Christian, and not fit to hear.

In my post titled "My Conversion", I told the story of how I temporarily lost my faith when anti-Gay sermons began coming from the pulpit of my church. I left soon afterward. However, not every Gay person leaves a church when that kind of thing happens. Some of them stay and suffer silently. Raised to think of Christianity as something that condemns them, many Lesbian and Gay Christians actually seek out churches that hate who they are!

Churches that welcome LGBT faithful as long as they consent to be bathed in shame and scorn every Sunday morning! Churches where the Christian greetings "brother" and "sister" ring hollow when directed at LGBT members. Churches that are divided into "good Christians" and "not-so-good Christians" based on sexual orientation. Churches with the potential to turn into outraged mobs if homosexual life partners so much as touch one another's hand during services!

How can God reside in churches like this? He cannot! I've said it before, and it's worth saying a million times: God and Satan do not reside in the same house! Intolerance and ostracism are the tools of Satan. Don't look for God's presence anywhere work is being done with such tools! God's tools are loving guidance and unconditional forgiveness. Also, know that the Lord will never ask you to suffer ignorance in His house; the God I worship celebrates wisdom and enlightenment.

In churches all over the world, Lesbians and Gay men are treated like minimum wage banquet servers whose hard work is unappreciated and whose presence in the banquet hall is either deliberately ignored or barely tolerated. We do not have to endure an "eat in the kitchen, away from the guests" kind of Christianity! We are meant to sit at God's banquet table with the rest of humanity.

No one could possibly be more welcome at the Lord's table than we are, because He gifted us at birth with the Divine androgyny that reflects His Heavenly kingdom. Despite the high degree of hostility our presence generates, we are indeed present at His banquet table, in multitudes! We are nuns. We are priests and bishops. We are ushers and deacons. We are church mothers, musicians, singers, altar girls and boys, assistant pastors and often, even pastors.

A church that has no Gay people in it (if such a thing could possibly exist) is a church that God has not blessed; and a church that excludes and/or denigrates Gay people is a church that doesn't deserve God's blessing!

Jesus Christ told His apostles:

LUKE 9:5
"Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving . . . shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them!"

Excellent advice! Don't degrade yourself by attending a church that hates you! Don't make your church home where a minister would be so heartless as to think of his own Gay son as "born like it" and his natural sexuality "an abomination." You're better off reading the Gospels by yourself at home!

Don't believe a heterosexist minister who claims to "love" you. What kind of love is it that leaves you emotionally battered, spiritually bruised, and filled with shame? Never settle for love you can only get in the worst way. Insist on love given in the best way, the way Jesus Christ gives it to those He in His wisdom called "eunuchs from birth." For the Christ was also quoted as saying:

LUKE 6:22,23
"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in Heaven."

This teaching applies to all who are persecuted in Jesus Christ's name, but I believe it has a most pertinent meaning for LesBiGay persons. Reflecting on how viciously we've been targeted over the centuries, it's hard to imagine He was talking about anybody else!

Tomorrow, I'll be at the table when company comes.
Nobody'll dare say to me,"Eat in the kitchen," then . . .
They'll see how beautiful I am, and be ashamed . . .
(excerpt from the Langston Hughes poem "I, Too, Sing America", written in 1925)