02 April 2007

Why Do You Like It So Rough? (Part Four)

11. Do you believe LGBT blogs and websites should be "free speech zones" where bigots can find additional forums for their heterosexist rhetoric?

If you've got a yen to hear scapegoating, prejudice and vilification of Gay people, you're really spoiled for choice! You can get it in church. You can get it in school. You can get it from the White House. You can get it from Congress. You can get it from the Pentagon. You can get it from the leaders of Zimbabwe, Poland, Iran and many other foreign governments. You can get it from the songs performed by a slew of Rap/Hip-Hop artists. You can get it from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter and a multitude of ultra-Conservative TV and radio preachers. You can find what you're looking for by the truckload, any size or flavor you want!

Why should forums controlled by Lesbians and Gay men also be distribution centers for this poison? I've often heard it argued that we can't change bigoted attitudes unless we're willing to engage the bigots in a free thought exchange. All righty, then . . . let's engage in that free thought exchange, but let's do it using their forums, not ours! They need the balanced dialogue far more than we do! What we need are safe spaces for rational, intelligent and Gay-affirming expression. If we don't create and maintain those spaces for ourselves, who will?

12. Do you believe it's acceptable for LGBT folk to use words like "tranny", "d*ke", "f*ggot" and "queer" to refer to themselves?

I've just about sworn off Gay broadcast and print media! I access news about Lesbian and Gay issues almost exclusively on the Internet, and even then I filter my sources heavily. I've decided that forcing myself to endure Gay journalists' fondness for hate speech in order to remain informed is just too high a price to pay!

I've had my fill of this word "queer!" I've had it with my own people trying to shove a cruel, blood-spattered slur down my throat!  I've had it with the asinine argument that we've somehow drained the ugliness from this word by adopting it. I've had it with LGBT intellectuals defiling scholarship by peppering their academic writings with this word. I've had it with arrogant young Gay people who are unrepentant about offending me with this word. I've had it with ludicrous older Gay people who say the word in order to be trendy, but who ought to have acquired enough wisdom to know better.

How many times have I heard my LGBT brothers and sisters defend their self-defamation this way: I call myself a queer/f*ggot/d*ke/tranny to take the sting out of the insult. I've "reclaimed" it! Now it can't hurt me anymore! No sh*t? Well, answer me this: If the insult can't hurt you anymore, then why do you still get upset when Gay-bashers like Sam "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher and Clint McCance use it on you? And why do you use it so obsessively? Why can't you get beyond the oppressor's ignorance? Why do you need it so bad?

To be sure, we don't just use sex and gender slurs occasionally, we use them to excess! In print, broadcast and Web media, you can easily find examples of LGBT folk (most of whom identify as Gay activists) using the Q-word and/or other anti-Gay slurs multiple times in a single sentence! Why do we press these lethal words to our bosoms like Cleopatra hugging her deadly asp? Don't we realize that a poisonous bite is inevitable?

Are we going to "reclaim" every hateful term bigots sling at us? It's awfully hard distinguishing Gay Rights advocates from adversaries when we're all using the same homophobic terminology! Nobody will take seriously a Civil Rights movement whose activists call themselves "trannies," "f*ggots", "d*kes" and "queers" . . . and nobody should!

From this day forward, I refuse to accept as legitimate self-described Gay activists who refer to themselves or other LGBT folk as "queer." There's no friggin' way we can truly be committed to a liberation struggle while constantly degrading ourselves! It's the verbal equivalent of clamping slave manacles on our own limbs.

To quote the late, great Lesbian poet Audre Lorde: The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. It's time to throw down the master's filth-encrusted tools! We must root out of ourselves this strong, subconcious need to identify verbally with our oppressors. Long ago, we should have purged our vocabularies of usage that desensitizes us to internalized shame and disrespect.

13. Do you believe it's acceptable for Straight people to call LGBT folk "trannies," "f*ggots," "d*kes" and "queers"?

There's no such thing as a double-standard that people will adhere to. Women who call each other "b*tches" in public shouldn't complain when men address them the same way. If Latinos go around calling themselves mojados ("wetbacks"), others will think it's okay to call them that, too. If Black folk toss the N-word around, their non-Black associates will surely do so as well; and if Gay people insist on embracing "radiQueer" terminology, Straight folk, even Straight allies, will readily embrace it. You can argue your double-standard with them until you're blue in the face, but it won't do any good!

A few years back, I had to "conscientize" Lars Clausen, a Liberal heterosexual minister who thoughtlessly brandished the Q-word in my presence. His kind of insensitivity is bad enough, but what about Gay people who actually permit Straight buddies to address them as "queers," "homos," "d*kes", etcetera? I was disgusted to read that actor Russell Crowe has apparently been given such permission by a Gay man he knows. Now, I'm not a violent person, but reading about something so outrageous damn sure made me want to slap good sense into somebody!

Russell Crowe deserves a slap upside his head for being so dense. His Gay homeboy deserves two slaps upside the head, a dash of ice water in the face, and a hard boot in the behind to wake him the f*ck up from whatever stupor he's in! Encouraging the use of hate speech among one's friends? Lord, deliver me! That's just about the most blatant way to enable anti-Gay bigotry I've ever heard of.

14. Do you believe that being LesBiGay is only about what you do in bed?

If that's what you believe, then you must've been sexually active awfully early . . . say, six or seven years old? For sure!

Your grade school classmates must've known about what you were doing, too. Why else would they have ostracized and taunted you? Why else would they have demanded to know if you were a boy or a girl? Why else would they have accused you of cross-dressing? Why else would they have beaten you up and called you a "sissy" (or "tomboy")? Why else would your parents have screamed at you for walking that way, talking that way, dressing that way, and playing with those toys that weren't meant for little boys (or little girls)?

The truth of the matter is, many of us were singled out as "sissies" and "tomboys" when we were extremely young, long before we understood the nature of sexuality. Other children didn't torment us because they suspected we were having Gay sex! Our parents didn't torment us for that reason, either. Most of us weren't having any kind of sex.

They tormented us because they sensed an innate difference in us, a blending of gender that made them uncomfortable. I argue that this blended gender identity is what makes Lesbian, Gay, Pansexual and Transsexual people who and what they are; the sexual desire that everybody focuses on is merely an expression of it. I also argue that this unique status exists as a result of God's will!

You don't have to take my word for it, though! Read what Jesus Christ is quoted as having said about the existence of born eunuchs (Matthew 19). Read what John of Patmos has to say about acolytes of the Christ who have not defiled themselves with women (Revelations 14). Read what the Gnostic Gospel of Philip has to say about keepers of the Bridal Chamber (original connotation of the word "eunuch"). Read what the Egyptian Gospel has to say about the children of Great Seth. I explored these ancient writings in detail in my Associated Content feature titled "We Are Family, Parts One, Two and Three."

However, you shouldn't have to read Scripture to know that Gay men and Lesbians can't be summarized by what they do (or don't do) in bed. Isn't it high time we began to acknowledge that sexual orientation is just one aspect of the many LGBT gifts we possess?

15. Do you believe you have a right to be welcomed at your house of worship?

Yes, this is a re-phrasing of Question Number Three. I'm asking it two different ways because I consider it such an important indicator of shame.

If God doesn't condemn us for being LGBT, there's no reason for a church to do so, either. A church home with restrictions placed on its welcome is neither church nor home! Jesus Christ didn't place restrictions! Just look at the kind of people He associated with: Lepers, thieves, prostitutes, adulterers, drunkards, tax collectors . . . and Gentiles, no less! Even Roman centurions, and everybody knows what sort of behavior they engaged in with their male slaves!

In other words, he kept time with those who were considered dregs of ancient Israelite society. In light of that fact, how dare so-called Christian churches erect moral barriers to membership and service? Even if one considers same-gender love a sin (which it isn't), no human being is guiltless . . . least of all the membership of a church!

What about the liberal sampling of sinners found among the clergy? Gluttons, lechers, slackers, hotheads, greedheads and egotists galore! I'll bet you know or know of a preacher who practices one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins . . . am I right? What folly, then, to create hierarchies of sinfulness! You can be sure that God doesn't recognize them!

We need to stop thinking of religious institutions as private businesses with the right to treat individuals any way they want to. They absolutely do not have such a right! I can't speak for Islam or Judaism, but if we're talking about Christian institutions, their leaders are mandated to treat people according to Jesus Christ's example. If they don't, they aren't legitimate, and their tax-exempt status should be revoked!

"Why Do You Like It So Rough?" concludes with Part Five.