15 March 2008

Stumbling Blocks To Gay Liberation: SHAME

Stumbling Block

Shame is defined by Merriam-Webster as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety. In regard to LGBT folk, I would say Shame is a cripplingly painful emotion. This is our greatest stumbling block! Why do we feel so ashamed? For the answer to that question, we have to go back thousands of years in world history.

First, religious leaders condemned us. Then governments codified those condemnations as punitive laws. Later, mental health professionals declared us sick. All the while, a hate-inspired mythology was growing around LesBiGay identity. It depicted us as vampire-like sexual predators who molest children, destroy families, undermine national security, recruit unwilling heterosexual adults into our depraved "lifestyle", and just generally pollute whatever culture we live in! Fold demonizing superstition into religious bigotry, government persecution and pathological definitions, mix well, simmer for several millennia, and voilà! You've got a recipe for Shame that endures through generations.

Over many centuries, the message that we are unnatural, abnormal, immoral and "queer" has been pounded into us, mainly by the upholders of Machismo and Bibliolatry. There are Gay activists who'd have you believe that this centuries-old process of indoctrination was overcome in just three or four generations, since the 1969 Stonewall riots. If you do believe that, there's a quite lovely suspension bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you!

Evidence of how deeply we've been infected by Shame can be gleaned from our self-destructive behavior: The preponderance of substance abuse among us; the increased tendency to engage in risky sex; the petty, vicious infighting inside our so-called advocacy organizations; the eagerness to not only define ourselves but encourage others to define us as "queers", "f*ggots", "tr*nnies", "d*kes", "'mo's", etcetera; the willingness to cede Scripture interpretation authority to religious bigots; and of course, the still-widespread existence of the LGBT "closet." The latest manifestation of closeted behavior (although it’s really nothing new) is the so-called down-low phenomenon: Men pursuing homosexual affairs while maintaining a macho, woman-chasing façade.

All of this behavior stems from a core belief that we’re inferior to Straight people and not deserving of equal treatment. It's nothing but a lie we've been trained to tell ourselves! LGBT shame sits on a platform of oft-repeated lies. Toppling it necessarily involves demolishing that platform and exposing those lies; there’s no other way to do it!  It can be done, and what’s surprising is how easily it can be done. What's evidently not so easy is mustering the courage, ambition and effort to undertake the task!

There they sit in our pathway: Ignorance, Denial, Machismo, Stereotypes, Bibliolatry and Shame. Stumbling blocks to Gay liberation!  If we don't kick those ugly son-of-a-b*tches to the curb, who else will?

Special thanks to the Reverend Jerry Maneker for inspiration.

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