“Gay Rights” Photo Reflection: An Advocate Reflects on 12 Years

In an effort to purge some of my memorabilia from relationships past, I sat down with boxes of cards, poems, photos, and keepsakes from the last 12 years and came across a portrait of something more powerful than my difficult past… Something beyond finding love after religious and sexual trauma…

I found a series of news articles from June 2003, highlighting the major headlines that shaped the movement for equality in America. I saved these articles, just one month after graduation from Cincinnati Christian University, where I was closeted for years. All of these articles, I cherished,  a year year before I published Coming Out without Coming Apart.

I placed these news articles in this collage below…

Equality_2003

And I leave this photo with you, to begin your own reflection on what we have accomplished in the last 12 years. We have a long way to go…

But looking back on half a generation of advocacy work represented in this short photo reflection, I can say the following:

I finally believe that I am whole.

I finally believe that my country can learn to respect my dignity as a citizen.

I finally believe that I can choose faith or I can leave it if it does not lift me higher.

I finally believe that my bedroom and my body are mine.

I finally believe that my President is on my side.

I see evidence that Love really does matter.

After all we’ve seen in the last 12 years, maybe we can finally believe that we DO belong…

One can hope.

Consider for yourselves, how far we’ve come and perhaps you can believe in our ability to go even farther!

Namaste, yo.

~~

RAY_7318Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine, Blue Mountain Arts, and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

My Better Half, My Better Self: A Letter to my Wife

This piece is for lovers… and those who believe in lifelong love, no matter how long it takes for life to present it to us.

To My Dear Wife,

I’ve never known someone like you – your willingness to walk through the uncertainties of all that is unstable, whether it be economic, emotional, physical, or just plain human, is more than commendable. It’s life. As Neruda says, “In your life I see everything that lives.”

IMG_6007You go toward all living things and every corner of humanity. I see it in your work and friendships but pleasure of all pleasure, I see it in how you approach me…

I recently wrote about my survivor experience and how powerful it is that you became the woman who was detached enough to let me be fully present for my recovery process, but also attached enough in love and trust, to bear witness to it.

I think about moments like those, when what moves between us is a flow of honesty… words, facial expressions, silence, an embrace… it is simply, unguarded honesty.

It doesn’t bite back in selfishness or fear.

It doesn’t look away as if it is overly concerned or intimidated.

It doesn’t find tools to help as if it is so awkward that it needs to fix the discomfort.

It loves.

It’s honest.

IMG_6040I have caught glimpses of this intimacy, but never has it stayed so constant, before you. I held out hope for it – like an oasis for my dehydrated soul.

And so you have come to me… and I have come to you. This is our marriage.

I remember all these years of wanting marriage, watching other marriages grow, fall apart, thrive, or end. I’ve been learning about marriage all my life – what makes a marriage look “good” to me and what makes marriage look impossible. Most importantly, I’ve listened to couples speak of when they knew that the one they love was the one they wanted to grow old with…

I knew that the day I met you.

Of course, I didn’t know how to let my heart run with that feeling at first, and that’s okay too – but I learned from others, how to stay open to this kind of love.

One of those “others” was my friend Katie, who you would never get a chance to meet, because her life and our stories could never intersect. She died during a season when the narratives between us were farther than I ever imagined they could be… but I was there when she married the love of her life… I remember her emails before her wedding day, as she discussed the priority of her partnership and their life together. I was there when she spoke of commitment, faith, and a hope for a life full of laughter and mutual acceptance. At her wedding, I remember even knowing that the one I was there with, didn’t compare to the “you” I still believed was out there. I was prepared to settle to never have what I saw in their marriage because I wrongfully believed it was only for them.

It was the way they looked at each other – such grace and such simplicity…

For over a decade of my adult life, I’ve held out hope that what I learned from their relationship could become a part of my life. I held out hope that I could learn from others, that even death could not separate the heart from a lifelong love…

All these years later, here you are, my wife, supporting and loving me as I become my better self… and we get to learn from each other, how OUR marriage will grow.

IMG_6042 (1)Sometimes I feel like I’m late to the game on this – so many other experiences and I’m now well into my mid-30’s as if I’m an old maid… I have my baggage, but I’m here.

We are here. And this is our marriage…

I used to believe that it was really important to correct people when they described their partner as their “better half.” As a woman who values her independence and autonomy, I would mock that concept, even when I was in partnerships before you – I wasn’t anyone’s “half” because I am WHOLE.

The truth is that a marriage is whole, but comprised of two whole people – and in some ways, you truly are the better half of this marriage. And in perfect form, I’ve heard you say the same about me – that’s what loving couples mean when they call the other, “the better half.” It is a respectful and humble acknowledgement that this marriage would be nothing without you, and I in it, am better because of you.

Today, as you travel the globe in your work, my heart travels the depth of relationships – reflections on loss, hopes, dreams, grief, and… all emotions. As I soar above it, I am a poetic jumble of anticipation about how our family will evolve and how our connection will only deepen… but in the midst of that creative chaos, I am here with a sense of peace and acceptance.

I found the one to call “wife.”

And you found me.

On this relevant day, in real time, with a vulnerable voice, I celebrate our transparent life.

That is our marriage.

Te amo, mi amor – my better half, my better self ~
Gail

~~

In loving memory of Katie Reider – (May 23, 1978 – July 14, 2008)

~~

RAY_7318Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine, Blue Mountain Arts, and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

 

 

Now that I’m Gay Married… 4 Things Changed

Well, we all know that gay marriage is significantly different than “traditional” marriage, so from about a month into this arrangement that threatens the family, I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned now that I’m Gay Married.

1. Being gay married changed the way I sleep.

Every night before we go to bed, we have this gay ritual of thanking the gay fairies for their bountiful blessings upon our gay marriage. It’s a little over the top, but whatever. It’s all part of tearing apart the fabric of humanity.

2. Being gay married changed the way I breathe.

I had no idea that between every blissful breath, I would be required by the Gay Bylaws of Ruining Traditional Marriage, to state, “I’m here I’m queer, I’m married, now!” every time we go out in public. Again, it’s a bit excessive and perhaps somewhat annoying, but I guess this is Gay Marriage. I have to adjust. I still feel bad for my local coffee shop barista. I mean, it’s just an iced tall chai, but now it is an Iced Tall I’M GAY MARRIED chai. Yeesh.

3. Being gay married changed the way I think.

Being conscious of all the gay things I have to do as a part of this agenda can be very exhausting. When I started to write thank-you cards for the wedding gifts, I was really distracted by the importance of tossing in political and super gay words into all those cards. Duh Gail, you’re gay married… be sure to mention Stonewall, Pride Parades, and how it feels to pave a rainbow path to eternal damnation when you’re thinking of your wedding day and all those beautiful friends/family members who shared those moments with you.

4. Being gay married changed the way I eat.

All this gay food is really different in gay marriage. At every meal, to keep it balanced, we make sure we have a food from every level of the gay food pyramid. We have something organic, something local, something pink and something purple, etc. I never thought the Gay Marriage Dietary laws would be so complicated but again, I’m Gay Married now… life is different.

And satire – well, satire is long gone. I mean, the honeymoon period couldn’t be more annoying. The way we look into each other’s gay married eyes and say things like, “Our gay married life is so fun and I gay love you so much,” would really frustrate most people. But we can handle it. We are gay brave. Our gay married bliss is really just a burden we are willing to bear…

Seriously now, folks.

This piece is in response to a very unexpected encounter I’ve recently had with the 1996-1999 version of myself and an oppressed personal history in Cincinnati, Ohio. I look back at it and sometimes I hope to divorce myself from it. But, if being gay married has taught me anything so far, it’s that I don’t want to divorce myself from my self-hating, spiritually suffocated past…

I want to move towards it with sarcasm and gentility… today, sarcasm, clearly.

But soon, I will have to integrate the fact that every silly thing I have long renounced about the religiously-based prejudice towards gay people was in fact, a fire that used to fuel my own warped beliefs…

I always hated the phrase, “There but by the grace of God go I,” but looking back on a tainted history of faith experiences, lost community, and broken friendships, combined with a limited worldview and laced with self-hate, I do wonder how I got here…

Anyway, I jest at how “gay marriage” changed me when the truth is, it didn’t change me.

It has done nothing but allow me to BE me.

I’m a month into this marriage “thing” and there’s nothing “gay” about it – it’s a sacred union of two people who are still in a honeymoon phase of long gazes, endless inside jokes, stomach butterflies of joyful overwhelm, and tearful conversations of gratitude.

gay_marriage_groundbreakingI can only say one more thing about it all right now: Share this post not because sarcasm feels good (and it does 😉 )  but also because you can remember a time when sarcasm was the only tool you had in admitting your own shortcomings. Sometimes we need to laugh… sometimes grief taps most gently on the doors of our hearts through snarky reflections and eye rolls…

And then comes another layer of forgiveness… brace for it.

It’s coming…

Namaste, yo.

And many thanks to Over the Rhine, for being a mirror of music, art, community, marriage, and faith – unbeknownst to them, my journey from 1996-present has their music as a personal soundtrack… And in true honeymoon bliss, I say that until next blog…

I’m wide awake
And the world can wait
” – OTR, The World Can Wait

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Will You Gay Marry Me?

marry_loveFor months, my readers have been asking me to share my engagement story with the world so I decided that as our wedding day approaches in Virginia (hopefully legal, even), it was time I share the big gay details of what makes for a gay marriage story…

~~

Once upon a time, not too long ago, on a local dating site, I clicked “find matches,” and the rest is history. Well, actually, the rest is a long and complicated saga of strange encounters and near misses of U-Haul lesbian maneuvers. However, in the midst of those profile faces, was the woman who I knew I would want to gay marry someday…

Now, of course you may be wondering why I keep calling it “gay marry.” I mean, why not just call it “marriage?” I would, but I think it’s time we gays come clean about our whole intention behind this “equality” phase we seem to be in. All this talk about “equal rights” or “spousal benefits” is really just a smoke screen. We have wanted to gay marry since we were kids…

I’m personally looking forward to gay marrying my fiancee because I know what it is really about – making straight people uncomfortable. Since I was a young girl, all I ever wanted was a white picket fence and a few children I could use as leverage in the suburbs of America, where desperate housewives and sex-starved husbands wait for hot lesbian neighbors to move in and serve as a distraction from their unsatisfying lives. I’m finally living that dream out and I have to say – Virginia is close to lifting the ban on same-sex marriages and it couldn’t come at a better time! My dream of gay marrying is hopefully only a few court judges and lawyers away from becoming a reality.

What you probably didn’t know about gay marrying is that we actually propose that way too. When I got down on one gay knee, looked up passionately at my beautiful partner, and thought about our gay life together, I actually blurted out, “Gay!” before I even asked her to marry me. She started her reply, as instructed in the Gay Agenda Manual: “Rainbows, parades, and equal rights! Hell yeah, I will gay marry you.”

It was so romantic.

I never knew that getting gay married would lead to so many opportunities to make some straight people uncomfortable! I guess that’s why I was gay engaged before… it’s something I just knew I would eventually get right. Finding someone who will gay marry me because of all of our common gay interests, our gay affection, and our gay respect for one another – I’m so gay lucky! Gay marrying – the only thing I will probably enjoy more is gay parenting! It will be the perfect addendum to all that gay walking I do, gay eating, and of course, gay breathing.

So, I guess the story is out there now…

You know a bit more about our en-GAY-gement story. 😉

It’s really just another match made in gay heaven, my friends.

~~

Truth be told, my fiancee and I aim to write a book about our experiences and believe me… there is nothing about intimacy, commitment, sexuality, sensuality, spirituality, and companionship that really has to do with being gay. It’s time we all grow up – marriage is marriage. Love is love.

And satire is satire… it aims to amplify a more socially and emotionally intelligent perspective.

It’s not gay marriage.

It’s marriage.

And I want it… with her.

Get out of our way, Virginia. We promise we won’t gay grocery shop, gay dog walk, gay pump our gas, gay coffee drink, gay… insert fading gay voice…

Feel free to gay comment, gay share, and gay “like…”

~~

Gail Author PhotoGail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

When She Says She Loves Me… Why Equality Matters

1621773_510262802411101_8063516498862622385_nThe other day, my fiancee and I had a brief, yet looming encounter with a man who felt it necessary to speak loudly about his disapproval of what he called “gay marriage.” As we tried to disengage and stay focused on our own coffee and conversation, it was apparent that unless she said otherwise, I was going to address this man, for aggressively stating his unsolicited opinion over us, from 7 feet away. “If they can marry, it will be a disaster. God made man and woman…” he continued.

I asked my fiancee if she would mind giving me a kiss, as we got up to walk away. She agreed and after we shared an affectionate peck, I turned to him and said, “We are not a disaster,” and we walked away. Before walking away, we both heard him say in a slimy perverted tone, “Well I like that.”

Of course you do, you double-minded, broken old man,” I wanted to say.

Instead, we walked away and I felt this piece welling up in my heart… some words I have never said about marriage equality… some words I’ve never said about the woman who wants to marry me… some words that I hope will mirror what many of us are saying, when we say that equality matters.

Equality matters because when she says she loves me…

She is saying that of all the people who have crossed her path, the day she met me, something changed for the better.

She is saying that of all the outcomes she could have for her life, none of them would be as meaningful without me in the picture.

She is saying that when she seeks comfort, wisdom, rest, joy, or a sense of hope, she considers me a source.

She is saying that if there is a God, this love is the kind upon which God smiles. 

She is saying that feeling safe and loved now includes knowing if I am feeling safe and loved.

She is saying her future and my future now interconnect in ways that make the past a story to cherish and an influence to honor.

Equality matters because love matters… because her words matter more to me than any other woman who whispered, “I love you,” into my ear.

Equality matters… because eventually for some of us, there is one person who comes along and says these things in a way that changes everything for the better…

And what reasonable society would call this a disaster or a departure from what is good about humanity?

This is all we are saying, when we say equality matters. This… nothing more and nothing less.

This post is dedicated to all who have been on the receiving end of an “I love you,” that put an end to all your doubts about why those words matter… and to my fiancee, for being brave enough to say them until I could believe in them again.

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Marriage Equality Humor

Time for a lil’ levity at For Gail So Loved the World… (First vid will take ya to YouTube)

I was happy to see the response from lesbians… NICE!

snapping turtle in color

Straight Supremacist Warning

Portion of "The Rescue" my unfinished painting

Best $11 movie ticket ever. Last night I saw the movie, “The Help.” I laughed. I cried. I cheered. Best thing wasn’t the colorful (pun intended) and brilliantly written dialogue but the beautiful pauses and well-delivered punch lines exchanged among the characters. I don’t do movie reviews but this flick has me itching to pull an Ebert-move and toss up two thumbs to show my approval! So well done and so… well…

Easy to apply to my blog! (I think my friend leaned over at least 2x and said, “This is going to lead a blog post, isn’t it?”)

So, what was I thinking about my blog while enjoying this destined-to-be-Academy-Award-winning new movie?

I was thinking, “What really is the difference between white supremacy and the ex-gay movement?”

Both seek to hinder the progress of the people who are not like them.

Both seek to recruit young white people to their cause.

Both use unethical and sometimes violent tactics to evoke fear and oppress the people who are not like them.

Rather than making a plethora of comparisons, I thought I would simply take the statement that is on the KKK’s website, and replace words related to race with words related to sexual orientation and add “straight” and “gay” a few places. After reading it over, I suggest that Alan Chambers of Exodus International, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter get together to approve this new statement as their straight agenda. Let’s be real here… if you are emulating the KKK so why not own up to it and officially connect yourselves to the Klan? Maybe there’s a tax benefit in it for you.

Read it for yourself and tell me if this doesn’t this sound like something out of Michele’s mouth? Hasn’t Alan played a victim when reasonable people have taken a stand against the genocide of Exodus International? (Remember the Apple App?) Doesn’t Ann repeatedly try to usher in support by cheering on her “moral” majority and claiming the gay people have an agenda?

“There is a war against straights. But our people – my straight brothers and sisters – will stay committed to a non-violent resolution. That resolution must consist of solidarity in straight communities around the world. The hatred for our children and their future is growing and is being fueled every single day. Stay firm in your convictions. Keep loving your straight heritage and keep witnessing to others that there is a better straight way than a war torn, violent, wicked, socialist, new gay world order. That way is the straight Christian way – law and order – love of heterosexual family – love of nation. These are the principles of western Christian civilization. There is a war to destroy these things. Pray that our straight people see the error of their ways and regain a sense of loyalty. Repent America! Be faithful my fellow straight believers. ” (Paraphrasing of statement from National Director of the Knights, Pastor Thomas Robb)

So, to be clear… let this post serve as a warning that those who seek to deny rights or create “separate but equal” space for the LGBTQ community in the workplace, churches, homes or communities are no different from the white supremacists who insisted that African-Americans should piss in a different toilet, drink from a different fountain, or proverbially sit in the back of the spiritual bus that is en route to blessing and full inclusion!

We must refuse to call the ex-gay movement an “alternative perspective” or suggest that it is merely a “controversial” discussion (Shame on you, NPR!)

Call it what it is…

The ex-gay movement is no different from the White Supremacy Movement.

It is…

Hate.

~~

Furthermore, nothing should light a fire under true believers in Jesus more than knowing that in the name of your savior, they are proclaiming this hate. Many kudos to organizations such as Believe Out Loud and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists who are Christians standing on the side of love! Please visit their pages below:

www.facebook.com/believeoutloud

www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-Welcoming-and-Affirming-Baptists/207481543481

Old Lesbians Threaten Marriage

Satire is my friend… because I’m done pretending that Christian Fundamentalists can be reasoned with… too many lives have been damaged.  It’s time to let sarcasm shed some light.

I don’t know if you all saw this but it’s probably the most disturbing image ever to come from New York.  

Does this threaten your marriage?

We all knew that lesbians are a threat to the sanctity of marriage but these two are of a particular brand of terror.

Just look at them!

I mean, the white hair, the wheel chair, the wise-ass smiles and arms raised in some kind of cultic celebration of… their gayness?

Somebody should put these two on the most wanted list!

How dare they be so… happy to be committed?

Yeah, watch out straight Fundie Christians.

Homosexuals are a threat to your idea of sanctity of marriage because we stay committed even when the government doesn’t support us.

We commit when the church ignores us.

We commit when our families disown us.

We commit because when it comes to love… we are fearless!

And what’s more dangerous than fearless love?

~~

Truth be told, this picture fills my eyes with tears and my soul with hope but even hits me with a healthy twinge of envy… to love and be loved in a committed relationship with a woman who is willing to raise her hands in the air and celebrate us, our equality and our right to f*ck, fight and live a fabulous life to its fullest…

Yes please.

Sign me up!

~~

(Many thanks to my friend Karen, for posting this picture with a similar caption :0) You inspire me as always. I love you!)

Let’s Hear it for New York!

I can’t sleep, I can’t stop smiling and I can hardly imagine what may happen if I stay up all night on the computer, networking with the millions of people in the United States and worldwide who are cheering and crying tears of joy as a show of solidarity for the historic legislation that passed in New York tonight!

There’s such an incredible synergy at work in this country tonight and I tread lightly on the connection that I’m making… but my soul seems to gravitate to another time when I felt this awareness of national consciousness…

I haven’t felt this connected to the entire country since September 11, 2001.

As we were equally exposed to tragedy then, there is a rush of truth in how we can also equally celebrate the progress of the great state of New York tonight! This state deserves to be a beacon of hope to all who want to live free from oppression and fear… Tonight, Lady Liberty is standing tall for all of us. If she could, I would ask her to energetically take a bow because she has made a statement that is louder than any oppressor’s, foreign or domestic!

Equality is for everyone,” she shouts!

Love is a family value,” is her song.

And more, she has words to the those huddled masses of LGBTQ people who worry that we will have to hold our breath until we are fully recognized as citizens worthy of equal protection under the law… her words are that we will all someday breathe freely!

So, if for only tonight, we can know that our rainbow lamp is held high and New York, were it the entry point to the United States, would extend dignity and respect to all people no matter who they love.

I’ll try to sleep but in addition to having “An Empire State of Mind” (Glee’s version) in  my head, I’m also feelin’ some Flo + the Machine and must share. Let’s believe that the dog days are over!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOyfLBtuU (Flo + Machine, Dog Days are Over)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APjJwt7rc6I (Glee Version of Empire State of Mind)

~~

The Religious Right Made Me Proud

Hanging out with sexually educated Junior Highers for only a few hours last night was enough to remind me of the fact that the only reason that “gay” is even an identity is because of the Religious Right. To summarize right off of the bat I would like to use to bash Pat Robertson’s theology, were it not for Christian Fundamentalism, I would be just be gay…

Instead, I am gay and proud.

Everyone in the LGBTQ community has the Religious Right to thank for giving us the reason to be so excited and progressive about our sexuality. We could just be another subculture of sexually repressed people but instead, they have made our sex that much more exciting, our intimate lives, that much more powerful, our faith experiences, all the more important! 

Well done, Fundamentalists. You’ve created the monsters that we have become, as we proclaim “I’m gay” as if it’s that big of a deal, to be attracted to someone of the same gender. Is it that big of a deal? No… I think we all know it really isn’t.

But when you oppress someone because of who they are, what they cannot and should not change, you create the need for speaking out, speaking up, looking within and then… look out! The whole country goes “Gaga” and suddenly a media frenzy of Gleeks and modern families erupts and being gay becomes a staple for being different, free, honest, true and brave.

You’ve made us brave!

You’ve taken the ordinary and granted it a superior place of expression, individualism and celebration.

The irony of what the Religious Right has done is worth noting. As one of the OWL (Our Whole Lives) students asked last night, “What’s the big deal about being gay? It’s just body parts,” I thought, “Well out of the mouths of babes!”

What is the big deal?

There is no big deal… but because of all of the oppression, the “enemy” that they created has become a tour de force and now needs to proclaim simple truths about itself. At a basic level, a gay person’s coming out should be no more important than a child saying that he has blue eyes. Can you imagine how the landscape of our culture would change if we demonized everything that was diverse? (Blue-eyed Parades in March, Brunette Awareness Day in June, Bring a Tall Person to Work Week?)

The irony of it all has hit me specifically because a very close friend of mine is struggling with coming out and in the meantime, I’m struggling with a church community who doesn’t publically announce that they are a welcoming congregation. These two situations have forced me to ask myself, “What again is the big deal?”

Well… unfortunately, the big deal is that Christian Fundamentalists are still winning the war, every time a young person slices his skin with a safety pin, engraving the words “sinner” across his leg or a college student overdoses on a handful of pills after shaming herself for thinking “unholy” thoughts about her roommate.

No, being gay is not a big deal… but oppression and suffering is a colossal issue!

You can choose to view the suffering in the LGBTQ community with the eyes of Jesus, you can maintain a safe distance by wrongfully calling it a “non-issue” or you can wear blinders to how deep the issue runs.

They’ve turned it into an issue of identity.

And if you value the inherent worth and dignity of any person, then LGBTQ equality isn’t just a gay rights issue… it’s a human rights issue.

Whew! I’m about to topple off of my soapbox… I’m getting dizzy up here and the air is a little thin and I know the risks of attempting to simplify such a complex issue but after all of these years of thinking about, counseling about, praying about and living in this “gay” life, my conclusion is this:

I’m gay because God made me this way but I’m proud because oppression made me this way. If you want to make it a non-issue as it should be, help end the oppression.