Queer I Stand
Unlikely Allies and the End of Homophobia
While the ability to get legally married is expanding rapidly in the United States, setbacks still occur, and many major public figures (both in politics and entertainment) make homophobic comments on a regular basis—Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson being one such noteworthy example from recent history. (Whether his religion can or should be an excuse for such comments is another matter altogether!) Catholic high school students in various locations are upset that their administrators have been dismissed because they have had same-sex marriages, and are asking the pope directly to change Catholic social teachings on these matters. (Ah, the optimism of youth!) The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are only a few weeks away, and the Russian "anti-gay propaganda" laws loom large as an issue that might impact athletes from other countries. President Obama's choices of who to send in his presidential delegation to the Olympics have been interesting in that regard: Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow, and Brian Boitano, all of whom are openly gay (though only recently so in Boitano's case).
Even the most conservative, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian leaders in the United States are not saying much about this, for or against. Many of them, I suspect, are more "proudly American" than even they might like to admit, and may see Russia as an enemy of the United States, and thus approving of their recent laws would be "anti-American" in some fashion. The thinking of these types of individual is something I've never particularly understood, I must admit.
However, I was absolutely shocked, floored, and strangely happy when I heard about archconservative eccentric Glenn Beck's comments about this situation on a recent CNN interview. He said he would "stand with GLAAD" and any other organization that opposes the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia, and that the enactment of them should be considered "hetero-fascism."
This is not a liberal arts college's LGBT*Q studies professor offering a comment, this is GLENN BECK!
I have to admit, in the long involvement I've had with LGBT*Q activism and spirituality, I'm used to finding allies in certain areas more often than others. But then, there are groups and individuals whom I have assumed would never come to such a position—and, as a result of Beck's statements, I freely admit I've assumed this wrongly!
In so many recent discussions (which are often debates, and more often still mutual tirades, debacles, and fracases of the most poisonous variety) within and with those outside of the modern polytheist communities, there is a sense that many of us have "given up" on ever finding common ground with some individuals in other sections within modern Paganism. Even some friendships across theological and ideological lines have been damaged, if not entirely lost, as a result of these internet disagreements, and this is something to be lamented deeply.
People, far too often, are faster in writing off their apparent opponents than they are in giving them second chances. Often, I think this isn't an unwise tactic, as repeat offenders certainly exist and often never change despite saying they have or they can. But, one can be surprised occasionally, and this incident with Glenn Beck makes me think that the old queer-activist maxim of "don't assume anything!" needs to be remembered and re-deployed far more often than it has been amongst our various communities and in our many endeavors, whether they be activism, spiritual communities, or theological discussions.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.