I don’t want to be straight

We humans are driven by the imperative to procreate. As spiritual, philosophical, intellectual, and creative as we are, in the end we must, and will, have sex.

*Snork*

In the end.

See?! Right there! It’s like it’s all we can think about!

Stupid pulsating gonads.

Anyway, eight seconds spent people-watching at any mall—or airport, or county fair, or concert, or through your blinds at your neighbors, you perv—makes extremely obvious what any dog knows: it’s all about the big You Know What. (The sex. I mean it’s about sex.)

So why for basic human needs and desires does the urge to merge actually and totally compete with, say,  food?

Well, for one, sex is how we make people.

We are a species, after all. And that means we are necessarily compelled to not just compete in, but to flat-out win Ye Oldye Survival Race. And nothing says “Not only am I here, but some version of me always will be”  like rockin’ out to the horizontal rumba.

So primordially vital is our need to mate and raise to maturity our young that our entire society is and always has been defined by that very singular need. Assuring our survival meant securing for ourselves a steady food supply, shelter, cooperative neighbors, a safe environment, economic security.

Next thing you know, though, it’s 100,000 years later (give or take 100 centuries), and voila! We’ve done it!

By far and away, we are now the dominant species on the planet.

We win!

Whoo-hoo! We’re number one!

Evolution, divine creation, awesome luck, assistance from Martians … whatever its cause and/or purpose, we humans have now officially won the drive to survive.

So.  About that fact and gay people.

Gay people don’t play any obviously huge role in pumping out and raising youngins. So historically it’s been easy enough to justify maligning, ignoring, or even denying their existence.

Which, again, to be fair, is understandable. Our race is resourceful and tough, yesbut not necessarily bright, or even what you’d want to call overwhelming compassionate. Which, again, makes sense: when you’re busy trying to be Alpha Survivors, you’re sometimes not all that worried about protecting everyone’s feelings. You’re just trying to eat.

Well, we here in America (to suddenly go all colloquial about it: but we are one of the guiding lights of the world . . . so, you know) have certainly had enough to eat now. We’ve got plenty of everything we need to survive—and then, of course, a great deal.

We’re fine. We’re okay. We’ve unquestionably made it.

We can relax.

And that means that for the first time in human history it’s extremely safe for us to allow into our hearts and minds the truth of just how much we need gay people. And not because by nature they don’t produce children; the proper function of gay people in society is hardly as agents of population control. Rather, we need people who are gay, bi, transgender, and every permutation thereof, because—amongst a whole bunch of other awesome things—such folks offer us straighties a way to finally expand our conception and understanding of what it really means to be human.

We’ve been animals. We been all about survival.

It’s time, finally, for us to move from out of strictly survival mode, and into something a good deal more interesting—and infinitely more fun.

The dinner plates are gone.

It’s time for desert.

It’s so freakin’ boring to have who we are and/or can be forever and unquestionably reduced to Dad, Mom, sis, and brother Billy. It’s good to have Dad, Mom, sis, and brother Billy who likes to wear sis’s clothes and play with her dolls.

It’s time to finally just let young Billy be the Billie she was born to be.

I’m a straight guy. I also love art, theater, music, and language. While talking I tend to flap my hands around like they’re on fire.

When barely more than a boy I was pushed out of my family’s home. Because I was then an actor, it was largely gay people who rescued me: who took me in, fed me, supported me; who showed me how to rent an apartment, get a job, fix a car. I didn’t know my friends were gay. I didn’t even have a concept of what that meant. And none of them ever, even slightly, hit on me.

All I knew was that they, too, loved art, theater, music, and language. When excited they, too, moved their hands around so much you could get brained if you didn’t stay alert.

They were artists. And they weren’t shy about letting me know that they thought I was a great artist.

By so generously loving me, and so bravely being themselves, they showed me that I, too, didn’t have to be afraid to just freakin’ be the person whom God made me to be.

Designations like “gay” and “straight” are so useless. They’re so toxic. They do nothing but harm. They limit people in crucial, terrible ways that cut to the very heart of the best of who all of us are.

The number one argument against gay marriage is that society’s interests lie in protecting the reproductive family unit.

Today, that’s like arguing that horses should be outlawed so that they don’t interfere with automobiles becoming the dominant form of transportation. It just doesn’t make any sense. The reproductive family unit is thoroughly, one hundred percent safe. There are now more than enough straight people in the world. Happily coupled breeders are definitely here to stay, forever.

Our race is safe.

We are now free, and now obliged, and should be now honored, to start making it extremely safe for every person to be whomever and however God so wondrously designed them to be.

I don’t want to be straight. I don’t want to be gay. I don’t want to be bi.

I don’t want to be anything but the most fully realized me I can be.

Same as anyone.

Same as everyone.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Kirsten A.S. Mebust via Facebook

    While I wouldn’t buy that the drive for the species to survive was the be-all and end-all anywhere along the line (I do think there are things about all species that natural selection doesn’t explain all by itself), I do find compelling the argument that we’ve completed the very first commandment– “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and cover it”– and that God is now suggesting we branch out into doing other things, for our own survival as well as the earth’s. GLBTIQ people are testimony to God’s ongoing creativity and ours.

  • LSS

    “we need people who are gay, bi, transgender, and every permutation thereof because such folks offer us straighties a way to finally expand our conception and understanding of what it really means to be human.”

    (^_^) that’s the way i feel about the neurological diversity, too.

    which is part of why i had a change of heart about gender diversity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bert-Gagnon/731901646 Bert Gagnon via Facebook

    Another hit out of the ballpark! Great job. :O)

  • Adara Pallady via Facebook

    Meh. What I want, is anti gay Christian types to explain to me why if homosexuality is in most if not all animals (birds have a much higher rate than humans) & when God looked around after making them God said “It is good” not it is good, but. Why homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice”. Do birds & cows make lifestyle choices?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Gosh, Adara. I’m sorry this particular post didn’t help you with that particular concern.

  • Adara Pallady via Facebook

    I didn’t mean it that way John! It is just something that bothers me & I can’t get an answer. We try to explain, I would like them to as well.

    • LSS

      Liberal activist “scientists”, gay lifestyle promotion, la la la. … I think i’ve heard the explanations, haven’t you?

    • cat rennolds

      Adara, they’ll explain it until they’re blue in the face, but they can’t make the answers make sense. and they’re trying.

      The short version is that it’s only recently science has started to catalogue and notice these animal behaviors. and it’s only very recently that we needed to control our population growth instead of compensating for high infant mortality rates. So the rules that have been taught in Christianity for centuries don’t account for the situation we are in now. And the people who have all their personal sense of security tied up in following the old rules are SCARED that the rules might change. Or that maybe they were wrong to begin with. And scared people get mean and hold on to the old rules even tighter.

      Guys, if we want to change this, we have to come up with a way to ease the fear for them, not make it worse. This feels to them like we’re trying to take away Heaven. that’s why I try really hard to stay non-aggressive, even when I’m the target.

    • Lymis

      I have always felt that the heart of the problem lies in the underlying assumption that there is always and exactly only One True Answer™ to any question.

      It took me a while to understand why it is such a common “reason” why the 3-8 % (most current estimates, as things go) of the population who is likely to want to marry someone of the same sex can’t do so is “because if everyone turned gay, the human race would die out in a generation.” Say what? Who said anything about the other 92% of the population? Even if it was true that gay people never have kids, can’t everyone else just fill in a bit? We’ll even babysit.

      Then I realized. They meant it. That if we “redefined” marriage, then same-sex marriage would be the new One True Answer™ and humanity is doomed! Doomed, I say!

      So many of these truly absurd arguments make a lot more sense (internally, at least -they’re still usually seriously disconnected from reality) when you view them that way.

      If we allow civil marriage to be the One True Answer™ then it means ending religious marriage.

      If we tolerate Jews or Muslims or funny versions of Christianity, by definition it means agreeing that our version of it must be wrong.

      If we let two women raise kids, we’re saying that no father anywhere ever mattered to any child.

      There doesn’t seem to be any room in some people’s mindset for the idea that “this really works for me, thank you, but I can see how that really works for you, and I am happy for you” – whether that is gender roles, relationship styles, sexual orientation religion, or even what TV series you enjoy or what you put on your french fries.

      So, if you dig just a little deeper, what a lot of these people are saying, and can’t communicate, is that homosexuality or gay relationships can’t be the only right answer for everyone, and they are terrified that people are saying it is. Which, since absolutely nobody anywhere is actually saying that, makes for some seriously weird conversations. And Inquisitions. And, sadly, elections.

      • Diana A.

        So true!

      • LSS

        that makes no sense. which, unfortunately, makes it a pretty good bet for how things work in people’s minds.

      • LSS

        huh … i opened my email and received a digest from World Beat (foreign policy issues). they kept talking about TINA and i wondered what was TINA … “There Is No Alternative”.

        it goes on about how USA promoted liberal democracy in other countries to make the world safe for USA, not for the people actually from those places… but how this is now turning against us as people sometimes elect the leaders they actually want instead of the ones we want them to want. anyway. it just seemed to have a connection somehow…

      • cat rennolds

        but there HAS to be One True Answer!!!!!! Otherwise EVERYTHING is okay! (street orgy, anyone?)

        Or…if some things are right some of the time and wrong some of the time, and some things are right for some people all of the time and wrong for some people all of the time, except on alternate Tuesdays……

        I’d have to think! I’d have to make my own choices! I might get it wrong!!!!!

  • Allen

    Nice piece once again, John. (Although, in a certain light, it looks like my reason for being is to make the straight majority more sensitive. Day to day, it doesn’t actually work that way .) The central thought, that labels about sexuality are toxic, is very very true and worth all the expounding it can get. Thanks for mentioning that you were cared for by gays who didn’t hit on you — we don’t actually do much of that, and it’s nice to have a little corrective to our reputation in the fear-based world of “they can’t procreate so they have to recruit” nonsense. Rock on.

    • Drew

      Nonsense, indeed – as if one person could ever turn another person gay (or straight)!

      • vj

        A lot of the ‘fear’ seems to be that children ‘exposed’ to same-gender couples will somehow be influenced to make the same ‘lifestyle choice’. I was raised by a lesbian single mother; until I left home after high school, almost all the adults I knew on a social basis (i.e. the people who came to my mother’s dinner parties; the people we went on holiday with, etc) were gay or lesbian. It naturally follows that most of the couples I knew were same-gender as well. And yet, with all of this ‘exposure’, it never, not even for a single moment, *ever* occurred to me that I would want to be in a same-gender relationship. So how, exactly, is the presence of a same-gender couple next door, or down the street, or on TV, supposed to ‘turn’ an otherwise heterosexual person gay?

        • Lymis

          I was raised by a heterosexual couple, and I never met an out gay person until I was in my 20′s – and I’m gay. If being exposed or not exposed to other people’s orientation what the key, I’d be straight, as would most gay people my age.

          • Gary

            Excellent point Lymis. The truth behind it is so simple that it amazes me that anyone could hear it, or the flip side version of it stated by vj, and not simply go “Well Duh!!”

          • anonymous for a moment

            on consideration, i concluded that i might have had a go at relationships with other young women, had i known that that was a valid option … (rather than being raised very homophobic)

            i guess the fact that it _could_ have been an option means i am a little bit bi, which i am now ok with. on the other hand, if i had found a woman, i would probably not have found my amazing husband, so it’s ok that i didn’t know this until it was “too late”.

            (i don’t think the whole poly thing would work out for us; it’s complicated enough to get along as a 2-person couple.)

          • Gary

            Poly is certainly not for everyone…probably not for most in fact. Though honestly we do find that even though the problems that will always exist between 2also exist 4, they can actually be helped (handled better) by the love and support of the other 2.

          • cat rennolds

            that’s one of the things that isn’t talked about much. if gay marriage were taken for granted in our culture, I would have married a woman, not a man. if poly were taken for granted, I would have happily married both (and nearly did anyway). in the LGBTQ acronym, bisexuality is self-reported at 1% of the total population . I think we’d see the numbers much, much higher if there were no stigma attached. but, “You let one ant stand up, and they might ALL stand up….and there goes our way of life!”

          • vj

            That’s what really stood out to me about the testimonies in ‘UNFAIR’ – how could so many people, raised in Bible-centric, traditional, conservative Christian homes and communities feel themselves to be gay WITHOUT any obvious gay ‘influences’ during their formative years – UNLESS they were actually ‘born that way’? If it’s not innate, where did it come from?

            In fact, the possibility of me considering a same-gender relationship was so completely not part of my thought process *ever*, that it was only reading ‘UNFAIR’ that made me aware of how the social context I grew up in DID NOT ‘influence’ me… Well, duh!

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    They can have my horses when they pry them out from between my cold, dead knees.

    In my experience, “gay” is only part of what a person is, as being “straight” is only part of who I am. Its an important part of us, to be sure, but there are other parts that are equally bone-deep and important. Mother, partner, Christian, horsewoman, musician, reader.

    What I’d like for the anti-gay people out there to understand is that it shouldn’t matter even if we were still fighting as a race to procreate and survive. We are the way God made us, each and every one. If we are part of God’s creation then we are inherently both loved and worthy of love. And no, I don’t mean judgmentalism disguised as love. I mean the real and Christ-like kind of love that sees us as whole and perfect.

  • Allie

    John, I think this is very intelligent, but I would go a step farther. Even in species that haven’t outright won the procreation race, there are non-procreating individuals. Most members of a wolf pack don’t breed, for example. Almost all ants don’t reproduce. Having adults who help out without breeding is a functional strategy.

    And of course, in the modern world, there’s no reason on earth that gay people can’t have biological children by insemination.

    By the way, add me to the list of people who grew up surrounded by loving gay people who never hit on me. Like you, I never knew when I was a teenager that my father’s secretary was a lesbian, or that my mom’s theater friends were gay. But they enriched my life enormously.

  • Lymis

    I know you only had a few paragraphs to discuss it – and in those paragraphs, you did a great job, but it’s worth pointing out that genetics and such are (duh) more complicated than just making sure we each have babies. In fact, survival of the species really isn’t about having babies at all. It’s really about having grandbabies.

    It doesn’t do the species any good at all for someone to have 15 kids who all die of neglect and disease. It doesn’t do the species any good if everyone is so alike and so unable to adapt that any change in the environment wipes them all out.

    So both diversity and redundancy are good things. Having a wide variety of types of people around, and having loving, interesting adaptable aunts and uncles and other “spare” adults who can help raise the kids and keep them safe, even if something awful happens to their parents, is also a good thing.

    One current theory on why homosexuality seems so permanent in the human experience is that in order to survive, we need to keep a broad range of people on hand at all times – we need builders and nurturers and nesters, but we also need explorers and warriors and defenders. People who will build homes and communities and settle down, and people who will grab everyone, circle the wagons and get the hell out of town when the volcano goes up or the barbarians come over the hill. And to make sure that we DO keep all those kinds of people on hand, even the eccentric ones we might not need just this generation, we may also have to overshoot a bit at the edges and end up with people who aren’t personally as likely to pump out some kids – daredevils, soldiers of fortune, celibate nuns, and yes, possibly, gay people.

    Of course, it’s a myth that gay people don’t have kids – huge numbers of us do, and that number is only going to go up as society gets over the idea that we aren’t families (and mothers realize they can pressure their gay kids for grandchildren just a much as their straight kids!)

    But even genetically, the current science seems to be coming to the conclusion that something about us means our brothers and sisters and cousins and neighbors are more likely, on average, to have kids and grandkids than they would be if we weren’t around, whether that is because something in our shared genes makes for more or healthier babies, even though some of us don’t have them, or because something sociologically about having us around makes for better societies.

    One thing I already see us contributing right now is a new model on how to have loving relationships that aren’t based on fixed gender-based roles. Gay people can’t just assume we know who kills the bugs and who does the wash, who changes diapers and who cuts the lawn – each and every aspect of that has to be worked out by the couple. That’s a huge shift for a lot of straight people who never even thought of things that way.

    And yes, look at the arts, music, entertainment, and (shh!) even organized religion, and we are far more represented than our detractors want to admit. That isn’t a coincidence, and successfully wiping us out would have a huge and negative impact on all those areas and more.

    I agree, I don’t want to be straight either. And that I just want to be me. But I’m perfectly happy that being me means being gay.

    • cat rennolds

      a huge, scary, difficult shift! I actually appreciate stereotype gender roles in some ways. it’s like uniforms – saves you having to decide what to wear every morning. But I really like the idea in some of the Native American tribal history, where the gender ROLE remained the same….regardless of the actual gender – or preferences! – of the person playing the role.

      • Lymis

        But what if I want to grind corn AND hunt the buffalo?

        • LSS

          i know, right?! or neither … (more likely in my case LOL)

        • cat rennolds

          then you can join my tribe anytime:)

    • Abbie

      This. This!!

  • cat rennolds

    This makes me think of something I realized during a conversation on birth control earlier today.

    Anti-gay sentiment springs from the same root as anti-birth control: GET BACK IN YOUR BOX. It’s a power trip. If reproduction is no longer the prime directive, and men are judged not on how many kids they have or how many wives they’ve gone through, but on what kind of human they are at their very core….that’s pretty scary. Also removes both the justification and the ABILITY to control what other people do and hoard all the goodies unto themselves.

    A cornered animal is the most dangerous.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

      It is an interesting parallel Cat. That the entrenched status quo when it comes to what reproduction is all about is shifting, and has been shifting for sometime is something that certain people just refuse to come to terms with. Never mind that the shift offers anything better to everyone, themselves included; its that it is different from that entrenched status quo, and to them its automatically detrimental.

      • cat rennolds

        I dunno. while “we” can all agree that sharing is better than having all of something all to yourselves…the guy who has it all to himself can buy favors by doling out little bits, and get to control who gets them.

  • Will

    Excellent. Well thought out and from the heart without having to bypass the brain.

    Very logical and works on many levels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    No, no: no worries. You HAVE asked a key question here. Of course, it’s one the proper answer to which demands dispassionate logic. So. You know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.maslin.bradley Laura Maslin Bradley via Facebook

    And John is all about passionate logic!

  • Amy Mitchell via Facebook

    I freakin’ love this blog post. I love it so much I want to marry it. I used to be a homophobe disguised as a religious person. I thank God every day for my amazing gay friends and family who rescued me from myself and my boring, sheltered existence.

    • Rachel M

      I love your joy about your growth.

      • Gary

        Here here. I love it and I identify with it as well.

  • John Carson via Facebook

    One of the best counter arguments to the “perpetuate the species” anti-gay bigotry I’ve read. Thanks, John :)

  • charles m

    I spent some time this Sunday contemplating the “if there was a pill that fixed X”, but had some set consequence, like- you would die at a certain age- and how God might feel about that- and it seemed to me that it would be very insulting to Him in every single way. Growth and progress always comes from the challenge of our thinking. God doesn’t make junk. And I think God is hopeful of us learning more about him through HIS creation.

  • Donald Rappe

    Thoughtful (I think).

  • otter

    This was a thought provoking piece and while I like the tone of it, and the acceptance, I have a point or two to offer.

    First we don’t ALL think about procreation…I never have and never will except to be glad I didn’t.

    Second, Not all cultures treated their gays badly. Sure the Judeo-Christians did, mislead by patriarchal taboos enshrined in sacred texts, but prior to this influence, many Native American cultures accepted, respected and even revered their “two-spirit” people. They weren’t dessert, they were valued as contributing members of the tribe. And if any people valued children, they did.

    It seems to me the drivers behind anti-LGBT views are actually MUCH less subtle. To over-simpilfy, consider that patriarchal men want control of women, and so find lesbians a threat….and these same sorts of men want to retain male power and privilege and are threatened by men who give them up.

    And maybe this is why straight women tend to be less phobic than straight men.

    Just my 2 cents…

    • Diana A.

      I think you’re right about this. I also think John wrote an earlier post regarding this exact issue. At least, I vaguely remember something along this line.

    • Ashley C

      Point in fact, most modern cultures treat homosexuals as second class citizen at best, regardless of the dominant religion of the region. I’m not in any way denying that Christianity is responsible for persecuting LGBT, but even loosely implying they are solely to blame is just factually incorrect. However, I do think you’re on to something with the second half of your comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dtolan Daniel R. Tolan via Facebook

    Thank you for this!

  • Carl Johnson via Facebook

    Excellent article, Brother John. So totally sharing this. Great advice. We should feel free to just be.

  • Deb Fullwood via Facebook

    Awesome!

  • Brian W

    Thanks John and everyone for your responses, just fabulous. I have been so wrong, for so long………forgive me Lord…..

    • Gary

      I remember well when I stood where you now stand. It was a wonderful day for me. Your God is about to get a whole lot bigger.

    • DR

      You have been pushed so hard and you just sat there and took it, over and over again. Most people would have walked away but you had the courage and the commitment to see it through. You are a good and faithful servant, Brian.

      • Brian W

        Now stop, you’re making me blush….but thanks, I have a road less travelled ahead but I look forward to it.

    • cat rennolds

      I think He’s probably rather proud of you at this point. I know I am. Love you, man.

    • vj

      Well, you’re not alone in all of that. It’s great that you’ve stuck around!

  • Soulmentor

    Once again, as always, kudos to you, John. Brilliant as always……with one small caveat please. *********It’s good to have Dad, Mom, sis, and brother Billy who likes to wear sis’s clothes and play with her dolls.It’s time to finally just let gay Billy be the Billie she was born to be.*********

    Perpetuating the stereotype a bit, are you? With friends like you……

    I know you were illustrating a point, but surely you could have done it other than by using an illustration that represents, really, a very small minority of gay men. Yes, yes, you see the stereotype a LOT, but essentially only in the larger urban gay ghettos. You do know, don’t you, that most of us couldn’t be recognized as gay unless we TRIED. I get that all the time. People are surprised when I tell them and not because I’ve learned to hide (tho I probably did as a child). It’s just my plain masculine self….that loves men. I KNOW most of us are like that, John, but it’s the stereotype that people can readily see that gives a wrong impression of our numbers and who we really are.

    The “Marine Kiss” image or the farmer and his partner would have been a much better illustrations of us.

    You’re forgiven.

    • Bruce Garner

      As a gay man, I didn’t read this the same way as some others did. It struck me as perhaps a transgender situation. Perhaps Billy was actually born to be Billie and it wasn’t just a cross dressing issue.

      We often forget that human sexuality exists along a spectrum or continuum. One end is the 100% same-gender oriented (I don’t like homosexual because it is more of a clinical term than anything else and I’m not a clinical term.) The other end is the 100% opposite gender oriented (same comment applies to heterosexual). All else is somewhere along the spectrum. Those who are oriented equally toward either gender are in the middle (often called bisexual). And that does not mean having sex with both genders at the same time. It just means equal sexual attraction to either gender.

      We’ve never dealt well with very many of the multitude of issues about human sexuality. Our misconceptions (blindness toward?) sexuality among the elderly has had a major role to play in the epidemic of STD’s among seniors in assisted living facilities and retirement facilities. No one thinks about pregnancy so they forget about protection. HIV infections are rampant. And of course, few doctors even ask if someone is sexually active later in life and symptoms are not noticed or associated with a particular STD.

      We all have much to learn about human sexuality. And for something that is such an integral part of who we are even after the procreative years, we have been woefully ignorant about it or we have been fearful about learning. Perhaps if we actually learned to talk about sexuality rather than speculate or stereotype, it would be a different world.

      Just random thoughts.

  • John (not McCain)

    “It’s time to finally just let gay Billy be the Billie she was born to be.”

    Um, sort of, well, no. I’m probably going to sound like an overly critical nitpicker, and I agree with everything else in this post, but this particular gay Billy has never had the slightest desire to be Billie. I realize we don’t get a lot of media exposure, but there are more than a couple of us gay fellas out here who are more Walt Whitman homos than Oscar Wilde homos.

    It’s not a big deal I guess, but having grown up with constant accusations that I must think I’m a woman, when I don’t and never have – it just gets a bit old and tiring to hear.

    • Lymis

      I agree with your point, and I know I am certainly more of a leatherman than a lavender menace, but at the same time, I suspect John’s focus was on the “she was born to be” part.

      There’s a push in a lot of circles to accept gay rights by normalizing us all according to heterosexual stereotypes and that we are exactly as acceptable as we are successful in blending in – that gay marriage is only okay if it includes the white picket fence and the little league games. It would be a shame if our acceptance came at the price of even further marginalizing others.

      You’re right that Billy shouldn’t have to defend his gender and being gay doesn’t mean he’s a girl. But neither should Billie have to defend her gender, if that’s who she experiences herself as. And her right to be female shouldn’t be contingent on her being able to “pull it off” and blend in invisibly, either.

      • John (not McCain)

        “You’re right that Billy shouldn’t have to defend his gender and being gay doesn’t mean he’s a girl. But neither should Billie have to defend her gender, if that’s who she experiences herself as.”

        I totally agree, and that’s why I almost didn’t say anything. I think it would be a much better world if everyone were free to be who they are without fear. It’s just that particular stereotype gets under my skin. Hearing it constantly when I was growing up made it very difficult for me to accept myself as who I am, because it clearly didn’t fit me, but at the same time it was clear to me that it was guys that I was interested in. It made me feel like I was weird on top of weird, and I hate it.

        • Lymis

          Having defended John, I can jump the fence and agree with you. They do get tiresome, and that’s as a gay man – who, among the LGBT alphabet, pretty much counts as trendy. I can’t imagine how the trans people feel about being invisible in all this.

          It would have flowed better for me, true, if it was phrased as “It’s time to finally just let young Billy be the Billie she was born to be.” On the other hand, just because she’s transgendered, it doesn’t mean that Billie is necessarily straight, either.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            I thought it did say exactly what you’ve written, Lymis. Going back just now, I was surprised to find the word “gay” left in that sentence from an earlier rewrite. It’s gone now. good call! (and I added your “young,” which I liked.)

  • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    I like what this says about us asexuals, too.

    (I once had someone tell me, forget where, somewhere online – that they saw me as “evolved” or a next step in evolution because I’m interested in things other than sex in an overpopulated world or something. Whatever. I’m just me – and I think I’m too broken to even want a mini version of myself around to glut up the world, anyway. I like to say “I don’t want to pass on my bad genes.)”

    As for the “just being me” – I am reminded (aren’t I always?) of an anime…

    To be fair, I have not seen the entirety of “Kino’s Journey” – I’ve seen a few episodes and it was a while ago that I saw the one I want to reference, so other anime fans who are more on the ball may feel free to correct me if I’m mis-remembering… “Kino’s Journey” – is set in an otherworld divided into many tiny countries, each where the people have some different philosophy on the way to live. There’s one country where everyone lives alone because the development of telepathy wrecked their brains, another where everyone’s job is involved in building a giant tower to the heavens. Stuff like that. The main character is an androgynous young woman who travels on a robotic, talking motorcycle. (NOT a kid’s series, despite the way it sounds. Has some very dark themes. The protagonist loads herself down with guns and hidden knives for a reason).

    Anyway, there is one episode that’s a flashback to the protagonist’s life – as a little girl coming of age in “The Land of Adults” – in the Land of Adults, when one comes of age, one gets a surgery to “make one into an adult.” – i.e. a lobotomy that makes sure they preform any tasks asked of them and always obey their government. Into this country comes a traveler, a young man named Kino (whom the girl takes the name of later). The little girl sees that this young man doesn’t act like the adults in her country, although he’s obviously not a child. She demands of him”What are you, then? An adult or a child?” The man responds “I don’t know if I’m one or the other, I’m just Kino.” (Then stuff happens that involve the giving of life to save a life and the girl running away to become a world traveler).

    Now, whenever I hear or read about people being caught between being “one or the other” by their friends, family, or society, I think “I’m just Kino.”

    I ought to get into watching that anime again…

    • LSS

      wow i want to see that. it reminds me of Le Petit Prince with the different worlds with their different dysfunctions. i will get dh to find it and we can watch it together; he’s the anime expert.

      i always used to say that about not wanting to produce an autistic kid that would suffer like we had suffered for being different… “don’t want to pass on the bad genes” and then i realized that was putting us down and saying that we are a kind of people that the world doesn’t need. which i now think is wrong. i think the same about bipolar, but of course the more a mental difference can hurt the person who has it, the more they need some helps in order to … not control, but work around? i guess … but not to dull out the whole difference, because that destroys also the creative parts of the person. my dh has had to do that by force of will, because meds didn’t work for him. but whatever works for the individual…

      anyway, i *don’t* think that the world would be just fine without people like us. so now i say that “i don’t want to pass on the complexes” … because as much as i am ok with my own *neurological* weirdness now, i don’t think half a lifetime is enough to iron out all the *dysfunctional* kind of weirdness that i got from my upbringing.

      did that make ANY sense? i sure hope so…

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        It’s not so much about not making more bipolar people as it is not making more… me. Also, I just don’t think I’d make a good parent. I don’t handle stress well – I fear I’d be the kind of mother the kid would wind up having to take care of instead of the way it’s supposed to go. Also, poverty.

        But mostly, my car is parked because I just don’t have the drive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Blaine-Williams/100001220897612 Blaine Williams via Facebook

    I agree with much of what you say here, but I have to speak to something, and hope that you will see it as helpful, for that is as it is meant. I agree with most of what you write in your posts and know that it all comes from a good place; and very much appreciate how much thought and effort you extend in your writings to the lives and experiences of gays. That said, there is a concept I have a problem with in the middle of this writing. And I’m sure it’s just the wording. In writing about how straight people “need” gays in helping them expand their concepts of being human, you inadvertedly back up against suggesting straight people can relax about gay people existing because they are usefull to straight people. We gay people, we queers, we LGBTs exist. We are. There is no need for further explanation. That’s the goal; that’s how it should always have been. The fact that we are a help to our straight brothers and sisters is wonderful. And certainly, gay people would not have made the gains we have made without the love, support and hard work of straight people who see us as equals in life. I’m here because I am. I’m happy to be a help to anyone who may need it. But I don’t need to be useful as a reason for my being. Pray this is expressed well.

    • Gary

      I think you expressed yourself both graciously and with great clarity. I would not presume to speak for John of course…but it was certainly well received by me. I think it is a wonderful clarification.

    • LSS

      i think the meaning is that gays are useful to *humanity in general* and that straights can now relax and *realize that*. at least that’s how i took it. i figured gays already realized it… (*_*)

      • LSS

        oops; missed this part “I don’t need to be useful as a reason for my being”, which is kind of beautiful.

  • mike moore

    John, I’m shocked at your political naivete’ … if you, like the good Christians, had been listening to Rick Santorum, you would know that we need to amp-up breeding and stop abortions because increasing our population is the only way to save Social Security.

    Somewhere in there, Santorum also works in some anti-gay rhetoric, but I missed it because of the mini-stroke he gave me.

    (Seriously, you can’t make this sh*t up.)

    • LSS

      undocumented immigrants would save social security without ever being able to collect the payout in their own old age, if the economic crash hadn’t sent most of them back home.

      (to avoid political naiveté myself, i must wonder if *that* is why the right is so against any kind of paths to citizenship. all that W-7 money would be not quite as free as it now is.)

      seriously, doesn’t even the right see that population *overload* is more of a danger at this point in the history of humans and the US, than a slightly slower growth of the number of consumers in the next generation? if the economy continues the way they want it to and nobody has any money to *be* consumers with, that’s not going to work out anyway. and if the environment becomes too far destroyed, future generations of rich people won’t have anywhere nice to go on vacations. so, i don’t get it…

      what are they going for, soylent green?!

      • cat rennolds

        it’s not about reproduction. it’s about power. and the right is all about, “my power, my money, NOW.” if they were concerned with more than the immediate future, they couldn’t spout the nonsense they do. their political rhetoric is nothing but rationalization of the means they use to keep THEIR lifestyle alive.

        if the economy continues the way it’s going, they already have land and goods. that puts them in a position to hire people at wages they specify…maybe just room and board. they’d LOVE a return to the feudal system.

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      According to what I saw on an episode of The Colbert Report, doesn’t he also think I’m supposed to be an athiest becuase I went to a couple of two-year colleges to earn a graphic design degree? (And would totally jump on the opportunity for more education if it wasn’t so impossibly expensive and prohibitive to the poor)?

  • Bruce Garner

    John’s writing is so important. And it’s also important for us to realize how much misinterpretation and mistranslation of Scripture has fashioned attitudes in the western world.

    The Levitical Purity Code dealt with several issues. Dietary rules were to keep people healthy. The prohibited foods didn’t keep well and didn’t cure or dry well either and without refrigeration could cause death. Sexuality rules were often based on ignorance about human reproduction (remember it was into the early 1900′s that medical book drawings of a sperm cell showed a tiny complete human being inside with the woman simply being an incubator!). Women’s menstrual cycles were considered sources of ritual impurity, creating another set of prohibitions. And often the rules spelled out what should be considered right relationships and condemned those that fell short.

    The story of Sodom was not about sexuality but about hospitality….a requirement of Hebrew law and culture at the time. If it had been about male-on-male sex, why did Lot offer his daughters??? In the parallel story in Judges a woman is thrown to the mob and the mob literally rapes her to death and leaves her on the doorstep.

    Almost every reference in the Christian Testament deals with a misinterpretation about what constituted a right relationship. The popular passage about Paul condemning those who gave up natural relations for unnatural is accurate when kept in context. Paul was condemning straight folks for engaging in same-gender sexual activity. Such was actually against their nature. Same gender activity among same-gender oriented folks was not the issue at all. Other references used Greek words for “soft” and/or male pagan temple prostitutes as equivalent to same-gender oriented folks, which was not the case at all.

    We also forget that polygamy was common in the Hebrew Bible. And most forget that polygamy was only prohibited in the Christian Testament for bishops and deacons, not for others.

    Finally, scholars and linguists are clear that the translation from the Hebrew and Greek through other languages to English leaves much to be desired. There simply are not any English equivalents to some concepts. The term “born again” is an excellent example. “Born from above” is more accurate but is still not an English equivalent.

    What changes in language and words took place during the generations of oral story telling before the narratives were committed to writing? Afterwards, when hand copying texts, what errors occurred that were never detected.

    Bottom line: Many of us have been bashed by a Bible that falls short of what the bashers think it says. We are the inheritors of centuries of Western Christianity and its misconceptions. No wonder we get such a bad rep.

    Jesus was once asked which was the greatest commandment. He responded that the first was to love the lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength. This he said was the first and great commandment. Then he added that the second was like unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Wisdom is clear: Love God….love each other. All else is commentary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.n.weigand Lisa Noelle Weigand via Facebook

    See what you’ve done? By espousing the right of gays to marriage equality, you’ve given tacit permission for Amy Mitchell to marry your blog. What NEXT? :p

  • フィン

    amazing post, loved it!


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