Part 4: Language in the Culture War—Homophobic

Bull Horn

This is the last post in this series.

Here is the Intro to this series on Language in the Culture War about Tolerance.

Here is Part 2 on Reconciliation.

Here is Part 3 on Affirming.

Homophobic:

The word ‘homophobic’ has become one of those ugly, politically charged words that bring on a new (and incorrect) cultural understanding of the word’s original intent in definition and usage.

The culture war definition of Homophobic: Any person who does not completely agree with a fully affirming social and theological position regarding the GLBT community.

That is not what homophobic means!

My bridge building definition of Homophobic: A physically violent, bull-horn shouting, sign waving, slur (name calling such as fag and homo) propagating person against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

I’ll be very clear on this: A homophobic person is not someone who disagrees (on any level) within the culture war. People are allowed to disagree—and that goes for GLBT disagreeing with conservatives, as well as conservatives disagreeing with GLBT people. It’s normal. I actually believe it can be a constructive way to end the culture war: People from both communities finally learn how to handle themselves immersed in each other’s lives without fighting or name calling; and without knowing the ending. What a thought?

In fact, the reason this culture war continues to be a culture war instead of a peaceful and productive dialogue is two simple reasons:

1. Most Christians keep throwing sexual behavior in the face of GLBT people as their only worthwhile characteristic,

and

2. Most GLBT people keep calling anyone who doesn’t 100% agree with them “homophobic.”

Neither one of those are even remotely close to being how to rightly handle this disconnect. In all of these posts, if there is one thing that is the underlying commonality in each of the words it is that:

All of the conclusions are the same: Believe what I believe otherwise you’re wrong, need to change, and you’re _____________ (insert derogatory term, which is funny to me because each community chastises the other for doing the same thing on a variety of levels; specifically name calling).

It’s disastrous that these extremes on both ends have set the par for the course in this dialogue (definitely the reason it’s a culture war and not a dialogue). Though I know how it happened:

Because they are both the loudest!

But I’m tired of being out-shouted.

We (as in all of us—gay and straight, liberal and conservative, women and men) need to start not out-shouting each other, but keep the Movement sprinting forward toward reclaiming love, language and true God-centered reconciliation in their proper role and definition! Unfortunately we have lost each of those things to a culture war that is dictating our path.

“No More” I say.

Reclamation starts now—and so does correcting everyone you know who falls into these old, worn out culture war traditions! So many people keep persisting in their old ways because they either don’t know anything else, or no one has the guts to tell them to stop perpetuating the newly adopted definitions of the culture war language.

It’s time to bring that something else. It’s time to end the back-and-forth once and for all.

Much love.

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  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I linked before you even offered Part 4. Preach it, brother! We need more sore toes out there.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    OK, I feel like a total a$$ here. Because I feel like I only write when I have something negative to say. Eesh. I'm going to have to work on that. So, let me just say that I thought your other posts on this subject were wonderful! And I think this one as constructive as well, but I'm not sure I can agree with your definition.

    The person you describe ("A physically violent, bull-horn shouting, sign waving, slur (name calling such as fag and homo) propagating person against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people"), is a BIGOT. A homophobic bigot, to be sure. But you're describing bigotry there.

    Homophobia I think needs to be taken literally. It's about fear towards or about gay people. So if someone's opposition to gay rights, for example, is rooted in fear of some nebulous "gay agenda", then those people are rightfully termed "homophobic," in my opinion. Sometimes I find people (mostly of a conservative background) who frankly "doth protest too much," and they actually are homophobic. You don't need to be Bible-thumping, or shouting from a bullhorn to express your phobia. Some phobic people are actually quite calm in their disagreement, it doesn't make them any less homophobic.

    Disagreement itself does not mark homophobia. There are some rather "homophilic" people who disagree with me. But when disagreement about gay issues is rooted in fear, then the term applies.

    *Stepping off soapbox*

    (Andrew, how you don't get tired of all these soap boxes you encounter daily is beyond me!)

  • Jon Trouten

    I rarely use the word "homophobic", but heterosexism is another story. I agree with the much of the substance of what Audrey and Darren wrote (minus Audrey's continual broad-brush approach towards gay men). There so-called culture war is filled with outright lies against gay people (men and women) which are repeated by our politicians, in the airwaves, and from behind the pulpit over and over and over. These various lies are refuted over and over and yet their still held out at fact in order to score points against us. Enough is enough.

    If one doesn't want to be called a homophobic bigot or heterosexist, maybe they need to stop using the "research" of anti-gay lobbyists, biased theologians, and discredited quacks.

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Darren, as always, I've got nothing but love for your thoughts – whether or not they come at positive or constructive times. :)

    I've never thought of the difference between homophobic and bigot before. I think you make a very clear point for that case. I guess the underlying theme to what I was trying to say is that the word 'homophobic' gets thrown around so easily, seemingly being used as a crutch in recent times. That is what I don't agree with. However, I really like your homophobic/bigot deliniation; puts the landscape of the usage of the word in much clearer terms. Thanks.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "Many women will accept this, but I know that if the god is male, then the male thinks he is entitled to rule over women. This psychological advantage of men calling god, naming god in THEIR image I believe is an untrue representation of who god is, and an insult to women who are in the image of god."

    Audrey, you have some valid things to say, and I am sure churches could benefit in creative ways from listening to you. But I think a lot of us here would like you to lay off this line (above). We have been 'round that one enough.

    Of course, God is both male and female and God (by whichever personal pronoun you wish to use) created men and women in the Triune ("our") whole image, incorporating all of sexuality or both genders. Established. Enough said.

    Patriarchy is a result of God's curse in Genesis 3. We are still living in it. Of course God never intended it. It is a fact that you will not make go away in this life. Can you just agree to stop revisiting those two points in your very long comments? Before long, folks' eyes start to glaze over and they no longer hear you anyway. Give us nuggets that are important. Otherwise, you can refer us to "the book" — if there is one.

  • Audrey

    Yes Darren, the issue is fear. I think maybe men might experience the phobia part more than lesbians. Straight women don't really "fear" me. They might feel socially uneasy, but they don't fear. Straight men will just leave me alone. They are rightfully weary that they will not be safe treating me like they treat straight women. Things could go badly for them.

    Straight men actually fear gay men, they fear that gay men will come on to them sexually. Gay men will actually grab at other men's private parts, just as straight men grab at women's breasts. A gay bartender I know was fearful of another gay male customer, because that customer grabbed him. Straight men treat lesbians as pornographic objects, just as they fuel the porn industry in general… billions of dollars of sexual exploitation and trafficking in women worldwide. Men have a lot to answer for in the fear department I think.

    So the fear part is what men generate. Women don't fear walking down the street past other women at night, they fear men.

    So maybe there are two categories of homophobia. Women are just more subtle. You don't often see women yelling at other women with bullhorns.

    The most foaming at the mouth right wing homophobes like Lou Sheldon or Jerry Falwell don't really have female equivalents. Maybe Anita Bryant? But then again, I disliked her but I never feared her. I really don't fear women, women don't rape or beat other women up for the most part.

    I think gays and lesbians are often more fearful of straight people, because straight people are everywhere! Gays and lesbians, except in our communities and neighborhoods really aren't that visible out in the big world. Fear could go both ways.

    We should be precise in our language of who fears whom and why this might be. Men enforce gender codes and conformtity with violence, women do it through social rejection and gossip. It's kind of a different game for each sex.

    I imagine that a lot of so-called straight people, are actually in denial about their gayness, and hense they really doth protesteth too much. I once met a gay guy at an MCC who admitted that before he came out, he actually was a gay basher, he attacked gay men and beat them. This was a shocking revelation to me.

    It's the people who are kind of in the middle…not totally straight, and not totally gay that seem to have the most issues with the gays and lesbians who are out and open about who they are. So the fear part might stem from this.

    Straight men, because they are sexual aggressors and real problems to women all over the place, might be very fearful of being on the receiving end of this treatment. Men don't like being treated like "women" and even gay men express contempt for "feminine men." It's a macho fearful male thing. Men believe they can rape women, sexually harass them, or be preditors. It is considered proper dating procedure for men to "pursue" women. Women rightly don't like to be in spaces with men a lot of the time.

    I see women make faces at jerks all the time after they have left the room. Men often don't realize that a lot of women fear THEM.

    I'm not fearful of straight women at all, but I am very weary of straight men. I don't ever completely trust them. So maybe that is a fear. I tend to think the worst of them most of the time. Unfair that may be to men who aren't bad, but then again, I ask men, "When was the last time you guys marched in the streets as a group in outrage over the rape of women?" The answer to this question is usually a blank look.

    Fear or phobia is an interesting word. Since lesbianness or gayness itself is invisible unless we reveal this, it might explain the fear straight people have of us. If you listen to the rhetoric of keeping gays and lesbians out of the military, a lot of it has to do with the fear I think. It's less problematic for me, because I know women won't rape me or beat me up, therefore I am rarely fearful of women at all lesbian or straight. Women are just great!

    Thanks women!

    And Darren, it is perfectly ok to always be on a soap box here. Remember, most straight people don't know any of this, and might never actually talk to gay people. So they need to hear this stuff. They might not like it, but they need to hear it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "If one doesn’t want to be called a homophobic bigot or heterosexist, maybe they need to stop using the “research” of anti-gay lobbyists, biased theologians, and discredited quacks."

    Wow. You do realize, Jon (or do you?) that if you simply remove the anti- from that sentence, it could likewise be said by someone from "the other side." Isn't Andrew trying to move us beyond that kind of selective, pot-shot thinking?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "I really don’t fear women, women don’t rape or beat other women up for the most part."

    Right. The weapons of the fairer sex are much more subtle. :)

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Um, not to set gas on the fire here, but Debbie, I do find it odd that in the same post you both admonish commenters to "police ourselves", when you just got through sarcastically talking about Audrey's comments – referring to her in the third person rather than directing your comment TO her. I dunno, maybe I was reading you wrong, but it did have a hint of derision in between the lines.

    I really DO wish we could all stop the name-calling and generalizations. And for God's sake, can we keep FoTF out of the discussion altogether, please? NOTHING good could come from this!

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    100% in total agreement Andrew. Thank you for writing such a message – BOTH sides of the issue need to hear this loud and clear.

    I’m going to link to this from my site, if that’s cool with you.

    Shawn

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Link away Shawn! Much love.

  • Audrey

    oops, didn't see your post above Darren. I think it is quite obvious that most straight people aren't out and out homophobes. Most simply live in their own worlds and have little social interaction outside their families. It is the supreme indifference straight people show lesbians and gay people that is revealing I think.

    Homophobia will die down when people really come to terms with who they are as human beings, and also don't separate sexuality and spirituality, or mind and body. It amazes me just how many lesbians I do meet now just about everywhere. Some of these women amaze me, because they have come out at age 45, age 65 and even age 75. I have been able to see this utter look of liberation on an elderly woman's face, as she tells me her life story. "I was married to an abusive man for over 30 years, and he finally died, now I am free, I have a community to go to." It is extraordinary to hear these tales, to hear the voice on the edge of tears. A woman from an era where being a housewife and mother was the only option, or at least the only option drummed into women, these women married men, had children, but never loved them.

    I hope all gay people out there, young gay people, never have to have these fake marriages ever again.

    "Upon These Shoulders We Stand" is a new documentary coming out soon that tells the life stories of 11 gays and lesbians from the 50s and 60s era.

    Some famous people like Troy Perry are in it, but the story of Ms. Valverdes, an ordinary woman, and how she came to herself puts the word "homophobia" into context. I think you can find the Facebook page for the trailer to this movie. I encourage all gay people and our allies to support this movie, show it in your colleges, or contribute to post production financially. It's that good.

    Was there a brutal homophobia of the past? Just watch an Alfred Hitchcock movie and see how he used gay subtexts to terrify his audience.

    Hey I love old Hitch, but once you see the gay themes, the movies reveal themselves in new ways. Don't want to give it away here…

    To me, the religious right often just seems odd to me. I can't imagine having such a limited view of the bible. It is more beautiful simply as literature than any sermon anyone could give. "The Song of Songs" was one of the bible passages that the hero of "The Front Runner" quoted and read from each evening. Read "The Front Runner" is was probably one of the first truly romantic gay male love stories written in America– this is for the young guys out there who don't believe romance and love between men is possible.

    Read Walt Whitman too. Look at the icons of Robert Lentz to see the power of gay male spirituality and christian images.

    If we worry about the homophobes all the time, we'll miss the beauty of advanced gay spirituality. There are many wonderful men, our elders, who have walked this jounrney, so you need to search and find them. Go find Fr. Malcolm Boyd, go find Jim Curtan, go find your elders. Call them up on the phone, ask them questions. Fr. Boyd is a beacon of christian light to all gay men out there. He's in his 80s now, he never married a woman–rare for that generation, and his beauty and poetic life are striking.

    I think you young guys struggle with this the most sometimes. The homophobes win if you actually believe you are alone in the gay world, or that you can't find elder gay christians. Hey, I'm a lesbian, I know more about gay literature and culture than most of you 20 something guys. Get reading, get searching. Read everything, and find your inner worth. You really don't have to waste time in places that don't honor you. Remember the words of Jesus to the apostles, shake the dust from your feet in a hostile town and move on. Shake the dust from the gay hating preachers, shake the dust off you feet from people who don't know and deeply love our community. Find you gay male mentors, because you are not alone.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "I take rage as a spiritual gift." I don't, nor do I find it listed as such in the Bible, where I read statements such as "Be angry but do not sin," and "Vengeance is mine" (that would be God). Rage tends to be blind in short order. It accomplishes little but to alienate.

    I will contritely take Darren's rebuke. He is right, and I ought to have remained silent on that point. My apologies, Audrey.

    I will not "go gently," however, on one or two other points. Andrew, I am in partial agreement with you on the point that "straight Christians" are responsible for ratcheting up the culture war — to whit, with direct mail scare tactics and harsh rhetoric that earned them the monikers of homophobic and hateful from the gay community. But many of their concerns were not unfounded. It is rather their tactics that left much to be desired. Volleys also were fired from the other side, which would alternately lay low and send out "skirmishers."

    Would you (that's any of you) have us believe that the push for gay marriage, the pro-gay ideology in the medical and mental health establishments, as well as public education — yes, it has plainly been there — have all come to fruition because of some angry straight Christians who sent out some fund-raising letters and preached some sermons? Go back and read your history, particularly of the rise of liberal, university-driven socialist, Marxist, "anti-authoritarian" (read anti-conservative, anti-Christian) philosophy that was imported here from Nazi-era Germany from psychologists and social scientists belonging to the Institute for Social Research. Of particular note is their research into mass communications propaganda. Their school was set up at Columbia University. You have to dig for this history, of course. Why? Because their work has been so effective. Rather like Satan managing to convince so many he doesn't exist. Or would that be "she"?

    One more thing. Is there some unwritten rule for those of us trying to civilly communicate here that says we cannot examine the obvious reason why straight men and women feel disgust and contempt for homosexual acts, considering the unnaturalness of them? Pretty obvious, wouldn't you say? I don't think gays ought to get a pass for trying to deny that. I'm sorry, but it is what it is. Remember, I am responding here. I did not fire this volley first. Some of you wanted answers. Got to take the bad with the good. We all do.

    I desire to see this nonsense cease, as Andrew and I'm sure others here do. But this discussion only is a microcosm of the larger picture. You want to see how the culture war evolved? Read this thread.

  • Audrey

    I don’t expect anyone to be in 100% agreement with my ideas or theology.
    In fact, I find theology oddly irrelevant to daily life. Homophobia is much too strong a word for what straight people do to gays or lesbians socially every day. It is more of the silent treatment, never asking about our partners, never caring about our lives, always talking about themselves and their families, trying to destroy our families, take away our children, excommunicate us, tell us we aren’t real, or that we have no place in creation. Homophobia is both too weak a word and too strong a word at the same time.

    It is more about the attempt to erase us or push back into silence.

    Homophobes I suppose, are all around me. So like cones on the freeway, you just drive around them on good days. I’m trying to be
    diplomatic here :-)

    Homophobia bothers me a lot less than sexism, which really is in my face every day in every way.

    Nobody likes to be called a racist or a sexist, but a lot of people can’t even conceive of homophobia. Since lesbians and gays are always around, it is more the choice to socially pretend we are not there. It is the ridiculous doctrine of don’t ask and don’t tell. Only a straight man could have come up with that phrase!

    As for reconciliation and love, well, I don’t feel this in a lesbian context. I’d distrust a straight person who used the word love, because I hear love the sinner hate the sin all the time from the religious wrong in the world.

    Read Sonia Johson’s great autobiography “From Housewife to Heratic” and you’ll see how she describes how religious conservatives misuse the word love. When the Beatles sing, “All You Need is Love” somehow, I believe them. If a minister said it, I wouldn’t believe it. The feeling passion of the Beatles often is more spiritually authentic than the church world.
    It was no accident that so much pop music was played at gay funerals. Remember the days when right wing conservatives were burning and breaking Beatles’ records? Now they have christian pop music. I find this funny somehow.

    Gays and lesbians find our way around homophobia itself. We build bridges for survival. The more lesbians and gays come out, the less straight people have the chance to demonize us, undermine us or exclude us. We become a part of the world.

    I don’t expect theological agreement, I just don’t go to churches that call me a sinner because of who I am. Those churches can continue doing this all they want, but gay people will move on. Sometimes, when a church rejects you, you become a more spiritually inventive person. Many of my lesbians friends are Wiccan or Buddhist, many are atheists and scientists.
    I’m more likely to meet gay male theological conservatives than women who are this way. Again, because gay men are still lamenting the loss of privilege that lesbians never had in the first place.

    Gay men created Log Cabin Republicans, but there are hardly any lesbian members. No surprise there. Andrew Sullivan is a prominant gay male conservative, and the closest lesbian counterpart might be Tammy Bruce, but even she is a very strong feminist and activist against domestic violence. Andrew Sullivan is not a feminist at all, and rarely knows women.

    Do I care all that much if people are conservative or liberal? Not really. They have no power over me, I will achieve no matter who is out there.
    I grew accustomed to being a pioneering person and a groundbreaking person, and have been like this for most of my life. I was interested in changing society, and have contributed to doing this.
    To me, the testiment to change is how you live your life. I am a loyal and devoted friend. I have been with the same woman far longer than most straight people have been in a marriage who are of my generation. I meet straight people my age who are on their third marriage, for example. So I think I know things about relationships that might be very valuable to straight people, if they asked.

    If I had to think of the one thing straight people could do and that would be to ask. We have a lot to offer the christian world I think, a lot of creativity, a lot of innovative energy. We read the bible with different eyes, we are creative in how we connect to god. We are a special part of creation, and I think it is sad that a lot of churches don’t want us.

    It is unhealthy for us to be in churches where people think our partnerships are sinful or against god’s word, just as it is unhealthy for women to have to listen to god as male all day long. Many women will accept this, but I know that if the god is male, then the male thinks he is entitled to rule over women. This psychological advantage of men calling god, naming god in THEIR image I believe is an untrue representation of who god is, and an insult to women who are in the image of god.

    So it will be a challenge for theological conservatives to deal with their inner belief that gays and lesbians are abnormal or sinful or somehow not real. I know that all evangelical conservatives secretly and not so secretly think this. But it is not my job to change these people. My job is to speak to good news of lesbian and gay liberation, the message that god loves lesbians and gays, and does not at all think we are sinners in any way shape or form. That is what we get from god, and from figuring this out for ourselves despite the propaganda to the contrary.

    It is about finding allies like Bishop Shelby Spong and Desmond Tutu and Hillary Clinton. It is about knowing about our lesbian past, and what lesbians did to help reform America. Yes, we did a lot in history. We helped invent the laws to protect children, for example. We invented workmen’s compensation.

    Lesbian feminism itself is a very powerful spiritual path, and it is my deepest belief system. It is certainly not something a male straight conservative would be interested in, and certainly most men I know don’t even have the faintest idea of who are great teachers and leaders are. They aren’t interested, and probably couldn’t stomach the commentary on male supremacy. They could not stand for this, and don’t.

    But I craft a theology based on the unique life experince, the direct daily experience of being born into a very special part of the world. And I was lucky to be a part of that great spiritual movement known as lesbian and gay liberation. The rest of the world can catch up or try to block, but we’ll just keep moving forward. As Martin Luther King once said, “It really doesn’t matter anymore.”

  • Jack Harris

    Debbie Part Two :

    "Is there some unwritten rule for those of us trying to civilly communicate here that says we cannot examine the obvious reason why straight men and women feel disgust and contempt for homosexual acts, considering the unnaturalness of them? Pretty obvious, wouldn’t you say?"

    I AGREE WITH YOU THAT WE HAVE TO BE OPEN TO SPEAK CIVILLY WITH EACH OTHER OTHERWISE WE ARENT GOING TO GET VERY FAR. I THINK PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES HAVE TO BE WILLING TO ASK THE UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS.

    SO MY QUESTION FOR YOU IS WHY IS IT OBVIOUS THAT STRAIGHT MEN AND WOMEN FEEL DISGUST AND CONTEMPT FOR HOMOSEXUAL ACTS?

    AND WHY DOES IT SEEM UNATURAL? I KNOW MANY STRAIGHT FOLKS WHO HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH MY PARTNER AND I MAKING LOVE TO EACH OTHER, WHILE THEY THEMSELVES WOULD NOT WANT TO BE ENGAGED IN HOMOSEXUAL ACTS SINCE THEY ARE STRAIGHT, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE DISGUSTED BY THE FACT THAT GAY PEOPLE DO ENGAGE IN THEM. SO I THINK YOU SHOULD NOT MAKE SUCH A BLANKET STATEMENT THAT ALL STRAIGHT PEOPLE FEEL THIS WAY.

    In conclusion Debbie, I really do understand what you are saying in that in order to discuss these things we have to not use such harsh language with each other. i don't think using inflammatory words will ever help. i think the bigger question in this "cultural war" is how does this end? I think people on both sides want very different things and as long as we are not able to come to an agreement on those things, this war will rage on.

    I can only speak for myself but an end to this "War" would be one in which gay and lesbian folk were given the same rights as their straight counterparts. We only want to be able to live our lives in peace. I know that I would never ask someone to agree with my sexuality or anything else related to how I live my life. But as long as some people continue to hinder me from loving my partner more fully and my family the same way they do, then we are going to have a problem. I truly believe that we have to be able to recognize the Christ in each other and respectfully understand that in the end God loves us all. How we live out our faith may be different, our familes and partners may LOOK different but we all want the same thing : To be one in Christ.

    I personally don't think there will EVER be situations where GLBT Christians will worship regularly with Conservative Evangelicals. I think our understand of the scriptures and theology is too different. BUT I CAN see us respecting and loving each others as Christian neighbors even though we will never agree on the details this side of heaven.

    As long as someone tells me I am sinning for loving my partner and that family is farce and that I should leave my partner to "Follow God's Will" then I am going to find that offensive: that is never going to change no matter how many bridges you try to build. I think we should try to build bridges of respect and understanding and let God love us in the end for how He created us. My two cents worth! Jack

  • Jon Trouten

    Debbie: Do you want me to pull up the same lies towards over and over by anti-gay lobbyists like NOM or Focus on the Family? Are you suggesting that NOM or FotF are pro-gay?

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Thanks, Andy :)

    The one point of affirmation I meant to write (but forgot) is that I recognize your overarching point here. I, too, think that term is not only too often applied, but too often misapplied to people. I do think too many people toss out the word as an ad hominen in order to prove how superior they are, rather than doing the tough work of digging into relationship, and discovering what exactly is at the root of the disagreement.

  • Audrey

    I remember awhile back. My partner had gone to a National Council of Churches conference somewhere in the world. We had lots of liberal allies that were trying to help get MCC recognized as “members” or maybe “observer status”…. anyway, the liberal allies never quite believed us when we said that straight people really slande and demean gay people or tell outright lies about us. “You must be exaggerating” “you must be overreacting”…

    So my partner kind of shrugged. We tell straight people stuff all the time, but liberals back then (1993 I think???) just thought we were overreacting.
    It’s a kind of dismissal. Then during the general session, the eastern orthodox faction got right up there and said gays and lesbians were abominations before god etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum… You know the guys in beards and big crosses, they actually call themselves “patriarchs” in that tradition.

    Liberal allies came running up to my partner afterword SHOCKED. I mean they were really shocked to hear these words used against lesbian and gay christians who were actually attending this same conference. It was in that moment, when I realized straight allies were getting a rare insider view of the kind of abusive language used against gays. It was all right out in the open.

    So Jon Trouten is absolutely right. The lies of Focus on the Family are on the airwaves ALL the time. Even I have never met a gay man who had 1000 sex partners in a month! Yikes. Although it might appear this way because men do brag about “sexual conquests” all the time, real macho bragging rights that can backfire if the religious right overhears this “banter.”

    Focus on the Family and Family Resource Council are some of the worst liars and slanderers out there. It is pretty in your face. I don’t think I have ever heard a heterosexual couple called an abomination, even if the guy beats his wife. Imagine being called that name or imagine hearing your own parents say this?

    Ultimately, it is pretty much equal to the really in your face racists like George Wallace— segregation now, segregation forever. Incidently, he eventually went over to Martin Luther King’s old church and apologized for his racism, and the black congregation forgave him. Many people don’t know this. I wonder if James Dobson or some of the other really bad ones will one day come to an MCC and do this? Could happen I suppose.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    “Debbie: Do you want me to pull up the same lies towards over and over by anti-gay lobbyists like NOM or Focus on the Family? Are you suggesting that NOM or FotF are pro-gay?”

    Jon, I am wanting us all to get off our tenterhooks. I have suggested nothing but that both sides are at fault. I think you would agree. Are we really going to keep score? To what merit?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    “Even I have never met a gay man who had 1000 sex partners in a month!”

    Ridiculous hyperbole. But then Audrey, by her own admission, has an extreme dislike of men (misandry), even gay ones, so how could she meet anyone even in the hinterlands of such an outrageous claim?

    “Family Resource Council” (sic). It’s Family Research Council, which is closely associated with FOTF. The Freudian slip, however, points up the little-known fact that 95% of what FOTF does is provide resources and help to families, particularly in parenting issues (and ostensibly relevant even to gay families). Dobson famously said he embarked on the other 5% of their mission “with fear and trembling.” It’s that part that they are known for in the larger world because their hall-of-fame radio broadcasts have been over the Christian airwaves, unheard by most general audiences. There is a shift a’coming, however — or so I am told — to take the parenting stuff to broader audiences. I don’t say here, by the way, that FOTF is right or wrong in their policy stances.

    The above informational tidbit is a gift, FWIW.

    Andrew is asked again and again to have the patience of a saint to put up with this tit-for-tat stuff. Can’t we do a better job of policing ourselves?

  • http://dwhwar.wordpress.com/ Joe_S

    Yep, it’s important to remember the phobia part of homophobia – although it’s more of an irrational disgust than fear. Homophobes “throw sexual behavior in the face of GLBT people” because the sexual aspect of gay people is the part that triggers their disgust/fear. Feminine men also trigger the same response – regardless of whether they are actually gay or not.

    The only known antidote for phobias is increasing familiarity with whatever triggers the fear/disgust. Education won’t cure it because it ain’t rational – it’s more felt than thought. The amount of time and effort involved in removing the anxiety depends on the individual and the strength of their phobia.

    Straight guys are particularly uneasy around gay & sissy guys (if they haven’t grown up with them). It’s this discomfort that makes them susceptible to believe all sorts of urban myths about gay people – and, of course, primes them to hate “fags”.

    Sometimes it’s helpful to compare homophobia with other phobias. Most people are instinctively nervous of spiders – or grossed out by certain waste products. They could be world experts on whatever makes them feel anxious and still experience the fear/disgust part.

    I always tell straight guys that it’s OK to feel slightly uncomfortable around gay guys – just don’t try to squish us, that’ all. Once you give them space to feel uncomfortable (and yeah, mouth off a few insults) the process of familiarization can start. The process of familiarization is the only thing that will get rid of the irrational fear. No conversation will dispel it.

    Unless thousands of gay men and women come out in conservative churches that process won’t start. And who can blame them for not coming out when it’s far easier to head off to a pro-gay church (or no church).

  • Audrey

    Don't get me going on Paul Cameron Jon. We had this same lie told about the usual "What about the children" during the Yes on 8 campaign in California. Amazingly consistent tactics. They use the what about the children scare tactics for decades it seems. Hey it works. Keep telling this lie. Nobody thinks about the 40% of lesbians who actually do have children already, but we already know that no one gives a damn about them. I don't know the percentage of gay men who have children, but I do know many gay men who are adopting them and giving them good homes. Getting them out of the foster care system.

    Usually, nice white heterosexuals don't want the handicapped kids, or the black kids with problem backgrounds. Perhaps gay people, with our challenging early life, know a thing or two about kids in trouble.

    Needless to say, groups like catholic charities would rather not let anyone adopt kids than allow one gay couple to do so.

    The ads Lambda Legal and other lesbian and gay organizations put on TV to counter yes on 8 were too weak. Looking back we should have called them out for being damn liars. And the lies were piled higher and deeper every day.

    And I have used heterosexism as a word too Jon. You may be right, homophobia has a more specialized meaning. Heterosexism is a more generally descriptive word, and seems to fit into the origins of all of it which is the hatred of women. Antigay male bigotry is about the hatred of men who reject the role of patriarchs and oppressors of women, it is hatred directed at men who are perceived to be just like women. It's why the worst name they call little boys is "you throw like a girl, you act like a girl" as if either one of these things is bad. It's something gay men need to think about when they might not be the best of lesbian allies. They can be, but they need to know the origins of sexism as it relates to heterosexism. I know, it's a bit complicated, but well worth the thought and reflection.

    I don't like to comment on sex all that much, except when it affects women adversely. Perhaps our commentary is a bit much for the straight people out there. They've been accustomed to terrorizing gay people for decades now, making up lies about our lives and families, firing us for just being who we are, excommunicating us, you name it. And then they still tell the biggest lie of them all… gays and lesbians are out to destroy the America family. My neighbors (straight) thought this was hysterically funny. "Just how would the lesbian couple go about destroying their marriage?" Neither one of us knew for sure. Just like I don't know how we were out to destroy christianity. Critique it sure thing, come up with our own biblical interpretations, sure thing, or just ignore it and convert to a different religion… hey I know gay Hindus, gay and lesbian Buddhists, a gay muslim or two, several atheists, lots of new age people, bible believing types, high church loving gay men… We know them all. My partner is so good at identifying different denonominations, that she can tell me what the church background is of everyone quoted on CNN. Pretty impressive.

    Our social circles were amazingly diverse. Bring two gays or lesbians together and you've got a grad course on theology right then and there.

    I always took this kind of religious, class and racial diversity for granted, but every now and then, I end up at the home of a colleague way the heck out in the ulta white conservative suburbs, and i realize how different my life actually is.

    Jon said:**

    "These are heterosexist lies and people should be called on them when they are used and they should stop complaining about being called homophobes or bigots for lying about an entire group of people."

    I could not have said this better myself! Geez.

  • Audrey

    I think we need to be clear about what group is attacking what group.
    Blacks and whites are not equally at fault for slavery. The white race enslaved the black race. Gays and lesbians are not at fault for being who we are, and we do have a right to defend ourselves when we are attacked, and we are attacked a lot. Since when has pure self-defense been called a two way street? Hey, the US is equally at fault for the trade towers. Come on.

    How is it that an oppressed group can be equally at fault? So let’s see, the Poles were equally at fault for being overrun by the Russians? Right.
    George Washington was equally at fault for wanting independence from Britain. Women are equally at fault for creating male supremacy. God created rape. No god didn’t. Men did.

    I don’t get this equally at fault line of argument. We’re just plain fed up that’s all. So just admit it. The right wing manipulators (not most christians) but this right wing attack machine has been gunning us down with the kind of rhetoric that actually causes some gay kids to kill themselves, and this is ok, and we are equally at fault for this. Wow, this really blows my mind.

    No “both sides” are NOT at fault. The oppressed are simply not at fault for the lies of homophobes or homohaters or just plain petty oppressors. This may be something you guys say for a variety of reasons, but then I don’t really agree with your opinions about most stuff I hold sacred.

    There is no two sided argument about the evil of slavery, any more than there is a two sided argument for men oppressing women.

    That’s not the issue here. The lies have to be exposed, and I suggest that when straight people encounter these lies, that they stand firm against them. I think we can agree that Focus on the Family just plain lies about gay men. They hardly talk about lesbians, maybe a good thing to be ignored now and then. But those guys really hate gay men. They were happy when gay men were dying by the hundreds of thousands. They were in the White House advising Reagan to do nothing and say nothing about AIDS early in the epidemic. Men like Gary Bauer was right there telling Reagan lies about gay men. Gary Bauer was right there, Reagan gave no speech about AIDS at all until 1987. The damn disease had killed I think about 50,000 Americans by the time that idiot actually addressed the issue. That’s right 50,000 deaths. Now why was that? Well that my misguided conservatives is what homophobia is. You blame an entire disease on gay people. And you use this as an excuse to do nothing for a very long time. History is going to really have a field day with this one, believe me. We will never forget! We will never be silent again!

    And you wonder why we explode with anger over this! You wonder why we don’t believe we are “equally at fault” for the right wing’s complicity in not going after a virus soon enough or dramatically enough. Hey, if you are 25 years old, you really are innocent. You weren’t even alive when the AIDS epidemic began. So Andrew, I’m not going to put this on you. But what I want to know Debbie, is what exactly did you say to Jerry Falwell when he said “AIDS is god’s punishment to gays.” Where were you, and what did you say back then? Or maybe you might not have been at that church then. I don’t know. Or maybe you never heard that statement at that time. I’m not trying to assume here. But Falwell is infamous for this remark. He also said all feminists are wiccan lesbians, nothing wrong with that, but I think my straight feminist friends who are Jewish would find this comment crazy.

    But I’m talking about a death toll here, and I’m talking about those of us who were there. I’m talking about the mothers of their gay sons who came forward, stepped up, joined PFLG and defended their gay boys against those monsters. I’m talking about me who lost so many dear friends who I am trying to forget because the pain of those deaths will overwhelm me.
    I’m talking about why I get so damn mad at the sex culture of gay men, because my guys are just getting HIV and all kinds of diseases, and this is a big mess. I don’t give a heck of a thing for those churches. But I think my poor gay conservative brothers really get bowled over by that abomination language. Theyit get right between the eyes with god hates gay men. Hye I was not born into those churches, didn’t have a family that preached male domination of women, didn’t have a mother who thought I was an abomination. We just didn’t go to places like that.

    I’m not a part of any sexual revolution, and it doesn’t interest me. But I do know that the hatred and slander of Focus on the Family and others are responsible, they are responsible for setting up barriers so the ambulances could not get through to save lives. i remember, I was there, I saw what straight people did and did not do. And when you ignore a health crisis because it “only” affects a certain group of people you hate or demonize or kick out of churches, well you are a part of this.

    And if you continue to believe the myth that both sides are equally at fault, well I’ve got news for you. They said that Martin Luther King was a communist, they said black people were too uppity, and they said black people should know their place and deserve to be in that place. You’d think by now that this idea of oppressed and oppressors would have a clear message by now. What is it exactly that conservatives are trying to do? Lie long enough, and people will believe it, unless the people lied about speak up and keep on speaking up till the end of time.

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    I don’t see from Debbie’s words that she is looking for fault. I do however believe that straight Christian’s are at “fault” for this current culture war stemming back a long time ago, but both communities are held accountable for their actions today in how everything is handled.

  • Audrey

    I give up Debbie. Calling men out on their sexism, and fighting for my civil rights is a hatred of men. I don’t hate all men. I do hate some. What I hate is male supremacy and the damage it does to the world. There will always be people who go along to get along. I’m not one of those people.
    I call out sexism when I see it because it is well, sexist. Somehow this desire for freedom, and control of the language used to describe god is hatred. I don’t think so. I believe all lesbians deserve to be as close to god as possible, and for those of us who love other women, we connect with god in that way.

    I don’t think gay men hate straight people when they are fighting against slander. I don’t believe any freedom loving people hates another group of people per se. But they do hate oppression, they do hate being lied about.
    And they do want justice.

    To want freedom and civil rights isn’t about the menz, it is about freedom and civil rights. Yes, I will attack and condemn sexism, just the way I will attack and condem racism, and I will salute my allies when they step forward. Thanks Darren for your support.

    Rev. Nancy Wilson once honored me with this phrase, “Audrey, you have the spiritual gift of rage.” Who else but a lesbian cleric could honor rage in another lesbian. I take rage as a spiritual gift.

    I suppose Focus on the Family should not be overdone here. Just AIDS epidemic flashbacks coming at me today. I believe resource was a typo by the way. But I’d wouldn’t even dare to use the fake research of that place or put the term “research” in the same category as a legitimate academic institution. These ‘researchers” wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to tough academic standards.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Oh, forgot to answer Audrey’s question about where I was when Falwell was playing anti-gay word games. Don’t remember the year. I may have been on active duty as a Marine, having a wonderful time pretending I could be a woman/man in a man’s world, since the Corps had decided to make me a guinea pig in their little social experiment. Roughly half the women who came into my OCS class even knew what was going on with that. I was not a member of TRBC until 1999.

  • Jack Harris

    Debbie,
    I will take your comments one by one :

    Go back and read your history, particularly of the rise of liberal, university-driven socialist, Marxist, “anti-authoritarian” (read anti-conservative, anti-Christian) philosophy that was imported here from Nazi-era Germany from psychologists and social scientists belonging to the Institute for Social Research. Of particular note is their research into mass communications propaganda. Their school was set up at Columbia University. You have to dig for this history, of course. Why? Because their work has been so effective. Rather like Satan managing to convince so many he doesn’t exist. Or would that be “she”?
    OK SO LET ME GET THIS CLEAR, THE RISE OF LIBERALISM AND GAY RIGHTS IS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO THE INFLUX OF NAZI GERMANIC/SOCIALIST/MARXIST IDEALS? I THINK I WOULD POINT OUT THAT SOCIALISM/MARXISM WAS IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH IDEALS OF NAZI/FACIST IDEALS. IT ALMOST SOUNDS LIKE YOU FEEL THAT THE TWO WERE WORKING IN CONCERN WITH EACH OTHER. SO I THINK YOU MAY HAVE YOUR HISTORY WRONG.

    I AM ALSO NOT SURE YOU KNOW HOW YOU MAKE THIS SOUND. IT ALMOST SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE SAYING IF THESE “EVIL” IDEALS HAD NOT BEEN TRANSPORTED INTO AMERICA WE WOULDN’T BE DEALING WITH ALL OF THIS LIBERALISM AND GAY STUFF. IF THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING THEN YOUR ATTEMPTS AT BRIDGE BUILDING ARE NOT GOING TO BE VERY SUCCESSFUL. AND SATAN? REALLY? HOW DID HE GET MIXED UP IN ALL THIS! WOW!

  • Audrey

    That was a weird post Debbie. My life is not some conspiracy out of Columbia University, nor was the civil rights movement of the last 50 some years Nazi inspired. I think all sexual acts between men and women are pretty disgusting from a lesbian point of view, and the male obsession with worldwide billion dollar pornography empires says a lot about mostly straight men and how they view women. I don’t see gay people degrading women in pornography to the degree that straight men do. Just have to put this out there. To quote some straight male conservative christians, pornography is every man’s battle. Indeed.

    The idea that sexuality and spirituality are separate I think is mostly about straight people. Lesbians and gay spiritual leaders have been innovators here. We’ve had many fine spiritual teachers over the decades who have explored this, who have written amazing books, and who are producing even more elegant works of art. The art work is really spectacular, I love the icons, I love the paintings, I love the visionary quality.

    I wasn’t sure what you meant by women in the Marine Corp being a social experiment. Most lesbians I know in the corp, and in other branches of the armed forces were very proud of their military service, despite the fact that in recent times, they had to hide from the don’t tell police. A great aunt of mine was buried with full military honors a couple of years ago, and had been a WAC. She was a scientist who was one of the developers of penicillan, and left a nice legacy for 10 other relatives. She and her lesbian partner were together for decades. She was well loved by her extended family.

    Another friend was in the coast guard and rescued people from capsized boats at sea. Talk to almost any lesbian over the age of 70 and she was in the military. A lot of poor women got out of poverty and escaped claustrhophobic little towns that way. The military is not for me, but most of the lesbians I met who were in the service are pretty amazing women. So I guess I don’t see women in the military as some sort of social experiment, it has a very long history. Lesbians are warriors, it is our warrior class that flourishes there, even grads from West Point, how cool is that! With top honors naturally. Lesbians are the cream of the crop in the service, almost any Fortune 500 company will hire a woman ex-marine.

    We even had a group of lesbian police officers in San Francisco out on the streets during the freedom day parade protecting us from the right wing christians yelling stuff at us every year. Every year they are out there, every year the police guard us. I don’t recall us ever targeting people’s funerals for protests, but hey straight people do.

    So are you saying that gays and lesbians and our very humble beginnings are the creation of a neo-NAZI movement at Columbia University? Hey, I happen to know personally almost all our pioneering lesbian and gay leaders Christian and otherwise, and they have no connections to any of that. Honestly, where does this stuff come from?

    Remember, you aren’t a part of this community, you don’t personally know the leaders, you don’t have the years in this movement Debbie. You know very very little actually. You are an outsider looking in.

    Most of our elders are pretty honorable people, many coming from very humble beginnings. All of the lesbian clergy and lesbian christians I know are pretty solid citizens, no NAZI or closet Marxists there. Malcolm Boyd, the best selling author of “Are You Running With Me Jesus” and now an out Episcopal priest is our grand old man of theology and spirituality. He studied with Tillich at Harvard I think, traveled the world, and even was a personal assistant to Mary Pickford. Quite a career for an old gay guy.
    His partner, Mark Thompson was a pioneering gay activist, editor at the Advocate and the writer of books on gay spirit.

    I’m actually a little out of it on the gay marriage issue, since I already got married in 1987. That was way before it even became a national presidential issue. Might have even been before Mary Cheney was born :-)
    I think all the New England states recognize gay marriage now, and it will work its way through the courts. In time, it won’t be such a big fuss. Heterosexuals have their own marriage crisis, so they have to deal with that. Maybe a lot of people were never even meant to be married, straights and gays included.

    The lesbian and gay movement was a civil rights movement. It was born in Germany before the NAZI took power. It was born in the U.S. as a result of one little itty bitty lesbian newsletter that started I think in 1947 called Vice Versa. I had the great privilege to meet Lisa Ben, her pen name, just a few weekends ago at a lesbian conference. Here was this tiny woman, probably in her 80s standing up on a podium and reading aloud from this little magazine that started it all. She even read a poem about cats. Lesbians are notorious cat lovers. Now she has been adopted by some 20-something lesbians as the “lesbian grandmother.” We all gave her a standing ovation, she is getting the honor and respect she deserves, for what she suffered in the homophobic world before 1950.

    Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon started the Ladder and the Daughters of Bilitus in 1955 in San Francisco, and were instrumental in promoting health, activism and lesbian civil rights. They were the first couple to get married by Mayor Gavin Newsom in San Francisco during the winter of love, as we call it. So what does all of this have to do with NAZIS? What does this even have to do with Marxism? This is just nonsense. Remember, I met all these people personally, I’ve known many of them for decades now.

    I’ve known more lesbian seminary students than I care to count, more graduates of top seminaries and schools of theology, the list goes marching on. So our movement which officially began here in the 1950s, at about the same time as Martin Luther King was beginning the bus boycott, and Betty Friedan was on the verge of publishing ‘Feminine Mystique” and Gloria Steinem was my Mom’s age… well, we’ve been working steadily for a very long time.

    In the good old days, before we ever really bothered much with straight people, we had a small and dynamic community. We created a spirituality out of nothing, and we certainly didn’t get any bucks from the Hoover Institute or the Rockefeller Foundation back then. Truth be told, we work hard to finance our little institutions that are miniscule compared to the mighty republican right wing war chest. I think we waste too much money dealing with idiotic straights, and I’d rather spend on us and not fighting those jerks.

    As small as we are, we are a persistent people searching for our own truth, and I’m happy to say we found it. I’m glad my partner and I had our own sacred ceremony before the whole big political fuss over gay marriage even hit the headlines, although I’m proud to say that way back when some newspaper reporter wrote a story about us. In the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, we could sit by the fireplace of our little Victorian apartment, and have a women’s spirituality group. The gang was there to celebrate and cheer when my partner got her master’s in divinity.

    We’ve published books, traveled the world, and still continue to meet amazing lesbians worldwide. In time, the homophobes and cones in the road will simply look pretty foolish in the history books. The pictures will look very much like those white faces yelling epithets at black children in Little Rock in 1957. And more gay bishops will be ordained, and lesbians will get more clergy jobs, and more gay and lesbian pastors will write books, or maybe all the words will be on kindle…:-) To quote Mao Tze Tung, “let 1000 flowers bloom.” :-)

  • Jon Trouten

    Debbie: “Jon, I am wanting us all to get off our tenterhooks. I have suggested nothing but that both sides are at fault. I think you would agree. Are we really going to keep score? To what merit?”

    Who’s keeping score? I was originally stating that I feel that heterosexism is a more useful term that homophobia. And questioning at what point we actually get to point out the outright lies that are used repeatedly against us. Like Stand for Marriage Maine repeatedly lying about the effects of marriage equality on “your” kids (such as how your kindergarterners will be taught about gay sex if gay couples marry) if gay people can obtain legislatively approved marriage licenses. This lie has been debunked by Maines department of education and Marriage for Maine has admitted that this is a lie to bring people to their side. But that’s not stopping them from releasing another ad tomorrow focusing on this same lie.

    Are how about religious and political leaders who continue to use Paul Cameron’s repeatedly false and negative assertions about gay men?

    These are heterosexist lies and people should be called on them when they are used and they should stop complaining about being called homophobes or bigots for lying about an entire group of people.

    As for your desire to talk about how disgusted normal straight people are when thinking about gay sex: go for it. Just let me know ahead of time that you don’t want my input.

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Audrey – I will make these two things very clear:

    1. Stop swearing. Stop ripping on gay men. Stop ripping on conservative Christians. We’re here to learn from, and listen to each other. You do neither as it seems as though you think you have all the answers to everything.

    2. I have been getting emails and messages from people who are giving up trying to comment because of the novels you are writing here. This is NOT A BATTLE OF ATTRITION! Keep it to one direct point, short and sweet. You can create your own blog to elaborate on lesbian and feminist theology. I don’t mind you inserting your life experiences, your opinions, thoughts or whatever else. That is what this blog is here for. As you told Darren earlier, if people don’t hear it from your perspective, where will they hear it from? Great point. But your current format has to change quickly otherwise you will be blocked. This is a dialogue, but it has turned into your monologue that people are not willing to (nor should they have to) sift through.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    “As for your desire to talk about how disgusted normal straight people are when thinking about gay sex: go for it. Just let me know ahead of time that you don’t want my input.”

    Oh, you mistook my answering the elephant-in-the-living-room question for a desire to discuss this. Not on your life, Jon. There are other forums where such things can be argued about all day. I do not see this as one of them.

    Audrey, a brief clarification/response to this comment or yours — “nor was the civil rights movement of the last 50 some years Nazi inspired” — and others. I used the term Nazi to describe historically an era, not a movement related to civil rights or gay rights. My bad for not making that clear. The folks who brought the Institute for Social Research to America were, in fact, escaping the Reich because they feared it.

    You also misunderstood my comments about my service in the Marine Corps (not Corp). I was, indeed, involved in a social experiment with regard to combat arms training for women for the first time ever. It was with my OCS class (105th in 1977) where it really started. We lost about half the women we started out with due to the physical stress. I had an officer selection officer who was informed, and I had read about the coming move in the media, so I was prepared for it.

    One of my classmates went on to become the Corps’ sixth-ever general officer. She is still serving, and has broken the glass ceiling for women like no one else has. I deployed as the first-ever woman officer with a Marine Amphibious Unit for a major NATO training exercise. I am, indeed, very proud of my service. I also, however, was assigned as the public affairs officer at Camp Lejeune, N.C. responsible for the “dog and pony shows” showing women doing nontraditional, combat-related things when the media came to call so they could write their obligatory women in combat pieces. Now, we have women in harm’s way more than ever. We have lost women Marines, including one public affairs officer (combat correspondent), in Iraq. I helped paved the way for that, which I still have mixed emotions about. One of these days, I’ll write more about it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Jack said: “I personally don’t think there will EVER be situations where GLBT Christians will worship regularly with Conservative Evangelicals. I think our understand of the scriptures and theology is too different. BUT I CAN see us respecting and loving each others as Christian neighbors even though we will never agree on the details this side of heaven.

    As long as someone tells me I am sinning for loving my partner and that family is farce and that I should leave my partner to “Follow God’s Will” then I am going to find that offensive: that is never going to change no matter how many bridges you try to build. I think we should try to build bridges of respect and understanding and let God love us in the end for how He created us. My two cents worth!”

    Jack, I agree with you. I also assure you, in response to your other comments, that a good many straight people who have never walked in your or my shoes keep quiet about their inner feelings about homosexual sex. There is an instinctive, silent recoiling for many. The PR efforts of the gay rights movement and the media have managed to sanitize it to the point where more and more folks shrug it off. They also shrug off other straight-sex stuff that is not palatable.

    As a woman, I do take umbrage at the way the porn industry has used women to push bisexuality as something desirable, even for straight men to oggle at. I don’t think it is helping the gay cause. Rather, it is further demeaning women. When sexual gratification becomes a spectator sport, we have a big problem. It’s not just inhibitions that go by the wayside. We lose our soul.

    We live in a touchy-feely (in an emotional sense) world today, so we are more aware of the need to see our gay brothers and sisters as those who desperately want to be understood and accepted. And our hearts are touched by that. Mine surely is, because I know what that desire feels like.

    I don’t know how the whole bridge-building effort is going to play out. I do believe common ground is worth seeking. This is a much larger ship to turn around than some people realize, however.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Debbie,

    Thank you for being willing to continue in this conversation. Audrey is a well-armed and passionate woman, and I wonder if we weren’t on the same side of the aisle on so many issues, how I would respond to her challenges. I commend you for holding your own. Must be that military training 😉

    But I’m not sure why exactly you keep resurfacing this point about the gay sex “ick” factor. Your reasoning is essentially that the “ick” people feel is somehow proof that gay sex is unnatural? Unfortunately, I don’t believe that your thesis holds much water. Moreover, there seems to be nothing “unnatural” at all about gay sex.

    To the first point. Being black, I have quite a bit of experience being on the receiving end of peoples’ “ick”. I’ve seen people (both white and black) respond with disgust at the thought of a mixed-couple marriage. I’m glad to report that in the Washington metro area, the “ick” has subsided with people opening their minds, but I still encounter it here. It’s 100x worse down South! Surely you wouldn’t find this to be acceptable proof that mixed-race coupling is therefore unnatural, would you? That’s – in a word – utterly preposterous. Not to mention illogical.

    Secondly, you needn’t go far to find just how “natural” homosexual sex is. There are now nearly 2000 species of animal with documented same-sex sexual acts. Like it or not, homosexual acts are common in nature indeed (even if they are less frequent than heterosexual acts).

    Thus, it is not the subversive, nebulous “gay agenda” that has made it unpopular to discuss “ick” factors, it is the fact that people who use logic, and are open to what actually happens in nature have come to the conclusion that to be “icked” by same-sex sex is most likely due to acculturation. Gay people aren’t looking for a pass on that conversation. They’re looking for people to use their brains. (And perhaps even mature beyond “cootie” feelings when they encounter something that they’re not used to.) To settle at “people feel disgusted by it, thus the case is closed” is simply short-sighted.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Darren, being black, I presume you have some familiarity with the down-low practice among black men. If, as you say, gay sex is becoming more acceptable and “natural” in your sphere of experience, then why does the DL continue? And why is the D.C. metro area still so prolific in its new HIV infection rates, most of which are among black men? Something is not natural about all that.

    Heterosexual sexual promiscuity does proliferate its share of STDs, but the CDC has confirmed in study after study that MSM (men having sex with men, gay or not) still lead the pack by far in contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS in this country. Something’s not natural there. There are physiological reasons for it, of course. And psycho-social ones.

    Lastly, we are not animals, and it is insulting both to God and to the people He created — with a spirit and designed for relationship with Him — to be compared with animals, who cannot reason or know or love the God who created them. If we look at the anatomy of a man and a woman, we see both are made to fit together. That is “natural,” or within the Creator’s intent, in the view of the vast majority of people who can think quite well, thank you.

    “To settle at ‘people feel disgusted by it, thus the case is closed’ is simply short-sighted,” is your statement, not mine. Your quotes make it appear otherwise. As I said before, folks can believe whatever they like. We will always be differing on this, but we can do so civilly. I neither hate nor fear gays. They may pursue life as they wish, the same as everyone, within the confines of the law. I am not warm and fuzzy with gay sex, and I have lots of company in that. It never felt natural to me in my days of rebellion.

    It is not something I wish to make a major deal of here. I merely point out that it is the elephant in the living room. It takes two to have a conversation. I am done.

  • Jack Harris

    Debbie,

    “Darren, being black, I presume you have some familiarity with the down-low practice among black men. If, as you say, gay sex is becoming more acceptable and “natural” in your sphere of experience, then why does the DL continue? And why is the D.C. metro area still so prolific in its new HIV infection rates, most of which are among black men? Something is not natural about all that.” I WOULD LIKE TO RESPOND BY SAYING THAT THE SO CALLED “UNNATURAL ACT” OF GAY SEX HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RISE IN HIV RATES IN THE DC AREA. THERE ARE MANY FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THIS. TO ASSUME THAT A GAY AFRICAN AMERICAN MIGHT CONTRACT HIV BECAUSE HE IS HAVING UNNATURAL SEX SEEMS LIKE A BROAD GENERALIZATION.

    “To settle at ‘people feel disgusted by it, thus the case is closed’ is simply short-sighted,” is your statement, not mine. Your quotes make it appear otherwise. As I said before, folks can believe whatever they like. We will always be differing on this, but we can do so civilly. I neither hate nor fear gays. They may pursue life as they wish, the same as everyone, within the confines of the law. I am not warm and fuzzy with gay sex, and I have lots of company in that. It never felt natural to me in my days of rebellion.

    It is not something I wish to make a major deal of here. I merely point out that it is the elephant in the living room. It takes two to have a conversation. I am done. I AGREE IT DOES TAKE TWO TO MAKE A CONVERSATION BUT I DONT THINK YOU SHOULD EXPECT FOR PEOPLE IN THIS FORUM TO RESPOND TO YOUR COMMENTS POSITIVELY WHEN YOU MAKE BROAD GENERALIZATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT GLBT FOLKS. NOW I AM DONE.: JACK :)

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Debbie,

    I think we need to define our terms here. If something is “natural”, then the concept of spheres is inconsequential. When I say that gay sexual acts are natural, I mean that in the literal definition of the word: i.e., it occurs in nature. You seem to confuse the concepts of natural and moral. Many things are natural and immoral. Many things are natural and moral. So all the evidence at hand shows your ideas about the unnaturalness of homosexuality is completely invalid. Now, whether it’s moral or not . . . that’s a different issue.

    I understand your point that it is demeaning to assert that humans are EQUIVALENT to animals, but it’s hardly meaningless to make COMPARISONS. And in this conversation, it is meaningful. If gay sex is unnatural, then we should not be seeing it occur in nature. However, it does occur in nature, and in probably every species of living thing that exists. Including humans.

    If it’s “unnatural”, then you have to have some basis for saying that. Saying that it’s unnatural b/c people feel icky about it is insufficient, and circular reasoning. People feel icky about a lot of things that are quite natural indeed (hence the example about interracial marriages.)

    Also, it’s insufficient to assume that something is unnatural simply b/c YOUR practice of it felt that way. As I’ve heard from you ex-gay folks ad nauseum, “feelings don’t account for much when it comes to Truth.” So let’s not use a double-standard here. However, if you do want to start working on the assumption that feelings help point us to what’s natural or not, then your argument loses once again, because many gay people (including myself) have found opposite-sex romantic encounters to feel VERY unnatural, and same-sex ones to feel “natural”.

    I really don’t think you want to get into “the parts fit” arguments, b/c you’ll lose on that argument too. But I’d probably make you feel “icky” to delve into it, so I’ll spare you . . . for now 😉

    Lastly, your arguments about STDs are completely inconsequential to the discussion at hand. It is proven that women have FAR more UTIs (urinary tract infections) than men. It’s most likely the result of the anatomical proximity of the vagina to the anus. The VASTLY increased incidence of UTIs among women compared to men is probably because women are so unnatural. Or at least that’s the conclusion we’d have to come to following your line of reasoning.

    I really don’t mean to attack you. I hope it’s not coming off that way. But many of your claims are rather unsubstantiated and – frankly – illogical. They just don’t stand up to theological or philosophical reason. They are unsophisticated, highly regurgitated, irrational, and discounted arguments. I’m afraid you’re going to have to do better if you want this “elephant” of yours to have any legs . . .

    For most people who are comfortable with themselves, this so-called elephant is completely non-existent. It’s an issue for you and others like you because you’ve been acculturated to hate it. It’s easily solved though . . . but that’s up to you . . . no one’s going to force you to expand your brain and get beyond your discomfort with other people.

    Finally, let me add that this sort of conversation does not do anything to build any bridges whatsoever. In fact, it destroys bridges. You only demonstrate an attitude of dismissal and offense when you insist on clinging to such poor arguments, especially at the expense of people’s feelings. Going around telling people that what they do is unnatural and disgusting is supposed to show God’s grace and love how? Do you really accomplish that with those words? Even if homosexuality IS sin, does it do any good to affirm your disgust for the sin? Do you want me to tell you how disgusted I am by all the vile, “unnatural” things YOU do??

    In the spirit of “policing” ourselves, let’s think with our heads AND our hearts. Let’s start to think about how are words are coming off, and how they’re affecting people. Let’s think about how they accomplish or inhibit our efforts at building bridges.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    It is evident that denial is in full force in some of the comments here. And this horse is tired, so I am getting off it. In fact, I am taking a self-imposed hiatus from all discussions here. I enjoy reading Andrew’s posts, but blog commenting does not always enhance the original points being made. And I don’t want the excellent things Andrew has said in this series to be lost in the white noise.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Debbie,

    Your inability to bow out gracefully (without a dig) aside, perhaps it is best to not look at comments for awhile. I’ve certainly had to do that on here a few times. I do hope that doesn’t prevent you from commenting ever again though. I think that we can have productive dialogue – but it gets so ugly when it becomes about “being right.”

    And I admit that I’ve fallen prey to that today. I recognize that my approach could have been softer and more graceful. I think we got into a bit of a pissing contest. And frankly, it’s just not helpful. In the future, I hope that we can ask more questions of each other, and listen to the other – without being offensive and dismissive.

    Blessings on your hiatus!

    Darren

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    Andrew,
    Let me know what you think of what I wrote.

    http://six11.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/fighting-words-to-healing-words/

    Shawn

  • Audrey

    "We live in a touchy-feely (in an emotional sense) world today, so we are more aware of the need to see our gay brothers and sisters as those who desperately want to be understood and accepted. And our hearts are touched by that. Mine surely is, because I know what that desire feels like."

    This quote above Debbie may be true of some gays and lesbians. The movement I've been a part of is to build a lesbian and gay community, and to use the creativity to move beyond an engagement over "social acceptance" by straight people. The highest level of acceptance of course is self-acceptance, and not being dependent on the opinions of an uninformed majority. The majority in many ways is nonexistent or irrelevant to me. Not so much in a bad way, but because it's life doesn't really inspire me or intellectually engage me. By being my most powerful self, my highest self, my most connected self to a holy… a sacred, that causes people to change. But I don't really try to change anyone. I won't however try to "fit" into someone else's system.

    Some guys here may disagree with me, but I believe the brilliance of Troy Perry's vision was for a church where gays and lesbians could go and worship on our terms, not begging at an oppressor's door for crumbs of acceptance. It was the great break from the yoke of heteronormativity, that called into creation the lesbian consciounsess movement in the first place.

    It was the discovery that when we have a place of our own, we can move the world.

    Whether there is a bridge or not is immaterial to me. I am building a world of women, I am using the skills I was born with to honor my life, and to make my life part of history. It is not really about getting along with straight people, although straight people who are truly on my side are welcome to come on over to the bbq any time any day.

    Social acceptance or the desire for it will really hold you back in life. This is something that is deadly for any woman who wants complete freedom and a post-patriarchal society. It is not about pleasing men, pleasing anybody at all. It is about an inner light of insight that is the collective consciousness of lesbian and gay archetypes coming into their own in the 21st century. That is the excitement and beauty of it all.

  • Jack Harris

    "We can have a kind of pretense of social connection, but if one group really believes my 34 year relationship is sinful, then this isn’t a bridge at all.." Once again, Audrey gets right to the heart of the matter…you are not going to build any bridges with me if you think my relationship is sinful with my partner.." Once again, Audrey speaks the truth..in my opinion anyway..

    I have been doing some thinking about this dialogue in lieu of all the comments on this blog. First I would say that I appreciate Debbie's remarks in this thread. I think she has tried to be honest and shared her real feelings on this topic. I think she said things that a lot of conservative evangelicals have all been thinking and wanting to ask. While I have a lot of problems with some things she has said, I think she has tried to make our dialogue REAL!

    I am MUCH MUCH more leery of Evangelical Christians who smile and hug those of us who are GLBT Christians and GLBT folks in general. I feel that the real motivations for engaging us are not truly brought forth. Using phrases about we are "all one in Christ" and "God loves all His children" while true is not REALLY what they truly want to say. I feel that these are just warm and fuzzy words to get GLBT folks to listen to what Evangelicals are truly trying to say but don't have the guts to do it :

    Mainly this: "Homosexual sex is a sin and your love of your partner is sinful and you should break up your relationship and your family to be celebate and follow Jesus." I am reminded of a saying my grandfather used to say "You can dress a hog in a white shirt but its still a hog" This is essentially what Evangelicals are trying. I guess you could call it a kinder/gentler approach to getting GLBT folks to change their behavior.

    The format and the forum in which this message has changed but the message is still the same : Repent and change your life or else. I personally find this sickly sweet method to dialogue with me more offensive than the Debbie's of the world. At least I know up front where she stands.

    This is what I think : Evangelicals need to NOT talk to us about how we live our lifes as GLBT folks and GLBT Christians. We ALREADY know where you stand, we have heard it over and over again. And guess what : We don't agree with you and we aren't interested in hearing it again.

    I personally think what is behind this "new approach" is a growing realization that acceptance of homosexuality has increased tremendously over the past decade and I think this makes SOME evangelicals anxious. As this new acceptance continues to spread, this leaves some folks in conservative churches nervous. Nervous in that, they are really some of the last institutional holdouts in society with a negative view of homosexuality. This, I believe, makes many conservative christians uncomfortable. Hence the approach to get GLBT folks to "end the culture war" because let's face it afterall : they are losing it. Plain and simple. If you want to stay relevant you have to find a way to somehow win over your detractors and in this case its GLBT folks and their allies. This is what I believe to be happening at least with some conservative christians.

    Quite honestly the Andrew Marin's of this world are very rare. He truly gets GLBT folks and I believe truly wants to build bridges. I am not so sure about the rest of the evangelical crowd. I am sure there are others like Andrew, I just havent come across them.

    Sooo…what Evangelicals CAN do is build strong collaborations with GLBT Folks and GLBT Christians. While we may occasionally worship with you and have deep friendships with you, do not expect much more than that. I truly believe we can be in relationship with each other without agreeing but please be realistic and respect our theological and personal beliefs regarding our sexual orientation and we will do the same in kind.

    Sorry for the rant…I head to get that off my chest…

  • Audrey

    Well Jack, I think we are trying to get at the real of it all. I think you are on to something about how the fact that as lesbians and gays are becoming more powerful, and more accepted it a great threat to the identity of a lot of christian conservatives. To say that gays are inherently sinful or that their relationships are, which is what they really think all the time, will make their churches seem old fashioned or even clueless.

    It's why the conservatives are suddenly becoming so "aware' of racism, because they now realize that their racist past just won't cut it. Jerry Falwell gave very racist sermons early in his career, southern racists are very uncomfortable with Obama etc. Race is huge in this country, and those who don't have it thrown in their face are always saying things like "we have to move beyond this…we have to heal…" but to me, everytime I hear those words, this means, "we don't give a damn about you, and don't want to engage your ideas."

    I think many straight people seem to be stuck on the sexual, and what we do in bed. Sexual sin is a big deal in evangelical churches, so they get a little obsessive on this point. Debbie herself simply struggled with a previous same sex attraction, and she just is afraid that this might come back and get her. Lots of people on these sites talk about how they found god and got out of the "lifestyle." They struggle. So they are very touchy about gayness and even the growing acceptance of lesbian and gay identity.

    Sure sexuality upsets people, gender change upsets people, interracial worlds upset people… People have very conservative views, they revere the bible as the literal word of god, and think everything in it is god talking.

    I didn't grow up that way, don't believe that, and don't have much affinity for a time when women were treated like child bearing machines, and who were completely excluded from literacy itself. It's just not all that fun to read about most of the women in the bible, because I can't really relate to them at all. Everyone I think would want to be David, or maybe Jesus (not me), but Mary the mother of god, no thanks. Well there is one woman in the Jewish bible that I truly love, Judith, the warrior woman, who is somewhat of a lesbian christian icon. We love the artist Artemesia Gentileschi too, but most christian bibles don't have this story, nor do they read it in church. Too bad, it's a great story.

    A little off topic here… bottom line again, society really is beginning to love and respect lesbians and gays. I've felt more love coming from straight people, more compassion and more connection socially as my authenic self thanks to prop 8 than at any other time in my life. Although I feel ambivalent about gay marriage — I'm afraid the irony will be that we'll become too heteronormative…baby toys in the driveway… too boring, we'll lose the good parts of our outlaw culture, our counterculture, so to speak, and trade up for Wall Street suits… it's a fear.

    This social respect for gays, Ellen, Rosie, Billie Jean King and Harvey Milk getting presidential medals of freedom… at Obama's White House, his welcome of us at the White House… well this social change and acceptance will make bible believing straight people nuts, and it will unnerve all the people who changed into straight again or rejected a gay feeling. They will worry, "well the bible says it's a sin, now what?"

    I'm not a literalist, I'm not that attached to the bible, and connect more with the cosmic Christ, or Christ the woman returning to earth, or gay saints, or the poetry of the bible and it's power of incantation and recitation, or taize services, or the beauty of christmas music, which I really really love.

    But I don't feel that the bible is science, or that it is literal, and I don't feel in any way that god doesn't love my partner and me, and I mean really LOVE us, and totally accept us as lesbians. Jesus really really connects to my partner, and me, more of a secular type really sees this as lovely.

    When the culture so changes, people might feel left behind. Then what?

    Bible colleges may feel confused. They can be very narrow worlds, and when THE WORLD comes in, it can seem a big threat.

    All I know is, I am happy with our progress, I feel that lesbians and gays really are coming a long way. There is something lovely in our renaissance, in our impact on the culture, in the arts, in presidential politics…we're going to march on washington yet again. We're not sinners, the bible doesn't condemn us, and women are bishops. We speak in church, we study Hebrew, a lesbian runs a Jewish national council of synogogues, but the conservative straight people just freak out.

    They still want to say we are sinners, and the bible tells them so. As a woman, I pretty much question everything the bible says. I don't feel all that a part of that world anyway.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "Debbie herself simply struggled with a previous same sex attraction, and she just is afraid that this might come back and get her."

    Sigh. I was content to simply read here for a while, even the things you all want to keep on saying about me. No problem. You're even trying to be nice. But Audrey, I think you have to 'splain what you mean by the above. How can you know what I am thinking or what concerns me in this regard?

    I struggled with *many* same -sex attractions previously, but I am not worried or afraid in any way of the gay bogeyman getting me, i.e, falling again into same-sex attractions. Is that what you mean or are you trying to say something else?

    I am a sinner, past and sometimes present. Show me one person who isn't. I also know I am justified (no more condemnation) and reconciled to God through Christ.

    Example: I know I will never again experience depression in the way I once did. I cannot because I have grown too far past it. I simply know and trust God too much. Bad things, sad things will continue to come into my life, as they have since I had my last major depressive episode in 1990. I will deal with them.

    Memories of old liaisons or emotional "affairs" (with men and women) will also pop up from time to time. I would have to willfully choose to follow the rebellious path that would cause me to revisit that stuff. Only God and I know how utterly ridiculous and far-fetched that would be. Yes, I am human. But I have learned much. I know who I am and whose I am.

    I cannot, nor should I even for a moment, worry about what widespread social acceptance of gaydom will mean for me personally or for the Church. It is God's kingdom to rule over, not mine.

  • Audrey

    Would the Jews build bridges to the NAZIS? Would black people build bridges to the KKK? Mary Daly once said that women who thought they would get equality in the church were as mistaken as blacks trying to change the minds of the KKK.

    What would a dialogue really mean? I think conservatism is simply anti-feminist, and they guys think that love the sinner hate the sin is underneath it all. And that as they say about sums it up :-)

    Perhaps conservatives have "discovered" gays? But still, I'd love to hear from the lesbians out there. I keep asking, where are you lesbians? What do you think? :-)

  • Audrey

    And Debbie, I don't mean to really pick on you. I just find the yuck factor about gay sex kind of odd. What's to care about? I certainly am uninterested in the average hetero marriage, don't get involved in that world, don't know couples personally outside of work…. just leave them alone.

    Straight sexuality only gets out of control when men rape women, or market pornography. i care when men rape children and hide behind the church to do it. Then I care, and then I want to go to war. I care that women are murdered every day by husbands and boyfriends, but rarely if ever do women murder husbands or boyfriends. That strikes me as really evil and creepy. Now THAT is a real sin!! But straight marriage… certainly not a sin, it's just two people who love each other nothing more.

    If people are secure in their marriages, then why should you care if lesbians and gays get married or not? Why all the anti-gay hysteria, the millions spent to oppress us, the mean things said in churches about us? What is this really and truly all about? Kind of rhetorical questions. Or maybe we just have too many churches and too much religion, and we need the cool reason of the atheist scientists, who by the way, I really love a lot lately. If nothing else then their intelligence is such a delight in an age of craziness.

    Christ just gets such a bad them from the people who are preaching in his name these days. He'd be kind of fed up I think, and in fact, I believe he never ever wanted an institutional church to begin with.

  • Audrey

    Thanks Debbie for the update on the Marine Corps. I’ve never been in the military, but many women I’ve known over the years have. So I only know about it through reading history, and of course what my friends tell me.
    I figured there had to be a beginning to women training for combat in the Corps, so you were the first group. This idea of what is combat and what is not is a little dicey, but too technical and off topic here. So anyway, thank you for your service to America, and also for helping a new generation of women fulfill their desires for professional careers in the Marines.

    Everyone else, I think sex is a kind of loaded topic, and might not be the best thing for a christian website. The idea of what is natural or not natural, I agree, is not the same as a discussion of what is moral or immoral. There are significant differences both in logic and in reasoning on this topic.

    I think to get the clearest idea of who humans truly are, we do have to observe nature, and animal behavior, since humans are animals. And if we see skewed behavior among humans, we have to understand that oppression creates what I call “oppression sickness” where we don’t always do what’s in our own best interest, because society itself distorts our genuine human feelings. A good example of this was under slavery, black people were not allowed to be “legally” married, and thus their relationships were “less than.” If a white slavemaster sold the “wife” or “sold” the children, this damaged black family life, and the effects of slavery are still very present and very damaging 200 some years later. This doesn’t just go away because we change into a new century. The structure of racism, the demeaning of black families etc. affects black life today.

    When society makes human relationships “less than” this causes a lot of reactions. It is difficultn accurate picture of how people are acting around you, if they are acting with prejudice, compared to how they might act if the “assumed” you were heterosexual, or “assumed” you were white. Not to get too specific here, but every sex act can seem dreadful to someone not involved in the situation.

    And also, the use of “lesbians” in porn directed at straight men, is created by straight men for straight men. It demeans women because it is pornography, and it demeans lesbians because it uses women’s bodies for the use of straight men. Gay men, as far as I know, don’t create this kind of woman demeaning pornography. That industry is really evil, and it is competely and utterly supported by mainstream corporate America. Why the fundamentalist churches don’t get at this is beyond me. They tend to “personalize” sin and not deal with the corporate components of sin… another topic….

    A bridge between conservative evangelical straight people and gays and lesbians will be difficult to build, mainly because both sides don’t agree on anything vis-a-vis gay life. If a church calls being lesbian or being in a gay male relationship inherently sinful, just because it is not the norm, then obviously gays and lesbians, who are in the category being pointed at, won’t agree with this at all.

    We can have a kind of pretense of social connection, but if one group really believes my 34 year relationship is sinful, then this isn’t a bridge at all, it is a game of semantics. But maybe we need the semantics now, since the destruction has been wrought for decades now. My two cents…

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    OK, I really don't have any "sides" here. I have my own point of view on things. However, I could see how Debbie might feel ganged up on in this conversation, b/c I don't address other people on my disagreements. So in an act of good will, Audrey, I think I have to address something.

    While I agree with so many of your points, you do make a very, very bad habit of generalization, and making assumptions about peoples' motives. In particular, I have to agree with Debbie here that it's out of bounds to ASSUME that it's fear of "falling back into the 'lifestyle'" that drives her words. It very well may be true for all I know. But to speak it with confidence as if you KNOW is probably not helpful, and it doesn't do any of us any good. Maybe it would be a good idea ask Debbie where she thinks some of these thoughts come from? I dunno. Just a thought.

    Debbie,

    I do have a question for you that's been bugging me ever since you said it, but the conversation got pretty heated. If you're still part of it, I would appreciate some continued dialogue – but only if your comfortable with it.

    What I find odd is that you insist you are a "former" lesbian, but then you state that you always felt that same-sex sexual encounters felt "unnatural" to you. Frankly, that's just not what I've ever heard from any gay person before. I feel like gay sex is VERY natural. It comes easily, and it feel just right. My romantic encounters with women always felt awkward and unnatural. This, I say, is largely what makes me gay: my natural tendency toward the same sex. So when you insist that gay sex felt unnatural to you, it leads me to believe you were never a lesbian to begin with, so I'm not sure how you could claim to be a "former" one. Any thoughts on that?

    Darren

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Jack and Darren – The example you two set in regards to Debbie's honesty and vulnerability is special. This is a place to be honest and vulnerable, because where else can you put yourself out there so much in speaking so freely and constructively on this topic; many times searching for, and expressing your experiences.

    What that said,

    Audrey – KKK? Nazis? No way. You’re way off base. Darren hit the target on his last comment. This is now the third time I’m publicly warning you. This blog is not about pointing the finger, something you have done consistently since you started commenting. I have noticed very clearly that over the last few weeks since you started commenting, general comments have gotten a lot less constructive and a lot more back-and-forth fault blaming. My words and message haven’t changed, the commenter’s haven’t really changed, and the only new variable is your comments. As Jack said, you do communicate unique experiences. But the rest of it is too much. Lesbian voices do need to be heard, but not in a way that name-calls, points fingers and blames everyone else. This is THE LAST time you will be asked to change your style, there will be no ‘heads up’ next time.

    And Debbie – As always, thank you so much for your honestly and vulnerability as well. I know it must be extremely difficult for you to have enough guts to put your thoughts out there, just like it is for some the others who comment transparently as well. And it seems as though most of the comments have been ‘against’ you. Know that you’re loved and supported here, and I will make sure each life experience has the same voice. I’m sorry if I let you, and your voice down recently. Much love!

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Well, I do need to publicly acknowledge Andrew's very kind comment above and thank him. I'm a "big kid" (nearly twice his age) whose life started becoming an open book nearly a decade ago when my first actual book came out. Then later, I "came out" even more. LOL. Again, my choice, so I take all that goes with it like an adult. I don't feel let down, so don't worry. I, like you, brother, am "trying to learn how to live and love." There are ups and downs to that. I appreciate you so very much.

  • Audrey

    I think it is quite logical to wonder what all the upset really is about gays and lesbians gaining civil rights in America. And we all know that the lesbian and gay community formed its own groups, simply because the straight world didn’t want to deal with us at all. Then when we gained confidense as a community, we stood up to police raids, we stood up to psychiatrists, and we lobbied to change many laws that were blantantly disciminatory worldwide.

    I know people like to cite the bible for all sorts of things, none of which makes much sense to me. Even the founding white male property owners of another time put up a barrier between church and state. Churches have always had their own exempt category, they don’t have to pay taxes, and they can get away with blatantly discriminatory policies. MCC, for example, places no barrier of membership to straight people or gay members. We never placed barriers to receiving or celebrating communion, and we have always tried to have a strong lay leadership so that we aren’t all that dependent on clergy, of which most of us are highly suspicious of to begin with.

    So what drives the religious right in its constant condemnation of gay people? What is the real motive for this? I don’t really believe it’s about the bible, because this country doesn’t make its laws based on tribal laws thousands of years old. We certainly don’t expect morality itself or good people to have any membership in any christian churches. I’ve seen no actual difference between christians and non-christians in this country.
    You can’t tell by how people act, where they are coming from.

    So again, what is the hostility, the muti-million dollar disinformation campagins, the incredible slander of lesbian and gay life in America really truly all about? That is the question I always ask evangelical christians, and they never really seem to be able to be honest about this.

    Some claim that they don’t hold discriminatory beliefs and will simply deny their bigotry. Others will be bigoted, but keep silent, others will send money to blantantly and rabidly, I may add, anti-gay radio shows, or anti-gay organizations that are very open about this.

    My support of civil rights was not about raising money to combat the anits, it is about to support my sisters and our endeavors in business, in spirituality in our honoring of our past heroines. It is about creating and supporting lesbian culture in all its complexity. My support is not about the defeat of straight people, it is simply about the love of my own people.

    Since evangelicals don’t go all ballistic about divorce, remarriage, or hounding their members who have divorced with relentless messages of anti-christian behavior… well you’ve got to admit, the war against gays and lesbians, and not something as mild as the term “culture war” but there is real hatred, this is in your face shame based arrogance on the part of a lot of churches in America. Not all of course, and certainly there are many very honorable allies of our community, Bishop Spong being a shining example, along with Bishop Tutu. The South African christian churches have been some of the most progessive in the world. So even African nations are not uniformly gay or lesbian attacking.

    Every time I see a progressive movement on the horizon, a freedom movement or a group of people who say, hey, we have a right to those jobs, or hey we have a right to paid equally, or hey we don’t want our bars raided by police, or hey we get sick of people misusing an ancient book to attack a very small group of people who have been on earth for a very long time. Every time, a force of reaction rises up, and says hey woman, submit to some man, hey woman you have no right to your own opinions, we’ll try to stop your speech, we’ll threaten you with silence, we’ll do everything in our power to put a stop to your intelligence your dreams your personal power. We don’t like it if you want something different, we want to keep you in your place. There is always a reaction to those who desire something different from the tribe, or different from the past or different from what men want.

    That is what is perplexing to me. There is a lot of talk about connecting to the gay or lesbian world, but I still don’t see an understanding of what this is truly about. So perhaps the answer is more simple, it is people’s fear of social change in all its forms. What if men are naturally more feminine, or what if women aren’t interested in stereotypical female forms of living? What if it is actually true that humans are very diverse, and unjust groups are really about social control, not the nobility of human existence or the diversity of this existence?

    The fear or the phobia, or the ignorance… lack of knowlege, inability to get to know people from different backgrounds because of racial segregation, or simply the lack of friendships that widen horizons, or the lack of ability to speak any language other than one’s own… all of this social isolation will solidify the very fear of difference itself. There will always be the people who want to eat hambergers and can’t diversify their food interests. They are stuck in meat and potatoes, while other people are more adventurous.

    I would say that lesbian life is very very different from straight life. We have a different life purpose, our very language and decision making ability has a nuance and a clarity to it. I know the difference energetically in a moment. I’d say that gay men create a new world as well, and have unique social relationships that don’t easily translate into the one man one woman lifestyle.

    This inherent difference, this distance from the norm, or lack of interest in it to be kind, is about a different spiritual search. This search has manifested itself throughout culture and time. It comes in two spirits in native culture, it comes in different leadership patterns that inspired Susan B. Anthony, perhaps the nation’s greatest lesbian feminist. When Anthony encounter the Iraquois nation, she saw a vision of women’s freedom. As far as I know, this vision is not taught in your standard history textbooks.
    Law makers try to prevent the teaching of lesbian and gay hisory in schools. Imagine the utter arrogance of this. Imagine the arrogance to believe our history doesn’t even exist and that we are disgusting as a people. Imagine that!

    So the straight world is about policing behavior, not giving people a chance to find out who they really are. There is this belief that people are all the same, that sexuality has to be strictly regulated, and that men and women should only be sanctioned in marriage to each other. No other possibilites are honored or celebrated, and it’s all based on the production of children.

    Well, the world is not just about producing a generation. The world is about revealing freedom, it is about expanding the human possibilities, it is about women having the space, the time and the where withall to define worlds where men just aren’t there. It is a social world without men, where women feel at ease, and able to really advance in their thinking without the interference or male rule making or male policing that I always find so tiring and tedious. It’s not something that interests me.

    I actually don’t believe the bible dictates anyone’s life. I don’t think it is the basis of human morality or curiosity or even discovery. I think religious codes themselves were developed before humans even knew what germs were. So now here we are in the world of science, where the world is round, and anyone who would call it flat today would simply be laughed at.

    The flowering of lesbian and gay culture, and its adament opponents, will look very much like the flat earth people in the future. They are beginning to look like this now. So the time has come for this opposition to the variable natures of human beings to be honest. What is the motive for the phobia? It’s why it is odd when people will say they were once gay, or who seem to not know there is a genuine lesbian or gay world that doesn’t even talk about this. There is the world of the spiritual insights of lesbians and gay men… it’s when we go on a journey to know ourselves, it’s when we leave the mainstream behind or its negative influences in order to soar.
    It’s not being against something. It is about finding our best selves, and searching for others who share this desire. It might be quite simply searching for that needle in a haystack known as a great lesbian life partner, while the tribal majority has a 90% choice, the lesbian few, well we find each other despite every obstacle or barrier. Quite an amazing thing for a group so reviled by majority tribalists.

    It is about inspiration and freedom, it is about leaving tribal and moving into a deeply individual communion with time, space or spirit. All of the culture war people are stuck somewhere. The attackers know who they are and why they are doing it. The people being attacked are defending themselves against spiritual abuse and bible abuse and the abuse of power. There are no two sides to human rights, and everyone is on a side.
    There is no authentic pro-slavery position anymore in America, just as there is no denying the true selves of lesbians and gay men.

    Whether we have gay people who want to be assimilationists or whether we are about integration and freedom; we are here, we are queer, and nothing changes our sacred human existence at all.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Audrey,

    I'm a bit confused. Are you talking to anyone in particular? I'm not sure what you were addressing in all of that.

  • Audrey

    Hi Darren,

    This is kind of a vision I have, one that comes from a lesbian centered spiritual consciousness. I think I am addressing the possibility of lesbians visiting and commenting on this site, so I want to create space for them. Right now, they aren't really here. I think we need to think about this.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    Well I'm all for a stronger lesbian presence! Bring 'em on! 😀

    I think though, Audrey, that sometimes you write a loooooot of stuff, and many of us here sometimes wonder "where'd THAT come from??" And because there's sometimes no context to what you're writing, it might actually keep people from reading you – which I think is exactly what you're trying to avoid, right? I really would hate to see that happen . . . because I think your voice is valued, and wanted here – and I hope there are more voices like it here in the future!

    Darren

  • Hans

    "…true God centered reconciliation…" Refreshing. We all are called (are we listening?) by the Creator to repent so that times of refreshing may come from His presence. This repentance really then breaks down walls of stereotypes, prejudices, attitudes, so we then can see each other as created in His image. We can then see each other as people we should respect and love and serve (and that means telling the truth even when it hurts but done so in a genuine loving way). As a result, we then are ambassadors of reconciliation on His behalf. Doesn't the Creator require this of us? Andrew obviously is obedient to this call.