Sunday, September 29, 2013

Homophobia: Hypocrisy and a Price Too High

As my regular readers probably have noticed, I’ve been away for a while. Not necessarily voluntarily, however, since circumstances pretty much dictated that I take the summer off, away from this very invigorating space, and turn my primary attentions elsewhere. 

Of course, I’ve missed you, and suffice it to say I’m glad to be back in my blogging chair, and while I’m sorry to have been gone so long, occasionally in life stuff happens. Indeed, life itself happens. And as those of us who’ve been on the planet more that a minute know, we sometimes just need to divert ourselves and move in another urgent, more critically focused direction for awhile. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either; since, if we’re fortunate, often we can return to the normal course of events with regenerated vigor, blessed with a re-invigorated, hyper-sharpened critical perspective on the issues that matter to us the most.

And as the wisdom of the universe would have it, lots of incredibly exciting and hopeful portents have appeared on the horizon since last I wrote. For example, when I selected the very evocative image for this post back in the tender salad days of June, I had not the foggiest idea that the photo would prove to be such an apt illustration for certain pivotal recent events that have risen to the forefront in the struggle for equal rights for our LGBTQI sisters and brothers.

For starters, here in the US, the defeat of the very misguided Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, did my strong heart good, since I could never quite grasp how the marriage of same-sex couples would, in any conceivable way, threaten the marriages of straight folks. I mean, were marriage-seeking same-sex couples going to use up all the marriage licenses, as well as all the available paper upon which to print more of them? Were same-sex couples going to throw their same-sex loving bodies down like barricades at the thresholds of all the churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, justices of the peace, courthouses etc., thereby barring entry to anybody straight? It sounds absurd, of course, but trying to deny any group of adult, consenting humans their inalienable right to marry whomever they choose sounds infinitely crazier still.

And I’ve gotta say that when the new, courageously populist Argentinian-born Pope Francis asked his groundbreaking “Who am I to judge?” question regarding the LGBTQI community this summer, I was nearly moved to tears. I was also fearful for his safety in many ways since words such as those could be perceived by some as tantamount to inviting a very short-lived papacy indeed.

In light of such developments as these, I consider the numbers of men - particularly men of color in the US and the Caribbean - who continue to struggle on the “down low”- a term that describes the sexual behavior of gay and bi-sexual men who are so fearful of society’s stigmatizing views of them that they seek solace where they can with same-sex lovers in secret. This, while remaining sexually active with the women in their lives as a sort of cover or shield, a way of keeping their true sexual orientations hidden.

And as if the required deceptions alone weren’t bad enough, there’s other stuff as well. Like bringing home STIs for instance, sexually transmitted infections, which are still all too often the unintended by-product of these men feeling the need to slip in and out of the sheets, skulking like hungry, ephemeral ghosts, in and out of the shadows. 

And truthfully, while no communities have a monopoly on this sort of thing, it remains a sad fact that communities of color in the US and the Caribbean remain significant homes to the “down low” phenomenon. Why? Exaggerated distortions of what it means to be a real “man” in a demonstrably violent and historically racist society, for one thing. Add to that the die-hard, self-serving willingness to adhere only to the parts of Christian doctrine that suit us as well.

For example, if I had a dollar for every dire, toothless recitation I continue to hear of the old “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” line, I’d be writing this from some exotic location someplace, with my children and grandchildren lovingly in tow, sipping something decadent that slides tantalizingly over the tongue.

So lately, as a way to further clarify the obvious hypocrisy at play here, I’ve begun asking folks - men of color in particular - to show me their serpents; not a reference to their anatomy of course, but rather a reference to Mark 16 which teaches that the faithful “shall take up serpents.” Yeah, the twisty, sinewy, biting venomous kind. Arguably the stuff of many people’s nightmares, right?

And I ask the question out of necessity of course, since lots of  folk who ought to be more aware are still quite willing to try and explain away Scripture’s multiple verses that are clearly in defense of chattel slavery. So, serpents it is, and when I ask about who among them are ready and willing to obey that particular gem of dogma, I wait patiently, respectfully, for an affirmative response, as in, “Sure, I’d be glad to. Serpents? Bring em on!...”

Funny, but it seems even the most ardent among these faithful, simply aren’t willing to go that far. 

But I’ll keep asking…


  1. I too am a proponent of gay marriage. What do I care if two people of the same sex want to get married? I'm just happy those people found the love of their lives. As far as the secret lives go, I think it is sad that individuals feel forced to live them in order to appease society.

  2. Oppression at these times is ridiculous. Love is love so why is it hard for people to accept other peoples sexual preferences. The way I see it is that if you don't feed them leave them alone. People have a right to be gay, lesbian or transgender.

  3. I feel what two grown consenting adults do is none of my business, as long as they are contributing to society in a positive way and not being a menace, I really don't care. Society should not judge a person just because of their sexual preferences. If everybody would mine there own beeswax, the world would be a much better place! Same sex marriage would not effect me at all, just like two men in a loving relationship, does not have anything to do with me in my loving heterosexual relationship.


  4. i dont have a problem with the same sex as well. yes it is a shame for gay rights to hide who they are in order to demand respect or get treated the same way as straight couple. however whatever the gay right like I LOVE!!!

  5. Forgive me, but I am torn on this same sex marriage, although my textbook states that in some parts of the world, men marry boys because there aren't enough women to go around. But nowadays, its not the case of a lack of women, but a choice, I do believe that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home, is their business, not mine, however, I feel that the marriage portion is just a bit much for me, I can agree with the finding love and wanting to be together, but if we continue to marry same sex couples, then eventually we are going to cease to exist, but I guess that's a far way off, with medicine and technology moving at the rate of speed, that may not ever become a problem as babies can be manufactured in test tubes and laboratories. But seriously, I am still very torn with this same sex marriage, can someone please offer a good argument to help me to swing from one vine or the other?

  6. I really do not care what happens in a couples home whether between a man and women or same sex. If they want to get married then that is their business. When others continue to find differences in others then we will all be in conflict with each other.

  7. Sandra I completely agree. I respect adults decision about who they decide to love and marry however I can not agree with same sex marriage because im my opinion it is not natural. I do believe God intended for man and woman to procreate and same sex couples can not do that.

  8. "Gay marriage", the final analysis for me, is that it is wrong. Everybody is entitled the right to voice their opinion, so why should I have to feel suppressed about my feelings or beliefs how I perceive it. I strongly believe the Love the Pope is expressing is one that Jesus would have expressed. Who so ever will let him come. It is not the individual that is being judged, but more so the enactment of the sin. Yes I know plenty people that are LGBTQI, and I even have a family member that is still "undercover"; however, I do not have to entertain or support what they do. I still love them and when we as a people leave this earth, no matter what you project in your mind to be or sex change you may have, our DNA will either be male or female. My favorite saying is, "Love covers a multitude". No matter who or what you are I will still love you from the top and bottom of my heart.