I was looking for quotes from one of my favorite books ('Till We Have Faces,' by CS Lewis) when I stumbled across a very well-written blog by a woman who was saying - in clearly-written sentences and properly-spelled words - that homosexuality was definitely a learned behavior. That it is wrong, and that 'diversity' is simply another word for being forced to accept homosexuals. That she was going to call 'all of them' nothing other than 'homosexuals' because all the 'letters they add to whatever they want to call themselves' does nothing more than 'normalize' behavior. And she capped it all off with: 'I don't hate homosexuals.'
"Till We Have Faces" is a book about someone who mistakes her own jealousy and dedication to 'being right' for love. Orual wreaks utter havoc on her sister Psyche's life simply because Psyche has an experience of love that Orual does not have, and does not understand. As we read the book we see the choices Orual makes, things she does and says - she is sure - for Psyche's best interest. It is a rich, rewarding, difficult book. Difficult because I have seen a lot of myself in Orual. Our own absolute surety about what others must do and how they must live leads inexorably to pain, alienation, confusion and often destruction. How the woman who wrote this blog could write so glowingly about this book, and then write such hateful trash about 'homosexuals' boggles my mind.
It's one thing to read a screed from a frothing lunatic, or to see a video clip from a screaming preacher. It's quite another to read a calm, collected viewpoint that takes this stance, and seems to be taking plenty of prisoners along. There were several hundreds of comments on this woman's blog, most of them also clearly-written, most of them calm and cool and full of their own assurance that homosexuality was wrong, a learned behavior, and was creating an evil, dangerous world. One person commented that they just wrote a book about how diet and stress causes homosexuality. These things were said as if they were the most rational things in the world. And everyone in this fact-free bubble were nodding their cyber heads in agreement: homosexuality is wrong, it is a learned behavior, it is something that can be changed and healed.
It never ceases to amaze me how some people feel so entitled to hold forth on subjects they know absolutely nothing about. This woman didn't feel entitled so much as duty-bound. She needed to share this 'truth' with the world so people would not be so afraid to 'speak the truth,' that homosexuality is wrong, and can and should be cured. Diversity is also wrong, and no one should be forced to even hear an opinion that differs from that.
Fuck you, lady. You do not know my life. You do not know my husband. You do not know my friends, my family, my family of choice. You do not know the struggles I went through to get to the point where I am today.
But mostly, you do not know the terrible pain this kind of polemic wreaks. You can sit in your heterosexual tower and throw lightning bolts of made-up 'truth' because they will never hit you. You will never be instructed to hate yourself for being who you are. You will never be faced with a God who apparently loves everyone but hates you specifically for something over which you had no choice. You are creating drone strikes: pushing buttons in the privacy of your home, never having to see the destruction your words rain down. If you don't hate gay people, then why are you saying such hateful things about them?
Take the plank out of your own eye before you start seeing specks in others'. Try being like Jesus - actual, warm-blooded, compassionate, rebel-hearted Jesus, who spoke against the religious authorities and the status quo with his every other breath. Try being like him, and leave behind the gun-toting, queer-hating, white bread Jesus that the Religious Right has fashioned out of fear, hatred and spite.
If one does not have compassion, one cannot claim to have love. Love without compassion is something else entirely. As Psyche said to her jealous older sister Orual in 'Till We Have Faces,' "I'm not sure I prefer your version of love to hate."
Yesterday was the rally and march with the Hand in Hand festival in Seoul. So much feels so new here in the strides for LGBT visibility and acceptance. While Taiwan's highest court just recently ruled in favor marriage equality, other Asian countries are still institutionalizing homophobia. The participants in the festival represent choruses from Taiwan, Singapore, Honk Kong, Seoul and Beijing. The exuberant march (I was with the Beijing Queer Chorus) ended at City Hall, where we were met with furiously angry homobhobic demonstrators. Police were there, and formed a human chain to protect the Hand in Hand particiapants. Just as I've seen in the States, the contrast between the two groups was stark. The anti-gay protestors, spewing their torrents of hatred and fear, were a dark, angry, unhappy presence. And the LGBT folk were happy and joyous, waving many brightly colored flags, singing and cheering. Angry versus Joyful. Ego versus Enlightenment. Three things struck me about the Korean homophobic protestors: 1) They seemed to blend in their opposition a jingoistic nationalism with fundamental Christianity (certainly not unknown in the US) 2) Some factions looked and seemed quite official, and had comandeered the City Hall steps with their sound system, suits, and seriousness, blocking any LGBT groups from setting foot in front of City Hall 3) The vitriol pumped thru their loudspeakers was a level of screaming, hateful fury I've not heard a lot in the States. Now, I don't know which of these groups were screaming what - perhaps the most mouth-frothy were the angry evangelicals. Perhaps the elected-and-running-for-office officials were speaking calmly and clearly, focusing on policy more than polemic. But the opposition was huge, and loud, and seemed very, very scared. Give me the rainbow-waving music warriors any day of the week.
I wrote this theme song for Wes Hurley's insanely fun documentary about Seattle's bender-gending burlseque performer Waxie Moon. Sarah Rudinoff and Paul Rosenberg sing their lusty little hearts out.
Then said Almitra, Speak to us of the Comedy Ball.
And he raised his head and looked out over the crowd.
I have thrown the Comedy Ball to many among you, he said, and yet you have perceived it not. For many is the time the Comedy Ball has hit you square in the chest, only to bounce off and roll under a dry hydrangea, waiting. And there it lies to this day.
Just this afternoon I approached you as I watched you licking the bill of your baseball cap. I quipped, “Never have I seen a man actually eat his hat.”
And you replied, “Uh... no, I spilled coffee on it.”
To which I put forth the response, “Dude, I’ll give you a dollar if you need coffee that badly.”
And your eyes blinked, and they were vacant. The second comedy ball bounced off your chest, falling and rolling to join its brother orb underneath the hydrangea.
And you said, “No, I just want to get the coffee off.”
And I reflected to my bosom: if I toss another comedy ball, will the Rule of Three prevail? And I looked at your baseball cap and the way you were diligently licking its brim and rubbing it with your forefinger. And I gazed upon the two unnoticed and uncaught Comedy Balls lying disused beneath the dry hydrangea. And I altered my reflection, for my bosom told me, “This man recognizes the Comedy Ball not.”
And a great sigh issued from my lips as I produced my gym membership card and passed on to the locker room.
People of Orphalese, will you learn to see the Comedy Ball? I would be happy if even one among you would recognize when one comes sailing directly towards your forehead. I would delight even to hear a dim chuckle of recognition as you say, “That was a joke, right?” But to you they are but the ghosts of shadows, invisible, unfelt and unloved.
People of Orphalese, to see the Comedy Ball is to set your foot on the path of humor itself. For once you have seen the Comedy Ball, you may learn how to catch it. And once you have learned to catch the Comedy Ball, you may learn how to throw it back. And once you have learned to pitch your own Comedy Ball, you may learn the myriad ways one might spin each pitch.
For to volley the Comedy Ball is to dance with the ancients, a dance whose steps may be described but never predicted.
He lowered his eyes, and his gaze rested upon the waste of dry hydrangeas dotting the landscape, and the hundreds of moldering Comedy Balls lying beneath them. He shook his head sadly as the cries of the sea-birds wheeling overhead mixed with the lonely wind. He then raised his head once more and the winds carried his last words above their heads, out to sea:
But seriously, people of Orphalese, you’ve been a great audience. I’m here all week.