I find it very difficult to understand the level of anger and hatred some people have toward the gay community. I understand that there are folks who find the thought of two men or two women kissing icky or unpleasant (mostly two men, though … the public seems to have a strong fascination with most girl-on-girl activity). But I don’t see how that discomfort turns to rage and loathing. Some people find sushi distasteful, but they don’t hate sushi fans or want to beat them up or deny them rights because of the cuisine they enjoy.
lt’s fairly common to theorize that the most outspoken hate-mongers have such a visceral reaction because they themselves are closeted and trying to deny their true feelings. But I don’t know if I totally buy that. I’ve got no love for people who abuse animals, but it’s not because I have a secret desire to go puppy kicking.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. In my younger days I didn’t slam gay people … I was afraid to talk about them at all for fear people would associate me with gays and lesbians. Instead I was stereotypically slutty in an effort to prove, mostly to myself, that I wasn’t a lesbian. Guess what? It didn’t work! But I did rack up enough experience to say with complete confidence and conviction that being a lesbian has absolutely nothing to do with not finding the right man. Because if I there are magic anti-lesbian penises out there, trust me, I would have found one.
I think it’s more likely that the most outspoken anti-gay people are labeled as closeted because it’s a really good way to piss them off and get under their skin. I imagine if you’re a member of Westboro’s “God Hates Fags” sect of the Baptist church, the last thing you’d want to be accused of is being gay yourself.
Some of the most vocal opponents of gay rights, and gayness in general, are of the religious variety. Not all of them, but enough to be an identifiable group. And as much as we love to whip out the “you’re only so upset about it because you’re obviously gay” accusation, the God-fearing evangelicals are terribly fond of claiming that they “love the sinner but hate the sin.” And I’m willing to bet that as much as we might cry “closet case!” to needle the rabidly anti-gay coalition, the people parroting the “love the sinner blah blah blah” bullshit probably also get a little kick out of pissing us off.
As absolutely psychotic and un-Christian the Westboro wackos might be, at least there’s no confusion about how they really feel. As a gay person, I have no doubt whatsoever about their agenda and can safely stay as far away from them as possible. Getting good information enables me to make good choices.
But what about those who maybe have some Westboro-ish leanings, but not enough to be clumped in with the straight up lunatics? What about friends who seem fine with your orientation, but belong to churches that clearly aren’t? I’m looking at you Saddleback Church …
I know it’s not impossible for people to be able to separate their personal beliefs from Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren’s anti-gay ones. I’ve got friends who are vegans but I’m not going to stop frequenting my favorite steakhouse because of it. On the other hand, the good people at Ruth’s Chris never tell me my vegan friends are going to hell if they don’t jump on the meat train. And what about people who are okay with you being gay because you’re “different” and not like those pervy, dangerous gay people? Or those who seem fine with lesbians but have little or no tolerance for gay men or trans people? Where do you draw the line at how much intolerance you’ll tolerate?
I’m not someone who insists on instant acceptance from everyone with whom I come in contact. It took me eighteen years to finally accept myself, so I’m willing to give others some breathing room to (hopefully) get used to the news about my love of soccer moms. I think people have certain expectations of each other based on what we think we know, and when we find out our assumptions are incorrect, there’s likely to be an adjustment period.
I recently came across one of those holier-than-thou, love-the-sinner types on Facebook. He was just some guy I went to high school with and not a friend in any real sense of the word. He and I got into a little Messenger tiff over our strongly held opposing beliefs and it wasn’t long before he he hit me with the “God loves you and so do I” line. Screenshots of portions of the discussion appear at the bottom of the page for those interested in reading them. I know all that scrolling down is difficult and time-consuming; so I’ve included just his side of the discussion below …
“Sorry you feel that way Allison… I pray that you will not continue in that fashion or that belief system … for your soul is precious to God … Otherwise you shall perish… I don’t with that upon anyone … Why are you so rebellious?”
“I never meant to hurt your feelings Allison … I guess that my approach was wrong… and for this, I am Truly sorry … Please forgive me! …. My heart has love for everyone, and Truly so!”
“You have no backbone Allison, you are weak and that’s ok … Just repent & turn from your ideology … I am not your enemy!”
Aside from sounding like Carrie White’s mom on prom night — “Eve was weak. Say it! Eve was weak!” — the guy seemed legitimately concerned about that eternity in hell for which I’m destined. Or at least he did until he popped up under his pseudonym a couple of weeks later and posted these two loving, Christian messages:
“If you support the LGBT movement … FUCK YOU!!!”
“I love gay people so much … I just love getting a blow-job from a gay guy, there’s so much competition from him, he has to perform well… and I just love banging some gay chick in the ass … it’s such a great pleasure & I’m pretty sure that God approves of it because he made me that way … As soon as Obama or the world legalizes pedophilia, watch out children !… Thank you for making me this way Lord. God bless!”
Because posting things like this are either a sign that the poster is completely off his nut, or that his thoughts and beliefs are seconded by his friends and associates so he’s not concerned with negative backlash, it concerns me that other people I know may have similar thoughts and feelings bubbling under their “we’re all God’s children” facade. And as much as I hate to admit it, I find myself considering some of my straight, Christian friends with a slightly suspicious eye, trying to discern if there’s any hate lurking in their shadows.
I can count on one hand the friends I can say with complete confidence harbor absolutely none of this hidden hate. And if sexual orientation were measured by the content of one’s Facebook posts, I’ve got some straight FB friends who are gayer than I am. Then there are the unknowns. How do I know that people who like me simply because I’m awesome don’t talk shit about dykes and fags when I’m not around? And further, which ones honestly don’t see it as an issue because they don’t mean me … They mean those pervy, lesser-human gays and lesbians.
When even a scripture-ignorant, atheist lesbian like myself knows that Jesus was all about love, acceptance, being nonjudgmental and restricting stone-throwing to the sinless among us, how can a person who identifies as a Christian be completely blind to the fact that what they do and say is in direct opposition to His message and teachings? Are they not at all concerned that when they arrive at The Pearly Gates, God is going to go all Ricky Ricardo on them? You got some ‘splainin’ to do!
I don’t feel bad sharing the hater’s messages with his name intact. Once you’ve made your opinion known on Facebook, you’ve lost any expectation of privacy or anonymity. And frankly I feel I would be doing my LGBT community a disservice if I didn’t share his messages. Sad as it is, when you’re gay or lesbian in a supportive, accepting environment, it can be easy to take your good fortune for granted. I know that I periodically need to be reminded that not only is the hate out there, it could be closer than I think. I’m also following the lead of another friend … one of the aforementioned gayer than me straight people … who immediately posted his blow-job/butt-sex comments. And I know that she wasn’t motivated by drama or gosspiy, “OMFG! Check out this crazy post, let’s all talk shit about him now.” She happens to be one of our true allies and felt compelled to warn us that regardless of the “love in my heart” lies he tells, he is simply not a good person and not to be trusted.
And finally, you may not have noticed, but I certainly did, that he made liberal use of the ellipses … which happens to be my favorite and most used punctuation! I have no intention of abandoning my ellipses; I refuse to let his hateful words, opinions and actions have any effect on my life and how I live it. But I am repulsed by the fact that I have anything in common with such a sad and sickening excuse for a “man” and a “Christian.”