30 October 2010

The attention finally being given to the issue of gay kids and bullying is blowing my mind. I never thought I would live to see this. I stayed in the closet until I was in my mid 20’s. My family was pretty gay positive. My parents had gay friends. But I internalized the hate and loathing my peers expressed when they called me a faggot. I didn’t even know I was one until other kids bullied me and called me names. I lived through the hateful Civil Union debate in Vermont 10 years ago, which was really something, and now we have marriage equality. I never imagined I would live to see the day.

I watched Clint McCance apologize in an interview with Anderson Cooper. It is impossible to know if he is sincere or just a coward, but it seems that he learned something about how ignorant he had been...and isn't that what we want? Let the ignorant speak out and be educated and recant their ignorant statements.

Perhaps I am being too generous and McCance is just saying what he thinks people want to hear. Perhaps I am a fool for believing him even a little. He is clearly homophobic. You can see it when he talks about the issue. However, due to his cruel statements, has himself become the focus of hatred. He has received hateful email, threats, etc. That seems to have shocked him some.

When we choose to hate the hateful, we become hateful ourselves.

I am glad that there is now the It Gets Better Project on YouTube so people can speak out and so people can see that in fact, it does get better.

It’s been years since I went to a Gay Pride event, or did anything overtly political related to gay rights. I marched in DC in the 80’s, and in Burlington and Montpelier Vermont. I wrote letters to the editor, volunteered with a couple of gay positive non profit agencies. I am not “coming to terms” with my sexual orientation anymore, I just am who I am and pretty comfortably so. With all this attention being paid to these issues in the mainstream media I find myself revisiting my past as an observer now. I hear about gay and lesbian kids killing themselves because of the pain they cannot bear, and I remember well how it felt to perceive myself as not part of the world of people. Sure I had friends, but in my teens and early 20’s I felt separated from everyone by my secret, which I felt ashamed of. It wasn’t until I was 25 that someone said to me for the first time “Being gay is a good thing.” That was an amazing powerful experience which was a catalyst for me. I am grateful to that person.

In many western industrialized countries being gay or lesbian is mostly accepted. In the US there is always this writhing religious extremism trying to remake the country in it’s own image, so we see right wing evangelical christians mainly promoting hate and intolerance of GLBT people. Modern Judaism doesn’t really address the issue. There certainly are no jews out there ranting against gay people as there are christians. Islam also is not presenting any uber message in this country as regards to sexual orientation. Of course Muslims have other problems to deal with in this country and in the world.

There have always been people who were not heterosexual, and there always will be. Maybe Clint McCance has had a real wake-up call. Maybe others will too. I hope that whoever is out there preaching intolerance, hate, nonacceptance; I hope and wish that you would understand how much you are hurting people, and knock it the fuck off. You have no right.

Gee I guess I still have some angry feelings about all this.

This week’s radio show is for Hallowe’en. My guests talk about earth energy and connectedness; about ancestors and our relationship with death, and about the love which earth based spirituality focuses on. I’m very happy about the episode, I think it’s good. I also think it’s about the same core issue I’ve been discussing, which is, how we can choose connection over disaffection, be it earth connection, human connection, or something else. Hate is not part of the solution, no matter what. It just isn’t. Anger that one uses to propel sound action is great. Dwelling in a space of anger and putrid fear of “other” is just not healthy. Fear of death, fear of other, fear of truly liberating oneself and being free; these drive so many to such lengths, and yet it is not necessary.

All of us have our triggers and times when we get angry, sometimes mean, even hateful. The solution is to see it, name it, and then to touch the Earth and acknowledge the reality of life on this planet, however you perceive it, and move on from the ick to your real work.