Monday, June 20, 2005

We Scare Them! We Scare Them!

This will serve as my official LGBTQ Pride Post. Yes, I write about homosexuality often. Yes, I'm always admonishing closet cases to come out. Yes, I'm often striking the religiously narrow about the head and neck with my pissed-off stick. However, every LGBTQ/SGL-identified writer ought to say something inspiring about Pride, or pride.

It is the day after my group has performed at New York City's Heritage of Pride Rally, in front of a few thousand, including friends and co-workers, gay and not. And, interestingly enough, it is also the day after Father's Day. And, also as interesting, many churches use Father's Day as Men's Day.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Black Church's celebration of Men's Day, it usually goes like this. If the church doesn't already have a men's choir, it will put one together for this day. The men who have made a significant contribution to the well-being of the church will receive a certificate. The men of the church will be asked to wear a special color or outfit, like a black suit, white shirt, and red tie. Or at least the men's choir will. And there will be a special sermon on the fathers of the Bible, like Noah, who got drunk and had sex with his daughters, and Abraham, who cheated on his infertile wife with another woman, got her pregnant, and then cast her and the child she had out once he got his wife pregnant, only to then put that child on an altar for sacrifice, and perhaps even Lot. Ah, Lot.

Lot is the main character in the Sodom & Gomorrah tale. This is the oft-abused story used to show homosexuality bad, heterosexuality good. The story goes that a group of angels are sent by God to check out these twin cities because they have a reputation for being arrogant and nasty to strangers. Sounds a lot like the religious right, hmm. So, upon arrival, the angels end up chillin' with Lot, who is the only one to welcome them, but the angels are also subject to interrogation, and threats of violence from the townies. They want "to know" the angels, usually interpreted as knowing in the conjugal sense, and to appease the townies, Lot offers his virgin daughters instead, in the conjugal sense. Nice, huh? So, we don't have a story of normal sexual behavior in adults, but of warped power relations and rape, which as we know is not about sexuality, but of power and violence.

Unfortunately, some nutcase read the actions of the mostly male townies (as stories without gender specification involving Jews are overwhelmingly male) toward the male (use the same formula for assumption) angels as sexual, rather than violent, and there you have it. I realize I've veered a bit from the premise in my first paragraph, but bear with me. I promise to pull it all together.

We're so frightened of the power of sexuality and we are overwhelmingly misinformed about what makes the plumbing work, or what defines males and females, that we automatically assume that any male that doesn't conform to what we think should define male, is suspect. And that brings me back to Pride, with a capital "p."

What makes Gay Pride to me so wacky and wonderful, and wackily wonderful, and well, wonderfully wacky, is that the outside world sees exactly what those of us "in the life" see all the time. We see girly boys and boyish girls, like me. We see men who love dressing up like women, and we see men who take all that is thought to be masculine to the extreme. We see women who love women who look like women who love men, replete with long nails, painted faces, high heels and short skirts. We see parents at the Lesbian & Gay Pride Rally, who wish the host comedian wouldn't use adult language in front of their kids. We see couples, male and female, holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes as if no one else in the world existed. We dance for hours, trying to block out the reality that just outside the doors of the club, or just outside the doors of our home await people armed with weapons of physical destruction, and politicians armed with weapons of emotional destruction. We scare THEM, they, who, frightened of what is unfamiliar and undefined, work tirelessly to keep us from living, and from all that helps us live; a home, access to complete health care, employment, and yes, celebration; celebration in worship of a God who loves us as we are and welcomes us to the table.

We scare them, especially gay men, because society is sure of its knowledge of men and how they walk in the world. Sure of how men want to love, even when it's assumed they don't really love except in the context of sex. Sure that men, because of their greater physical stature, must be the dominant party in the sexual encounter. Sure that men, who are dominant, couldn't possibly want to be anything other than dominant, whether in the sexual encounter, or walking through life. We scare them, and it's a damn good thing. Fear begets chaos, and chaos begets order.

So, to my lesbian sisters and gay brothers, keep dancing for hours, gazing into each other's eyes, and raising your kids. Come out, live well, love strong, and play safe. Keep scarin' em, and Happy Pride.


Anonymous AngryBlackBitch said...


Happy Pride from this PrideFest booth working bitch in St. Louis!

5:26 PM  

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