Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Today I was re-reading an e-mail I received several months back from a devout Evangelical Christian. We first met many years ago when we were both unaware of a central fact of our existence. She wasn’t yet religious and I had no idea I was gay.
She is a few years older than me–a difference that doesn’t seem like much today. Back then, however, the age difference was huge. She was a college sorority girl and I was still in high school. She was a smart, sophisticated role model and a sane voice during a crazy time. While her brains impressed me the most, she was also beautiful with natural blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes.
We lost touch, only to reconnect recently on Facebook. I was and am delighted to be in touch with her again after all these years. Judging from her Facebook page, she’s still beautiful and even smarter than she was back in the day. We exchanged several e-mails, updating each other on major events of the thirty-plus years that have passed since we last talked.
Some of our exchange revolved around differences of opinion about homosexuality. In case I need to spell it out for you, I’m for it and she’s against it. From the start it was clear neither of us was very likely to change our opinion on the subject. Still, being who we were, both of us felt the need to give it the old college try.
What leaped out at me today as I read over that year-old exchange was her emphasis on homosexual behavior. Her words: “The Bible doesn’t say it is something that you are, but something that you do, giving in to temptation.” So being gay, in and of itself, is not a problem unless and until I act on it.
This is a common sentiment among religious conservatives that reflects a profound lack of understanding about gayness. The implication is that since they have resisted the temptation of sleeping with a member of the same sex, we gay folk should be able to resist, too. It’s a choice–like being poor, becoming an addict, or deciding not to eat meat.
Michele Bachmann, the darling of religious conservatives until Rick Perry entered the race, said recently that “Gay men must marry women; the experience of marrying a woman will make a homosexual a heterosexual – it works every time.” While it may have worked for her husband, Marcus, evidence suggests he’s the exception rather than the rule. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have thousands of married men trolling the Internet, public restrooms, parks, and escort services for discreet sexual encounters with other men.
I know. Some of you are thinking “well that’s just how those gays are–having sex at the drop of a hat with anyone.” Apparently, religious conservatives think I spend most of my time hitting on straight men and little boys in a desperate attempt to engage in demeaning and degrading sexual acts with strangers, and that all gays have perverted, one-track minds. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Certainly there are gays who are obsessed with sex. I venture to guess the percentages would be about the same as for sex-obsessed straight people. There are also gays who are into sado-masochism, bondage and discipline, group sex, and fetishes that do not appeal to or are downright revolting to significant portions of the population. Again, I’d say the percentages are about the same as for straights who engage in the same behaviors.
Before you judge me and proclaim my lifestyle is immoral, walk a mile in my shoes. Don’t assume the images you see in anti-gay advertisements and propaganda from hate groups like the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, and others depict the way I live my life. You’d probably be very surprised to find out things in your home are not that different from what you’d see here in…
My Glass House