random musings...

Category: GLBT

Last “Pink Triangle” Survivor

Check out this story and interview about the last known “pink triangle” survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps.

FROM PARIS WITH YAGG Pink Triangles: The last known survivor tells his story | FROM PARIS WITH YAGG.

Here’s the video (also referenced from the above link):

YouTube – Joel Burns tells gay teens “it gets better”

A video well worth watching:

YouTube – Joel Burns tells gay teens “it gets better”.

Election Results

What started as a great day with the election of Barack Obama as president quickly turned sour with the passing of Proposition 8 in California. The message to gay people is clear. Even in a state known for its liberalness, gays are considered sub-human. It is a disheartening message.

I’ve never heard a non-religious reason to ban gay marriage. If someone has one, I’d be interested in hearing it. In the meantime, I have to lay the denial of gays’ right to pursue happiness at the feet of the majority of Christian institutions in this country. I’m not going to argue Biblical interpretation… if you want info on that see the “Gay and Christian” links in the menu to the right of this blog.

My take on it is that people are afraid. Gays don’t fit into how they (conservative Christians, et. al.) think the world should work so they try to deny their existence as fellow humans deserving full rights. If the order is broken, chaos will result. And yet, Canada, Spain, Massachusetts, etc. have not been swallowed up by chaos. All legalize gay marriage. The fear is completely unfounded and yet people still cling to it.

So where do we go from here? For one, my church recognizes gay marriages. I could certainly marry in a religious ceremony right here in discriminatory Michigan; it just wouldn’t be a legal civic ceremony. But, why not? Do we really want to continue to allow our government to privilege certain religious beliefs over others? How is that different from other places in the world against whom we speak out as being religiously intolerant?

So where do we go from here? In some sense, the whole marriage idea is assimilationist… give us the right to marriage and we’ll be good little invisible gay people… that tact isn’t working. Maybe we should give it up. Maybe we need some civic protests… a little marching in the streets… The Religious Powers are not going to give up the hold they have on society through the enforcement of the heterosexual family just because it is the right thing to do. We need to demand it. In our town halls, through our state and federal congresses, in our streets and most especially in our churches!

Soulfully Gay

I just finished reading the book “Soulfully Gay” by Joe Perez. I had started it this summer but then didn’t touch it after school started. Now that the semester is done, I picked it up again. Perez has had an interesting journey. The subtitle of the book is “How Harvard, Sex, Drugs, and Integral Philosophy Drove Me Crazy and Brought Me Back to God.” The book was alternately fascinating and boring. And the ending of the book was just a weird fantasy based narrative type thing. I certainly didn’t get the point of it.

When Perez talks about his life in a straightforward way, I was interested. However, he too often veered off into discussions of Ken Wilber’s Integral Philosophy. It’s interesting on some level I guess, but Perez seems to think every problem in life is a result of the level of consciousness one is at. It got to be overkill. For example, at one point Perez addresses the question of why so many people base their worldview in opposition to homosexuality. He then spends a couple of pages giving an answer based on people not having evolved to a higher level of consciousness. There may be some truth to that, but it seems to be over-analyzing to me. I think there is a simpler answer – humans crave security and order and homosexuality threatens their view of how things should be. Thus, they live in opposition to it. Fear of otherness is also at the root of racism, nationalism, and probably a few other -ism’s. This may all be explainable in terms of level of consciousness, but doing so, I think, makes the problem too distant and doesn’t offer practical answers. What sounds more addressable – helping people overcome a fear of the other or helping people raise themselves to a higher level of consciousness? Maybe I’m just not advanced enough to “get it.” If I had to grade this book, I’d give it a C+.

Viktor Frankl and gay marriage

Frankl, who is the subject of my class paper, was a psychologist and the founder of Logotherapy. He taught that humanity’s basic drive is to find meaning in life. This happens in one of three ways:

1) through a work (book, art, etc.) or deed
2) an experience or encounter (beauty of nature, love for another, etc.)
3) one’s attitude in the face of suffering (being able to see it as opportunity for growth, test of dignity, etc.)

Frankl himself was a Jew who survived four different concentration camps during World War II. His book “Man’s Search For Meaning” recalls his experiences there.

A couple of quotes from that book on the subject of Love:

“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self.” (p. 58)
“Love is as primary a phenomenon as sex. Normally, sex is a mode of expression for love. Sex is justified, even sanctified, as soon as, but only as long as, it is a vehicle of love. Thus love is not understood as a mere side-effect of sex; rather, sex is a way of expressing the experience of that ultimate togetherness which is called love.” (p. 134)

Now, what got me thinking about these quotes was a political issue I mentioned below – gay marriage. Any argument I’ve heard against gay marriage has been in terms of religion. Most of those arguments are pretty weak and amount to some Christians declaring “the Bible says being gay is bad”. Well, plenty of Christians also support gay marriage, including the United Church of Christ, which as a denomination has voted to support gay marriage (even though individual UCC churches may still oppose it). I don’t even want to get into a Biblical argument – I probably won’t be able to convince anyone that way and they won’t be able to convert me to their view either. People will believe what they want to believe (especially when the beliefs are grounded in fear of otherness).

For me, marriage comes down to love (hence why I started thinking of the Frankl quotes). Why should some group of Christians dictate that I can’t marry the person I love? Frankly, my own Christian church would (and has) performed a same sex marriage. So, if my church recognizes such a marriage, why does the government refuse to recognize it in favor of opposing religious beliefs? What is the non-religious reason to deny gay marriage? I suppose even if you remove the Bible from the equation, people will still argue that recognizing gay marriage will destroy moral order and cause societies to collapse. Funny, though, that Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Massachusetts still seem to be standing and have not fallen into the general moral chaos that some would predict. So, why? Why is my love less worthy than the love of a conservative Christian? Well, of course, it isn’t.

In a previous post, I said gay marriage wasn’t a major issue. But, I think it really is. If a candidate isn’t supporting gay marriage then, for me, they are supporting one religious view point over others because they think it will get them votes (unless someone can give me a non-religious reason to deny same sex marriage). And in the process of endorsing government favored religious view points, they are not recognizing the worth of my love – my very humanity.

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