In my catholic grammar school days of the 1980’s, the worst possible insults another boy could hurl at another boy was to call them, “gay”, or, “faggot”, or “queer”; especially in front of the girls. The whole idea of homosexuality was so demonized by the church or how parents spoke that the mere thought of someone being a homosexual was punishable by public ostracizing or the occasional fight. Those phrases were meant to really hurt someone’s feelings.
When I entered high school, an all boy’s catholic high school, everyone was on guard not to do anything the other boys might consider, “gay”. It was a constant mine field of verbal acrobatics not to say something others might judge you for and label you with. It must have been especially hard on those young men who were just discovering their sexuality and where their passions lie.
I was on the fence regarding the whole homosexual issue back then. I was barely figuring out what I liked let alone concerning myself with the desires of others. I was in theater so that of course opened me up to the jock-ocracy that still thought the “homo’s” were to be taunted and teased relentlessly. (Where was Dan Savage then?)
The first time I felt a woman’s breast (under the shirt, over the bra) I was a clearly confirmed heterosexual and I’ve never looked back. Having established my sexual orientation my mind was clear (other than being flooded with thoughts of boobies) to begin the impossible teenage task of judging others based on their behavior. Luckily, I had a wonderful and open group of friends that went along with me on the exploration of teenage life and opened up my world. We learned a lot about what being gay was and that ultimately, it had nothing to do with us straight people.
I remember hearing the punk band Screeching Weasel’s song, “I wanna be a homosexual”, in response to a clearly anti-gay song from another punk band. In “I wanna be a homosexual”; there is a line that essentially says the anti-gay singer of the other band didn’t have the balls to be a queer. That got me thinking about the bravery of those pioneering homosexuals that stepped out of the dark club basements and into the mainstream to show the world that they were there and weren’t going anywhere. No matter how beat-up they got or how many insults they had to endure they would not back down.
I didn’t really compare it to the Civil Rights movement of the sixties but I remember thinking that it does take a lot of balls to be who you are in the face of so much adversity. I got older and people very close to me, whom I may have known my entire life, came out as homosexual. I was completely fine with it because I knew above all that they were good people and their sexual tastes had nothing to do with what kind of loving or caring person they were. In fact, I considered it an honor to know them.
As an adult in my mid-thirties I certainly don’t judge anyone on what they do in the bedroom (unless they’re seducing children or keeping sex slaves chained to a radiator in the basement. That’s wrong). I know that essentially it’s none of my business and as long as they try to lead a loving life then they’re okay with me.
We’ve entered a new era. A far cry from the 1980’s anti-gay slurs hurled between boys on a playground. The open minded people of this country realized the demonizing of any particular group based on their sexual proclivities was just stupid. The homosexual world was brought into the mainstream and I think the country became a better place for a while.
But now I think it has become a Civil Rights issue. The initial pandering to the homosexual community has become something far more concrete and action now needs to be taken. I’m speaking of North Carolina’s recent Marriage Law now part of their State constitution. I think it’s an affront to living a truly decent, loving life.
Here’s what I know about marriage, often times it ends in divorce; which is a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church. That’s just the statistics and my own personal eye witness perspective. I don’t think God gives a crap about marriage, otherwise he would have had his own son get married at some point or at least say, “Marriage is the most important institution ever”. He didn’t. His son said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, and things like, “Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake”. Luke 6:20–22. I, of course, understand this Beatitude can be construed to be more about spreading the word of God against adversity. But I think since God is love, then those that want to embrace that love in marriage are indeed spreading God and Jesus’ message, be they straight or homosexual.
I’ve known a lot of Catholic homosexuals. They are good people with regular jobs and are highly committed to doing what they can to be a benefit to society. They only wish to do what I do. Find someone to love with all their heart and spend a lifetime together in that love. It’s what God wants for all his children. Love. Compassion. Mercy. Why North Carolina’s populace wants to counter God’s will of loving each other is beyond my ability to comprehend. I’m not a bible beater, but I will throw my Catholic education back in the faces of anyone who thinks God’s love is exclusionary or designed only for straight white people.
I appreciate President Obama’s recent acceptance of same-sex marriage. I think it’s a great step forward in recognizing we are a civilized people and hatred of someone because of whom they love is energy wasted that could be better spent on education, bridges or high speed trains.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. I’m dizzy from the height.