Archive for the ‘religion’ tag
So Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is history. This is what that means:
The second video is considerably harder to watch than the first. His mom starts quoting the Bible.
Telling his Dad
Telling his Mom
I knew this wouldn’t be easy to do. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was.
I also really think this project is a great idea and I think YouTube was the best medium for it. It reaches the right people, where they are.
The video I recorded first thing in the morning… if you look closely you’ll notice some serious bedhead going on. I meant it as a dry run, but I never made it through another version.So here it is.
There’s loads of stuff I didn’t get to say — like why I’m happy I survived. Things like how I’ve traveled and met amazing people. How I’ve fallen in love. But at least I’ve shared my story and in case someone else is going through the same despair and confusion, it might speak to them.
I think visibility has been a double-edged sword for kids these days. People didn’t talk a lot about gay stuff 20 years ago, and while that wasn’t good, it probably meant that people were less likely to be targeted, because the issue wasn’t on the radar the way it is right now. Still, there have been amazing advances.
Let me know if you’ve done a video or if you’re planning to.
Is anyone else doing one?
- Awesome Video Project Shows Gay Youth “It Gets Better” [Video] (jezebel.com)
- It Gets Better: We’re Giving Them Hope (slog.thestranger.com)
- Watch: Dan Savage Launches Anti-Bullying YouTube Project (towleroad.com)
Only Mr. Boltz knew the specific kind of damage he meant. He was gay, and he had been trying not to be gay since his teens, and he had inhabited and indeed thrived in a fundamentalist Christian culture that instructed him he could pray to be delivered from his affliction, his sin. By now, in his early 50s, he had stopped believing that godly intervention could change who and what he was.
Around Christmas 2004, in the midst of a family dinner, Mr. Boltz’s son Phil asked, “Daddy, what’s wrong with you?” This time, Mr. Boltz told the truth: “I’m gay.” His wife and his children, startled though they were by the revelation, told him they still loved and supported him. Such emotions were not exactly echoed by his fans, especially after Mr. Boltz publicly disclosed his homosexuality in a 2008 article in The Washington Blade, a gay newspaper.
I remember listening to Ray Boltz back in the 1990s. I had no idea he’d come out. Evangelical Christianity has one huge closet.
When you came out, did you lose or give up anything?
Before I realised I was gay, I was planning to study to be a Christian minister. I loved everything about it. I loved reading the Bible and gleaning understanding from its stories. I loved weaving them into a lesson that I could share at the pulpit. I loved talking to people, and helping them. I loved the music, the joy, the community. And while I enjoyed teaching Sunday School, I more enjoyed leading worship.
I had faced some resistance because of being female, but because the denomination officially allowed women to enter the ministry, they had no choice but to allow me to try.
I remember approaching my unofficial mentor at the time and telling him, knowing very well where he stood on homosexuality, and that his stance was broadly representative of the denomination as a whole. I was so anxious about this meeting, I booked a counselling appointment for immediately afterwards.
I was surprised by his pragmatism.
He said, “Someone is going to have to fight that fight.”
And I, in a moment of uncharacteristic self-knowledge, replied, “It’s not going to be me.”
It wasn’t a fight for someone fresh out of the closet.
I had to go away and have my proverbial wilderness years.
While leaving that vocation was definitely right, it hurt like hell at the time. Perhaps if I’d been a more driven person I would have kept at it, or kept my sexual orientation a secret — or even sought help at the “sexual healing seminars” I’d sometimes heard about.
Did you face any choices like that?
I was working lunches at the faculty dining room that year. I made sandwiches mostly, chopped vegetables for salad, that kind of thing.
There was another pre-theology student working there. I didn’t often get a chance to talk to the waitstaff — it was a very busy 90-minute shift– but one day we ended up prepping tables together.
I really wanted to talk to her about our studies. There was something about her that intrigued me, like how she kept her distance from the other pre-theology students, and mostly spent time with people who definitely were not into church.
Although very polite, she said very little and seemed completely uninterested in conversation. I was hurt and never tried to speak to her again. I thought she felt she was too good for me. She was a very good student, and I wasn’t, after all.
The last time I saw her, now that I think of it, was years later, in the small-town basement gay bar that we all went to, 40 minutes away from the university. Glancing through the smoky haze, I saw another girl sitting on her knee and I realised: she had only been cautious… something I, in time, would learn to be too.
In university, one of my personal indulgences was to attend Film Society. Film Society would bring movies to our tiny university town (population 6000, including students) that we wouldn’t ever have had the chance to see otherwise.
And because our town was home to a liberal arts university, Film Society was usually pretty well subscribed.
It was my little tradition to go by myself (not so much by design, but because my friends weren’t really interested) with a notepad and pen and keep track of my thoughts throughout the movie. I’d go home, and type out my thoughts until it all made sense to me. I really needed a blog, but I’m not sure they existed at the time.
I never really bothered to find out what movie was playing. I just went when I had the money.
So one night, I showed up and When Night is Falling was playing.
From AfterEllen’s review of the movie:
As their love story continues, Camille struggles with the external idea of being perceived as gay as much as she struggles with her own sense of self identity and religious doctrine. Her primary challenge in accepting that she is attracted to Petra seem to revolve around telling her fiancé about the affair and avoiding public displays of affection that seem to her to be “crass.” While she does confess to the reverend that she is confused by her attraction to Petra, Camille doesn’t seem to be conflicted about engaging in what she had previously believed was a sin.
So there I sat, a recently baptised Baptist pre-theology student, and entirely queer, but didn’t know it. And this conservative Christian professor was on the screen, kissing this amazing, carefree being, who happened to also be a woman.
I arrived home about 104 minutes later without a mark on my page. I sat at my computer and was unable to type a word.
I didn’t sleep that night.
In this June 2009 interview, Rachel Maddow discusses how she feels about her own coming out (which has been explored extensively in other interviews) and her advice for others.
For those who haven’t read her coming out story, she talks about it on The View. If you can stomach it, The View video is below. The coming out stuff starts about 3 minutes in.
If you can’t stomach watching that (believe me, I understand), here’s a summary:
When Maddow came out as a lesbian at 17, she announced it by putting up posters in the bathroom of her freshman dorm at Stanford, a place she had found to be surprisingly homophobic. It was January 1991, and on the posters she made a sarcastic reference to the first Gulf war, which was just beginning, then suddenly she declared she was gay (the implication: deal with it). “I didn’t want any drama,” she says. “I didn’t want any personal touchy-feely BS from anybody. I just wanted to get it over, and make a joke about it, and move on. It was such an obnoxious thing to do when I think about it. Why did I think anybody in my freshman dorm would care? I was 90 percent attitude.”
Someone else cared: her parents, whom she hadn’t yet told. When an article about her outing ran in the student newspaper, someone mailed it to them anonymously. They were shocked. Elaine said it was difficult “intellectually, as well as emotionally,” because she was brought up as a strict Roman Catholic. As parents, they were protective: “It was worrisome because of the idea she would encounter prejudice and bias in her life—and I am sure she has. Life is hard enough without having to deal with a lot of prejudices,” Elaine said. “We worked it through somehow. We just want her to be safe.”
It’s a funny thing, the human mind. Tell it not to do something, and it immediately does the very thing it is not supposed to do. I bet you’re thinking about elephants now. And probably asking yourself, what do elephants have to do with coming out?
Coming out is a process, like peeling back the layers of an onion, mostly because both involve a hell of a lot of tears. In my case, I had a surreal start with coming out to my family (It’s always the ones you least expect), and a rather non-event coming out to my four best friends (they could not care less, and the one I was expecting to have the biggest freak-out had known for months already.)
But early into my third year of university, less than 8 weeks after telling my family, I was approached by a professor I respected above all others and was asked to do something shocking: write an essay on what it meant for me to be gay in the United Church of Canada. I still remember the day he asked after class – my brain shut down and this voice that did not seem my own at the time immediately agreed. I had two weeks to write the essay and submit it for the class to review and discuss the following week, on my birthday of all days! And of course, I had to tie it in with the course topic, “Enlightenment and Transformation in Religion”.
Immediately I regretted my decision. I spent nearly the entire two weeks crippled with fear. Was I ready to come out publicly? What would the class say about it? Could I handle negative reactions? What do I say? For the most part, I tried to put it out of my mind, and was very successful until three days before the essay was due.
I had two courses with this professor, the other being “Death and Dying in World Religions”. On this particular day, in the “Death & Dying” class, the professor posed a question: What is it about death that you fear the most? A seemingly innocent and academic question, given the course topic; but it shattered me! I barely made it back to my dorm after that class before I broke down in fits of heart-wracking sobs.
What did I fear the most about dying? I feared I would die without anyone knowing me; die alone, unloved, anonymous; I feared dying a damned liar.
I knew what I would write. I went to my computer and allowed my heart to speak. It spoke of the elephant in the room, of being gay but being afraid to say it. It spoke of living in constant fear of being beaten, murdered, hated, unloved and alone. It spoke of the interminable pain of watching my Church struggle with, and be torn apart by hatred as it tried to bring love and acceptance to … yes, to MY people!
I was gay – not some abstract concept, but a member of a real community. And damn it, a proud member! I would not accept lip service to the goal of equality, but demand real change. And may whatever god you believe in take mercy upon you if you had a problem with it, because I was taking names and offering no mercy.
In the process I discovered that my elephant was not all that big. And that voice that was not my own that accepted the assignment was the true me, the gay me, crying to be set free. I think back on that class, and recognise now the gift that it really was.
It was my transformation, my breakthrough to a form of enlightenment, and the best birthday I had had in a long time! It was a true birth day, the day my gay self emerged into the world as a fully formed, self-aware individual who not only loved himself, but finally loved the world in which he lived.
And oddly enough, it was also the day I realised that the worst thing in the world that can happen to me is that I can die, and that is not something I fear anymore. Thanks to that amazingly wise professor (Again, thanks Eldon!), I am fearless, and free.
Oh yes – and not a negative reaction in the class. To date, I have never had anyone I encounter have a negative reaction to my sexuality. I have truly been blessed.
On April 8, 2002, the Durham Catholic District Schoolboard told Marc Hall — then 17 — that he was not allowed to bring his 21 year old boyfriend, J.P. Dumond, to his high school prom.
The case was decided in favour of Marc Hall.
From the ruling:
The idea of equality speaks to the conscience of all humanity—the dignity and worth that is due each human being. Mark Hall is a Roman Catholic Canadian trying to be himself. He is gay. It is not an answer to his section 15 Charter rights, on these facts, to deny him permission to attend his school’s function with his classmates in order to celebrate his high school career. It is not an answer to him, on these facts, to suggest that he can exercise his freedom of disassociation and leave his school. He has not, in the words of the Board, “decided to make his homosexuality a public issue”. Given what I have found to be a strong case for an unjustified section 15 breach, he took the only rational and reasonable recourse available to him. He sought a legal ruling.
Judge Robert MacKinnon