Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Greatest of These

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The plight of a gay boy named Zach whose blog told the world about his parents' decision to force him into "reparative therapy" has spawned lots of talk about Christianity, anti-gay and ex-gay programs, and the contemporary war on gay culture. Salon has a story about a reporter who pretends to be gay so he can experience a session with a conversion "therapist." Kind of interesting that Salon couldn't find an actual gay or lesbian person to write this. Was it because this guy stepped forward? Because no gay or lesbian journalist felt like putting themselves through the horror of even one hour with these types of people? Or because there just aren't that many queers affiliated with Salon? I'd love to know. This reminds me a bit of the straight female reporters who signed up for male makeovers in the early 90's; you could practically hear them scream "Eew!" during the part of the workshop on packing and sock-stuffing. You had to be a strong butch or tranny not to feel shame (or disassociation from your packin' sisters/brothers) when you read thier "normal" reaction to female masculine drag. This guy isn't quite so bad, though he keeps reminding us that he's married and that he's a father and that he's LYING about having homosexual feelings. Are you sure? Eew.

Anyway, there's quite a heated discussion going on in Salon about Christianity and it's role in all of this, with some blaming religion wholesale and others defending it. All I know is that I am haunted by a story I read on page 16 in the July 19th issue of the Advocate called "Dying to Oppose Robinson." It appears to have been taken from a longer piece in the July 8 Washington Times reporting how "many Anglican bishops in Africa are refusing life-supporting donations from the American church" because they oppose the consecration of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson. It quotes a man named Bill Atwood, who "met with some archbishops [in May], and they were saying how painful it was, with people starving to death, to make these choices." So it's painful to watch people starve to death all day every day, and as you watch them getting last rites, with flies buzzing in their eyes and their chests heaving, their hearts so weakened by starvation that every breath is a labor, you repeat over and over in your head how much better it is to hear death roaring in their throats than it would be to fill their bodies with bread from a church with gay bishops. Then you get in your car and go home to your fat wife and your fat children and your nice house and your warm supper. And right before you slide into your clean sheets you thank God for making you such a righteous and compassionate man.


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