A nice message

A Straight Person’s Guide to Gay Etiquette, by The Plaid Adder, Chapter 3: Fraught With Peril – Coming Out At Close Range

The hate-the-sin, love-the-sinner thing works fine if you are a televangelist broadcasting your purported tolerance into the black void of TV Land, but your child is not just some fool with a checkbook and a guilty conscience. S/he will doubt very much that you can love him/her and at the same time be revolted by something that is part of everything s/he is and does. This “sin” is not something like axe-murdering, which happens only once in a while during moments of extreme stress. This is something your child lives every day, and more importantly it’s something that your child sees (if s/he is lucky) as a beautiful and life-transfiguring thing. Sexuality and identity are so closely wrapped up together for gay and lesbian people that if you hate the sin, you are hating the sinner. If your child believes part #1 of that sentence, s/he will look upon part #2 skeptically at best.

From Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today blog for women, Halee Gray Scott, guest blogger, wants you to know that she’s a nice person and wants legal inequality for same-sex couples for the very nicest reasons: “I Am Not Charles Worley: The Plea of a Christian Who Opposes Gay Marriage”:

If anybody ever had angel eyes, it was my baby cousin Brian. His eyes were the color of the Arizona desert sky at high noon, but it wasn’t the color that made them so angelic—it was the way they shimmered when he laughed. Brian had such a sanguine personality it seemed his little body couldn’t contain his joy—his deep belly laughs bubbled over at the smallest provocation. His mother would say she thought it was her job to protect that smile straight through to his adulthood, but I doubt she could’ve predicted what would happen to him.

Brian was always a social misfit. At age 15, he’d rather have his nose buried in some science-fiction novel than play sports. As a reward for making honor roll, he’d ask for things like the unedited version of Les Miserables. He wasn’t great at small talk and his face would turn tomato red anytime a girl smiled at him. All this strained his relationships with his peers. And they were merciless. Gay, queer, and fag were regular epithets either hurled his way or whispered behind him just within earshot.

I was heartbroken as I watched what this did to him over the years. His eyes, now a mossy green, didn’t shimmer anymore, and that joyful disposition was buried down deep, if it was still there at all. I did what I could by telling him to stand up for himself and telling him that what others said did not define him, but there was little else I could do. For who can quiet the voices of adolescent boys? By the time he came out as gay to his family, a whole world of damage had already been done to his soul. In the end, I watched him bullied not to the point of suicide, but to the point of another kind of death, a social death in which he alienated himself from everyone, even his closest family members.

I don’t love Brian any less because he’s gay. He’s kind, brilliant, and full of beautiful ideas. The world would be such a lesser place without him. But in my mind, sexuality is a one-way street. And when I see someone I love going the wrong way down a one-way street, the most loving response is to say, “No, wait! That’s the wrong way! That way only ends in pain.”

She doesn’t say where Brian is now, but we can hope for Brian that he is far away from his evil family, among people who really love him, because it gets better once you can leave home. For a more detailed takedown of what’s wrong with Halee’s line of thinking, see You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it but in short form, back to the Guide to Gay Etiquette:

It’s not that I’m against homosexuality, I just don’t want my child to be unhappy.
While this may on the surface seem like a logically defensible objection, it crumbles when you take into account the fact that if you assemble 100 gay and lesbian people in a room and ask them, “What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had as a gay man or lesbian?” 95 of them will answer, “Coming out to my parents.” (The other 5 will respond, “Being courtmartialed.”) If you don’t want your child to be unhappy, well, don’t make your child unhappy

There is still time to respond to the UK government’s consultation on civil marriage. From the British Quakers’ website: Take action on equal marriage.

On Brian’s behalf, Halee:
A message to the homophobes

17 Comments

Filed under American, LGBT Equality, Religion

17 responses to “A nice message

  1. I think what you all don’t understand is, we really don’t hate you. How is that so hard to understand? With our view of sexual morality, do we hate adulterers, promiscuous teens, polygamists, or any other person we think “misses the mark.” (which is the Greek translation for “sin”) ? Jesus said to even love our enemies, and I definitely don’t consider any of these groups even that.

    So it’s just that we see sexuality as more than pleasure, or even love. It’s also what that pleasure and love can create, new human life. I understand that some are not drawn to use their reproductive organs in that way, but that doesn’t make all those parts, and sperm, and the womb, just things that are equally applied to same or opposite gender relationships. They have biological purposes. It’s like saying that we hate blind people because we say it’s best to have sight and eyes are for sight. No, we don’t hate the blind, but we do think it’s better to see and if there is a way to encourage sight over blindness, we will.

    • I think what you all don’t understand is, we really don’t hate you.

      *shrug* I think what all of you homophobic Christians don’t understand is, we don’t care if you people identify your feelings towards LGBT people as hate, love, suppressed lust, or what you will.

      What matters isn’t how you identify your feelings. What matters is how people behave towards each other.

      How is that so hard to understand?

      Because you spend your time (well, some of it) funding, actively campaigning, and justifying to yourselves and other people why LGBT people should not have equal civil and human rights with straight/cisgendered people. You tell us you do this because your God wants us to be legally unequal.

      Some homophobic Christians also argue that they won’t be able to practice their religion freely unless they’re allowed to treat LGBT people as their inferiors when the law requires them to treat everyone equally.

      Some homophobic Christians even argue that it would be wrong to pro-actively work to stop kids who are identified as LGBT by their schoolmates from being bullied. Apparently they think it’s good for “normal” kids to see for themselves the penalty for not being “normal”.

      You may say this behaviour isn’t inspired by “hate”. But it’s not really important to us how you define the cause of your unneighbourly behaviour towards us: because it certainly appears thoroughly hateful from the receiving end.

      With our view of sexual morality, do we hate adulterers, promiscuous teens, polygamists, or any other person we think “misses the mark.” (which is the Greek translation for “sin”) ? Jesus said to even love our enemies, and I definitely don’t consider any of these groups even that.

      Well, I should hope not, given how many homophobic Christians are adulterers, promiscuous teens, and polygamists.

      So it’s just that we see sexuality as more than pleasure, or even love. It’s also what that pleasure and love can create, new human life. I understand that some are not drawn to use their reproductive organs in that way, but that doesn’t make all those parts, and sperm, and the womb, just things that are equally applied to same or opposite gender relationships. They have biological purposes.

      But it’s none of your unneighbourly business what a person does with their own reproductive organs. Mind your own business. Stop prying. Look after the beam in your own eye before the mote in your neighbour’s.

      It’s like saying that we hate blind people because we say it’s best to have sight and eyes are for sight. No, we don’t hate the blind, but we do think it’s better to see and if there is a way to encourage sight over blindness, we will.

      So, do you believe blind people ought to be banned from getting married to sighted people, then? Or banned from marrying each other? Do you believe Deaf people shouldn’t be allowed to marry each other? Really?

      • “But it’s none of your unneighbourly business what a person does with their own reproductive organs.”

        I suppose not, but that isn’t my concern (what goes on in the bedroom). It’s more what is being presented culturally now as equal to heterosexuality. To use that blind metaphor, it would be like requiring people to say that blindness is equal to sight. It’s not that we wouldn’t allow you to use your eyes for other purposes but some are just threatened by a cultural transition away from a connection between sex and creating life. And no to your question about if I would ban deaf or blind people from marrying each other. To properly apply the metaphor you would have to say I would ban them from doing something that you need sight for, like driving. And the answer would be yes.

        • It’s more what is being presented culturally now as equal to heterosexuality.

          So it’s important to you that LGB people should think of ourselves as your inferiors? Why’s that?

          To use that blind metaphor, it would be like requiring people to say that blindness is equal to sight.

          So it’s important to you that a blind person shouldn’t consider themself your equal, as you are sighted and therefore superior to a blind person?

          It’s not that we wouldn’t allow you to use your eyes for other purposes but some are just threatened by a cultural transition away from a connection between sex and creating life.

          Well, that would suggest that you also believe no one should use contraception, that women past the menopause shouldn’t be allowed to get remarried (or have sex), and that no one who’s had their tubes tied should be “allowed” to get married or indeed have sex. Do you believe that all of these groups of people should be legally banned from marriage?

          And no to your question about if I would ban deaf or blind people from marrying each other.

          Why not? You appear to feel that the best way to “discourage” someone from being deaf, blind, or gay is to ensure that they can’t get married.

          To properly apply the metaphor you would have to say I would ban them from doing something that you need sight for, like driving. And the answer would be yes.

          But since same-sex couples can and do get married, the metaphor does not work.

        • How is that so hard to understand?

          We seem to have got slightly distracted into your metaphors for superiority/inferiority justifying legal discrimination: do you feel I answered your initial question to your understanding?

  2. I don’t believe I ever said anything about legal discrimination. I’m more Libertarian so I think government should enforce whatever contracts are made by willing parties, but I just think they shouldn’t be called marriage because that is a morally charged word. I said “culturally” not legally I oppose it being normalized, meaning if I had a son and he was confused on the subject, I would tell him it’s better to marry somebody of the opposite gender. I think encouraging the two as equivalent and not any different in any meaningful way is obviously incorrect. Biologically it is clear what sex is for. Some cultures, like the ancient Greeks, Afghan culture with Bacha Bazi, and others, began to see homosexuality as the better way to have sex, and women were just for babies if you felt like having kids. This often led to women being completely ignored in society. It’s not just people “born that way” that become gay. If so how do you explain the cultures I referenced adopting homosexuality as a nearly universal practice? Or the Spartan Army who had a massive gay orgy apparently before every battle for bonding. Were they born that way? Or was it a culturally influenced situation?

    I also didn’t say the PEOPLE were superior or inferior, only certain functions of certain body parts were superior or inferior. But those terms were yours anyway. It’s clear that when a man goes sterile, he has just lost something. It’s not equal to before. He now cannot make human life. That’s why I used the blindness metaphor. Eyes have a biological purpose; to see. Sperm and egg have a biological purpose too. It’s not that a person who gets that wrong should not have the right to go ahead and do whatever, it’s just don’t call me a bigot for not seeing it as the same. The parts are just not there, and no matter many times they attempt it, a baby will not appear. So maybe God or nature is a bigot for not allowing sexual equality, but not us for noticing.

    • I don’t believe I ever said anything about legal discrimination. I’m more Libertarian so I think government should enforce whatever contracts are made by willing parties, but I just think they shouldn’t be called marriage because that is a morally charged word.

      And you feel that same-sex couples have no right to use a “morally charged word”? Why’s that? LGB people are in your view just nor “moral”?

      I said “culturally” not legally I oppose it being normalized, meaning if I had a son and he was confused on the subject, I would tell him it’s better to marry somebody of the opposite gender.

      If your son might be gay, why would you think it “better” for him to get into an unhappy marriage with someone he could not feel sexual attraction to? Miserable for him, miserable for the poor woman he married: why would you think that “better”?

      If by “confused” you mean he might be bisexual, well… most bisexual people object to the idea that having the capacity to be attracted to both genders makes them “confused”. Not a very good word to use.

      Biologically it is clear what sex is for.

      Yes. We are evolved for sex to be mutual pleasure and a means of cementing, as it were, our personal relationships. Biologically, that’s very clear.

      It’s not just people “born that way” that become gay. If so how do you explain the cultures I referenced adopting homosexuality as a nearly universal practice?

      That normal human sexual orientation tends towards bisexuality. Where same-sex relationships are honoured, all will engage in them who can: where same-sex relationships are denigrated, people will only engage in them who must.

      It’s clear that when a man goes sterile, he has just lost something. It’s not equal to before. He now cannot make human life. That’s why I used the blindness metaphor. Eyes have a biological purpose; to see. Sperm and egg have a biological purpose too. It’s not that a person who gets that wrong should not have the right to go ahead and do whatever, it’s just don’t call me a bigot for not seeing it as the same. The parts are just not there, and no matter many times they attempt it, a baby will not appear. So maybe God or nature is a bigot for not allowing sexual equality, but not us for noticing.

      And what possible relevance can this have to a legal ban on marriage?

    • Cylux

      Or the Spartan Army who had a massive gay orgy apparently before every battle for bonding.

      Er no, Spartans were actually the LEAST likely of all the Greek powers to do that. All reputable sources of the period point to sexual or amorous relationships between comrades (that’s all Greeks, not just Spartans) being sporadic and co-incidental – they were not systematic.
      I can only presume that homosexuality is associated with ancient Greece and Rome to the degree that it’s thought to have been commonplace has more to do with the comparative lack of concern toward same-sex couplings they demonstrated when compared with those civilizations that followed.

  3. Cylux

    I suppose not, but that isn’t my concern (what goes on in the bedroom). It’s more what is being presented culturally now as equal to heterosexuality. To use that blind metaphor, it would be like requiring people to say that blindness is equal to sight.

    It’s not really an apt comparison, homosexuality is not a disability, it’s just different. Furthermore given that people are homosexual or heterosexual (or Bi/pan/asexual (think that’s covered the lot)), and people are considered equal, then homosexuality SHOULD be equal to heterosexuality, because if it wasn’t then homosexual people would have to be less equal.

    As for the whole ‘nature says X so we should only do X’ line, which is generally what the whole ‘marriage is for breeding’ thing is all about, I’m pretty sure we told nature where to shove it after we started making houses and domesticating animals, which seems to be working out well for us so far.

    • “It’s not really an apt comparison, homosexuality is not a disability, it’s just different.”
      Maybe disability is not the right word but it is a part of your being not functioning properly. And biologically I think it is the absolute worst one. It’s not just different because in biology they say the ability of a species to pass on its genes is its most important function, more so than sight, or smell or anything else. If some condition makes that impossible that would actually be the worst type of “difference” to have as any sort of living thing.

      • Maybe disability is not the right word but it is a part of your being not functioning properly.

        Not at all. Normal human sexual orientation functions properly when adult humans are attracted to other adult humans: functions ethically when adult humans act on that attraction only with mutual consent and concern for each other’s welfare and pleasure. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that a man who is normally sexually attracted to men is “not functioning properly”, or a woman who is normally sexually attracted to women.

        And biologically I think it is the absolute worst one. It’s not just different because in biology they say the ability of a species to pass on its genes is its most important function, more so than sight, or smell or anything else.

        Some LGB people feel that way and have children.

        Others feel that caring for children is more important than having children who are genetically “theirs” (after all, on average about 1 in 5 married men with childen are acting as a father to at least one child who isn’t genetically theirs) and they adopt or foster. (Example: two dads who have 12 children.)

        Similar patterns emerge for mixed-sex couples.

        The main difference is that same-sex couples never have unplanned children. Every child is a wanted child.

        . If some condition makes that impossible that would actually be the worst type of “difference” to have as any sort of living thing.

        Well, that’s a POV, certainly. But it in no way applies to gay men or lesbians, so where are you?

      • Cylux

        because in biology they say the ability of a species to pass on its genes is its most important function

        Correct. However an individual is not a species, so about 3-10% of a species not reproducing is unlikely to affect the ‘ability of a species to pass on its genes’, and that’s only assuming you count breeding as being the only method of securing the next generation. You see, genes are shared, especially among family members, if I don’t breed due to being gay, but use the resources I bring to the table to instead assist my sister and her fella with the raising of her children, have I not also helped ensure the continuation of my own genes? Since she and her children will share a goodly number of my genes.
        There’s more than one way to ensure that genes get passed onto the next generation, sometimes ‘the fittest’ is the species that has learned to cooperate and share to a great degree, rather than being bigger, faster and stronger.

  4. Where am I? Like physically right now? Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s the capital of Scotland in the northern part of the island of Great Britain. Joking, but I’m not sure I feel like telling you that necessarily haha. I’m not sure why you’re asking

    • I’m sorry, I wasn’t actually intending you to tell me geographically “where are you”: you misunderstood the question, but I think that was my fault. (I am also in Edinburgh, as you might guess from the blog handle…)

      I meant. given that sexual orientation has no connection with sterility, and marriage has no connection with fertility, how are you managing to justify “same-sex couples can’t get married” from your belief that being interfertile is the most important thing there is?

  5. Dear Edinburgh Eye, you are a genius. That is all🙂

  6. Antifa

    Here in America, the thousand and one arguments for and against gay equality go on apace, and forever will. But one solid political reality has come of it:

    This is now a civil rights movement, and will be decided on the basis of whether LGBT citizens can be treated in any way differently than “normal” citizens. This is the same “separate but equal” argument overturned in 1954 regarding the special treatment of black Americans, as opposed to “normal” 1954 Americans, i.e. white folks.

    Bible verses, personal opinions, passionate essays and arguments on either side are not going to decide the question of whether the government has a compelling reason to treat a recognizable minority of our citizens as less than equal. There has to be scientific evidence, peer reviewed and acceptable in Federal courts and in the Supreme Court that LGBT are in some way harmful to society at large if allowed the pursuit of happiness that heterosexual couples are.

    And there is none. There is only Bible verses, personal opinions, passionate essays and arguments. All the science that will stand up in court lands heavily on the other side of the argument.

    Straight folks have no more right to codify discrimination and restrictions on gay citizens into state laws than white folks did to blacks in the Jim Crow era — which lasted a hundred years before it was torn down. We are actively tearing down gender discrimination in America right now, and it won’t take but a few years before we root it out of our laws and our culture for good.

    This is a straight up political battle that will be settled in our voting booths and our courts.

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