Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Not that into It

For many years now, June has been known as Gay Pride Month.  For the last forty years or so, LGBT individuals and supporters have hosted gay pride parades in cities all across the country.

I am not opposed to these parades in principle, but I have to admit that I’m just not that into them.  I do think it is important for LGBT individuals to stand up for themselves, but I am not so sure that the parades, as they are, have been the best way of doing this.

Shock value certainly does have a means of opening up people’s eyes and making them more familiar and accepting to things.  I suppose this, in part, is why in any footage of gay pride parades I’ve ever seen, there have been a whole lot of glittered, costumed, and/or near naked men dancing about showing off their stuff.  The more people see things like that, in theory, the more accepting they are of it and the things less explicit than that.

Now, I like seeing a naked man just as much as the next gay guy, but something about what I see in the parades usually just completely turns me off.  Ten very well built, tanned, almost naked, twenty something year olds dancing about on a float?  Yeah, in theory, I would think that would be a turn on.  But I never feel that way when I see these parades.  I feel shock (perhaps also mixed with a little bit of disappointment).  When I feel that way, being gay, I certainly understand why so many straight people are turned off as well.  Sexuality, whether in regards to homosexual or heterosexual relations, is something that I think the majority of people still traditionally feel should be kept in the bedroom, and not on the streets.  I feel that way.  If a straight parade were held in town, with floats carrying a bunch of near naked men and women grinding up on each other holding up signs with babies on them, I’d feel just as uncomfortable with that, and so would most straight people.

I understand why pride parades are held.  Believe me, I do.  And I think they should continue.  But I wish some of the more sexually explicit content of the parades would be left out.  I honestly think acceptance would be offered much more readily if instead of heterosexuals seeing a bunch of homosexuals carrying on explicitly in the street, they could see homosexuals acting a bit more… well, for the lack of a better word, normal.

As a gay man, I don’t think I look any different than most straight men.  Most LGBT people I’ve known don’t look any different than straight men or women, and a lot of us don’t act that much different either.  But the parades give off an impression that we do.  I’m not saying there aren’t differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals, but just that they aren’t as obvious most of the time as what is presented in the parades.  And so, when I see the parades, I see something that doesn’t come across entirely as truth.  I see an exaggeration to prove a point.  And whereas I’m sure that point has been proven to some large degree, the exaggeration does just go to reinforce so many people’s ideas that we are different; more than we (at least the overwhelming majority) actually are.

I’d like to see a parade with no bare skin.  Let gay couples walk hand in hand.  Let their families walk with them.  Let there be a showing of support, pride, acceptance, and love from groups and organizations and the like, but do it without presenting an image that just goes to reinforce those negative stereotypes that keep us in the LGBT community from truly achieving the lasting sort of acceptance and tolerance we seek.

The best argument LGBT individuals have been able to make in their fight for acceptance has been to prove that we are not that different.  So, why would we make such a grandiose statement suggesting otherwise?

Maybe I just don’t get it.  There again, maybe it does just all come back to the shock value.  After all, if people are used to seeing the sort of “shocking” things that go on in the parades, the less shocked they might become to seeing things like two men holding hands, or two women giving each other a kiss.  I suppose if the parades (as they have been) can achieve this, then there is some good in them being that way.

Maybe I just wish there was another way.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Significance of Stars

Around midnight, I went outside just to sort of chill out for a minute on the back porch.  I leaned on the railing and looked out at the field behind our house, and then up to the stars in the sky.  There wasn't a cloud in sight.  I just kept looking, trying to find Orion's Belt and the Dippers.

After a few minutes, I felt a sort of peaceful awe come over me.  I started thinking about how many stars there are, how bright some are and how dim others are, and wondering just how many of those stars might have planets and other worlds circling round them.  I found my mind full of all kinds of imaginative thoughts.  And I thought about how great and wonderful God is to have created so much beauty.  Here we are, so small and insignificant in so many ways, and yet out of all His creation, God loves us most.  If that's not a comfort, I don't know what is.

When my grandma died, I inherited a lot of her things.  Some of these things are old and worth some money.  Some are things that hold some sentimental value.  I'm glad I've been able to get these things, but I know that my grandma was worth more to me than any of it.  She was worth more than anything I own, and I would have given anything, including my life, to have helped keep her alive.  I feel that way about most of my family.

I think I understand God a lot better now than I used to.  Yeah, He has everything in existence; it all belongs to Him: the sun, the earth, the stars, the planets... everything.  But out of all of it, we mean the most to Him.  He gave it all up, including His life, for us.  I can't think of anything better than that.  I can't think of any act of love greater than that.  And it makes me so overwhelmed and glad to have a God like that who is a part of my life.  It is a comfort beyond all others.

We mean more than the stars.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Even in Bad, Something Good

I come across stories like this one every once in a while that just makes my soul cringe. In short, a mother gets high, goes into her five week old sons bedroom, and proceeds to cut off his genitals. I can't say this is the most horrific act I've ever heard of, but it is something nevertheless disturbing, to say the least.

I'm glad to say that I've never abused drugs or alcohol. I've never been high and I've never been drunk. I've known people for a long time that have enjoyed and sought out both of those experiences quite frequently, but I honestly fail to see the point. Both damage your health, turn people off, and in some cases causes you to do things that you wouldn't ordinarily do (like cut off your son's privates).

I've got news for you, if life is bad, drugs and alcohol really won't do anything to improve your situation. They're just a temporary fix that, in time, will usually only lead you to further heartaches.

Holden Gothia looks like a very happy, energetic, young boy. He has parents who love him, take care of him, and siblings who do the same. I was glad to see this in the video. And I pray that as Holden grows older, he will be a source of help and hope for others.

Recently, a very horrific and senseless murder took place in my town. A few years ago, a young girl was caught, drug under, and killed by her mother's car when it went out of gear and began to roll. People have had sudden heart attacks. People have been robbed. People have killed themselves. In all the bad that goes on in the world, it is hard sometimes to remember that there is a purpose, or reason, for everything. God doesn't only use the good in the world to teach us, reveal himself to us, or to help us or others. Sometimes He uses the bad as well.

I try to remember that. Even in bad, good things can happen. Heroes for Holden is an example of that.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Reasonable Doubt

I don’t know.

That sentence is one I’ve had to say several times in the last year.  There are a lot of things I haven’t had an answer for.  Why did my grandma have to die the way she did?  Why wasn’t I able to get hired when I thought I should?  How much longer am I going to have to wait to get a place of my own?  Is it okay for me to have a boyfriend?

Those are each just a few of the things I’ve asked myself and God many times over.

I almost had my mind made up on that last question, but it’s one that keeps giving me pause.  I don’t think I can do it.  As much as I’d love to have a boyfriend, and as many reasons as I have to think it would be okay for me to, I just can’t put aside two particular reasons to make it alright.  One of those reasons is biology.  I just can’t get my mind around the thought that two men or two women are physically designed for sex with each other—even though sex with another man seems as natural a sort of thing for me to want and to do.  In some regards, I don’t think it matters, but in a few it does (to me at least).  And then there is the fact that for me to have a boyfriend, I’d be going against the authority of the church.  And if I say I think the church is wrong in this regard, then how could it perhaps not also be wrong in many others?  And what sort of witness would I be to others with that sort of mindset?  Not a very good one, I think.  These are the two predominant reasons for why, at least for now, I just really don’t think I can bring myself to change course.  I have a reasonable doubt that just won’t allow me to do that.

With this in mind, I know I need more strength.  The last few months have just been so exhausting and so hard in many different ways.  It’s been tough not just throwing all my beliefs aside.  And it’s been tough knowing what to believe.  But I know, for the time being, I just can’t bring myself to believe that having a boyfriend would be okay.  I can’t make that change in my life.