Thursday, April 14, 2005

We Don't Say, "I am Cancer"

Ben over at Scattered Words has an interesting post up currently. In the post, he compares the acceptance of being gay to the acceptance of having cancer. He says that even though many cancers are not treatable, people still try to fight the disease. He says that people that suffer from same sex attraction should do the same.

I'll admit, for a while in life, this type of analogy did cause to do a lot of self-evaluation. Let's not forget, for most of my life I tried everything I could think of not to be gay (short of "treatment"). However, these days I think the analogy misses the point.

The big difference is that one is a disease and the other simply isn't (no matter what some "conservatives" may have you believe. People do not die of homosexuality, but those who fail to overcome homosexuality very obviously die.

So, maybe a better analogy would have been to depression, schizophrenia, or something like that. I still think the analogy would have missed the point, but at least we wouldn't be comparing homosexuality to something that actually physically kills someone.

The problem with these analogies is that they start with the priori assumption that same sex attraction is a bad thing. But, as we can see from many successful, open gay people, homosexuality is not inherently something that leads to destruction, failure, etc.

Do some gay people suffer from problems? Sure, but if you look closely at the other factors involved, these problems don't stem from homosexuality itself, but from other actions, motivations, issues, etc.

It really angers me when I see the "well-meaning" Christians that protest with signs that say desparaging things about gays. They will quote AIDS statistics, some "studies" will quote promiscuity statistics, others will turn to their own testimony of lives of drug use and promiscuity turned around wants they left their same sex attractions behind. As for the testimonies, it is always great to hear about a life turned around, but it is too much of a leap for me to blame homosexuality for the destruction and not look individually at the other issues involved at the same time. Lots of gay people go from being drug-addicted sex fiends to responsible, monogamous members of society. Their lives turn around too, even though they are still gay. Maybe the gay community should highlight these people more often.

In our world, different communities have different problems. For whatever reason, black people have a higher incident of poverty than whites. Native Americans have a higher incidence of alcohol abuse. White kids have a higher incidence of suicide. Gays have a higher rate of HIV infection. The problem here is that with all of the categories above except for homosexuality, we look further to try to find out what the root cause of these issues are.

We realize that being Native American does not cause alcoholism, for example. But, our society and many "conservatives" are hell-bent on creating a cause and effect relationship with homosexuality that does not exist, for the sole purpose of claiming homosexuality itself is detrimental. God forbid they ever recognize that a gay person can live fulfilled, happy lives.

**Side Note**

I have made several posts about how often Ben at Scattered Words and the crew at Ex-Gay Watch talk about each other. I find it odd, not because they talk about each other, but because their blogs purport to be something different. Ben's blog claims to be the journey of a guy trying to turn away from homosexuality, but lately it has become more political and anti-XGW than the journal-type format it used to be. XGW purports to be offering critical analysis of the ex-gay world, but publishing so frequently about one pretty obscure ex-gay blogger seems to be over kill.

Ben recently vaguely criticized me for being hypocritical. He said that as often as I talk about his battle with XGW, I sure do talk about him a lot.

I agree, I do talk about him a lot. But, as I say in my profile, my blog is mainly about other blogs I read. I started this, after all, because I didn't want to comment on blogs such as his anymore (he was very obvioubsly tired of the dissent I occasionally posted there). So, I think it is fine for these guys to talk about each other, but shouldn't they be more open about their newly found blog purpose?

Then again, I feel that my comments about SW, XGW, and the other blogs and news I talk about is more of commentary on what I read there, not just yelling names and insults at others. At least, that is what I am trying to do.


At 15/4/05 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Brady...nice comment. (This is "Kurt" from Randy's blog.)

If I may, any time I read about comparing gayness to any disease I get uneasy.

I also hate to compare gayness with an addiction, though addictions (i.e. sexual) may be involved.

- We never see "alcoholic pride" parades.

- We never see symbols (rainbow-colored, inverted triangle-shaped or the like) flying from shirts, doorsteps or cars proudly announcing that one is a methamphetamine addict.

- We never see "cocaine-addiction affirming" counselors.

- We never hear about novels, cruises, and travel packages for heroin addicts.

- We don't see support groups for "Parents and friends of crack addicts" (at least none that support their right to safely enjoy that).

And so forth. Gayness becomes so much more. I think the better term for it is a "state of mind".

I would NEVER doubt that your same-sex attractions, whatever they are are real. In fact, as an evangelical conservative Christian (who admittedly does believe homosexuality is not of God, based on scripture), I'd be inclined to say that every man I've ever known has a same-sex attraction, a need for male companionship.

However, I think it would be quite illuminating for more people to see just what gayness truly is (in terms of how one sees ones self), especially straight people.

In 2003, I attended a Dennis Jernigan testimony/concert in Bentonville, AR. (Jernigan's an ex, now married and with nine children.) Not that sports is any more the lingua franca here than it is where you live, but many would probably have thought him an ostensibly "normal" if not gifted (athletically as well as academically) child...he played baseball and basketball all throughout his youth through high school.

(There's an interesting pic of him eight pictures down with his Boynton, OK bball team...he's the only white kid in a sea of black faces. Rather than being picked on by them, he said that whenever someone would try to pick on him his teammates would ALWAYS jump to his defense.)

He also had a loving (if not somewhat emotionally distant) father, mother and family.

Yet you could have heard a pin drop in that auditorium he spoke in, Brady, when he related to that overwhelmingly evangelical Christian audience the pain he grew up with hearing the men in his Baptist church, after service, badmouthing GLBT people and wishing they were dead.

He is ex-gay, but he gave them a slight taste of the world he grew up in as a boy with same-sex attractions he fought to keep hidden.

It was a powerful moment...and I think he made at least some people take a look at both gayness and gay bashing in many different ways.

As for your Dad, I feel for him if he was led to believe that it's easy as pie to walk away from gayness. Many, many of the "gayest of the gay" have, forever, and happily so.

I salute him for standing up for truth, and for not changing his principles. But I hope he allows Christ to give him strength to let you go, and simply never stop loving you, and never stop being your Dad. It sounds like you've got a good relationship with him...that's to be celebrated.

At 15/4/05 9:11 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your kind comment.

You are right, addicitions may very well be involved in the lives of some gay people, but I definitely don't think it is the case for all.

I don't deny that every man probably has same sex attraction in terms of a need for companionship. And, I too have a need for male companionship. I have lots of male friends (and family for that matter) gay and straight that I love to be around. However, this need, for me, is completely separate from my SSA's.

In speaking to my dad about it, I tried to compare my feelings for my boyfriend to that of his wife. Whether or not he believes my SSA is God-given or moral, the feelings of love, attraction, and romance I feel for my bf are the same feelings that have been described to me by my straight friends and family members for their significant others.

I am on my way to read the article you posted now. From your synopsis, I think it is very worthwhile for him to point out that whatever one thinks of gayness (sin or not), we should treat everyone with respect.

With regards to my dad, we do have a great relationship, despite our differing opinions on my sexuality. He still loves me very much, and I him, and we are always open about that.

I can appreciate your saluting him for standing up for what he believes truth to be. From my point of view though, he has picked and chosen what truth he believes.

As a southern Baptist, he does drink and smoke (both considered sin by his faith). He also divorced my mother several years ago because he had fallen in love with another woman.

So, while I love him very much and certainly do not hold any ill-will for what I believe his mis-guided truth to be, I find it frustrating that his truth affects my life and attractions but not his own. Interestingly, I have this problem with the views of many protestant churches as well (as I am sure you have seen my talk about on Randy's blog).

Thanks again for the comment. I'm on my way to that article now.

At 4/5/05 8:17 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Brady, I totally agree with your assessment of the Scattered Words/XGW interaction.

When I first started posting at XGW, I had no idea who Ben was, so the first time he came after me (misquoted something I'd written), I responded. However, that one instance was enough and I quickly realized that it served no purpose to engage with him.

Ben would probably be happier if he ignored XGW. Since my first visit to his site I've never been back.


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