I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been busy. I have a 3000 word paper to write. But I’ve decided to take a moment from academia because this went up on a lamppost near my house.
As part of the No campaign for the upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum, Mothers and Fathers Matter (and a number of other groups) have taken the time to remind us that children deserve a mother and a father. Let’s ignore that this is a huge insult to single parents who have raised fantastic families. Let’s ignore the fact that there are a huge number of children in a less than perfect care system in this country and apparently this is a preferable option than being adopted into a loving family who want nothing more than to raise kids. Let’s ignore that the majority of the family issues that are being brought up with the referendum are addressed in the recent Child and Family Relationships Bill. I want to talk about what children deserve.
Children deserve to have the security of a family that won’t be ripped apart if one of their parents is trans. For those who didn’t know, in order to medically transition in this country, one must divorce their spouse in order to prevent a de facto same sex union.
Children deserve to have the security of a family that won’t be ripped apart if their biological parent dies. Previous to the Child and Family Relationships Bill, a civil partner had no legal rights to their partner’s biological children.
Children deserve to have a family. No campaigners are very concerned with a child having parents with the correct set of genitals, but seem unconcerned with the state of the care system of Ireland. They are unconcerned with custody issues. They are unconcerned with children born to unwed parents. They are simply concerned with ensuring that LGBTQ couples cannot have children.
Children who have LGBTQ parents deserve not to have their family dragged through the mud. They deserve to not have to listen to how their home is considered a deficient environment. They deserve to not have to defend their families to adults.
LGBTQ children deserve to know that they have a right to as much dignity and respect as any other person. They deserve not to be second class citizens. They deserve to know they are not broken.
Othering of LGBTQ people has many real life consequences to children. Secondary school children who are LGBTQ are 7 times more likely to have suicidal ideation or attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts (Cannon et al 2013). 1 in 2 are subject to homophobic bullying (Minton et al 2008). 1 in 2 bisexual people will be raped in their lifetime (CDC 2010). Designation of LGBTQ people as deviant and different and less than straight people only serves to condone these actions as justifiable. These are the consequences of discrimination.
And children deserve better than that. Please vote yes on May 22.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, I get a smack in the face of internalised Bible-bashin’ queerphobia. And I can’t breathe and I feel nauseous and I can’t shed the feeling of existential doom.
There are multiple reasons why this should not happen, including, but not limited to:
1. Having struggled through the clobber passages and gender essentialism of the conservative interpretation of the Bible, I don’t find it holds water (a discussion for a different day)
2. I have been aware of my queerness for over 15 years, and coming out 3 years ago was one of the most liberating things I ever did
3. Personal experience (and science) have shown that it’s near impossible to pray away the gay
And yet, every once in a while, for no discernible reason, I get the Fear. And no matter how logical I try and be about it, in those moments, I can’t shake the feeling that all my Greek word studies and Biblical history and prayer are just a way of “rationalising” my sin, and that lifelong celibacy is the cross to bear on the road to relationship with God. On the flip side, why am I questioning what I know and have read and have trusted to God based on what evangelical culture has relentlessly espoused (in spite of it being an indisputably grey area Biblically?)
I am often challenged by two questions I can derive from Scripture, which I suspect I will be asking until I come face to face with the man Himself:
1. What is the balance between truth (the Law) and grace (Love)?
2. Who are the wolves?
I have the shakes after the homophobia debate. To those who believe that the pain of being called a homophobe equates to the pain of not being allowed to be married, of being afraid to talk about your relationship for fear of losing your job, of having to leave bars for fear of violence, of having a significantly higher risk of rape and suicide and mental illness, of being told that God hates you, of being bullied without reprimand, of knowing that there will always be a situation where it might be wiser not to reveal that you are LGBTQ…
if you think these two things are the same, then I would love to be living the life you are living, and I hope you greatly appreciate the rights and the privilege you have never had to think about. I hope that you consider that the way you conduct yourself should be primarily concerned with loving your neighbour. I hope that you understand that the Lord gave us free will and that you have no right to judge others, and that their relationships and behaviour will in no way affect your relationships and behaviour. I hope that you know that even if you still think that being called a homophobe is the same as the above, I will endeavour to treat you always with love, but that I will never, for a second, agree.
I was going to write a post about encouragement but then I saw the Mandela movie and I am now too riled with anger to deal with my emotions. So I will write about encouragement tomorrow and try and articulate my rage today. I will be writing a calm and hopefully eloquent piece on the need for unity when seeking civil rights soon, but this is not that piece.
I live in a world of calm down. I live in a world where anger is not acceptable. I live in a world of not rocking the boat. Of moving on. Of getting over it. Of shutting up. I live in a world where legitimate anger is equated with hate and the concept of equality means that oppressive damaging bullshit stances must be given equal time and respect as the need for basic human rights for all people.
I live in a world that has forgotten its history. I live in a world that is so “post-oppression” that it cannot bear to admit the inequalities its people still face. I live in a world that shrugs off the past. I live in a world in which the fear of losing power incites violence and misinformation and pain. I live in a world where the pain of being oppressed is equated to the pain of having your privilege pointed out.
I live in a world that equates the feminist movement to Nazism. I live in a world that tells me that my “heterophobia” is wrong. I live in a world in which it is unacceptable to be overweight. I live in a world where teachers are legally fired for being gay. I live in a world where hospitalised trans* people are not shown basic compassion. I live in a world where any discussion of women’s rights is derailed with “What about the men?” I live in a world where I cannot report the crimes of my rapist. I live in a world where I have multiple friends who have been sexually assaulted and didn’t even know that saying no was an option.
I live in a world where unarmed people of colour are shot in the head and their killers go free. I live in a world where holding the hand of a member of the same sex can get you put in jail. I live in a world that offers scholarships to oppressed groups and then gives them to “allies” i.e. cishet white people. I live in a world where people make Powerpoints on Tumblr to defend their racism. I live in a world where MRAs exist. I live in a world where Coca Cola will make an ad with a same sex couple in it and then cut the scene before it goes on air.
I live in a world where I fight only with words and yet am seen as the enemy.
And you have the audacity to tell me that my anger is not legitimate? You have the nerve to tell me to calm down?
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22, ESV)
I live in a world that I have forgiven. I live in a world that I will again forgive. But its mistakes, its injustices, its past – I will not forget.
I was waiting for a taxi after Costellos the other night and got recognised. Not to my face. They waited until I was safely on the way home and Ciara got questioned. It was fun to hear how my sexuality, relationship status, and frequency of nights out is the topic of conversation for strangers. Still hated, still famous.
Haters gonna hate. Alligators gonna alligate.
I love the internet. I love to read on the internet and write on the internet and talk to people on the internet and watch TV on the internet and live half my life on the internet. Such is the Y2K generation. That said, I am hurting lately. My head hurts and my brain reels. It’s my own fault. I maintain a Tumblr.
My Tumblr blog contains two things: gifs of Sherlock and Doctor Who, and (for want of a better word) social justice. And here is the thing: reading and signal boosting information and knowledge and academia which educates us on the oppression and stigma and discrimination some people face is a good thing. A very IMPORTANT, very good thing. I don’t want to get into privilege and queerphobia and intersectionality and racism and everything because it’s late and I am not eloquent enough (or in a position to speak for other people). Part of being a good activist and a good ally is raising awareness and pointing out when things are super hurtful, triggering, or problematic. It is about slowly informing people so that this horrible system that we live in is broken down, one person at a time.
But I can no longer deal with these discussions in real life. Because they are no longer discussions. They are arguments. They are straight up verbal fights about proving that “I’m not like the others though.” And me yelling back that I don’t care and if you’re not working to break down oppression, you are passively contributing to it. I don’t want to yell and I don’t want to fight. But I am sick of getting angry at the people I love. Because I am not angry at them. I am angry at the lack of human rights. I am angry at the higher risk of mental health disorders and sexual assault. I am angry at microaggressions and assumptions. I am angry at the fact that I have to be “be calm” to the people who are arguing to make sure I can’t get married, or risk losing the “allies” who I need to change the law. I am angry. But not at individuals. Frustrated sometimes, but I don’t want to hurt you. And really I can’t. No matter how badly you feel after me referring to you as a cishet (which I don’t understand because it is just short for cisgender heterosexual), my words cannot take away your right to marriage or adoption, cannot make you more susceptible to murder or rape, do not make you more likely to get fired or harassed, really cannot do anything at all.
But the fighting hurts. Should I stop? Deep in my soul, I cannot. But, friends, can the arguments stop? Its not personal, I just want to see change. I need to see change. And derailing a conversation doesn’t make it stop. It doesn’t make you correct, it just makes you louder than me, and I can’t concede on what I know to be right. So, let’s just be friends. My church has a saying “In the essentials, Unity. In the non-essentials, Liberty. In all things, Love.”
In all things, love, friends. In all things, love.
My lovelies, coming out is difficult. So here is the contribution of Out in UL to the baby queers of the world, Coming Out in UL. It also contains my not too pretty but turned awesome coming out story, and I hope that any little bit of it might help.
Much love, darling GSMs,