Gay Affirmative

gay-love2By Joe Perez

Today the war between homosexuality and religion rages on in the churches, mosques, and synagogues. Most conservative or orthodox or traditional religionists reject homosexual acts or the orientation itself as incompatible with ethical and righteous living. And worldwide these are the loudest voices and the most powerful and influential forces in society.

But things are changing surprisingly rapidly. In only a few decades gays and lesbians have made enormous strides towards social acceptability and won key rights and liberties. Governments in many nations recognize gay unions or marriages and attitudes have changed such that the sight of two men or two women kissing or holding hands in public does not arouse approbation.

Spiritual individualists (a.k.a. “nones” or the “spiritual, but not religious” types) tend to be more accepting of gay people because they have thrown off religions which they by and large view negatively. They have insisted upon being spiritually independent which gives them the freedom to choose their own attitude towards homosexuality rather than sheepishly obeying the dictates of church officials or fundamentalist doctrines. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your point-of-view.

But if you ask spiritual individualists for a rationale for their views, they are an incoherent and incohesive chorus. Some will tell you that discrimination against gays is wrong because it just feels uncompassionate or unloving or too judgmental. In other words, they root their disapproval of homophobes on their own individual feelings, whims. notions, and fancies. By and large, they don’t appeal to anything more substantial than their own conscience because they know better possibilities.

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Going Into The Light

Photo Credit: Birrell Walsh

Photo Credit: Birrell Walsh

By Joe Perez

On the days before his death in 1991, Andre felt a distinct sense of foreboding and familiarity. The San Francisco man, a sound and light technician and rock musician, dismissed the feelings as nothing more than gloom and doom prophecy.

Andre and his lover Robert had been arguing and fighting bitterly. The drugs they had both been taking weren’t smoothing their communications. A longing struck Andre for real change in his life but he wondered if it was too now late.

Back in his apartment and alone, something weird started happening. Everything started getting dark. Not only dark, but also ominous and foreboding. Andre turned on all the lights, but his vision remained dim.

He was going out of his mind, he said. He felt a pain in his lower right gut and his head was humming. He heard loud voices around him, yelling at him, and he began to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Then, unexpectedly, three old friends dropped by in a car and took him on a trip to Guerneville. A rainstorm hit; Andre says he can still remember the sound of raindrops on the windshield. As the radio played songs, he intuitively seemed to know the next one that would play.

Andre noticed that his friends were not who they appeared to be. They were actually three beings with beautiful shiny eyes, and everyone talked without using their mouths. When they spoke, a heavenly scent came forth. They told Andre that he had died three days ago.

“What was the cause?” he asked.

“A ruptured appendix,” they replied. Then Andre remembered the pain in his side, and he thought that it felt great to be dead. The beings asked Andre if he knew where they were headed.

“Heaven?” he asked.

“Good, because that’s where we’re going,” they said. “Where is heaven?”

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Do 7 Bible Quotes Really Support Homosexuality? Don’t Believe It

bible-quotes-gayBy Joe Perez

Whoever headlined this video “7 Bible Quotes In Support Of Same Sex Relationships, By Arielle Scarcella And Matthew Vines” ought to be just a little bit ashamed. Maybe it was the editors at HuffPo, not Arielle or Matthew (I don’t know). Not a single one of the supposed quotes is actually what it is purported to be, and if the gay movement is ever going to change minds and convince religionists then throwing out sensational but misleading content up online is not the smartest thing to do.

Don’t believe me? Check out the video and judge for yourself. Plainly there are no verses which say “Gay marriage? A-Okay!”, just notions that if you buy into them all give you a few reasons to take the Bible’s anti-gay passages with more of a grain of salt. For instance, you have probably heard that the Bible’s story of Sodom and Gomorrah probably wasn’t really about condemning gay sex. That’s true. But the notion that the story actually supports gay rights or same-sex marriage is bizarre.

The title “7 Bible-based Reasons Why Same Sex Relationships Aren’t the Sin Described by Contemporary Christians” would have been a better choice. Some people really benefit from this sort of discussion, though I have to admit that I haven’t been personally all that  interested in this topic in over 20 years. Even in my spiritual autobiography Soulfully Gay I do not discuss the topic of what the Bible says about homosexuality in more than a sentence or two. And I am  (a self-identified Integral) Christian.

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Gay Spirituality As A Universal Donor

donor-flowerBy Joe Perez

Perhaps the phrase “gay spirituality” seems odd to you, as if there should be just one spirituality for everyone. It is an imperfect phrase, but it points to an important and neglected fact: gay people and straight people love in different ways and how we love is very important to our spiritual life. Indeed, in Christianity and other religions, it is said that God is Love. So how can it be that there is such a fundamental difference as straight/gay and this would be irrelevant for the spiritual life? It seems almost self-evident that there is something distinctive about how gay people love that gives them/us a unique perspective on Love.

One doesn’t need to look too far beyond common sense and self-evident principles in order to discover what is special about gay love that sets it apart from straight love. Simply put, it is same-directed instead of opposite-directed. There are same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. There is homophilia (same-love) and heterophilia (other-love). This is true for gay men and for lesbians, and true for bisexuals at least part of the time. And so the phrase “gay spirituality” could mean nothing more than recognizing the fact that gay people love in gay ways and straight people love in straight ways, and the unique way of loving reveals different aspects of spirit/reality. The life lessons learned by a man loving a man in his primary relationship and a man loving a woman in his primary relationship are inevitably different. These differences are important, and recognizing a distinctive gay spirituality speaks to the differences.

Perhaps you’ve heard this explanation before regarding homophilia/heterophilia. Is there anything new in what I am saying? Perhaps it is just a recapitulation, but if there is something I want to add that you might not have heard before it is this: It is important to own that “gay spirituality” is about the way we love and the way we are sexual beings (loving and sexing as it were). There are bells and whistles for sure, but they will vary from tradition to tradition. Some will want to add a New Age flavor and stress queer archetypes or wicca or tantra, others will want to stress gay saints and sages and mystics and their contributions, others will prefer philosophical or aesthetic views of human nature and purpose. There is truth in all of these, so long as one doesn’t make the mistake and claim that only one tradition has an exclusive lock on truth.

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Looking At Lookism

abercrombieBy Joe Perez

You walk into a crowded bar and a dozen heads turn your way. In an instant, most of the men’s eyes avert. But some eyes continue to watch. They check out your clothes, face, body, and crotch. Looks are everything.

A while later, you are cruising through the bar. You are enchanted by one man’s delicious bedroom eyes and another’s hairy, rippling chest. You make a note of the cuties and hotties that you want to get to know better. Ah, you say, thank heaven for beauty!

Although this experience is a common one for gay men, the desire for beauty is held in suspicion by those who say that admiring beauty is unjust or demeaning and by others who say that it’s antispiritual. What is the truth about beauty?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines lookism as “discrimination or prejudice against people based on their appearance.” Lookism includes thinking less of a person whose appearance is less than ideal, or thinking more of a person because of his good looks.

Or, as the writer Bianca puts it in her “Lesbian Lexicon”: “Lookism: dykes are not supposed to judge potential partners on looks because it is unfair and in poor taste.”

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