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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It’s Time To Mold New Grooves In The Vessels Of Consciousness

pottery-handsBy Joe Perez

(Originally posted on Aug. 25, 2013.)

Sometimes great enthusiasm builds up in me for the future of the international Gay Community when I work on this website.

Why? Because the LGBTQ rights revolution which is sweeping Europe and North America is in the midst of molding the destiny of the entire world… and the time may be coming at last for Spirituality to shape The Movement in what has been a cause lacking in the fervor of spirit.

It makes sense when you think about it. Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania, the Middle East: with a few notable exceptions like China and Russia, the rest of the world is much more religious than the much more secularized Europe. The religionists in huge parts of the world are more conservative even than the religionists in the U.S., where I live.

All this means that religion is a huge part of the challenge facing gay and bi men and everyone else seeking to live authentically themselves and love who they choose. And religion is also a source of identity, strength, and hope for many people, gay and bi men definitely included.

Our role must not be to swerve around religion and hope that everybody in the world becomes an atheist overnight in order to justify The Cause. God forbid. The world has seen enough of atheist ideologies which promised liberation and only delivered another tyranny.

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Forging A New Both/And Approach To Our Lives

mark-thompsonBy Joe Perez

Mark Thompson in the “Introduction” to Gay Spirit (1986):

“In creating new myths for themselves, gay people need to return to the questions asked by the founding members of the Mattachine Society nearly forty years ago: Who are we? Where have we come from? What are we here for?

The self-definition sought by members of America’s first gay political organization is also to be found in the writings of such gay visionaries as Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Gerald Heard and others who are included here. In an attempt to answer these questions, gay studies today have been polarized, stymied by the absolutes implied in the nature versus nurture discourse currently employed. To simplify: An essentialist view holds that gay people have existed throughout recorded human history, an errant offspring of nature; a constructivist view says that our notion of gay people has been formulated by the values of contemporary society and that it would be impossible to draw an analogy between homosexuality as practiced in ancient Greece and, for an example, as it is define today in America’s excessive gay subculture. Both concepts are largely irreconcilable, one trying to link feelings and behavior across vast stretches of time and variant cultures, the other destructuring modern perceptions of homosexuality as medical and psychological conceits.

The quest for a gay identity cannot be contained within a dialogue of opposites, a rational either/or approach. Perhaps answers lie somewhere in between, waiting to be forged from a synthesis of biological and social factors — that is, a situation of both/and….”

Thompson’s words, written incredibly more than 25 years ago — have been prophetic. His vision of an understanding of gay identity which is a synthesis of the best insights from biological, psychological, cultural, and sociological studies is definitely in keeping with an Integral approach to gay spirituality. He recognized before virtually any other writer that I know of the importance of bringing together seemingly irreconcilable views into a greater synthesis, and he saw that the great frontier of gay liberation is not oppression studies nor narcissistic self-expression but spiritual exploration and development. In his words, the great subject of our interest is “that most personal possession of all, our dreams… a world of our making.”

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The Significance Of Sameness

twins1By Joe Perez

Either you are reading this or you are not. If you are not, then a philosopher may wonder if this article is being read all. But let’s say that you are reading this article. In that case, I am addressing you. You are not merely a reader, but the subject. You are what this article is about. Because when you understand that you are indeed you, then you have implicitly recognized that there is someone else who is not you. You may know nothing else about the author of this article, but of this much you can be certain: difference exists.

Whether difference exists absolutely or is a by-product of an alienated, distorted, or false consciousness is a matter which has concerned thinkers for thousands of years. For the moment let us just agree that difference exists in some sense, a point which is clearly indisputable. Let us agree for argument’s sake that there are at least two perspectives from which to consider the question or whether difference exists: absolute and relative. The former perspective is that of an unconditioned, indistinct reality which is All-In-All, including all that exists in every world from every perspective. The latter perspective is relative, conditioned by finite human perspectives on reality. Furthermore, let us say that from an absolute perspective difference has no reality; but from relative perspectives, differences are real.

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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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