Gene Elder, the Archives Director of the HAPPY Foundation, muses on what happens when the unmovable (religious fundamentalism) meets the unstoppable (the LGBT movement). (Photo by Sam Sanchez)
Gene Elder’s June Pride Deep Thoughts from the HAPPY Foundation (Dog-gone-it! Because people like me.)
1) What happens when the unmovable meets the unstoppable? I predict it’s not a pretty picture. That is how I view the conflict between the religious fundamentalists and the GayBLT community. The rest of us are in the path of a huge explosion. For the past 32 years (at least)–1973 was when the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness–we have all been on the edge of our seats waiting to see how the story line would miraculously change into something else altogether. First it was just letting guys dance with guys and women dance with women. Throw in a little cross-dressing and kissing. We thought that was liberation.
Now after Anita Bryant, Harvey Milk, AIDS with explicit sex talk, NEA art funding, Patricia Warren’s novel The Front Runner, the closet, outing and Michealangelo Signorile, the Names Quilt, Cleve Jones, San Francisco Gay Pride Parades, Dykes on Bikes, June Pride Month, Kate Clinton, Margaret Cho, Fred Phelps “Hates FAGS,” politics, murders, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, getting fired from our jobs, HRC, GLADD, Lambda everything, the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Washington D.C and other marches, family and hospital visitation problems, drag shows, Divine, RuPaul, FTM, GWM, the gay men’s chorus, Angels In America, Brokeback Mountain, The L Word, Queer as Folk, homophobia, newspaper headlines, the Log Cabin Republicans, Stonewall Democrats, Boy Scouts, Nancy Russell, Margarethe Cammermeyer, Toby Johnson, Martina Navratilova, Elton John, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Ellen DeGeneres, pink triangles, gay Christians, rainbows, Exodus International the ex-gay movement, Les Ballets Trockadero, the arts, the opera, the theater, Broadway, Hollywood, John Waters, the entire world, Iceland and their openly lesbian prime minister, Ireland, and then on to transgender issues with Men’s rooms (?) and Women’s rooms (?) and the pubic toilet confusion, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, gay marriage and in which state? I mean even the Supreme Court had to get into the act. And then there is the Pope and wellllllll we know what showed up in the Catholic Church, Non-Discrimination Ordinances. And now Bruce Jenner. It really makes one “a little light in the loafers.”
2) Gay Christians???? How did they get in here? I will tell you how. Over the years I asked many gay men and women about their religion background. And they revealed they had been raised as Baptists, Jews, Catholics, Methodists (me), Presbyterian, Protestant, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Lutheran, Holly Rollers, Unitarian, etc. They came from every religion. And the gay atheists were the most fun because they had studied and understood the Bible better than the fundamentalists because they had to always argue the finer points.