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Can we please stop bashing LGTB people?

I’ve been accused of the past of being homophobic.  To say I was angry about this would be an understatement.  My life was irrevocably harmed by a gay man, and yet I fight with everything I have inside of me for further LGTB understanding and acceptance. This dichotomy might seem strange to some but my relationship with the LGTB community is a long and complicated one.

In 2000 I met the man of my dreams, or so I thought.  We were married two years later and went on to work together onstage and off for seven years.  I eventually discovered that not only was my ex-husband secretly gay he was lying to me from the first day I’d met him.  He admitted in therapy that he knew he was gay since he was 8 years old.  He also admitted that he never really wanted to be with me as husband and wife.  I was a human prop or shield to mask his doubts and fears about being gay.   I think he also liked working with me as a partner onstage but he’d already replaced me in that role before the marriage was over.

Meanwhile his older brother was openly gay and had been for over 20 years.  His brother was not rejected by the family and had an extremely close relationship with his parents.  My ex was not in a field or part of the country that was especially anti-LGTB, in fact as a performing artist in New York City he was in one of the best places he could live as an openly gay man.

To add the cherry to the top of my sundae of despair, I found out the truth regarding my ex-husband in the middle of Chelsea (A gay neighborhood in Manhattan) the week before Pride week.  As we stumbled out of that therapist’s office I was surrounded by gay pride rainbows and flags being sold in every direction, and large Pride banners hung from every light post.  Our couple’s therapist largely ignored me in our one session and instead focused on my soon to be ex-husband.  The lies, deception and betrayal I’d just suffered was ignored, while my soon to be ex was given deference, sympathy and an overwhelming amount of empathy by this horrible therapist.  I was literally suicidal and she couldn’t remember my name during the session.

You’d think after all of this, that I would be on a mountain top bashing gay men, decrying their perversion and deviance in the loudest way possible.  I’ve had several people assume that was the case, because I do not care for or have a relationship with my ex-husband in any way shape or form.   Instead I have championed gay men and the acceptance and normalcy of the LGTB community.  .

I have done this because I know that just as I am blonde, my ex-husband is gay.  It’s simply in his wiring to be attracted to and want to have relationships with other gay men.  My ex-husband doesn’t get off the hook for all of the many horrible things he did and said to me.  He doesn’t get a free pass because he lied to me repeatedly and mislead me into a fraudulent marriage.   At the same time he DOES NOT represent all gay men. He is only responsible for his own actions.  Some gay men in his position have had the courage and conviction to be open and honest with their partners.  Although those types of marriages are rare, they do exist and the outcomes are usually much better than what I and millions of others have been through.  The larger LGTB community does not bear the burden of accounting for my ex-husband’s many transgressions.  I have many kind and caring gay male friends who have supported me through this hellscape when some straight people have not.

The most important reason however that I promote the idea that being gay is just as benign as being blonde is that it gay normalization is the ONLY way we are going to cut down on mixed orientation marriages.  I also believe deeply in my heart that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay.

There is a school of thought that believes we can shame, correct and cure homosexuality. Even though those methods have been denounced by the mainstream medical and psychiatric community,  these ideas persist.   Conversion therapy (converting people from gay to straight) is considered abuse by most medical experts and is banned in 9 states and several municipalities.   There are also those who falsely conflate being gay with pedofilia, something that has been researched at length and debunked numerous times over a period of decades.  To quote the American Psychological Association 

Studies on who commits child sexual abuse vary in their findings, but the most common finding is that the majority of sexual offenders are family members or are otherwise known to the child. Sexual abuse by strangers is not nearly as common as sexual abuse by family members. Research further shows that men perpetrate most instances of sexual abuse, but there are cases in which women are the offenders. Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.

Most of the current research into pedophilia has pointed more towards brain damage, or brain defects as the cause.   The current scientific movement in regards towards pedophilia is for effective treatments and prevention of crimes against children.  No one but a few depraved pedophiles themselves are calling for acceptance of these depraved acts.

The demonization and shaming of LGTB people accomplishes nothing than more people retreating to the closet. I’ve written about this before at length.  The more we try to shove people back into that dark place, the more likely they will drag others with them. The more gay people try to suppress their orientation the more straight spouses like myself will find themselves in tragic mixed orientation marriages.

I’m proud to know many loving and caring gay parents.  I’m proud to have many gay men in my life as co-workers, friends, confidants, and shoulders to cry on.  I feel eternally blessed to have so many amazing supportive, creative, kind and brave LGTB people around me.   Because I feel so strongly about this, and I want to end misconceptions about LGTB people I’ve provided several links, to reputable non-biased sources that back up my beliefs and opinions.  I will support both straight spouses and the LGTB community until my last breath.   I want straight spouses and sham marriages to be a thing of the past.  We aren’t going to win this battle with superstition, hate and bigotry.  Knowledge is power and there is a wealth of information out there.  Of course there are conflicting opinions regarding the LGTB community but they largely come from religious organizations.  Everyone can make their own conclusions, but as a non-religious person I’d defer to experts on the human mind and body.  I prefer data, research and peer-reviewed clinical studies over passages from ancient texts or pseudoscience.

To quote the American Psychological Association

Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects. This pamphlet is designed to provide accurate information for those who want to better understand sexual orientation and the impact of prejudice and discrimination on those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Myths about Being Gay

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From a Straight Spouse: Some People are Gay…Get Over It!

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When I learned that the shooter in the Orlando massacre showed signs of being a latent or closeted homosexual my heart dropped in my chest.  It somehow hurt even more to know that part of what drove him to murder 49 innocent people was his own deep-seated self-hatred. I do not pity the shooter.  I pity a culture that reinforces the notion that being gay is a shortcoming, weakness, defect, perversion or a sin.  I pity his hateful father who admonished homosexuality days after the massacre.  The same man who used to insult his son by calling him gay and taught him to hate himself.   I pity him because he’s a pathetic excuse for a human being who will only be remembered for raising someone capable of such a horrific act.  My deepest sympathies go to the friends and families of the fallen, and every LGTB person who will feel less safe as a result of such an attack.

Despite the outpouring of support from people all over the country, I knew there would be a backlash.  It wasn’t enough that worst shooting in US history targeted the LGTB community, the critics of homosexuality had to get their digs in before the bodies were cold..  The first blow came in the form of a tweet by Dan Patrick the fiercely anti-LGTB Lt. Governor of Texas just two hours after the shooting.

Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.

He claimed the bible verse was randomly selected beforehand but he also posted it on his Facebook account three hours later even after numerous complaints on his twitter feed.

Then there was the video of a fringe Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez

‘What if you asked me, “Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” Um, no, I think that’s great,’ he told his followers, some of whom laughed. ‘I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job

Twitter was ablaze with homophobic rants and rhetoric.  ThoughtCatalog compiled a list of the worst.

One simply stated

At least it was gays this time and not innocent people

The blood of the victims was probably still fresh on the ground when these comments were made.  I get worked up about this topic because my life has been negatively affected by homophobia.  My ex-husband was a self-loathing closeted gay man who thought he could change himself.  I was unaware of his struggle with his sexual orientation and became collateral damage in his war with himself.   Instead of living his life authentically and honestly, he lived a miserable existence in hiding.  If he felt he could have lived his life happily and fulfilled as a gay man,  we both would have been much better off.  There are millions of other straight spouses like myself, and children who have been through the emotionally wrenching experience of a mixed orientation marriage. The hatred of LGTB people extends much further out than just the LGTB community.  It hurts their families, friends, and our culture as a whole.  Although LGTB men and women have made great strides in recent years, incidents like the massacre in Orlando prove we have a long way to go before true acceptance is possible.

I am not sure if I’ll reach anyone in my intended audience with this article, but I’m just so sick of the hate.  No one wins when LGTB men and women are shamed, labeled as sinners or treated like second-hand citizens. Homophobes use all sorts of reasoning to justify their hate, so I’ve compiled the most common ones here and intend to challenge all of them.

Homosexulaity and sin – Everyone has a right to their own religious views, but we live in a country with a multitude of faiths and belief systems..  I won’t break down every religion, religious text or reasoning for the condemnations of homosexuality.  That wouldn’t just be a blog article, it could fill several volumes.  In a secular nation, one person’s religion does not trump another person’s civil rights.   I don’t know how love can be sinful, and I know many loving LGTB couples.  Many of them are also devoted parents.  I’m agnostic myself, but it’s hard to imagine how any loving God would be against a healthy, happy, loving relationships between two consenting adults.

Gay people cannot be changed or converted through therapy.  – I could write several hundred pages on this, but instead I’ll just provide this handy link and quote about the widely derided conversion therapy.

To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

Conversion therapy – sometimes known as reparative or “sexual reorientation” therapy – is a dangerous practice based on the premise that people can change their sexual orientation, literally “converting” from gay to straight. Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

People who have undergone conversion therapy have reported increased anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicidal ideation.

Being gay is not a sickness or a mental illness – The medical community hasn’t believed that since 1973.  To quote psychiatrytoday.com 

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition (DSM II). The action was taken following a review of the scientific literature and consultation with experts in the field. The experts found that homosexuality does not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.

Openly gay people are not a sign of the collapse of society  – LGTB men and women have been around since the dawn of humanity and have always been a part of the spectrum of human sexuality.  LGTB people have existed even in places where the punishment for homosexual behavior was death.   In some Native American tribes homosexuality and gender fluidity was not only tolerated, it was revered.   To quote http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/

It is told that women engaged in tribal warfare and married other women, as there were men who married other men. These individuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans, the caregivers They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies

Homosexuality is not unnatural. –  A common argument is that since homosexual sex does not lead to procreation then it must be against the laws of nature.  Homosexuality is also expressed in over 450 different animal species on this planet.  Obviously humans aren’t the only species that has non-reproductive sex.

HIV is not a plague sent to wipe out gay men  – Sexually transmitted diseases are not limited to the LGTB community. Although HIV rates are higher among gay men than the general population, anyone under the right circumstances can contract HIV.  HIV is also not the killer it once was, as most patients live long lives if they get early treatment.   Daily medications like PreP also can prevent the spread of the virus.   It’s also not the only potentially lethal STD. From the 15th century until the discovery of antibiotics Syphilis infections ravaged Europe.  Even today if left untreated Syphilis can cause disfigurement, brain damage, and eventually death.  HIV isn’t a plague to wipe out any specific group, it is simply another nasty sexually transmitted pathogen.

Gay men are pedophiles who abuse children and turn them gay –  Every time I hear this one I slightly lose my mind, so I’m going to write this in all caps!  THIS MYTH HAS BEEN WIDELY DISCREDITED MULTIPLE TIMES!  IN STUDY AFTER STUDY OVER THE COURSE OF DECADES RESEARCH DOES NOT LINK HOMOSEXAULITY TO PEDOPHILA!!!!!  To quote the Southern Poverty Law Center 

According to the American Psychological Association, children are not more likely to be molested by LGBT parents or their LGBT friends or acquaintances. Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

 

The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends, and the majority are men married to women. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

When children see a same-sex couple holding hands, kissing or locked in a loving embrace it won’t scar them or cause them to turn gay.  – If two adults are showing affection in a fairly conservative way – holding hands, walking arm in arm and kissing – it’s not going to harm anyone else around them.  A child is not going to suddenly think they are gay after observing two gay adults.  Sexual orientation is deeply rooted into a person’s psyche.  If you were to ask most LGTB people when they knew they were gay they would answer it’s something they’ve always known.  No event flipped the switch in their heads from straight to gay.  If anything young adults who come out sooner as LGTB are less likely to get married to a straight partner.  They are less likely to live a confused and tortured existence.   If a child who will ultimately grow up to be gay sees a loving same-sex couple together, they are more likely to grow up without self-hatred.

There is no “gay agenda” – I can’t even humor this one.  The only “agenda” LGTB people have is to live like anyone else.  They aren’t out to recruit the rest of the world or change anyone else’s sexual orientation.

Homophobia claims many victims –  LGTB youth are more than twice as likely to try to commit suicide than their straight peers. Studies have shown that 15 to 43 percent of LGTB people as well as 90 percent of transgender men and women have faced some sort of harassment or discrimination in the workforce.  In 28 states it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.  Even in 2016 children are still rejected by their families for coming out.

LGTB men and women are not going to go back into hiding.  No amount of hateful rhetoric, bullets or bombs that will stop anyone from being gay.  We need to come out of the dark ages and accept people for who they are.  I want to grab the father of the shooter and every other homophobe by both shoulders, look them dead in the eyes and scream

The real sickness in our culture is not homosexuals but the hatred and bigotry expressed towards them!

All the hate in the world can’t stop love, and sexual orientation is much more than just sex.  LGTB men and women love their partners with the same intensity and devotion as any straight person would.   Some people are gay, and the haters should just get used to it.

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Chick-Fil-A – Do you really want to run your company on Biblical Values?

Chick-fil-A

So a top ranking executive, Dan Cathy,  at the fast food chain Chick-Fil-A said the following in an article in the Baptist Press
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

he was also quoted as saying

“We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles,”
He has every right to voice his opinion, and to worship as he sees fit.  But I do question his belief in running a company on biblical principles.  I also wonder if he has actually read the bible.   According to ChristianAnswers.net the Old Testament contains 23,214 verses, the New Testament contains 7,959 verses.  Out of those 31,173 verses approx. six condemn homosexuals.   Jesus Christ had nothing to say about homosexuals or homosexuality.  Here is just one of the six damning versus.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

So along with homosexuals…thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers are also doomed from entering the kingdom of God.  Now if God is truly condemning “the greedy” to eternal damnation along with homosexuals that would certainly include a large portion of the population in any capitalistic economic system.  And what is a swindler?  Is it that essentially the same thing as a thief?   Adulterers are also quite common and would include many well-known Christian leaders.  And surprisingly the bible also only mentions homosexuality in men, not women.

I will give Chick-Fil-A credit for not opening their stores or doing business on Sunday as according to Christian tradition, Sunday is the Sabbath and working on the Sabbath is punishable by death in the bible.  But how far does Chick-Fil-A take their biblical values?

Here are just a few restrictions and laws also included in the bible.  Paraphrased for length.

Leviticus 19:19 – Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric

Leviticus 19:27 – Don’t cut your hair nor shave.

Leviticus 20:9 Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed.

Leviticus 20:10 If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die.

Leviticus 21:17-18 People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God

Leviticus 15:19-20 When a woman has a discharge of blood, which is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening

Leviticus 11 – Includes many dietary restrictions including unclean meat such as – pork, rabbit, camel, shellfish, birds of prey, bats, mice and various bird and lizard species

Deuteronomy 13:12-15 If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of it’s inhabitants… even the animals. 

Deuteronomy 17:2-7 Kill anyone with a different religion.

1 Corinthians 3:2 – You are not to combine milk with meat

So I would love to ask Mr. Cathy, if his employees all have beards and long hair?  Does his company allow menstruating women to work?  And what about the menu items that contain pork products and dairy combined with chicken.  Are these not also abominations?  Are the uniforms made of only one type of cloth and thread?  Is it acceptable for an employee to murder a customer or fellow employee if that person is not a Christian?  If an employee curses their parents are they put to death?

I don’t quite understand how many Christians who cite these six scant verses in the bible that condemn homosexuality conveniently ignore some of the more extreme laws.  How is one verse the “WORD OF GOD” and another discarded as being out-of-date.  Who decided what is relevant and what isn’t?  It sure sounds nice to say that one lives by biblical laws, but no one really knows what those laws entail.  Of course there is great wisdom and philosophy in the bible even for non-believers but the darker passages cannot just be ignored.  Cherry-picking the bible and then using it condemn homosexuality while ignoring the other absurd and out-dated prohibitions is intellectually dishonest.

A religious person can and should live however they like as long as their behavior does not go against secular laws and does not harm others.  But homophobia does harm, and results in harassment, bullying, suicides, loss of employment, and infringes upon the basic human rights of others.  Some Christian conservatives are actively trying to force their religious beliefs into law in a secular society while most homosexuals are just trying to live their lives and not be treated like second class citizens.  Gay men and women are not trying to limit the rights of heterosexuals, this is hardly an even or fair fight.

If Dan Cathy really wants to live according to the biblical tradition of the family and run his business according to biblical law then he should get to work and stop picking and choosing which laws he takes seriously.  If Cathy wishes to run his company according biblical law, then at least we had better start seeing full beards and long hair on every employee.   It might not be up to health code but it would be according to God’s will.