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November 30, 2004

giving thanks to my fortune

When I was president of our campus gay/lez/bi/straight/trans/whatever group on campus back inna day, our organization served a bunch of functions, from being a support group to organizing fun campus dances to political action on campus. During the support group meetings, one thing I noticed that was consistent with gay people coming out, regardless of age, was concern about their relationship with God (Azuihotl, Kali, Wonder Woman, etc.) and their relationships with family. Even today, some of the most emotionally damaged people I know are that way because their relationship with God or family is or was fucked up during the coming out process. People who were initially rejected by their family, or continue to be rejected carry a lot of pain inside. That pain leads to damage, tearing people up inside, and draining a lot of mental and emotional energy. And those who came from religious backgrounds that eschew homosexuality aren't quite back together either. A lot of people have to come to terms with their families and with a higher power in order to achieve happiness. Either that or you have to say piss off to the family and assume that God made you that way. Not everyone is so strong, however, and most come out of such negative relationships with either at least a little damaged.

I am thankful that, for the most part, the majority of my family is cool with the 'mo in the clan. I don't think the middle brother wants to think much about it. And I'm guessing I don't want to know what he thinks his church says what he should think about homosexuals, even though that sect probably has a very liberal position on it. It's his interpretation of what he thinks the church should say that's coming through. Anyway, Mom is cool, she reads this blog. The oldest brother is cool and I think he worries about the shit we have to go through. Anyhow, I am also thankful I went to an apparently liberal sect of the Lutheran church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Rule of thumb: avoid any sect of Lutheranism named after a state, such as the Missouri or Wisconsin synods. Those are the ones who insist you are going to hell if you're not part of their synod. Think frothing at the mouth and speaking in tounges. Anyhow, I don't recall hearing one negative rant about the horrors of being a homo either in church or when I worked at a bible camp.

I attribute much of my current happiness level to an an accepting family and an affirming church. A lot of it can be chalked up to pure stubbornness and a strong sense of self too. I don't know how I'd be today if I were kicked out of the house upon coming out at age 20, or if my pastor was foaming at the mouth about the sins of homosexuality from the pulpit when I was going through confirmation. Anyhow, I think I'm lucky in that respect.

Posted by jimbo at November 30, 2004 11:32 AM

Comments

I always think it strange that there are so many different Christian groups, all saying that the other ones are doomed to Hell. What's up with that nonsense???

Posted by: homer at November 30, 2004 1:10 PM

I just converted at the age of 15 to a different religion that was I was more intune with and could relate better with.

I was never one with the whole Christian Church dogma crap. Most of them are not even close to the true teachings of Christ regarding total love and brotherhood for all humanity. I have met few "Christians" that actually follow the whole "love everyone, never judge, all are God's children".

Posted by: Dax at November 30, 2004 2:03 PM

I would like to think that some of those evil queens out there are victims of circumstance....but damn, there are some evil queens out there!

Posted by: jj at November 30, 2004 2:26 PM

Well, don't get me wrong...some of my best friends are evil queens. I was talking about the sad, depressed, or angry queens.

Posted by: jimbo at November 30, 2004 3:05 PM

I totally agree. If I had been a Southern Baptist rather than the homo- and gin-loving Episcopalian I was when I came out (and still am), I'd be a very different person.

It always makes me incredibly sad and angry at 'the Church' when I meet someone whose personhood was diminished by Christians. And I meet them all the time.

Posted by: Tim at November 30, 2004 4:06 PM

Ok, Someone explain the evil queen thing to me. This can be good? Does one usually identify themselves as an evil queen? Are they an evil queen on the ouside, but have a heart of gold on the inside (like Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman, a whore with a big heart)? 'splain please

Posted by: JJ at November 30, 2004 4:16 PM

Well, there are the truly evil ones who are just mean. I personally refer to them as Nasty Bitches. And then there's the Evil Queens who are coarse and bristly and manipulative on the outside, but mean well in the end. The hard part is sifting through the two. I guess Queer Eye's Carson or the Bernadette character from Priscilla are examples of outwardly evil queens with a heart of gold. Perhaps even my friend Gurl or Evil Ricky - great friends but scary enemies. Or the female assistant to the bad guy in The Incredibles. She liked the pay and she was a maneater, but in the end she turned on her nasty bad guy boss cuz he tried to kill The Incredibles.

Posted by: jimbo at November 30, 2004 4:32 PM

i have the supportive family but not the church. ... but look where i live ... lynching capital of the world.

Posted by: myke at November 30, 2004 4:36 PM

Irish-raised Roman Catholic in da houze!!!

Luckily I was a trendsetter in the family, pointing out that my beliefs are better chosen by myself than a large group of people who are, for the most part, inexperienced in reality.

Posted by: Kevin at November 30, 2004 5:13 PM

I was raised orthodox Jewish. but I was adopted and looked like a poster boy for the Hitler Youth movement with my blond blue bad self going on. so I got very used to not fitting in. it really made dealing with being gay so much easier when that time came. now I am a happy Pagan Unitarian-Universalist, though more focus on the Universalist cause that Unitarian stuff seems a bit too Christian for my liking.

Posted by: windreader at November 30, 2004 6:32 PM

Happily non-religious upbringing, bordering on atheist, thanks to my dad and my sister and I bolting to watch whatever sport might conceivably be on TV whenever my mother mentioned church. Did you know the spreading of the skis when jumping will allow a farther jump than together? ;)


That and the fact my sister and I were born Swedish Lutheran, big ol' state church, full of women priests and very few active members. My mom's been on the god path the last few years tho, even discussing religion in front of our Swedish relatives; my sister and I almost died of shame.

Posted by: copperred at November 30, 2004 10:30 PM

To coin a line from X2:

Did you try - not being religious?

It's interesting (and thankfully liberating) that this whole question is just not that important in the l'il ole UK. Religion comes way down the list of societal signifiers - I think it's in-between 'What star sign are you?" and "What season are you?"


Posted by: Steve at December 1, 2004 6:06 AM

Well, I'm not that much of a practicing Lutheran these days. I prefer to establish rapport with the higher powers on Sunday morning through the medium of deep sleep. It's more a study of Jimboism these days.

But as you may have noticed, religion is kind of a big deal here in the US, or at least a veneer of religion anyway.

Posted by: jimbo at December 1, 2004 12:35 PM

I was lucky enough to be born into the ELCA. So when the religious mood does hit me - its not a stressful event. There aren't many of us ELCA types around, are there?

Posted by: Hugo at December 1, 2004 1:26 PM

Jimbo,

Pure stubborness and a STRONG sense of self -- yep that's you to a "T". Don't forget to add your occassional need to sing in "tongues".

Posted by: Dwight at December 2, 2004 10:48 AM