Sexuality

Reflection on “Sacramental Shame” article

This is my reflection on an academic article submitted with my Doctor of Ministry program application to Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. I begin this program in January 2022! #LeaveShameBehind


Sunsets and Solidarity: Overcoming Sacramental Shame in Conservative Christian Churches to Forge a Queer Vision of Love and Justice by Dawne Moon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Marquette University & Theresa W. Tobin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy at Marquette University, June 2018 Hypatia A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 33(1) https://bit.ly/3t0lm3A

Abstract: Drawing from our interdisciplinary qualitative study of LGBTI conservative Christians and their allies, we name an especially toxic form of shame – what we call sacramental shame – which affects the lives of LGBTI and other conservative Christians. Sacramental shame results from conservative Christian’s allegiance to the doctrine of gender complementarity, which elevates heteronormativity to the level of the sacred and renders those who violate it not as persons, but monsters. In dispensing shame as a sacrament, nonaffirming Christians require constant displays of shame as proof that LGBTI church members love God and belong in the community. Part of what makes this shame so harmful is that parents and pastors often dispense it with sincere expressions of care and affection, compounding the sense that one’s capacity to give and receive love is damaged. We foreground LGBTI Christian movements to overcome sacramental shame by cultivating nonhubristic pride, and conclude by discussing briefly their new understandings of love and justice that could have far-reaching benefits.


When I discovered this article on ‘sacramental shame’ I was immediately drawn to the work Profs. Moon and Tobin are doing regarding this toxic form of shame within conservative Christian communities. Sacramental shame was a concept unfamiliar to me and has a direct connection to my ministry of healing shame. For an individual to be required to display chronic shame of personhood to be conditionally granted recognition and acceptance goes against the teachings of Jesus as I understand and utilize them in my ministry. In this essay, it is my intention to reflect on how this academic article connects to my personal and professional development and its relationship to interdisciplinary studies at Iliff.

The very nature of how conservative heterosexual Christians stigmatize and inflict traumatic shame upon members of their communities presents a contradiction to the commandment of love that is at the heart of what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 22:39 – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The challenges Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals endure as they explore who they are as non-heteronormative individuals can be daunting and traumatic without the added framing of them being ‘monsters’ in the eyes of their faith community where they may be seeking connection with God and others. I can relate to the challenges of exploring my own non-heteronormative nature. However, I agree with the notion of any theology or church community that suggests that God receives some and rejects others is not reflective of the ministry of Jesus.[1] 

The unjust dispensing of shame within the conservative Christian communities outlined in the article illustrates the moral and ethical hypocrisy seen within the greater conservative Christian community. Offering forgiveness repeatedly to cis-gender heterosexual members who have committed sin, even of a sexual nature happens all the time within conservative Christian communities. However, any consideration for offering a similar forgiveness of LGBTI members is rejected due to their violation of heteronormativity and going against gender complementarity. The sanctification of heteronormativity instills a hierarchical nature of men being at the top of the order, followed by women and any below them can be considered the “other” or ‘monsters’ and undeserving of God’s love or acceptance. Only through sacramental shame, they can be accepted conditionally and contingent upon their maintaining dispositional shame. This perpetuates patriarchy and continues to foster an environment for the ‘otherization’ of gender and sexuality outlaws. This speaks directly against the work that my ministry represents.

The creation story of humanity in Genesis offers an opportunity to reflect on the notion that in “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis1:27). The author of this passage genders God with the pronoun of ‘he’, however the passage clearly states that humankind of male and female are created in God’s image. Using a queer theological lens on this passage can indicate that God is both male and female and neither, which could define God’s gender expression as being more a spectrum than an absolute. Looking to the image of God or Imago Dei, I agree with Marcella Althaus-Reid’s notion and believe that LGBTI need to find the holiness within a queered image of God. LGBTI people require something spiritual that is also seen as the Other.[2] 

Enforcing heteronormativity and gender roles also implies that God rejects men if they are not masculine or women if they are not feminine and maintain specific gender roles. This theology is a reflection of the 1950s television shows Ozzie and Harriett, Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best that illustrate representations of these gender roles in white, middle-class families. This subsection of the American population represents only a portion of a much larger diverse population found within our society today. Looking at these 1950s gender role boxes is what I use in my shame workshops and classes. The absolutism of conservative Christians does not allow them to blur the boundaries of creation and gender. I concur with their quoting of Eliel Cruz: “Can you stand with your feet in the muddy sand on the beach, waves crashing around your feet, tide slowly rising or falling, and honestly draw a clear line between sea and dry land?” Creation is not black or white, but various shades of grey and all the colors of the rainbow. Gender is not binary but a spectrum. This exemplifies the diversity of creation.

The relationship between fear and shame is exemplified in this article. Fear of being a failure in God’s eyes and not being loved is repeated to LGBTI individuals by their heteronormative community members. This perpetuates the continuation of sacramental shame for them. Fear is a powerful tool that religious leaders and communities have been using for centuries. Finding a way out of shame for these LBGTI individuals is to also recognize God’s love in unconditional, as Pope Francis said in 2017, “God does not love us because there is some reason that causes love. God loves us because He Himself is love, and love tends to spread and give by its nature. God does not even tie his benevolence to our conversion: if anything this is a consequence of God’s love.” [3] While I agree with Pope Francis’ message of God’s unconditional love, I do not condone the use of the masculine pronouns for God in my reference here.

I appreciate the authors connecting the healing of this traumatic shame through finding pride in oneself for who you are fully. Embracing their queerness as a nonheteronormative identity can help these LGBTI individuals begin to move away from this fear-based life of non-acceptance and sacramental shame. I also see the challenge that some conservative LGBTI Christians may have with embracing their queerness to overcome sacramental shame. I am curious to see what their research uncovers regarding these members of the LGBTI community.

The writers’ connecting to antiracists, feminists and other social justice communities represents to me the intersectionality of their research. This will also drive my studies and research while at Iliff. I found this article to be very informative about the concept of sacramental shame as a mechanism for conservative Christian communities to perpetuate their heteronormative theology and hold their LBGTI members in the constant state of fear that membership can be withdrawn at any time. The racially inclusive teachings of Jesus inform me to reject the notion of sacramental shame and inspire me to do the good works of bring healing to those who have been injured by this traumatic form of shame. 


[1] Yvette A. Flunder, Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion (Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press, 2005), 7.

[2] Mary Donovan Turner, The God We Seek: Portraits of God in the Old Testament (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2011), 121.

[3] Hannah Brockhaus, We don’t earn God’s love – it’s freely given, Pope Francis says (Catholic News Agency) June 14, 2017, https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/36233/we-dont-earn-gods-love-its-freely-given-pope-francis-says

COVID-19 · death · Grief · Loss

Dealing with Loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Caged Bird Poem

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom”
(excerpt from Caged Bird by Maya Angelou)

During this time of staying at home and concerns regarding the health of ourselves and loved ones, many of us are feeling like ‘caged birds’, longing for the freedom we once enjoyed with little concern or worry. What was once a normal existence for many of us is now lost for what seems like much longer than just over one month. This new ‘normal’ is creating a myriad of strange feelings that can leave us unsettled.

For many, one unfamiliar feeling is of PROFOUND GRIEF. Shelter in Place and the COVID-19 pandemic has disconnected most of us from the people, places and things that sustain us, nurture us, and bring us feelings of love and belonging. We are all impacted by this profound grief, including myself. I have recognized increased levels of anxiety, anger and sadness within myself over the last several weeks. Many people are dealing with loss for the first time in various aspects of their lives.

People are experiencing loss of income; loss of intimacy; loss of access to our favorite watering holes, be it a café or a bar; and the loss of freedom to move about in the world like we have been accustomed to do each day. One loss I have been experiencing is being able to easily access certain types of cheeses found only at Berkeley Bowl.

Those sheltering in place with a significant other, family or housemates have access to intimacy and physical closeness that many of us living alone no longer have access to while staying safe at home. Connecting over the phone, text, email and video conferencing is not the same as the connection we feel when we are in close proximity to those we love and enjoy in our lives.

The anticipatory grief of possibly losing someone to COVID-19 or getting sick ourselves adds a whole new dimension to a life that may have never had to deal with uncertainty that a pandemic like this can cause. “The world has been stripped of its familiarity and its safety. We feel unable to control what comes next” writes Andrew Penn in his article “Making Room for Grief During COVID-19”. There are several links below to articles that can help with the grief we are all feeling during these challenging times.

Please know that we will get through this together. It is important to recognize the urgency of maintaining physical distancing and Shelter in Place; protect yourself and your loved ones by wearing masks when you go out into public spaces, including wearing gloves when you need to go grocery shopping, quarantine and clean your purchases when you bring them home, and wash your hands frequently.

Each of you matter, know that you are essential to the diversity of our existence and you are appreciated and deserving of love. This pandemic will eventually end, and I plan to still be here to support and love those around me, especially during the times when they are unable to love and support themselves.

Let us be gentle and loving to each other and ourselves. Please stay safe and healthy.

Daniel

Related Articles:

 

Sexuality

“Shameless Desires” – 2019 Folsom Sunday Sermon

Folsom Sunday Sermon, September, 29, 2019 – MCC San Francisco
ReadingsLuke 10:1-11, 16-20 (NIV) & “Guilt, Desire and Love” by James Baldwin


Happy Folsom Sunday!!!

This past summer we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and of Metropolitan Community Churches!

And this weekend marks the 35th anniversary of Folsom Street Fair.

My first Folsom Event ever was Up Your Alley Street Fair 22 yrs ago

South of Market and Dore Alley were very different back then…

I recall seeing music videos popping up on MTV back in the 80s that depicting images of our “alternative lifestyles”

The Village People with “YMCA” and “In The Navy

Frankie Goes to Hollywood invited us to “Relax” – 2 versions of this music video (NSFW)

Culture Club asked “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”

Sylvester asking their listeners “Do You Wanna Funk?

And Bronski Beat sang about the plight of a “Small Town Boy

This music video depicts the plight of a young gay man who is beat up by fellow students because he comes on to one of them…

The police bring him home, is outed to his parents and must leave home…

From the song:

Mother will never understand why you had to leave

But the answers you seek will never be found at home

The love that you need will never be found at home

[Pause]

The love that you need will never be found at home

How many of us have heard or lived a similar story?

This is still very much an issue regarding our queer and trans youth today…

We have come so far since Stonewall….

and we still have much more work to do…

Will you pray with me?

<PRAYER>

Guilt and Desire are attempting to stare each other down –

Until Love came slouching along.

Some of us desire love…

Many of us desire love…

Most of us desire love…

Love for right now…

Love for tonight…

<singsong> Love for sale…Appetizing young love for sale…

Love for a lifetime…

Love for ever and ever and ever?

There are many ways we seek out love

And there are many things that keep us from love and our desires…

This past May, I taught a class “Embracing Your Desires” for the Leather community here in San Francisco.

We talked about the many influences on our desires.

Self-esteem tells us we aren’t worthy or deserving of our desires…

Body image can keep us disconnected from our desires…

Feelings of abandonment and loneliness can have a great impact on our desires…

James Baldwin tells us that Guilt keeps Desire from Love…

Shame is a kindred of guilt…

Guilt tells you that something you’ve done is bad

Shame tells you that you’re bad

Shame has told me many things to keep me from my desires and love….

Shame told me I was too fat, and I listened…

Shame told me I was too nelly, and I listened…

Shame told me I wasn’t smart enough, and I listened…

What has shame told you?

Too butch or not butch enough

Too old or too young

Not pretty enough, not handsome enough

Or just not sexy enough to be desired or loved.

We have heard many of these messages of shame from our families…

From our peers, our colleagues, bullies, the media, and society…

And especially from religion…

This programming of shame as social control helps to spread the continuation of patriarchy and gender conformity.

Culture affects how we view sex and the ‘normalization’ of heterosexuality promotes a socially preferred performance of sexuality.

Heteronormativity’ is the cultural bias in favor of opposite-sex relationships as the sexual norm, and against same-sex relationships.

A commonly held belief by many is that each person they meet is heterosexual – until proven otherwise.

The sexual phobias of the few affect the sexual freedom of the many.

This enforcement of heteronormative values upon sexual minorities has caused extensive damage to the emotional and spiritual health of the LGBTQ community.

Those who present something other than “normal” can become the recipients of ridicule and bullying for not being “normal.”

But what is normal?

In Justin Lehmiller’s book “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Improve Your Sex Life”, (Amazon)

He outlines the results of his anonymous survey about the sexual fantasies of adults living in the United States… (published 2018)

4175 adults to be exact – ages eighteen and up –

I believe the oldest were in their 80s…

72% identified as heterosexual…The gender split was about fifty-fifty…

This was the largest survey on sexual desires & fantasies ever done in the US…

From this survey, Lehmiller was able to extract seven broader themes to account for the vast majority of the fantasies & desires submitted…

And they are, listed in rank…

  1. multipartner sex
  2. power, control, and rough sex – AKA BDSM
  3. novelty, adventure, and variety
  4. taboo and forbidden sex
  5. partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships
  6. passion and romance
  7. erotic flexibility – specifically, homoeroticism and gender-bending

Dr. Lehmiller defines all of these as “normal” desires and fantasies…

He defines ‘normal’ this way:

“As a scientist, saying that something is normal is basically the same as saying something is statistically common.”

In other words, a normal desire is one that a lot of other people have.

He’s calling fantasies and desires “normal” in a sense because they are “common”…

So, what really is normal?

It was sexologists who developed the categories of homosexual and heterosexual the late 1800s and early 1900s, respectively.

I find it interesting that the word homosexuality didn’t exist until the 1860s…

Modern people who use the Bible as a weapon are inserting this word into a text that was written thousands of years ago –

Millennia before the term homosexuality was even a concept…

They argument this is the reason for the sinfulness of our deviant sexuality and desires

In his book “Forging a Secret Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay“ –

Ed Oxford writes how it wasn’t until 1946 when the word homosexual was inserted into the Revised Standard Version of the bible.

And he also discusses the discovery that the translations of those Greek words were actually “boy molesters

No wonder Paul was against this practice.

The original translations of the text in Paul’s letters is about pederasty and his condemnation of this non-consensual, exploitive and demeaning practice by the Greco-Roman culture.

It’s about adult men using boys as sex objects and not about the consensual sex between two or more consenting adults.

Some Christian communities attempt to have members of the LGBTQ community believe they are sinful and unloved by God for their ‘lifestyle’ choices.

Liberation of the marginalized happens through a community of openness and inclusion, as was the ministry of Jesus.

A ‘radically inclusive’ community can be like a beacon of hope for those living on the edges of society,

It is a place for them to come and find acceptance and love.

In today’s scripture reading, Jesus sends out members of his beloved community to spread the message of peace and love…

These were humans from all parts of society…

From the lowly to the respected…

Jesus encouraged them to share his peace and love with others and if they accepted that peace, to bless them…

He also told them that if the towns and communities did not accept their peace…

To brush the town’s dust off their feet in protest…

As our transgender siblings did yesterday at the Trans Visibility March in Washington DC.

“Whoever rejects you, rejects me”, Jesus told them…

– there is nothing loving or peace-filled in those people…

I give you authority to tread over snakes and scorpions…

  • Also known as “haters” and “homophobes

Over all the power of the enemy…

And nothing will hurt you…

The power of the enemy is their internalize self-hatred and shame-filled lives they need to project upon others…

In my work on shame…

I invite people to explore the voices in their head that are telling them that their desires are shameful…

That their desires are bad…sinful…deviant…a mental illness…

Whose voices are they?

Parents?          Teachers?  A previous pastor?   Peers?            Siblings? The media?

Recognize that our internalize homophobia and self-hatred was planted there by someone else…

This shaming did not come from a place of love…

In her book “Our Tribe”, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson writes about…

The sharing of ourselves sexually is to give and receive bodily hospitality

Hospitality can function as a metaphor for ethical sexual relating

Honoring self and others…

And through this, much healing can come from the ways we have been alienated from our bodies

Love was the message that Jesus taught those who followed him…

Love is the message that Jesus was trying to impart upon the world…

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams stated that…

God desires us, as if we were God.

We are created so that we may be caught up in this…

So that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God.”  <Pause>

God desires us…

Finding the wholehearted love of God within us is through growing to love ourselves…

Our authentic selves…

Not the person our parents wanted us to be

Not the person our spouse, family or friends want us to be

The person God desires us to be… Authentic and wholehearted

Our sexual and kinky desires are not chosen, they’re intrinsic to who we are

We can choose which desires to act on and embrace them wholeheartedly…

Without feelings of shame or guilt or sinfulness

Embrace the fact that your love is authentic

And that your desires are normal…Amen

Daniel is currently a Hospice Chaplain with Vitas Healthcare (www.vitas.com) in Oakland, CA; Assistant Night Minister with San Francisco Night Ministry (www.sfnightministry.org); and Volunteer Clergy at Metropolitan Community Church San Francisco (www.mccsf.org).

Sexuality

What has shame told you?- excerpt from my 2019 Folsom Sunday sermon

Shame has told me many things to keep me from my desires and love….

Shame told me I was too fat, and I listened…

Shame told me I was too nelly, and I listened…

Shame told me I wasn’t smart enough, and I listened…

What has shame told you?

Too butch or not butch enough…

Too old or too young…

Not pretty enough, not handsome enough…

Or just not sexy enough to be desired or loved.

We have heard many of these messages of shame from our families…

From our peers, our colleagues, bullies, the media, and society…

And especially from religion…

This programming of shame as social control helps to spread the continuation of patriarchy and gender conformity.

Culture affects how we view sex and the ‘normalization’ of heterosexuality promotes a socially preferred performance of sexuality.

‘Heteronormativity’ is the cultural bias in favor of opposite-sex relationships as the sexual norm, and against same-sex relationships.

A commonly held belief by many is that each person they meet i is heterosexual – until proven otherwise.

The sexual phobias of the few affect the sexual freedom of the many.

This enforcement of heteronormative values upon sexual minorities has caused extensive damage to the emotional and spiritual health of the LGBTQ community.

Those who present something other than “normal” can become the recipients of ridicule and bullying for not being “normal.”

But what is normal?

In Justin Lehmiller’s book “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Improve Your Sex Life”,

He outlines the results of his anonymous survey about the sexual fantasies of adults living in the United States… (published 2018)

4175 adults to be exact – ages eighteen and up –

I believe the oldest were in their 80s…

72% identified as heterosexual…The gender split was about fifty-fifty…

This was the largest survey on sexual desires & fantasies ever done in the United States.

From this survey, Lehmiller was able to extract seven broader themes to account for the vast majority of the fantasies & desires submitted…

And they are, listed in rank…

1. multipartner sex

2. power, control, and rough sex – AKA BDSM

3. novelty, adventure, and variety

4. taboo and forbidden sex

5. partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships

6. passion and romance

7. erotic flexibility – specifically, homoeroticism and gender-bending

Dr. Lehmiller defines all of these as “normal” desires and fantasies…

He defines ‘normal’ this way:

“As a scientist, saying that something is normal is basically the same as saying something is statistically common.”

In other words, a normal desire is one that a lot of other people have.

He’s calling fantasies and desires “normal” in a sense because they are “common”…

So, what really is normal?

##

– Folsom Sunday Sermon at MCCSF, Sept. 28, 2019

Sexuality

Touching ourselves isn’t shameful

We are told from an early age that touching our genitals is wrong or ‘dirty’. Then as puberty hits, the sex education we might be taught are either fear-based or nonexistent.

We are taught that being sexual is a shame-filled activity from a very early age. This needs to change. Being sexual is not shameful. Judging or ridiculing someone for being sexual IS shameful.

Because we live in a patriarchal society, it’s all about looking at the sexual prowess of men and the sexual submission of women.

‘The paradox is the judgment of expressing our sexuality, and the double standard linked with it. As a man, if I have so much sex I’m a stud, and as a woman, if you do the same, you’re a slut.’ (From the article link below)

We must all work towards ending slut shaming and embracing a life free of sexual shame. #LeaveShameBehind

Yoni Disconnect: Sexual Healing article

Sexuality

Religious notions of abstinence is shaming and sinful

One of the continuing purveyors of sexual shame are conservative religious notions of abstinence and the sinfulness of sexual desire. Enforcing abstinence is sinful

“An 18 year-old college student [was] deeply afraid that he was addicted to masturbation. He was only masturbating ONCE a week, but because he’d grown up in a family where any sex outside monogamous marriage was sinful and condemned, his quite normal sexual behavior was experienced with deep shame and fear.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-who-stray/201708/overcoming-religious-sexual-shame

Sexuality

’Swishy’ Daddy

I want to share a story with you about a coffee date I had 8 or 9 years ago. It was while I was in grad school (also known as seminary) and in the early days of developing my shame workshop.

A person and I met up on a gay male hookup site called “Daddy Hunt” and our first meeting was at a coffee shop in Oakland. For more context, the person I was meeting identified as a queer transman (Female-to-Male).

We met, chatted over coffee for a while and seemed to be getting on okay. I then excused myself to the restroom – coffee tends to do that to me. When I returned to the table and sat down, my coffee date made an unexpected comment: “you’re much ‘swishier’ than I expected.”

I chuckled and said “You’re right, I am!” I went on to comment that my online pictures at that time could have given the impression I was more ‘butch’ than actually am in my everyday persona.

If this has happened five or so years earlier, my reaction would have been very different. I would have probably been offended because I would have felt a huge bout of shame regarding my ‘lack of butchness’ and the coffee date would have ended a disaster.

When I shared this story at a “Sex and Shame” workshop I attended in Las Vegas this past February, there was an audible gasp by some of the fellow attendees, as well as the presenter when I regaled the aforementioned comment about my ‘swishiness’. I reassured them I was not offended and it was actually a testament to the work I’ve done one myself regarding my shame surrounding my gender presentation.

Being comfortable with my mannerisms, accepting the way I talk and move through the world each day is freeing. I don’t feel self-conscious about my ‘swishiness’ and this allows me to be more authentic with myself and others.

bdsm · Sexuality · spirituality

Queering the Trinity: Who’s Your Daddy? (Full Paper)

This is the opening paragraph from the paper I presented at MCC’s “Who Are We Really? Re-engaging Sex & Spirit” Online Symposium on Thursday, October 15, 2015. [Download Full Paper]

holy-trinity-iconIn the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen. Looking upon the Holy Trinity of my faith heritage, Roman Catholicism, I do not believe this patriarchal image of God, or Imago Dei in Latin represents a true image of God for queer people. Marcella Althaus-Reid refers to the holiness in Heterosexual Theology as being always the holiness of the Other.[1] With the marginalized being seen as the Other by the dominate segment of a society, I agree with Althaus-Reid’s notion and believe that we queers need to find the holiness within a queered image of God. Queer people require something spiritual that is also seen as the Other. In this conversation, it is my intention to create a bridge between the traditional concepts of the Holy Trinity and with the queer world in which many of us live and thrive.[2]  I will explore queering the Holy Trinity. It is not my intention to destroy the Holy Trinity or dress it up in sparkly rainbows to make it seem queer. Through my prophetic delusions that some might call heretical, I propose a way to queerly look at the Holy Trinity, to create a more personal image of God for a queer cis-man like myself. I will explore the influences of the BDSM community[3] and the drag culture as well as the use of metaphors in this conversation. [4] I will begin queering the Holy Trinity by discarding the word ‘Holy’ for the remainder of this conversation.

[1] Marcella Althaus-Reid, The Queer God (LONDON: Routledge, 2003), 154

[2] Mary Donovan Turner, The God We Seek: Portraits of God in the Old Testament (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2011), 121.

[3] Bondage, Discipline and SadoMasochism

[4] Merriam-Webster – Metaphors are a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Uncategorized

Homonormativity 101 – Hurting the Queer Movement

Homonormativity 101: What It Is and How It’s Hurting Our Movement

This is an excerpt from an article that is very important regarding the queer movement and the shaming for non-normativity. The full article is here: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/homonormativity-101/

“Homonormativity is a word that addresses the problems of privilege we see in the queer community today as they intersect with White privilege, capitalism, sexism, transmisogyny, and cissexism, all of which end up leaving many people out of the movement toward greater sexual freedom and equality.

As social attitudes change around queer relationships, we’re seeing more representations of queer people in the media, though this representation is incredibly limited.

Turn on the TV or flip through a magazine – for each of the few times that you’ll see a queer person, they’ll more than likely be a cisgender, gender-normative, White, middle class, gay-identifying person.

From the television shows Modern Family and The New Normal to TV personalities Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris, the voices that are given space and visibility tend to be those of a particular class, of a particular gender expression, and of a particular race.

The kinds of queer relationships we see represented in the media are also limiting, in that they tend to mimic heteronormative binary gender expressions.”

Social Justice

Using my privilege to protest

Participating in our (MCCSF) weekly silent protest on Castro & Market Street in solidarity to end racism provided me opportunities to see how much work we still need to do in a ‘Post-Racism’ America. I understand that I carry with me social privilege from being born white and male. My privilege continues to increase due to living in the United States, holding two undergraduate degrees, and one graduate degree. Being a Veteran also adds to my privilege.

2015/01/img_1827.jpg

When others begin to look at the marginalized aspects of my life, this is where I begin to lose some of my privilege. Being an out member of the LGBTQI community, I become part of a subsection of our society that is not afforded the same rights as heterosexuals in many parts of this country. Either through employment or housing discrimination and marriage equality to name but a few. Even being within this marginalize community, I still have my privilege of being a white male as I walk through a world of queers and strangers each day.

We have seen in the news over the last couple of years where businesses have refused to provide services to LGBTQI people. It wasn’t so long ago when Black Americans were refused services by businesses, seats on public transportation, as well as employment and housing opportunities to name a few.

The systematic incarceration of young Black men in this country has been equated to the new Jim Crow laws. This devaluation of human life, as well as the separation of the beloved from their families continues to be exacerbated by the deaths of innocence and unarmed young Black man.

Just as the white men stood with the leaders of the civil rights movement, I believe it is essential that I must stand up and speak out against the onslaught being perpetrated against men of color by law-enforcement. I encourage other clergy and men like me to stand in protest as well because #BlackLivesMatter.