Saturday, November 8, 2008

Homophobia Sucks

Long, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn'd from joys and prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing, grappling with direst fate and recoiling not,
And now to conceive and show to the world what your children en-masse really are,
(For who except myself has yet conceiv'd what your children en-masse really are?)
Walt Whitman

I can go off on an angry political rant to make even those who agree with me uncomfortable at the drop of a...actually you don’t even need to drop a hat, or anything....I do it spontaneously. And that’s exactly why I don’t bring politics into Yoga for Cynics much—it’d be too easy, and would end up consuming all else. That’s the inherent problem with that great, creative rage...ideals of peace and unity making a person so righteously angry as to end up snarling and barking and putting up walls.

The goal is to be positive, but not in that cheesy New Age pretend-shit-doesn’t-stink kinda way, though it's always a fine line. Yoga, to me, is about opening, and cynicism is about closing, and I’m hoping maybe humor can be a bridge between the two.

But cynicism isn't inherently bad. If people tell you it is, ask for their wallets and keys and credit card numbers. There are things we need to defend ourselves from, things we need to oppose, things we need to speak out against. In a couple of conversations recently, I’ve tried to put as positive a spin as possible on Amendment 8, casting it as a reminder not to be complacent, that there are still battles to be fought, right here and right now, and that anyway, things are steadily moving forward, that we’re still only twenty years away from a storied administration that proclaimed “morning in America” while ignoring the AIDS epidemic and we've sure come a long way since then. But I don’t really expect anybody to be mollified by that. The only thing more hateful than homophobia is trying to hide it behind one's God. I was struck by the thought when the beautiful new First Family walk on stage Tuesday night that my country is better than I imagined, but that doesn't mean we don't still have some serious shit to work on.


Seeing Eye Chick said...

There is always a temptation, when a great milestone is passed, to lay down and bask in the glo--infinitely.

This is the root of Resting on One's Laurals.

The Story doesnt end when the Tortoise beats the hare.

AD Miller said...

Jay, I appreciate all your posts and am frequently amazed at how well your writing conveys your personality, how it allows me to feel like we were just chatting over coffee, or a beer, just like old times. I miss those chats a great deal. And I miss your support, which comes across very loudly in this post on Prop. 8. Though I, too, was thrilled by Obama's election and so bloody excited to see that beautiful first-family elect walk across the stage on Tuesday night, I found myself feeling very melancholy on Wednesday morning. Some of that melancholy can be chalked up to election hangover, a kind of "coming down" from all the general election anxiety that had been haunting me for months and months. Like so many people, I had spent the better part of a year (or more?) worrying about whether Americans would do the right thing on November 4, 2008 and I was thrilled that they did--for the most part. But some of the hangover was also caused by the absolutely crushing realization that came along with the outcome of Proposition 8. I can't help but take it personally, to feel it as some kind of body blow. Despite the many obvious signs of progress, I can't help but see it as a sign that bigotry is alive and well in some quarters, that for some people, as you say, it's O.K. to hide that bigotry behind religious pretense. I literally felt like I'd been socked in the stomach--a stark contrast to the wide grin that had been all over my face the night before. I've felt the pain caused by homophobia too many times in my life. Some of that pain has been physical. Most has been the more subtle symbolic or psychological variety. This decision felt like a combination of both types of attacks.

Nonetheless, I'm trying to take the California decision in stride and find comfort in Obama's election; even if he can't publicly speak out in favor of gay marriage (and no, I still don't think that's ok), I know his administration will be far more open-minded than the one we've endured for the past eight years. And it hearted me to hear him include gays in his acceptance speech. That speaks volumes about the kind of sea change he represents. And, of course, I take the greatest comfort in knowing that my friends, family, and colleagues--gay and straight--are equally outraged by proposition H8te. In the spirit of your blog and our much-valued friendship: Namasté.

Bird said...

I enjoy your ranting - it helps me feel less alone! And I'd say you have a fine skill at it too. One of the reasons (though not the only one) that I don't rant in my own blog is that the results would be so alienating. Not because I have vile or extreme ideas but because once on to certain subjects I just really let go, I am capable of expressing myself with considerable force and that totally turns people off from the point I am trying to make. Ranting effectively requires more delicacy than I've ever learned to have.

Lana Gramlich said...

I hear you. Evidently real "change" takes more than a few speeches. We'll see what happens now, I s'pose. I'm bummed about Prop 8. Bummed & somewhat surprised.

kouji said...

terribly sad indeed.

i too am disappointed by obama's stance on same sex marriage. i do hope though that some movement forward will take place during his administration.

may marriage become truly universal in your country soon.

over here, there seems to be so little hope of that happening (the philippines).

roadgurl5 said...

Totally agree drjay. If I hear once more "because the Bible says so" in order to rationalize hate and intolerance...ugh! It just burns me that some people live their lives tainted by fear and unacceptance because of sheer ignorance. It's disgusting and wrong. Period.

Anonymous said...

Homophobia sux, that’s without a doubt. I'm right there with ya. I'm skipping that whole part of the argument and the religion stuff too.

But I have a teeny (or perhaps slightly larger than teeny) objection to your blanket statement about cynicism. Unsurprisingly I'm sure.

Y'know, there are more viewpoints in the world than just cynicism or blind optimism. Plenty.

And I wonder, I do wonder... just how much you really buy into the 'opening' part of your quote?

Because here's the thing: cynicism is just another label for fear. Fear with a purpose, for sure. Not that that's a bad thing. Fear can be useful in the right doses. But seriously, being too cynical/fearful, too shut down, can become a self-perpetuating disease.

And a blocker. If you're cynical all the time, then you're looking at the world through the opposite of rose coloured glasses (not that I agree with those either). Cynicism = extremely limited point of view. IMHO.

Not that I think everything should be all lovey-lighty-bug-eyed-sunshine-roses etc. I have way too many trust issues for that!

However, being cynical about things you don't understand for no good reason except because you're good at it... well I just don't think that's a great idea. Ever.

What about curiosity? What about asking questions with a view to trying to understand the other person, instead of just validating your own point of view?

If all you can do is spout cynicism without a hat so much as being dropped, why then... you're not only closing things down for yourself but potentially for the other person you're talking to.
*end rant*

Namaste :)

P.S. Now, feel free to call me whatever names you like! Flowery hippy, mindless whatev…

JD from Hoeno said...

As soon as I heard about it, all I could think was ''The Bible strikes, again!''

RBV said...

Yes, the fact that we elected Obama shocked me in a good way. I honestly didn't believe that much in the people with which I share a country. Amendment 8 brought me back down to earth...and in Cali of all places.