I’m about halfway through a link to Harding’s new Queer Press ‘zine (check it out here), and I’m near tears. It’s weird; normally reading stuff like this just deepens my exasperation with the religious/evangelical/societal status quo. I can’t really identify with what the contributors experienced, but the fact that I don’t mention certain friends to certain people at home (mostly older church ladies whom I otherwise adore) because I know they’ll get that look on their faces has to mean something.*
The look is comprised of two parts. One: shock, as in “What’s a good Christian girl like you doing with people like that?” This means that a good, God-fearing (which doesn’t really apply, since God and I have more of an awesome-favorite-uncle thing going on…not much fear there) Southern Baptist should naturally seek out others of her kind to make friends with; I hate to remind them that we should stick a “former” in there, because then they get that pruny-faced look when they remember that I’ve gone Catholic. Two: resignation, as in “Well, at least you can use this opportunity to witness and begin the process of bringing that poor soul back to heterosexuality.” This means that as a good, God-fearing Southern Baptist, it’s my solemn duty to drag this poor fellow back to righteousness. No thanks.
I usually just gloss the situation over, since I wasn’t raised to vent my twenty-something spleen all over my elders. I will say that my friends who are gay/lesbian/whatever are simply my friends. Their orientation never really factors into my perception of them. It’s just part of who they are, and they are awesome people. One, in particular, stands out. We’re not particularly close, but sometimes I think that’s for the best; his mental energy exhausts me. He’s funny, artistic, crazily flexible and graceful, imaginative (we’re convinced the only reason he’s not gotten his letter from Hogwarts is that he’ll be an even more epic evil wizard than Voldemort, minus all the muggle-hating, etc.). He has gorgeous hair (and compliments me on mine :D), and hasn’t let his orientation become his defining characteristic. Most people don’t even know until he tells them.
Mostly, I’m just baffled when people (Christian, non-Christian, whoever) make such a big deal out of someone’s orientation. Que será, dude.
And rock on, my psychic-ninja-wizard friend. Rock on.
* I’m not trying to make these wonderfully warm and funny church ladies out to be raging homophobes, and I apologize if that’s how it comes across. They simply have a more black-and-white view on that subject than I do.