Confessions of a white homo devil

Church sign in Harlem, Sun Feb 23

This is an actual church sign, not a Photoshop job.

The pastor of a church in Harlem put up a warning on his church sign last weekend, “Obama Has Released The Homo Demons On The Black Man. Look Out Black Woman. A White Homo May Take Your Man.” Some of the church’s neighbors aren’t terribly happy with the sign. And more than a few people have asked what Obama has to do with homosexuality. Of course, the same pastor caused some controversy in his neighborhood a few years ago with a series of anti-Obama signs, so we shouldn’t really be surprised.

As a 53-year-old white homo who has lived in liberal city for nearly thirty years, I will confess that I’ve dated a couple of black men. Neither of them were married to women, black or otherwise. And, thinking back on it, both of them pursued me, not the other way around. Of course, I dated the one guy in the late 80s, and the other in the early 90s, back when Reagan and the elder Bush were still in office…

In interviews the pastor has claimed as proof the fact that there are a lot more gay couples living in Harlem than there used to be. This ignores the fact that pretty much everywhere in the country there are a lot more gay and lesbian couples living openly than there used to be. And really, the only thing that has changed is the “openly” part of that.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I put the word “confessions” in the title of this post, so I shouldn’t gloss over another important truth here. It’s not just that years ago gay couples who actually lived together were more likely to try to pass themselves off as roommates than now. It’s also that fewer gay men are trying so hard to hide from the truth that they are marrying women, raising families with women, and sneaking around having sex with other men.

Not to say that phenomenon has ended—there are still plenty of men doing that. Oh, lordee, even a short, grey-bearded, fat, bald, old guy like me can’t log onto any gay chat site without getting hit up on by men married to women who are looking for a guy they can have sex with, but a guy who can understand and be “discreet.”

I assume that the reason the sign warns specifically black women about “their” men being stolen by white homos is because he is a black pastor of a predominantly black congregation in a neighborhood that historically was inhabited predominantly by black people. But I don’t know what rationale the pastor is giving for placing the blame for all these new gay couples in his neighborhood on Obama.

I do know some of the reasons why he leaps to the false conclusion that men are being fiendishly seduced away from women. Because society has been (and still is) so homophobic, queer kids grow up learning to hide and living in denial. We’ve been doing this for centuries. A hundred and fifty years ago, a typical gay man would get married to a woman, have a family, secretly have sex on occasion on the side with other men, and go to his grave without ever telling anyone. (There’s also the usual fundamentalist nonsense about women being the ones who domesticate men and bring love into a family, which is part of a sexist mindset we all know too well.)

Seventy years ago, a typical gay man might remain a “confirmed bachelor” completely hiding his same-sex relationships, or he might marry a woman, start a family, and at some point later come out, often getting divorced. As time has moved on, not only does that latter scenario happen more and more often, but also the age at which the closeted gay man came out and ended his marriage has gone down. (I’m leaving lesbians out of this, for now, because whether closeted or not, their stories have been further complicated by the limits society has placed on their ability to earn a living, and back in the 1800s and earlier, even to own property or have much choice in the matter of who and when they married.)

If you’re the sort of person, like this pastor, who believes that gay people aren’t inherently gay—that homosexuality is merely a behavior—it is easy to see those cases of the men who come out after marrying, as straight men being seduced or tempted or maybe even possessed by demons until they become gay. It means dismissing the stories of the men themselves. It means ignoring piles of evidence built up over many decades of research.

And if you’ve been praying for this to stop, if you’ve been doubling and re-doubling your own efforts to shame and vilify every gay man you know, if you’ve been ever more viciously shaming any boys who don’t measure up to your idea of what a real man is, but seeing those efforts fail again and again, of course you’re going to attribute it to supernatural forces. It isn’t enough to claim that white homos are seducing the men of your community, but there must be demonic forces at play, as well.

I have one very important confession to make about that. Not merely as a white homo devil. No, I’m also a formerly closeted gay man who foolishly married a good friend—a woman—because after years of internalized homophobia I thought that was my only hope of having a happy, “normal” life.

So, as an ex-closeted-husband, let me confess right now that I am doing everything I can to prevent other gay men from making that mistake.

I am hoping that those young gay men will come out to themselves and resist the urgings of their families, friends, and communities to find a “nice girl to settle down with.” I’m writing about the incredible love I have found with my husband, and about the wonderful loving life we have together with friends, gay, straight, and bi. I am donating to organizations that fight for gay rights, to organizations that provide support of gay teens, and to politicians who vote in favor of LGBT rights. I am proclaiming from the rooftops that whether you are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgender, or just queer there is no need to be ashamed of who you love. There is no need to hide who you are. There is no need to pretend to be something you aren’t. There is no reason to live in fear of an angry god.

Come out, come out, wherever you are. Come out for freedom. Come out for hope. Come out for love.

…if we value the freedom of the mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can. – Ursula K. LeGuin, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live in Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

16 responses to “Confessions of a white homo devil”

  1. Sheryl says :

    “I do know why he leaps to the false conclusion that men are being fiendishly seduced away from women. Because society has been (and still is) so homophobic, queer kids grow up learning to hide and living in denial.”
    Wellll… that… but also, our society perpetuates the idea that (straight) men are never at fault for their own sexual behaviors. A woman who gets raped must have been asking for it or leading her attacker on. When a married man cheats on his wife or leaves her for another woman, it was that terrible home-wrecker who took him away. Now, that home-wrecker might be a corrupting omigawdhomo who misleads the easily influenced otherwise-straight husband away from his upstanding ways.

    Of course, this was not the point of your essay. Derailing commenter is derailing. 😐

    • fontfolly says :

      I don’t feel derailed!

      I did start a digression about why this guy was focused on men being stolen from women, but not women from men, as well as the digression about how the lesbian closet differed in the 19th Century and earlier, but I wound up collapsing both of those into my parenthetical comment that only mentions the lesbian closet bit.

      The whole sexist craziness of who has agency is worth several more blog posts, obviously.

  2. dyvik says :

    Well yet again a christian comunity spread fear where there should be none. this is a debate I encounter with some People, but luckily very few.
    Being gay is not a Dangerous thing, to them self or others.

    However spreading fear is. Young People comitting suicide. being bullied, beaten, killed all start with fear. it all stems back at putting fear in others. who are we to judge? all in all, its just love.

  3. Maggie says :

    People confuse and upset the living hell out of me. Excuse me, I need ibuprofen now. Literally.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: