[Such “Homophobic” Communities] and [If I Were a Gay Mormon…] were two different blog posts from my previous blog. I put them together here because they are closely related to each other.
Such “Homophobic” Communities
So the passage of Proposition 8 (which I do not think needs any explanation since many people are talking about it, even here in Japan, which makes me feel that a disproportionate amount of attention is being paid to one proposition of one state of one country——not that I don’t care, just in case) has been largely attributed to the increase in number of Black voters who supported Barack Obama. The figures that people have obtained from the media look very fishy to me, but that’s not exactly what I am worried about. What I find very sad and problematic is that, if——and this is only “if,” well, hopefully so——the entire Black population in California were that homophobic, why should those gay and lesbian people who blamed them for the passage of the proposition not have been quick to respond to the figures (no matter how false they are) and take some action, or at least be alerted, to care for lesbian and gay people who lived in such “homophobic” communities? A personal friend of mine, a White middle-class teenage gay boy, said that he thought that Black people should have been more empathetic to gay people, that they only cared about themselves. Well, that’s you, young man.
If I Were a Gay Mormon…
Okay, first of all, I must admit that I haven’t read much about this incident (the two men getting arrested, not the kiss-in) and that a few tweets from LGBT-related accounts and this single article linked above are the only source of information I got of the story. So what I am going to say may not be appropriate or even based on facts.
But it really makes me think of gay Mormons who secretly have homosexual desire (and may or may not act on it) and get into even more trouble because of the planned kiss-in’s. If I were a gay Mormon, closeted and maybe obvious and yet totally or partially accepted by his or her religious community (and that sometimes happens, by the way), potential homophobic reaction that the churches might make in opposition to the kiss-in’s would totally devastate the history of, and the efforts that I’ve put into, negotiating and working towards complicated (and thus often not satisfactory) yet livable tolerance in the community.
Of course, I’m not saying that gay activism or queer activism should not interfere in religious matters, but it seems very risky and dangerous for us to jump into the bandwagon to go out and say, “whether you like it or not, we’re here.” It’s true that we’re here, but where does this “us” come from? I am assuming that most of the people who will attend the kiss-in’s are not Mormons. They are from the outside. If what we learned from the incident is that gay expression isn’t allowed in the religious establishments, then what we should care about is the people within the Mormon churches whose queer expression and behavior are probably oppressed and degraded. We should have contacted or at least tried to reach sexual minority Mormons and listened to their stories before heading to the churches to kiss each other.
That is exactly the same thing that came to mind when I learned that many queer people blamed Black populations for passing Prop 8. What we need to do when we learn that there is a community very homophobic/transphobic/anti-queer, is, not to go out and blame them, but to think about our fellow queers within the community.