Nov 19, 2009

LOVE SAVES US ALL: ¨Anger does not generally turn into hate among gay folk, but into activism¨

¨I grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs and came out to myself in 1971, a couple years before the AMA removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.¨


¨Problem was, back then there was very little for me to read on mainstream bookshelves, other then horrible stereotypes of gays as sexual psychopaths or pathetic mincing lisping limp-wristed sissies.

Everything I could get my hands on in 1971 about homosexuals and homosexuality had been written by heterosexuals.

There wasn’t much that was positive, nothing other then the novels of Mary Renault HERE that I could read that spoke to my heart.¨

Mary Renault, English Author, The Last of the Wine, The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea, The Mask of Apollo, Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy, and The Praise Singer. In addition to the novels, she has written a biography of Alexander the Great, The Nature of Alexander.

¨Finding and connecting with the larger gay community outside my door was a struggle. The only gay gathering place I knew of was a seedy looking bar…not the best place in the world for a teenager. I stayed away. For years the only place near to where I lived in the suburbs where I could get copies of The Advocate and The Washington Blade was a little adult bookstore tucked in dilapidated strip shopping center.

There I had to walk a gauntlet of heterosexual pornography to get to where they had the gay newspapers and magazines. Don’t even try to tell me that gay people are sexually extreme in a way heterosexuals aren’t...¨


¨...And what we saw weren’t monsters or pathetic weaklings or deranged sexual psychopaths, but simply other human beings like ourselves. Neighbors. Some plain, some fabulous, some…well…a bit geeky like me...¨


¨...And never again could we be reliably taught to hate ourselves. Maybe somewhere, in some forsaken corner of the nation gym teachers still teach kids that homosexuals usually mutilate and kill the people they have sex with, but if they try that most places now the gay kids in their classroom won’t stand for it…and neither will their families and their friends.

When that weight of fear and shame is lifted off your shoulders, what follows? Relief. Serenity. Joy perhaps…if coming out means finding the arms of someone to love, and be loved by. But often it’s anger too. Anger that what should have been one of life’s most perfect joys, discovering love and desire, finding someone to love, and being loved by them, was turned into a nightmare, into someone’s stepping stones to heaven. Your heart had to bleed, so they could be righteous. When you see the bottomless cruelty of it, it isn’t hard to become enraged.

Here I think, love saves us all. Anger does not generally turn into hate among gay folk, but into activism. Rage sometimes…yes. Righteous glorious outrage. There is nothing wrong with that. We have every right to be outraged at what hate does to us...¨

¨...But always with that promise land in sight, where the those first stirrings of love and desire within us do not have to die mangled, so that others can feel righteous about themselves.
We keep our sights set on that day when we are all free to love without fear or shame and hate will never consume us as it has, sometimes, other oppressed people...¨ read it all at Truth Wins Out, By Bruce Garrett, HERE

·Thanks to Truth Wins Out, right sidebar
·Thanks to Bruce Garrett
·Thanks to Mary Renault
·Thanks to Wikipedia
·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love your postings.

Erika Baker said...

This is brilliant, thank you.

Fred Schwartz said...

Leonardo,

What a wonderfully written piece. Your art is absolutely briliant. Your life is a growing testimonial to the good work that you do.

Love and Peace,
Fred

Kirkepiscatoid said...

I am saddened by how much you had to endure in your life, some on purpose, some by sheer ignorance. I hope my love for you makes up for at least a little piece of it, or gives you the energy to begin anew in the spirit of love!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear K, Thank you. Sometimes I think I was/am just more fortunate than others because I´m ¨fully present¨ in my life, mostly, except for a 17 years active alcoholism (when I was one of those overpushy overachieving types that refused to be classified as a second class person on the ¨outside¨ but loathed myself on the ¨inside¨)...obviously a self-assination attempt. The biggest deal is that I LIVED! I´ve lived to see the impact of fear/hate on Gay and Lesbian and Bi-sexual people (just recently know a trasgender person)...I been ¨present¨...I have the full depth of my feelings and I know them, I´ve survived and I try not to let that experience go to waste...most of my dearones are dead...dead because of suicide, drunkeness/drugs, AIDS and even a crime of hate...recently a College friend wrote me a note from San Francisco and said: ¨You´ve lived the dream we all wanted to live...he thought me courageous¨...I think me blessed and I wonder what absurd, greedy, murderous or delightful human action I will see next? The World is filled with behavior that exceeds emotional/spiritual balance and sanity...reality just takes some getting used to (but YOU know that already). Abrazos fuerte, Len

Leonardo Ricardo said...

K,

Yes, I feel the love as we stargaze together and reach for a few too.

Revd Ivan Ackeroff said...

Very moving. Thank you

Brian R said...

In 1980 I was in Athens and preparing for a ferry trip to the island of Naxos. I needed something to read, found an English bookshop and looked for a book set in Greece. I picked up "The Persian Boy', knowing nothing about Mary Renault. What a wonderful find. I now own a copy of all her books.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Brian,
I first read The Last of The Wine when I was at College (suggested reading by the Department Store President where I worked part time who was a much appreciated/loved platonic friend and mentor)...after that I read them all...I loved them and they ¨touched my heart¨ (and so did she for writing them).

motheramelia said...

It's wonderful how books help us to grow into the people we need to be. I was so very taken by the life of Marie Curie when I was in Jr. High that it helped mold my life. Coming from a poor family, books broadened my horizons and showed me what the world and my life could be like and also showed me lives that would never be mine. I was fortunate that negative stereotypes around sexuality were not part of my early life. As a heterosexual female, I was quite surprised, but thought no less of people I knew who told me they were gay or lesbian (after college--during college I was quite unaware--focused on getting a degree). I eventually got to know a number of gays and lesbians and could never understand why they were so discriminated against. They are who they are and are God's children as am I.

I really like the time and effort you make in your posts. They are always though provoking.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

What the others said!