Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Getting" It

I don't often begin with imperative sentences, but I'm doing so here: Go read Ann's reflection on today's collect. In it, she talks about factors that led to the Rainbow Presence initiative, and voices the surprise and concern that many of us feel at the vitriolic reaction some people are having to this initiative. But that's not even the most amazing part.

Go. Read. Then come back and finish reading this one.

OK. Back now?

Here's the paragraph that flat took my breath away:

Personally, I have discovered that although I knew the kind of threats that daily life brings to sisters and brothers who are gay, lesbian, transgender, I did not KNOW (duh - dope slap here) it in my person. It brings new meaning to the angels' words "Fear Not."
This is not something I talk about much, but I know those daily threats Ann mentions. Growing up in the '50s and '60s, I didn't even know there was such a thing as being "gay." (That term didn't exist then, as far as I know; the word back then was "homo.") I didn't have the foggiest notion what one might do about attraction toward someone of the same sex. But because I was a "tomboy," I got the taunts and verbal abuse from other kids way, way more often than I like to recall – as well as probing, "therapeutic" queries and admonitions from teachers and other adults. And, of course, I was told by church leaders that I would go to Hell if I ignored our Lord's condemnation of homosexuals. I've only been beaten up once for "walking while queer" – and that was years before I had even kissed anyone. But I most certainly have received threats of violence. I've had men follow me and my partner down a street, hurling epithets. I've heard the snarls delivered supposedly under the snarler's breath. In my bones, I'm vividly aware that, when in public, I can't even hold the hand of a woman I love without risking violence. Several folks told much more powerful stories – and told them more eloquently than I can – last week at Father Jake's.

I know all that. It's just a fact of life, and I rarely even think about it.

Until something like this. Something like what Ann wrote in her blog.

After the events of the past week, Ann now knows these threats of violence (physical, verbal, or emotional) – and not just intellectually, but in her bones – because some people (in places like StandFirm and MCJ, and in personal e-mails to her) are making cagey warnings of violence against people who dare wear a rainbow symbol on Easter … and those people warning of violence are not distinguishing between the "queers" and the "straight" people who support us. She's had a kind of "conversion" experience – though I wish she had never heard those words that forced her to "get it" so powerfully and personally.

We Christians talk about incarnation and about bearing one another's burdens. Ann's words in her blog today are water to a thirsty soul.

Thank you, Ann. My words here fall short of my gratitude.

Now, you folks go over there and jack up her site stats!


Anonymous daverichards said...

This is quite an interesting post...thanks for sharing this and for the links as well...well since Easter is approaching slowly i'd also like you to take a look at my blog on Easter Greetings sometime and check out all that i've posted there!!!

3/12/2007 12:22 AM  

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