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Christianity, Culture

Here’s a Taste of Hell, Fag.

UPDATE:  Shame, shame!  It appears that this is now being listed as a false report.  We’ll see how it pans out in the end:  LINK

If it’s true that this is a boy crying wolf, then it’s a damn shame, since every word of my post is relevant to any of the actual assaults that have happened in recent memory.  Bad, bad form to make it more difficult for an oppressed group to be taken seriously.  Especially when you’re one of ’em.

 

The title’s been edited slightly.  What the guy said was, “Here’s a taste of hell you fucking fag.”  He said that while he branded a gay man on the wrist.

University of North Carolina freshman Quinn Matney was walking across campus around 3 AM on April 4 when he ran into a friend. While the two were talking, a nearby man got up from a picnic table, grabbed Matney by the wrist and proceeded to burn a branding mark into his wrist while the student fought to get out of his grasp.

I remember a few years ago I was watching a critically acclaimed film centered on a gay couple.  About five minutes in, I asked how long it would be before one of them was nearly beaten to death by white thirty something rednecks.  My date accused me of cynicism, and I’ll admit to a bit.  It seems like practically every LGBT movie that gets any attention includes a graphic depiction of the hate and violence directed towards “fags” and “lesbos.”

Unfortunately, stories like these, which seem to come out with startling regularity, give me pause.  It must be strange and horrifying to realize that at nearly any moment, someone might jump out of the woods and attack me in Jesus name.  I’ve never had to worry about it… much.  I have received some “enlightening” messages from Christians concerning my non-belief.  But I’m a straight guy, and there are no epithets hurled at me for being straight.  And I’ll probably never be beaten for having a girlfriend.

In 21st Century America, however, being gay is still a dangerous thing to admit too openly.  Much as we might like to think we’ve conquered our cultural homophobia, there’s still plenty of violence against gays.  And all too often, it’s accompanied by spitting mad pronouncements of eternal damnation.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Here’s a Taste of Hell, Fag.

  1. Unfortunately, if my experiences are anything to go by, you don’t actually need to be gay to experience the “joys” of having homophobic abuse hurled at you by frothing-at-the-mouth morons. While this sort of thing thankfully hasn’t happened to me *too* often, I’ve copped a bit over the years due to my often flamboyant style of personal expression, which has fallen anywhere along the spectrum from mere dandyism at one end to actual cross-dressing at the other (though I suppose the last thing would put me in the “T” part of the LGBT rainbow). Usually whatever abuse I’ve copped has just consisted of mindless insults delivered by cowards from the safety of fast-moving cars, although I’ve occasionally been on the receiving end of stuff that’s been considerably more frightening (one of the worst experiences I ever had was being followed down the street once by three boys (none of whom could have been any older than 12) on bicycles, who kept calling me “faggot” and throwing things at me, simply for the “crime” of wearing a hot pink satin shirt). I’ve also copped the odd bit of really off-putting behaviour (eg having some drunken creep come up behind me in a nightclub one night and grind his crotch into my backside) when I haven’t been wearing anything remotely outrageous at all. Unfortunately, there seems to be something about me that attracts this sort of behaviour from these sorts of idiots – I’m wondering if it’s the fact that people have often commented that I’m rather pretty, even a little feminine in appearance. For the most part, this doesn’t bother me at all – I quite like it, in fact – I just wish that it didn’t seem to make me a magnet for utter wankers sometimes!

    Thankfully, whatever unpleasantness I’ve experienced as a result of people thinking me gay hasn’t come with threats of eternal damnation attached, although I suspect the fact that I don’t live in an overly religious country (like I’m gathering you do) may have something to do with this. Ironically, I went over to the US for a holiday once, and came away with the impression that it must be a really tolerant place for LGBT people, since I didn’t cop much crap at all over the way I dressed when I was over there.

    Posted by Zosimus the Heathen | April 15, 2011, 8:32 am
  2. I’ve copped a bit over the years due to my often flamboyant style of personal expression, which has fallen anywhere along the spectrum from mere dandyism at one end to actual cross-dressing at the other (though I suppose the last thing would put me in the “T” part of the LGBT rainbow).

    I guess it’s hard to know for sure, but I think the “T” part of LGBT is even scarier to homophobes than the LG. (I don’t think most of them believe in B. They think B is code for “Gay and won’t admit it.”) The idea of a man being “feminine” and enjoying some aspects of “playing at womanhood” for lack of a better term is appalling to them because it’s something they could see themselves doing. It’s a “gateway” or a baby step towards sucking a cock, as far as they see it.

    If someone’s gay, then the boundaries are clear. And that’s what the homophobes generally want. You stay on your side of the bed, and I’ll stay on mine.

    Ironically, I went over to the US for a holiday once, and came away with the impression that it must be a really tolerant place for LGBT people, since I didn’t cop much crap at all over the way I dressed when I was over there.

    It’s mixed, and it depends on where you go. New York, Boston, LA… you can be as fagalicious as you want and nobody will say shit to you. But the south and midwest are a different matter. You pretty much have to get to the urban centers to get away from homophobia.

    All in all, the U.S. is much more tolerant of LGBT than it has been in the past, and we have a kind of weird double standard about tolerance that we can’t quite articulate. It’s sort of like, “I may hate your guts and think you’re an ass ramming faggot who’s going to burn for eternity, but this is Amurica, and the gall-danged Supreme Court says I cain’t beat yer ass for it, so I’ll leave you alone.” So on the surface, it is definitely pretty tolerant compared to some other countries. But there’s a long way to go.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 15, 2011, 4:42 pm
  3. Humans as we’ve discussed are just animals, and animals fear what they cannot understand. Our social structure in the US and Canada has been entrenched in religious dogma for centuries, making even heterosexual sex deemed “evil”. However, with more people becoming open to questioning the status quo, I believe some of these ridiculous prejudices will erode. Some schools are educating children about sex, and teaching that it is normal….thankfully! There is still opposition to such teachings, even in Toronto, where our premier halted sex-education in primary grades. Tragically we do have 12 year olds getting pregnant and 11 year olds giving blow jobs. But this is not new, this has likely been happening since humans became bipedal. When sex hormones start to surge so does curiosity. The debate of homosexuality being nature or nurture in origin won’t be resolved for a long time yet. Furthermore acceptance any minority group will always be at odds because most people simply cannot think independently outside what they have been taught. There are many “A” students who struggle deeply with life’s daily adversities.

    However, we are learning, though slowly to be more accepting of people who are “different”. Exclusively homosexual people will likely always be a minority because of basic biological proliferation of the species. It wasn’t until the1970’s that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), the reference book for psychiatric diagnostic categories, eradicated homosexuality as a mental illness. We’ve come a long way since then. Sexuality is complex, but only because society makes it so. The subversive treatment of much of what is normal, healthy, enjoyable, and needed for more humans to enter the species is what makes human sexuality complex.

    An interesting personal experience in sexuality occurred when I was 20 and a theatre major. In my class of about 24 students, only 2 were openly gay. It was the 1980’s and being gay was shadowed by the burgeoning epidemic of AIDS. However, my much respected professor “came out” to us during one of our lectures. Few of us were shocked as he was a “flamer”. However, the fascinating thing was that all of a sudden most of my student colleagues also came out as “gay”. This did shock me. My roommate, who had previously slept with the entire football team, told me she loved me and was gay! On Tuesday my friends and colleagues were straight, flirting and hitting on each other, some sleeping together, but Wednesday they were homosexual….things that make you go hmmmmm…..

    I have no doubt that we all have homosexual tendencies. Whether we choose to express them, or events in our lives, take us down that path, regardless, some people choose homosexuality. The choice may not be a fully conscious one in the same way that people don’t consciously default to fetishes. In prisons, we default to this form of sex because there is no other choice. We are driven to sex biologically, and emotionally. It is when we try to sequester this natural drive that people become pathological. The conscious choice of Buddhist monks to be asexual hasn’t been well studied because of the privacy of this group. Likely many gay people would debate my hypothesis that being gay is a choice, and I am open to learning more, and their comments.

    Now that we have mapped the human genome, and despite a lot of turf wars over the information, we will learn more if “gay genes” really exist. I am skeptical, but many gay people report always knowing they were gay. I know I have always loved males, and always will, sexually. It is the life support system for the penis I struggle most with, as do many of my female friends. How we relate to each other is another whole discussion.
    Human sexuality doesn’t have to be complex, but people need to understand it. This begins with forgetting ridiculous religious ideas about morality. Men are not pigs and women are not whores because they enjoy sex. Gay people are not mentally ill; however they may not be accepted by everyone, they are now tolerated. Its tough being an atheist minority too, I accept it as part of who I am. I don’t expect everyone to jump up and applaud me for this choice. I don’t understand why anyone would chose religion, much like gay people likely don’t understand heterosexual attraction.

    We have a long way to go in undoing decades of damage, but I believe in my lifetime, and hopefully with some of my own contributions that we will begin to embrace sexuality as one of the best things about being human.

    Posted by Nonya | April 15, 2011, 6:15 pm
  4. The debate of homosexuality being nature or nurture in origin won’t be resolved for a long time yet.

    Well… no… It is resolved already. Homosexuality is widespread in the “animal kingdom.” Are we going to argue that animals knowingly choose a sinful lifestyle?

    But I get the gist of what you’re saying. Genes are complex things, and as often as not, they give us the propensity to do or be certain things. Our environment then shapes us and alters the expression of various genetic components of our genome. And there will never be a clear cut line between nature and nurture because they’re inseparable.

    An interesting personal experience in sexuality occurred when I was 20 and a theatre major.

    You realize there are at least a dozen jokes in this one sentence, right? Starting with… Ok… have you ever REALLY met a straight theater person?

    When I was in school for music, we used to joke about gays in the music field. We said, “If you want to find the closet cases, ask who’s going to be a youth minister. If you want the out gays, go to the theater department.”

    However, the fascinating thing was that all of a sudden most of my student colleagues also came out as “gay”.

    QED 🙂

    I have no doubt that we all have homosexual tendencies. Whether we choose to express them, or events in our lives, take us down that path, regardless, some people choose homosexuality.

    Ok… so seriously, you make a good point here. And it gets into tricky philosophical territory, including the nature of choice itself. If you’ve read my stuff for long enough, you know I don’t believe in a Christian version of free will. That is, I don’t see us as blank slates, and I think in any given situation, we always follow a very simple algorithm: Do what seems like the best choice. In light of that, it’s difficult to suggest that someone “really” chooses homosexuality or heterosexuality.

    Beyond that, there’s the problem of whether or not “gay” is an action or a feeling. Am I gay if I suck a cock for a thousand dollars, or am I an opportunist? What about five? What if I pay fifty for the privilege?

    More and more in the LGBT community, I’m hearing about how labels describe what a person feels inside, not what they do on the outside. So someone can be gay even though they’ve never had any sexual contact with the same sex, or they can be straight while living a gay lifestyle. When we look at it this way, it’s hard to even wrap our brains around what it might mean to “choose to be gay.”

    Now that we have mapped the human genome, and despite a lot of turf wars over the information, we will learn more if “gay genes” really exist.

    Well, it’s likely that we won’t find a “gay gene,” but that’s because of the nature of genes, not the nature of gay. Very few things in our genetic makeup are linked to “a gene.” Each gene interacts with a staggering number of other genes, each of which expresses or doesn’t express, or expresses differently based on an almost unimaginable number of combinations.

    We have already found plenty of genes that seem to play a part in the propensity for enjoying homosexual activity. But that’s just genes… there’s hormones to consider… and that’s a whole nother ball game…

    Posted by hambydammit | April 15, 2011, 6:51 pm

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