Monday, October 14, 2013

Let’s Talk About Gay Mormons and also Black People

[This is a very liberal, angry rant. Consider yourself warned.]

So, a few weeks ago I read this piece about gay mormons in the Huffington post. I quote:

"Wendy and Tom Montgomery went door-to-door in their California neighborhood in 2008 campaigning for the passage of an anti-gay marriage proposition. They were among thousands of faithful Mormons following the direction of a church that spent millions on the cause.
Then they learned last year that their 15-year-old son is gay — a revelation that rocked their belief system.
Now, Wendy Montgomery is leading a growing movement among Mormons to push The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to teach that homosexuality isn't a sin.”

Ok, first let’s give them credit where credit is due:


It’s sad that “not rejecting your gay son” is a thing that even needs to be recognized, but still. Congrats on not being the worst kind of person.  Kudos.

But, you know what? That’s the only kind thing I have to say about them.  Because as soon as I read the article, my first thought was this:




Based on your track record for prop 8, you probably wouldn't have been down with it.



And that’s the thing that kills me. It’s not about these people specifically. It’s about every single person who preached against homosexuality and gay rights UNTIL their child or sister or father or friend came out as gay.  
  
You know, acceptance of homosexuality is one of the fastest growing “movements” (probably not the right word?) in the US. As a supporter of gay rights, I think that’s great.

BUT it makes me really sad that I believe it is ONLY happening so quickly because homosexuality is something that cuts across all religions/socioeconomic statuses/ages/genders/races/and ethnicities. 

You might be thinking, "C'mon Gia, cut them a break. At least people are coming around, no matter the cause." But this thinking is dangerous - it means that if someone doesn't have first hand experience with a social issue, they aren't willing to empathize and put themselves in someone else’s fucking shoes. Social problems get ignored because maybe they won’t ever have a drug addicted son, or a poor son, or a black son.

I wrote about Trayvon here.
What about all of those white people who won't recognize the racial aspects of the case because they don’t have a black son? They’re unwilling to even imagine themselves as the parents of young black men because that’s something they will never experience.

These people don’t have to fear their child being seeing as dangerous JUST for being black.  So they don’t see it as a societal harm when a black man is killed by police after banging on a door after being in a car accident. Or when a black man was killed by police after his girlfriend called them because he was having a diabetic reaction.

(Note: I want to make sure my wording is extra clear here - I’m not saying all white people are at fault. You’re not guilty for being white. Or straight. Or privileged. You’re guilty when you refuse to acknowledge that the persecution of people for being different  is a problem.)


  
I know I’m probably being unnecessarily harsh and a bit unfair to Wendy and Tom Montgomery, but the fact that they expect to be praised for becoming open minded despite their total hypocrisy and complete lack of empathy makes me sick. I’m not saying we all need to be bleeding heart social justice crusaders – I’m saying that as human beings, we should be able to understand and recognize problems that fellow humans face, even when they don’t affect us personally. 

Honestly, I think this attitude is kind of bullshit:




This is much better:



[Note: I am 87% sure Boyfriend is not gay.]

And obviously, there's nothing wrong with taking up a cause that you have a personal connection to. It's the spewing-hatred-until-a-societal-problem-affects-me attitude that kills me.

In conclusion:



45 comments:

  1. Flame on, Gia. I kept coming up with points to add, but then you kept hitting them.

    People shouldn't be congratulated for acting out of self interest.

    Reminds me of those assholes in Oklahoma, who voted against federal help for those hit by Sandy, only to have a change of heart about federal aid after their town got leveled by a tornado. That's the new American motto... "It's different when it's about ME!"

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  2. Wow - didn't expect this kind of...social commentary on here, but I liked it. And what a good point you make. I guess in general one shouldn't get applauded for just not being a complete asshole.

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    1. I know, it's not like me. Don't worry, this isn't turning into an angry liberal yelly blog. I post about cookies later this week.

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  3. If it takes a personal experience to help people understand that they're being Aholes then so be it. But so true. I don't need a gay family member to know it's wrong to condemn them.

    Ps as a Canadian, and a socialist liberal, this doesn't seem "very" liberal. It just sounds common sense! :)

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    1. As a Canadian and a through and through Conservative (slightly left of Atilla the Hun I've been told), this still reads as common sense to me. Thank goodness that my parents/teachers drilled into my head NO DISCRIMINATION PERIOD. And that the Charter encodes into law for Canadian helps too...

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  4. Proactive hatred is awful. But I can understand Wendy and Tom a little. They were brought up believing whatever their church told them. Going outside of that would have been to call into question everything they believe. (By the way, under one of your pictures you say "their track record against Prop 8" I think you meant their track record "in favor of Prop 8". Sorry, but I want your rant to be as accurate as possible.) People tend not to confront their life-long held bigotries until they are confronted with a conflicting reality. That naturally causes them to swing the other way because they've had an epiphany they wish upon their group of friends, their community so that they don't lose that support group.
    That said, hell yeah I agree with you! Fuck the bigots! No, wait, fuck them metaphorically, don't actually have sex with them, they deserve to be sexless.

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    1. Dammit, you're right about prop 8 and I won't be able to fix that til this evening argh!

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  5. Isn't it amazing how accepting people become when it involves themselves? Maybe we all need gay sons. Gay sons for all!

    I don't think this is too liberal. I'm not a liberal (or a conservative. I'm not anything. Fuck politics). As said above, it's just common sense. It reminds me of that great Sunny in Philly episode where Mac goes to an abortion rally and goes all gung-ho on being anti abortion, then when he finds out he's knocked up one of the hot rally members he tells her, "Oh... we should probably abort that. I'm not ready to be a father."

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  6. You go Gia! I could not agree more with your indignation at the lack of empathy and compassion in the privileged classes regarding those who are different than them, in any way. This also includes men ( and women who don't know any better ) who think benevolent sexism is OK. Keep up the rants! If it opens just one person's eyes, mind, and heart, it is worth it. Plus, it makes you feel better :)

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  7. Mentally, physically and emotionally we are the same. We each have the potential to good and bad and to be overcome by disturbing emotions such as anger, fear, hatred, suspicion and greed. These emotions can be the cause of many problems. On the other hand if you cultivate loving kindness, compassion and concern for others, there will be no room for anger, hatred and jealousy. Dalai Lama'sFB status today <3

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  8. This post is perfect! So perfect. The sad thing is Wendy and Tom are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to people onl caring about something because it affects them. x

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  9. I understand your point, still we are all guilty of dismissing things until we are able to relate a little more directly. While social issues are certainly one example of ignoring something until you can relate, health issues are another example, death, too, for that matter. Add age and life experience, and you typically "get it" far better than you did when you were young.

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    1. I don't disagree that we definitely relate better to things that we experience ourselves.

      But to me, there is a difference between not being able to relate to something, and actively spewing hate towards it.

      It would be the difference between me going "Bah if you have type II diabetes you totally deserve it with your unhealthy eating, that's what you get." and me going, "Hey, I don't have type II diabetes and it's not a cause that I personally feel very strongly about, but I respect that people struggle with it and solely blaming them for their unhealthy eating isn't quite fair."

      To me, these people essentially said "Stupid fatties with their cookie eating, you deserve your diabetes!" and then were diagnosed with it themselves and went "People with diabetes should be treated with dignity and respect because it's not entirely their fault! How dare you mock them for it! Change your attitudes now!"

      I don't know how this became a long diabetes rant. My bad. I do get what you're saying, though.

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  10. This is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

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  11. While I wish everyone was open without the personal experience, people relate and understand better when being around an issue, it is human nature. Especially when the situation is very far removed from the life they know of, something they have always been taught is wrong, religions do not have gray areas.
    While it sucks that yes, these Mormon parents denied rights earlier, at least they have "seen the light" and are using it to push change, not only accepting their son, but trying to change the Mormon church, so others do not make the same mistakes they did.
    There are probably other Mormon parents who have accepted their gay children, but have not used the experience to try and have the church changed, so in that, I admire them for what they are doing.
    Experience, age, etc changes our viewpoints on many things- thank goodness I never got that butterfly tramp stamp :)

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  12. Nice rant. Trying not to be too smug here on the Canadian side of the border, because we have our problems too. Did you ever see that video clip by the Australian army chief? The one where he glares into the camera and rips the head off those sexist pimples that had been denigrating women in the service. I'm pissed that the heads of our RCMP can't come out and say something like that, because until they do, I think they are part of the problem. The Aussie said something that has stuck with me. "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."

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    1. I'll have to google that, you stinkin' canadian. And that's a great saying, I like it a lot.

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  13. Gia, as a Republican and basically Conservative (I like to think I am Conservative with a heart), the only thing I object to on this rant is you call it a Liberal Rant. The feelings you voice are not those of ONLY Liberals, and there are many Liberals who will not agree with this rant. It is a rant, and it is a good one, it is one that I agree with, well done.

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    1. Very reasonable point. I don't mean to imply "If you vote republican you'll disagree and vice versa." I suppose I just meant if that this post was more socially liberal? I certainly don't mean to alienate any of my lovely republican readers (who I suppose have to be at least a bit socially liberal to read this blog at all :p).

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  14. I agree with your rant, but when it comes to the Prop 8 Mormon thing, I'm willing cut people a little slack. I'm willing to cut church members slack, but not the Mormon leadership. I was raised Mormon and my sister is gay. Try growing up gay, black, a woman, and Mormon ... now that's a hard life. Anyway, in the Mormon church following what the leaders tell you to do is connected with your salvation because they strongly believe that the prophet is talking directly to God. There is no wiggle room. If you disobey the prophet, you disobey god. There was a lot of pressure from Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake to actively support prop 8. Some members who didn't feel comfortable with the law at all supported it because they believed they had to. There were other people who left the church completely because of the whole Prop 8 thing. I left because of Prop 8 and a bunch of other things too.

    Yes, ideally people should be able to recognize injustice and want to do something about it even when it doesn't affect them directly, but sadly often that isn't the case. I've had so many white people tell me that they never even thought about racism until they saw the movie White Man's Burden. I think that is just pitiful. Do you really need to see a movie in which the roles of whites and blacks are reversed to understand just how terrible racism is? Apparently, some people do.

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    1. Wow - thanks for your mormon life insight.

      I find it interesting that church leaders said Prop 8 was such an important issue and tied to your salvation, and yet these people still flipped on the issue when it became personal. I'm not sure what conclusions I draw from that. Hmm.

      I just googled white man's burden and I just want to go SERIOUSLY THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES!??!!? Sigh.

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  15. Amen! {genuflecting AND sign of the cross!} from this cafeteria Catholic.

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    1. Cafeteria Catholics are my favorite kind!

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  16. I was totally with you untill the Travon comment. He was just a black thug wan't-a-be. He had every chance to avoid George but he pushed the issue. George was not correct but Travon was not either. The media tried ti try this case posting pictures of a 12 year old to get your symphity.

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  17. I love it when you go all liberal on me. It makes me so happy, especially when you back up your opinions with facts. Mormons have a long history of hating black people, too. A Mormon once told X that black people are exactly the same as monkeys. I beg to differ. I am sick unto death of people who take verses from the Bible and use them to suit their own purposes. They're so big on a man shouldn't lie with another man, but what about the verse that says you should kill your children if they misbehave? Why don't they obey that one? Pick and choose. Selective Bible reading. Another outstanding post that makes me wish I were your mommy and could give you a big hug.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I don't understand the picking and choosing of abominations. According to the bible eating seafood without fins and scales and mixing fabrics are both abominations. I haven't seen anyone protesting outside of Red Lobster or demanding that everyone only wear cotton.

      Yes, the Mormon church is at its core racist, sexist, and homophobic. This video explains the racism a bit more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5_L1coztJ4

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    3. Hey hey hey I'm pretty sure I explained the whole abomination thing right here: http://mayorgia.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-story-of-leviticus.html See? I can be educational in addition to ranty. :P

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  18. If I could get this post pregnant to keep you in my life forever, I would. Also, because I think baby posts of this nature would be adorable.

    I was Mormon. The prop 8 thing was what lead me out of the church. Not because I had gay friends or family members. I wish that it was purely selfless, as you speak of here, but it was because I had children born with disabilities (I'm not saying gay is a disability, absolutely not...) who are treated differently- as less than- because of their diagnoses. Empathy helped me to cross that line. I wish I could say it was organic. But what remains is now. My support of gay rights has caused great problems with my Mormon family and friends. They've all but pulled away completely. This, from a church that teaches that families are the most important thing.

    While I agree with what the other Mormon wrote above, I still hope, REALLY HOPE, that Mormons will listen to people like me. The hope though, is fading. Instead of seeing that I care about the feelings of people who have had rights stolen from them, they see me as attacking their belief system. That I'm out to hurt them.

    You'll get it, too, when the Mormons come. And they will come, I'm sure of it. They see things like this an attack. A threat to their faith. They will stand up for what they believe in, but not care to see that you are doing the same. You're the one that is going to be wrong, so it doesn't matter if you're speaking in logic, love and truth. They will quickly shelf any sort of agreement they might feel with what you have said, because cognitive dissonance is UNCOMFORTABLE. They will "doubt their doubts" as their leaders have counseled them, and go on being hateful in the name of the religion that they refuse to even so much as THINK about outside of what is told to them to think about.

    I'm sorry. I've unloaded a shitton of psychological baggage here. Crazy people do that from time to time.

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    1. Also, and this will be fun for you, you should look into what the Mormon doctrine on why people are black...

      okay don't, it'll piss you off. I'll summarize: it's sin! They believe that god cursed the skins of those who have sinned, from Adam down to present day. They don't teach those things NOW in church, but they're still very much alive in the Book of Mormon, though the wording keeps getting changed...the message is still the same.

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    2. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this! I think it's awesome that you stood up for your beliefs. I hate it when people blindly follow without questioning.

      Interesting about Mormons - to be honest, I wasn't trying to pick a fight with them specifically (if it had been a Catholic in the story, I would have been just as - if not more - harsh). I'm sure there's some pro-gay mormons out there still (right?), and kudos to them.

      Clearly, I'm not well educated on mormonism. About 92% of what I know I learned from this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlbDHejQFV4

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    3. Wow it's really interesting to hear from a former Mormon about this and why you left the church.

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  19. Preach, sister friend! You really hit the nail on the head when you talked about homosexuality, as a whole, becoming more accepted. It is because more people are realizing they know someone who is gay! Gay isn't this foreign, ambiguous concept. And the more people who become accepting, the more people feel comfortable coming out.

    But just as you said, that doesn't do squat for other minorities. The only thing one can hope is that people realize in the same way that their opinions about their gay son were flawed, they realize that their opinions about others outside of the majority may be wrong as well. Here's to progress! And good for you for calling bullshit! The more this conversation arises, the more people are forced to think about their opinions/prejudices.

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  20. Well said, Gia. I like a ranty Gia every once in a while. You expressed this very well. Good job.

    Also, there is not one gay person in my family (that I know), yet I am and have always been a proponent of gay rights. What the hell is wrong with me? Thank goodness my nephew married a black girl so I could stop being an unbelievable racist asshole! Phew.

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  21. Well said, kiddo! This old fartessa agrees with you 100%.

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  22. Gia,you rock! I couldn't agree more with you. This world is so full of phony, hypocritical bigots. It's so sad. You should do more posts like this. You have a good head on your shoulders clearly.

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  23. Empathy which is not taught, is learned by personal experience. I'm an enormous supporter of equality for all. ALL means all! Love you Gia, but I can't jump on board with your rant against the evolved Wendy and Tom. They did the right thing when it was presented to them in a way they could understand and now they're helping to move the issue forward. They can't change what they did in 2008. They can only fix their HUGE FUCKING MISTAKE from this point forward.

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    1. While I disagree that empathy must be learned through experience, I respect your stance on it.

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    2. I think empathy comes in many ways. Even as a small child, without understanding or knowing there was even a word for it, I always wondered how others felt in their own circumstances. I college while majoring in social work, a class based on empathy was required and it opened my eyes even further. Some people are just selfish assholes even with personal experience. They just harden and become worse. Whereas others use that experience and broaden their horizons. Bottom line, some people are just assholes no matter, and some people always worry about the plight of others.

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  24. Now that was a kick ass rant! Love it.

    Wendy and Tom did not evolve. I call bullsh*t on their whole hypocritical stance because I believe that inside they still hate the fact their son is gay and still believe it is a sin. So many people pull that crap when it effects them directly after venting against it for so long. It's not about love to them but more to make themselves look good to the public.

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  25. Ranting. Excellent drawing skills. Intelligence. You friend have earned yourself a stalker!

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