Orlando

Hands

(I want to preface this post by saying that these words were originally written as a post on Facebook, and ordinarily I don’t put my Facebook posts here on the blog, because usually Facebook posts are less thought out than my blog posts, and the quality of writing isn’t as good because it’s very off the cuff. However I got a really positive reaction to this post and a lot of people said it made them think or it affected them, so I’m going to post it here on the blog in the hopes that it might affect someone else.)

My whole life I have lived in fear because I’m gay. My boyfriends have refused to let me touch or hold their hand in public because they were genuinely afraid we would get shot. People can say what they want about change or progress, but through my eyes, the world is a place that abhors and hates gay people. It isn’t about politics or points of view. This is a world in which being gay is a crime punishable by the bloodiest death imaginable.

If you are gay, you have to get out of bed in the morning and fight the entire world. If you are gay, you have to live in fear everywhere you go. If you are gay, you have to drive past church billboards and protesters and rallies of people, all plotting ways to kill you. Every piece of homophobic rhetoric is an incitement to violence. Every person talking about “traditional marriage” is inciting violence; every time any person abhors homosexuality they are inviting the most unstable of us to kill. There is no debate. There is no middle ground. Homosexuality is real and homosexual people are worthy. If you don’t agree with that, if you fight against that, your actions are inciting death.

Am I angry at the man who killed fifty of my brothers and sisters? I don’t know. I don’t know what I feel. But right now, in THIS moment, I feel sad for him. I feel sad because he was afraid, he was afraid of what this entire homophobic world told him. I understand the desire to hurt someone. I understand what it’s like to be fucked up in the head, and to not know how to take out your anger. His anger overpowered him and he took it out on those innocent people.

It’s said that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic state. I did not grow up around Islam. But I can tell you what I do know, and that’s Christianity. I ask you to please remember that I am sharing my personal experience here. I have seen Christianity. I have seen every kind of Christian.

I have seen my grandmother, who was kind and loving, who never let me leave her house without kissing me and telling me she loved me, even when she was mad at me.

I have seen the Westboro Baptist Church, and I ask you to please, PLEASE believe me when I tell you that as a gay man from Charlotte, North Carolina, you would be very surprised to know that the sentiments written on those Westboro Baptist Church placards are shared by MANY Christians.

Now hold on. If you just rolled your eyes or thought “That’s a minority of people,” or “Yeah, but that doesn’t represent everyone or even that faith,” or anything like that, just wait a moment. Please listen. This is my experience. I’m telling you what I’ve seen.

Even the people who are kind, who take people in and help them, who feed the poor, even those people have no qualms about talking candidly about “niggers” and “fags” the moment the door is closed. As an example, there is a woman I knew from the time I was a child, who loved me and whose grandchildren were my friends, who was kind and smiled and laughed and who gave me food every time I came into her house. This was a patently good person. And when I mentioned off-handedly that I was gay she laughed and said “Now Jesse, you are too much of a nice boy to be a fag.”

I have seen the face of Christianity. It is self loathing, it is fear, it is embracing worthlessness, it is absolving yourself of personal responsibility, it is denial of pleasure and joy, it is hatred of the world around you, it is a loathing for the world and a longing for death and for a paradise beyond death, it is a fear of anger and retribution and fire, it is a longing to be unworthy, it is an obscene lust to be persecuted, it is a desire to prostrate yourself at all times before a master who condemns you, it is a sadomasochistic fascination with being unclean and hating yourself. This is the Christianity I have seen, and I am telling you the truth.

I am not surprised that the shooter claimed an allegiance to Islamic ideals. And it inst because I’m Islamophobic (at least not anymore than I’m Christophobic). It’s because I understand what Christianity can do to people. Islam is a sister religion to Christianity. Christianity and Islam share many things, and there differences are often only superficial: both religions contain the same calls to violence and the same condemnation of anyone who opposes their views. They also both contain beautiful poetry and wise people. But ultimately these religions are no different.

Let us not get sidetracked by focusing too much on the man with the gun who killed those people. Remember that he killed those people in that club BECAUSE THEY WERE GAY. If you deny this then you’re burying your head in the sand. And did he do it because of Islam? I have seen Christianity make monsters out of good people, so yes, absolutely it could have been because of Islam. It does not make me a bigot to realize this. It does not make me a bigot to stand up and shout that religion has been targeting my people and killing them for millennia. Christianity has targeted and murdered gay people specifically because they are gay for centuries upon centuries, and Islam is a stone’s throw (pardon the irony) from Christianity.

I am gay. I told everyone I was gay the moment I understood it to be the truth when I was 12 years old. Believe what I’m telling you, I have seen good and decent people become monsters because of their homophobia. I should be angry at those people, and I should be angry at the gunman.

But I’m just sad. I’m just sad, and exhausted.

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words from the dark

words from the darkness
all in lower case
warm and sinking, deeper still
the warm and rotten place
the core, dirty, bleeding
the questions bouncing back off the walls
lay down, little one
be quiet now, and close your eyes
there aren’t any physical tears anymore
the rivers run over in the world’s inside
the fields that once were green now deep within the oceans
the plants have rotted through, drowned and soaked to death
if my eyes roll back
the dark comes again
and in it is peace
peace in acceptance
nothingness and oblivion
falling on and on until all existance is a part of nothingness
(there are too many mirrors
mirrors in people and in sand, telling me things that i can’t hear)
nobody and nobody and nobody
lay down now, stop eating
stop drinking, stop blinking, stop thinking
the end of all things, the beginning of nothing that stretches out into eternity
it’s like a fluid but it’s too soft to be, it’s black like thick honey
once it’s in a pool surrounded by cement but to touch it is to fall into it
this embrace, the embrace of the acceptance of fear and of death
death smiles, he welcomes
i don’t fear him, he speaks to me and his voice must sound terrifying but it isn’t like that
the devil is real and is all those things they said he was
but he’s living too, he understands love
no one knows love like those deep in the darkness
my residence here is temporary, everyone here knows it
the ghosts walk by and pat my head, “poor little one,” they say
“he’ll leave soon,” some smile as they reply, and they walk on
he
boys and boys and boys
can i swim up?
can i climb up?
i haven’t decided yet
let me sleep a little longer, i’m not ready for school
i have more to learn
more to find on the edge of death
behind these bright eyes is a darkness
these sockets are empty
this body is hollow
this spirit is gone and hasn’t returned yet
blood everywhere, and skin that’s ripped
ugliness and horror, screams
invite them in
whispers of darkness
pain and horror and fear don’t actually hurt
they can feel good if you love them in the eye
the sound here is like a womb
is it the womb of the earth?
the womb of the soul?
fluids are everywhere
what is solid is liquid here
can I say it? can I ask it?
can I ask you to sing for me?
can I ask you to touch my skin, with no meaning? just my friend?
can I ask you to be a lover that doesn’t care?
i’ve had enough
enough of the world above
but i don’t want to stay here
i don’t actually want to die
death knows this, he is sympathtic
he asks me when i’ll be going back
i don’t know what to say to him
disfigurement and horror dreams live here, demons possessing me and us all
but so warm, so thick, so simple
the glass up there is fragile
i waved goodbye to them and tried to go up but i fell again
always falling, he fell from heaven
cast out
cast
cast
cast