Thursday, January 15, 2015

Comments about the (Continuing) Toxic Script of Blaming Gays for the Catholic Abuse Crisis

From my Facebook feed today, a thread of postings I've made:

● So I post here a story about yet another firing of a gay employee of a Catholic institution (and see also here), after that person indicates on Facebook he intends to marry his partner, and I get emails and a string of comments from people supporting survivors of clerical abuse telling me that gays are the problem in the Catholic church. As a gay man, I've stood up for those folks over and over again and will keep doing so — but they still intend to keep the homophobic rhetoric and blaming of gays alive? I don't get it.

● P.S. There's a real and continuing problem with sick homophobia among some members of the community of survivors. I'm tired of hearing their rhetoric blaming gay priests for the abuse crisis — rhetoric that echoes the same toxic homophobia in the hierarchy itself that has helped cover up the abuse cases by falsely shifting the blame for them to gay priests.

● And because most people take the sea of homophobia in which we all swim for granted and seldom think about it, they don't think, either, about the cruelty and unfairness of blaming gay folks for what gay folks have not caused and do not do — something that goes on throughout most cultures all the time, as gay folks are scapegoated for all kinds of problems that have nothing to do with us (e.g., the failure of heterosexual marriage).

● This places those who are gay in the intolerable position of having to defend ourselves, apologize for what we haven't done, and pretend that we can't see and hear the homophobia that is palpably present even in the discourse of many people whom we've sought to uplift.

● All of which we who are gay have to deal with as we deal with very real prejudice and oppression in our everyday lives, from our encounters with a doctor at his office to how we're dealt with by someone waiting on us in a restaurant, when we're an obvious and open gay couple.

● Another way to put the point I've been making in postings today: the problem is not just homophobia. It's the hyper-macho posture that too many men feel entitled to assume when they feel their masculinity is threatened. That posture of male entitlement is always acted out over against and on the bodies of women, men these men choose to see as feminized (i.e., gay men), and the wretched of the earth in general. This posture of male entitlement no longer deserves a free pass and all the excuses it uses to justify its abuse of others.

(Another p.s.: I'm deeply grateful to all of you who have made comments in response to my last posting, offering encouragement.)

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