Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"We've Got to Get Past the Fact That Sexual Orientation Is a Reason to Discriminate": Video Resources

I continue working on the writing project I've been commissioned to write about Garrard Conley's painful, beautiful memoir Boy Erased, a story of growing up gay in a conservative evangelical Missionary Baptist preacher's family in Arkansas, and being sent to Love in Action in Memphis in 2004 for "reparative" "therapy." I mentioned this project early this month, and wrote a review of the book in July.

As I worked on the project today, I ran across this essay Garrard Conley wrote in May for CNN, noting that there are no safe spaces for gay* youth in much of America, and the "progress" we have made with marriage equality is illusionary — it's non-existent — for the many gay youth still being booted out onto the streets by their families, very frequently with religious rhetoric attending the brutal expulsion from home and family.

The video at the head of the posting, an interview with a Catholic couple in Memphis, Deb and Steve Word, strikes me, and I wanted to share it with you. I'm struck, in particular, by Deb's closing observation:

We've got to get past the fact that sexual orientation is a reason to discriminate, or a reason to not love someone.

To that, I say, Amen. 

And perhaps we are moving in a hopeful, if snails'-pace direction, in some cultures: today, the wonderful "I'm from Driftwood" project uploaded the following video to its collection at YouTube. Graham's testimony grabs me, because he's roughly my age (a year younger — the age of my husband Steve, in fact):

Why do I rant and rave and fume so much about the fact that churches and church institutions keep doing this kind of thing over and over to gay people? I do so because, quite simply, it hurts so much.

It hurts to see institutions claiming Jesus as their originating impulse shoving people out of homes that should be loving, both familial and ecclesial, making them outcasts, telling them they are flawed and do not count, subjecting them to insecurity and pain, flogging them.

And, yes, this does go on today in various ways. Still. See the story I posted only yesterday about Kate Drumgoole and Jaclyn Vanore and Paramus Catholic high school in New Jersey.

* Gay = LGBTQI.

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