Thursday, June 8, 2017

In Pride Month, Lots of (Empty) Talk about Catholic-LGBTQ Bridge Building: Why I'm Not Feeling It

During Pride month, there's a lot of talk circulating about bridge-building — between the Catholic church and the LGBTQ community. I'm not feeling the talk, to be frank.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to point out that the talk emanates almost exclusively from Catholic scholars and ministers who enjoy heterosexual privilege, while claiming to speak on behalf of and to the LGBTQ community. The talk often laments that LGBTQ Catholics "feel" alienated and abused by the church.

If any of the bridge-builders made it their business actually to talk to and listen seriously to LGBTQ Catholics — to hear our stories — they'd be confronted with a wealth of evidence that we don't simply "feel" alienated and abused by the church. We are abused by the church in many cases.

As in, excluded,

Fired without cause,

Singled out for punishment for infractions of magisterial codes of ethics heterosexual Catholics are allowed to flout with impunity.

We're told by the heterosexual or heterosexual identified "bridge-building" crews that LGBTQ people  have an obligation to start building bridges to the Catholic community — while no bridges are in sight, not ever, from the Catholic side. As in, concrete attempts to reach out and hear our stories in a respectful way, invite us into conversations that determine Catholic identity in the U.S., stand with us to challenge the injustices that have relegated us to the margins.

And, above all, stop speaking for us and down to us when you yourselves, the "bridge-builders," enjoy heterosexual power and privilege in a heterosexist, homophobic institution.

The photo is a screenshot from TBagels' "Unfinished Bridge Over the Saigon River" video at YouTube.

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