How Do You Make a Homo?
Guy #1: "My mother made me a homosexual."
Guy #2: "If I give her the yarn, will she make one for me, too?"
OK, maybe not a great joke. But it reminds me of an often-heard retort to faith-based homophobia: "God made me gay."
The impulse to stake that claim is understandable. If being queer isn't a choice, then we deserve equal rights, right? And if we're an intended part of some divine creation, then GLBT rights even has a heavenly imprimatur, like not eating meat on Fridays.
But, but, but…
There are, sorry, two big things wrong with proceeding down that pious path.
First off, it shouldn’t matter why some of us have turned out queer: We should have our fucking rights regardless. After all, religion isn't an inborn characteristic, but it's a protected class anyway. Sorry, Pope, but your flock has chosen a Catholic lifestyle, so they don't deserve civil rights. Nope, Miss Benedict wouldn't go for that at all. But somehow, we're all tangled up in debates about genetics and psychology and stuff, when we should just be insisting on our right to be different, even if it's by choice.
Even stickier, though, is the whole Sky God schtick. Sure, I understand the very human urge to be part of something larger than the isolated self. Yes, I grasp the desire to somehow be assured of existence past death. Sex is tied up with all that, of course, as is parenthood.
And then there's religion.
But faith is, by definition, impervious to evidence and logic. So by arguing on religious grounds, we're basically ceding the ground to our foes.
"God made me gay, and He loves me just the way I am."
"No, He didn't and He doesn't and He wants you to change."
"No, you prove it."
And there the matter sits. Theological standoff.
Now, queer folks aren't immune to the lures of heavenly blessings, angelic choirs, and all that eternal good stuff. And there's certainly a temptation to use our enemies' own weapons and throw their shit back at them. But cherry-picking the tenets of revealed religion seems like a sucker's game to me. If you want to be a queer Christian, you're entitled. But if you want to be a gay Mormon or Roman Catholic or even a homo holy roller, I'd question your picking and choosing just what you do or don't believe. I do, yes, know something about the ambiguities of Biblical exegesis; monotheists have for millennia been arguing about what this or that verse means. And certainly, Yahweh's sex police are strangely selective; they pay a lot more attention to the passages forbidding hanky-panky than to the command to kill unruly kids. (Though, based on my last cross-country flight, I'm thinking that maybe that's a pity.)