Many gay New Yorkers were crushed by the defeat of the gay marriage bill in our state Senate. I’ve never seen so many disgusted Facebook postings on any other subject except maybe "I’m bored at work." But while changing your middle name on Facebook to "Equality" is a nice gesture, you can give up on holy matrimony once if that’s the extent of your activism. As Derek Hartley from Sirius OutQ radio once told me, "The gay community has become reactive rather than proactive." We respond when something happens we don’t like, but most of aren’t in the trenches fighting for anything we want to happen.
It wasn’t always this way. We banded together in the ’80s to form ACT UP to combat the government’s slow response to AIDS. And Stonewall was a rollicking brick-throwing skirmish in response to police harassment which gave birth to our whole civil rights movement. If gay marriage is your priority then you must fight for it and that means getting involved in the process. Part of that process is joining the groups like Empire State Pride Agenda and contributing, volunteering, and signing and forwarding petitions. What? You want something for nothing? Dream on.
Ask yourselves who else supports same-sex unions outside of the gay community. The answer is progressive Democrats and never Republicans, so we must ally ourselves with those in the straight world who support our right to marry. That’s simple common sense--if gays are 10% of the population then we have to engage the other 90% to achieve success. And look at the other issues the left focuses on from health care reform to halting global warming to ending the two wars which we’re losing and can’t afford. Chances are, you’re in agreement with the rest of the progressive agenda. By joining them on all they do, you’re strengthening your own chances of walking down that aisle one day. Dennis Kucinich was the only democratic primary candidate who supported gay marriage. I never heard ANY support for him in the gay community. Oh, you didn’t know he supported gay marriage? Then you aren’t clear on the issues and you need to either get a grip or stop whining.
By the same token, we also must end up our associations with the groups which consistently block our quest for equal rights. Sorry, but that means organized religion. Church. One Sunday a year, NY gays band together to celebrate gay pride and show our strength in numbers. But EVERY Sunday churches congregate to advance their often hate-filled agendas. How do the odds of 52-1 in their favor sound to you?
Buddhism is the only major religion I know of which doesn’t have an anti-gay slant. Of course, not every faith has a strong anti-gay bias but let’s check out the attitudes of a few we know and love to hate.
Islam: Ten men including eight teenagers are currently awaiting execution for sodomy in Iran. Images of two Iranian teen boys who were sentenced to death by hanging shocked the world in ’05. (Please don’t ask whether or not they were well-hung.) Other Muslim nations like Nigeria and Afghanistan only stone gays to death.
Catholicism: Not only did the closet case-filled Catholic church donate $550,000 to defeat gay marriage in this country as of October, the Pope decreed in Cameroon that condoms do not prevent HIV transmission. Hungh? The Pope isn’t some fringe element within his church, he’s the #1 head honcho! How the hell is he going to sentence his followers to death by flying in the face of the fact that rubbers reduce HIV transmissions by 80%? You can say your prayers if this hot mess is your spiritual leader. And Benedict, please change your one dress!
Protestantism: Remember Pastor Rick Warren who sparked outrage from gays when he was selected to speak at Obama’s inauguration? Rick is one of many US fundamentalist nuts who have their hand in Uganda’s pending legislation which would sentence gays to life imprisonment and recommend the death penalty on HIV + gays. These U.S. Christian leaders know that murdering gays wouldn’t fly in the U.S., so they push their evil policies in Uganda. These are the guys who brought us the Salem witch trials and we’re the new witches! And how on earth do Christians in any country conveniently forget about THOU SHALT NOT KILL when they want to kill a gay or start a war? They can’t even understand the faith that they pretend to follow!
No one’s buying a lot of gifts in a recession, so here’s a wonderful gift you can give yourself for free: GIVE UP ON ORGANIZED RELIGION. Remember how we took back the word "queer" from bigots who insulted us with it to remove its sting? Instead of letting these virulently anti-gay crackpots denounce (or kill) us, it’s high time that the gays denounce the church instead. I don’t seek gay marriage any more than I want gay baptism-simply because it’s a religious sacrament and the organized religions don’t support my equal rights. If I’m a second class citizen in their eyes, then in no way can I get behind their teachings. Civil unions are fine by me.
"But I believe in God," you protest. A god that from childhood is crammed down your throats more often than a pedophile priest’s cock? The god from a version of the bible that was translated by that nelly wig-wearing queen King James? I enjoyed Sleeping Beauty, Rumplestilskin and many other fairy tales when I was a kid. but you don’t carry these with you into adulthood and use them as a game plan for your lives. (Except for maybe Cinderella.) So why take the contradictory testaments of the bible any more seriously than other childhood fables? And how in the name of reason could you stand with a morally bankrupt bunch which has stood behind holy wars, slavery and witch hunts?
I’m not asking you to compromise your religious beliefs-only to examine if they’re empowering anti-gay bigots with every contribution you place in that collection plate. Of course there are more accepting branches of Christianity than the fundamentalists. Quakers even perform gay weddings. But on the whole, organized religion is our enemy and you can’t battle it until you’ve defined it. Can we ever win by backing a belief system which denies us equal rights? Never. So this Christmas, give the gift of freedom from organized religion. It doesn’t cost you one thin dime. Amen to that and Merry Christmas from an atheist! Meet me (and my husband) in hell!
Wigstock-founder Lady Bunny is an actress, DJ, singer/ songwriter, comedienne and ho.