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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unconditional Love and Hugging Men in Underwear

As you have been reading my blogs and getting to know me, you know that I am the type of person who stands up for my beliefs and convictions; c'mon I shaved my hair off to experience an indelible change in my life, so I am not afraid to stand out and stand up!

You also know that I have received so much support on my decision (actually was told by someone in Walmart the other day "I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!" and she decided she was also going to take her's off too... okay she is close to bald with as short as her hair is anyway, so she had a jump-start on me! But GO FOR IT and EMBRACE IT! I say!); but along with the support and compliments, I've also received some flak. Well, with all good things come challenges and I think this is giving me a jump start on my grabbing more bulls by the horns and my skin sure is getting much thicker.

One of the things I have said was that I don't have cancer, nor am I a lesbian; as that is most often associated with a woman who is bald. Do I say that with disgust? No, I don't. I am just stating that as a fact. I remember many years ago (while married to my first husband), I had had my hair cut short and he and I were in a mall in Ottawa; walking, minding our own business, holding hand... Suddenly, this brash woman comes up behind me, grabs my hand and says to me "Hi gorgeous! You don't need any man to satisfy to, I can satisfy all your needs!" and then began to pull my arm (and me) away from my husband.

Okay, it was a compliment; but the approach... not-so-much.

I am the type of person who embraces one and all; it is not a matter of "tolerance" or "acceptance", but rather I just see people and not their sexual orientation (or colour, or disability, or anything else for that matter). I have many gay and lesbian friends (my closest friend is gay and has been in a relationship with his partner for over 20 years), but it never dawns on me to mention it to people.

To me, being gay or lesbian or straight is simply who a person is, and orientation is the focus on sex, what do I care what anyone else does behind their bedroom doors? Its not my business anymore than what I do behind my bedroom doors is anyone else's business.

What I have learned from having friends who are gay, is that it is about love; sure there is the popular belief that "all gays are promiscuous" and they can "never hold down a single lover", but how is that any different from the rest of us? What about the old adage that we have to "kiss many frogs before you find your prince"? Isn't it the same thing?

Humans have always been sexual, since the beginning of time; there has been sex before marriage for eons, it was just never "open" as it is since the sexual revolution. I was surprised when I learned that my own parents were living together "in sin" before I was born, even having me before they were married; that I have a brother that my mother had from a previous relationship - a far different story from the one I had grown up with being told by my Dad that I had to be a "virgin" when I got married, and that if I wasn't "no man" would want me. That my mother was some virginal saint and that had he had sex with her before marriage, he'd have never married her... especially if she had had a child.

WOW! The revelation of truth conversation when I was 19 had quite an impact on me! It took me years of therapy to embrace my own sexuality, deal with the fact that I had been sexually abused and therefore no longer "pure", and get to a place of understanding the lies. After that, well... I "kissed" a lot of frogs, married a toad, kissed some more frogs, before I finally found my "prince". With all that experience under my belt, I can definitely say that I have lived through hope, and desire, and wishing, and wanting, and not finding or having; and getting my heart broken all too many times.

So how was my seeking my prince any different from a man seeking his prince, or a woman seeking her princess? Is what I went through deemed "OK" just because the frogs I kissed were of the opposite sex?

As I was growing up, I started seeing the hatred and prejudice that is in our world. How could a person be detested for the person that they love, or the colour of their skin? I could not understand how human beings were treating other human beings in such a manner. I saw an example of this firsthand when I was still quite young. We had a friend in Hong Kong who was a well-known TV news anchor (in Hong Kong); and he was quite obviously gay. To me he was never "gay Joe*", he was just "Uncle Joe". In those days in Hong Kong, being gay was a crime and being caught "in the act" meant imprisonment or deportation for foreign nationals.

I guess someone did not like Joe and, well lets just say that he was "caught in the act" in his own home together with his Filipino lover. I never saw him again; he was immediately deported and his lover thrown into prison. It was a scandal that rocked Hong Kong and was fodder for gossip for months in the higher social circles which he had run in.

I remember feeling at the time, so overwhelmingly sad and strangely, constricted. As a small child, what could I do? But even as an adult when I look back on that memory, I wonder how could that kind of discrimination occur and what could I do to make a difference? How could such an intelligent, loving, and kind man be hated so much and by government officials who did not even know him, just for who he loved and what he did behind closed doors?

In time, I have seen more and more of this kind of hatred towards people; and quite frankly it has me disgusted, and I feel so intensely sad that humanity is still in such a place where this kind of hatred is still spewed, and in such countries which are considered progressive, modern... Christian.

So with all of this said, whenever I see so-called Christians spewing hatred towards those who are gay, see images of protesters holding signs which attack a persons sexuality and doing this all under the banner of God and Jesus; it sickens me. I am not sure what God or Jesus they are following, but it is not the same one that I know. It has sadden me to find this very strongly within my own faith also. I have friends who have been forced out of our faith (and many of them, cast out of their families) because of who they are and how they live their life. I hurt for them because their faith in God and Jesus is still strong, even though they know that the people are not true, they continue to pray daily, read their scriptures and live their life according to how they grew up; the only exception is that they are free to love.

I think one of the greatest movies ever made was Brokeback Mountain. It showed that sexual orientation was not about choice, it was about love and it is all love. It was a great love story and it was so painful to watch and see. It actually was the movie that helped my husband open his heart completely and embrace those who are gay and lesbian and see them as fellow brothers and sisters and not just seeing the labels.

Today, I saw a post that a friend of mine posted on Facebook which directed to an article about a Christian group who had attended a Pride Parade. At first, I was leery to read it, but knowing the person who posted it, decided to check it out. I did ready myself for the regular feelings of anger, angst, and pain as usually come in the Christian/Pride Parade mix. But what I read brought me to sobbing tears of joy, of relief, and of absolute hope.

There IS hope out there that those who are true Christians will reach out and embrace a person whom so many reject. Nathan speaks about his experience at Chicago's Pride Parade, where he and his friends gathered wearing T-shirts that said "I'm Sorry" and stood their with their signs of seeking forgiveness. They hugged and kissed gay men in the parade; and they are not gay! In fact, they are Christian and are "working for the re-humanization of the LGBT community" through The Marin Foundation.

Please do yourself a favour and read this article I Hugged a Man in His Underwear, it will bring you to tears and give you hope. I applaud Nathan who is the author and organizer of the "I'm Sorry" campaign, and I pray that he will continue this amazing work and that it will become a world-wide movement.

* Name has been changed

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