A few times a week, a stranger (not coincidentally, almost always a Conservative Christian guy), drops into my comments sections and attempts to “out me;” sharing all manner of theories on how my loud and continual support of the LGBTQ community, surely signals some hidden struggle with my own sexuality. (My eyes are in fact, perpetually strained from so regularly rolling them.)
Sometimes these comments are offered as a sort of condescending, self-righteous, “I’m here to help you” religious sermon—other times as a thinly veiled, public mic drop insult, designed to embarrass me.
Yesterday a guy named Manny started off the proceedings:
“John, could it be that you’re in the closet? I’m not being sarcastic, I am being sincere. So could it be that you’re struggling with feelings of same-sex attraction? And if you are, would you ever come out of the closet?”
After an involuntary facepalm, I replied to Manny that historically speaking, those men most outwardly opposed to the LGBTQ community are those in denial about their sexuality—not those who support them. I asked him to do a Google search on the number of Conservative Christian politicians and preachers, who after years of vehement and violent condemnation of the LGBTQ community, had themselves been hiding. People fearful of their truest truth because of their religion’s wrath, usually end up magnifying their guilt and self-hatred in this way—they don’t become vocal champions of causes they know will get them expelled and shunned
I shared with Manny, that I am unapologetically fully affirming of the LGBTQ community, because I do not view being LGBTQ as a flaw, a moral failure, or a point of embarrassment. I’ve written about loving my children if they came out to me, I’ve openly supported same-sex marriage, I’ve advocated for LGBTQ people in church leadership. So the idea that I’d feel shame over a different sexual orientation is a faulty premise, and quite useless as a dig.
I am not insulted at the insinuation that I might be gay, because I don’t think anyone who is LGBTQ has anything to apologize for or be ashamed of—It’s really pretty simple.
Then Chuck showed up with some brilliant commentary, offering among other things, his insistence that both Barack Obama and Tim Kaine are gay, as are most men who support the LGBTQ community. He continued…
“It has been my experience that men who go out of their way to support homosexuality, has a vested interest in doing so: they are a member of the “Family”. So given those realities, you could very well be in the closet! Your dilemma would be of course, is how would you break the news to your wife and precious small children. Whenever I see a man going beyond the call of duty in support of homosexuality, I generally think, “yeah, home boy is struggling with something!”
I reminded Chuck that the old oft quoted line is, “Me thinks thou doth protest too much”, not, “Me thinks thou doth support too much”—but I don’t think he quite got it.
The idea that in order to support a community a cause, you must be secretly a part of that community or cause, is on its face a rather ridiculous one. Given that he commented on this post, using his logic—I must secretly be an undocumented, gay, Muslim Latina without health insurance. Hopefully we all are invested in something more than just what we feel affects us personally, though maybe this is revelatory about the compassion-starved Christianity we’re seeing in our country right now.
Guys like Manny and Chuck reveal a whole lot in comments like these, but it isn’t about me or about any straight LGBTQ allies—they reveal just how insidious homophobia and transphobia are (especially in the Church), and the nonsensical lengths people will go to in order to justify their irrational fear of people they don’t understand and honestly, don’t care to understand. It shows the deep-rooted insecurities of Christian men who’ve been raised in such a misogynistic, alpha male head space, that the idea of someone being gay genuinely terrifies them—maybe because they imagine someone treating or viewing them, the way they’ve always treated and viewed women.
It’s sad that the world and the Church are still producing people like Manny and Chuck; people who consciously or subconsciously see LGBTQ people as less-than, who believe that advocating for anyone else needs to include some hidden self-preservation, who believe that the suggestion of same-sex orientation would automatically be an insult to a cisgender man.
Manny and Chuck exposed something hidden this week—but it’s not what they think they exposed.