‘Pro-fam­ily’ ho­mo­pho­bia

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion - JILL RICHARD­SON Au­thor of ‘Recipe for Amer­ica’

Happy LGBTQIA Pride Month! … is not what the Trump White House is say­ing this June.

In­stead, LGBTQIA Amer­i­cans are be­ing ac­knowl­edged by the govern­ment in the form of a Supreme Court rul­ing al­low­ing a baker to refuse to bake a cake for same- sex wed­dings due to re­li­gious be­liefs.

June is Pride Month, and it’s my first one as a mem­ber of the queer com­mu­nity. Last year at this time, I thought I was straight. I was nearly 37 years old when I re­al­ized I wasn’t. Need­less to say, it’s been an in­ter­est­ing year.

I don’t have the knowl­edge of the Bi­ble to re­fute anti- gay re­li­gious be­liefs on bi­b­li­cal grounds. From my out­sider’s per­spec­tive, all I can say is that re­li­gious folks seem to have an easy enough time cherry pick­ing which parts of Leviti­cus they do and don’t fol­low.

For ex­am­ple, no­body seems too fussed about wear­ing gar­ments made of two dif­fer­ent types of fab­ric, as for­bid­den by Leviti­cus 19: 19.

Nor do I have the le­gal ex­per­tise to au­thor­i­ta­tively re­fute the Supreme Court de­ci­sion. But I do know that back in the day, some peo­ple used re­li­gion to jus­tify racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, and the U. S. govern­ment still found a way to ban it with­out vi­o­lat­ing the First Amend­ment.

Still, some straight peo­ple just don’t want us mar­ry­ing each other. But here’s what nearly a year in the queer com­mu­nity has taught me: Straight peo­ple, you don’t want to force us into mar­ry­ing you. Trust me.

I’ve met many, many gay women who mar­ried men and gay men who mar­ried women. Of­ten they stayed mar­ried for five, 10, even 20 years. Some had chil­dren. Then they re­al­ized — or were fi­nally able to ad­mit — that they were gay.

The mar­riages ended, and the fam­i­lies broke up. It’s not good for any­one in­volved.

In some cases, the gay per­son re­pressed their sex­u­al­ity. In oth­ers, they felt pres­sured to marry some­one of the op­po­site sex to con­form to so­ci­etal norms or fam­ily pres­sure. Some who were raised in in­tol­er­ant re­li­gions tried hard to “pray away the gay,” be­liev­ing their same- sex at­trac­tion was a sin.

Ho­mo­pho­bia is de­struc­tive to fam­i­lies in many ways.

Within the LGBTQIA com­mu­nity, es­trange­ment from par­ents and other rel­a­tives is com­mon. Some par­ents kick their gay or trans teens out of the house for their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity. Oth­ers cut their kids off as adults, or just be­have so abu­sively to them that the chil­dren avoid their par­ents in adult­hood.

Oth­ers still have their par­ents in their lives, but the par­ents’ ho­mo­pho­bia harms their re­la­tion­ships with their queer kids. For ex­am­ple, some par­ents in­sist that their chil­dren stay in the closet to the rest of the fam­ily. Or they treat their straight chil­dren’s sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers as le­git re­la­tion­ships while ig­nor­ing their gay chil­dren’s part­ners.

A lot of re­li­gious groups call them­selves “pro- fam­ily.” But there’s noth­ing pro­fam­ily about ho­mo­pho­bia, trans­pho­bia, or any other anti- LGBTQIA bias. It rips up fam­i­lies.

To truly pro­mote lov­ing and co­he­sive fam­i­lies, we need to ac­cept all peo­ple re­gard­less of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity.

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