In my opinion, a distinction has to be made between “hedonism” and “Gay,” and much public persona of Gay people, and the commentators on all too many LGBT-oriented websites, seem to be more hedonistic than Gay. Frivolity, indecency, and use of hateful epithets as self-identifiers tell us far more about them than it does about Gay people.
Those who are hedonistically-oriented are likely to use the oppressor’s derogatory terms such as “queer” (A meaning of which is “abnormal.”), because they feel “queer” and, unconsciously and/or consciously, don’t see being Gay in any other terms than being “indecent” and “abnormal.” And many of them content and even pride themselves on being outsiders, and seem to have no meaningful interest in equal rights, even going so far as to reject being a vital part of mainstream society.
This phenomenon of contentment in a Gay ghetto of the mind and/or society reflects their unconscious and/or conscious shame and self-loathing, and many are too dense to accept that fact, let alone change their rhetoric and self-perceptions.
Many of them resent anyone who tells them that they are not “mistakes,” and that a dignified presentation of self is essential in living one’s life, as well as moving the struggle for equal rights forward; many seem to thrive on lack of such dignity due to their unfounded beliefs that they are neither desirous nor worthy of equality.
I learned a lot from a transgender woman, for example, when she resented the fact that I said that she and anyone who is transgender wasn’t a mistake! She tenaciously hung on to the fact that she is a mistake and resented any other possibility.
The same is true for many Gay people who comment on assorted Gay-oriented websites. Blindly accepting the oppressor’s rhetoric and actions has done inordinate harm to many LGBT people, and that’s a great deal of what those of us who want full and equal rights for LGBT people must fight against.
The struggle for equal rights must first occur as “a transformation of consciousness,” leading to outrage at the indignities of being treated as maligned second-class citizens, and then leading to expressed coordinated grassroots and organizational activism.
The pariah and outlaw mentality of many LGBT people is also reflected in the counterproductive nature of bizarre excesses in many Pride Parades, which can be seen to be akin to African Americans holding minstrel shows during the African American Civil rights movement.
Burlesquing, trivializing, and sexualizing LGBT identity not only fulfills negative stereotypes, but can only serve to alienate potential Straight allies to the cause of full and equal civil rights for LGBT people; deflects energies and monies that could better be spent in fighting abridgment of civil rights in the streets and in the courts.
Besides, what is being celebrated at these Pride Parades? Lack of equality? The relegation of LGBT people to second-class citizenship and pariah status? The existence and continuation of DADT? The existence and continuation of DOMA?
Moreover, one could only see the extremes in the Pride Parades in California, at the time when Prop. 8 was being adjudicated, as being nothing short of traitorous and/or masochistic.
There are hedonistic Gay people and there are hedonistic Straight people! Just as the public doesn’t usually equate hedonism with Straight people, we must not allow the confusion of hedonism with Gay people in the public’s mind!
Being Gay is a God-given and dignified sexual orientation, and it’s high time that the presentation of self, the public persona, the mind-set, and the rhetoric attached to being Gay reflects that God-given dignity!
Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society,” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. Maneker also published a blog called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights” and the website Radical Christianity.