Friday, June 10, 2011

One Quick Bad Thing and Then Some Happy Stuff

UPDATE: Tracy Morgan has apologized, and the HRC and I finally have something in common: Neither of us accepts his apology. Neither does Unicorn Booty. So, um, good luck next time you try to get money from the gAyTM, there, chief.

Happy Friday!

I had planned to write today's post on some positive things that are happening in the queer community, but then Tracy Morgan had to go and spew hatred at gay people. Read the linked post if you want more details - for the purposes of this blog post, I'll just say that the things he says are violent and gross, and not funny. If he wants to make jokes at the expense of teh gheyz, they need to be funny. This, from all reports, was just vile.

According to Queerty, people have been trying to contact his PR agent, who is responding with "no comment." We need to get more details, but from the sound of it, Tracy Morgan has firmly lined himself up with the homophobic opposition to queer rights. Thus, I shall be boycotting Tracy Morgan. You are welcome to join me.

Okay! Moving on.

Yesterday I wrote again about how screwed up religion is when it comes to bullying gay people. This is an important theme to stay on top of, because people still seem to have this idea that being a Christian is the same as being a good person, and because Christians are an extremely powerful group in this country, it needs to be pointed out when they consistently and clearly stomp all over people.

That said, there are churches out there doing good work for gay people. My own personal brother goes to one such church! I met his pastor at his wedding, and she's great: social justice oriented, committed to inclusivity, sensitive to the fact that the view on the ground might be different from what she - a straight person - sees. We don't share a faith, but I think we share a lot of other important ideas. Anyway, her church is hosting a workshop on reducing anti-gay bullying, in conjunction with a church that has a homeless shelter for queer youth in its basement. She asked me to check out a resource on reducing bullying, also being put out by a church.

My brother's church is Lutheran, and in looking into it, I learned about a Lutheran program called Reconciling in Christ (RIC). This program is about making a conscious effort to be queer-inclusive. It acknowledges that queer people often feel excluded from or harmed by churches that call themselves inclusive, so it is about making it clear that sexual orientation and gender identity are not grounds for discrimination.

Another important group is Soulforce, run by gay film director Mike White's* gay dad, Mel White. I have corresponded with Mel White in the past, and in his communications he was warm and kind, despite the fact that I put my atheism right up front. He has written books on how the Christian Right is damaging. He is a personal hero of mine, and someone whose work I think is so important.

From the efforts of a trans-denominational group of people, we get Believe Out Loud. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has the GLAD Alliance. The Episcopalians - the denomination my parents belong to and that I grew up in - runs Integrity USA. There are lots and lots more. This is encouraging.

Groups like these are important in that they are counteracting the message that so many queer kids and adults are receiving about themselves: that they are damaged and damaging others. But beyond that, they are deliberately disinvesting themselves of the privilege that comes with being organized Christian groups in America. The most powerful and vocal Christian (and Catholic, and Mormon) groups are the ones opposing queer rights and spreading homophobia. These churches have a lot to lose by being inclusive - congregants who are committed to their homophobia, resources from other churches, and so on, as well as inviting attacks from the homophobes - but are doing the right thing.

There. The pig has wings, and I said nice things about organized religion.

* You know Mike White because he directed School of Rock. If you watch The Amazing Race, you saw Mike and Mel run the race twice.

Image via. And sign the petition while you're there.


  1. great post. unfortunately young people will never have a choice in where they practice religion, or whether they practice it at all for that matter. but i'm with you. there is a comfort in any work aiming towards inclusivity, ESPECIALLY in the religious context. there is this horrible struggle that people almost always seem to go through at some point (and by people i mean queer people, of course!), where they feel like they have to go against everything they were taught to believe, or deny who they know/are figuring themselves to be. it's life or death, again. that's when you grasp at straws... good to know there are, in fact, some straws!

  2. OMG. I can't say I've ever paid much attention to Tracy Morgan--I think I've watched 30 Rock maybe twice. I think the author of the article hit on a major point: Tracy was not joking. This was not a lighthearted ribbing about lisping, nor was it crude humor about two women together. I still find it hard to believe that anyone in the entertainment business can be so hate-filled towards homosexuals. This can't possibly be ignorance; he must have daily contact with people who are out and proud. He is not some Religious Right member from the middle of nowhere who has never seen anything outside his own faux-Christian bubble. And now he offers a halfhearted apology:;_ylt=AvQNRpF_GC0nQHGQZBDA0t5xFb8C;_ylu=X3oDMTJuZnA3dnRnBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNjEwL3VzX3Blb3BsZV90cmFjeV9tb3JnYW4EY3BvcwMyBHBvcwM0BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA3RyYWN5bW9yZ2FuYQ--

    Note to Tracy: If you are a Christian, than you should believe God loves everyone. No exceptions. And if God doesn't make mistakes, than I guess (S)He made everyone just the way (S)He intended.