Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My gayest post ever

A while back, an Austin gay & lesbian fashion magazine called L-Style/G-Style, did a feature about their top five gay friendly bands to check out at the South By Southwest Music Festival. Quiet Company felt very privileged to be included in the list. I'm not sure how they found out how gay friendly we are, though, since no one in the band is gay. The only thing I could think of is that I posted on the band's forum about my support for equal marriage rights a while back. Whatever it was, it made me feel good to be recognized as a friend of that community.

Last summer, the band went and played at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois and if you don't know anything about Cornerstone, its the biggest Christian music festival in the U.S. that I know of. It was a great experience where we met a ton of really lovely people, several of which we still keep in close contact with. As it turns out, Cornerstone gets protested every year by a group of fundamentalist crazies that hang out outside the gate with signs that aren't too far of a cry from the kind the Westboro Baptist Church (the god hates fags people) use. One day at the festival, we decided to open a dialogue with one of these kooks and he didn't really want to talk to us but we got some pretty amusing video of the interaction, all the same. While I spent the better part of an hour trying to get this guy (a pastor) to specify what kind of music was actually OK with Jesus (its the Star Spangled Banner, and anything with bagpipes by the way...yeah, that's what he said), Tommy got anxious and walked on into the festival. As he walked he passed another protester holding what was probably the worst of the signs and it included a list of people who were, most definitely, hell bound. Of course, the list includes "gays, lesbians, liars, adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves, liberals, etc." It may have even said "democrats" but I don't remember. As Tommy passed this person, the guy actually had the tenacity to ask Tommy "What do you think of my sign?" I love Tommy's response so much, largely because it came from Tommy, who thought the whole week was full of strange people doing strange things. But when confronted aggressively, he actually responds in a vernacular familiar to the oppressor, and says "I think you just cast the first stone," and didn't even break his stride. Classic. I don't understand people like that, that use their Bible as a weapon. I think the book has plenty of stories of "god's people" doing awful things in His name, but I just don't get why, in this day and age, you would have the desire to use it for those reasons.

While we were at Cornerstone, we made friends with a really lovely guy, who's name I won't mention. We spent almost all week hanging out with him and about halfway through the week, he and I were sitting on a hill talking and waiting for a show to start and I asked him if he had a girlfriend back home. He got visibly uncomfortable and told me that he had been gay but was trying not to be. My reaction was to instantly reach out and hug him, because my heart really went out to him. He's not the first friend that I've had that was told there was something wrong with him that could be fixed, when he confided in someone. So here's my opinion, no, scratch that, this is a fact. If there's anyone reading this that is struggling with their sexuality, there is nothing wrong with you, don't let anybody tell you different. You are just as normal and just as abnormal as everyone else. I don't, honestly, know if god loves us, but I figure you've got just as good a shot at it as anyone else. (I know the scriptures call it "an abomination" and all that but it says that about a lot of things. Here's a test: type "Bible abominations" into your google and see how many things that you do come up. Joe's Crabshack is full of people committing abominations 7 nights a week.)

This is really on my mind today because last night I watched a documentary called For the Bible Tells Me So.

It was one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. It tells the stories of 5 deeply religious families that have gay children and has really insightful interviews with a lot of church leaders. I would especially encourage anyone who thinks that the Bible speaks clearly on this issue to see this movie.


  1. i dont really have anything articulate to say, just that I really really like this blog and your opinions. thank you.

  2. THAT is a great documentary! I went through a huge rush of these, on similar topics, a few months ago, documentaries are my absolute favorite. Small Town Gay Bar is another good one, and it's focused in the deep south, so I was particularly interested.

  3. I watched this doc in the wee small hours this morning (it has been on my netflix queue for months but a quick youtube search & I found that some awesome person posted the entire thing in 10 parts!) & have subsequently decided that my cousin & his family need to see it. He is 30 & came out just last year as gay - they are very "Christian" and have yet to really confront it or talk about it openly.

    One of the things I loved about the doc is that it showed parents at varying levels of acceptance & understanding & that it was hopeful & not hateful. It's message is powerful & I think any "religious" family that is experiencing something similar would do well to watch this doc - it offers not just an alternate viewpoint but the opportunity to see others experience something similar and how they reacted and how that either hurt or helped them & their relationships with their children.

  4. This religious fanaticism seems to be a real problem in the USA. I am Italian. A very religious country, one may think.. And I Have some friends that don't like gay, but they can't explain why, I think is a fear and a closed-mind consequence. BUT I never heard anyone say to a gay to try not to be gay anymore! I mean, maybe someone thinks that but this is an uncommon thought. Even the ones that don't like gays, they usually think that is a fact (a bad fact), not a wrong behavior that one can modify. I don't know if is better or worse, I just wanted to show a difference.
    I have a gay friend in Belgium that got married some months ago, this is a real difference and gives me hope.

    Here where I live, I know a lot of people that feel "religious" or Christians but don't belong to a church. I don't like to give me a name, but I can think myself as a Christian as long as I try to love the others as myself. Whatever I do or don't do. Amen.

  5. I've seen that documentary as well. In fact, the library I work at has a lot of good documentaries, the director is good at picking docs on controversial subjects, you should also check out "Fish out of Water". And I love Tommy's story, the Christian subculture is bizarre to someone not raised in it. So many blog posts to catch up on