"The biggest mainstream deception chiseled into
our collective psyche is that we are somehow inferior to them. Truth be told we are as worthy as they are, and more so. That's why it is in their interest to keep us mannacled to a ball and chain, which they achieve by preventing us awakening to this simple truth..."
By age 12, John is a combination of two selves; who he really is at heart (his truthful expression = love), and his mind's ego-driven deception driven by others' expectations (his false expression = fear). Entering puberty, the line dividing his personality and identity is blurred still further. Fitting in at high school means being accepted all over again and conforming to peer pressure and new rules. John instinctively knows that thinking or stepping outside of the box is not an option because there will be consequences to pay, and so he buries himself beneath yet more baggage of pretence and self-denial in order to conform to standards that are considered acceptable to the "in crowd". He dresses, speaks and behaves in ways that win their approval, but in doing so is further distanced from his true self, and the incessant voice in his head grows ever more intrusive.
"You laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at you because you're all the same!"
~ [A Californian car sticker]
By 16, John is helplessly confused about who he really is. Some young people rebel against conformity by wearing outrageous clothes and dying their hair vivid colours, but that isn't an option for John. To avoid being labeled different by his peers, John outwardly loathes the very aspects of his true identity that his fear is masking, and to reinforce his charade belittles the classroom loner by projecting his self-hatred at him. It doesn't occur to John that the classroom loner is different because he has chosen to stay true to who he is, and therefore is perceived as a threat because he effectively mirrors back to John aspects of his true identity that are suppressed beneath layers of self-
"Growing up I was berated and called names like sissy, faggot or queer. It hurt, but I internalised the pain. I became somewhat of a bully. I believed that if someone felt as bad as I did, then that would make it better."
~ Gabriel Leitner [The Advocate]
The aspect of his identity that John suppresses most of all, however, is his sexual identity; his predominant attraction to other males.
John's shame and guilt - instilled and compounded by a
society homophobically-conditioned by religious indoctrination and negative media stereotyping - are buried beneath the hardened, aggressive baggage of enforced masculinity in the hope that his true sexual feelings will disappear. In so doing, his denial itself manifests as homophobia, both as a release for his pent up self-hatred and to evade the suspicion of others. In some men, denial of same-sex attraction, however small, can vent itself in violence towards men who identify as, or are suspected of being, gay. The "gay panic" clause has long been cited by sexually repressed, self-loathing men who responded murderously to the sexual approaches of other men.
John's true feelings and unquenched desires make him restless. He feels a calling in his heart for intimacy, but his denial makes him despair of ever finding anyone to love in his home town. He doesn't realise that his heart is calling him above all else to reconnect with his heart centre and have an intimate relationship with himself. John resolves instead to move to New York where he can explore his sexuality, unlike other homosexually-inclined men from small rural communities who identify as "straight" yet endure a lifetime of torment and deceit trapped in heterosexual marriages.
"Straight" and "gay" are euphemisms applied to the two polarities - the black and the white - of human sexuality.
"Research by Dr. Alfred Kinsey in the USA during the 1940s was the first major statistical evidence that gay and straight identities are not watertight, irreconcilable sexual orientations. He found that sexuality is, in fact, a continuum of desires and behaviours, ranging from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. A substantial prportion of the population is somewhere between the two, sharing an amalgam of same-sex and opposite-sex feelings."
~ Peter Tatchell [UK gay rights activist]
Scientific research has consistently shown - amid mass denial and furore from God-fearing zealots and some politically militant gays - that human sexuality spans the entire spectrum of grey inbetween. As the Ancient Greeks demonstrated with abandon before Christianity imposed its manipulative dogma throughout the world in order to divide and control the masses, human beings are predominantly bisexually inclined. Assuming the scale of human sexuality to be evenly spread between the polarities of homosexual and heterosexual behaviour, theoretically only 5% of males, for example, in any society are 95-100% heterosexual, and by the same equation 50% of human beings are potentially at least 50% homosexually-inclined.
Predominantly heterosexual men (i.e. those who fall within the 99-100% margin on the scale) rarely feel threatened by, or aggressive towards, gay-identified men because they haven't been conditioned to feel guilt or shame about their sexual identity, and so aren't in denial or fearful about who they are. They feel at ease expressing their feminine virtues like empathy, compassion, sensitivity and creativity, and, because they are at peace with who they are, don't adopt a charade of exaggerated masculinity. Such sexually assurred men may even seek the emotional company of gay men, who represent an antidote to the narrow world of machismo. As Cary Tennis, the reassuredly straight columnist of Salon.com confesses, "Who wants to sit around with boring, rigid, frightened [straight] men, closed off and ludicrous? Yikes!"
"Superman isn't gay: he is just superhumanly comfortable with his own straightness. The caped crusader wouldn't think twice about stretching his tennis opponent's shoulder, just as he doesn't think twice about wearing pink spandex undies. These days, that takes a real man."
~ Chris Ayres [The Times]
The collective force of internalised homophobia within those whose latent homosexuality is deeply repressed manifests in extreme acts of aggression, violence and, ultimately, wars.
As the movie American Beauty demonstrated to chilling effect, the louder and more vociferous someone is in their condemnation of gays and the accentuation of their masculinity, the more they are likely to be subconsciously repressing deep-rooted, latent feelings towards members of their own sex beneath armour-plated barriers of guilt, shame and denial. For example:
• The conservative Republican mayor of Spokane who once fought gay rights and AIDS legislation as a member of the Washington state legislature, but admitted to seeking sex from males;
• The 40-year-old Philadelphian minister who used a bullhorn to preach gay hate on university campuses, and was found guilty of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old boy;
• Right-wing evangelical leader Ted Haggard, who denounced homosexuality as a sin and “devastating for the future of Western civilization” while engaging in a crystal-fueled sexual relationship with a male hustler;
• The homophobic gay porn star charged with the first-degree murder of a Denver businessman.
"At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world; not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. And so my truth is that I am a gay American."
~ James McGreevey [Former New Jersey Governor]
Society's increasingly enlightened and permissive attitudes towards sex are persuading more and more men who identify as straight to experiment sexually with other men, while denying any suggestion that they are "gay" due to their ongoing emotional and spiritual attachments to women. Indeed, more and more the labels gay and straight are dismissed by those who prefer to describe themselves simply as sexual beings.
"He comes from an era where people don't put people into categories; if you fancy someone...you can do it with them. It's about passion, it's about feelings. It's nothing to do with sex in the way we think of it."
~ John Barowman [talking to Gay Times about his sexually ambiguous futuristic character, Captain Jack, in the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who]
That more and more people feel comfortable exploring same-sex relationships is an inconvenient truth for religious bigots and radical gays alike (i.e. those who fall within the 99-100% sphere of homosexual behaviour) since it threatens their respective ideologies and challenges their need to pigeon-hole people one way or the other with no middle ground of an kind.
"Gay as an identity, as we used to know it, may be pretty much at an end. People are thinking of their sexuality in a much more diffuse way."
~ Arnold Zwicky [Stanford University linguist]
Even "post gay" men - i.e. those who feel limited by, or uncomfortable identifying with, the hedonistic, shallow and destructive traits that define some of the more visible aspects of gay culture - are starting to abandon the simplistic gay, straight or bi? terminology used to compartmentalise the infinitely complex realm of human sexual behaviour. Consequently, a perceptible trend of gay-identified men are tapping into hitherto dormant sexual and emotional feelings towards women, however slim, in order to break free of the constraints of gay life to explore new possibilities.
"There is greater acceptance of pansexual behaviour among straight men. Men who are self-identified as straight are more willing to explore their homosexual side. It's less of a taboo today. Sexuality is more accepted in all its forms."
~ Danny Garza [Psychiatrist, The Advocate]
The extent to which men in ostensibly "straight" relationships actively seek out sex with other men is unclear. "Party bisexual" and "trisexual" are new euphemisms coined to describe men and women who act out bisexual urges while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while "living on the down low" is a derogatory term adopted by the African-American community alarmed by the high HIV rate among women of colour whose boyfriends and husbands secretly have sex with other men.
"If I was a gay man, I may want to be in a relationship with another man and play house. But when you're on the 'down low', all you want to do is have sex... My marriage wasn't a lie because I loved my wife, she was my best friend. What was a lie was my desire to have sex with other men."
~ J. K. King [Black author outed by his wife]
The Rev Fred Phelps is North America's most notorious homophobe. But what is it that drives the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, and others like him, to devote their entire lives to preaching hatred and intolerance towards people who love each other in a world scarred by so much hatred and violence? Phelp's contorted, hate-etched face reveals a soul in deep pain and torment because the unrelenting anger he projects at his environment is a reflection of the inner war he is engaged in with himself. Phelps' homophobia is born of his own rampant hatred of who he really is!
"Homophobes are really homosexuals struggling to identify themselves. In teasing, kicking and killing homosexuals, they are harming themselves as much if not more than the person they're assaulting."
~ Bruce Roger Thompson [Sydney Star Observer]
Our instinctive desire is to hate people like Phelps back, returning their vitriol and malice ten-fold. But in doing so the spiral of hatred is only perpetuated. Phelps is visibly in great pain, but it is the pain of his shame and denial of his own perceived failings and deeply suppressed feelings arising from strict social and religious conditioning, or brainwashing. Only love and compassion - and a huge dose of therapy - could hope to cure Phelps and all fear-driven, religiously- misguided zealots like him of their rabid self-loathing, and put them at peace with themselves and the world they are trying desperately to change into their abhorrent, emotionally-crippled self-image.
"Those morally offended religious right who have made [Brokeback Mountain] the must-see movie it has become are uncomfortable because it has a theme which touches a nerve - straight men battling with their internalised fears and attraction to other straight men. Every housewife will now be checking the tackle box to see if it has been used on that fishing trip..."
~ Rick Pratley [SX Australia]
That God-fearing Middle America prefers reveling in movies that glorify violence and death to accepting one about two human beings who love one another and the immense struggles they face just being together, is the same Middle America, not coincidentally, that is fighting its own crystal meth problem of Biblical proportions.
Compelling evidence suggests that Adolph Hitler was himself not only homosexually-inclined but also an illegitimate descendent of the Jewish Rothschild
dynasty. In his determination to do anything to convince his environment that he was neither a homosexual nor a Jew, Hitler embodied the epitome of self-loathing in its most destructively extreme form...
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