A few months ago I wrote a blog post about horrifyingly homophobic Pope Benedict XVI. I shared how I am a gay Catholic and how this has been a source of deep conflict and confusion in my life. I also happened to name a family member who is a part of the hierarchy of the Catholic institution. Some of my family, who aren’t avid readers of mine (go figure), accidentally came across this blog post, and outrage ensued. I received multiple emails from them, telling me, amongst other things, that what I wrote makes them sick and ashamed. One (who shall remain nameless — I’ve learned my lesson!) even went so far as to say that “my language does nothing for gay people. No wonder gay people are getting murdered."
I know. I gasped a little too.
I took my family member’s name out of the original blog post not because I think what I wrote is wrong, but to avoid World War III. You know how it is with family. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones raised by reasonable human beings and don’t.
I relented and took out the name, but I also made a point to say that I stand by what I wrote. I was then told, “Your family tolerates your behaviour as they hope and pray that someday you will grow up and become someone who contributes to society. Define yourself by your accomplishments not by being the biggest fag around."
Don’t they sound like a lovely bunch? Yes, I’m shamelessly airing our dirty laundry, but I have a point. Through all this, not one of my family members stopped to say, “Hey, I don’t agree with how you said it, but you’re right. It was wrong of the pope to say that homosexuals are a threat to the future of humanity. It is wrong for him to demonize you, and people like you."
None of them feel any outrage that their spiritual leader is a hate monger. That their spiritual leader hates a member of their own family. That their spiritual leader hates at all! Yet I’m the sick one?
After our little feud, I watched this video. It reminded me that I don’t need their approval. I don’t need to make them proud. I just need to continue to fearlessly be myself, writing about what I know in my heart to be good and true (regardless of what kind of language I choose to write it with).