Sun-worshipping homosexuals were out in droves last weekend. Church St patios were packed and bar windows thrown open. Short-shorts revealed goosebumpy buttocks; rollerblades noisily crunched ice patches. Sidewalks were crammed with beaming faces, chattering excitedly in celebration of spring’s late arrival.
Homosexuals are early bloomers. At the first sign of warm weather, we come out in full regalia. It seems part and parcel of our hedonistic nature that we affirm the pleasures of good weather, as though responding to the beat of some ancient pagan drum.
Far be it from me to suggest that all homosexuals are so inclined. I know many who abhor hot pants and hot weather, others who as a rule never rise before sunset and any number who avoid pleasure altogether.
Still, one of our most enduring archetypes is the good time Charlie. According to myth, we flourish in times of prosperity, when societies declare a holiday from mandatory child production. And we celebrate our freedom to the hilt. Our detractors fear that homosexuals, like Pied Pipers, lead others to their deaths, through lives of vanity and sloth. Ultimately, entire societies fall.
Our detractors were out in droves last week, too, reciting these myths for the members of the federal Standing Committee On Justice And Human Rights. One imagines them stockpiling turnips in preparation for the next Ice Age, while we bask in the sun.
In true Canadian fashion, the committee members were greeted by a multi-cultural, multi-denominational gathering of homophobes. Not just the usual Christians, although they were well represented, but also conservative Jews and Muslims. A mosaic of ignorance and hatred. Oh, the rich diversity of religious intolerance that we enjoy in Canada!
These devout, dreary pilgrims warned the committee of impending doom wrought by homosexuality, of the collapse of morality and civilization. Some spoke of more tangible ills, like paedophilia, beastiality, polygamy, drug use and gender confusion.
Now, I confess that sometimes I am confounded by homosexuality. Not so much by the desire, although it’s true that it seems to serve no purpose in the way that heterosexual desire facilitates baby-making. No, our world is far too concerned with utility when ascribing value to things, to the point where homosexuals are valued for our disposable incomes and savvy for gentrifying inner-city neighbourhoods.
I am more perplexed by homosexuality as a central organizing principle for one’s life. It seems a strange distinction, especially as one delves into subcultures organized around highly specific sexual identities or practices.
Ultimately, though, I can see that gay life is about self-determination, self-knowledge and self-invention. And of course, gay life is oriented toward love, affection and pleasure. Surely these are good things – although I do see lots of gay people who get into serious trouble seeking too much of a good thing.
My puzzlement about queerness evaporates when I ponder the outrageous religious beliefs that hold together vast hordes of the world’s population. A penchant for cuntlicking suddenly seems a rational, even mundane organizing principle. A shared belief in the power of SM seems an utterly workaday reason for community when compared to fantastical beliefs in virgin births and hidden imams. And I thought we were supposed to be an imaginative and creative sort of people.
Like homosexuality, religion has dangers as well as wonders. One of the committee members suggested, in response to a Christian doomsayer, that one could say Christianity, not homosexuality, led to the fall of Rome. Surely the kind of vile, uncivil behaviour demonstrated by some religious people is a far greater threat to civilization than anything homosexuals do.
A woman from an organization called Children’s Voice told the committee that children should be protected from homosexuality at least until they reach adulthood. Can that go for religion, instead?
* For more on vile, uncivil religious behaviour, see the next item.
David Walberg is Publisher for Xtra.