Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Another Gay Man's Reaction to Chris Broussard

This blog also appears on HuffPost Gay Voices

Words affect us. They can hurt us. They can give us strength. They can positively reinforce or negatively tear us down. They can inspire us to action or cause a reaction.

Positive Reinforcement. “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.” In a country where many place professional athletes on the highest of pedestals, NBA Basketball player Jason Collins did a brave thing when he said those words. We have yet to see the impact they will have on his NBA career, but regardless, it took courage, especially when he has so far to fall. In a society that is fickle enough to love you one minute and turn on you the next, Mr. Collins faced his fear and embraced his life. Hopefully, his coming out will be an example that living in truth is better than living in fear of truth.

Negative Tear Down. In our slowly evolving society we still have too many people willing to publicly denounce homosexuals with verbal criticisms. On the program “Outside The Lines,” ESPN reporter Chris Broussard became another to voice his opinion on the matter. He said, “Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle...if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says ‘you know them by their fruits’ It says that, you know, that’s a sin.” He went on to say, “And if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality--adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals--whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God.” 

The day after making the above statements, Mr. Broussard spoke via phone with the hosts of the radio program “Breakfast Club” on New York’s Power 105.1. As a basis for his beliefs he cited Biblical passages from First Corinthians and Romans in the New Testament, as well as, from the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. He did make a point of saying that not all Old Testament laws (e.g. not wearing blended fabrics, not eating shrimp) carried forward in the new covenant made in the New Testament. To which I had to question, Why cite Leviticus at all in this matter? Then I remembered we’re dealing with people who have their go-to passages for proving homosexuality is wrong.

Mr. Broussard must not have a problem with those NBA players who have tattoos. I mean the Bible does state in Leviticus 19:28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” That looks like a direct quote from God himself. Then there’s Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” We wouldn’t even consider doing that today. As for First Corinthians, in Chapter 7:32-35 Paul suggests we stay single so we can focus on God without the distraction marriage brings. Paul’s words, not God’s. I’m not using these verses to make fun of Mr. Broussard, I’m using them to point out that we can’t pick and choose what we’re going to follow then ignore the rest.

With the right afforded every person who lives in this country to speak his mind, I acknowledge that Mr. Broussard has every right to speak his. He can do so privately or publicly if he desires, but come on. To quote “Aibileen” from the film The Help “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”

Reaction. To all those out there who sometimes act like superior human beings I ask, “Ain’t you tired?” I’m tired. I’m tired of conservative, heterosexual Christians like Mr. Broussard saying they’re okay with gay people, but think we should constantly fight against our same-sex attraction. 

When I began to experience attraction, I was drawn to men. It’s wired in my DNA. Fighting those feelings would be like fighting the urge to drink water when I’m dehydrated. I can’t accept that the God I believe in wants that. Homosexuals are born. We’re not recruited, or converted, and we don’t make a choice. We exist as homosexuals from birth; trying to understand our feelings as we hit puberty in a society that often tells us we are not normal. If it’s not normal for homosexuals to be born homosexual, then why does God allow us to keep being born?

I refuse to believe I was born with a disadvantage; expected every day to fight against my same-sex attraction in order to please God. This expectation that I should fight my attraction to men comes from members of society who fear what they don’t understand. I’ve never once thought I should be disappointed in God for making me gay. I've questioned it, yes, but I haven't been disappointed, and I don’t think God is disappointed in me. I also don’t think I’m living in open rebellion to him. God is the higher power with understanding beyond that of the human mind. 

Heterosexuals are not the chosen few who get to participate in and enjoy a sex life. We gay men are not supposed to be sitting alone in a corner somewhere crying, wishing we could be dancing with the hot guy sitting across from us. We’re supposed to be dancing with him. 

Every gay person who continues to come out and live their lives, regardless of the threat of discrimination, hate speech, family rejection, and condemnation based on religious laws, is braver than anyone who will quote the Bible as their reason for stating another person’s life is wrong. We’re supposed to love our neighbor as we love ourselves and loving ourselves starts with accepting ourselves. If that includes being gay, then we have to strive to be true to ourselves, love ourselves, live our lives, and love who we love.

Thank you, Jason Collins for being another man to show us that living our lives in our truth is important; you’re an inspiration. And thank you, Mr. Broussard for showing us, once again, the hypocritical side of many of today’s Christians.