Scenes from the nineteen-seventies, shown in episode one of ‘When We Rise’ on ABC TV this week, portray early gay activists cowering in fear from police brutality and tear gas. The cruelty and ignorance with which gays were treated is hard to watch from today’s perspective. It has been a mere 47 years that the gay rights movement has been in motion, a very short time in social evolution, especially for a sexuality-themed issue. Today that paradigm is still shifting. This is not like women getting the vote quickly after years of advocacy. Because gay rights involve matters of gender and sexual behavior, opposition forces–social, religious, legal, medical–have come out in force against homosexuals being recognized as healthy and equal. Especially religious organizations who have been vehemently fierce against LGBT efforts to rise into the light of civilized society. Still today, shrill and self-righteous leaders and followers insist same-sex attraction is a sin, ‘an abomination in the eyes of God’ they shout from pulpits and revival tents.
Yet against such daunting odds we have indeed risen, as the TV series shows. We have risen because our efforts are not essentially against religious doctrines, which are scattered historic writings by scribes of early desert tribes, but against inhumane treatment of human beings, against immoral cruelty, against obscene standards of human treatment, against evil aimed at gay people because of an imagined danger we pose to a righteous heterosexual population.
Gay people are essentially born gay, innocent of sin; the real sin is the hatred against us invented by religious leaders in recent millennia because of irrational fear of human sexuality. The mystery of sex is terrifying for people who don’t understand it. Most mature gay adults are not afraid of their sexual feelings. I think many straight people live in fear of temptation urged by their unconscious sexual feelings. Very few gay people ‘stray’ from their orientation. Countless straight people are afraid of gay people because they fear their own orientation is somehow threatened by same-sex temptation. Nearly every day we read about supposed straight people ‘coming out’ as gay or bisexual after years of hiding. Mature heterosexual people are secure in their orientation and do not feel threatened someone else’s orientation.
“As We Rise’ portrays a culture-wide social war between living true to oneself and living a false facade, between authenticity and hateful fear and anger. Slowly as advocates have become less fearful and self-assured and armed with new protection laws based on human decency they pushed the envelope of American society to include LGBT rights, couples, military service and marriage–the rights we all are entitled to. These should have come naturally along with all the other secular constitutional rights, but religious ignorance and prejudice retarded that–and many still today still spew venom at us, such as the alleged ‘reverend’ Franklin Graham who despoils his father’s reputation and family name with ugly unchristian curses toward LGBT Americans
The war continues because of spiritual and physical violence against loving people.