Saturday, May 19, 2012

Obama and gay marriage.

Thanks to Mister Obama and the uproar caused by his statement in support of gay marriage, in particular amongst the fundamentalists and ultra-right wing, I am back once more on that subject but hope to drop it and not return for a long long time. Reiterating my comment on the way families ignore the fact that gays are also a part of them, I merely want to discuss the reaction of Cardinal Timothy Dalton, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Mister Obama’s remarks, he said, are deeply saddening. “We cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,” he said in a statement. “The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.” Note that – especially our children – once again the blinkers are on – some of those children will be gay and grow up to be gay no matter what the Cardinal might or might not think. Some years ago a well known pop singer said he took notice of his parents warning about certain men until he realised he was one of the men his parents had warned him about. Mitt Romney, the Republican who is expected to challenge Obama for the White House is naturally against gay marriage and how much influence is actually brought to bear by Mister Obamna’s statement? Thirty-one US states have legislated against same-sex marriage and the basic reason for this is of course religious. For example Pentecostal Pastor Charles Bargaineer, of the largely black “New Fellowship Church of God” in Florida, told the Associated Press he was troubled by the president's position. “I don't think that's appropriate for the president,” Mr. Bargaineer told Reuters news agency. “The Bible's strictly against that.” When asked whether he would vote again for Mr. Obama, Mr. Bargaineer said: “I'll have to pray about that.” Support for gay marriage among black church-goers remains lower than many other groups. On the other hand the Reverend Scott Clark, a gay pastor from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, said it had been “deeply moving” to hear Mr. Obama “finally acknowledge the full dignity and humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and our families.” And we will leave it at that, marriage or no marriage, two men or two girls who want to be together both romantically and physically will do so whatever politicians, religious leaders and bigoted homophobes might think. And homophobia can be really vicious, apart from “God Hates Gays” brigades, the queer bashing, killings and all the rest of it. Fairly recently an Argentinean politician said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one. So much for family. Once upon a time the anti-homosexual law in England was known as “the blackmailer’s charter” and to this day being gay, or being thought to be gay, or reputed to be gay can lead to the same thing. You don’t like the politician opposing you? He’s too far ahead in the polls? Accuse him of being gay. The latest to suffer is John Travolta who has been accused by two masseurs of trying it on. It’s their word against his and who knows where the truth lies?
And finally a truly weird story for you to ponder over: in a previous Blog it was mentioned that homosexuality was not a result of “a peculiar life experience” so make of this what you will. Following a stroke, 27-year-old Chris Birch's personality and sexuality altered dramatically. Now he is trying to rediscover who he is and why these changes may have happened. Looking at past pictures of himself, he struggles to remember or identify with his old self. He used to be a 13-stone, beer-swilling, party-loving rugby fan from the Welsh valleys, the life and soul of a party. He worked in a bank and loved sport and motorbikes. After a freak accident in 2011, he says he underwent a big change to his personality. He believes that he has gone from being straight to gay. A stroke occurs when the blood, and therefore, oxygen supply to the brain is disrupted. Without oxygen, any part of the brain can be destroyed as brain cells die, leaving the brain to make new connections, which can affect how a person thinks, moves or feels. “The Chris I knew had gone and a new Chris sort of came along. I came to the realisation that the stroke had turned me gay.” There are few known cases of a stroke doing that, and major personality changes in stroke sufferers are rare. Even Jak Powell, Birch's other half, believes his partner may always have been gay. “People grow up not knowing they are gay and have families and then they realise they are gay, but they don't have a stroke to realise that.” Yet Birch disagrees and is convinced that, neurologically, it was the stroke that altered his sense of self. The moment he realised his feelings towards men had changed was a scary period in his life. “It was a sort of lonely time. It was a time I was afraid to tell anybody because that wasn't who I used to be, so it shouldn't be who I am now,” he says. “You're afraid to tell people, you're afraid to have that conversation or even talk about the possibility that I have even changed in some way, and I suppose I dealt with it by moving out of my family home by myself and having to realise who I was all over again.”
To be continued.

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