Is Gay the new Jew?
Not long ago, while DOMA and California’s Prop. 8 were being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, there was also a collection of stories in the news from around the world, same-sex marriage bans, criminalization of saying anything pro-gay and in some places, the possibility of being imprisoned for life for being honest about it in one’s own life. Russia has since declared open season on gay men.About the same time, I saw a collection of stories that asked the question, “Is Gay the new Black?” The population of Americans of African Ancestry sometimes come across as if they hold some unique history of suffering in their past, similar to speaking with Jews about the Holocaust, as if only 6 million Jews were killed and not 5-6 million non-Jews as well. We really seem to love and take pride in our pain.

While I was working on the previous blog entry, “Judas Iscariot & Adolf Hitler“, I was really re-awakened to how the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler used longstanding cultural hatreds to persuade people to do and allow despicable things to be done to others.

I am often amazed at the things people are willing to justify to validate their need to demonize those who think, feel, believe or love differently then themselves. There seems to be a nearly pathological need in the human ego to be right and to make others conform to its view of rightness.

While thinking about the one and hearing about the other, I started to compare the three: Black, Jew and Gay. In many ways I found them to be surprisingly similar from a “haters” perspective.

All three have collections of people who deny their personhood because of aspects of themselves, the hated, are not in control of; yes, it is possible to convert your religion, but Germany was interested in bloodlines and you can deny your sexual orientation, but I cannot imagine that is ever a happy and fulfilling relationship for either party.

From the specific view of the fight for civil rights, Black and Gay have many similarities, but I think in many ways, Jew and Gay are much more in alignment. Race, somewhat cannot be hidden. A light-skinned person may choose to pass for whatever reason, but most do not have that option open to them.

Jew and Gay are both things that in the “predominant society” can be kept quiet and hidden away into those secret places, both require a statement of self to make others aware.

Both have suffered from cultural and historic misunderstandings and persecutions for standing up for who they are. In many places, it takes serious personal strength to admit to those around you what you are, and if you come from a more Orthodox background, to wear the clothing that will mark you as an outsider, how much less to be a “girlie-boy” and just be what God made you.

The lies of Jewish persecutors have ranged from the ridiculous to the laughably insane, with the need to demean another to justify the hatred and invalidation of another; Christian babies are slaughtered for their blood for Jewish religious rituals, get real. Homosexuals have likewise been slandered in the need of an unquestioning majority to justify the ability to validate bashing; Gay men cannot procreate so they must recruit your children. Gay men cannot be near small boys as they will want to molest them, but the fact that most men on boy sexual assaults take place by self-proclaimed heterosexual men.

As far as Germany goes, in the concentration camps, Jews were given the golden Star of David to demarcate them from the other populations, but in the hierarchy of the social structure, as much as the Jews were hated by Germans and other prisoners, there was a group of lower status, they wore a pink triangle to show them as homosexual.
Either way, Black, Jew or Gay, the simple fact is that “if you can hate one, you can easily hate another” (if you know who said that, please let me know) and yet:

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”

Herman Hesse
I often wonder what aspect of race, religion or orientation triggers within ourselves and what place that self-love/loathing inhabits? I firmly believe that to be truly human, will eventually require each of us to look within and find those self-loved spots that we have been taught to feel shame for that allows us to deny personhood to another, whatever the reason.

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

Michael Jackson

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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