Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Politics of Visibility - Healing from Homophobia in Faith Communities – by Christine Gindi 2002

…A forty-two-year-old Buddhist spoke of embracing a God who wanted him to be healthy. He had exercised in order to make himself physically more visible, through his bulging muscles, as a form of rebellion against a society he perceived as resenting his existence. Once he realized that he was no longer resented by God, there was a shift from living in spite of God to living because of God. The perception of his body being against God was transformed into a perception that he already had a divine spark within him; being physically fit in order to be more visually visible and healthy in the face of the society he believed wanted to kill him had, over the years, become a heavy burden…

… I offer these narratives to illustrate a paradigm of eight ways people heal from homophobia in a religious community: 1) The reinterpretation of religious texts, and the use of religious texts that are modified to include gender-neutral language; 2) Citing one’s culture, ethnicity, or family as exaggerating certain religious texts with sexual prejudice, because of their own homophobia, and realizing that it is their society, not God, which judges them; 3) Offering prayers of compassion and forgiveness for a homophobic society and one’s own internalized homophobia; 4) Belonging to an all-gay congregation where all of the leaders of the service are gay, in order to create a nonheterosexual context and lessen the possibility of heterosexism; 5) Embracing a God who wants you to be healthy, with a shift from living in spite of God to living because of God; 6) Going to alternative care practitioners who emphasize spirituality and viewing this care as spiritual support; 7) Viewing one’s gay relationship ashaving been sent by God in order to teach one about love, and therefore about the love of God; and 8) Belonging to a congregation deeply involved with GLBT politics and legislation, and healing through activism and being very visible within the context of religion.
Read complete paper:
Harvard University

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