Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Love That Will Finally Speak Its Name

The forthcoming edition of Newsweek (Sept. 3rd) features a courageous story of coming out. Written by 88 year old Loraine Barr, the feature tells the painful story of the closet and the joy of coming out...even if 88 years in the making.

Her courage in telling her truth despite years of fear is a stark contrast to this week's homophobic insistence of Idaho senator, Larry Craig. In a press statement regarding his arrest in Minneapolis, Craig emphasized his heterosexuality above his innocence in engaging in disorderly conduct. Apparently, for Craig the shame is not in engaging in lewd behavior but in even being thought of as gay. Within the course of a brief public statement broadcast this morning on NPR, Craig asserted three separate times, "I am not gay."

Regardless of Senator Craig's innocence or guilt in this matter and regardless of his own sexual orientation, his adamant denial of being perceived as gay only exacerbates our culture's heterosexist and homophobic attitudes which place being "gay" as the worst possible slur on one's character.

Of course, Senator Craig's denials are part of this same culture of shame that sends people into hiding, rather than affirm their love for others. He too is a victim of this shame, the same shame that kept Ms. Barr and her beloved partner closeted for so long from even their closest friends and relatives.

The closet is no place to live. It forces us to live in fear, limits our choices and harms our souls. What will it take for us as a society to begin to unlock the doors of compulsory heterosexuality so that all can feel free to love whom we are called to love?

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Beautifully written, Tiff--I'm totally forwarding this to several people!
Jenn