RE: gay marriage
I’m sorry to bother you when you’re on sabbatical but we have an issue here that’s proving difficult to resolve.
You created me and I’m grateful for this. You created me gay. Some people blame me, saying it was my choice, but we know you did it. And anyway, what’s to blame? I credit you for it. It’s a wonderful and curious and exciting development of the human race which raises all kinds of questions – and I’m truly happy about it. Thank you!
Admittedly, it’s taken me an awful long time, 60 years, to get to this point of really owning it and loving it. It was so much easier when I was in the closet and in a straight marriage. Everything fitted, so to speak, and I had a secure role in society, in the family and in the natural order. And of course in your magnificent world of spiritual archetypes too. Unfortunately, it nearly killed me to keep up the pretence.
Strangely, when I started telling the truth most people were sad about it. Understandably, they would’ve preferred things to stay as they’d always known them, secure and predictable, but that’s not how you made the world, is it? I was lucky to have one friend who screamed with happiness when I told her, not because I was gay but because I was, at last, honouring the truth about myself.
Anyway, the bone I have to pick with you is that, having blessed my marriage – which, although it was a happy one and graced with three fabulous children, was based on me pretending to be someone else, in effect lying – why won’t you now bless my present relationship with a man? We love each other, we’ve been faithful and committed to each other for years and we have a loving community around us. We both look after our families: parents, grans and granpas, bro’s and sisters, my children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts … Okay, we can’t have children but nor can lots of couples and we could make a nice home for a young person who would otherwise have no-one. A lot of people here are saying marriage is mainly about procreation – but that’s not a great argument from someone like yourself whom we look to for spiritual guidance.
So dear Divine, what I’m driving at is – how about a Sacrament? I know you’ve always said men are men and women are women, Mars and Venus and all that, but nowadays it’s all changing. People feel different and so many don’t fit into traditional gender roles or even into their bodies. Marriage is meant for male and female, you said. Well, we are! We’re both male and both female. I know you’ll understand that because you’re in a similar position yourself – but we have to cope with life on this planet! It’s not easy being a human being trapped in a feminine soul inside a man’s body. Or vice versa. I mean, just clothes shopping is a nightmare.
You see, in particular, it’s tough for young people. When you first wake up to these things you’re just a child or still growing up and you’re surrounded by a world full of ignorance, unreliable emotions and misinformation. At that tender age it dawns on you that you don’t have a role in the great story of the world: you’ve been written out of the script. You’re not there in the Bible except as something to be stoned (and not in a good way); in history your role models are exotic and isolated figures who usually come to a bad end. Even natural science, which is terribly tolerant and enlightened, has this theory of evolution which seems to say that you’re some kind of random genetic mutation which is not going to be much use for the continuance of the species (which does ignore an awful lot of carers, nurses, teachers, musicians, artists, writers etc).
So you see, however understanding society is becoming, you still feel excluded from nature itself, from the universe, and from the divine archetypal world order. You’re so alone. No wonder so many of those growing-up young people hurt themselves or try to do away with themselves.
An old friend of mine, who’s a poet, said that the task of the man today is to learn from the feminine:
“…some day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the feminine human being.
This advance will (at first much against the will of the outstripped men) change the love-experience, which is now full of error, will alter it from the ground up, reshape it into a relation that is meant to be of one human being to another, no longer of man to woman. And this more human love (that will fulfill itself, infinitely considerate and gentle, and kind and clear in binding and releasing) will resemble that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (he’s a chap, by the way).
So, what about it, dear boy? We’re having to decide things on our own since you left, doing our best to develop a compassionate, empathic society. But we do need a hand with this one – to save Marriage from degenerating into an institution based on tradition and procreation. With your blessing we could give it a spiritual foundation: a uniting of human masculine and feminine as they are mixed, uniquely and ever-changing, in each one of your human creature-creatives. You could help us to protect and fulfil each other’s solitude.
As always I look forward to hearing from you,
This piece was first published in ‘Perspectives’, the journal of The Christian Community.
Peter Howe is a writer living in Stourbridge, West Midlands.