Sunday, 24 May 2015
Born This Way, Born Any Way, You Deserve To Be Loved
So I read an article (link at the bottom) this morning and it really shook me. Maybe it’s because I am in the launch phase of parenting and so am acutely aware of how precious kids are, or maybe it’s ’cause it’s Sunday and spirituality is on my mind, or perhaps it’s because I am just thinking like a social worker—something I know I find tough to turn off, but….here’s the thing:
I have gay friends. I have friends who are the parents of gay children. BUT EVEN IF I DIDN’T I know what I know about brain development and how verbal abuse, shunning, and rejection impair the architecture of the developing human brain. A verbally abused child can, by virtue of his experiences, stay locked in fight-flight-freeze mode, thus unable to transcend into the brain’s potential for executive functioning, the area which allows one to learn how to regulate and self soothe. Sound like not such a big deal? Neuroscience mumbo-jumbo? Let’s play the tape all the way through:
As a result of this impairment, being stuck in fight-flight-freeze (due to abuse, let’s not forget that part) the brain, unable to soothe itself and re-regulate, will, nonetheless, still crave comfort.
So what happens?
Well, we’re crafty, we humans, and, as The Stones so eloquently said, when ‘you can’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes, you’ll get what you need’. So the person whose brain development is arrested in flight-fight-freeze, whose self-soothing ability has never been engaged, will still seek out and achieve comfort via alternate routes. Enter artificial nurture through the destructive practice of substance abuse, gambling, sex, shopping, eating, or any combination thereof. (Which, ironically, and tragically, the sanctimonious will then use as further ‘evidence’ of the homosexual’s treachery and debauchery, by the way—when really it is merely simple brain science).
Long story short? We are physically wounding the homosexual children we persecute. And no, I’m not speaking metaphorically. This can’t be dismissed by a curled lip and glib reply about sticks-and-stones or by saying that it would ‘Do the little pussy good to toughen up and get over it’.
Rejecting, shunning, denying, wounding and verbally abusing physically damages brain development. Please read that line again. And again. And again.
Now, having read it, having learned it, I invite you to imagine how we’d slash the number of addicts if we embraced—or better yet, discarded the notion of importance attached to—people’s sexual orientation. Why do we even define each other by sexual orientation, anyway? And don’t get all Biblical on me ’cause I may be no divinity scholar but I certainly know that the Bible tells us to ‘Love One Another’ many, many, many more times than it makes any reference to homosexuality.
Imagine now also how many fewer suicides our collective psyche would bear the burden of, how we could shrink the number of grieving, broken parents who could do nothing—NOT ONE THING—about their son or daughter’s orientation and others’ resulting viciousness regarding it, if only we just—oh, I dunno—“Loved One Another.” How radical. How out-of-the-box.
Imagine kids laughing together and learning from each other and (call me crazy) protecting each other rather than feeling somehow justified—or perhaps even encouraged—to ridicule, persecute, and abuse.
Imagine. I implore you. Just imagine.
Because you know what I can’t imagine? I cannot imagine demonizing a human brother or sister for something they have had no more say in as to whether they were right handed or left handed. Or whether they had a penchant for sugar or a tongue for salt.
Similarly I cannot imagine that any of these self-righteous Scripture-spewing megaphones, these pulpit-pounders who encourage sanctions, shunning and, yes, abuse, are actually parents. These people who engage in rhetoric from the vile to the glib (God said ‘Adam & Eve’, not Adam & Steve’ heh heh heh)….do they not see that you have no more control over certain elements of your child’s bio/psycho/social make up than you do of pulling the tide in with your teeth? Have they not paid attention to their own children?
I am so sick of and sickened by the sanctimony. Of these people who do not see that their own cruel behavior is the very sin they revile as ‘unclean’.
A wise social worker I once worked for said: “Bonnie, intolerance of intolerance is, in fact, intolerance”. He was not wrong. But try as I might, I read the letter in the article attached, about this Mom listening to her 17 year old list the reasons why he wanted to commit suicide (ultimately because other people had a problem with him being gay) and I find it impossible to tolerate any attitude that would bring a child to this brink. Any attitude that would create a childhood that was a landscape of Hell as opposed to one of love and fun and wonder.
In this stiff-necked, sex-obsessed culture we’ve created, we physically hurt kids with the words we use to defend the indefensible. We misappropriate that which is Holy and Spiritual and turn it into weapons which physically damage the architecture of children’s brains.
We hurt these kids with the things we do and then we have the audacity to blame them for it.
We need to feel deeply, deeply ashamed of that. We need to Love One Another.
Here is the referenced article.