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A Greater Stigma

"So I guess then, people also have a right to ban homosexuality? And that would of course include same sex marriage?"
- Normajeana on

Good question. On USENET in 1987, I responded to pro-choice liberal Oleg Kiselev via email, when he attacked someone for being homophobic. I pointed out that same-sex relations are victimless, wondering why society makes such a big deal about it?

Oleg, apparently failing to recognize that killing animals for food involves a victim (the animal!) responded in part by asking why does society make a big deal about other people's eating habits?

(This was after I'd argued on USENET for vegetarianism!)

In the late '80s, my friend Greg, a gay Catholic whom I've known since high school and who (like pro-life feminist Mary Krane Derr) credits me with having caused him to become a vegetarian, said he liked the lyrics to the Guns & Roses song "One in A Million":

"Immigrants and f*gg*ts
"They make no sense to me
"They come to our country
"And think they'll do as they please

"Like start some mini-Iran
"Or spread some fuckin' disease
"They speak so many goddamn ways
"It's all Greek to me..."

I said lightheartedly to Greg, "Hey, we're the ones who made this country great! Us immigrants and you f*gg*ts!"

In 1990, my friend Rankin, a former Missionary Baptist minister who happens to be gay, said CNN's Ted Turner wanted to do away with the notion of "foreigner," seeing the world as a global village, which would mean doing away with the concept of "immigrant" as well.

And this was years before anyone had ever heard of the Internet!

(Or before Al Gore "invented" the Internet?)

Like a multi-religious, multi-racial, and multicultural society, the political left is also open to a multi-lingual society (e.g., French Canadians), whereas the right is not (look at the "English-only" referendums in Arizona!).

My friend Hilton told me years ago about a campaign commercial run by Pat Buchanan, emphasizing English only, in which a man in a restaurant is choking, tries to dial 9-11 for immediate help and is forced to go through a series of prompts, asking which language he'd prefer, etc.!

My own experience is that religious minorities in our country suffer greater stigma than LGBTs or sex workers.

In a 1982 interview, George Harrison said, "I think it's better that it is spreading into the homes now. There are a lot of 'closet Krishnas,' you know."

(The other side treats us like a "cult," and wonders why?)

George Harrison said, "It's a pity you don't have restaurants or temples on all the main streets of every town and village like those hamburger and fried chicken places. You should put them out of business."

The followers of Buddhist spiritual leader Supreme Master Ching Hai now boast some two hundred vegan restaurants worldwide, and are enjoying the kind of success Krishna Consciousness enjoyed in the '60s and '70s.

But even Veg-News, a slick, trendy vegan periodical out of San Francisco, has accused them of being a "cult," forcing Zen Buddhist spiritual master Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, to come to their defense!

John Lennon clearly wasn't ready to commit to a real spiritual path, but he tried to inspire others to develop the desire for self-inquiry and the quest for world peace.

In a 1971 interview with British journalist David Wiss, John Lennon indicated a belief in karma and reincarnation (understanding that the temporary material body is merely an external vehicle for the eternal soul within), saying:

"I'm prepared for death because I don't believe in it. I think it's just getting out of one car and getting into another."

When asked if any of the other Beatles believe(d) in reincarnation, George Harrison said, "I'm sure John does! And I wouldn't want to underestimate Paul and Ringo. I wouldn't be surprised if they'e hoping it's true, you know what I mean? For all I know, Ringo might be a closet yogi disguised as a drummer!"

Paul McCartney's 1980 song, "One of These Days" is reportedly about a conversation with a Hare Krishna devotee. And Paul McCartney himself is reported to have said, "I'm not a Hare Krishna myself, but I'm very sympathetic."

In 1991, when I first moved to the SF Bay Area, I mentioned to my friend Chris that I was doing research on religion and animal rights. Chris pointed that Jesus distributed loaves and fishes to the multitudes.

I said that's debatable: Jesus called his disciples away from fishing, saying, "Come, I will make you fishers of men..."

I quipped lightheartedly, "And if you make a joke about gay male prostitutes, I'll kill you!"

Unless you're sexist (or homophobic), if you're going to argue that prostitution is not completely victimless, you're going to have to acknowledge males (gay males, anyway) among its "victims," and not merely females.

And over a decade ago, when I heard Serrin Foster, Executive Director of Feminists For Life (FFL) speak at UC Berkeley, and I asked her if FFL supports LGBT rights, Serrin said FFL works with PLAGAL (the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians) on a regular basis.

Feminists For Life, PO Box 320667, Alexandria, VA 22320

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