The phrase “homosexual lifestyle” gets thrown around a lot by conservatives when jockeying for political power or popularity points. Sadly it seems it gets used even more so by otherwise nice enough people when they want to claim how much they love gay people, they just “don’t approve of their lifestyle.”
Please, God, please – know that when you word vomit this phrase, you are painting with a wide brush that does not depict the picture you think it does. Frankly, honey, you sound ignorant. Ignorant because you are evidently not thinking beyond what you have been taught to parrot. Ignorant because you have bought and are peddling the tired old lie that all queer folk live exactly the same “lifestyle.”
Bless your heart.
I want to help translate what you think you are saying into what you are actually saying.
1. When you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you really mean is “ICK! I am so grossed out by what you do with other women – like, gag me with a spoon!” Guess what, I throw up in my mouth a little when I think about all your interlocking, squirty boot knockin’. How about we agree to keep our imaginations out of each other’s bedrooms? What you really mean is that you DO approve of reducing my entire personhood to my preference for dolls, instead of guys. You assent that nothing else about me is part of my “lifestyle” – not the job I do, not the worship I attend, not the food I eat, not the gardening I enjoy, not the children I am raising, and most certainly not the palpable and inescapable love I have for God and my neighbor. Next time, just be honest and say “I am grossed out by thinking about your sex life.”
2. When you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you really mean is you don’t believe in science. You have decided to ignore all social sciences that inform us that human sexuality is on a spectrum and that some people are in fact built (Created) to be attracted to, fall in love with and desire to make a life with people of the same gender. Next time, just be honest and say “I don’t believe in science.”
3. When you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you are really saying is you DO approve of forcing me to live either a dark and dangerous lie or to be completely alone, forever. Guess what, just as it is not my place to approve of how and who you love, it is not your place to approve or disapprove with whom I hold hands, kiss, take to my bed or want to share the most intimate dreams and nightmares of my life. Next time, just be honest and say “I don’t approve of you being whole and loved.”
4. When you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you are really saying is that you approve of me being persistently a second class, slightly fearful citizen living on the same street, shopping in the same community, worshipping at the same church and subject to stricter laws than you. What you really mean is that you believe only mixed gender couples have unalienable rights to the protection of life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or more basely stated) to court, love, make love to, marry, work without fear and raise a family without impunity. Guess what, laws of the United States sure as hell shouldn’t be based on individual ick factors or if I had my way – ombré highlights, egregious camel toes, duck lips, reality TV and camouflage clothing would all be punishable by glitter bombing, all the time. Next time, just be honest and say “I don’t approve of equal rights for all.”
5. When you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you are really saying is you don’t trust God to generously create and extravagantly love an amazing array of differently configured children. What you are saying is that God’s love is limited to people like you. And sweetie, we can call it blasphemy or we can call it heresy, hell I am happy to call it willful ignorance, but in truth it is just plain old, small-minded, narcissistic religiosity that denies the radical grace and is terrified of the incomprehensibility of God. As Anne Lamott said, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Next time, just be honest and say “I don’t believe in your sacred worth.”
NO matter what you think you are saying, when you say “I don’t approve of your lifestyle” what you are really saying, is “I don’t approve of you.”
Kimberly Knight is the Director of Digital Strategy at a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.
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