even less helpful apology (orig. published feb 2, 2011)

Not too long ago, someone in my Facebook friends list put up a link to this article, which basically says that some Catholic Churches have co-opted the Twelve Steps as a de-gayification mechanism.  That is, you can’t stop being a homo (just like an addict can’t stop being an addict), but you can go into “recovery” and stop engaging in homosexual behavior.  These are the Newer, Gayer Twelve Steps:

The Twelve Steps of Courage

(taken from the Courage Handbook)

We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.* 

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God’s Will for us and the power to carry it out.

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



Since part of being in recovery is being open about one’s past transgressions and errors, I just want to take this opportunity to let you all know at once that I’ve been working the steps myself for awhile now.   Admitting that I was powerless was pretty easy; you only have to look at the choices I’ve made to see that.  My life is clearly unmanageable.  Second step, also not a problem. And with the help of my fearless sponsor, I have been working on handing over my will to a power greater than myself, and taking a fearless moral inventory, and it has become clear just how many people have been hurt–ex-boyfriends, high school girls whose boys I stole, boys with crushes whose hearts I stomped on, innocent bystanders who have had to endure my many PDAs with various boyfriends, my aunt who was heartbroken when she discovered that Robin is actually just my friend and not my girlfriend, to say nothing of Valentine’s Day in its entirety–by my heterosexuality. I have made a list of the people that I harmed directly (except when to contact them would do them more harm) and asked for their forgiveness and made amends where I could.

On my list of people I must apologize to is The Homos, unfortunately, I cannot find the Official Homosexual Spokesperson to whom to make amends.  So I make this post, in the hope that the Internet will accept my apology on behalf of all homosexuals everywhere. My failure to admit that I have a problem and stop engaging in heterosexual behavior has, I fear, caused the homosexual community much pain. Maybe my heterosexuality wouldn’t be so bad if I could keep it under control and to myself, but sadly, it affects my whole life and all of my relationships, to say nothing of the potential tax burden that may come shooting out of my uterus at any time. Part of my addiction is that it makes me selfish and self-centered and power hungry in many ways, and insofar as this has interfered with your access to institutions such as marraige, spousal health care, personal safety, and fair representation in various media, I am deeply sorry. I hope that someday you regain (/retain) your right to adopt children, as I may need to find a home for an impending potential tax burden. (Oh, wait, no I won’t. I’m in recovery, and not engaging in heterosexual acts, so I won’t be making any babies.)

I want to assure you that I am taking my recovery seriously. I am no longer associating with hetero-enablers, and as soon as my sponsor tells me that I’m once again ready to participate in sexual relationships, I’m going to find myself a nice girl to settle down with. I have changed my personal environment and am creating a new circle of friends at the local gay bar. I continue to pray to god to give me strength, and of course, my HA (Heterosexuals Anonymous) group has been an enormous help. If there’s anything I can do to mitigate the pain that i’ve caused by my addictive behavior, please let me know. I am, of course, fully in support of the Homosexual Agenda (that’s a day planner, right? Can I still get one for 2011?)

If you know any heterosexuals that have hit rock bottom and are ready to go into recovery, or any who may want to talk about what being in recovery looks like and how my life has changed, I would love to have coffee with them.


Unhelpful Apology (orig. posted Feb. 2, 2011)

Quakers (of whom I am one) have a long history of social justice.  Many Quakers were involved in the Underground Railroad, they generally believed that Indians should be treated justly (though this meant paying them a “fair price” for their land, not keeping off of it entirely).  In 1688, Germantown Friends drafted the first anti-slavery minute, and over the course of the next 100 years, Friends gradually came to consensus around the idea of slavery being wrong.  In the first half of the 1800s, Friends were convinced, by gradual social pressure and other stuff, to free their slaves or not buy new ones (I’d go into details, but I honestly don’t know them very well, and it’s late and I’m kinda tired).

Quakers are proud of our history, and justifiably so.  We’re one of the first organized groups to formally come out against slavery.  Quakers did a lot to contribute to the downfall of slavery in the United States, and aided countless men and women escaping slavery in the South.

But still.  It took us 100 years to get there.

A Friend once told me of an experience she had in a discussion at a Quaker gathering about race.  A (white) man stood up and more or less what I’ve repeated above, the usual self-congratulation at the enlightenment of Quakers.

A (black) woman stood up and asked, “How many of my people had to die in chains while white Quakers sat around and debated what they knew to be true for one hundred years before finally getting off their asses and doing something?”

She was right.  Quakers knew that slavery was a violation of Quaker principles, and a violation against God, and an unjust system long before we managed to come together and get rid of all our slaves.  Like Thomas Jefferson, so against slavery, and yet so beholden to its power as a social system.  We enslave ourselves to habits.  And I’m not saying that Quakers should be ridden with guilt that it took us 100 years to get to a place that, from 20th century perspective, seems self-evident.  I’m just saying that we don’t get to decide whether we were or weren’t (or are or aren’t) effective allies.  But next time the opportunity presents itself, hopefully we learn lessons from our past and don’t take quite so long to do the right thing.

That was what came to my mind when I read this excerpt that Barack Obama did recently with The Advocate:

Yes, and Joe asked me the same question. And since I’ve been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I’m not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am—which is, like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.

And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I’m continually asking myself this question and I do think that—I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don’t understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.

And so this is an issue that I’m still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.


Now, sure, that Obama would do an interview with a gay magazine is a step forward in and of itself.  But the question still remains: Obama knows that legalizing gay marraige is the right and just thing to do.  I’m sure he knows that it’s basically inevitable–sooner or later, straights-only marraige is going to go the way of anti-misogynation laws.  So what the hell are we waiting for?  How many gays and lesbians have to continue to exist in this unjust system–without partner health care, without wills, without the ability to adopt children, without tax breaks, without the security and safety in their person–while we straights pussyfoot around and “evolve our attitudes”?  How many queer kids have to be bullied to the point of suicide before the outcry against it becomes so deafening that we manage to create safe schools?  How many Pride parades must a man walk in before they call him a man?  Let’s hold hands and sing all together, now.

I just…I’m so sorry, gay America.  I’m sorry you have to put up with this bullshit.  I’m sorry that straight America is so reluctant to do the right thing.  I’m sorry that so many of you have died without ever getting to see what should be a basic civil right granted to you.  That we use the excuses that we do is an example, in and of itself, of the privilege that we have that we’re unaware of.  I haven’t yet figured out how to put my money where my mouth is (sigh, privilege again, sorry), but here’s at least one straight chick who can’t wait for America to get gayer.