Paradox: Westboro Baptist Church

If you’ve never heard of Westboro Baptist Church, I am sorry to have to introduce you.

Westboro Baptist was founded by Fred Phelps. Westboro is most famous for parading at funerals of soldiers killed in action, with signs saying, “GOD HATES FAGS” and “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS” – claiming that God killed the solider to punish the United States for tolerating homosexuality. (Their websites, which I recommend you avoid, and which I will not link, include godhatesfags.com, jewskilledjesus.com and even godhatestheworld.com.)

But I want to thank Westboro Baptist Church. As I said in a comment the other day,

Westboro Baptist Church has done more for acceptance of gays in my home state than all the Pride marches, Supreme Court victories and anti-discrimination statutes put together.

Why?

I come from the most conservative, rural part of a conservative, rural state. If you aren’t a conservative Christian, you’re a conservative Mormon. You go to church every Sunday. I’m probably the first openly gay person you’ve ever met.

You think I’m going to Hell. You think that what I do is unnatural or degenerate or perverted or disgusting or depraved or just plain icky. You take an unwelcome interest in my bedroom.

But, if you are from my home state, you really hate assholes. A lot more than you hate fags.

[If my mother ever finds this blog, and figures out it’s my doing, she’ll be out here with a bar of soap to wash out my mouth.]

Gay: A paradox

Being gay put an end to being gay.

My home town is in many ways a century behind the times. Language evolves languidly. Words have the denotation and connotation that they had a century ago.

When I was a little girl, “gay” was one of my favorite words. It was how I described myself. I was a lighthearted, happy.

I learned its contemporary meaning about the same time as I realized that I was gay in that sense. Being gay put an end to being gay.

Until now. I am happily gay and gayly happy.

Sexual orientation: A paradox

My sexual orientation isn’t sexual.

Neither is my Love’s.

I can find a man aesthetically or intellectually interesting. But I’ve never felt an emotional or sexual attraction to a man.

From an early age, I appreciated the aesthetics of women and was emotionally attracted to them. I was too young for it to be sexual.

I didn’t have a sexual desire for anyone, man or woman, before I met my Love. I had dreams and waking fantasies of women. They were chaste – being close, talking, holding hands, perhaps kissing or snuggling. No sex, however broadly defined.

Maybe it was just that I had never even held hands with or kissed a woman, and my imagination was too impoverished to supply a sexual context.

But I don’t think so. I wasn’t ignorant. I had sex with men in high school and college.

My Love suggests that aesthetic, physical, intellectual and emotional attraction are, for us, logically prior to sexual attraction. We can’t have a sexual interest without aesthetic appreciation, physical attraction, intellectual engagement and emotional passion.

Perhaps that’s why the (relatively limited) sexual activity that we’ve had has been so explosive for both of us.

I am in my mid-30s. When I was in high school and college, I tried to sublimate my yearning for women by having sex with men. That sex, all of it, was tawdry and degrading. It had no meaning for them; its only meaning for me was disgust. I loathed it even as I went back to it, trying to exorcise the grave depravity of wanting to love a woman.

My Love is in her late 30s. When she met me, her entire sexual experience consisted of having her breasts fondled by a respectful high school boyfriend, and cuddling and having her breasts fondled by a college boyfriend. It was not meaningless – she had affection for both. But she had no desire. It was mechanical and unerotic.

Calling us babes in the woods laughably overstates our lesbian experience.

When my Love first touched my cheek, I almost fainted. Pricks of light danced in my eyes. When she first touched my breast, I stopped breathing. I am certain that my heart stopped. Until that moment, I had been an unemotional woman. Then, I wept in ecstasy at the simple warmth of her palm through my shirt and bra.

When I first touched her breast, she crushed me so hard into herself that I struggled to breathe. Was the scream I heard an actual scream – hers or mine – or the rush of blood in my brain?