Promoting Homosexuality???

A Christian group in a rural part of the US recently invited me to present my play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. The main organizer e-mailed Sarah, my booking agent today, “We are having real trouble finding a venue-people are afraid of “promoting homosexuality” boy, do we need Peterson in this town!”

This is not the first time I’ve heard the charge that by presenting a queer-affirming play that we are promoting homosexuality. Okay, to present something is to hold something out, to acknowledge its existence. To promote attaches an obligation to the issue–this is good; try it yourself.

Now I do promote the idea that we should breakdown barriers, that we should listen to each other’s stories, that there is nothing wrong with being a same-gender loving person and that it does more harm than good to force people to change their sexual orientation (in either direction).

Lord knows the media and society promote heterosexuality 24/7. The conservative church promotes heterosexuality (while also condemning unrepependent same-gender loving people to an eternity in hell). By NOT having me come and do my show, a community promotes nothing but the status quo, which may feel safe, but which consistently proves to be destructive.

This post has 2 Comments

  1. Clint on March 31, 2006 at 2:02 am

    Forgive my naiveté, but couldn’t you perform in somebody’s backyard or something? I think like this, because I think, if the ELCA ever decided to cut my church loose, it would only be the end if we chose it to be. So, I don’t know why the facilities thing has to be an obstacle.

    Call it all a bit of Quaker simplicity on my part.


  2. Liz Opp on March 31, 2006 at 4:47 am

    Clint, somehow a Peterson performance in somebody’s backyard feels a LOT like keeping same-sex attraction in the closet. I agree with Peterson that heterosexuality is brought into the town square day after day and we seldom if ever question it:

    – houses of worship (who are the ones holding hands and kissing at the end of worship–straight couples or gay ones?)

    – television shows (far more straight characters than gay ones; and one reality show in particular often asks about how the women are going to ever be ready to meet a guy… What sort of set-up is THAT?!)

    – politics (how many openly gay politicians bring their partners on stage during their big parties?)

    – movies (again, there are a few with gay characters or storylines, but not so many).

    I loved it when, early on while I was working with a personal trainer, I was asked, “So, do you have a partner…?” My trainer is straight but his sensitivity to the wider culture and its many forms of family and coupleship really struck me at how seldom I am asked that question.

    Think about it: How would straight people ever know they were okay if their lifestyles were for decades never represented in a positive light on TV, in the movies, in the newspaper, on the news, in the Bible, at the Olympics, around the Thanksgiving meal, in Nativity scenes, in textbooks, in cheap picture frames at Target, in picture windows of a photography studio…???

    Yes, we need to be visible in all sorts of ways in all sorts of places if GLBTQ people are ever to be looked at as part of the mainstream. We may not be THE mainstream, but we are part of it, as far as I’m concerned.

    Sheesh, and to think, Peterson, I was gonna just write a simple comment thanking you for showing up and articulating some of the sticking points so clearly.

    Go get ’em and break a leg.

    Liz, The Good Raised Up

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