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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Gays have no purpose in life."


Those weren't her exact words, but it was absolutely the intended meaning of high school special-needs teacher Diana Medley when asked to clarify her opinion that gay and lesbian students shouldn't be permitted to attend the prom of the high school at which she teaches.

"It's the same thing with my special-needs kids. I think God puts everyone in our lives for a reason."

She was then asked whether gays and lesbians have any purpose in life.

"No, I honestly don't. Sorry, but I don't. I don't understand it."

Now, to be fair, there's a slight chance she could have meant the practice of homosexuality doesn't have any purpose, not the person who is homosexual, and I wouldn't be surprised if she and her supporters attempt to spin it this way in the next few days.

However, I don't believe that's what she meant. Ms. Medley, being a person who would promote and provoke an instance of segregation, doesn't strike me as someone who is open to articulating even the least complex of situations.

Obviously, I'm angry over her comments. I'm angry because I think of my LGBT friends and colleagues who have to deal with this kind of bigotry on a daily basis and have sorta-kinda become accustomed to it over the course of their lives to the point they have a thick enough skin to weather the ignorance, an ignorance I will never know as a straight, white, cisgender, Christian male in this country.

But I'm far more angry because of the LGBT children who are following this situation and wondering to themselves if they'll have a purpose in life should they choose to live openly in their sexuality, if they'll choose to live a happy life rather than one of shame and secrecy.

I'm angry that stories of gay teen suicides are commonplace, children who have been made to feel so ashamed of who they are that they see no other solution than to take their own lives.

Yes, the LGBT community has enjoyed growing support over the last several years, peaking with a president who now supports gay marriage and even referenced his full support for LGBT rights in his 2nd Inaugural Address, last month.

Yet, we still have an obvious problem: from Chris Culliver to Chris Brown, from Diana Medley to the Republican Party, we have a large swath of this country that is still viciously anti-gay.

We have millions of Christians who still condescend to LGBT persons with that tired phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

In other words, "we'll treat you like a human being except for ensuring you have rights equal to that of heterosexuals."

LGBT children see all this occurring around them, and can you blame them for losing hope of a happy life?

I thought of spending this blog post outlining all the incredible things gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people have done in American history and the history of our world: from Alexander the Great to Chinese Emperor Ai of Han, from Virginia Woolf to Langston Hughes, from Bayard Rustin to Tammy Baldwin.

But I feel any reasonable person, any person worth knowing, is aware of the tremendous purpose every human has and that sexuality is not a condition for that purpose but that it can serve as its inspiration.

This past weekend, a woman named Charlie Morgan succumbed to a years-long battle with breast cancer. She was a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army, a mother of a five year-old daughter, and deeply in love with Karen, her wife. She came out to the world on national television the day "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, exhibiting a courage I can't begin to understand.

She was a Veteran, true. She was a loving mother and wife, yes. But, at least to me, more than that, she was a lesbian in American society, a person who stayed true to herself despite the discrimination and prejudice she faced on a daily basis.

And that discrimination continues beyond her death. Despite being legally married, because of DOMA, her wife and child will not receive benefits that would be entitled (rather, earned) had she been married to a man.

As a fellow Veteran, she has my respect. As a Christian who believes homosexuality is not a sin but a gift, she has my love and awe. As a human being who believes in equality, she has my empathy and tears.

I didn't know her, but we share many mutual friends, and they were crushed by her loss; here was an extraordinary person with a solid character and abundant love for those in her life, and several states away, a very small-minded person said her life has no purpose.

Ms. Medley, I hope you read this, and I hope you think deeply about the culture of hatred you're promoting, about the children who don't see a life worth living and the adults who have suffered for far too long, even past a minute's grace, for who they love because you failed to consider their feelings outside the scope of a poorly-shaped view of God's love.

Because make no mistake: your recent actions have not been of God.

I'm not convinced you'll have a change of heart, but for their sake, it remains my hope.


  1. That was beautiful! I agree with you whole-heartedly, and I hope she not only APOLOGIZES for her words, but in her mind, knows how false they are.

  2. It is long past time for people like Diana Medley to face some real honest-to-God consequences when they insist on saying and/or doing things that hurt people. I've been a Christian for more than forty-five years, but frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about Medley's so-called *religious convictions* because all she is doing is using them to bolster her own hate. Now she can smile that smarmy phony smile all she wants to, and fix up her hair and makeup so that she thinks she looks pretty, but I can see right through that façade and what lies beneath the dressed-up exterior is UGLY.

    She can pull Bible verses out of her ass until Jesus comes back. She can even shove the damn Bible where the sun doesn't shine for all I care. This country was not founded on the Bible; that honor goes to a little paper known as the United States Constitution.

    To quote a phrase that's been making the rounds the past few years in Washington, "Senator, you put your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution; you did not put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

    Time and place. Even Jesus said "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." Now if HE could grasp the concept of church-state separation, why is it so hard for some Americans??

    1. While I find her comments reprehensible, I don't see how her personal appearance matters in this context. Would her opinions be any more acceptable if she did not "fix up her and make up" and "look pretty"?


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