Monday, February 15, 2010

A Joint Crusade

Online readers of Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper spotted an apparent show of brotherhood, a photo of a Christian leader and a Muslim leader meeting together in the latter's mosque.

The two men were indeed united in a common spiritual bond: joint hatred. Not as uplifting as feeding the poor, but loads easier.

Bishop Lawrence Chai of Free Apostolic Churches of Kenya and Sheikh Ali Hussein were livid at the prospect of two gay men holding a wedding in Mtwapa, a fast-growing coastal town known for its nightlife. After conferring together, the religious leaders pledged to stop Kenya's first gay wedding "at all costs."

I'd like to believe they were furious just because they hadn't been invited. I can dream.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, but arrests are unusual. Four months ago a gay Kenyan couple married in London, which got a lot of coverage in Kenya. Perhaps that made the preachers heaven-bent on stomping out gayness in their part of the country.

Bishop Chai, a representative of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, and Sheikh Hussein, with the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, said they gave the government a week to shut down clubs they claim fuel homosexuality in Mtwapa. They ordered a person allegedly renting rooms to gays to evict them, also in a week.

I guess they're assuming if God could create the world in seven days, surely mortals can handle these smaller tasks in the same amount of time.

Chai and Hussein demanded that a clinic supposedly providing medical services to gays be investigated. Wondered Hussein, "How can a state institution be involved in providing counseling services to these criminals?"

Well, the first requirement is a heart . . . oh, never mind.

In a statement after their brotherly meeting, the spiritual leaders said, "Come night, come day, we shall not allow that marriage to be conducted in this town tomorrow. We shall stand firm to flush out gays who throng this town every weekend from all corners of this country."

The next day readers of the Daily Nation learned that these fellas kept their word, honorable holy men that they are. This time the newspaper photos were of police handling a man whose face was blurred out. The story said police rescued three men believed to be gay "from hundreds of angry youth baying for their blood."

A subsequent version of the story said Christian and Muslim youth stormed the apartment where the gay couple had been staying. The wedding, needless to say, was off. The town got cold feet.

Police arrested five suspected homosexuals, including the ones they'd saved from the mob. Remember, it's the gays who are the criminals.

The rampaging youth came together as part of Operation Gays Out. You're familiar with the dynamic duo that led the operation, the two leaders of different faiths, those models of tolerance.

Chai and Hussein declared the gay wedding successfully stopped. Chai said, "We thank God for saving this town from being turned to Sodom and Gomorrah of this era as we may have been on the verge of being doomed."

Seems to me a mob gathered to abuse men sounds a lot like the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Thanks, gentlemen, for recreating a low point in both your faiths.

What did Daily Nation readers think about Chai and Hussein? One called them "snake oil salesmen." Another wrote, "Christian and Muslim leaders should preach love, not hatred." But others echoed one commenter, who thanked the clerics "for doing practical moral policing. Homosexuality is a sin . . . All gays and lesbians need to be hanged by the neck."

Altogether, gay Kenyans have reason to be as jumpy as an antelope stumbling on a lion family reunion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Matching the Words with the LGBT World

The Word Warriors Web site, a project of Wayne State University, aims to retrieve expressive English words from obscurity. Hoping to re-inject some colorful words into conversation and writing, Word Warriors released its 2010 list of neglected but useful words.

I'm willing to help the word worriers. But will these 15 words fit comfortably with my subject matter?

Let's find out. First I give the word, then the definition, then a sentence using the word.

Antediluvian. Very old, old-fashioned; antiquated. Ageism among gay men means that any guy who remembers Gerald Ford is antediluvian.

Bamboozle. To fool or cheat. Could it be that former Sen. Larry Craig actually believes he bamboozled people into thinking he's straight with his "wide stance" claim?

Bloviate. To speak at length in a pompous or boastful manner. I bet if he were asked to speak on gay rights, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov would happily bloviate on how he's manfully prevented Pride parades and how a gay gulag sounds good to him.

Charlatan. Fraud. Over the years charlatans in the ex-gay movement have made such fanciful claims about turning gays into straights that it's easy to think of them as the spiritual heirs of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

Concupiscence. Strong sexual desire. The Rev. Ted Haggard's concupiscence for a man led him into the arms of an escort, the teeth of a scandal and the gallbladder of fibbing.

Festoon. To adorn or decorate. The winner of the holiday drag queen pageant had festooned herself with fake snow and lit candles.

Galoshes. Waterproof shoes or boots. If raincoat is another word for condom, what is galoshes another word for?

Indefatigable. Tireless; endlessly persistent. It seems like those who oppose gay rights never run out of gas, but fortunately, we're indefatigable too. (Note: This word is a bit of a tongue twister, but it is not pronounced indeFAGable.)

Insouciance. The quality of being carefree; a lack of concern. The gay activist hoped to drift into insouciance during her vacation in Provincetown, but deep down she knew she was too uptight to pull that off.

Mendacity.
Lying. I learned the word mendacity from watching the movie version of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." This doesn't tell you anything about the word, but I thought I'd mention it.

Mercurial. Fickle; erratic. Because President Obama hasn't moved forcefully on key gay issues like he promised, some view him as mercurial, while others even judge him guilty of mendacity.

Numinous. Awe-inspiring; profoundly moving. Word Warriors says the word doesn't refer to the supernatural, but my dictionary says it suggests the divine. I'm not getting involved.

Quixotic. Excessively romantic; visionary but unrealistic. Not long ago, if someone had said gays would be getting married in this country in 2010, he would've been viewed as decidedly quixotic and possibly nuts.

Scuttle. To sink figuratively; to scurry. I sincerely hope the outrageous, draconian anti-gay legislation Uganda is considering will be scuttled, and the three American evangelical Christians who helped fan the prejudice that led to the legislation, when asked to speak on "the gay agenda" in the future, will instead scuttle far, far away.

Unctuous. Oily; excessively flattering. Any bar, gay or straight, has its unctuous characters laying on the suaveness, and mama was right when she told you to avoid them.

It looks to me like these neglected words do blend with my LGBT material. I'll be on the lookout for next year's list. If I don't look for it, that will prove me mercurial and an example of mendacity. Which means I'll have to put on my galoshes and scuttle away.