Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'd Give My Body To be Back Again... to be alone with you

The proverbial "shoe" dropped with my Gramsy tonight. It was somewhat ugly, but also civil. Her hypothesis ran something on the order of "molestation/rape leads to homosexuality." Needless to say, it is a wholly bullshit rationale, and I quickly told her so. It is strange: the man who "raped" me was himself gay, a youth pastor in his mid-thirties, very good-looking, but fundamentally tortured by his sense of sexuality. I don't know what the deal is with Catholic priests--and I resist totally any comparison: there was no imposed celibacy. But it is quite clear to me that this man, had he not been plagued by guilt over his sexuality, would have been an open gay man--maybe even happy.

I told her the history she did not know when I told her that God fucked him up, and not that he was simply fucked up--she objected to the idea that God could ever harm a human being. (When we passed a church sign that read: "The acid test of faith is obedience" she said, "Obedience to what?: love one another." It is wholly bizarre that for someone who thinks that also votes Republican--for PALIN!--and misses the many ways in which "God" has been used to hurt very many.... Not to mention: obedience is for dogs and slaves.)

I explained that my relationship with YP began because my parents wanted me to "see someone" to "help me "deal" with (read: "cure") my homosexual desires. Of course, YP was himself a closeted and deeply conflicted homosexual. The irony of our early morning breakfasts before he drove me to school lies in his attempts to prove to himself, not me, that homosexuality was a sin. As I mounted spirited and rather shameless counter-arguments (I've always moved on the register of the mind) it was clear that rather than convince me of the error of my ways, I was convincing him of the error of his.

When he made a move--and how timely to be writing about this, because it was Memorial Day weekend 1999, I'd just turned 16--I never said "No." In fact, I was excited by it--later that afternoon I sucked off another boy from church in the very bed I'd shared with this man, which, as it happened to be, was my cousin's bed. Of course, his advance was a misreading of my desire, and my acceptance was also a misreading of my desire. I didn't know I could say "No," or that I even wanted to--I felt something was "owed" to him for wanting me: that the risk of his advance had to be repaid with my acceptance of his advance. There are vestiges of this morality at play when I hustle drinks: I feel I owe the man who pays my time for the duration of my drink. In fact, I wanted the cute boy I later sucked-off; if he had simply said, "I find you attractive, and I'm sure others do, too" I'm pretty sure things would have worked out better for both of us.

Obviously, however, it wasn't as simple as receiving validation of my queer desire through his advances. Our Memorial Day morning also exposed his hypocrisy. And what was validated was something "shameful" in that it wasn't supposed to happen, and certainly not with him. It's only with this much time, and after much (necessary) analysis of the whole affair that I realize my rage at him stems from this three fold injunction that issued from his act: be ashamed, hide yourself in hypocrisy, and sex/desire is simply an exchange of obligations. I refused all three postures, though, as stated above, the last has proved hardest to overcome--and the most traumatic: for it was "rape" only insofar as he betrayed my trust and exploited the (Christian) moral imperative to repay all debts. 

He hanged himself in September; a mixture of fear that I would tell someone coupled with his own guilt led him to suicide. In hindsight, the guilt was no doubt two-fold: he knew, like I did, that he had abused the dynamics of our relationship, but he also gave into forbidden passions: his desire had become criminal. He did not flee legal prosecution (I had considered it, but didn't want to be a "victim"--his crime was "spiritual" or ethical, if you will, and a law court could never judge that)--rather, he fled being "outed" and having to confront that "truth" of himself. 

It's strange: the last time I was alone visiting my Gramsy once asked me in what I thought was a wholly perverse question when I would forgive YP. I told her, "Never." And though it is impossible to forgive him--he is not here to ask, and I don't think one can just "surface" to re-quest such a thing and then disappear again--I do now understand more of what must have been going on in his head. That is to say, I'm not as angry at him any more. In no small measure that is because, contra my Gramsy's terrible logic, I no longer stand under the full cast of his shadow: I am a proudly out gay man, I have cut God's throat and built a pyre in his tomb to dispel his shadow should he dare spectral apparition, I have many beautiful and loving friends, and I have a family that--more or less--is not judgmental of my life. And, perhaps most importantly, I have fallen in love--even if unrequited--and know that it is possible, not just a tantalizing phantasy (fuck jouissance!) as it must have been for YP.

(Concluding Unscientific Postscript: Sokrates was telling me about the bizarre "certainty" of most gay men he knows with HIV of how they caught the bug. "One listens to these men tell their (hi)stories and can't help but see the fantastic construction of the narrative they tell themselves." Like these men, I too am weaving a fantastic construction in this narrative. While quasi-confessional--I would add "therapeutic" but isn't that a redundancy?--I recently replied to a post of the Writer's that addressed the importance of "necessary fictions," that is: fantasy. Unlike the obtuse analyst or the priest I acknowledge that it is just a narrative I live by, one that has the power to bind my deeds to my words--my ethos--but which is contingent, plastic enough to allow for--and encourage when necessary--change: Nietzsche's insistence on the health of the body: a philosophy of life predicated on the "truth" of fiction. Rephrased: these is only so many words necessary to live--there is no Truth here; just a smile.)

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