Sunday School: An Open Letter to Josh Weed
Dear Josh Weed:
I read your recent post about…well, I read your recent post, and have come to the conclusion that you’re kind of a douchebag.
Step into an analogy with me. All will become clear.
Let’s say that there’s an American-born dude who has felt all his life that he was French. He is not of French descent, nor of French colonial ethnicity. He does not speak French. Moreover, he refuses to learn French, or (heaven forfend) actually visit France. Yet he proudly identifies as French to all who will listen. Not only would such a person be incredibly tiresome, anyone who is actually French would be entirely justified in shunning or ridiculing him. Or, indeed, in considering him to be a douchebag.
I like to think that I don’t really give a fuck about ethnicity. I recognize that I have opportunities and privileges as an American that other people throughout the world don’t possess. And it’s no skin off my nose if someone from another nation decries my Americanness, or the Americanness of others, or rains down abuse on the American government. It doesn’t affect me. That’s what privilege means. But there are other parts of my identity that I don’t have the luxury of being so blase about.
I don’t begrudge you your same-sex attraction, Josh Weed, nor your lovely family. I’m not interested in policing how individuals self-identify, because that would make me a patriarchal tool and also an asshole. And unlike you rather uncharitably insinuated in your post, I don’t have any conceptual difficulty with a gay dude whose primary sex partner is a cisgender woman, either. But when you made that post with your professional credentials attached, your self-identification stopped being a personal matter, and started being a problem for everyone else.
Because when you say, “I’m gay,” you aren’t just announcing your attraction to other dudes. For better or for worse, you’re claiming solidarity with a community, and frankly? I don’t like you using my community to legitimize your life lived as a straight man. Tell me, what did it cost you to make that confession? Are you going to suffer any personal or social consequences for it? Do you have anything to fear, as a happily straight-married gay dude with three kids, who has a “robust” sex life with his wife, and who cleaves to a religion that says that the rest of us are all going to hell?
Somehow, I don’t think so. You’re no different from our hypothetical Francophile kook in a sea of American blandness, except you imagine you’re living some kind of “ideal.” You probably think you’re brave, but it doesn’t take courage to sublimate yourself to a religious dogma because you’ve been raised to be too afraid of the consequences of doing otherwise. Brandon at Towleroad said, “If he was an atheist or a Unitarian or a Buddhist who did that and wrote about it, he’d be proclaimed a bold sexual rebel”, but I don’t think that’s the case. Because if you were an atheist or a Unitarian or a Buddhist, you wouldn’t bother making grand announcements about it on the internet. You talk about how hard it is, making choices and trade-offs, but millions of people make those choices every day. The difference between them and you is that they don’t seem to expect a medal for it. Or their own solar system.
That’s why they’re regular human beings, and you’re a douchebag.
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Featured image from Reuters, because I think it’s gauche to post pictures of people’s kids when you’re calling their parent a douchebag, the use of which term I will defend thusly: douchebags are noxious, unnecessary tools of the patriarchy that may cause yeast infections. Gender’s got nothing to do with it.