Jul 5, 2013

Southern Baptist Sissies: Gays vs. God, Yet Again

Sordid Lives (1999) became  #2 on my list of 10 Gay Movies I Hated  because of its dreary insistence that gay life in Texas today is stuck in a pre-Stonewall dark Age, with a drag queen undergoing de-homosexualization therapy in a mental hospital and a gay guy who had to go 3000 miles and undergo 300 years of therapy to be "who he is."  (He never heard of the thriving gay communities in Dallas, Houston, and Austin?)

In December 2000, back in West Hollywood for a Christmas visit, my friends took me to a new play, Southern Baptist Sissies, written by Del Shores, the perpetrator of Sordid Lives.  I liked it a little better, mainly because the Southern Baptist homophobia resonated with my childhood church.  Although ours was much worse.  How about heterosexuals going to hell for not kicking their gay kids out of the house?  Or for suggesting that there might be worse sins than being gay?

But I had a problem with the gays-vs.-God message.

A teenage in the Calvary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Mark  isn't sure whether he wants to accept Jesus Christ as His Personal Saviour or not, but his Mom promises that if he does, he can have his buddy TJ for a sleepover.  So he does, and homoromance results.

Mark doubts the church's homophobia, and several other teachings (such as his favorite teacher, who is Jewish, is destined for eternal damnation).  He finally abandons religion. He drives 3000 miles and undergoes 300 years of therapy to be "who he is" (Del Shores).

Emerson Collins (left), who played Max in Sordid Lives: The Series, will play Mark in the 2013 movie version.

TJ goes into the closet, gets married, and hates gay people.  He  does everything he can to promote homophobia in the church.

 Luke Stratte-McClure (right), who also played a Southern gay boy in Del Shores' Yellow, will play TJ.

We hear from two other gay boys: Benny, who is flamboyantly feminine, also abandons religion.  He grows up to become a drag queen performer.

He'll be played by William Belli (left, with Jerry O'Connell), who has played drag queens so often that he rated an appearance as The Professor on RuPaul's Drag University/

Andrew (Matthew Scott Montgomery, above, in Yellow) can't bring himself to accept a life without faith, so he commits suicide.

That's your choice, folks: like religion and hate gays, or like gays and hate religion.

Why can't you be gay and religious at the same time?

If your Baptist roots were homophobic, stop whining and join a gay church, like the MCC or the Reconciling Pentecostals International.  Dallas has a MCC plus The Cathedral of Hope, with over 500 members.

Or join a gay-positive mainline church, like the Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, or Disciples of Christ.  Dallas has over 50 gay-affirming churches, including two Baptist.

Or join a pro-gay religion, like Buddhism, Judaism, or Wicca.