Today a former intern at my office called me to refer a client to me. Over the years that we've known each other, she and I have eaten a lot of lunches together and have talked about all sorts of things. She's also been my number one referrer of clients. I consider her a friend, but we don't see each other so much because she lives way north of the border. No, I don't think Miami is the center of the universe, but West Palm Beach and north of that is far for me. I felt kind of weird because today is the day that she decided to tell me that she is gay and one of the clients she referred to me was her girlfriend, not her roommate.
Other people tell me that I'm "vanilla" and that I have no gaydar. They are right. I totally didn't pick up on the girls' elaborate stories about why they lived together, shared ownership of a car or why my friend was way too interested in the outcome of her roommate's case. This isn't the first time I've failed to notice a relationship right under my nose. Some time ago I represented a guy in a domestic violence case that always came to my office and court with his mother-in-law, who was the alleged victim's mother. Turns out, mom and client had been in a relationship. I was shocked.
Today made me feel shocked and a little sad because I can't believe that my friend went to such extremes to hide who she is from me. Knowing that she's gay doesn't change my view of our friendship at all. But she told me that her parents don't accept that she's gay and that she's really afraid to tell anyone at her new job. I told her about Maria's intolerance. Maria would not befriend someone or help a person in need if she knew the person were gay. My friend seemed shocked and asked if we were talking about the same Maria. Maria used to be my friend's boss, but I guess my friend didn't share her secret with Maria.
I was really thinking about Maria and other people's hatred toward gays. Most of the people I know that hate gays are Christians, although I'm not saying that all Christians do that or that Christians are the only people that do that. I earlier wrote about homosexuality according to Buddhist beliefs, or at least the Dalai Lama's beliefs. Personally, I think sexual promiscuity is terrible, no matter what your religion, beliefs or sexual orientation are. But when I look at my friend's long-term, committed lesbian relationship, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that. Sadly, I think homosexuality is one of the last areas where it is still somewhat socially acceptable to be hateful and discriminate.
I wonder where Maria gets her hatred toward gays. The Unitarian Universalist in me says that God is graceful and merciful and doesn't hate. Actually, the Unitarian Universalist in me questions whether God even belongs in a discussion about homosexuality. God doesn't hate gays. But alas, God hates some things, according to the Bible in Proverbs 6:16-19:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.Would Maria or others be so quick to hate someone that fits into one of the above categories? A few years ago, when Maria invited me to her church, the sermon was about why Sodom and Gomorrah were evil. The pastor went right to Ezekiel 16:48-50, where God discusses the problems with Jerusalem:
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
What were the "detestable things"? Prostituting themselves to false gods. See Leviticus 20:5, 1 Kings 11:7, 2 Chronicles 21:10-11. Besides, who made man the judge of sin? Oh yes, man appointed himself. See John 8:7. Nevertheless, these messages didn't seem to sink in with Maria, nor with others. Sadly, Buddhism is not immune from hate. I sometime see gay people at the local Buddhist center that are very cryptic about their relationships and personal lives, even within the sangha, and I know it's because they are afraid that they won't be accepted and loved. I hope that some time during my lifetime we see a time when all people end the hatred toward gays and allow them to just live. Somehow, I think this might be a very distant dream.
Posted as part of Blue Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday, Much Love Monday.