In the last two weeks, several disturbing and now frightening incidents have converged around me and around people I love. Let me recount…
First, there was an ignorant series of Linked In posts by a fairly obscure tantra teacher whom I happen to know somewhat (though I have now severed all contact). The posts began innocently enough with a rather strange tirade against anal sex as the source of supposedly harmful “reverse kundalini.” When asked for evidence or source material for his views, he presented a tangle of tremendously homophobic quotes from the book, Sexual Secrets, which I have never actually read, as well as some other equally ignorant material by a purveyor of herbal products. Of course, red flags were flying at this point and a number of people moved into the discussion on one of the groups which contained these posts. In the other, I was the lone respondent.
It then got worse – to the point where this man, in the name of “ancient wisdom,” declared that homosexual and transgender children were born as a result of anal sex (and this supposed reverse kundalini flow). And the frustrating thing was that even though he continuously used words like “degenerate practices” (seriously!), he also claimed to not have anything personally against people who are gay and trans. Apparently, he even roomed with two gay guys once, and drank beer with them. He presented this as evidence that he was not homophobic. It’s the old “some of my best friends are…” trope.
Some of his posts were so out there that they were flagged and deleted from one group, as being just too hateful and inappropriate. But he continued to vent, wanting the last word. He even posted other threads about his ideas being laughed at, using a kind of aggrieved, “prophet without honor in his own land” tone. Eventually I decided to remove all of my oppositional energy from the threads and deleted my own responses, thus leaving the Tantric Troll and his “ancient wisdom” hanging out to dry. This had the unexpected but very welcome effect of his deleting his posts as well.
There have been other posts on the topic of transgender and gender variance as well, some by helping professionals in countries and cultures which have a very different view or tolerance of sexual and gender variance. And yet these posts, though they do contain some disturbing assumptions, at least seem to be posted with the intention of learning more.
All in a day’s work – or a week’s work – on the internet, right? You get trolls, flames, whatever. But then last night I happen to read my oldest son’s blog, and learned that his fiance had been threatened with a gun, and death, from a group of men who said, “Let’s kill the tranny,” right here on the streets of San Francisco. Fortunately, the fiance ran, and is safe. But it could have easily gone the other way. Thank goodness it didn’t. Please, never let it go the other way. Please.
I cherish my son. I cherish his lover. I want them to have a long and happy life together. They are so much in love, and so very dear and full of promise. I want this for all young people – gay, straight, of color, of pale, transgendered, cisgendered… I think most of us want our children and youth to survive and thrive – and I don’t want any more parents, siblings, and communities to feel the vast despair of loosing a young (or older) life to vicious hate.
I realize that we can’t just speak up after tragedies anymore. We have to be proactive, intensely proactive, and prevent those tragedies from happening. We have to stand up for every young life and say, this person counts, this person matters, and we are not going to let harm come to this child – even if the child is in their mid-20s or beyond. Because once a parent, always a parent, and that former child is the center of a constellation of love and hope. And though we can’t make the world a completely safe place for all, I do think we can make it a less hateful and violent one for most. And so I’m looking for the right organization, the most effective, proactive organization or initiative I can find and I intend to pour my heart and soul into it – so that there are no more hateful deaths, and no more murder victim names to read aloud during Transgender Day of Remembrance. I welcome your suggestions.
Join me in making our communities safer and more accepting.