Evil Invaders from Outer Space
by Lori Heine

When I hear some of the rhetoric directed against gay people, it makes me think of those cheesy old horror movies. Of terrified citizens, running helter-skelter through the streets as the killer tomatoes attack. It’s Godzilla! It’s the Giant Tarantula! It’s…Evil Gay Invaders from Outer Space!

It’s getting harder for those who demonize us to scare people, because more of us are coming out and our families, friends, coworkers and neighbors are finding out what we’re really like. That we’re actually normal people, just like they are. Or that, at least, we’re no weirder than they are.

Any weapon is still good enough to use against us, of course. Those seeking to profit somehow from bigotry will push it to the last mile, the last yard, the final fraction of an inch. When NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay, the morning yuk-it-ups on FOX had to strain for a reason to criticize him. “Well, he’s not a real hero,” they sniffed. Reduced, in their desperate pettiness, to sounding like petulant ten-year-olds.

Oh, you mean real heroes, like Mark Bingham? The openly gay man who sacrificed his life helping to keep terrorist hijackers from using United Flight 93 to kill thousands more people on September 11 of 2001? The same crowd that sticks out their tongues in derision at openly gay athletes certainly gives members of our community like Bingham – who was a hero by anybody’s standard – their due, don’t they? Don’t they? Oh, wait…they don’t.

When they bother to mention him at all, they almost always leave out that he was gay. “That’s not important,” they’ll tell us piously, when we ask them why. But if a serial killer were caught and brought to justice, do you think – if he were gay – this same crowd would consider it unimportant? They’d be trumpeting it to the skies every time they mentioned his name.

How do we counter the tomatoes and the tarantulas? Our opponents ought to look silly when they cast us as horror-movie villains. They shouldn’t be able do that, anymore, and come across like concerned citizens. They especially shouldn’t be allowed to carry on like that and pass themselves off as good Christians.

The last bastion of anti-gay hysteria is in the churches. Everyone else in our society has basically moved on. If the horror show is truly to be brought to an end, it is LGBT Christians who will need to do it. We are in a position uniquely suited to slay the giant tarantulas and send the aliens back into space – or, more likely, to show that these monsters are merely figments of fevered imaginations.

Mark Bingham, and the other heroes of Flight 93, didn’t board that plane intending to be heroes. They simply happened to be in the place they needed to be, at the time America needed them to be there. But they rose to the occasion and accomplished what they alone could do. God never wills terrorists or killer tomatoes, but places in such situations people who can handle the threat.

Like terrorists, anti-gay Christian zealots use fear as a weapon. The monsters they create are imaginary, but they can wield simple box-cutters as effectively as submachine guns. If everybody on that flight had realized that a few men with box-cutters should have been no match for them, they never would have been overwhelmed and the plane would never have crashed.

We mustn’t allow our society to be overwhelmed by a few lunatics with box-cutters. We must show the world that the giant spider is really only a couple of inches high. That there are no killer tomatoes or aliens from space, and that LGBT people are no more dangerous than anybody else.

The Christians in our community are the ones who can accomplish that. In this movie, we don’t need to play the villains. We stand uniquely suited to take the heroic role.


© 2013 Lori Heine

Photo: Mara Corday and John Agar from the 1955 movie,"Tarantula"

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