Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Congregation of One, part 3

I, a tormented and angst-riddled student, sat in the last computer from the door in my student life lounge as I e-mailed the MEDQ co-presidents a question. MEDQ was the GLBT medical student club. I was feeling lonely and depressed, and I really wanted to talk to someone. I needed more support. Perhaps from peers. Maybe someone who had been there. I wrote:

I've got a quick question for you both. In the spirit of your upcoming "coming out week", I was thinking about my situation and why it is that I feel that I have to keep it private. I'm unique in that I have been attracted exclusively to men my whole life, but I have made the conscious decision not to have gay relationships because of my conservative upbringing. Unfortunately, straight relationships just don’t appeal to me. But that’s the decision I’ve made and I seem to feel discrimination from the gay community for it (not to me personally, since I’m not “out”, but against the idea as “wrong”). So, I was just wondering what the position of the MEDQs is. Is tolerance a buzzword that applies only to gays, or does it apply to those who believe, for themselves, that gay relationships are wrong? Does discrimination apply only to anti-gay discrimination, or does it apply to anti-Christian discrimination for a personal moral position? And does coming out for someone like me have to be just as threatening because I fear how my gay peers will treat me? This is not a tirade and these are not rhetorical questions. I’m really interested to see what you have to say.

The response I received several days later warmed up by quoting the MEDQ mission statement. Then it got straight to the point of politely destroying me. Here is the end of their reply:

We do not believe in discrimination or harassment of any kind. Our group is tailored to providing a supportive environment for GLBT identified or questioning persons in all stages of the coming out process.

We feel that the questions you posed are philosophical questions that you need to answer for yourself, however if you would like to meet with either of us in person to discuss them, we would be happy to do that. We just do not feel that email is a proper forum for these issues.

In other words, go screw yourself. We exchanged one more message each, them remaining firm in their conviction to ignore me unless I met their terms and came “out” to them in person. I thought, how dare they send me their mission statement and then categorically deny it. They seek to “raise awareness of issues concerning GLBT patients and students” unless an issue doesn’t fall in line with their own bias. They promise to “[educate] about healthcare issues specific to GLBT individuals” as long as those healthcare issues are politically aligned with affirming gays. What about the perils of reparative therapy? Who would engage me in a dialog on the subject when I knew damn well that the American Psychiatric Association’s position statement was dripping with political motivation and biased science. Why on that subject do we, as a healthcare industry, seek to dictate to people decisions they should make rather than attempting to minimize the risks of the decisions they have made for themselves? And most reprehensibly the mission statement bellowed, “[provide] a social support network for GLBT and straight people in the College of Medicine” as long as you tow the party line. If you aren’t out and willing to meet face to face though, well, we retract the part where we said “in all stages of the coming out process.”

Also, we hate you.

Index for A Congregation of One
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8


Samantha said...

Tale as old as time...well, maybe not THAT old, but BOY do I understand what you just said.

You really are blessed to have had that wonderful bishop. I think the first one I spoke to said, and I quote, "You WHAT????"

Chris (hurricane) said...

I find it troubling that they would treat you this way while also claiming to be a support for students at all stages in the coming out process. Coming out can take years.

Samantha said...

I think, given the emotionally charged subject, it's hard for people to accept any viewpoint except for the one which appears to him/her as truth. You, Chris, and I have experienced this as we have opposing views on many topics.

There seems to be no middle ground where people can just accept each other with mutual respect and Christ-like love. Maybe someday? Perhaps the need to be "right" will become less important than the need to care for one another?

I'm working on it...