Feb 25, 2007

The Dry Tree

One way to read the bible is to place yourself into the biblical narrative. Imagine yourself as Pharaoh, Moses, Jesus, The Prodigal Son, whoever. Play their parts over in your mind, and imagine yourself in that role. That's the power of storytelling - seeing ourselves as the actors - both the heros and the villains.

The trouble with the bible for gay men is that at first glance, it seems to be a "homo-free" zone. No gay guys, no gay sex. Yawn. Except for all the shit we've been told about - God hates fags, etc. Well, does he really? Are there really no gay men in the bible?

Faris Malik has written an academic paper that refutes that. "Born Eunuchs" - Homosexual Identity in the Ancient World makes the claim that "born eunuch" is the ancient term for "homosexual". If he's right (and I think he is) then it gives us a powerful new way to see ourselves written into the biblical narrative. Every time we read "eunuch" in the bible, We can substitute "gay man".

We Are Everywhere

We are EVERYWHERE in the bible! Who was it who threw Jezebel out on her ass (2 Kings 9:32)? Who was the prophet Daniel (Daniel 1)? Who was the first guy baptized in the Book of Acts (Acts 8:26-40)? Yup - all eunuchs! It's like "eunuch" is the secret code word that got by all the homophobic biblical translators over all these hundreds of years. Isn't that sort of... amazing? Fuck yea!

Eunuchs (gay men) found a valuable niche for themselves in the ancient world by becoming guardians and protectors of the royal household - wives, daughters, the harem. The king couldn't trust a straight guy to guard his female "property", hell, a straight guy would try to fuck them! If his seed "found purchase" in the royal "soil", it might lead to all sorts of spurious claims of inheritance on the king and his wealth. A wise king would create a situation where that sort of danger was kept to a minimum, so that was where eunuchs came in - servants trustworthy simply by their nature.

Eunuchs are employed even today for the exact same reasons. Gay men are the "guardians" of the wives of wealthy and powerful men. Legions of hairdressers, designers and decorators all cater to the vanity of wealthy women. Powerful men have no qualms about leaving their valuable "trophy wives" in the care of gay men. They know we are trustworthy, simply by our nature. "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" is just another example of gay men in the service of straight men.

In "American Gigolo" (1980, Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton), Julian Kaye (Gere) is a male escort to wealthy and sophisticated women - including Michelle Straton (Hutton) - the unhappy wife of a local politician. There is a scene where Julian and Michelle are caught out on a "date" in public, by a matronly gossip who knows Michelle socially. She was suspicious of Michelle being found in the "unguarded" company of such an obviously handsome and virile young man. Julian immediately puts on an outrageous gay act, pretending to be Michelle's gay interior designer. The ruse worked perfectly... the snoop was completely disarmed. She well understood that a gay man poses no threat.

The ancient "guardian" programming runs deep. Some homoerotic fiction posits a gay man witnessing the rape of a virtuous woman and then becoming the vehicle of justice - turning the tables on a rapist as only another man really can.

The Promise

It makes me wonder. It's only obvious that men are the rapists of this world. Men care only about building their portfolios, their "empires" - to hell with anything and anyone that stands in their way. The whole natural world is a battered witness to that. For a long time gay men have served these rapists, yet have never been included in the spoils - because inclusion means inheritance, and gay men are a dry tree. Are we truly left out in the cold, or does God have a place... even for us? Maybe even especially for us?

...And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant - to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. -- Isaiah 56: 3-5

I wonder, what is better than a son or daughter of God?

2 comments:

anadæ said...

Yay-yuh! Thanx "fur" dire-erecting mein achtung to thissun from that more contemporary "Falcon" piece ... not being particularly "wet" my(s)elf & speaking of "The Promise", feast thine orbits on THIS link for the promising application of just eggs-sack-tickly us "eunuchs" & the Gospel can work well in complicity; I give thee & thy flock "Homosexually Oriented Churches", perusable here:

http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/ear_01/ear_01_00188.html

Immerse thyself & enjoy the warmth, the flow, of His blessings ( ;-)}

Doug said...

Excellent piece, Michael. I'll never read the Bible the same again.

Those overtly gay moments in Gigolo were both offensive and fascinating (and I loved the transition to the gay bar scene, where the soundtrack began to throb with a new life---no longer a "call me" from a woman, but a heartbeat of building ecstasy from a man--the singer panting about "Love and passion, again in fashion" or something like that).

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