The world is watching, many in horror, as Russian police arrest and beat anyone willing to speak out against the vilification of gays and lesbians. There is an increasing fever pitch of intolerance in many places around the globe. Politicians, backed by fundamentalist clerics, are attempting to turn back any social strides of acceptance for same-sex relationships.
The dramatic recent turn of events in Russia, where brutal acts are carried out against young gay men, all within the protection of new anti-propaganda laws, simply highlights a last-ditch desperation within religious fundamentalism - the death throes of a regime no longer in control.
Here in the United States, though much has been done to improve the lives of LGBT Americans, an intransigent minority will not budge in their convictions against any acceptance of "Godless" homosexual behavior. Christian fundamental organizations, seeing their hold diminish here, are now exporting their doctrine of hate (and cash) to places like Uganda and Russia in hopes of having more of an effect there. And they are.
But, what I have observed in my years as a counselor is that, contrary to Godlessness, the yearning for same-sex love is a profoundly Spiritual drive.
When you make male and female into a single one, then you will enter the kingdom.
-- The Gospel of Thomas
The true nature of homosexuality, in my opinion, is a balancing presence of both male and female energies within one being. It is an evolutionary step -- a choice that an individual makes on a Soul level to incarnate as such and to act as an agent of change.
The cultural prejudice against homosexuality in the Western world has not always been the norm. Throughout history, homosexuality has had its place -- as being a part of the array of sexual expressions.
Among early Native American tribes, the recognition and acceptance of Two Spirits, male and female, inhabiting the same body has been well researched and documented in over 150 indigenous American tribes. Generally, a Two Spirit person was viewed as a third gender altogether and it was held that such an individual brought unique strengths to the tribe that were needed.
These individuals were the counselors, those who acted as go-betweens to the two genders. Because they could see from both points of view, they became the shamans. A woman who didn't accept or fit a domestic role, might go out and gather herbs. Because females of child bearing age have a much more sophisticated sense of smell they could tell whether a plant could be eaten or not and whether it was good for healing.
They were the original folk healers and midwives. This is why in ancient times, such women became the priestesses. They held the power. They were the oracles, the seers. Men who were balanced male/female were the original artists and storytellers. They became the counselors, the shamans, the scouts, the visionaries.
As early European society began to develop and the feudal system was born, a man who did not want to become a warrior, could enter into the priest class and in that brotherhood he could be a teacher, a healer, an artist, an intellectual, a diplomat (go-between) and most certainly the arbiter of spirituality. Similarly, women who were not marriageable and whose family could no longer support them, became nuns and followed in the familiar path, becoming nurses, go-betweens and spiritual contemplatives within the sisterhood. Thus, the church became a haven for many individuals who did not identify with the so-called gender norms. Certainly, not all priests and nuns were homosexual, but rather, the church became an avenue of relative safety for those who exhibited extraordinary gender traits.
The subordination of sexual expression within the clergy has had tragic results. It never needed to be so, but the conflicts between clerical dogma and the nature of human expression has had to run its course.
Today's LGBT community, though alienated by most organized religions, faces a unique opportunity to embrace their extraordinary sexual traits and claim a new cultural spirituality. Rather than being marginalized or sensationalized, analyzed or politicized, embracing the spirituality that is implicit in the balanced gender condition is the means to becoming the leaders and the agents of change for our society.
The acknowledgement of the role that awaits the LGBT community is the change that is being called for in our society, a migration from the rigidity of religious doctrine to the very source of religion -- spirituality -- the innate sense that we, together as human beings, are part of something greater. A shift is coming and the LGBT community has a significant role to play in that shift.
We are now at a point of correction. Everyone's unique strengths are needed. It's time for the Two Spirit people to feel their innate power -- the power that grows out of being able to see both sides, to be agents of change, to scout out the new territory, the new spirituality. By doing so, they take their rightful place as vital, empowered voices in societal evolution.