We can finish up the discussion of LGBT history and myth by summarizing the influence that the founding fathers of Christianity had on western civilization and how that influence remains a part of our lives today.
The founding fathers of Christianity – including St. Paul, Augustine, etc. – promoted sexuality as a bad thing at the same time they were developing the Christian ideology. In this way, Christianity became closely tied to the idea of sexuality as a bad thing. Moreover, the founding fathers had clumped “homosexuality” together with other concepts, such as those of bestiality, abortion, contraception, and ritualistic sexual practices, in effect putting everything in one category and deeming them all bad. Thus, we have the running theme, from a homophobic perspective, of bestiality and homosexuality being categorized together.
This type of thinking and unfounded categorization ultimately amounted to the devaluation and demonization of a group of people who weren’t engaging in acts such as bestiality. The result was that it created a lot of fear in the dominant heterosexual culture of the time – a culture that didn’t understand same-sex love. Furthermore, due to the fact that sexuality was beginning to be shamed, the people of this heterosexual culture were afraid of their own sexuality and learned to fear and hate same-sex eros, contributing to the homophobia that we deal with today.
These historical components have, as a whole, been psychologically oppressive for the LGBT community, leading to internalized feelings of underrepresentation and disrespect, and feeling awful about ourselves. These bad thoughts about ourselves come about because of the messages we receive at an early age, at a time when we can’t yet understand how they may affect us. It is up to us to deconstruct these historical components of homophobia and related phobias and not bite into these negative thoughts any longer.
Thank you for keeping up with the LGBT history and myth series – stay tuned for more videos or information!