Anti-gay bigotry in the family; fundamentals of the hook-up

Savage Love

I have a bigot in the family. My brother's mother-in-law is scared this country is "on its way" to legalizing same-sex marriage, which is "against what [her] Bible tells [her]." Debating the issue with her is no use, because it always comes back to her religious beliefs. She doesn't dislike gays, and she's said that if gay marriage becomes legal, she'll help me find a husband.

Outside of the marriage issue, she shows no prejudice. As a gay man, I find her views on marriage reprehensible, but I'm conflicted about how to deal with her in the future. I see her half a dozen times each year on holidays, the same time I typically see my nieces and nephews. I don't want her bigotry to impose on my right and desire to spend time with these kids as their uncle. On the other hand, I can't just sit there and be quiet.

Battling Bigots In Brooklyn

Anyone looking for proof that the United States is "on its way toward legalizing same-sex marriage," despite recent setbacks, only has to look to the numbers of people — gay and straight — who poured into streets over the last few weeks to protest the bigotry of the Mormon Church and its assault on minority rights and individual liberty. (Oh, Canada: While we scream and yell about being the land of the free, you quietly live it. I love how my boyfriend magically becomes my husband when we visit Canada, without anyone else's marriage being threatened. Here's hoping that one day soon, the United States will recognize the legal marriages of all Canadian citizens, gay and straight.)

Okay, BBIB, my favorite sign at the protest I recently attended in New York City — well, after "Jesus Had Two Daddies," "Use Your Magic (Underpants) for Good, Not Evil," and "Thou Shalt Not Fuck with Us" — was this: "No More Mr. Nice Gay." If anyone caught me on Anderson Cooper 360º later that same night, you saw me refusing to play Mr. Nice Gay in a conversation with lying right-wing überbigot Tony Perkins. (Looking to get involved in the fight? is a good place to start.)

But while I'm down with the whole no more Mr. Nice Gay thing, BBIB, I see no need to go postal on your brother's MIL. She's not Tony Perkins; she's a human being. And it sounds like her affection for you is already on a collision course with her bigotry. Stand firm, continually emphasize that there's a difference between civil marriage rights and religious marriage rites. Polls show that many Americans have already come around on this issue. Thanks to the work you've already done, BBIB, it sounds like your brother's MIL will be next.

I feel like I've missed out on life. I grew up on "the mission field" in a conservative Christian home where "gosh" and "heck" were bad words. I was homeschooled for most of my life, and when I got back to North America, I enrolled in a Christian university. After years of dealing with the crap fundamentalists dish out to their young, I finally became an atheist, and a year later I'm still going strong.

My problem is that after spending my whole life immersed in the evangelical culture, I have no idea how to function in the real world. I've never had a girlfriend, never had sex, never kissed a girl. I'm a fairly attractive, healthy, well-adjusted young man, but the only women I know are Christians, and starting a relationship with one of them would be pointless. I read stories about people in college hooking up and getting laid like nobody's business, but I never had the chance to get involved in anything like that. I've gone to bars and clubs, but I just have no idea what I'm supposed to do or how to meet people.

Former Fundie

Between 90 and 95 percent of people in bars and clubs on any given night have no idea what they're supposed to do or how to meet people. Which is why most people go to bars and clubs with their friends, i.e., girls with packs of girls, guys with packs of guys. By going to bars and clubs with people you already know and like — your posse or your peeps or your entourage or whatever you wanna call the people you'll never see again after you're married — you'll not only have a good time, FF, but more importantly, you'll be seen having a good time. And that, my ex-Christian friend, is the secret to success in the bar and club scene.

That and money. And blow. And looks. Good luck.

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