“The Gay Version Of The Booger Dance”

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 28 2011 @ 12:10pm

A reader writes:

Yes, the Booger-maskhas in the U.S. has been besieged and slandered as gay people have by Christians.   They fight every right and spread lies about us.  The use of religious satire and even base humor helps diffuse gay anger at the religions that still persecute gays. 

The Hunky Jesus and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence remind me of my tribe's Booger Dances.

When white men came into Cherokee territory, they didn't follow Cherokee cultural and religious mores.  It caused major upheaval to have women poked, leered at and sexually assaulted.  Young warriors wanted to kill white men for their disrespect.  In a society of ultimate freedom where no man could bind the beliefs or actions of another, there had to be a way to diffuse anger at white men or war would break out.  Whatever its earlier religious meaning, Booger Dances were employed to ease tensions within the tribe against the non-Indian interlopers and laugh at their lewd, boorish behavior.

During Booger Dances, Cherokee men would dress in blankets and wear Booger masks, gross depictions of Europeans, and act badly, breaking all the cultural and religious mores.  They'd poke and chase women and act shamefully, but Cherokees were given a vent to laugh at the misbehavior, instead of getting angry and seeking vengeance.

The very actions you deplore could be why gay men don't seek vengeance on churches in more tangible ways.  We're given ways to laugh and even mock our enemies letting us blow off steam against them.  The disrespect and base humor used against religion is the gay version of the Booger Dance.

I can certainly understand the venting as a form of therapy – but not all therapy is funny or constructive, when its boundaries are not just within a community but Youtube and a public park.

What I worry about in this context is the premise that "Christians" are all anti-gay. They're not. As the polls show, Catholics are among the most supportive groups for gay equality. Lumping all Christians together as entirely bigots, and then mocking their faith in public, is no way to persuade anyone. If your therapy is actually likely to promote more hostility, it actually works against itself.

(Photo by Deborah Harding)