Saturday, January 31, 2009

Open Forum: Is Ted Haggard A Queer Spokesperson?

Ted Haggard, the anti-gay preacher of the New Life Church and President representing 80 million Evangelical Christians was caught in a major sex scandal. He was discovered to be taking methamphetamine's while engaging in gay sex with a male escort and as a result he has suffered and become an outcast due to his outing. Due to his actions the former preacher has a tough time finding a job, friends, and support system to move forward.

Here is a funny song by Roy Zimmerman about the scandal and what Ted Haggard was like:



In light of new people coming forward in the scandal and his upcoming HBO documentary 'The Trials of Ted Haggard' which documents his life after the outbreak of the gay sex and drug scandal, Ted Haggard now for the first time publicly discusses private issues.

Ted Haggard when asked about his sexuality doesn't claim to be "ex-gay", straight and healed, he simply says he is a "heterosexual with issues" or a "heterosexual with homosexual attachments." When asked to define his sexuality he says that "he does not fit neatly into a box" and that he doesn't feel the need to label himself. He now says he believes "he didn't need to be cured, because he wasn't ever sick, and that one cannot avoid having gay thoughts, but can decide whether to act on the behavior."

Whether Haggard knows it or not, he basically just publicly discussed for America the idea of a sexual continuum and queer sexuality. It is very much possibly that Mr. Haggard lies closer to the heterosexual side of the continuum. He also may be downplaying his same-sex attraction in an attempt to be more mainstream and keep his relationship with his wife going.

How will this play out in the minds of Americans? It is helpful or hurtful? Also, is Ted Haggard possibly a spokesperson for the queer identity even though he doesn't know it or intend to be? Or is he just making bisexual identity out to be a "confusion and sexual immorality" the Church has so long claimed it is?

11 comments:

Renee said...

Personally I don't even really believe the man is bisexual. His religious beliefs forestall him from identifying as queer to begin with. The fact that he continually refers to fantasizing about men leads me to believe he is in fact gay. It is possible to love someone of another sex and still be attracted to people of the same sex. While he is correctly articulating the idea that sexuality is experienced in a spectrum, I believe he is using it as a cover for his true identity. The man would say anything to end is ostracism, he also views his attraction to men as some sort of sickness.

Queers United said...

But why can't he be attracted to men, while also be attracted to women bringing him closer to a bi or sexually fluid orientation?

Tina-cious.com said...

I watched that HBO special last nite (shot before the latest scandal).

Personally, I don't like how he was throwing us under the bus when he was "christian" but I felt sorry for him.

He's queer and in denial and is suffering badly for it now (so is his family).

I don't wish that on anyone.

Omaha Gay Village said...

Maybe its time the gay community reach out to Ted Haggard. The only support if any, is what he gets from the right wing. Is anyone there telling him gay is ok? I doubt it. The GLBT comunity needs to reach to one of its own. One of our own people is suffering with issues we know how to deal with.

mave said...

I agree - the LGBT community needs to reach out to him and give him some support, or he will just end up reindoctrinated and continue to suffer and make others suffer - including queers through his damaging messages.

But I do believe, from watching the various interviews and appearances he's made in recent days, that he is bisexual, or somewhere along those lines. And that, if anything, would make it harder for him to come to terms with his queerness, because it would give plausibility to the idea that "gay men can choose to be with women and live a righteous life". If he truly has an attraction to his wife and truly loves her, it would make it harder for him to accept his attraction to men if people keep telling him that same-sex attraction = homosexuality, which is a line I am so sick of. Bisexuality (or, in my case, pansexuality) DOES exist, regardless of how it may inconvenience others who want everything to be simple.

mave said...

And regardless of whether he's gay or bi, he is a victim of homophobia, and that alone makes me empathize with him. He has suffered from homophobic messages that taught him to hate and oppress himself and others, and he's coming to terms with that on some level in a very public sphere. My heart goes out to him, because whether or not he is being completely honest about his experience to himself and others, it's clear his pain is genuine.

L. Stephen said...

Ted Haggard is living out his Karma. For years, Ted preached that gays and lesbians were the abomination of the earth. Go back and listen to his past ranting and raving. He created his present Karma. He will continue to suffer until he unconditionally accepts and loves himself. That includes his gay self. It does not matter where he falls on the Kinsey Scale, he is very definitely attracted to men and has sex with men. For this he goes on Oprah and tells the world he is ashamed! Ashamed? Ashamed of what? Ashamed that he cheated on his wife? Ashamed that he is gay? Both maybe? It sounds like his wife has already granted his forgiveness for cheating on her. Now he needs to grant himself forgiveness for hating himself and his sexual attraction to men. Many of us have been down this path. Many of us are sick of hearing about Ted Haggard. He needs to get a good gay therapist who can help him become a good gay man and go live happily ever after in a place far removed from the public eye. He has done a huge disservice to our gay and lesbian communities. Oprah did not help any.

Thalassa said...

well said, stephen. he is lying in the bed he made. unfortunately for him, because he made the bed in front of cameras and a congregation, he has to lie in it for their entertainment.

i could accept haggard as a queer spokesman if he weren't ashamed of and denying his queer feelings because of their inherent wrongness. if he wanted to refuse to act on his queer feelings out of love and a newfound respect for his marriage vows, i could dig that. but one can't be a spokesman for queer identities or bisexuality while saying that prayer and willpower can keep you from ACTING queer or bisexual. that makes him a mouthpiece for the ex-gay movement, really, because that's their schtick.

jadedjabber said...

This is a very interesting discussion. I have to give a thanks to QU for opening up the discussion about Mr. Haggard in a way that was no simply bashing. I've thought as well that this was a great opportunity to broaden the discussion beyond gay vs. straight into a world that better fits our realities.

Who are we if we do not offer support, if we simply point, laugh and/or yell. We are the same as those who persecute us. I recognize this is an explosive subject and I am not trying to sound like I am passing judgment. Everyone has their own stories, demons, and ways to act that is the most life-producing for them. For me, it is opening up a hand and offering it to others-not closing it into a fist and mimicking the fists which I have encountered through my years.

Queers United said...

I am really happy to see all the comments that are hurt by Haggard but no longer seek to judge him but to extend an olive branch and to help him. We all have a hard time in life, and surely Ted has had a hard time as well, the gay community should reach out to him.

Anonymous said...

If he had not been "caught," he would have continued to call homosexuality a sin and would have continued to suggest that all homosexuals were bound for Hell. Only now is he more "understanding and sympathetic" regarding discrimination. I think it's too convenient that he suddenly has these more empathetic views of others, since he finds himself castigated by his former words. What is the old saying? Your harsh condemnation may come back to bite you in a vulnerable "spot."

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