Editorial: Of Rights, Sub Groups and Role Models
On Sunday, the Sunday Times of Malta featured an article titled "End LGBTIQ segregation within the Church - spiritual director" (article screenshot above) amongst others it was reported that Fr Camilleri, the spiritual director who addressed the seminar on LGBTIQ Well Being argued that:
"While LGBTIQ persons had succeeded in escaping various social constructs on a larger scale, some were instead going into a cage of social constructs created by the gay movement”
"The question is, what is the image that the community is promoting to a society that is becoming more tolerant?” Dr Camilleri asked those at the conference. He warned against succumbing to sub-cultures as this could be dangerous, adding that it could potentially taint all positive work carried out by those who fought for basic rights for everyone"
"Seeking the well-being of LGBTIQ persons’, he urged them not to be “slaves of the social constructs the gay movement had created”."Dr Camilleri went on to argue that while integration within the Church had become much easier, he often struggled to find role models for LGBTIQ people looking for inspiration. “One of the challenges that I face as a spiritual director who works closely with those within the community, is that I often find it difficult to pinpoint to the proper role models."
Whilst I was reading the article to say the least I felt uneasy, the 3 points quoted above struck me the most and here is my reaction:
a) One of the "basic" rights that LGBTIQ activists all over the world work hard for is the freedom for individuals to be themselves. One cannot look down at others and argue that they are being "caged into social constructs created by the gay movement" just because they do not fit within his/her ideal/established social construct. There are No "Good" LGBTIQ and "BAD" LGBTIQ based on their orientation and/or sexuality however there are "Good" and "Bad" LGBTIQ as there are "Good" and "Bad" Heterosexuals.
b) There is nothing wrong with sub groups, they are everywhere and in everything (including in the church itself) sub groups give a sense of belonging, empowerment and identity which are especially important to a group of people who were treated as invisible and neglected for such a long time.
c) As for role models I cannot understand what Fr Camilleri is looking for, is it gay catholics? gay families? or successful LGBTIQ individuals? if it's the latter two Fr Camilleri can do a simple google search or take a look around. If he is referring to prominent LGBTIQ catholic role models, I don't think that the LGBTIQ community is to blame for the lack of that, on the other hand bear in mind that to date the church keeps sending very mixed messages about being open to LGBTIQ people and their families.
This Article reflects the views of the author.