We’ve been blogging and podcasting a lot lately about gay characters or themes in various shows, films, and other media. Should we as Jesus-followers who may also identify as LGBT+ but also follow a traditional sexual ethic be consuming LGBT+ media? What are the potential benefits and costs, and where is the line between what is beneficial, acceptable, distracting, or harmful? How do we interact, if at all, with LGBT+ media?
Join Tom, Ryan, and Aaron for this final (for now) discussion on the pros and cons and nuanced middle of LGBT+ media consumption!
COMMENT ON THIS EPISODE
How do you interact with LGBT+ media? What benefits do you draw from this consumption, or what hazards have you faced? Have you changed your stance on LGBT+ media consumption over the years?
As usual, I can always relate to something discussed in a podcast. Probably the most important aspect of LGBTQ+ media, is its ability to allow me to process my feelings: catharsis is probably the best word to describe my experience. I believe Tom used the word during the podcast as well. I find that over the years I have stored many pent up emotions and when I relate to a character’s experience in a film, short film, interview etc, I am able to process some of my own feelings. This may sound strange to some people– I may appear quite repressed. However, I think that part of my own experience is that of learning to hide, not just my sexuality, but all of my feelings because I just could not allow myself to feel them whether because of shame, circumstances or internalized homophobia.
Catharsis is a great word in general, but it fits so well with my story in this particular realm. I won’t lie and say it’s been a perfect, lust-free journey with various films or shows, but I’ve gained more than I’ve lost through my own consumption of LGBT+ media. Thanks for sharing some of your own relating, Daniel! Processing our hard and heavy feelings is such a vital part of this life, however we figure out how to do that.
When I saw the title of this YoBcast, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was intrigued. In listening to it, I was fascinated by how often it was like I was hearing my own thoughts voiced by others–and, being a longtime listener/ reader, I didn’t expect that to happen again after experiencing it in so many other ways. Everything from what led us to explore LGB+ media to our reservations about it to the trappings we see (or have experienced) in this genre to the meaningful benefits that have come with it (at least for several of us), they connected with my story as well, and, though I didn’t agree with everything said (and that doesn’t happen in most really good conversations), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I agreed with and how much it resonated. You might say it helped me to feel even more of a kinship with us Side-B guys.
For a brief anecdote showing how unexpectedly powerful ‘gay romance’ media has been for me, a couple of years ago, my family was blindsided by a crisis situation that had explosive potential. By default, I went into crisis management mode and was helping family for the first few hours with no problem, but, after everything settled down from the initial uproar and I was alone, it all started to hit me. I’d been away from pornography for a few years at that point (took years to break free from a pretty severe addiction to it), but I was pretty much beyond caring that night and started to look stuff up, but then an unexpected search result caught my eye in the midst of all the explicit ones; so, I watched it. It was a depiction of a foreign gay romance movie that just showed caring affection between two guys. After watching it, I wasn’t even tempted to go to pornography. Seeing that–which showed me what I had actually been wanting all along–was so moving that I purchased the movie and watched the full film. It actually changed my life, because there was nothing sexual in it–though it did cross romantic boundaries that I could not pursue–but it showed affection between guys who actually came to accept each other for who they were. Now, that is something I was sure I could find a legitimate way to pursue; after all, we read of men being affectionate without being romantic or sexual in Scripture, and it gave me something to hope for, a way that I could see God redeeming and restoring these desires that I didn’t know how to handle.
Going forward, I quickly learned of some of the trappings you guys mentioned in the podcast (e.g. unhelpful stirring of emotions, longing for what I can’t have, etc.), but it was such a meaningful shift in my overall faith journey that I don’t regret it in the least; in fact, I’m convinced that God used it to change what direction I was heading, though that may sound like a bridge too far to some. Then again, I don’t think I would have been introduced to YoB if it hadn’t been for that poignant moment, and this group has been a great source of blessing and good challenges (even as a lurker).
Thank you for all the meaningful work you guys do.