My Careless Comment about Closeted Trolls OR The Lumbergay

So I want to address something that I said the other day. In a kvetchy post about my ongoing struggle to balance blogging, book-writing, my family, and the job that actually supports all three, I made the following perfunctory remark:

I…know that quitting might encourage some of the (probably-closeted) trolls who have trolled me so hard these past few years to be even more trollish to others.

This is one of those situations where the technical meaning of the words is lost to their implication. That statement implies that I think almost anyone who disagrees with me is really just repressing their own same-sex desires.

That would be dumb.

I am tempted to try to explain how, actually, the word “some” is modifying the word “trolls,” etc… But I won’t. It is a writer’s job to make herself clear. In this case, I didn’t. Rather than try to erase my faux pas, I have let it stand with a slight modification.

Of course, I do think that some people (almost always men) who express strong anti-gay opinions probably are dealing with their own frustrations, but I am not the only person who thinks that. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support that view. There have even been pretty compelling scientific studies. (See the latter part of this post.)

Let me put it another way. Three kinds of people set off my gaydar.

  1. Men like Jack from Will and Grace.
  2. Men with amazing abs.*
  3. Men who dress like lumberjacks and call people “fags.”
Seriously. Straight guys almost never have abs like this.
Straight men know this does not really impress the ladies.

I call them, “Lumbergays.”™

That does not mean that a “manly man” probably likes other men. I do not assume that. The lumbergay exists as a phenomenon, but there is no way to identify him on a case-by-case basis. At least, I am no good at it. Some men who rush to badmouth “perverts” and “sodomites” are “in the closet” (they are not being honest with themselves and/or others). Then again, some men are just assholes.

Of course, I really do not care. Another man’s desires are between him and Jesus (and one hopes his confessor). I apologize if I gave the impression of wagging a self-righteous finger at people who disagree with me. My intent was not to imply that any person in particular (or in general) was being a hypocrite. It was to point out the elephant in the room.

I am not sorry for that. I think the church (in particular I mean the Orthodox Church) needs to have a frank and robust conversation about faith and sexuality. People who bring unacknowledged baggage to the table make that difficult because they speak from a place of fear. They cannot listen to what other people have to say because they are constantly reacting to their own shame. Like I said, we need a robust conversation. In order for that to happen, we need to listen to each other. All of us! (Myself included.) A conversation cannot be robust if it is not also civil.

In my carelessness, I was less civil than I try to be. Please forgive me. If you are a person who is opposed to LGBTQ, but also feels some of those desires yourself, I do not condemn you. You are not a hypocrite. You are a human being just trying to figure yourself out. I am doing the same.

No matter what, please continue this conversation. Bring your opinions to the table, whatever they are. Just lose words like “faggot,” “homo,” and “sodomite” from your vocabulary. They add more heat than light.

And maybe re-think the flannel.

What do you think? Is the lumbergay real? 


* Point #2 is, of course, facetious. (And surprisingly accurate.) Also, I mean no disrespect to lumberjacks. If you are a lumberjack, you are okay.

10 thoughts on “My Careless Comment about Closeted Trolls OR The Lumbergay”

  1. FYI. Anyone who makes any particular accusation regarding an individual’s sexual identity will have their comment deleted. I am fine having general conversations about this phenomenon, and referring to “some guy” insofar as it supports/contradicts my thesis. But calling people out by name, as in “So-and-so is really gay,” will turn this into gossip fest or a forum for personal attacks. If someone says they are straight or gay, I will take them at their word. Otherwise, one is accusing another of being a liar.

    1. Furthermore, I was not referring to someone being gay, but was merely calling out names, you know, like the Apostle Paul does when he calls out people who have done him harm. I’d like to follow Paul’s example.

    2. I understand calling out someone who hurts you. In context, though, it sounded a bit more specific. :-)

  2. Dr. Dunn,

    You write,” I think the church (in particular I mean the Orthodox Church) needs to have a frank and robust conversation about faith and sexuality.”

    From reading blogs like yours and others, whenever the word “conversation” is used, you are being deceitful. Conversation means dialogue, but for people like you and other heterodox, the word conversations means rather “change.” Be honest, you do not want a genuine conversation. You want a change in doctrine. Why not just be honest and say that? Unfortunately, the unwillingness that you and others of like mind have to actually use words as they mean and instead resort to sophistic word play makes me and people of like mind with me to even want to have an honest, open dialogue, because i cannot rely on you being honest.

    Just come right out and say what you mean and quit hiding behind word plays and sophistry.

    1. Ha! I just read this after making a comment about not calling other people liars. If you have never met me, but you can know my heart so clearly, there is nothing I can do to convince you otherwise.

    1. I can’t speak for Dr. Dunn, but I know I’ve used self-referential feminine pronouns in my writing occasionally to show solidarity with feminist/womanist readers.

      My use was intended to start conversations like this, so I don’t think the question is inappropriate. I do think that the ending barb about Dr. Dunn’s sexual orientation is.

    2. As a rule, I try to alternate between masculine and feminine pronouns when I am not referring to particular individuals. Since I was explicitly referring to writers in general, and only myself implicitly, I opted for the feminine pronoun. Somebody almost always makes some kind of silly comment when I do that. I don’t think anyone seriously thinks I am confused about my own gender, and if they do, I don’t care.


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