What I believe in ebbs and flows. I believe there’s a God, and I actually feel His presence in my life, but I don’t believe in an afterlife really, although some days I’m more inspired than others. But whether there is or isn’t is not the point. There is a God and I’m really grateful for this life; I’ve been really fortunate.
I believe in Catholicism because I was raised in it. And I really do believe that Christ is the manifestation of, or is God. But I don’t know if there’s pie in the sky. I’m really grateful for this life, and grateful to be alive, and this is probably it – though if it isn’t, that’s fine too. It’s not always a great life but those horrible times are good too because you go through them for a reason.
Being a kid that’s gay whose family hates you, and the kids at school hate you and the teachers patronise you – it’s just horrible. But, you know, it’s much better now. You know, I don’t care: I tell people I’m gay, and if you don’t like it, you know, fuck right off.
The Anglican church [around the corner] is such a beautiful church. And there’s a gay men’s choir who have concerts throughout the year. But the rector is a woman and I just can’t get my head around that. And she’s put a lamp up outside the church with a red light in it in memory of all the sex workers who…well I lived here when there were sex workers and there were people parked over in their cars and screaming at each other. And you couldn’t walk down the street and if you were a woman in the street you were a prostitute, there was no question. I walked to a meeting from my house up to Davie and every single person I walked past – children, men, women – propositioned me. People were having sex in the open. It was just horrible. And judges couldn’t do anything about it because it wasn’t constitutional. And the whole Western world is like that now. So it really pisses me off that this woman, first of all that she’s a deacon of the church and secondly that she’s got this light commemorating the street prostitution that we have. But the church is really beautiful.
Catholics exemplify my beliefs. The Catholic church was the church that I was raised in. It’s the religion I like and the religion I practice, even though parts of it irritate me. I mean you try to change things if you can, you try to express it to someone whose important. You don’t just accept it – especially having been brought up as an evil sinner who was going to hell. If I had to choose a particular guy who inspired me, I was seeing a guy who was kind of on the fence. He was a great big 6ft mounty, 30 years younger than I am – I felt like Edith Piaf [laughing]. But we became very good friends because he was so confused and I’m not confused. I have a very clear idea of what I believe both in terms of the church and what’s not sensible in terms of the church. But he’s gone back to Ontario and he’s left the RCMP and he’s pretty messed up. He’s mentally ill I think. But he influenced me because his faith is so strong. It’s a bit too Catholic. It’s got to be more than that. It’s got to be more than ceremony. Church has a lot of that and I like that part but it can’t be all of religion. It’s a relationship with God and a relationship with truth – in your own life rather than universal truth.
And it doesn’t matter whether there’s an afterlife or not. You have a responsibility in your humanness to be a decent person. The church helps that but it also thwarts that. Preaching hate is just incomprehensible to me. For a long time I left the church. But then I met this guy who said to me “your sexuality is not between you and the archbishop; it’s between you and God”. And I thought “that’s right. I’ll live the religion from my point of view”, which I do. And I stand up to those people, and I’m right.
So I just can’t believe how a marvelous guy, and he is a marvelous guy, our priest, could be preaching hate in the Christian church in the presence of Christ. We believe Christ is physically present. Transubstantiation means the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. So he’s physically present in the church. And the guy is standing there preaching hate – which he didn’t realise. He said that “homosexuality is wrong”.
But I went up to him and I said “who gives you the right to be preaching hate about our kind? Do you also hate black people and Asians?” This shocked him, the poor guy, and he really thought things through and just the next week he came back and said “there are some wonderful people in our community and they’re having a [pride] parade today.” And then I went to him after and said “look, you know I hate to keep beating you up but gay pride is a freak show”. I taught high school, I was the Vice Principal of one of the largest schools in the province and I didn’t want kids at that school to see me in that parade. We’re not wonderful people. I’m embarrassed about it. But then women still wouldn’t have the vote if the suffragettes hadn’t stood out there. And my mother had a friend who was married to a brute and she had to leave him and she left with the dress on her back and he owned it. That was in my lifetime. Anyway, I have the right to be here and the church does not have the right to preach hate against anything that God has created.
The priest actually said to me “well, hey, you know the Vatican really tells us what we can preach”. And I said “well you’re a Christian. If the Vatican tells you to preach against Christ’s teaching, don’t do it. If they’re wrong, you have a duty to stand up to that.” And he’s a really nice guy so he took that point. And I think we’re friends. He really likes me and I really like him.