It turned out to be quite a startling weekend for a quietly married man who merely did the shopping, went to church and cut his thumb chopping the onions for dinner. By the end of it I had learned from Cardinal John Tong and auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung that I am twisted, similar to a drug abuser and shaking society to the core.
That is not what the British Ambassador to Japan said about me when I married Freddie, my partner of 30 years, in the reception room of his embassy in Tokyo last year. He said that we “represented the best of British values.” (Freddie is a Hong Kong Chinese with American citizenship but the compliment was appreciated). To these two Roman Catholic bishops, I represent a peculiar depravity in which I trip on perversion yet stay sufficiently focused for most of the day to bring society to its knees.
Bishop Yeung, though you are not to know this, after 30 years of cohabitation, you do not often enter the bedchamber, out of your mind, lips dripping with the lexus of lust. That’s not what makes the arrangement work. And, Your Eminence, I am yet to have a man come alongside at a drinks party and say, “Marriage to my wife seems suddenly very ordinary. How do I marry a guy?” Nor has it ever happened that a student on my estate shuttle bus has ever sat beside me and said. “I was going out with Alice in my hiking group but I’ve dumped her for Simon in Form 5, thanks to your example.”
These priests are really worried about straight marriage falling to bits all of its own accord. Their problem is that Rome doesn’t do sex very well. As an institution which factory-farmed pedophiles and is dedicated to the proposition that some of the people must be unhappy all of the time, there is so much to do with marriage that one is supposed to suffer over. You can never have sex before it. In it, you must not enjoy sex too much because all methods to prevent overpopulating the marriage with too many children are forbidden and if it breaks down under the strain, you aren’t allowed to climb out of it. It is unsurprising that people are passing on the prospect. Though it preaches against finding scapegoats, the Church is exceptionally good at doing so and, for this, the queers are the goats.
I am a card carrying Anglican in a tradition similar to Rome’s, but they would regard that as a miss being as good as a mile, about which I am relieved. If I had been a Roman, I would not have had my 30 years with Freddie and sparkling white wine on the embassy lawn. Rome’s view of my life with a loving Jesus would have had me sat at the back of church with my genitals strapped down with duct tape and my lips sealed, doing a lot of pretending and feeling very lonely so that everybody else could sit comfortably. Yet it is me who is described by the Vatican’s Instruction from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith as ‘intrinsically disordered’.
I like being disordered ‘intrinsically’. It means naturally and essentially disordered and feels like fun. I suspect Pope Francis, who isn’t doing quite as well as hoped with his bishops like Tong and Yeung-knows about this. He has been trying to tell them that if they aren’t at least civil and considerate over my unexpected “British values”, they will simply be ignored. They will become the crazy old guys who live in the big, run-down place at the corner of the street. You see them ranting at the window and you walk on by. Which is what I’ll do now.