Amid Increasing Tensions, LGBT Group in Mexico Outs Allegedly Gay Priests

A participant holds up a placard during the Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City
LGBT advocates demonstrating in Mexico City. Using the hearts on the sign to represent the word “love,” the message reads “I am gay and I love myself.”

A leading LGBT organization in Mexico publicly named nearly forty Catholic priests and religious as gay, the latest move in the country’s escalating debate over LGBT rights.

The National Pride Front released the names of 38 priests and religious who are allegedly in same-gender relationships, reported The Telegraph. Front spokesperson Cristian Galarza explained the decision to release these names:

” ‘Everyone deserves the right to be in the closet. . .But when you come out and condemn homosexuality, condemn gay marriage, and try to influence a secular state, you’ve lost the right to the closet.’ “

The Front said they were not condemning the relationships, but the double standards of church leaders in them who then forcefully oppose marriage equality. The list included ranking church officials and, according to Galarza, not only consensual relationships but “also cases of sexual abuse.”

The decision to publish this list has not only been criticized by conservative opponents of LGBT equality, but by LGBT groups who are upset that anyone would be forcibly outed. Enrique Torre Molina of All Out told The Telegraph: 

” ‘They can spin it anyway they want, but they’re ultimately using someone’s sexual orientation as a tool against that person, which is exactly what the LGBT movement is not about. . .If anyone knows how tough it can be to have your sexual orientation used against you, it is a gay or lesbian person.’ “

The list’s publication came ahead of demonstrations against LGBT rights last weekend, organized by the church-backed National Front for the Family. Because some LGBT groups opposed the release of the list of allegedly gay clergy and religious,  the organizations skipped counter-protests organized by the National Pride Front.

Some counter-protestors, however, used the demonstrations as an opportunity to practice a different approach to their opponents: dialogue. La Jornada reported:

“For example, a group of people, young and old, straight and gay, stood in front of the Gate of the Lions armed with posters, water bottles, and benches.

“Two poster boards carried by Saúl Espino, one of the first to stand in place, summed up their motives: Our goal is to deactivate hate through dialogue and give a voice, history, and face to diversity. The other sign: I’m a Catholic and I’m gay. I want to talk with you!”

Marriage equality and other rights for LGBT people are hotly contested issues in Mexico after President Enrique Peña Nieto announced in May that he would be pushing Congress to approve such laws.For further context, see Bondings 2.0’s coverage of Mexico earlier this week by clicking here.

While legislative movement has stalled, opposition from anti-LGBT groups has swiftly increased. Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Mexican church warned of a “gay dictatorship” and approved of reparative therapy. Certain LGBT groups have responded in kind, filing discrimination complaints against dioceses and church leaders in several states.

In my previous post on Mexico, I said de-escalation was needed from both sides so that dialogue could replace divisive statements. De-escalation is especially important because of the release of this list, which is to be condemned in the strongest terms. There is no justification for forcibly outing any person, even priests and religious who may be actively opposing LGBT rights and relationships. The question of gay and bisexual men in the priesthood is a personal, as well as a public matter. The church’s negative treatment of them has caused much suffering. It is also deeply troubling that acts of sexual abuse were included in this list given conservative efforts to conflate homosexuality and abuse.

LGBT advocates should not be adding to the pain which LGBT people in ministry and survivors of clergy abuse have already had to endure by uncritically publishing this list. Rather,  LGBT advocates should always and everywhere overcome the prejudices and fears driving LGBT-negative figures by responding with love and compassion.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

Related Articles

Religion Dispatches, “Global LGBT Recap

11 thoughts on “Amid Increasing Tensions, LGBT Group in Mexico Outs Allegedly Gay Priests

  1. lynne miller September 29, 2016 / 7:09 am

    While I certainly understand and agree that it isn’t right to “out” others who choose to remain in the closet, I’m always at a loss as to how to deal with people, like priests or bishops, who remain in the closet but condemn in the harshest terms other LGBTI people. There should be a way to confront them with their hypocrisy, which is not only dishonest, but harmful to others. Keep their cover if they like, but leave others alone to live their lives.

    • Wilhelm Wonka September 29, 2016 / 9:25 am

      Hypocrisy is hypocrisy. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s manifested by gay clergy.

      There is something absolutely despicable about condemnation of LGBT people by gay priests and religious in clandestine sexual relationships. In fact, it is more than despicable; it is positively revolting, cowardly, and a bitter betrayal of people who have suffered so much (and still do) at the hands of others, especially the churches.

      I disagree with you Bob: these clergy, snakes in the grass, deserve to be outed for the cowards and hypocrites they actually are, and for their betrayal not just of their own community, but of Christ himself.

      • Wilhelm Wonka September 29, 2016 / 10:13 am

        Slight amendment to my post: I would warn such hypocritical clergy that if they continued to harass LGBT people, they would be outed themselves. This would give them an opportunity to reconsider their conduct.

  2. Thomas September 29, 2016 / 7:24 am

    I am not in favor of “outing” anyone. That can be a hateful and mean approach even if done by another gay person. Announcing that you are gay , or even just living like you are unconcerned what people think is one thing. It is not a choice for someone else to publicly proclaim another’s sexual orientation.

    Imagine the chaos in America if this tactic were applied to American priests.

    I think that it may take another ten years or longer, but this whole issue will become an historical footnote.

  3. Albertus September 29, 2016 / 8:58 am

    I am in favour of outing those public figures who openly condemn gay people whilst they are themselves gay, and involved in a relationship. Why? Because these closeted gay condemners of homosexuality do great harm to their fellow gays and lesbians, and by outing them, these persons will be shown for the liars and hypocrites that they are, and their credibility in condemning homosexuality will be undermined in the public opinion.This is good for gay people, and more importanttly, it works. An example is the now infamous Scottish Cardinal O Brien who was rallying public opinion against gay relationship by having all parishioners in his diocese sign petitions against allowing gay persons to marry, whilst he himself had been in a same-sex relationship. The Cardinal was outed by four priests, whom the Cardinal had approached in an amourous way. The Cardinal was forced to resign, and the anit-gay campaign lost.

  4. Tom Bower September 29, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    We should not buy into the societal concept that being LGBT is an evil thing any more than skin color or being right or left handed – each of which once carried such a stigma. Presuming the outed LGBT person’s life has been a sign of Christ’s love for others, he/she should be seen as a model to prove that being LGBT is a good thing and they should have no reason to hide that part of themselves. The Church only condemns same sex acts, not the state of being. At this time outing is a reasonable thing to do as it only harms the Church if they can’t see a holy person among those who are LGBT. To revive Frank Cameny’s statement – Gay is good.

  5. John Hilgeman September 29, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    Outing someone who is a hypocrite – who is privately involved in an affair while condemning such relationships publicly – is a bad thing to do?

    I certainly think that gay priests and bishops (or other gay and lesbian individuals) who are involved in private relationships are entitled to their privacy. But I find it difficult to agree that individuals who publicly attack others in such relationships, deserve privacy for their own relationships. Sometimes such hypocrisy needs to be exposed. I think one of the key reasons that Catholic leaders have been so much more venomous in the attacks on gay and lesbian people than some leaders of other religious groups, is the prevalence of self-hating closeted homosexuals in the ranks of clergy at all levels.

    • Wilhelm Wonka September 29, 2016 / 5:29 pm

      Excellent post. Flawless.

  6. Larry September 29, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    I am not sure what mental state allows a priest to leave the bed of his gay lover and then preach in public against LGBT rights. Does he feel that as long as he preaches hate he is doing his job and then can feel better about his own relationship? This has to take a psychic toll. Outing him not only reveals his hypocrisy and the venality of the Church’s teaching but might free him mentally to become a better person if not a better priest. Gay clergy who publicly oppose gay rights need to be outed.

    • Friends September 29, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      Bong The Gong! I agree with Larry’s comments just about one-thousand percent. A freely-chosen vow of celibacy is one thing — if indeed (and rarely) the vow-taker can adhere to such a draconian imposition. But most Catholic priests are ordinary human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation — and there is a whole lot of slippage concerning their private fidelity to their celibacy vows. The vow of celibacy itself is the root problem here. Just let Catholic priests marry legally into a faithful relationship — regardless of their sexual orientation — and you will see a whole lot of this problem evaporate overnight. Our kindred Episcopalians and Anglicans have understood this problem, and have largely accomplished such a common-sense remediation. Why is the RCC still “stuck in the mud” in its refusal to fix this drastic social dysfunction?

  7. James Robert Green October 2, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Dear Bob and others. We are NOT opposed to outing gay priests if they are Actively working to condemn fellow GLBT Catholics and against gay marriage. Especially if they are actively living in a gay/sexual relationship. There is more than enough hypocrisy in the R.C. Church already. We are not Opposed obviously to gay priests in general; however, there are many priests who live this schizophrenic existence who have become alcoholics and other drug dependents who despise themselves which hinders their own recovery and the recovery of others. How can we expect them to help others if they cannot be honest with themselves. Jim & Bill

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