Love the sinner?

If I say “Love the sinner, abhor sin” about someone’s homophobia, it makes sense. His homophobia is a wrong opinion and a wrongful emotional reaction, which he could correct, and be a better man for it.

If the homophobe says “love the sinner, abhor the sin” about homosexuality, it makes no sense. She rejects the gay person, because the sexuality cannot be removed from a person without blighting them.

How do you tolerate intolerance? By bracketing it, by realising that the intolerant one perhaps could not know better, and that not all his beliefs or actions are as wicked.

To be intolerant of a person, because of who s/he is, is wrong. To be intolerant of a belief, because it is false and harmful, is right. A refusal to tolerate homosexuality is a refusal to tolerate a natural characteristic. That is wrong. A refusal to tolerate homophobia is a virtue, because homophobia is stupid and harmful. We’re right and they are wrong. Simple.

Another thought. I imagine myself unintelligent, because I make connections and wish I had made them earlier, then kick myself. Better to think, How wonderful to make the connection now!

Nothing more to be said, so here is some more Giovanni Boldini. Just look at the hands!

In mourning dies, the day after writing to Marcel that she is willing to return to him. She is thrown by her horse against a tree.

Is it too late for me to return to you?…Would you be prepared to take me back?… If your decision is to tell me to return, I shall take the train at once. Yours with all my heart.

He sent her away in order to establish control over her: and as soon as she went, he was plotting to make her come back, without appearing to want her. Though he imagined her in a lesbian encounter every moment she was away from him, and her vagueness under interrogation made her seem to be wilfully deceiving him, he feels he can only be freed from his misery in her arms. For a minute of that, only once a week, he would give her anything!

Swann imagined that if Odette were to die, he would recover his freedom to live. For that, she would have to die in his heart. The boredom of her company, the fear and jealousy and distrust- and all the Evidence he amasses that his ridiculous distrust is in fact completely justified- all vanish from Marcel’s mind. His recollection is of perfect contentment and delight in being with her, and his loss of her overwhelms him. It is all about him: he mourns a non-existent woman, because of imaginary joy he will no longer obtain from her.

His every sense-impression reminds him of her, and of his misery. This is the thing which Everybody Knows about Proust, who has not read him: an invitation to the Verdurins’ reminds him of a random guest, whose name reminds him of looking up and seeing the light in Albertine’s window. He remakes the memory: everything he had actually felt at the time was Wrong.

So, what did she think? Was little Albertine only desperate to please her Marcel, or was she at last satisfied that not a single hair of him could ever possibly protrude from under her thumb? Did she only desire the security his fortune might bring him, or did she love him for himself, money meaning nothing to her? All these are possible, and she might not have known herself. Only what Marcel imagined, that every act of hers was a plot to escape his oversight and indulge in Sapphism, is improbable.

You will observe that Boldini did not make his male sitters into sex objects.

Giovanni Boldini

“And then- all my clothes fall off!”

Here is Madame Juillard. As the canvas is 180cm high, she is near life-size. She leans forward with that cheeky smile, clutching her breast with Boldini’s recurring motif of a tense, splayed hand.

Here is Maria Eulalia of Spain. That is the King’s daughter, framed by her pearls, with that dark inverted triangle formed between her hands. Fold your hands and look. It is quite hard to form a triangle like that.

And- here is Lady Colin Campbell, née Gertrude Elizabeth Blood, of whom Bernard Shaw wrote,

Imagine a lady with a lightning wit, a merciless sense of humour, a skill in journalism surpassing that of any interviewer, a humiliatingly obvious power of reckoning you up at a glance, and probably not thinking much of you, a superb bearing that brings out all the abjectness in your nature, and a beauty the mere fame of which makes you fall into an attitude of amateurishly gallant homage that fulfils the measure of your sneaking confusion. The custom is for the interviewer to describe the subject of an interview as his “victim”. It is not possible to express how completely the tables were turned on this occasion.

He painted her in 1897, when she was forty, two years after her husband’s death of a loathsome disease.


Boldini- Franca FlorioI have been so ashamed of being who I am. First ashamed of being transsexual, then ashamed of the bits which do not fit the box called by others “primary transsexual”. Imagining that a “good person” is not like this and then lying to myself that I am that kind of “good person”, so that I have been enmeshed in lies and evasions. Denying parts of me which are good and healthy. Hiding away because I felt the Whole World would judge me for who I am, which was almost entirely my projection onto it: on investigation I find far less judgment of me in others than has been in myself. Collecting stories of, say, nutcase Evangelicals in another continent who object to a trans child expressing self congruently at school, so I can tell myself my fear is right. Ascribing so much importance to a casual insult in the street, far more importance than to acceptance by a friend or colleague. Having no self-respect, so needing to generate it from the regard of others or from achievement: but only perfection was tolerable, anything less was a shocking failure. So gradually withdrawing from all challenges whatsoever, to control of my life within my own living room. This is why I am unemployed: I could not bear to feel my own fear and anger, so I withdrew from life, to create a situation where I would not feel them.


Always, always healing and growing. Always exploring, a compliment I cherish is “You are interested in life”, interested in everything Human. Always moving forward into expressing myself more congruently. Even after I transitioned in 2002, and now even after I see that being transsexual is blessing, not curse, wonderful and beautiful, I had so much rage and terror and pain to process. I held myself together without self-respect, knowing that I was Disgusting, and when I realised I am Beautiful, as a human being, I felt the full hurt of having endured the other for so long. And I am now processing that.

It has been so hard to accept myself. And I think I have done it.

Created in the image of God, and therefore loving, creative and powerful, I am good and beautiful separate from my achievements: and I have accepted that. And this frees me to get things wrong, and learn. And to accept the World as it is. And, in my own time, move on from here.

This poem needs quoting in full:


I was there at your conception,
In the epinephrine of your mother’s shame.
You felt me in the fluid of your mother’s womb.
I came upon you before you could speak,
Before you understood,
Before you had any way of knowing.
I came upon you when you were learning to walk,
When you were unprotected and exposed
When you were vulnerable and needy
Before you had any boundaries….

I came upon you when you were magical,
Before you could know I was there.
I severed your soul, I pierced you to the core.
I brought you feelings of being flawed and defective.
I brought you feelings of distrust, ugliness, stupidity, doubt,
worthlessness, inferiority, and unworthiness.
I made you feel different.
I told you there was something wrong with you.
I soiled your Godlikeness….

I existed before conscience,
Before guilt, Before morality.
I am the master emotion!
I am the internal voice that whispers words of condemnation.
I am the internal shudder that courses through you without any mental preparation….

I live in secrecy in the deep moist banks of darkness, depression, and despair.
Always I sneak up on you, I catch you off guard, I come through the back door,
Uninvited, Unwanted, The first to arrive.
I was there at the beginning of time with Father Adam, Mother Eve
Brother Cain.
I was the Tower of Babel, the Slaughter of Innocents….

I come from “shameless” caretakers, abandonment, ridicule, abuse, neglect – perfectionistic systems.
I am empowered by the shocking intensity of a parent’s rage,
The cruel remarks of siblings;
The jeering humiliation of other children;
The awkward reflection in the mirrors;
The touch that feels icky and frightening;
The slap, the pinch, the jerk that ruptures trust.
I am intensified by a racist, sexist culture,
The righteous condemnation of religious bigots;
The fears and pressures of schooling;
The hypocrisy of politicians;
The multigenerational shame of dysfunctional family systems…

I can transform a woman person, a Jewish person, a black person, a white person, a gay person, an oriental person, a precious child into,
A bitch, a kike, a nigger, a cracker, a bull dyke, a faggot, a chink, a selfish little bastard.
I bring a pain that is chronic, a pain that will not go away.
I am the hunter that stalks you night and day.
Every day, everywhere,
I have no boundaries.
You try to hide from me, but you cannot
Because I live inside you,
I make you feel hopeless, Like there is no way out….

My pain is so unbearable that you must pass me onto others through control, perfectionism, contempt, criticism, blame, envy, judgement, power, and rage.
My pain is so intense, You must cover me up with addictions, rigid roles,
reenactments, and unconscious ego defenses.
My pain is so intense, that You must numb out and no longer feel me.
I convinced you that I am gone – that I do not exist – you experience absence and emptiness….

I am the core of co-dependency, I am spiritual bankruptcy,
The logic of absurdity, the repetition compulsion.
I am crime, violence, incest, rape, I am the voracious hole that fuels all addictions. I am insatiability and lust.
I am Ahaverus the Wandering Jew, Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, Dostoyevski’s underground man, Kierkegaard’s seducer, Goethe’s Faust.
I twist who you are into what you do and have.
I murder your soul and you pass me on for generations….

“Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child.”
by John Bradshaw

The joy is that we are learning this, and helping ourselves out of it.