Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The god of gay sex



Who would have thought even us gayers had their own god? This was just one of of the fascinating facts I found out at Sunday's Armchair Tour of the ‘Queer People’s Knick Knack Emporium' - an LGBT perspective on some of the collected articles held by the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Our true "Divine Being" is apparently not Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Betty White, Ethel Merman, Bette Midler, Madonna or Cher; it is Tu Er Shen (The Leveret Spirit), a Taoist Chinese deity who oversees the love and sex between male homosexuals - the patron god of gay men. His name is more often colloquially translated as the "Rabbit Deity" or "Rabbit God".

From the Singapore LGBT encyclopedia:
According to Zi Bu Yu - a collection of supernatural stories written by Qing dynasty scholar and poet Yuan Mei - in "The Tale of the Leveret Spirit", Tu Er Shen was originally a man named Hu Tianbao who fell in love with a very handsome, young, imperial inspector in 18th-century Fujian Province during the early Qing Dynasty. However, because of the inspector's higher status, Hu was afraid to reveal his feelings. One day, Hu was caught peeping at the inspector's bare derrière through a gap in a bathroom wall when the latter went to the toilet, at which point Hu confessed his reluctant affection for the other man. The imperial inspector had him sentenced to death by beating for offending a nobleman.

One month after Hu's death, he is said to have appeared [as a leveret, by some accounts] to an elder from his home town in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, King Yama, ruler of the Chinese Hades, had decided to redress the injustice by appointing him the Rabbit God. As such, his duty was to govern the affairs of men who desire men. In the dream, he asked the man to erect a shrine to him. When he awoke the elder obliged by exhorting his fellow village folk to raise money to erect a temple to Hu Tianbao and named it the Rabbit Temple. In return, the Rabbit God responded to his adherents’ prayers without disappointment. Yuan mentioned that people who had underground love affairs, secret agreements and unobtainable desires could visit the Rabbit Temple.
Inevitably, the popularity of The Rabbit God (at least in southern China) in the late 18th century led to unwanted attention from the more puritanical elements of the establishment. Later Qing dynastic governments tried to exterminate the cult of Hu Tianbao.



However, you can't keep a good rabbit down! The cult survived in varying degrees in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. And in Taiwan, the "god of gays" survives even to this day...

From the Huffington Post in January 2015:
"In Chinese history, 'rabbit' was a derogatory term for homosexuals," said Lu Wei-ming, who founded the [Wei-ming temple in Taipei] in 2006, at a time when gays were excluded from most religious ceremonies.

He wanted to create a welcoming environment for a flock that had long been ostracised. "This was a group with no one to look after them, and I wanted to fill that void," said the 28-year-old priest, adding that Wei-ming is the world's only shrine for homosexuals.

Liberal attitudes have led to the flourishing of gay culture on the island nation, with Taiwan's parliament debating a bill that would make it Asia's first to legalise same-sex marriage.

Lu said mainstream Taoist society remains stuck in a conservative mindset, although the most vocal opposition to Wei-ming temple has come from members of Taiwan's small yet active Christian community. He described instances of Christian activists protesting in front of the temple, including one pastor who attempted to perform an exorcism before the altar of the Rabbit God.
I am sure we could come up with some far more fitting "ceremonies" to perform in front of that altar.



If you happen to be in Taipei at any stage, visit Chinatownology blog for directions...

4 comments:

  1. Who knew all this? And to think, all these years, I've been on my knees worshipping " The Cock"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've peeped at many a bare derrière through a gap in a bathroom wall too, I bet. Jx

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    2. I was just seeking the bunny god.

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    3. Something that shagged like a rabbit, anyhow. Jx

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