Thursday, 28 May 2015

Gravel In The Heart

If we're going to cover the topic of harm properly, then we obviously have to tackle the anti-gay crusade. I have done this before, but for completeness I'll cover it again, and I'll try to make it even simpler and yet more thorough.

10% of human beings are homosexual. That is to say they are exclusively sexually attracted to the same sex.

This does not mean 90% of people are exclusively heterosexual.

People are allsortsofsexual. In case you don't know (most don't) in addition to homosexual and bisexual there are more varieties of attraction. You can look it up if you like, but the point is that on a scale from asexual to pansexual, people are attracted to whoever they are attracted to.

Really this shouldn't be anybody else's business, but as we all know, many people either worry, stare, comment, ridicule, denigrate, or actively interfere with other people's sexuality.


Well, there are 5 basic reasons, some of which go together.

1. Commonly known as the "ick" factor, this is where a person thinks about other people having sex (why?) and is revolted by what they imagine. It's immature. Then there's this.

(Please click on the image to enlarge it)

Despite reading this, men often still don't get it. They don't want to. There is a huge amount of denial here. But it's one aspect of the problem that I continue to push, because nothing explains it better.

This, BTW, is true homophobia. Actual fear of homosexuals. It's an irrational fear, but it's quite common.

2. The idea that it's "not natural". Although this is in fact the silliest objection of all, it's the one you tend to hear from people who pride themselves that they are being logical and practical about it. Well, they aren't. Apart from the fact that homosexuality exists in many animals other than humans, and is therefore perfectly natural, all humans do things that are not natural all of the time, and nobody bats an eyelid. To single out something you just don't like for that is absurd, prejudiced, and simply doesn't fly.

3. Good old fashioned bigotry. That person is different to me, therefore I'm better, therefore I can disparage him and tell myself I'm right to do so. Otherwise known as the arsehole excuse.

4. Religion. Within all major religions there is a conservative section, to a greater or lesser extent, who believe that homosexual activity is sin. They can't overlook this, but how they deal with it varies. This ranges from "love the sinner, hate the sin" to "God hates fags". In some places where religious law prevails it can mean execution of the gay person.

When I list those four, I am often asked about Russia and Uganda, where they stop just short of execution, but where the reason for their harsh anti-gay stance is not obviously religious. It's quite complicated and largely cultural. For a good look at Africa in general, this article is a primer:

And for Russia:

5. Deeply repressed homosexual desires.

I left this until last but it's huge. We regularly hear about these folk who are caught with a gay lover after vociferously opposing homosexuality, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more people who are hiding their true nature, which is tragic enough, but as a cover, they speak out against people like themselves. It's easy to call them hypocrites, but it fact it's very sad. There's a lot of pain there.

Are there other reasons? Well, yes, culture (see Russia and Africa above as extreme examples) because 50 years ago it was common to be anti-gay. The world has changed but many people, especially the elderly, haven't caught up. This is one reason why you see more anti-gay attitude in conservative circles. And there may be reasons I haven't even considered, because people are people.

How do we soften the hearts of these people?

We can't force people to approve of something of which they have a phobia or other irrational loathing. We can try to allay their fears, but that can backfire. The bizarre idea that there is some kind of gay recruitment drive sometimes stems from the reaction to education! Still, we must continue to educate, because ignorance is what is behind most fear and hatred. So what we seek in the meantime is tolerance. Tolerance is when you don't like something, but you let it be.

What we need to achieve is less oppression. The world is a better place that way. Anyone who supports oppression is part of the problem, no matter what oppression we are talking about, but if I say that, then sooner or later the intolerant will say they are being oppressed. I covered this in a recent post, but let's recap.

Intolerance of something harmful is not oppression, it's perfectly reasonable.
Intolerance of something harmless is simply prejudice. Bigotry.
Intolerance of bigots is therefore quite reasonable. You don't have to behave as badly as they do, but you don't have to allow their shenanigans.

So, it all comes down to the question of harm. And who gets to decide what's harmful and what isn't?

On this blog, I do.

In the world it tends to be a majority thing, and it sometimes changes. We are pretty close to getting it right now, on many issues, I see more fairness and reasonableness than at any point in history, but we aren't there yet. The bigots are still holding us back. So, those of us who care continue to try to educate. Given enough time (a whole book, possibly a large one) it would be possible to demonstrate logically that the tolerant are right. That doesn't mean everyone would believe it, because not everyone is logical.

So to convince the world at large that homosexual people are harmless is going to take a lot longer.

We used to think that Step 1 was proving it was innate, that is to say not a choice. I believe this, simply because I know how I feel myself. That should be enough for anyone. Most of all it really should help the bigots! Think about it, if they are solidly convinced of their own sexuality, that it's unbendable, then it should be obvious that the same applies to those who are gay. But as I said, they are not logical. Some scientists feel they have conclusively demonstrated that homosexuality is innate, but others disagree. While they continue to work on that I contend it doesn't matter.

No, it really doesn't matter. It would be a great help to a lot of people, I'm sure, but at the end of the day, what if it WAS a choice?

People choose things all the time. In particular they choose to be cruel and unfair.

Being a bigot is a choice.

People protect their choices jealously. So, if being gay really was a choice, especially in those places where it's punishable by death, it must be a humdinger of a choice.

I prefer Step 1 to be:

Where's the harm?

Got anything? How does it affect you or me if two people are gay lovers?

Now....the religious angle of this, which speaks of sin, says that harm=sin. I disagree but let's leave that for the moment. I'd like to look at at why they think it's sin.

Some of them will tell you it's simply because it's a form of adultery, i.e. sex without marriage.

Yet these same people oppose gay marriage. Way to go!

I am not convinced that is their real objection, or there would be massive anti-adultery campaigns, and I'm not seeing them.

What I am seeing is hypocrisy, whereby many others sins are completely ignored, but nothing new there. Cherry picking sins has been going on ever since the list was compiled.

I'll save the remainder of the religious objection to homosexuality itself for another occasion, as there is a solid theological argument for tolerance.

But we must return to the issue of gay marriage, which Ireland recently voted for democratically and pissed off the Vatican. Not the first time Ireland has pissed off the Vatican, Irish Catholicism has always marched to the beat of its own drum.

The objection to gay marriage seems to be that it affects non-gay marriage. Nobody has ever explained how. Despite this complete absence of reasoning to back it up, the objection remains.

Where's the love?

In the end, it all comes down to love. Those who object to the union of a loving couple obviously have no concept of love. Isn't that sad? How much gravel must be in their hearts, how cold is that?

I can't educate that away. But I can point it out, and I do.

Don't tell me that this is about sex, because it's not. Don't tell me homosexuals are the same as pedophiles, because they aren't. Don't tell me they are recruiting, because they aren't. Don't tell me that gay marriage affects non-gay marriage because it doesn't.

You're not left with much, are you?

More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Not that this is a slippery slope, but it does illustrate how choice and judgment go hand-in-hand. The correlation between the two is something that the greater we have wrestled with for quite some time, and with varying results. It may not be surprising to recognize that Hey! the world changes and so does 'public opinion' (a/k/a judgment). Our ideas associated with 'retribution' (heavy-handed intolerance?) for those who 'do otherwise' is also in flux. Twenty to thirty years ago, we began a 'drug war,' and today realize we have been at war with ourselves ever since, with more people behind bars, perhaps, than need be. Could resources be better spent on other 'programs?' Perhaps, yet for as much as we open our hears to hear the longing of the homosexual couple in pain, the pain of families with members 'judged' to be immoral because of drugs also tugs at our heart and purse strings. Not that the two go hand-in-hand, of course, but as we now legalize marijuana in various states in the U.S., we are starting call into question much of the judgment associated with other 'groups' we have rendered as 'less than normal.'