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Blogger, full-time bum and proud owner of a rubber duck named Bert. Come say hi. I don't bite. Unless you're a cheesecake, then I'd recommend backing away slowly.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Why are we still fighting?


Is it a fairy-tale? Something we can aspire to, something we can chase, but never actually achieve? It feels like that some of these days. Even in this modern day society, people are filled with so much hatred and contempt, they fail to befriend people who are different to themselves, and they miss out on experiencing one of the most wonderful things in life: Diversity.

I know quite a few gay people. And do you know what? I can't see why anyone would be able to hate them. They are all lovely. By the end of this blog post, I hope to enlighten you about the hardships that the LGBT community have gone through over the course of history, and why it's ultimately up to us to decide whether or not equality is a fairy-tale, or a reality.

The persecution of homosexuals stretches as far back as 535, where Emperor Justinian blamed unavoidable disasters such as famine, earthquakes and plagues on the existence of gay people. The gay community were subsequently beaten, burned at the stake and shunned by society. These very early incidents fuelled further attacks, with some gay men being burnt at the stake whilst attached to their lover, some being castrated and others burned between the thighs with a red hot iron. 

Between 5,000 and 15,000 men and women were sent to concentration camps for being homosexual, where 60% of them were thought to have died, due to the intense, dangerous workload they were given. The mark of a gay man in the concentration camp was a pink triangle, which Nazi soldiers used for target practice. Those who were not sent to concentration camps were sent to Nazi Doctor's for scientific experiments in an attempt to "find a cure for homosexuality".

That's the strange thing... homosexuality was considered to be a mental disorder. To some people, it still is. The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, but some people (mainly members of a religion such as Christianity) still see it as a fault of the mind, a repressible desire. Aversion therapy is used (controversially) to 'treat' homosexuality, but has been rumoured to cause mental disorders and even suicidal tendencies.

With recent changes in legislation, New York for instance, just legalized gay marriage, you would have thought that humanity took one step closer to equality... right? 

The thing is, there are still seven countries in which homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty. Sudan, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somaliland and Iran, where 4,000 people have been executed since 1979. The hatred that straight people show towards gays is unreal. During an attempted gay pride rally, a bus full of members of the LGBT community were trapped as a mob surrounded them, screaming "Let's get them out and beat them up!" and "Beat them to death, don't let them escape!". They were ordered to burn their pride materials in order to get away unharmed. The sickest part of this?

The police were standing less than 100 metres away, ignoring not only the angry mobs chanting, but also nine emergency calls from those trapped inside the bus.

The LGBT community can get married in New York. Brilliant. But that should not be news. Who are we to dictate who others can or cannot love? We are who we are. The only difference between us heterosexuals and our homosexual friends is the gender of the person we love. People who cannot see past the gender? They are not open minded, they do not fight for equality and they do not understand how many brilliant people they have prevented themselves from making friends with. 

A homophobe is a homophobe. It doesn't matter if their behaviour is 'justifiable' by a religion, because most scripture to do with sexuality has become grossly out-dated.

Take The Bible for example, it agrees to the following:

  • For any childless widow to have sex with each of her Husband's brothers until she bears her deceased husband a male heir
  • The treatment of Women as property
  • The use of prostitutes (but ONLY if a male is using them)
  • Having sex with slaves
  • Executing married couples who have sex during a woman's period
  • Prohibiting inter-racial marriage, discussing, or even naming, a sexual organ, seeing your parents naked or using birth control.
The Bible was written at a time where these were acceptable views to hold. But we are in the 21st century. These are NOT humane, these aren't even legal! Slavery (as it was known in those days at the very least) has been abolished, divorce is incredibly common, as is adultery and the first point is considered to be rape.

So tell me... if these are out-dated... why isn't homophobia too? 

Too many LGBT teenagers have committed suicide as a result of years of torment from their peers. Too many years have passed where homosexuality is deemed to be sinful, or a mental disorder, or curable. Too many people have died as a result of their sexuality to give up on equality for all now.

Are you going cut off Rapunzel's hair? Force Snow White to bite that apple? Stab Cinerella with her own glass slipper? Or are you going help write their happy ending?

You have the ability to help re-write the course of history. But the decision lies in your hands to whether or not you are going to pick up the pen and do so.

1 comment:

  1. Me again... For other readers of this blog, I should point out that I'm a wee bitty older than Lauren - but somehow we seem to be on the same thoughts wavelength a LOT of the time. I'd say that's better news for me than for her!

    The post above got me thinking, as is usually the case when I visit here (unless it's about films, in which case all I think is "I know very little about films!").

    As often happens, I'll veer off at a slight tangent - but the issues tackled above put me in mind of Martin Luther King. Not this time his best known I Have A Dream speech, but another from the same year entitled Strength To Love.

    I would crave your indulgence (there's a delightfully old-fashioned turn of phrase!) to present a few quotes which I think are wholly appropriate to the subject of equality and intolerance. I hope they provoke some thought...


    There is little hope for us until we become tough minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance.

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

    Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

    Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.