Friday, August 19, 2011

Three Words.

"I Love You."
Three simple words that completely change the nature of a relationship. Whether for good or for bad, once these three words are uttered, a relationship will never be the same.

But I'm not going to talk about these three words. Today I'm going to talk about three other words, that in some ways, is even more life-changing, hate-mongering, fear-inducing, nerve-shaking than that oft repeated trio of sweet nothings.  This trio has received validation in New York, ridicule in Malaysia, and controversy globally.

The three words are:
"I am gay."

Now should you be homophobic, and wish to leave this blog, unsubscribe yourself, and call me an infidel; by all means, go ahead. I am not going to condemn your beliefs, but neither shall I affirm them. What I am going to try to do- is challenge you to think, reflect, and consider truly why do you feel the way you do about gays, and perhaps other sexual minorities.

A friend of mine recently confessed to me that he was gay. He was afraid, reluctant and hesitant- he feared that I would draw away from him, forsake our friendship of six years, and ignore him for life. When I did not, he was astounded since the "normal reaction" of a guy when he finds out his friend is gay, would be to freak out, and run away for dear life. I did not. My reasons were simple.

Is it really so different?
Most people who have that feeling of disgust- when asked why-  say they fear that the 'gay' might have an interest in them. It seems much of homophobic behaviour is driven by this fear- "If I spend time with the gay, he/ she might fall for me. Therefore, I must avoid them."

Perasan much no? And even if, the gay does have feelings for them, I put it to you- How is it any different than having a person of the opposite sex attracted to you? We continue spending time with friends of the opposite sex, despite this very same possibility. What exactly is it that we fear? Why must we specifically discriminate against homosexuals?

My religion condemns homosexuality?
Religion has done many a thing- some of them good, some of them bad. 'Religion' is responsible for the deaths of Socrates, Copernicus and Joan de Arc. Christianity had its Crusades; Islam has its Al-Qaeda; Jesus Christ was crucified because his teachings were different from the Roman religion of paganism; Nabi Muhammad was persecuted because his teachings were in opposition with Quraisy beliefs.

Rev. Ou Yang,
gay Malaysian pastor.
My point to all these historical events is this: Religious authorities are not inherently right. Just because a religious authority condemns something, does not make it necessarily evil. Our society is constantly evolving- women were once often viewed as bearers of sin, incapable and in some beliefs as a tool of the devil- those past religious beliefs could not have been more wrong.

Going further on the issue of religious authority, there is no one religious authority. Historically, we've seen schisms between Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Orthodox, Protestant ... between Sunni and Shi'a ... between  Mahayana, Theravada, Shinto, Ikko-ikki, Vrajayana Buddhism. 

Religious doctrines and texts are constantly under the eyes of the beholder- many verses and teachings are subject to interpretation. This further shows that there is no One definition of right and wrong- to justify discrimination towards homosexuals is simply because it is just wrong- is simplistic and shaky.

Oh... all this homo hogwash is a new fad that came with the hippies...
One of the most common misconceptions of homosexuality is that it is a recent thing, that it is unnatural, and that is caused by one's exposure to the environment/ mass media. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Alexander the Great.
Homosexuality has existed since time immemorial. To deny this would be to deny the existence of history. The Persian Empire's kings all enjoyed large harems of attractive women - and men. It was widely believed in Ancient Greece that Alexander the Great, Conqueror of Conquerors, and his finest companion, Hephaestion were lovers. In the Roman Empire, though support for it waxed and waned throughout its long history, homosexuality was very much an inalienable part of Roman society. The Manusmriti, an Ancient Indian text, lists the oldest codes of conduct that were proposed to be followed by a Hindu, does include mention of homosexual practices, but only as something to be regulated. The classic Indian text Kama Sutra deals without ambiguity, hypocrisy or condemnation with all aspects of sexual life—including marriage, adultery, prostitution, group sex, sadomasochism, male and female homosexuality, and transvestism. All this points to the fact that homosexuality is not in fact a new age "fad".

But... its unnatural...

The Japanese Macaque. Homosexuality
is very common in troops.
Another argument against homosexuality is that it is unnatural. However, scientists have found data that indicates that homosexuality is encoded within our genetic make up. Natural evolution throughout millions of years have allowed for the development of slightly different genetic structures- and alleles peculiar to homosexuals have been found. At the same time, Swedish researchers have found that some physical attributes of the homosexual brain resemble those found in the opposite sex, according to an article published online (June 16) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the natural world,  A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. 

All this scientific research indicates that homosexuality is no freak accident, but a product of evolutionary forces. We do not understand the reasons why this is so, but to discriminate someone simply because we do not understand them, and call them abominations of nature when this is clearly not the case- is a most cruel thing to do. 

Think about it...
Even if all this scientific research is nonsense, all these historical facts are imaginary, and somehow all religions condemn homosexuality... There is still a question to be asked.

Zulkifli & Yasmin
One and the same.
We allow people to smoke, drink, in some countries even do drugs. We allow people to vote or not vote, to be single or married, to be hardworking or lazy.  It is a matter of choice. Why then do we deny them of the right to be who they are, when in fact this right does not harm anyone or even harm themselves? Why do we say we love Yasmin Ahmad, yet when we find out she was a hermaphrodite and once led her life as a man, Zulkifli Ahmad, condemn her or choose to hide that fact?

Think about all the reasons you may hate or fear gays and other sexual minorities. Think again. Do you have any real reason to do so? Is it a good enough reason to deny people the right to self actualize, the right to be themselves, the right to be free from fear of persecution and ridicule?

And before you make any assumptions, no, I am not gay. I am perfectly heterosexual ( I refuse to use the word straight as it denotes that being homosexual is 'crooked'). I am writing this not because I am defending myself, but because I believe in a world where one does not suffer because of who they are, or who they choose to be. And really, that's all they're asking for.

Finally, I would just like to wish you: Be cheery. Be happy. Be gay.


  1. and BOOM!!! a message gets through... :)

  2. I was born a Christian, a religion that, frankly, also condemns homosexuality.

    However, the Bible also tells us to "Love your neighbour as yourself." Not, "Love only your heterosexual neighbours as yourself." I believe that THIS rule over rules everything else, and whether we are for, or against homosexuality, it doesn't matter. Cos we are all called to love one another and to accept them for who they are.

  3. Hey there. (:

    I was linked to your blog by a mutual friend to read this post, and I just wanted to say it was really well-written. What I particularly liked was how you dealt with all the negative perspectives one by one, and in a way that didn't sound argumentative nor condescending. The mini-lesson on history/religion was nice as well. :P

    One question, though. Is the Yasmin Ahmad thing true? I mean, it's not hard to believe, but I thought it was unconfirmed (or hushed up).

    Anyway, great post! I'll be sharing this on every social networking account I have. :P

  4. I couldn't help but nod my head throughout the whole things XD i learned some stuff too XD Yes, I agree with what you said. Plus, love IS love, right? Gender has nothing to do with love at all!! <3