Thursday, July 07, 2011
Is your neighbour gay???
Two months back, I met a a guy in a class where I was the teaching assistant. He came as a guest speaker by special invitation from the professor. He was quiet, extremely well behaved and a very efficient speaker. He was barely 27- my age.
So what was it that he talked about which made this otherwise simple guy so interesting?
He talked about how he was threatened to be stoned to death in the country he was born and raised and educated. And how his mentor was lynched a month back and how he had to run away and seek political asylum in a strange country where he has no friends or family.
All because- he is GAY!!
I couldnt sleep for days!. Stoned to death? Really? In 2011?? Well, things happen and I forgot about the kind young guy who was almost killed for his sexual orientation.
Until yesterday- when my Brazillian landlord asked me about the flippant remark of the health minister of the worlds largest democracy. Ghulam Nabi Azad apparently thinks homosexuality is a disease and is unnatural. But I cannot judge him- because me too thought so a long time back.
The religion I believe in taught me homosexuality is a sin. Like any good church going girl, I blindly believed it. For that matter, nobody bothered to even let us know what homosexuality is. It was a sin. Period.
Even when my brain developed enough to question other such blind beliefs, I did not dare to venture to understand the mystery shrouding this particular topic. Partly the reason was I did not know any gay/lesbian/bisexual person then. Through the teachings of the church and the cultural upbringing I had made me believe they are some kind of monsters like murderers, rapists or child molesters. The other part reason was a story from the Bible- the story of Sodom and Gomorrhah.If the Bible gives a story of how it destroyed two cities because of homosexuality-it must be a sin. That was my half baked thought and rationale.
But if you need to rationalize too much about something, something is wrong somewhere.
I realized that quickly- when I had my first gay friend. He was not the media celebrated fashion stereotype gay. He was an extremely good hearted, passionate and kind human being. Someone who cared deeply about the injustice in the society and tried in his own little ways to make a difference. My, stubborn religiosity thought he is an exception. But I kept on meeting and making new friends whose only difference between me and them were their sexual orientation. Most of them were good people. (I wont harp on the farcical ones-because they exist everywhere-in every race, color, creed, gender and even in sexual orientation).Most of them did a lot of good compared to the 'straight' 'sinless' people.
My sanity will not let them be labelled 'sinners' anymore. I didnt have to find any reasons. But if I had to- I realized if I followed the Bible blindly- I would have to wear a head gear, should not talk amongst men, cannot eat a lot of things I eat and will be probably stoned to death myself for countless other sins. Who am I to judge?
And the famous Sodom and Gomorrha story- suddenly it made sense; in the right way. The story talks about an entire city full of men knocking at Lot's door demanding to have his male guests. Lot offers his daughters; but they decline it and continue demanding the men. Everyone assumes homosexuality is the sin here. But what if the roles are reversed- what if the guests were female and the whole city of men was demanding them? Wont it be still a sin?? Ofcourse yes. Im no Bible pundit. But my humble view is that the sin in Sodom and Gomorrha in that particular instance would have been gang rape.
Not that now I need a Biblical reference to quench my conscience.
Because I believe in a religious philosophy- which teaches to Love thy neighbour as thou love yourself.
And if my neighbour is gay?--- my conscience never fails to give me the right answer.