Thursday, March 6, 2008

homophobia

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The hostile stigma associated with homosexuality bothers me tremendously, and it's a shame to know that even in the liberal and weirdness encouraging atmosphere of Austin, TX, it exists within the huddled niches of human ignorance, also known as "the consensus."

I'll elaborate. Through a friend, through his job, I am now friends with a lesbian couple; one of which recently shaved her head completely bald, while the other sports fuchsia dyed punk spikes. The couple-before the shaved incident-were obviously gay since they display their 'smitten goggle-eyed joy in finding each other' on their sleeves: kissing, touching affectionate grazes on backs and necks as they walk by if they're not sitting like Siamese joined at the hip, we're-really-into-each-other-and-we-want-to-shout-our-love-from-rooftops type stuff.

Then, while on a set of a collaborative sci-fi low budget film production, Costume's looking for wigs to add feminine appeal to a leader of the notorious all-female tribe of space mercenaries who subjugate and dominate their male foes, and it comes out, because of the bald lesbian's new low maintenance hairstyle: her dismay of having to deal with closed-minded bigotry involving dirty looks from strangers "more than ever, especially students around campus" she said, especially small groups of girls who look like they're rich variations of the same exact product walking by quietly, leering condescendingly, and then laughing.

These are children I've known, having been raised in Christian communities, being from a small Southern town. These are insecure children raised by insecure parents who were raised by Leave It To Beaver, coddled with ideals, parents who wish to one day become beautiful baby grandparents, in a picture perfect fairy tale story, Susie Q married to Doctor X, a dog named Lollipop, birdies landing perfectly on a fingertip in the morning sunshine singing Tweet Tweet I love you, birdies who never poo, because no on ever poos in LaLa Land except for Lollipop of course because he would shit on the mailman every once in a while out of pretentious pet boredom.

In a fall first semester ever Intro Philosophy college course in 1996, debates on moral and ethical issues were a given, extra credit points were incentive for participation, we discussed euthanasia, abortion, Socrates, and towards the beginning of winter, homosexuality.

In the end of most of these debates I would usually have to walk out of class first, away from 30 minus 1-2 angry Christians armed with the phrases, "It just is, because the Bible says it's wrong, because it's not God's way, it just ain't natural" My desk was close to the door because I had been raised with the freedom to use my own logic when answering the riddles of the universe. I had not received all of my information in a nicely wrapped package. I had not been raised with fear of a place called hell where I would suffer the rest of eternity receiving torture for misdeeds according to an ancient book of the mortal world. I'd been raised by a broken English Korean immigrant single mother without a military dad who left us for a dancer when I was eight. She remarried when I was eleven to a psychologist, a Presbyterian, and we went to church a few times before Sunday lunch lost its glamour and my constant pleas for new dresses to fit into the 'cool' Youth group crowd was replaced with disinterest in over-learning the word 'hypocrite.'

But back on track with the debates, and even more specifically: the debate on homosexuality, the canned answers of, "Because the bible says it wrong," even after the teacher asks for "Something else, for anything else" to "What other reason would you need?" to my:

"What business is it of others what people do behind the sanctuary of closed doors, is everyone supposed to have missionary style heterosexual sex in the sanctity of marriage for procreation only, anyone here who's not married is a virgin right, what gives us the right to judge people's character and point fingers and condemn people and act as if they have some contagious disease, what makes you think every gay person wants to have sex with you and will try to seduce you or lick you or stick you against your will, or that they are into perverted or grotesque sodomy practices involving leather chaps and leopard skin underwear, have you ever thought that they could be nice people aside from judging them by sex preference, that aside from sex their hearts beat and need love, and that they can be smart, and that if they had a choice in this sometimes horrible world they would choose to be was considered by so many a moral abomination?"

I left class a little extra 'first' that day feeling the tension in the classroom strung by eyes of hatred. Already I was an outsider by my "Chinese" looks in a predominantly white male classroom, but as an outspoken girl defying the bible's dogmatic recommendation of avoiding questions in keeping the masses at bay, I had become a Communist Devil Worshipper who was going to hell, and on my way out of class that day, I heard three words which gave my arms chills from an anonymous coy voice amongst other livid voices that said, "You'd better run."

And now Ellen Degeneris is crying on her show because an eight year-old boy killed another eight year-old boy for asking him to be his Valentine. Like puppies killing other puppies for barking at them the wrong way, it just doesn't make sense. It's not always the luxury of choice which governs our personalities, since if that were the case there'd be no such things as Psychiatrists, or divorce, or prisons, or Prozac.

There are people who are attracted to the same sex biologically, and others who follow their desires based on chemistry and attraction, and others who are turned on by more soft than hard, or vice versa, more of less hair, muscles, curves, smells; and what business is it of ours what these preferences are in strangers, unless they become friends with us, and confide in us the details of what makes them the unique people they are, apart from the ambiguity of being unknown and, in general, a human?

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