Surely there are only three real reasons anyone can have for not thinking that it’s okay to be gay. The first is that it doesn’t make babies; the second is that it’s bad for people; and the third is that it’s against God, religion or some religious text. The argument that ‘it’s against nature’ is so clearly ridiculous that it’s not worth considering…
No. A man having sex with a man, and a woman having sex with a woman don’t make babies. But then, lots of things don’t: celibacy, for a start, but people don’t seem to have a problem with that. There are people who can’t have children, and many who don’t want them, either. And yet they’re not deplored as being wrong for ‘not making babies’. I have heard the argument that it can’t possibly be right to be gay because ‘if everyone was that way, then the race would die out’. Again, this isn’t really an argument… Everyone isn’t gay and therefore the race isn’t going to die out. More to the point, if everyone was, then I’m fairly sure that gay men and lesbian women, being as intelligent as straight men and women, would find ways of keeping population numbers viable. (Gay men and lesbian women could make babies if they really wanted to, and frequently do.) The world is, actually, very far from being depopulated… Who cares if some couples don’t have kids?
Gays don’t make babies? So what…?
Is being gay or lesbian bad for you? To be brutally frank, the only thing that seems to me to be bad for gay men and lesbian women (and which is related to their sexuality) is living in a homophobic world which dehumanises, demeans, threatens, bullies, patronises and hurts them because of that sexuality. What else could possibly be bad for them? There are sexually transmitted diseases out there, sure, but none which targets gays and lesbians without also targeting straights. And yes, there are types of behaviour which are more risky than others, but again, none which are about sexual preference: not a single one.
Does being close to gays and lesbians make others gay and lesbian? Well, does being close to straight men and women make gays and lesbians straight? No. It seriously doesn’t.
Does being raised by gay and lesbian parents make kids gay and lesbian? Again, does being raised by straight parents make gay and lesbian kids less gay and lesbian?
Mind you, straight kids being raised to believe that being gay or lesbian is ‘wrong’, and that to be straight is to be ‘right’ does, I think, propagate a problematic society in which gay and lesbian kids are dehumanised, demeaned, threatened, bullied, patronised and hurt: this does, just as much, in fact, as raising gay and lesbian kids to believe that to be so is ‘wrong’.
Is being gay or lesbian bad for you? Find certain types of behaviour challenging and dangerous, if you wish, but sexuality? No.
Is it against religion, God or a sacred text? It might be against someone’s religion, someone’s God or someone’s sacred text. But those things aren’t absolutes as much as anyone might desperately want them to be. There are seven billion (ish) people on the planet, and there’s no religious consensus at all. What might be rules to one set of people can be (and are, in certain circumstances) anathema to another set. We all live according to our own beliefs and systems, but we do allow others to live in other ways. And if the babies thing doesn’t matter, and it isn’t harmful, then – seriously – what’s the problem?
My own background is a mixture of Protestant (Baptist) and Catholic. I can’t quote chapter and verse, and don’t want to. Again, it’s someone’s God, religion or sacred text, but it’s not mine. And people have no right to make their world view mine, which is as much right as I have to make mine theirs. None. But that applies to everyone. If homosexuality is not dangerous, or damaging, why does anyone feel they have a right to castigate in any way those who are homosexual, or to overbalance society to legitimise one sexuality at the expense of illegitmising the other?
So, why does society seem at times to be so deeply unhappy about gays and lesbians? It can’t be the babies thing – it doesn’t matter. It can’t be the harmful and damaging thing – because it isn’t. It can’t be the religious thing – one person’s right to religious freedom, so long as it isn’t dangerous and damaging, should enable and legitimise someone else’s right to be whatever they are, with the same caveats. And hey – I may not know much about the Bible, but I do know that Leviticus names many more things that people just shouldn’t do but which are now freely done and without any religious person saying anything. Nothing. Not a word… And that it’s harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Do you see rich, religious people trying to give all their money away? Do you see religious people berating rich people for having lots of money? Or for bringing up their kids with lots of money? Or leaving their kids lots of money when they die? You do not.
I guess it’s fear. Not fear of the unfamiliar but fear that – deep down – we’re not all the same after all. Some men love women, but some love men. Some women love men, but some love women. And that ‘love’, that powerful, all encompassing passion that drives us so much seems so vital, important and essential to who we are that anyone who doesn’t feel the same as we do must be wrong. Must be sick. Must be dangerous. Must be damaging.
We are so selfish that anything that doesn’t look and feel like us on such a primitive level damages our worldview and our conception of ourselves. And it is selfishness…
Because it’s still love, the same love.
It’s not murder, torture, genocide. It’s love.