Today’s carnage in a gay club in Orlando has left me shaken. Obviously, I was safe and sound here in London, nowhere near to the scene of the massacre. It’s just served to remind me of the prevalence of homophobia and it’s roots in deeply illogical thought.
Let me put it another way: your hatred of gay people makes no sense.
If I’m gay (which I am) and you’re not, I represent no kind of threat to you. Indeed, as we’ve seen time and time again, the inverse is true. My ‘gayness’ is not contagious, I won’t ‘turn’ you or your family gay and I certainly won’t try to change laws to make my sexual orientation mandatory. As if.
Homophobia is often couched in pseudo-logical arguments about the ‘natural order’ or ‘morals’. More often than not, the homophobia I see and hear is based on religious beliefs. The key word there is beliefs. A choice. A choice to believe that someone, somewhere is responsible for the creation of the entire universe, but also has the time to both create and despise gay people.
People aren’t born Christian. They’re not born Muslim. They’re brought into these belief systems by their families. And they can leave them – though I acknowledge that departure from religions can have terrible consequences and often even fatal ones. But still, it is possible.
I can’t flick a switch to change my sexual orientation (and it would be more like turning a dial anyway, based on what we know about human sexuality) no more than I can decide to grow another four inches in height.
Your beliefs will never trump my human right to exist and be who I am. Your beliefs, no matter how complex, ancient and ritualised, cannot be respected more than a human being. I frankly don’t care what you believe – what origin story you adhere to, what you think is acceptable and unacceptable. Just don’t expect me to agree. Don’t expect me to change my life to fit in with your deeply illogical, contradictory and flawed belief system.
And I won’t expect you to be gay.
I won’t come into your place of worship and disrupt your ceremonies. Then again, I’ll expect you to stay away from places where I feel safe, where I feel I can be the person I am. Protest, campaign, tell me I’m wrong. Debate. Argue. I have answers to your questions and responses to all of your stale arguments.
Don’t resort to violence – it demonstrates the futility and weakness of your beliefs if you have to kill to be heard.