Fifty Shades Of Homophobic Arguments: Perspective

I wrote as part of the articles I was required to submit in the Jadavpur University Model United Nations 2016 as a member of the International Press.



Attempted suicide rates and suicide ideation are significantly higher among members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.[1] British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist Archita Mittra, reporting from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), dismantles some popular arguments against LGBT rights, and highlights the need for a liberal and reformist outlook to curtail homophobia and hetero-normative propaganda.

Pop culture has certainly played a major role in changing societal attitudes towards gay relationships and marriages. Shows such as ‘Modern Family’, ‘Glee’ and ‘Orange Is The New Black’ depict gay characters to be as ‘normal’ as their heterosexual counterparts and certainly not victims of psychological disorders or westernization that most Middle Eastern countries makes them out to be. In a world where homosexuals face persecution by death, it is imperative to show how the traditional arguments employed by conservative states to foster homophobia often fall flat upon close examination.

One of the standard arguments against same sex marriages is that human beings were created for the sole purpose of mating with each other and producing offspring.  Such a mindset not only negates the existence of an asexual community, but also makes no room for tackling the consequences of overpopulation – a pressing environmental issue, which, if not curbed, shall definitely initiate the sixth mass extinction in the years to come. Furthermore, the multimillion dollar family planning industry is proof that the average couple does not mate for the sole reason of procreation.

Another popular argument often quoted by homophobes is that homosexual activity is often responsible for the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases, while conveniently ignoring the fact that heterosexual intercourse also results in the transmission of same ailments. What must be noted is that epidemics such as AIDS are transmitted via sexual contact[2]– both homosexual and heterosexual, and therefore, instead of blaming the minority culture, the State must direct its energy and funds towards research organisations engaged in finding cures to such global diseases.

Furthermore, it is often cited that homosexuality is a psychological disorder which can be cured via therapy.  Not only are such claims backed by insufficient medical evidence[3], the therapeutic methods in question often tend to be violent, perpetrating physical and mental abuse upon the ‘patient’, under the pretext of a cure.

 

Moreover, a  certain section of the population continues to deem homosexuality as unnatural and against the ‘law of nature’, despite the plethora of evidence that points to the fact that homosexuality has existed since time immemorial and has been a popular trope across mythologies of various cultures. From Sapphic odes, transgender gods to court trials of Oscar Wilde-, homosexual individuals have always existed in both human civilization and animal kingdoms, although the former has continuously marginalised and persecuted them for their gender identities.

Ultimately, the mark of a liberal society lies in the calm acceptance of the fact that human beings are different individuals, with different preferences and needs. British actor Tom Hiddleston draws a humorous analogy to ice cream to suggest that distinctions based on sexual orientation make no sense, saying ‘You like strawberry ice cream and you like vanilla ice cream. It’s all good;it’s all ice cream.’[4] Thus, opting for a deviant sexual preference is no different than having a partiality for a certain cuisine.

Furthermore, an individual’s perception of the gay community as ‘unnatural’ does not justify the subjection of said community to inhuman atrocities of rape, molestation, violence and death, and moreover, is a direct violation of human rights accorded to every individual.

Meanwhile, another favourite argument to condemn homosexuality is the suggestion that certain religious sects – notably Islam – deem homosexual activities as inappropriate and immoral. One’s religion is one’s personal choice and it must be noted that all religions, like humanity, must evolve in order to survive. The Indian practice of ‘sati’ which entailed the burning of widows after the death of their husbands was outlawed for this precise reason. Furthermore, several leading religions consider masturbation a sin; an act which the scientific community views as safe, healthy and even beneficial to the immune system, and is engaged by a majority of the population belonging to the very religions that proclaim it a sin.

Finally, the criminalisation of homosexuality by the State is a blatant infringement on an individual’s right to privacy which violates the basic principles of human rights. A State’s duty does not include interference in an individual’s private life to dictate which consensual sexual activities are appropriate or not. Furthermore, gay couples are not only able to have children via surrogates or donors, but also prove to be better parents, according to research[5]. Additionally, to those who believe that gay parenting leads to children confusing gender roles, it must be pointed out that while sex is biologically inherited, gender is essentially a social construct, perpetrated by a hetero-normative patriarchal society.

Thus, legalisation of homosexuality is the need of the hour, for not only is homosexuality a natural and normal occurrence that has always existed, the victimisation and marginalisation of the LGBT community by individuals or the State constitutes a violation of human rights, and is a marker of an inferior, regressive and insecure society which we, as citizens, must endeavor to change.

 

[1] One recent adolescent study that incorporated multiple measures of sexual orientation found suicidal behavior to be significantly higher in youth who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, compared to those who identified as heterosexual (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662085/)

[2] HIV can only be transmitted from an infected person to another through direct contact of bodily fluids (http://sfaf.org/hiv-info/basics/how-is-hiv-transmitted.html?referrer=https://www.google.co.in/)

[3] “Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality.” (http://lgbpsychology.org/html/facts_mental_health.html)

[4]  Tom Hiddleston On His Gay Fans (http://www.celebitchy.com/317486/tom_hiddleston_on_his_gay_fans_sexuality_its_all_good_its_all_ice_cream)

[5] Gay Parents Better Than Straight Parents? (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gay-parents-better-than-straights_n_1208659.html?section=india)


Image source
Previously published here.

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