Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Righting Wrongs

Courts in New Delhi recently struck down the enforcement of the 148-year old Section 377 regarding “Carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Religious homophobes are organizing, some even going so far as to petition those same courts to reinstate enforcement of the Section. Others are calling for the need to discuss the issues in face of the resultant requirement by Parliament to reconsider the law in its entirety. 

No, they don’t. They don’t have to consider anything. All they have to do is act. Repeal these hateful laws. Just do it. Quit whigning. Shut up and sit down.

Let’s look at the issues here. It’s about (1) the difference between religious dogma, which in all respects is the driving force behind both the law and vestigial social stigma against homosexuality, and civil regulation of the populace, and (2) public perception of the effect gays’ behaviour has on their lives.

My position regarding the need among religious persons to control the lives of those who haven’t succumbed to their way of thought is well established. In simple terms, those guys want me to toe the line of their inhibitions because, according to them, somebody said that somebody said that somebody said that somebody said…(back six thousand years of hearsay) that it’s said to be bad. Somehow, it just isn’t good enough justification to abdicate my freedom and liberty on their behalf, to justify and edify their chosen beliefs. Besides being intrinsically unfair, socially unjust and morally myopic, legislating religious dogma is just plain Un-American. Making any religious discipline the law of the land is no different from the Taliban enforcing Sharia Law in Afghanistan. Only the names are changed to shield the despotic. 

Why is this such a big deal, then? It is said to offend the righteous. So what? Ask any psychology professional: nobody is responsible for your feelings but you. The concept of homosexuality hurts the acquired sensibilities of those who have been brainwashed into believing in devils and demons, fire and brimstone, heaven and hell. That’s just a pity, isn’t it? There is professional help to alleviate the problem. While one doesn’t choose to be brainwashed (subjugation of children to religion is child abuse in my book) one does choose what one believes or what one does about and with what one believes. Ask any mental health professional: gays are not responsible for the feelings of religious zealots. Or of any other homophobes of any stripe. 

The fact is that discrimination is wrong. Limiting others’ lives because of their existence, because some aspect of their state-of-being makes another uncomfortable, is reprehensible as it is unconscionable. In many cases, most recently regarding LGBT, the zeitgeist is just awakening to the reality of it. For some reason, recognition of injustice in the moment doesn’t translate easily to recognition that whatever the issue has therefore ALWAYS been wrong, regardless of general public sentiment. Immediate resolution, if not restitution, is in order. Justice delayed is justice denied.

This claimed need to discuss these matters is at best a delaying tactic. Those stirred from not having to bother thinking about the uppity oppressed into acknowledgement, toleration, acceptance and integration merely seek to keep their feathers as unruffled as possible. Lighten the blow. Make the transition as painless as possible. Sod those fudgepackers, it’s still only about us. It’s a bother, but we can still carry on as if nobody exists but us. The tyranny of the masses, like the wheels of justice, moves slowly. Mustn’t upset one’s mother, or molest our saintly nan or rattle dear aunt Aiofe. Dad and uncle George mustn’t have to consider there might be poofs and fags near to them on the bus! The lads would never accept poofters at a footy match. The feelings of important, normal people are at stake!

But, what of the feelings of the millions of gay, Lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, curious, questioning and sympathetic people who have withstood loss of livelihood, housing, family, friends, emotional support, civic security, literally life and limb; Endured public ostracism, censure and all the other slings and arrows of being different in a better-than-thou stratified society? What about the discomfort -- even unto death -- parsed to all those like myself? When is society going to offer me back the jobs I’ve lost (2), the housing of which I’ve been deprived (3), the personally received as well as general, public heckling from plain citizens (uncounted), elected officials (2) and uniformed police officers (1)? 

And, they’re worried about the offense taken by people who suddenly have to acknowledge their poisonous attitude is wrong? Criminalization of an oppressed group for intrinsic, immutable characteristics of their state of being is cruel, inexcusable, immoral, unconscionable. There is no applicable justification for delay in righting such wrongs. The feelings and sensibilities of the general public be hanged. I’m just one among millions, and your discomfort at having to acknowledge you were wrong in attitude, and must adjust your behaviour toward me is NOTHING compared to even a single instance of injustice I have personally endured by institutionalized condemnation of what I am. 

Make the changes, stop whigning. Just ‘effin’ grow up and get over it.

Repeal Section 377.