HOMOPHOBIA OUT OF SHAMEFUL LOVE
PUBLISHED AUGUST 13, 2012 BY WITCHYLISA
We all know the constant image of a homophobe: an ignorant, angry, unsatisfied person who’s trying to cling to a dark old age where his fear of the unknown made him hate every person who was different from him. He put every energy he had into making sure that the different person would just disappear or, at the least, thrown out of society. He’s so absorbed into his own fantasy world of a gigantic God who’s going to punish him in the fire that he is either terrified of going against anything He says, convinced that he has a greencard to say/do anything he wants in (his interpretation of) His name, or think the different one is going to punished in whatever fucked up way he wants unless he saves them… Lucky me (and everyone who ever reads this) that I live in a place where the bigot sets and carries out the laws.
Apparently, people who aren’t different here started to voice up their anger over how people like me have to be treated and played with like little dolls. It wasn’t the first time support was felt from the ‘normal’ people, but it was the first time that it got this big. Malfouf guy: you’re not really good at journalism (ya should work on the lisp), but you’re damn good at being an Arab Jerry Springer. He wanted ratings and he got them, but he had to shed light on us on the way.
Rape, fondling, poverty, shadows, sex-maniacs, and an egg test that’s as realistic as ‘Eat da Poo Poo’. Life’s weird that way. But, I’m not outraged. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Am I happy that the anal examinations and cinema scandal got the attention that they got? Would I be happier if they were just kept secret without public disclosure? Should I had gone to the protests today? Why didn’t I go? I’m too scared to answer that to myself. Have some of us (a sizable part of the LGBT community) come to get so used to hiding a part of who we are to almost everyone we see on a daily basis that we don’t even want to be discussed to society at large, whether in a negative light (as usual) or positive light? Of the thousands of supporters of (and online visitors of) Helem, Meem, the Monitor, and of course our pornographic poster boys at manjam (who thanks to Jaras are apparently all of us), less than two hundred showed up at the protests. For some it may have been because of personal time-related reasons, but for others, it could’ve been because they didn’t want to show up out of fear of outing, fear of jail, or fear of just being heard.
Many of us will always maintain a part of that guilt and shame they had growing up out of personal religious convictions, ties to their society, and bonds with their family. As time goes by and distance is increased, the shame starts to tone down to the point they can allow themselves to enter the online gay world. It’s dull as shit but it’s a big milestone for a lot of people here. But, there will always be a voice in their heads that will tell them to keep quiet about anything against the straight world. This voice could show up when you try to switch the channel when that crappy show with the red carpet shows up or as it appeared recently: not go to the protest or even talk about the events with other people because it’s still Haram.
Irony is a bitch to me… Care to know about the title? I’ve been blessed and cursed to have been raised in a completely desexualized home where sex isn’t offensive but is just not a part of the house. I’ve never heard my parents talk about sex (alone or otherwise), I got the talk from wikipedia (which people should stop saying is trash), and I slowly came to accept my sexuality through the internet (Google is more godly than most clergy in Lebanon). It was just a gigantic solo process with me having no one to talk to about my struggle because I knew the repercussions of revealing it. But, I wasn’t scared of being honest because they would hate me or insult me. I was scared and still am because I know that they will only feel love towards a child they now see as falling into sin and needs salvation. They would express their love by repeating those goddamn Bible verses (the ones next to the verse with the raped ‘bride’) everyday hoping that I would fight my demon of homosexuality and return to a proper, virtuous, Christian, Halal (well it is anti-haram) lifestyle. They are homophobic and would always be homophobic, but not because of actual hate or fear: just ignorance and beautiful, deep, yet misdirected love… Thank God, the talk never came up about the opposite sex (we’re to holy for that). But, (and here’s the irony) on the same day that the protests happened, I had heard the concept of same-sex marriage for the first time in my house. It wasn’t because of the protests though (no sensible family would dare turn on the channel or bother themselves to know what filthy acts those ‘people’ do). It was just a simple joke my mother had to play on me. My hair had grown curlier and longer over the last few months and my mom tried to put a scrunchie on me (stupidity is genetic). She laughed, but he didn’t: Haram, he said, this isn’t Europe; do you know that you would get beat up and raped if men saw you with longer hair and earrings (the idiotess fell for the idiot). An hour later, he’s in my room with his Bible saying how Saint Paul prophesied how people would become sinful and give up their natural sexual attractions for the same sex, and how God would punish these sinful people along with murderers in the End. He then casually mentioned how men marry men and women marry women in America. Completely casual; not a bit of apprehension or sense of Haram in saying it. I just kept quiet and lied by saying I was reading the verses online. He went away later and everything was history… I couldn’t make eye contact with them the whole day after that. I just kept myself in my room and tried to look away from their faces when I had to interact with them during dinner… It was always quiet in the house but not like this.
For everyone’s sake, I have to keep quiet. Nothing will be gained from being true and honest with them. I won’t gain inner peace, an embracing culture, and a family fully accepting every aspect of who I am. The one thing I will gain is guilt at knowing I destroyed a family, their dreams, and everything they had built for themselves and their only child. But, I am not unique. I’m just one of thousands of LGBT teenagers and adults who… who are what we are and live what we live.
Why am I saying all of these? Am I just whining and complaining about the fate God or Fate gave me? A bit. But, this is still reality. This is the reality of those who hide out of need, practicality, love and compassion towards the ‘sufferers’ we create with our sexuality. This is reality of the thousands who may not rally themselves to protest for their rights and end their rape. We will fight indirectly and behind veils of anonymity online but will never take the mantle and get to the streets. Sadly, the ones who are brave, loved, and strong enough to do so are too few to diminish our reality and make our suffering and injustice as ‘haram’ as the West has done to rape. There has to be change, but I don’t think it will come by just protests and interviews (rare though they are). It has to come from the ‘thousands’, they need to lose the shame, homophobia, and hate they feel towards themselves, towards their sexuality, because of their love for those around them. How? I don’t know. But I wish I did…