Let me share what is the genesis of this article, the catalyst that has me belatedly speaking out about an issue that has had an ugly history of plaguing our society. I will note that on a condensed level this issue speaks solely to the LGBTQ community, the hatred directed towards their endeavours to be treated as humans, and the apparent obligation of those from outside the community to patronize, demean, vilify, and dehumanize those who find themselves within the community gates. On a broader level, this issue speaks to human patronization as a whole, to the corruptive force of dogma, namely of the religious sort, and to the incomprehensible reality that as human beings with the same basic goals and needs, we seek to prevent others from even venturing to endeavour after those basic goals and needs.
“God doesn’t mess up. He sent people here the gender they were meant to be. The saddest part is so many people ignore this and tell others to just “accept their sexuality” which is causing more people to explore, become more unhappy, and possibly suicidal. We are the gender we are supposed to be for whatever reason and changing our body doesn’t truly change our gender.”
The above is a preface to a link that was shared by a person whom I believed to be my friend. A person whom, at times, I have deeply and genuinely considered divulging some of my most suppressed thoughts, feelings, and desires. A person whom, today, I feel relieved to have never opened up to. A person whom, now, I am grateful I have never felt comfortable being my authentic self with. The article to which this person linked I cannot justify sharing. The misinformed and malevolent nature of the writing contained within it appalls me to nearly the same degree as the paragraph which preceded my discovering it. Here human beings are advocating that a very real epidemic, LGBTQ suicide, is the result of someone trying to achieve happiness, and acceptance, for solely being; for existing as they feel is natural for them to exist.
Thirty percent of LGBTQ youth report having attempted suicide once in the last year. Over fifty percent of transgender youth attempt suicide before the age of twenty. These numbers only pertain to those brave enough to report their attempts to researchers. These are human lives I am speaking of. And yet, to brave the comment sections of any of the articles remotely related to the article I have been speaking of thus far, is to be lambasted by the horrifying reality that not only do so many people flatly not care about these human lives, but moreover, an overwhelming portion of society seems convinced they have signed a Faustian contract to belittle and remove the LGBTQ people from this Earth. This imaginative contract that has been signed is akin to an act of terrorism.
My friend asked I and all others who see his news feed to believe that members of the LGBTQ community would choose to bring these horrific acts of others upon themselves. He proposed that not only do people choose this socially dark path filled with hardship and hatred, but that people also choose to be a certain way in life. He requested that we accept the conjecture that feelings, minds, and personalities are entirely malleable entities, capable of being controlled, coached and regulated towards an exact, concise, and particular destination. He spread misinformation more than once by revealing his mistaken understanding of gender, equating gender to a personal comprehension that is rooted in ignorance. My friend asked that others acquiesce that accepting one’s true self and striving to be as genuine in one’s daily actions as they can be, is a vehicle for depression and general dissatisfaction with life. Finally, perhaps the most staggering of all, my friend found the motivation to present his paragraph by hiding behind one of society’s most prevalent and cowardly veils: that cloak which calls itself god.
I believe it not overzealous to presume that an overwhelming majority of my readers were raised within a religious atmosphere, the same sort that seems to be the champion behind all of the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. As I read through the comment boards and peruse the articles relating to LGBTQ issues, I cannot help but recognize that this religious atmosphere appears to be the common thread linking all the hate talk towards the LGBTQ people. The commenters refer to LGBTQ people as mentally disturbed individuals in need of spiritual purification. Indeed, they, like my friend, use god to justify and advance their heinous comments. These people claim a moral high ground, submitting that they are correct because their stance is based in morality. They hold that their own moral judgments occupy a position which comprises of unique privileges not held by other moral standings. From a separate mountaintop I look towards those people who stand atop their own mountains, gazing at the people of the world behind the colored lens of their own moral viewpoints, and I ask myself: how can any act preventing another human being from attaining happiness be morally justifiable? How can we be okay with allowing that mountain to stand? How can it be morally admissible to prevent another human being from attaining a happiness that is not detrimental to another person’s happiness?
Dogmatic desensitization has shielded these moral absolutists from recognizing a damning reality: their beliefs are far from moral. Friedrich Nietzsche explains better than I:
“The subject (or, to use popular language, the soul) has perhaps proved itself the best dogma in the world simply because it rendered possible to the horde of mortal, weak, and oppressed individuals of every kind, that most sublime specimen of self-deception, the interpretation of weakness as freedom, of being this, or being that, as merit”(Nietzsche, 1994).
The “good” people of the United States, and to a degree, the world, have defined goodness according to their own lives. In the beginning, this definition was based upon their resent for the things they were told made them lesser. “Craven baseness [has become] meekness, submission to those whom one hates, [has become] obedience (namely, obedience to one of whom they say that he ordered this submission — they call him god). The inoffensive character of the weak, the very cowardice in which he is rich, his standing at the door, his forced necessity of waiting, [has] gain[ed] here fine names, such as ‘patience,’ which is also called ‘virtue’; nor being able to avenge one’s self, is called not wishing to avenge one’s self, perhaps even forgiveness (for they know not what they do — we alone know what they do).”
The self defined “good” people, those who are like my friend, are capable of being good and also bad. They are given an option to operate somewhere along a spectrum, much in the same way a strong man has the option to act strong or weak. Strength is not merely a state of being but concurrently a state of acting strong. Inexplicably, a strong man is able to become weak by choosing not to use his strength. In examining the other end of this spectrum, one is forced to realize that the weak are not afforded this same luxury. The weak cannot act strong because they do not possess that entity which is the literal definition of strength. The good people of the world, those like my friend, have created the bad person so that the bad person fits the mold of anything the good person is not. In so doing, the good people have also created a world in which the bad people cannot become good, for what makes them bad is exactly what makes them them. Things that are out of their control — for the purpose of this article: their sexuality, their gender identity, their birth sex — are the very possessions that label them as bad people.
I am moved to ask, had the dogmatic upbringing in which a god has labeled all those who are unlike yourself as bad not been existent, would you really have such an aversion to the LGBTQ community? Had the dogma of the soul which has taught you that eternal life is possible, which has made viable the interpretation of bad and evil, had that dogma not been present in your upbringing, would you feel such a burden to label those who are unlike yourself as bad people? Would you feel the necessity to maintain a self-deception in which you are better than another human being?
When asked what a moral is, so many define it as an internal feeling, an omnipresent awareness or archetype within the human consciousness that we know to be right. Yet, I am willing wager at the cost of my own life, that this decision stipulating that being LGBTQ is immoral is not based on that archetype. I speculate that the belief that the LGBTQ community is one wrought with immorality is not based on an internal feeling. I would hazard a guess that this notion of immorality is based strictly on the dogma that has been present since birth among so many people of the world. I would venture that this notion is founded from a world behind a veil of self-deception.
These bets I am willing to establish based on the following question: What is so different about the LGBTQ person? Perhaps Shakespeare frames the question better in Act 3, Scene 1, of The Merchant of Venice, just replace the word Jew with any of the words that form the acronym LGBTQ:
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that.
In conclusion, I will state once more my undying bewilderment that human beings are capable of finding the rationale to belittle one who is so alike themselves. That a self fashioned cloak of self-deception has paved a path to a dogmatic desensitization of what it means to be human. That somewhere in our existence we became accepting of labeling others as lesser beings, as a means of building ourselves up. I plead for acceptance. I plead for you to rent the mask you have put upon your face. I plead for you to recognize the very serious consequences that are the result of your deeming a certain community bad, evil, and damnable, and I ask that you support others in finding their own happiness. In the end, can another person’s happiness which affords others the right to life, liberty, and their own pursuit of happiness, truly impact you negatively? And even if that veil of god is so strong as to be impenetrable, could your own immortality rightly be based on how another person lives? The answer to these questions, I find, is an unequivocal: no.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, and Keith Pearson. “’Good and Evil,’ ‘Good and Bad’” On the Genealogy of Morality. New York: Cambridge UP, 1994. Section 13. Print.
Shakespeare, William, and Burton Raffel. The Merchant of Venice. New Haven: Yale UP, 2006. Print.