I watch with deigned interest, people who put a blanket ban on Seksualiti Merdeka; an automatic "No!" was uttered as if it was a subconscious response rather than a contemplative act.They accuse the event as a catalyst for the extreme sexualisation of society. Branding the organisers as those who do not fear God and trying to push societal norms to its limit.
I have to admit, I see such an act as illustrative of society's fear of discourse about anything which has the word sexual in it; the notion that it's better to just sweep problems under the rug and ignore its existence. The public, I am sure are very aware of the existence of homosexuals. For years, sub-par magazines such as Mastika etc. have published "exposes" of underground and secretive meeting spots for these "freaks of nature". But we never quite got round to asking ourselves their place in law and more importantly in the day-to-day life in our society. It is just so much easier to say that "Homosexuality is wrong and all homosexuals should go to jail".
Dehumanising your enemy betrays your conscience. As you attempt to dehumanise your enemy, what you are doing is to justify your action to attack them. Since they are not humans, my attack whether verbally, politically, morally, physically, psychologically etc. is justified. Which suggests that guilt is embedded deep within our hearts. And we do it all the time especially during wars. Each side will try to portray the enemy as killers, rapists, plunders, thieves and imperialists. When reality is, more often than not, a bit more complicated than that.
Have we asked ourselves how did it come about? Nature or nurture? And its implications. Countless of studies and who-knows-how-many gays have admitted that they've had this inclination ever since they were children. If such a notion is conceded, is it fair then for society to punish these individuals? But of course, hard questions such as these are never asked in TV3...
I am sure the naysayers, though will say that such a notion is a load of bull. But let's entertain the second possibility; nurture. If indeed homosexuality comes about because of nurture rather than nature, as a society we still have the responsibility to ask ourselves hard questions too. What do we do with sources of homosexuality? Surely solution must be given.
But I argue that regardless of its raison d'être, we cannot deny the existence of this portion of society. Here comes the hard question; what do we do with them? Under the Penal Code it is punishable by imprisonment. I concede that even in law and politics, there are certain acts which society deems to be so palpable that it becomes a crime. But the law is not, per se relevant to what I want us to think about.
What the law can restraint is limited to what it can measure and recognise. Practically speaking, the law can obviously imprison a gay couple after they were caught having sexual intercourse; which is an easy enough act to recognise. But it is impossible for the law to capture individuals who do not act on their "unnatural" (quote from the Penal Code) impulses but the feelings exist nonetheless. I would also argue that it is wrong for the law to even attempt to sanction the conscience of an individual, but that is for a different article.
The hardest question then becomes; what do we do with homosexuals who do not act on their impulses? What is their place in society?
Let's just take one perspective; religion.
For men who have homosexual tendencies but have never acted on it, can they become imam for other men? What is the religion's view on gay men who shake hands with women? Is it permissible for gay men to shake hands with other men? Where are they supposed to pray in a mosque?
Mind you; these are hard questions that can only be answered by the likes of Qaradhawi. It is worth nothing that these are merely questions under the umbrella of syariah. Our religion; Islam is a vast one.
Some of my closest friends are gay. It annoys me that these people who (judging from the reasons of their blanket ban on Seksualiti Merdeka) have probably never even read an article on homosexuality or even know anyone who was gay, are becoming judges and spokes person for the issue. One of my friend for example, is trying his very best to fight the urges. He is a muslim and very religious. He confided in me and said that there were times when he actually considered suicide as an option and the only thing that's stopping him from doing it is Islam. He feels pressured primarily by society's disgust towards the act. It seemed impossible for him to find someone with whom he can talk. But more importantly, he cannot find a solution with which he can lift this burden.
These "judges" have they considered empathy? To walk in someone else's shoe.
Without any suggestion of a solution.
Let's do it now;
Everyone else in the world can get married with the person that they love. I on the other hand, cannot. When all of my friends talk about girls and hot women, i can only pretend to be interested. Do you know how excluded I feel?I cannot tell anyone; not my parents, friends, girlfriends. This very heavy secret is mine to keep for all eternity except for really close friends who are rare. When people talk demeaningly of homosexuals in my presence, I only nod halfheartedly. It seemed distasteful to be insulting what I am (part of what I am). I cry all the time and contemplate suicide sometimes. Especially when I am reminded of how different I am. And I can't even do anything about it. There's no one to talk to, no solution that is provided.
Society seemed to have forgotten that I am not JUST gay. I am also a student. A son. A Malaysian.
THE POINT IS….
I am not advocating for the sexual liberation of the Malaysian society. I am first and foremost a Muslim. And my belief system stems from Islam, insyaAllah. Unfortunately my knowledge of Islam is not as expansive as Qaradhawi but I am sure Islam has the best solutions to every problem. I have faith in Islam that it has more to offer than mere punishments and fatwas. Islam is so much more than that.
I think the point that I want to say in this article is i would rather like society as a whole to think of solutions and ways of helping rather than punishment. Everyone it seemed, is eager to become the police force; the dispenser of justice. No one wants to help.
Reason and discourse is the best lubricant for the wheels of society's progress. Catchy slogans and blanket bans can only take us so far.