Friday 1 August 2003

Confessions of a Homophobe

There's been a lot in the media about "Gay Marriage" recently. Though not much in the Australian Media, just reactions to the Pope's "ex cathedra" encyclical.

Now I'm a Homophobe. I'm against Homosexuality.

I think it should be discouraged - though not eradicated. Some, maybe most, have no choice, it's the way they are, the way their Brain is wired up. If they're Gay by choice, well, it's their life, not mine. To Eradicate Homosexuality would be to engage in Genocide - a bit like curing a freckle on the cheek (which some find attractive, others not) by decapitation.

But.... discouraging Homosexuality is decidedly Not a Problem. Society does discourage Homosexuality, in a thousand and more ways. Even in Australia, which (from what I've read) is vastly more tolerant of Gays than the US. Note I use the word "tolerant" rather than "accepting" or "approving". It's an abnormal lifestyle, but abnormal most emphatically is not "wrong". I'm abnormal by Australian standards inasmuch as I have exactly zero interest in "Footie" of any description, and find Sports in general to be far less interesting than, say, the lifecycles of Clams, or the difference in suspensions between a UK Class 42 and Class 43 Diesel-Hydraulic locomotive. Most Australians tolerate my peculiarity, while not approving of my deviant behaviour. I'm abnormal, and proud of it. "It takes all kinds" as they say. I have no wish to be psychologically "cured" of my abnormality, even though that would have certain social advantages. And it's nowhere near as important to me as their Sexual orientation is to most people, Gays or Straights.

I think Homosexuality should be discouraged. But Society doesn't just discourage Homosexuality, it persecutes it. That's wrong. It's not just wrong, it's very, very wrong indeed.

Yes, things are far better than they were even 10 years ago, and vastly better than 20 years ago. But we've got a long way to go.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said,
If we take matrimony at it's lowest, we regard it as a sort of friendship recognised by the police.

And therein lies the rub. Marriage is a state recognised by the Law. If your partner is sick or incapacitated, being Married to them gives you certain rights - such as to see them in Intensive Care, and even to make decisions as to whether "Heroic Measures" should be continued if they're on life support and unlikely to recover. It gives rights of inheritance. It gives property rights in case the partnership is dissolved in divorce.

To deny the right of a Man to see his dying Husband, to deny a Woman the right to inherit her Wife's possessions after 30 years together, that's just inhuman.

I can't say that I'd like my 2-year-old Son to come to me in twelve or twenty years time and say "Dad, here's my Boyfriend." But I'd want to meet his partner anyway, and far rather have him in a gay relationship that makes him happy than a straight one which is a misery. If my wife and I turn up our toes in an untimely way, I'd far rather he be adopted by a caring and responsible Gay couple than even a slightly less caring straight one.

The trouble is, that Gays are at the mercy of people like me. We vote, and we vote for people who say they'll do things the way we want them to. I keep on trying to imagine if Homosexuality was the norm, and Straights like myself were at the legislative mercy of the Gay majority, and the thought fills me with dread. How must it feel for them, here and now? Especially when some seemingly-sane person like myself reveals his ugly little prejudice?

There's overwhelming evidence for greater, more equal rights for Gays. Some remarkable injustices have been committed within living memory. Consider the one man most responsible for the defeat of Nazism, Alan Turing. Despite his accomplishments, he was persecuted after the war, tried and convicted in Courts for the abominable crime of Buggery. He was sentenced to a course of hormonal treatments. He committed suicide soon after.

Enough. More than Enough. Let's show some common decency and humanity and make the law non-discriminatory when it comes to marriage. There's plenty more discrimination in other areas, far too much of it in fact. As for Churches - let them follow their own dogma, or conscience, or both. This isn't a religious question, it's a matter of law, justice, and common humanity.

As for my homophobia? Well, my Gay friends tolerate it. Which is rather decent of them, and rather more than I have a right to ask.

1 comment:

Kathryn said... does not strike me that you are homophobic at all. You just recognise that the "straight" lifestyle is not only the more prevalent, but the easier path to walk through life. Both are undeniably true.