Written By Charvaka
Elie Wiesel once said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Protesting can be of various forms and nature. One form of protest is to speak up, via different media, against the injustice itself and work toward dismantling the assumptions on which the unjust system operates. To that goal, though this article, I will try to dismantle various assumptions and “logic” people put forward to deprive homosexual people of their human rights. The expectation is, to the very least, it will make readers ponder and question their prejudice. Let us see if we can shed some light on the matter at hand. Following are the most common bad “logic” arguments presented by homophobic people, to establish that homosexuality does not require national and legal discrimination.
1) Most major religions condemn homosexuality and forbid any such acts. Homosexual people cannot be members of XX religion.
- Religion should not be the basis for denying human rights.
- Religion should be a personal affair. A practicing religious person can/should adhere to his/her religious beliefs but cannot force that upon society/nation. For example, a practicing Muslim can avoid engaging in homosexual activities, if s/he so chooses. But they cannot say that, same-sex marriage cannot be allowed in the country. It ties back to point (a) as well.
- Everything should be subject to ‘upgrading’. Many of the verses in major scriptures are not suitable for the 21st century world. In fact, sensible people today consciously/subconsciously reject many rules preached by scriptures written thousands of years ago. If certain things in a religion are not followed anymore (even condemned), why not this?
For example, among the 50 Muslim-majority countries, homosexuality carries death penalty in 11, it is just deemed ‘illegal’ in 7, homosexual acts are legal but not marriage in 20 countries, in 3, only female homosexual acts are legal, and 4 countries have been discussing about legalizing same-sex marriage.
Bottom-line, religion is subject to interpretation and change, hence cannot be the ‘ultimate’ rule to deny human rights.
- Homosexual people also have the right to choose their own religion as they see fit. Again, religion is a personal affair and it is subject to interpretation and modification. Condemning a fellow citizen takes away a very important social construct – freedom of choice. The same law that allows a homosexual person to marry or choose their religion freely, also allows the religious persons to practice their religion freely. It goes both ways!!
Please watch this interesting take from Maajid Nawaz. Most people commit sin, but that does not mean s/he does not belong to the religion! A Muslim drinker commits sin, but still a Muslim (albeit maybe a bad Muslim). Same goes for homosexual people. They might be committing sin but cannot be said that they cannot be Muslim!!
- Many (or should I say most), people do not adhere to most religious rules. I have seen people drinking, taking psychedelics, taking bribe, not going for regular prayers etc. who still argue that homosexuality is bad because religion forbids it! The hypocrisy is palpable here.
2) Many variants of natural order argument: Homosexuality is not natural. It is a life choice. It is a psychological disorder
- ALL WRONG. There are NUMEROUS scientific findings which prove that homosexuality is a product of early fetal development and is related to genetics, epigenetics, and hormonal differences ALONG WITH social and physical environmental issues. There is so much literature on this, that I feel it would be futile to attempt to add links here. This argument is so 1990!! Since then, neurological reasons were identified in 1991 by neuroscientist Simon Levay and then in 1992 by Laura Allen and Roger Gorski. Genetic reasons have also been identified (part of X chromosome: Xq28) for predisposition to homosexuality as early as 1993 (validated later). Womb environment and number of previous siblings also play important role (research by Anthony Bogaert, 2006). His study concluded some very interesting findings such as fourth brother has 6% chance of being gay, while the first brother has 3%. That means higher number of older brothers increases the chance of a sibling to be gay (by 1% for each previous sibling). Being gay is as natural as being a lefty or ambidextrous.
- Something being ‘natural’ cannot be the standard of our life. All things natural are not MORAL. Killing and murder is a natural phenomenon, but not moral.
- 450 different species have been identified (as of 2012), which show homosexual behavior. Also, according to the participants in exhibition “Against Nature?” which is regularly organized by Natural History Museum in University of Oslo, Norway, the number of species showing homosexual tendencies is close to 1000 (2006 edition of the exhibition). Still not natural?
- It is not a choice. As pointed out in 2(a), predisposition to homosexuality is formed much earlier, before anyone becomes able to make choices. In response to this, I have heard people say, then why do not they choose to not be “homos”? Let’s think about a society which is predominantly homosexual, and heterosexuals are asked to choose to become homosexual. What would their lives be like? Invariably I see involuntary cringing! (Yeah that’s right- that’s exactly how homosexual people feel around you, homophobes)!
- For argument’s sake, let us say it is a choice (which is not). What the heck is wrong with that?
- American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have dropped homosexuality and transsexualism as mental illness from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) way back in 1973!
3) It is unhealthy to have sex with a person of same sex
NOPE. Many heterosexual couples indulge in anal and oral sex. Sex/sex act becomes unhygienic OR unhealthy if it is done in an unhygienic manner. Sexual orientation does not have anything to do with it.
4) It is not Pro-life/humankind will end because there will be no procreation or some variant of this logic
No, humankind will not cease to exist! Homosexuals are only a small part of the population (in 2016, it was estimated that only 2% of men and 0.5% of women identify as completely homosexual). There will always be a larger heterosexual part of the population to keep on producing offspring! Homosexual couple can also have children through adoption/surrogacy etc.
5) Why are you arguing for them? Are you gay? Why do you care?
Arguing to ensure rights for everyone does not make me gay. I might be or might not be. That has no relationship with me arguing for LGBTQI+ rights. Ultimately it is a freedom of choice issue. Today homophobes argue to limit or condemn LGBTQI+ community. Tomorrow, though I am not gay, I can be affected by some other form of discrimination as precedence of discrimination is already set. I do not have to be black or gay or woman or indigenous, to try to ensure social justice and equality for all. I will do the same if someone says people cannot wear a hijab.
6) Social construct argument, society will be done for if we encourage these acts
In 28 countries where same-sex marriage is legal, social construct has not yet crumbled! As a matter of fact, many of these countries also have better health care, better education, better social safety net, advancement in science and technology, and commendable democratic practices. Homosexuality existed in society from ancient civilizations. Humankind is still here.
7) Proper parenting and raising children properly can prevent homosexuality
I asked several people this question, what will happen if their near and dear ones declare they are gay (for example, children). Invariably the answer is “I will raise my children ‘properly’ to not become gay”. For the gazillionth time it is not a CHOICE. No one can raise a gay person to be heterosexual. It will only make them miserable and hateful toward themselves, tumbling in a life full of disappointment and misery. That would essentially be destroying the life of their children. Above all things, parents should be happy if their children are happy.
A related argument is that same-sex parenting does not serve the best interest of a child. But multiple studies show there is no evidence that there are any psychological or physical difference between children raised by same or opposite sex parents.
8) It is illegal in constitution
Yes! Guess what, slavery was legal once. Racial discrimination was legal once too.
9) This is just a modern fashion
Civil rights activists were/are really fashionable in front of batons, tear gases, guns and water cannons. It is fashionable to be hanged/beaten to death or chopped to death or thrown out from a roof. Just another day in the fashion world.
[Yeah people actually use this argument!]
10) It is a gateway to sexual relationship involving Animals, Siblings, Children, or Groups of People
Umm. What now??
There are few other related concepts which guide or should guide the moral construct of our society. “Consent” is one of the most important of all. If someone understands the concept of consent, s/he should not worry about bestiality, pedophilia or rape culture. Those all become immoral and unlawful.
The question “is it harmful for others in the society [Primum non nocere]”- takes care of incest from the biological point of view and polygamy from social point of view [like there is no polygamy now].
“Sexual choice” and “Sexual orientation” are two separate concepts. Bestiality, polygamy, and abuse are choices, whereas being gay is not. Comparing all these on the same scale is foolish. The love between two persons, who happen to be of the same sex, cannot be and should not be reduced to sex or incest or pedophilia. This is much more than that. In all the countries where same-sex marriage is legal, there has been no such evidence and these “slippery slope” arguments are baseless and simply silly.
Live and let live!! Peace and happiness to every being in this universe!!!